I’ve been getting this question a lot recently. Groups on Facebook are popping up left and right to help homeschooling parents. Homeschooling is not for everyone and very family situation and balance will look differently but it is possible to make it work as a working parent, as a single parent all while homeschooling. I’m not going to sugar coat how easy it will be, it’s not. Parenting in general is hard, tiring and thankless. For many parents, going to work, or going to college is a way of taking a break. Hard to do right now with COVID running rampant right now. But we must work to also survive, pay bills to keep a roof over our head, get groceries, keep clothes on our body, well you now the rest.
Now some people think that homeschoolers don’t work at all. That all of us are stay at home parents who have financial ability. Lets just say one particular woman I had a conversation with had zero clues about homeschooling. There were a lot of assumptions I attempted to correct. But this one just struck a nerve. While yes, some are able to not worry, thats actually not as common as you may think. It also depends on where you live and your partner’s (if you have one) position as well. Don’t think that just because someone is a stay at home parent, that they don’t put into the household or have it easy. They are also the ones that cook, clean and are with children all day long. Its not as simple as, well you have it easy because you stay home, there are a lot of sacrifices that are made.
Now some are extremely lucky to be able to work from home, long before this pandemic. That doesn’t mean that its easier to balance homeschooling and work. Some jobs are very flexible and allow you to work when and where you want. Then there are others where you must be logged in and have phone calls and meetings. In the same sense, you need to figure out when on your schedule you have time. If your work is set, i suggest blocking that time in. You know you can’t exactly get up and just go out for a walk when your child wants.
Then you have parents who have no choice but to report to their employer in person. Some careers have a consistent time (7-3, 8-4, 9-5 etc) and some, well their schedules may look differently every week.
As you can see there are so many different ways to work right? Well how can you homeschool and work?
You need to look at your job. Where do you fall. If you can for from home, well lets block out times you have to work. This is time you know you can’t really give to your child 100% of the time. If your work is flexible, like mine, you may not worry as much unless you have a deadline. But I also block out time to get things done, even if its for an hour at a time. I’m one of those that also owns my own business, I can be flexible but I’m also typically working 2-3 part time jobs to make ends meet as a single parent.
That brings me to my next point, what do you do if you for out of the house? You will need support. Depending on the age of your child and how long your gone, you will want someone in the house (we aren’t talking teenagers here, which have their own set of problems). Family, friends, a nanny or retired teacher can help. Look into co ops or ask another homeschooling family if they can help. You can also wait to homeschool when you get home and just make sure that while you are away, your child is in good hands. Homeschooling doesn’t and shouldn’t replicate school. Some kids learn better at night, or mid morning. It doesn’t have to be an 8 am wake up. There were times where I worked full time out of the house and still homeschooled. I worked 9-6 and was home by 7 pm. We would have dinner then school. Even though it was only an hour a day, he still was learning a lot. I am lucky to have my parents help. My dad was with him majority of the time and took on some responsibility in work but it was never workbook or online. They unschooled, and honestly its been the best thing for our family.
Now, yes depending on your state, you still have to follow regulations. Here in New York, the younger grades have to cover 900 hours and the older its 990. Were our hours covered? 100%. Homeschooling, as I mentioned, does not and should not replicate the a school environment. Many of the hours are spent learning through play, art, field trips, cooking, playing games and so much more. School should not just be books and worksheets or strictly online either. We have a wonderful world full of discoveries ready to be researched.
So despite all that writing I haven’t exactly been clear with my tips on how to balance working and homeschooling
- What does your work schedule allow? Will your employer allow you to work from home?
- Create a weekly schedule and block out times you must work. Keeping organized will help you in your career and your child in schooling.
- Based on your curriculum, teaching style and time, where can you dedicate time to your child? An hour or two will work. Maybe save your child’s subjects that they struggle in for that time?
- Can you ask for help or hire someone? Even if its just to make sure they are safe. Learning happens everywhere.
5. Is it possible to switch careers or employer? Its not for everyone, especially right now with so many unemployed but you can also start a business or side hustle to help financially. Budget where you can and have your child help. Teach them how to be an entrepreneur.
No matter the situation, you will figure it out. If you want to speak one on one, don’t hesitate to contact me. Always happy to help.