This post is part of the Homeschool Myths: BUSTED series hosted by HomeschoolBlogging.com.
One of the biggest homeschooling myths out there is the thought that there is no possible way you can homeschool your children AND work full-time.
Throughout the entire six years we’ve been homeschooling, I have worked full-time 99% of the time. I hear so many moms say that they want to homeschool, but it isn’t an option because they have to work. I so badly want them to know that they can do both…and do both well.
I know it sounds impossible. How in the world can you work 40 hours a week outside of the home and still have time to properly educate your children while keeping the house somewhat clean, cooking and not to mention being a wife?
Is it easy? No, but I am here to tell you it can be done.
If the season of your life requires you to work and you are doubting your ability to fit homeschooling into the mix, please take these ten options into consideration:
1. My biggest piece of advice to all homeschool moms who find themselves having to hold down a job is don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- Married ladies, solicit the help of your husband in the household duties. Chances are he is willing, he just needs you to ask! Men typically don’t just notice things around the house that need to be done. Ask away! Let him know that you need help.
- Single ladies, get family and friends involved. Share your vision and passion. If they know how much homeschooling means to you, they’ll be more willing to pitch in.
- Have your children help out around the house! Children of all ages can be assigned chores. Younger children especially love to pitch in and feel like they’re making a difference, we just have to let them help.
- Moms, despite what we think, we just can’t do it all…and that’s okay!
2. Consider working opposite shifts/schedules as your spouse. If your spouse works day shift, you work evenings and vice versa. That way one of you are always home with the children and you don’t have to worry about finding a sitter. When my husband was laid off, he went back to school for two semesters. I worked day shift, so he signed up for evening classes. It worked out great for us.
3. Consider schooling your children before you go to work or after you get home. When I worked day shift, we tried to start school when I got home from work at 4:00 p.m. We did lessons for about an hour, stopped for dinner and then resumed lessons for a couple of hours until bed. I know some families who use this schedule and it works well for them. For us, it wasn’t the greatest plan. I found that by the time I got home, the girls’ attention spans weren’t the best. They didn’t focus as well as they did when we did school in the morning. I also found that I wasn’t nearly as patient in the evening. I was tired from working all day, and along with fatigue comes irritability. We know how that goes…when Mama’s not happy, no one’s happy.
4. Consider using an online or video-based curriculum. These methods of instruction typically don’t require as much work on the parent’s part. I was hesitant to try a computer-based program, but I can honestly tell you, it is one of the best options, especially for subjects that you don’t feel comfortable teaching yourself. We recently made some curriculum changes that are working extremely well for us and it involves a mixture of computer-based and traditional textbook approaches. You can see our current list of curriculum here.
5. Consider working weekends. Especially if your spouse works weekdays. I have friends who are nurses and work 12-hour night shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. They have school Monday-Friday mornings. Most of them have used this schedule for years and it works for them. Maybe it would work for you too?
6. If you work weekdays, considering doing the majority of your schooling on weekends. In the state of NC, we are recommended to follow a 180-day school year. However there are no requirements on how long a school day must be. Utilize your time on the weekends so that you can accomplish your week day lessons in a short amount of time. Shoot for less than an hour during the week.
7. Consider having a home-based business where you can set your own schedule. What are your interests? Chances are there is a home-based business out there to meet your needs. My friend is a Silpada Designs representative. She loves the flexibility it provides her family. Another great friend, and homeschooling mom is an Usborne Books representative. She earns extra income for her family and earns free books for her homeschool! Double score! Have you considered blogging? I’ve always had a passion for ministering to homeschooling moms and when I started my blog in 2012, I never imagined it would one day replace my job as a nurse, but in 2013, that is exactly what happened. If you are interested in learning more about blogging, please email me at LifeofaHomeschoolMom@gmail.com. I’m happy to give you some tips to get you started.
8. Would it be possible for you to cut back to working part-time? Look at your family budget? What could you cut out to make it work? Are you currently paying for childcare/afteschool care? If you cut out childcare and work part-time, you may not notice a significant drop in income. Childcare is EXPENSIVE!
9. If you are passionate about homeschooling, but your current job doesn’t make it a reality, consider changing jobs to find a suitable schedule. A few years ago, there were major changes happening at my job. The results of these changes would be a significant change in my schedule. A change that would make homeschooling nearly impossible. I loved my job. The thought of leaving broke my heart, but the thought of not being able to home educate my children broke my heart even more. I turned in my letter of resignation. I found a job that would require me to work Monday through Friday 3pm-11pm, which meant we could have school before I left for work. I was going to begin two weeks later. I found peace in my decision and then God stepped in. My boss called me to her office. She asked why I was leaving and I gave my reasons. She asked what I would need to be able to stay. I let her know and a few days later (and lots of prayers), I received a phone call letting me know my conditions had been met. God is awesome! Boldly ask Him to meet your needs. Which brings me to my last point…
10. Always trust in God’s timing! Ecclesiastes tells us there is a season for everything. If your ultimate desire is to quit your job and come home to your children, keep praying! Even though I loved my job, I prayed for a way to come home daily. God hears our prayers. He asks us to be patient and content. Cast your worries on Him and carry on. He will see you through. He will make a way.
BONUS TIP- GET GOOD AT SAYING NO! You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t even try. If you find yourself working full-time and homeschooling, there will be little time for things like: volunteering, participating in groups/co-ops, leading committees, etc. “No” must become a regular part of your vocabulary.
Heavenly Father, I lift up all homeschool moms to You today especially those who find themselves having to hold a career in the midst of this homeschooling madness. God, please remind us to bring all of our concerns to you. Your Word tells us that You are faithful, that You will never leave our side and we cling to those promises. Satan fills our mind with lies that tell us we aren’t equipped and we aren’t strong enough, but You tell us that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Please Lord just cover our lives with Your grace and your mercy. Keep us content in our current situations always trusting that Your plan is greater than ours. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.