In high school and college, I never really envisioned my life with children. I was going to be a career woman. So imagine my surprise when, at age thirty, I had two school-age children, both with special needs, who were not only my kids, but my students. What twists and turns life can take!
Working & Homeschooling
Becoming a full-time homeschooling mom didn’t change my desire to use my talents and skills in the professional world. It took more time than I hoped to pin down a stay-at-home position, but eventually it came, and I have been both a work at home mom (WAHM) and a homeschooling mom ever since. Life hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve learned several things along the way that have helped.
- It’s all in the curriculum. You can be a parent who creates all your own curriculum OR you can be a work-at-home mom/dad, but you simply cannot do both. Finding a curriculum that lets your children work at least somewhat independently is crucial to finding balance. Our family uses Time4Learning because all of the lesson planning, testing, and record-keeping are done for you on the computer, freeing up valuable time for other important things.
- Get with the program. And by program, I mean the schedule. This working-homeschooling combo depends on setting out your day into some sort of timetable. Find a routine that makes sense for everyone in your family, and most importantly actually seems doable for you. Time4Learning‘s activity scheduler allows parents to map out plans and help nail down a routine that fits your busy lifestyle. You can plan out your entire year, take it week by week, or even day by day.
- Delegate. Your children can work independently and save questions for you when you are available, but they can also ask another family member. Everyone wants to be supermom, but no one has yet received the golden tiara and spandex. If you have extended family supporting you in your goal of working at home and homeschooling, jump up and down and celebrate . . . If your spouse is behind you, don’t be afraid to tell him or her when you need a helping hand. And remember—the more you ask for help, the easier it becomes. If you don’t have help, make sure your children are on board and have them help where they can.
- Talk with your family about your goals. My boys used to have this habit of getting into their worst arguments when I sat down to get some work done. One day, I sat them down and explained that in order to help contribute to the family income while continuing to homeschool them, I had made the choice to work at home. Believe it or not, this tactic worked. The boys started solving their own squabbles during my work time, and saving their meltdowns for when I was available. Go figure!
- Schedule time for yourself. This one seems the most impossible. You may already feel guilty for splitting your time between your kids and your work. But that pressure and guilt are the exact reasons why you need to schedule time for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll discover that neither your kids nor your work are getting the best of your endeavors. This is also a quick way to get burned out or have your own meltdown. Make time for yourself!
If you’ve been thinking about working at home and homeschooling, maybe it is time to take the plunge. Believe in yourself, spend time researching your options, talk it over with your family, and then go for it! Many parents have found that homeschooling has suited their lifestyle better than they could have ever dreamed. And now, finding a position that allows you to work from home is much more achievable. It doesn’t always require a degree, sometimes your passion and life skills can land you the perfect job. Remember, as a homeschooling mom, you have one of the most supportive communities in the world. Homeschooling is more than an educational choice, it’s a lifestyle, and there are many like-minded moms out there.