In February 2015, my family began a journey. It hasn’t been an easy one- but it has been rewarding. We began to homeschool – and I worked outside the home. I thought it would be simple. I worked part time in education – so I would go to work, come home, and then we would get right to schooling. I quickly learned that it would be a lot more work than I thought. It was only a short term problem – I knew I would be coming home after this year of teaching was over. Sometimes, the decisions we have to make for our children require us to do some hard things. Homeschooling and working was one of them for us. Let me encourage you Mama, it can be done. But it will take work.
6 Tips for the mom who homeschools and works outside the home…
Plan it out
I felt like I had to run a tight ship in order to get everything I needed to accomplish done each day. When I talk about planning- it was more than lessons. We had to keep a tight hold on everyone’s schedule. I had to plan meals out – because schooling ran into meal prep. Sometimes, school didn’t get finished until after dinner. For the “regular” homeschooler, there is plenty of time in the day to get things done – because you are working on an 8 hour day. Not so for homeschooling and working. My day was 4.5 hours at best. It can be done- but it is important to put yourself on a schedule, and stick to it. I also found laying out the lessons helped – each day, I had a folder, with work in it for the day. Any work that didn’t get finished the day before went into the top of the folder for the next day. This helped us stay on track with our lessons. There are some great homeschool planners out there – some are free and printable- others, you have to pay for. I highly suggest getting one that will work for you. Read more about planners I love HERE
Don’t plan more than you can handle
When I first started homeschooling, I wanted to be the “fun” homeschool mom. We were going to go on field trips and do experiments. My daughter loves art – and so we were going to do lots of art and music. Let me tell you – it hasn’t happened yet. When I started – I planned way more than we could ever do. All it caused was stress for me and my daughter. She saw the fun things I had written down -and just wanted to do those. I knew we had to focus on math and reading. Make sure you plan a realistic amount of things you can do in one day. Which brings me to my next tip…
Stick to the Core
Yes, your child needs science, social studies, art, music, and physical activity. However, stick to the core subjects of math and reading. Work science and social studies into that core of reading and math. On President’s day – we talked about money, and of the presidents that are on our money. Social studies done for the day! We have also used Liberty Kids DVD’s and the Little House on the Prairie books and dvds – because those things interest her. Incorporate the extra stuff into your core subjects. Also, remember, if your child takes a sport or a music lesson outside of the home- that is PE or Music!
Learning happens everywhere. In the grocery store, at the bank. Be intentional about the every day moments. We have to be intentional in the every day life in order to make homeschooling work. Watch for weekend activities that count as learning – this helps for days when you might be sick or your child might be sick. For example, our local zoo had a garden festival with learning activities. We had been sick for 3 days the week before- so, we went to this festival, and counted that as a day of homeschool. Even though it was a Saturday. Homeschooling can happen anywhere.
Extend the Learning
Every day things can be part of learning. Folding laundry, helping in the kitchen. Extend their learning outside of the home and outside of the normal school day. Look for apps and television programs that will extend the learning into times when you are busy.
Remember: There is NO Perfect Homeschool
Even Mom’s who are home all day, who have been homeschooling for years – their homeschool isn’t perfect. No one’s is. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Just be sure that you follow the guidelines for your state and accountability group – and remember, God has given you these child to raise. To teach. Leave your homeschool in His hands!
What tips would you add to the list if you work outside of the home?