One of the most common questions I get as a working homeschooler is “what do you do?” Meaning what do I do for work. The reason why this question is so common is because each job comes with its own schedule, requirements, deadlines, and pay. This is not a judgmental question but a curious one. As more and more families consider homeschooling they weigh the choice based on their needs, their lifestyle, and their jobs.
When my kids were little, I lived overseas first in Iceland and then in Spain. I was overseas for a span of six total years and came back to the states when my oldest was seven. During these years overseas, I worked several jobs and worked toward my college degree, but the kids weren’t old enough yet to be “homeschooled.” Instead, we did minor things at home but no formal schooling outside of reading and math.
Once I was back in the states, I worked a part time job and finished my degree. At this point, I started teaching full time at a college and could work my schedule around theirs. I did this for several years working a full schedule three days a week and homeschooling the other four until the kids were old enough to take their learning into their own hands. Currently, I am working on my PhD and recently started teaching online, so that I could be home and work around busy schedules. On top of this I am moving in the next month several states away and will be working on the road. This was a major factor in choosing to teach online.
Most homeschooling parents work both inside and outside the home… Many own businesses, work regular jobs, and multiple jobs. If it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way.
I currently do not work an 8am to 5pm job outside the home Monday through Friday. However, this does not mean that someone who has this schedule can’t homeschool. My point is that homeschooling allows for many different types of job scheduling. A good friend of mine homeschools at night and on the weekends. I have another friend who works at night and homeschools in the mornings. Several homeschoolers I know work from home and have to schedule their home office hours around their kids’ schoolwork.
There is a serious notion out there that a parent must be able to stay at home with their kids if he/she chooses to homeschool. This is not true. Believe it or not most homeschooling parents do have jobs both inside and outside the home. I, for one, have worked since my children were born and am still at it—I have also homeschooled for fifteen years and am still at it. It has been challenging at times but well worth it. It is rare that a parent stays home and only ever homeschools. Working and homeschooling is not easy. It takes organization, scheduling, and discipline. Sometimes it takes lining up affordable childcare and help from family members. If you are considering homeschooling and can’t afford or do not want to give up your career, there are options and many successful working homeschoolers to prove it can be done.
Amy teaches college English and literature full time. She recently self published a book of poems, and her novel is currently with an editor. Amy started homeschooling her oldest when he was in first grade and now he is a junior in high school. Her other two are 9 and 12. They are eclectic and Amy has dived into several curricula. Her middle son is dyslexic so that’s a challenge in itself. They have done umbrella schools, groups and even online curriculum.