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How to Work Full Time and Homeschool

How can you work full-time and homeschool? Is it even possible? This mom says YES! It is very difficult, but it is possible. She gives lots of great tips and encouragement here.

I have worked part-time since I quit teaching high school five years ago, but I never dreamed I would go back to full-time.

Like, ever.

Well!

God has a way of working things out, and a perfect opportunity came along from an employer that I liked very much.

At the same time, we have been homeschooling since preschool, so continuing to do so after I accepted this full-time position was a given. Whatever my job situation was, we would continue to homeschool.

I have been working full-time for two months, and while it has not been easy to continue to homeschool, we are making it work. Here are my tips.

How do you work full-time and homeschool?

The short answer is that you need a lot of support, and you have to fit in school every chance you get.

You need a lot of support!

My kids are pretty little, 8 and almost 5, so being alone all day is not an option.

We have an awesome homeschooled teen who watches the girls two days a week, and a local mom watches them a third.

I have a flexible schedule and work from home in the evenings of the last two days of the week, giving us time to participate in a homeschool co-op and MOPS/MomsNext group during those two mornings.

You can't homeschool and work without having support.

You need someone to watch (or at least watch out for) your kids while you're at work. It's not a normal situation, and a lot of people won't understand why you don't just send your kids to school during the day. You have to find caretakers who will support your homeschooling lifestyle. Bonus if they'll help your kids with schoolwork on a regular basis.

You will have to enlist your husband. Grace, my 8-year-old, is just on the cusp between working independently and needing a lot of help, so we still try to support her as much as possible. My husband doesn't feel confident enough to teach any subjects, but he does read with her and takes on projects for me. I can give the two of them an assignment while I'm working downstairs, and he will help her to figure it out.

You may also need to hire someone to clean your house, as most of your free time is going to be spent schooling. We are saving up for a cruise in 2016, so this is not a reality for us right now, and we are living in a lot of dirt. There isn't time for me to clean, and I (almost) don't allow it to bother me.

You have to fit in school every chance you get!

I'm not kidding when I say we fit in school every chance we get. I probably have a unique situation, where my boss allows me to work from home with a flexible schedule two days a week. I love that. But even if you're stuck in an office five days a week, you can still make homeschooling work.

You may have to change your approach. I don't think it's possible to do a “school at home” approach and work full-time. I just don't see how the timing would work out. We school using a blend of Charlotte Mason and delight driven philosophies, bordering on unschooling at times (that all seems impossible together, but we pull bits and pieces from each).I'll post an explanation of our curriculum choices for third grade soon, but in the meantime, we do a lot of reading and discussing books, a few textbooks, and a lot of field trips.

A LOT of field trips. I think we've done one a week so far this school year. We try to make use of our Fridays when I work from home, but we also do weekends. Joe and I will take an occasional vacation day from work to get in a field trip on a non-busy weekday. (That's what we did with the White House, which I will also post about soon.)

You may have to change your expectations. You cannot expect to work in five big chunks of time each week. You simply won't have those available. We fit in school whenever we can, during evenings and weekends and on the two days when I work from home. I am ecstatic if we touch schoolwork four days a week and content if we get in three days.

You may have to school year round. The law in my state (Pennsylvania) says that we have to do 180 days schooldays a year. That's 3-4 days per week for 50 weeks. We are diligent about our school activities throughout the year; we even do school in the mornings when we're on vacation.

The great thing about our way of doing school is that it isn't boring or dry. We are reading great books and doing fun activities, and it doesn't feel like something to dread. It's fun and engaging, and it's something that Grace looks forward to doing with me.

You may have to get creative. I count educational trips and activities as school days. Science museum, the zoo, the White House, the library, science lectures, whatever. Regular schools count these field trips as school days. Why shouldn't we? I also count homeschool co-op as a school day because my daughters are learning good stuff while we're there.

You have to fit in school every chance you get. Grace is in Girl Scouts and church clubs two nights a week, so those nights are out for big chunks of schoolwork. But! We can do a chapter of a book at night after scouts. We can read Life of Fred while we're waiting at the doctor's. We can do some handwriting practice while we're waiting for dinner to cook. It's all about being creative with your small blocks of time and getting work done as you can do it.

