I know the thought of home educating your child while being working parents or even a single parent appears to be an impossible feat. BUT...it is not.
Yes, there are only so many hours in a day, but if you use them wisely you can DO IT ALL. You can effectively work outside your home and school your kids.
WORK & HOMESCHOOL -HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Do your research. Believe it or not the number of working parents deciding to home educate their kids is growing daily. Homeschooling isn't what it used to be perceived to be. It doesn't necessarily mean mom is sitting at the table playing teacher.
Plan it out. Yep, I know, this part stinks, but it is effective. Plan out every single second of your day. Identify the places where you can multi-task reasonably. Also, note what tools you need to help you complete that task for the day.
Work it out. This is a part I really have to stress, find a job that can be flexible. My husband took one that he works mid-days and even night time. My job is extremely flexible. I can go to work whenever I want as long as I work 80 hours in a 2 week period. I changed my career to give me this type of flexibility when I was pregnant with my first child. Even then I knew I wanted to work while my children were young. I've never really been a stay at home mom, but my husband and I had periods where either one of us was always home. My husband worked a home business for 4 years while our youngest two kids were babies which allowed us to forego the constant need for childcare.
Figure out the Logistics. Childcare is a major issue for the working parent who is outside of the home. In this situation consider being creative. Flip flop work schedules with a spouse or even a friend who also homeschools their kid or needs childcare. Call daycare centers, home daycare providers and ask them if they will take 'drop ins' or homeschool children. Believe it or not, many will. Hire a nanny. I know this may sound expensive but in some cases it isn't when you do the hire yourself of a young homeschooling teen, a college student, or even some services are reasonably priced.
Don't be afraid to get help. Luckily for us, we have family close by. My mother and my mother-in-law both helped out with the kids. At times we've even had our siblings pitch in as we supported each other. I've even kept my nieces for an entire summer since my sister had to work and couldn't afford childcare for them at the time. Also, a friend of mine had a teen daughter who wanted to work for the summer but couldn't drive. We paid her a reasonable bit to be our summer nanny. It was much cheaper for us and a great opportunity for her.
Find a curriculum that is portable. This is where you have to really be creative when you are a working parent. Even though as a new prospective homeschooling parent you want to be creative with your kids learning or you have no idea how to teach them, there are ways to do so. If you don't have money to purchase a curriculum there are even free, step by step, day by day curricula online you can use. Also consider online schools if you want accreditation or a report card managed by another institution. Find one that meets your needs as well as your child's. Don't bite off too much at first.
Spend the first year homeschooling learning your child and how they learn. Research the easiest, spelled out curriculum you can find to make your transition easy. Also, don't feel obligated to follow the curriculum 100%. Tweak it, and shape it to fit your needs. Find a curriculum that doesn't require you to actually teach. If time is the issue, try to find a curriculum that will be doable in 2-3 hours or can be broken up into a 7 day school week with only doing 1-1.5 hour a day.
Take school on the road. While I'm at one kid's cheerleading practice, I'm schooling my other kids using our portable workbox notebook with all of their subjects. Since they are using a DVD based school, I take a small portable DVD Player and headphones and my son can do his school lessons while waiting 2 hours for his sister to finish practice.
Find an Umbrella Group or Homeschooling Group nearby. This is important to do prior to pulling your kid out of school. Take the time to meet other working parents who are doing this journey with their family. Ask them the dumb questions and for guidance in dealing with your state and the laws. Also for finding resources for your kid.
Inquire with your Board of Ed to see what is required. Use the internet as a resource and contact your state to find out what the rules or laws are for homeschoolers there.
Have a backup plan. Always have a backup plan for childcare and support. As a working parent who is outside the home childcare and making sure your student is learning are most important. The best way to make sure this happens with as little stress as possible is to have a good support system.
Divvy it out. As a working parent, there are many tasks I have moved on to my kids since I no longer have the time to do it. When our mother-in-law, or babysitter is watching the kids, she doesn't homeschool them. My kids just don't perform well when they aren't being watched by Mom or Dad, their typical teachers. But they will do other things.
Now my kids cook dinner, clean the entire house (broken up as a task per day) and even make up Mom and Dad's bed for extra allowance money.
Is there time left to sleep? Yep, but not much. I have to admit this is the one part of this working outside the home and homeschooling that never seems to even out.
However, I take Sundays off and sleep in, going to the late 6pm church service.
YOU CAN DO IT. BE CREATIVE. MAP YOUR PATH. CHANGE YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE.
by: Nita Preston
Nita is an Engineer by day and a Young Adult Fiction Author whenever she can squeeze in the time. Married for 20 years to her road warrior husband who refuses to let her drive him anywhere, they co-teach their younger two kids on a flip-flopping, crazy schedule. When she's not homeschooling she can be found acting as 'Team Mom' to her husband who coaches their kids in lacrosse, soccer and basketball.
Fabulous Fuzz, Speed Racer, Tiger Lilly, Big Dazzling Sis
More and more working parents are contemplating homeschooling. If that is you, please share your concerns. We will attempt to give you some direction.
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