Working While Homeschooling
Community Question: “Can you work while homeschooling?” Susan P.
Since I worked full-time during our first 3 years of homeschooling I receive a lot of questions about how this can be done. You can read my full series on how the Lord helped me become a stay-at-home mom in Choosing Home. Hear me though, I understand that as mothers we don’t always have a choice. I’m no better because I quit my job, held onto Jesus, and stayed home by faith. After the season when I came home full-time my husband was laid off for 5-months; I had to go back to work on the weekends to EAT and SAVE OUR HOUSE. Read how the Lord provided when my husband lost his job.
In our season of lay off I kept my job, held onto Jesus, and worked weekends again by faith.
Just like the cost of having children, homeschooling is worth the cost. (If you need help and ideas for frugal homeschooling read Homeschooling for Free & Frugal) My heart ached when I heard from a former homeschool mom who felt she had no other choice but to put her children in another educational setting, because she had to return to work. I want to encourage mothers who have a heart for homeschooling that it’s worth any creative wrangling to keep your homeschool dreams alive; even if that means working while homeschooling for a season.
My real life friend Joesette is a testimony of this. I applaud her perseverance and diligence to keep her family’s homeschool thriving while working full-time for the last year! Read her post for tips in support of today’s community question, “Can you work while homeschooling?”
In a perfect homeschool world, dad goes to work every day, mom wears pearls while she vacuums and teaches geometry, and the kids read Shakespeare for fun. Now back to the real world. Typically, the homeschooling parent is a stay at home parent, but what happens when that’s not the case? How do you survive working and homeschooling at the same time? It’s not easy, trust me. I’ve just spent the last 9 months working the graveyard shift, while homeschooling my two girls.
Here’s a few things I‘ve learned the hard way.
1. JUST SAY NO! Seriously, you can’t be all things to all people all of the time. So just say no to the request to help with every group event, church event and homeschool event that comes down the pipeline. Believe it or not, it will get done without you. However, if it absolutely won’t get done without you, then so be it…no event this week, month, year as the case may be. Life will go on.
2. Delegate housework. Your kids, no matter their ages are capable of helping out around the house in some capacity. Not sure what job goes with what age? Check out Jamerill’s Age Specific Chore List. Remember, they may not do it the same way you do it, but it’s ok. Really.
3. Get a substitute teacher. For years I’d asked my husband to help with some aspect of homeschooling, with no luck. Then when I started working the graveyard shift, and getting 2-3 hours of sleep a day (yes really) he started subbing for me. Believe it or not he had fun. The kids did learn. Life went on.
4. Convenience is the key. Ok, for the most part homeschool moms are frugal, believe me I know! However, there are times when the working, homeschooling parent just doesn’t have the time to be frugal. Get take out for dinner, buy store bought goodies for this weeks thing that you didn’t say no to. Come on, you KNOW you didn’t really follow #1 to it’s fullest.
5. Give the kids more responsibility concerning their education. Obviously, younger children need a lot more help than older kids. Still, you can give even the youngest a daily check list. “Read Bible, practice spelling, read 3 chapters in your book, recite your multiplications facts.” The list will look different for each child, but it’ll free up some of your time and give them a sense of responsibility.
6. Use your crockpot. A few moments of preparation in the mornings will save you a considerable amount of time when you get home from work. Try some new recipes, like this yummy French toast, or maybe crockpot roast beef, or how about a melt in your mouth whole chicken?
7. Get some rest. Ok, I fail miserably in this area, I admit that. But when you find yourself slurring your words, or babbling incoherently, you’ve gone too far. Trust me, after pulling multiple 24 – 36 hour stretches without sleep in the last few months, I’ve realized it’s not good. DUH!! Your body can only take so much and then it flat-out says “that’s it, I’m done”. Typically this happens at the most inappropriate times.
8. Pray! Ask God to give you clear direction on what things are necessary and which ones aren’t. Ask Him for strength, patience and sweet rest. Thank Him for giving you the strength and ability to work outside the home and teach your children. Remember, this too shall pass.
What are your tips? Do you homeschool and work?
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