Since the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I have worked in some capacity. Making the choice to homeschool usually affects the family's budget in some form such as income reduction or additional expenses for curriculum or a larger grocery budget.
In my earlier years of homeschooling, I felt like an anomaly because many of the other mothers did not work. It was awkward at times because my additional responsibilities kept us from staying longer after co-op classes or we simply couldn't participate because of scheduling.
Fast forward eight years, and now many homeschooling mothers are working while teaching their children. It's no longer a limited few, but there seems to be a growing sector of homeschooling mothers who balance both, homeschooling and work. Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom who homeschools and works wrote in her book, Money Making Mom, that she had to change her perception from being a SAHM to being a WAHM in order to balance the two.
Six Things to Consider When Adding Homeschooling or Work to Your Agenda
- Homeschooling is a full-time job. The homeschooling parent has plenty responsibilities such as gathering curriculum, incorporating activities or field trips into the school year and keeping the children on the educational path that's best suited for them. Homeschooling requires your attention. Although we are relaxed homeschoolers, I believe that there is much at stake if I am not intentional about my daughters' education therefore homeschooling has to be at the forefront when adding anything new to my plate.
- Determine the amount of additional income that is needed. If you have an idea of what you need, then you can adjust your work plans accordingly. For instance, if your family needs an additional $500 a month, you don't have to stress yourself with a full-time job instead you can find a part-time job that will meet your family's needs. Although this may seem limiting, it can allow you peace because you aren't giving up as much time which is also a valuable commodity.
- Consider your skillset. There are many work at home jobs that offer decent pay if you have the right skills. If you have a degree, you can find work with larger corporations such as Aetna or K12. If you don't have a degree, you could consider driving for Amazon or doing transcription work for Rev. I've done both types of jobs. I've worked for Pearson, Amazon, and Rev. The job I choose to do has always been dependent of the season we are in, and the amount of additonal income that is needed.
- Be realistic of your children's needs. As I stated above, the job I choose at any given time is dependent of the season I am in and this includes seasons of motherhood. When the girls were younger, I couldn't consider transcription work because it is timed. Young children and timed activities don't tend to go well together, but I was able to tutor after my husband got off from work and include a few additional children in our homeschool (our former state treated homeschooling as private schooling). If your children are not independent, work on this before adding a job to your life that will require them to be. If the income is an urgent need, consider a part-time job outside of the home when your spouse is off. I worked at a local library from 5 to 9 a few days a week and on Saturdays. This worked well because I could completely focus on my work while I was work, and my home while I was at home.
- Create a support system. Who is reliable in your circle? Are there people around you that can step in and help your family accomplish goals? For a person to take on both homeschooling and working, there must be a reason behind it. If you are doing either without purpose, then you can easily burn out. If you look at it as meeting some real, tangible goals, then those around you may be willing to help you carry the load. When I worked at the library, my neighbor kept the girls for about 30 minutes until my husband made it home and on weekends if my husband worked my friends would rotate. They knew that we had goals, and they were willing to support us.
- Be flexible yet diligent. This new way of life whether you are adding homeschooling or a new job will affect your family, therefore, refrain from becoming annoyed or frustrated. Allow yourself time to breathe and adjust. It is important to leave margin, but remain diligent as it relates to the commitment that you are making to others. You have an idea of what you can and can't handle, take this into consideration when selecting a position because others are depending on you. After four years of scoring standardized tests, I realized that I could no longer handle it. The constant changes and reading hundreds of documents on the computer screen had become tiring instead of forcing myself to continue I decided that the current school year at that time would be my last. It would be unfair to the company for me to continue to apply and receive a position that I wasn't sold on doing, and it was unfair to myself when I knew there were more suitable jobs for me.
Homeschooling while working is possible. It just takes some adjustment and being honest with yourself to make it work. Want to hear more about my experiences as a working and homeschooling mom, watch the video below. Some parts of the video are included in the post while others are not.
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Share your tips or questions about homeschooling and working in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.