Attempting to homeschool while working full-time can be a daunting task. Most of us have never seen it done and think is is impossible. A growing number of families are discovering that it can absolutely be done! With more flexible and work-from-home job and career opportunities available, parents are finding that homeschooling is now an option.
Now, just because it’s an option doesn’t mean it will be easy. So, as you venture into the world of working while homeschooling, focus in on the reasons why you want to homeschool your child(ren). Strong “whys” help to keep us motivated along our homeschool while working journey!
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I never thought I could be a homeschool mom.
When I though of homeschooling, I imagined moms who got lessons done by 11AM and baked cakes in the afternoons. She’s able to cozy up for a two-hour read-aloud session and had time for an evening walk with the family after dinner.
Sounds absolutely lovely!
However, as a working mom, I knew I would never be able to create that kind of environment.
So why try?
Initially, Hubby and I decided that public school would likely be the place of education for our children. We had grown up in the same school district and we knew that we could not leave learning solely up to the schools.
We planned to be super attentive and provide additional lessons at home and supplement, as needed.
Enter 2020 on planet Earth.
Apparently, sometimes it takes a pandemic to shake you up and force you to do a reset on your priorities. We used the lockdowns of 2020 as an opportunity to try out the idea of homeschooling and see how it could work for us.
Turns out we can make it work. It takes a lot of patience (with ourselves and the kiddies) to keep the wheels turning, but it is more than worth it when reflect on why we are doing all of this.
Our days are hectic, with us tag-teaming between work calls to squeeze in lessons with our two oldest, nursing and playing with our youngest, and trying to keep the house clean and meals made.
Even with the five-ring circus we’re running these days, it is the most important decision we could have made. We’re able to give our children the environment and support they need to set them up to become lifelong learners.
When we get discouraged and burnt out (which absolutely happens), we focus on our whys.
I’ll share some of our main reasons to homeschool while working full-time.
Provide a Safe Learning Environment for Our Children
It’s an uncomfortable feeling knowing that when we send our children out into the world, there is so much that could cause them harm. Children simply can not learn when they don’t feel safe. Homeschooling allows us to insulate our children from physical and phycological dangers.
Having them learn in an environment that is safe, secure, encouraging and loving is very important to our family.
Because we started homeschooling during the Covid-19 pandemic, our primarily concern was the safety of our children. With lockdowns beginning in March of 2020, it was a no-brainer to keep the kids at home. We had a kindergartener, a toddler and another little one on the way.
When our daughter’s school started to offer hybrid learning, we chose to be virtual for the duration of the year. When masks and hybrid learning was still in effect the following year, we were still uncomfortable with sending her back knowing most of the family would still be at home.
Now that it’s been a while and we finally feel better about being outside, there have been so many reports of school violence across the country that it is feeling more and more and more unsafe to have them out of our sight.
People can call us helicopter parents, but we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can to keep our family from unnecessary opportunities for danger.
It started to feel unnecessary to send our children out of the home, if we both were able to make it work at home. I even switched jobs after 15 years to ensure that I could have an even more flexible schedule.
Once we started to feel more comfortable teaching our young children, we began to see it as the safest option for our young children.
Control the Pace of Your Kids’ Education
We love that with homeschooling, we can teach each child at their own level and pace. Being able to identify our children’s academic struggles and talents, allows us to customize their education in a way that traditional schooling would not.
When our daughter entered Prek-3, the lack of expectation for what she would be learning that year, left us disappointed. By that time, she already knew her letter sounds, numbers, colors, etc., so I hoped she would be exposed to more that what we had been doing at home.
I knew I would only be sending her there for daycare and socialization. Mom guilt on 1000.
That wasn’t the case.
She ended that year having reviewed much of the same information that she already knew while in school. Luckily, she was able to make some good friends (at least).
We kept up our “homeschool-after-school” sessions and because of them, she was reading decodable books before she turned four.
Fun fact: At the end of the year program, our daughter’s teacher took credit for having taught “some” of the kids to read.
The next year was exactly the same.
I mean exactly the same.
No real expectation beyond what she’s learned the prior year. She got super bored.
At the start of the pandemic, I was still working outside of the home and since Hubby had started working from home, he was in charge of the virtual learning. He all but refused to do the busy work that the Prek-4 teacher sent home.
