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Are there ways to homeschool and work full-time? Yes.
Will it be easy to do? No. Nothing worth having comes without a bit of work, right?
There are so many ways to homeschool, and each family does it just a little bit differently. You can read about how my family did it in the ABCs of Homeschooling post.
There are more ways to homeschool than the number of reasons in my 70 Reasons to Homeschool post.
Finally, if you aren’t convinced that homeschooling is right for you, check out these Homeschool Myths Debunked before making that final decision.
One myth, that is not on that list, is that parents can’t work and homeschool their children.
I know that one is false because we did it. My husband and I both worked for the first two years that we homeschooled our daughter.
How We Made It Work
Let me begin by saying that we only homeschooled our daughter during high school. She attended public schools until she completed the 8th grade. She was in on the decision from the beginning. For all 4 years of high school, she helped to choose her curriculum.
9th and 10th Grades
For the 9th and 10th grades, my husband was working full-time, as always. When she was in 9th grade, I was working as a substitute teacher. I had 2 long-term jobs that year (that lasted almost 3 months each), and between/after those, I worked just about every day in various classrooms. When she was in 10th grade, I was hired as a full-time high school English teacher at a local school.
Yes, our daughter was old enough that she could have stayed home alone, but we did not want her alone for that many hours every day. It wouldn’t have been good for her or us.
My dad, who was already retired, agreed that she could come to hang out with him during the day. She worked at the dining room table while he was in the other room. My mom was still working full-time, and she would come home at lunch and the three of them would go ride around and get something to eat. Some days, they drove by and I waved from my classroom at them.
11th and 12th Grades
When she started 11th grade, our daughter began taking community college classes. She was on campus once a week, but then C19 hit. After spring break, she was home doing all of her classes online. That’s what she did to complete 12th grade too.
Here in NC, homeschooled students can do dual enrollment to complete college classes and high school classes at the same time. By the time she graduated from high school, our daughter had earned her Associate of Arts degree from the community college. She took almost 70 hours of classes with her to her 4-year school.
It wasn’t always easy. I had to drive from home to my parents’ house in the opposite direction from work. Then I had to drive back to work to teach.
We made it work because homeschooling was the best option for our daughter in high school. It is a decision we should have made sooner, but we didn’t know (because I didn’t do enough research) that we could both work and homeschool.
Working and Homeschooling
As I said, it is possible. However, it is not for every family. There are some things you should consider before trying to homeschool and work–your child’s age, your child’s tendencies (for working), your work flexibility, and the number of children you have.
Many, but not all homeschooling families have a stay-at-home mom. In today’s world, it is getting harder to have a one-income family. That’s why there are a lot of moms who work from home (either remotely for a local company or doing something else). Just as many moms work outside the home, and many of those women are working full-time jobs.
Because homeschooling is so much more flexible than traditional schooling, you can work and homeschool. You’ll just have to be creative with your schedule and use the trial-and-error method to get it right.
Ways to Homeschool and Work Full-Time
Plan Homeschooling Around Your Work Schedule
If you have a set 9-5 type job, then you may have to do schoolwork at night and on weekends.
It is possible that you work the 2nd or 3rd shift. Plan lessons around your work and sleep schedule.
There are some full-time jobs where you work a different schedule every week. That’s okay too. When you get your schedule, write it down. Then plan when you will do homeschool lessons around that.
No matter what type of schedule you work, you will need a good planner to keep up with everything.
Be sure to include everything in the planner. Your work schedule, your spouse’s work schedule, church stuff, sports, music lessons, and doctor’s appointments should all go in the planner. That way you can see it all at one glance without having to dig for the information.
Remember that homeschooling doesn’t have to revolve around the traditional school hours of 8-3 or 9-4. You can do lessons when it is best for you and your family.
If you are going to need someone to watch your child while you work, be sure to arrange that. Maybe you are blessed like I am and your parents are available to help. You might have a neighbor you trust who is home all day. Creativity is the key to making homeschool work, and you have to really think about where your child can go during the day if you are working.
