Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Working and homeschool?

You can do it! Part 3

Working and homeschooling encouragement!

So you work but would love to homeschool; but just don't think you can do it.  Think again. 

One of the first books I read on homeschooling (as far as encouragement) was Homeschooling for Dummies.  Yes, there is such a book!  One thing the author said really made sense.  If we care to do something and really want it, we make it happen (my paraphrase).  Even a working parent can homeschool.  A single parent can homeschool as well.  Yes there are challenges to be faced and obstacles to over come, but you can do it successfully if you have made it a priority.  Wow, a big word there.  They key thing to remember is that you CAN DO IT, if you want it. 

Since beginning this quest, partly for my own encouragement as well, I have learned a lot and met some truly amazing women.  There are women that homeschool and work but you would never suspect that they are doing all this juggling.  Some of the moms work full time, some part time, some at home, and some out side the home.  Some of the women I talked with I know and have seen their homeschool functioning, others I have only talked with briefly or written to.  All these women have a few things in common, and its not what I expected to hear. 

First off when you hear a mom works and homeschools her children what do you think?  Do you think they all work from home and have really flexible work schedules?  Do you think Dad is actively involved?  Do you suspect their children are older and do a lot on their own?

Some of the families do have at least one parent working from home, its not always the mom though.  Some dads are involved in the homeschool process and others aren't, or rarely.  Some parents might be deployed and unable to be an active parent and still others have both parents working outside the home, often both are full time.

I thought for a while that if both parents worked that you obviously only could use a boxed curriculum, but that was a wrong assumption as well.  No, the only constant I found were parents deeply devoted to homeschooling their children.   Amy, a homeschool mom of 1, works full time in what we all must admit is a demanding job.  She is a veteran full time teacher (17 years) as well as homeschooling her 9th grade child.  She does use a curriculum (Switched on Schoolhouse) and makes use of a co-op as well.  The key for her is a strong support system and prayer. 

Jessica is another momma that credits a strong support system for aiding in their homeschool success. She is homeschooling her two elementary aged children while she works part-time (more like 3/4 time) from home but is on call the rest of the time. Her husband works as well. She describes her education style as eclectic with some Charlotte Mason inspiration mixed in. For her a good support system is a must, "My husband and extended family are key."

Emilie works part-time and homeschools her three children.  Both her and her husband are devoted to educating their children and being involved in this season of their lives.  They have an "unschooly" approach to education which works for them (they also make use of curriculum where needed) and are involved in a weekly co-op group.  Working doesn't mean they skimp on activities for their children.  I know Emilie and have witnessed her juggling, she does it well.  It seems effortless, but I know it isn't.

As I see these women (and men) handle it all so well I am inspired.  I may well be in the ranks of the employed in the near future, which will be nice in many ways, and seeing them handle it gives me hope and strength that I will be able to as well.  I know God wants us to homeschool at this point in our lives, and we take it one day at a time.  Seeing all these families successfully homeschooling is an inspiration for me and I hope you as well.

Thanks to:
One mom of three, Maria, homeschools her older two while her preschooler attends preschool two days a week.  Its all about doing what works for you and your family.  For her children she uses a boxed curriculmn but what really works is the love her children have of the one on one time.  Another homeschool mom to 3 (ages 10, 6, and 2), Laura, works two twelve hour night shifts each week. When I asked her to describe her education style she replied, "We tend to use unit study based curriculum --My Father's World--and we love lapbooks." One thing I think that they do that is helpful for keeping everyone sane is taking a week off ever couple of months.  It's what works for them.  That is one overwhelming key ingredient that I discovered.The key is finding what works for your family and doing it.

Barbara has two children, her oldest is in a bit older than Bear and in the first grade.  She is truly an inspiration in being able to do it all, working 40-60 hours a week.  She describes her family's education style as formal, structured in content but no set time schedule for doing work.  Keys to managing her home, work and homeschooling are making menu/meal plans a week at a time.  This allows her to make just one grocery store stop each week.  She keeps her recipes and ideas in a easy to go to binder, trying a new one occasionally to keep things fresh and exciting in the meal department.  She says she has had to let go of any anxiety of certain household tasks and focus on the people in the family.  She asks her self a few questions to keep reality in check with juggling it all, "have the kids been fed nutritious food? Are they (relatively) clean/hair brushed recently? Are they increasing in knowledge and skills while also learning better manners/behavior/respectfulness/kindness towards others?"  When she gets the answers to her question, she sees that in reality the important stuff is done.    In reality, even if we don't work, we have to do this.  We can't do it all in the way our minds want to have it done.  We will never have a clean enough house. 

