Should Homeschool Moms Work?
Working and mothering is often a hot topic. From debating who has it tougher-- working or stay at home mothers to why don't men have think about balancing work and fatherhood. I am not here to debate anything, I'm just sharing my thoughts about a question I am asked often.
Choosing to work and homeschool will have challenges just the same as choosing not to work and homeschool. With that being said, I am often asked how to earn income as a homeschooling mother. Since this is a common question, I know there is a need for many moms to work while managing their home and teaching their children even if the income is a small amount. As my husband says, "Every little bit helps."
Many homeschooling families live on one income, and the one income usually isn't $100,000 so families adjust their spending habits to make it possible for one parent to not work. This sometimes means giving up certain things or struggling to make ends meet. My husband and I have both struggled and given up things for me to continue to teach my daughters full-time.
Do I think homeschooling mothers should work? Maybe. I believe the answer to this question depends on YOUR family's needs.
Questions to Consider When Deciding to Work & Homeschool
- Do I have a system in place for completing my work before bringing my children home?
- Do I have a system in place for diligently homeschooling before adding work to my plate?
- Do I have realistic expectations for my children?
- Am I realistic about the amount of time I have to distribute between working and homeschooling?
- Why am I working? Do we NEED the income? Is our quality of life suffering because of limited funds?
- Are my children independent enough? Can they help younger siblings while I work? Do they need my full attention?
If you are certain that your employment is a need for your family then I would say, "Yes, you should or could work and homeschool." If you don't see the value or need to work while homeschooling, then I would say,"No, you should not work and to continue focusing on homeschooling only." My answers always depend on the on the individual because everyone doesn't have the same desire.
Last week, we had a good return back to school work. This week not so much. I've been nursing a stomachache for the past few days. I can't eat some of the stuff I used to, I guess. Luckily, the girls didn't miss a beat because I wrote down all their assignments in their planners at the end of last week. This picture is from last week. 😄 How's your week going? #homeschool #homeschoolinourhouse #embrace365
Recently, there's been a trend of homeschooling mothers working from home whether through remote employment or starting their own businesses. I believe the path to earning will also play a role in making the decision to work and homeschool. If guaranteed income is needed, then starting a business from scratch might not be the best option instead finding remote employment or contract work would be a better option. If earning immediately isn't necessary, then slowly growing a business might be the way to go. Now some moms like Jamerrill Stewart invested time in building her business while homeschooling. If you have time and support, you could possibly do the same.
Making the choice to work while homeschooling isn't always easy because it does take time to do both. Before I started to work more regularly, I got my ducks in a row at home. I have routines in place for chores, and my daughters have been encouraged to be independent learners since the beginning of our homeschooling journey. I keep my life simple in order for me to do the best I can with whatever is on my plate during the current season so my children aren't a part of many activities that would have me driving here and there several times throughout the week instead activities are limited to the same two to three days each week. I also limit my working and schooling hours in order prevent burn out.
In order for me to balance working, homeschooling, and life, I have to use a planner. I recently found generic planners don't work as well for me any more. I used to simply list the things I needed and wanted to do a a given day, but now I need more detail. My friend, Andrea, sent me the Passion Planner, and y'all it has been such a blessing. It has time slots, places for me to write wins, and a spot for me to highlight my focus for the day. When my husband saw it, he agreed it was something I needed because of the section for reflection. Y'all should know by now that I try to be intentional and reflection is a part of who I am. Now back to those time slots, being realistic about how much time I have to spend and where I will spend it keeps me from becoming overwhelmed and helps me to determine what I will and will not get a yes from me.
If a homeschool mom chooses to work, I believe it is important for the entire family to be on board. Children should be a part of the conversation. In our home, my daughters know my teaching schedule and before I starting teaching online, they knew when I had shows for my jewelry. Juggling several responsibilities can be hectic so I chose to be open with my daughters with how I would be spending my time at certain points throughout the day or week. Husbands should also be on board. If your spouse doesn't want you to work then you might not have as much support as someone who husband doesn't mine the added responsibilities to your plate. If he is on board, hopefully he will be willing to help lift some of the weight since many moms are also responsible for discipline, homemaking, and teaching in the homeschooling family. My family operates as a team. They've supported me from the beginning in different areas from brainstorming to attending events with me. They help around the house and get me back on track if homeschooling becomes less intentional (yep, that happens to me too).
Does working and homeschooling sound right for you?
If working seems like something you have a desire or need to do, I highly encourage you to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. When I started homeschooling, I didn't know any moms who did both, and I often felt out of place. It's important to have a supporting community because there will be some tough days, weeks, or months. I also suggest choosing work that is natural to you, if possible. When you do work that is natural to you, it will make the task of working from home a bit easier because you won't have to focus on learning something new although you will probably still learn a few new things ☺.
I've been working and homeschooling since 2009, and I couldn't imagine not. I appreciate the challenge of work and learning beside my children. I also I am grateful that it allows me to help my husband when things get tight and do some of the things I want to do for my family. My earning has varied over the years, and as my girls have gotten older I've been able to do more of what I enjoy.
Are you considering working and homeschooling? Do you already have employment that will allow you to bring your kids home or are you homeschooling and looking for additional income?
Share your story in the comments.