If your child is old enough, does he/she want to get a part-time job while you are working? Does he/she need volunteer hours that could be done when you are at work?
Make the Best of Your Free Time
I’m pretty sure that when you read that, you laughed. Free time. What is that? You don’t have any, right?
However, if you are sitting in the drive-thru line or waiting for your groceries to be brought to the car, use that time to teach something. Remember that learning doesn’t have to come from a book. You could teach your child how to tie a shoe if that is an unlearned skill. Teach him/her how to zip a jacket. For older kids, you could teach him/her how to place an order for groceries online or something similar. This is not a time for busy work.
Of course, you could use this time to read together, no matter the age of your child.
Choose Done-for-You Curriculum
If you choose a curriculum that is complete, then you don’t have to write lesson plans.
Be sure that the curriculum has a good bit of independent work. That will allow the student to work while you are working. If he/she has questions about something, you can answer them when you get home.
Look into an online curriculum and courses. There are some that are amazing and free.
Don’t forget that there are educational, kid-friendly YouTube channels out there that you can use for homeschooling. We used one called Crash Course for several lessons.
Think about Hiring a Tutor
If it is financially possible, make this a consideration. Let the tutor teach 1-2 subjects, and you teach the rest. Be sure to check your state guidelines to see what you can/can’t legally hire out for homeschooling.
The tutor can teach while you are working or resting. If you have multiple children, the tutor can work with one while you work with another. That way everyone gets 1-on-1 time with instruction.
Join a Co-Op
A co-op is a group of homeschooling parents who come together to teach one another’s children. Most co-ops have a parent volunteer requirement, but you can find one that fits into your schedule.
Some meet weekly, but others meet daily. You have to do a little research for your area.
Co-ops are great for the kids and the parents. You will be around other parents, some of whom are veteran homeschoolers, and you can get support and ask questions.
Consider a New Job
Yeah, that sounds really blunt.
Don’t click off of the post just yet. It’s not meant to be harsh. Hear me out.
Is there a way that you could work remotely in your current job?
Could you do the same thing with different hours with your company or a different company?
Is it possible that your child could go to the office with you? In some cases that is a strong no, but there are places where you could take your child with you. If your child is older and there is a spare room or office, he/she could work there while you work.
Consider your options for your job if the current schedule is causing you to stress in your homeschooling journey.
Take Care of Yourself
This is the one thing that you will probably skip over. You will say that you are fine and burn the candle at both ends until you crash.
If you are exhausted, your child can feel it and see it. There is no need to force yourself to do more.
Rest. Change the schedule. Homeschooling is flexible. You can pick it up after you rest or maybe tomorrow.
Take a bath. Get a nap. Go to bed. It’s okay to take time for yourself. When you are rested, you will be better able to teach your child.
Here are a few things to remember.
You control the schedule. It’s okay if you need to change it, even at the last minute.
Traditional school hours do not apply to homeschooling.
Everything is school. Your child can learn something no matter what he/she is doing.
Connect (in real life or virtually) to other homeschooling parents. You need the support.
Be creative with your coursework. Find what your child is interested in. Does he/she want to take a pottery class? Would bowling be fun? Is he/she interested in Sign Language? What classes does he/she want to take? Can you hire them out in person or online?
When we decided to homeschool our daughter and took the leap, we had to be creative with things. By the time she graduated from high school, she had an activity just about every night of the week–Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts (yes, girls can do that!), and bowling (very competitively). Remember, she did all this while taking college classes (17+ hours a semester) her last two years.
We loved homeschooling. If I had it to do over, I would start much earlier.
I hope that having a job outside of the house, or working from home, doesn’t stop you from homeschooling.
If you have any homeschooling (non-state specific) questions, please ask me. Send me a DM on Instagram, and I will respond as quickly as possible.
If this post has helped you, please share it with your friends who are considering homeschooling. I would love to be able to help as many people as possible make educated decisions about the education of their children.