Karen, says the greatest tips she can give working and homeschooling mommas are to meal plan as well, and "organization in general; cleaning on a regular schedule, lots of calendar syncing," but also remaining flexible as schedule changes or things happen.

Schedules are a must for many, or at least knowing when you need to be places and getting there on time.  This is true in general, but if you are homeschooling multiples and working you need to have a plan, even if its loosely formed.  I like to view it as "GOALS" rather than a schedule.  I also like the idea of having a rhythm to the day, that way you don't get overly hung up on schedules and feel like you have failed if xyz didn't get done.  Homeschooling mom Laura agrees that not getting hung up on a schedule is what helps to keep their family sane.  She credits her husband with helping her by being fully supportive.

Heather, a homeschool mom of one and a business owner, revealed that homeschooling works better since their family's lives aren't revolving around a school system schedule, "Now we can work together as a family with each others schedule" which frankly affords for more family unity. It helps to ensure that you are raising your child and teaching him or her your values, not the values of another ten-year old.

Another Heather I have met is a homeschooling momma that has devoted her blog to telling her story.  Upsidedown Homeschooling is her creation and she homeschools her 2 daughters (6 and 7) while working as a Labor and Delivery nurse.  She describes her homeschool style or philosophy as "evolving daily as God sees fit."  That's something I really noticed with nearly all the families.  They are open to change and many keep things loose enough to not only welcome  that change but encourage it. 

Heather brought up a very interesting fact, if you send your child to school outside the home for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 40 weeks (average school year), in 13 years, you will have missed 15,600 hours of his/her life!

Put like that, it seems enormous.  Mind boggling.  Most children are away at school more than 6 hours a day and when they come home they may have one to three hours of homework to do, even in kindergarten.  Think about it, out of 24 hours a day, you child is occupied by her brick and mortar classroom up to 10 hours of it. Even teenagers need approximately 10 hours of sleep each day.  You are able to influence and interact, cook dinner, do laundry, any religious studies during four small hours every day.  We wonder at the state of the family unit.  Looking at it this way its no wonder children grow up not knowing how families interact with each other or how to work together as a family to accomplish a common goal.  When children are only seeing their parents in positive lights a few hours a week is it any wonder that divorce rates are so prolific?

Several of the moms expressed that they are working out of financial need.  We all have different roads to travel and one thing I have discovered over the years is that there is no ideal.  God commands for us to be joyful during each season of our life.  I think each of these women are accomplishing this feat in their own way.

So keeping things in perspective is important. Realizing that you can't do it all means that the house might be messy, but your children are happy and learning at their pace and with your influence.  Dinner dishes might be in the sink at lunch, but books are being devoured for snacks because you have encouraged a love of learning.  One final reminder I leave you with is to have some sort of support system, even if its friends that can lend a ear and a shoulder to cry on when you need it.  Remember that why you are homeschooling when those tough as nails days bite at your heals.  If you have chosen to homeschool, you know that while its a hard road, this season will pass and there will be easier days that more than make up for the stress you might be feeling right now.  As Laura said, "Working and homeschooling is definitely not easy but it is worth it. It will take a lot of time and your free time will be almost non-existent (especially if your children are really small) but it will be worth it. These days pass by so quickly and you won't regret any time that you spend with your children."

A few of the moms I talked with have personal blogs, please stop by and tell them "hey!"

Heather:  Upsidedown Homeschooling
Jessica:  Fishmouse Academy
Laura:  Our Three Birds
You can do it. If you really want it, you can do it and be successful! Now go get 'em!


You Can Do It!  Part two:  Homeschooling on a Shoestring

What works Wednesday Link Up!

Adventures in Encouragement Link Party


  1. Hi Kim! I stopped by from Veronica's blog for the link up this morning. I was getting ready to leave a comment on your liked post, but saw the title of this post. What a God send! I am a full-time homeschooling mom and have felt very alone in my journey. I am so thankful to know there are other moms out there who are homeschooling and working. I thanks you so much for sharing and I was really encouraged by this post. I could use all the help I can get. I am a new follower of yours! Blessings!

    1. Thank you Barbie! I was so encouraged myself when all these women answered my plea. I never knew so many moms homeschooled and worked. It was encouraging and a great blessing for me to talk with so many. Thank you gentle friend!

  2. You bring out many excellent points. I didn't start an "official" job working until my youngest was a teenager, but we "worked" from home with home businesses for many years. I think it still applies. Great post, Kim!


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