I thought homeschooling was hard when I was working part-time. Homeschooling now is much trickier.

If you are a working mom and homeschooling your kids, I applaud you. You are doing really tough work!

It is tough, but it can be done.

Are you working and homeschooling your kids? Join the discussion below. I'd love to connect with you.

 

 

© 2015 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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13 thoughts on “How to Work Full Time and Homeschool”

  1. I am also a full time working mom and homeschooler. I have 3 kids and #4 on the way! My sister & I own our own business so I have the flexibility during the week with my schedule and some weeks we do lots of “school” and others not so much.

    I agree it takes a lot of support. Family, friends, my staff but it’s so worth it at this point in my kids lives.

    (I also gave in and hired a house cleaner because I just couldn’t keep up with the basic cleaning let alone anything extra.)

    Glad to hear I’m not here alone on this journey! I’d love to connect with others as well.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have been considering homeschooling my 8yo son for quite a while. I work full time 3rd shift as a 911 dispatcher with a very NON traditional schedule. I think working 3rd shift could accommodate homeschooling but there is always a possibility I could go to day shift. I have been STRESSING for months now just trying to make up my mind.
    I feel like it would benefit my son’s confidence and academics to get him out of public school and the main streamed style of cramming in common core.
    I was homeschooled for a few years in high school and am familiar with some of the struggles. I’m very intimidated. I have chosen a curriculum that I plan to try next school year for 4th grade. I believe it’s going to take a lot of prayer and support but we’re going to give it a whirl.

    • It is very difficult, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It IS possible to make it work with a lot of prayer and support! You will have to stay out of the mindset that you have to accomplish 7 subjects every day, and just rotate through the subjects during whatever blocks of time you can squeeze out. You can do it!

    • Wow! I also work 3rd shift as a 911 dispatcher and am currently homeschooling my 6 and 8 year old. We have school afternoons or evenings after mama has slept. It does take getting used to and some untraditional things such as bedtime. I keep my kids up later (11ish), so they sleep a few extra hours for me in the morning when I get home . Yes we rise late, but it works for us and on days off it is not a horrible game changer to put them in bed at 9 for an earlier next day. You really just have to be flexible and know that as long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter the time of day. We school all year long so we don’t have those forgetful summers and I’m not stressed to do traditional school 5 days a week. We do 3 or 4 days, and we count library days as one with maybe art or music. They love those days. Anyway just be encouraged and know you can do it because if I can, you defiantly can! God bless!

  3. I will be increasing my work hours as my mom has retired and is helping me more. My biggest challenge is a need for consistency with a child with developmental delays and ADD. It’s not always easy for her to switch gears and I don’t feel it’s fair to her on occasion. It’s definetly tricky. Just taking it day by day.

  4. I have been working full time for a year and I don’t know homeschooling without working. I do evening shift, and next month our routine will change again as I switch to night shift. We are about to make 4 years since I began homeschooling. It is possible, with God’s help it is.

  5. I’m starting to homeschool my 5 1/2 year old daughter, and my husband and I are both FT public school teachers in PA. I’ll be doing the majority of the teaching, and I decided to start our school year in the summer when I have a good chunk of time to get “routines” down before going back to school. My mother will be the main caretaker during this he day and other family members thrown in for good measure. This post is a great reminder of what we can accomplish. I’m going to do the main teaching with my daughter in the evening and then my mom will reinforce and practice during the day. Thank you for all your support!

  6. I just went back to work full time a year ago and it is challenging, but possible! My husband and I work opposite shifts so he does most of school work with the boys ( 9 and 12)during the day and I finish up at night. My daughter takes a 3 classes at local high school and I guide her through the rest, grade assignments and keep records. We love homeschooling and didn’t want to give it up! It’s worth making it work.

  7. Thank you so much for the tips! I have been wanting to homeschool my 6 & 3yr old kids for several years now, but haven’t been able to afford for me to quit my full-time job and just live off of my husband’s income. Knowing that there are others out there making homeschooling work while keeping a full-time job is giving me so much hope that our family can make this work too! Thank you again!

  8. I want to home school my child but a work full time from 7am-4pm. How would it be possible? I am a single parent with no help or family around.

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