So. . .can you work* and homeschool?
My short answer? Well yes! After all, I’ve worked part time for the past four years while homeschooling my three kids who are now in grades 2, 4 and 6.
Though, make no mistake, it isn’t easy.
Most of the families I know who homeschool their kids have one parent working full time (yes, usually–but not always—the dad) and one parent who does the majority of the schooling, as well as the upkeep of the house, the cooking, the doctors’ appointments, etc (usually—but not always—the mom.)
I imagine there are some families out there who would like to consider homeschooling but aren’t sure they can get by on one salary. Or maybe they are single parents and must have an income. Or maybe the parent who would be the primary teacher isn’t sure they want to leave their career entirely. Maybe both parents want to share the homeschooling duties and need to figure out how to do this while also working.
So, let me say that in my small sample of families, which represent about .00002% of the total homeschooling families in the nation (I’m making this percentage up; don’t make me do math this early in the morning), there are several of us who have found ways to do both.
- I am Associate Editor for two websites, Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech which allows me the flexibility of working in my pajamas, at any hour, without dealing with a commute.
- My good friend works as a nurse in a nursing home, 3-11p shift (though she never gets out as early as 11) between 2-4 days a week.
- Another friend uses her considerable skills to create incredible cakes and cookies for weddings, birthdays, parties.
- One friend is a talented photographer who may find herself up all night in the maternity ward waiting for a baby to be born.
- Some work for “home party” companies–you know “Come to so-and-so’s house for drinks and to see Product X”.
- Another mom I knew used to work nights at a department store, heading out for her shift after her husband came home from work.
- I know of other mamas who do web design, publish books, or tutor on the side. Some teach violin or piano, or run weekly paid classes for other homeschooling families.
- And others work from home, taking on projects from the companies for whom we used to work, or from within our same industry.
That said, it’s not easy. Though I have an incredibly flexible schedule, the most understanding bosses ever, and lots of control over what I do, I’m not always the best “juggler” of my time. It’s hard to tell the kids, “WAIT! Mommy’s working.” (again) There are days when I can feel proud of something I wrote online but look around at my messy house and the piles of laundry and realize my day is far from over.
And sometimes, I just prefer working over dictating a spelling list. I would rather lose myself in my laptop than start another math lesson. And sometimes, I want to close the laptop and walk away.
My friend who works as a nurse often finds herself coming in the door at 1am, starving for dinner, needing a shower, and exhausted at the prospect of being up again in a few hours to teach grammar.
Dealing with the logistics of getting a wedding cake done with five (young) children scampering around makes my hands sweat.
Even my friends who do not work “for pay” but run mini-farms in their backyard, canning foods for winter and doing all the backbreaking work of tending crops, wow, do they bust their butts. And they are saving a ton of money for their families in food they grow themselves.
But, I’m curious: Do you work* and homeschool? If so, how do you make it work?
Did you used to do one, but found you couldn’t do both? Which one did you give up?
If you had the flexibility in your job, would that change your mind about homeschooling?
* A disclaimer: ALL mothers work. And all homeschooling parents have a full-time job to educate their kids (or provide an environment that is conducive to learning). My question is specifically asking: Can you hold down a full or part-time paying job while also homeschooling kids?