Now, I am not complaining about the capability or intention of the teachers in these cases. Working within the public school system is incredibly difficult. With classrooms of 20+ three or four year old’s, it is almost impossible to give each child the individual attention they need to lay the foundations for the next few years or challenge them to continue to grow.
So, we started to challenge our daughter beyond the expectations for her age group/grade.
She started to explode! And she was excited to be learning at a faster pace.
By the end of the 2020 year, at four years old, she was reading at a first grade level and doing double-digit addition and subtraction.
This is when we realized that if we were to return her to the local public school, she would lose the pace of learning that could be customized to fit her.
For our son, we realized we need to slow him down in some areas.
He HATED handwriting, so I customized early curricula to exclude fill-in the blank exercises.
Then, using Handwriting Without Tears, came in to save the day. Now he’s super proud of how far he has come with writing.
Homeschooling allows families to adjust their academic plan based on their child’s academic needs, challenges and interest.
Control of Educational Topics
The curriculum choices in traditional school systems can sometimes leave much to be desired. Homeschooling allows us to select the curricula that align with the educational and personal goals we have for our children.
School involves so much more than learning ABCs and 123s. Our kids are exposed to so much.
Sometimes school materials and curricula are created (sometimes unintentionally) with a slant that does not agree with the culture of our home. Most school resources are inherently biased in some way or another.
Being homeschoolers, we have the freedom to teach our children whatever we want, however we want!
In particular, we wanted to introduce History, Science, and Literature in our own way. We also wanted to add in topics like Manners/Etiquette, Religion, Finances, etc. in a way that would leave our children empowered and ready to take on the world.
We are also able to align our studies with the changing interest of our kiddies.
Right now, our four year old son is REALLY into body systems, so we crack open the First Human Body Encyclopedia (DK First Reference), read books and watch videos to satisfy his current curiosities.
Flexibility and Freedom
Homeschooling gives us the flexibility to design a schedule that fits our needs. Because we work full-time, we knew that we could not commit to a full 5-day homeschool schedule.
We opted to commit to homeschooling year-round; doing lessons 3-4 days of the week, with anything beyond that being a bonus. This allows us the freedom to adopt an agile mindset when approaching our yearly plans.
Even with the flexibility and relaxed schedule, our kids still move at an accelerated pace for most of their lessons. We have the classic, “What grade am I in?” thing going on.
For some subjects they are right on track for their grade and for others they are a few grades a head.
When it comes to vacation and breaks, they happen whenever we want them to. We plan to take a 2-3 week break in the summer and a few weeks throughout the year.
Summer is still fun, we just sprinkle in lessons 2-3 times a week. And the best part is, Summer doesn’t have to end on Labor Day for us. We can still go to the beach in September.
We can also make birthdays holidays. There are really no limitations, unless you live in a state with more strict rules.
Homeschooling gives us the autonomy to create the lives we want and move at whatever pace works just right for us.
We Really Love Teaching Our Kids
I never knew how much I would enjoy teaching our children. Now, I am a little obsessed.
Maybe a lot.
I have become a curriculum junkie. Although, I have finally found some that will be keepers for quite some time. Yaay!
Seeing my oldest get excited to practice multiplication and my oldest son overcome his reluctance with handwriting have been some of my proudest moments. Recognizing their needs and being the ones to provide for them is extremely fulfilling.
I mean these kids sometimes ask to “do school” on Saturday. And I am happy to oblige!
The more we homeschool, the more I WANT to homeschool.
We constantly ask our children how they feel about homeschooling, and for now they are enjoying being at home with the family.
Even with our work schedule, taking the time to enjoy each other and learn together has brough us all close than I could have imagined.
We Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way
There are about a billion other reason why we homeschool. To sum it all up, it just FEELS right for us, right now.
With our children still in the early years, having them close to help mold their academic experience, while helping them to learn to be confident, capable and considerate people is more important than what we think the school can offer.
We know it may not always be the right path, but while our lifestyle and careers allow it, we will take advantage of our time together.
And we will have an awesome crazy time while doing it!
What are your reasons for homeschooling? Let us know below.
Thanks for hanging out!
My husband and I don’t have children yet. But we have talked a lot about the option of homeschooling.
With so many ways to homeschool and resources available, I hope you’ll be able to homeschool one day.
Very inspiring article with wonderful tips. You are my hero.
Thank you so much for reading! We’re still finding our stride, but it has been great to learn, work and grow together.