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Yes! You CAN Work Full Time and Homeschool Your Children
Are you a parent who is interested in homeschooling but you working full time? I have great news. You absolutely can work full time and homeschool. Yes, even if both parents are working full time or if you’re a single parent who works full time.
No, it doesn’t require you to work full time from home, although, as a mom who now works full time from home, it’s definitely easier that way. Working from home is not an immediate option for everyone, though. It wasn’t an option for me several years ago when I returned to working full-time outside of the home after we’d begun homeschooling years earlier.
Here’s how my family homeschooled with two parents who worked full-time. (Oh, and we both had part-time side gigs, too!)
How I Worked Full Time and Homeschooled My Children
When I took a job outside of the home after homeschooling for five years, our family decided to continue homeschooling instead of sending our children to public school. Our previous arrangement was ideal for home schooling. I was a work-at-home mom and a part-time family therapist who could set my own schedule and my husband worked third shift making it possible for us to be with our children all day.
When we realized that our life was less than ideal in other ways, we made the changes necessary to improve our quality of life overall. Those changes included me leaving the field of therapy and my return to the workforce and my husband’s switch from a 3rd-shift-seven-days-per-week
indentured servitude job to a healthier 7-4, M-F gig.
As we entered into this new normal, we assured ourselves and our children that we could both work full-time and still homeschool. Frankly, though, I simply wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out. As it turns out working full-time and homeschooling worked very well in our home.
Here are the lessons we learned about working full time and homeschooling and how we managed it for over three years.
You Can’t Do It All On Your Own
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that we had help to make sure our children were getting what they needed while we worked. Our youngest son went to a wonderful care provider who, herself, was homeschooled. She had four sons that were his age and younger (I know! She is supermom!), and the older two were in school. She understood our desire to continue homeschooling and was willing to help us by working with our son on his school work.
My older two sons were able to work more independently. They had less structured caregivers who were mainly there for emergencies.
Depending on the ages of your children, hiring someone to help with the homeschooling or to oversee more independent work is vital. Be aware of the laws in your state which may require homeschooling parents to provide a specific percentage of the education instruction.
Ask for Flexibility With Your Job
After I worked for a couple of years, I was able to work out an arrangement with my boss where I worked at home a couple of days per week. We kept the same schedule every day, whether I was working from my home office or my office at work. That was crucial to keeping us all on track.
You might be able to work from home or you might work out a flexible solution where you could video chat with your children at lunchtime to teach or go over schoolwork. You might be able to work irregular hours that allow for one parent or the other to be with the children at all times. You might work weekends in exchange for weekdays off, as well.
Focus on Independent Learning
In addition to the people in our lives who made it possible for us to work full-time and homeschool, we had a few tools that helped.
For language arts and math, we used Time4Learning
, which is an internet-based curriculum. Time4Learning both teaches and provides learning activities, quizzes and tests. It allowed me to see which areas the boys sailed through and which needed a little more work or help from me. I don’t usually test my children, and my state doesn’t require it, but I used the Time4Learning tests to gauge their understanding of various subjects.
Another wonderful tool we use to make homeschooling and working full-time possible is technology such as Netflix and podcasts. We unschool science and it is one of the most important subjects my children learn. We have a strong science-focus in our home.
For example, when we learned about astronomy (a child-led interest that we all happen to share) we found several good documentaries on Netflix to back up the reading that we did on the weekends. My husband found a few podcasts that teach various sciences, as well. When we were at work the boys hooked their iPods to a speaker and listen to the lectures while doodling or taking notes.
Don’t Try to Replicate School at Home. Have a Flexible Approach to Learning
I’ve already mentioned the fact that we unschool some subjects, but I want to stress that our approach to homeschooling is more about learning at home and not really at all about schooling at home.
Because our focus is giving our children the freedom to learn and fostering a life-long love of learning, we realize that it is more important that they are exposed to new information and less important to recreate a traditional school environment in our home.
This open-mindedness concerning our children’s education has allowed us to be more relaxed about some things that might worry other homeschooling parents. For instance, we know that it is not necessary for an authority figure to be present in order for a child to learn. In addition, people often better retain information they find out for themselves rather than information that is forced upon them.
Without a strict, traditional school-at-home approach, we were free to structure (or not structure!) our school day as needed to accommodate our work and extracurricular activities demands. This included using evenings and weekends for school as needed.
Working Full Time and Homeschooling – A Day in the Life