Today, I am talking about something many people wonder: Can you successfully homeschool while you are working outside the home?
You CAN Homeschool AND Work! And you can make it work for you and your family, feel free to skip to the bottom for a review of today’s post 🙂
Making the Choice:
Sometimes as a parent we have to make decisions we really would rather just ignore. This was the situation for me, a few years ago. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make. What was it?
To return to the workforce.
I loved being a stay at home mom, I loved being there for every single moment of my children’s lives. The thought of leaving them to return to work was heart wrenching. I was never one of those mom’s that was happy when the kids were gone. Not saying I didn’t enjoy the breaks, but as soon as the children were away, I missed them. Terribly!
Even though they were safe. Even though they were having fun. I still missed them. I am sure I will always miss them. Even now they are pre-teen/teenagers, that has not changed.
But sometimes, we need to do what’s right. Honestly, it can totally suck! But my husband and I sat down and made some decisions together, we knew what we needed, and what was necessary. You know the whole food, clothing, and shelter part of life.
Next came another question: How in the world was I going to homeschool and work? It is a valid question, and many assumed I would drop them into the public school system and go on my merry way. I wasn’t ready to give up on homeschooling, and my children had no desire to turn to public school.Can you work outside the home and #homeschool? Yes, you can! Find out more here! #ihsnet… Click To Tweet
The Learning Curve:
First I tried to carry on as before, homeschooling the way we had always done it and proved it worked. I assumed it would be okay. It wasn’t.
Our first challenge was the math program. It was designed or it needed to have an instructor explain and teach the process. It is ranked as a “difficult” math, and even though it had been working since the beginning, with no teacher – it failed.
Adding to the challenge, the flexibility I had was gone.
I work on an ever-changing schedule, which means no two weeks are alike. I never know when I will work and when I will be home until 2-3 days in advance. This was a huge change to our life and homeschool. Field trips, library trips, park days etc. All this had to be more flexible and more adjusting, and I am a person who likes schedules and plans. My children thrive in this environment and chaos was starting to show.
Four months into our school year, I put them into an online school for the holiday season. My workload had doubled (welcome to retail) and my husband worked full-time. I was also extremely sick. This was the wake-up call I needed. I needed to change!
My amazing husband sat down with me, and here are the steps we took:
- Prioritize: We decided what was needed to be done, and dropped the extras. In both life and homeschooling. Example: School came first. Our school schedule went from a set day schedule to a rotating schedule. We used to do Monday: (list subjects) Tuesday (list subjects). Now we do Day 1 (list subjects) Day 2 (list subjects) This means that “Day 1” can land on any day I am home with the children. This cut out much of the stress. Field trips/library trips/park days, those moved into weekends and after work. With Daddy and sometimes all of us.
For life: I prioritized what is necessary to do and what can wait until next day, week or even year. This means the house isn’t as clean as it should be, but you know what? It will wait. So when I am running out the door the counters aren’t clean anymore, dishes started, floors swept. It waits for me when I get home. Trust me! I’m using my time wisely, my children-they won’t wait. They are growing up with or without me.
- Organize: We use a schedule now, that I print off every week for school. I use an app to help track our attendance, marks etc. The children do many subjects on Easy Peasy, math especially and they love it. This has been a great find. They can do much of their school work unassisted and I check it at the end of the day or the next day. If they need me, they now set it aside and work on it later when I am home. Being organized is a huge help. It keeps us less stressed.
- Let it go! This is a biggie and was really hard to do. However, it was truly the most freeing, once I just let it go. You need to let go of the guilt, oh the guilt. It nearly killed me! I was an emotional wreck for a while. I tried to do it all! Homeschool, work, cook, clean, grocery shop, organize the house, look after the pets, volunteer work etc. Etc.
You know what it got me? Sick! Exhausted. Angry. Sad. Cranky. You name it, I am sure I felt it. It was an emotional roller coaster and I wanted off! Once I realized I was one person, and I could only do so much. Once I choose the important things and organized. Once I let go of the things I just could not do. Wow! Total 360. I was happier, my family was happier, the kids were happier.
Benefits of working and Homeschooling:
I never thought there would be any benefits of working and homeschooling. If I had the choice right this second I would quit work and stay home. Since that is not an option at this moment, I want to share with you some amazing benefits that have resulted in me working.
- The kids have learned to be independent in their learning.
- They research more, figure out more things before asking for help.
- They are overall better time managers.
- They help each other more.
- They learned to pick out their own books
- They take charge of when and how they do school, giving them more freedom
- They’ve decided when they need to write resume’s and do interview’s I’m their “go to person”, I think that’s a good thing…
- They miss me! Before I went to work they really took me for granted. And I was usually okay with that. It was a price I paid. Mom was “always” there. Now when I go, they genuinely notice. Before I was kinda chopped liver! Before it was Daddy everything, where ever he went they would follow.
- They help around the house more, willingly. Offering to help, without being asked. They want to learn how to cook. They express interest in learning life skills.
- They play together more and fight a little less. They have developed a closer relationship with each other.
You CAN homeschool and work, but it does take:
- setting priorities
- asking for help
- letting things go
What advice would you give parents that are trying to homeschool and work? Let me know in the comments below.
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