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Career-minded Parents Can Homeschool Too!

Nov04

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It has been a stressful few weeks, which may not be a wise time to write a post that fits within the parameters of “What Everyone Can Learn from Homeschooling Parents.” Or, maybe that is an entirely wrong mindset. Maybe this is the most beneficial time to write about homeschooling–a time when even a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils could hardly ease the day enough to put a smile on my face.

Three cheers for transparency!

Things are difficult right now. With the holidays on the horizon, finances are tight, and as the only fluctuating income in the household, I am stretched uncomfortably thin–some important decisions need to be made, and soon. What I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that we will make whatever decisions are necessary to continue homeschooling–it is that important to us as a family.

Homeschooling is Not Just For the Privileged Few

There is a common misconception that homeschooling is only an option for the privileged few; specifically those families who can afford to have one parent working a full-time career while the other parent stays home to teach.

By extension, this rules out homeschooling as an educational option for single parents as well as two-parent households who need dual incomes to make ends meet, which in the United States, is the majority.

Our family and most two-parent homeschooling families I know have chosen a dual career/income lifestyle. Some manage with one parent bringing in a part-time income, but both my husband and I work full-time; my work is online, so I am the primary homeschooling parent.

It Is Possible to Homeschool and Work Full-Time

Balancing working from home full-time while simultaneously homeschooling three kids is a feat. On most days, I rise to take on this challenge with vigor, but when I accept work above and beyond my sustainable flow, things quickly fall apart and subsequently, my family suffers for it.

This is why each year I comprise a new plan because each new year comes with its own set of family activities and individual responsibilities, as well as knowledge of what did, and what did not, work the preceding year.

After nearly 7 years of homeschooling, I have proven that I can work full-time AND homeschool, but I am also aware that, as with anything worth doing, it takes perseverance and commitment.

More Flexibility for Parents Who Work Full-Time

Honestly, I am no busier than my friends who manage full-time careers outside of the home while simultaneously caravanning their kids to and from school, dental/orthodontic and doctor appointments, music lessons and recitals, theater practice and performance, and sports practices and tournaments.

What I notice, however, is that my schedule is entirely more flexible–and not because I work from home (although that may play a part at times), but because the kids’ schooling is more flexible.

This flexibility is why a girlfriend of mine who is a single parent can homeschool her son in the evening hours after dinner. While she is at work, her son stays with a friend who owns an auto-repair shop. The set-up is a dream come true for this boy who loves cars and would not otherwise be afforded the time or experience learning about this trade in such a hands-on way.

Being master of one’s own schedule is also one of the reasons why doctors and lawyers are choosing to homeschool their children.

At the end of the day, the freedom of self-directed learning reduces the amount of stress we all feel–kids included, which lessens the overall burden on the family. I chose to make my primary role one of wife and mother, but I still desire to work–so it is important that I fit my career into the overall picture.

As a parentrepreneur, I enjoy “eschewing the status quo and finding innovative ways to advance the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth of [my] children.”

After all, I created this type of working environment for myself, so it makes sense to afford my children the same opportunity.

About the author


http://www.heathersanders.com
Heather Sanders is a leading homeschooling journalist who inspires homeschooling families across the nation.

Heather blogs at HeatherSanders.com where she covers the brutal truth and personal details of how homeschooling plays out in her family's daily life; she also writes for, and manages, the Homeschooling blog at The Pioneer Woman.

Married to Jeff, Heather lives in the East Texas Piney Woods and homeschools her three children, Emelie, Meredith and Kenny.

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2 Responses to “Career-minded Parents Can Homeschool Too!”

  1. Kay Nov 05 at 10:15 am Reply Reply

    I would love to hear more about how parents who work full-time do this, specifically in the details of the daily schedule when the parents have a traditional 8-5 or 8-6 job. I’d be at a loss for a safe place to send middle-school-aged children during the day while we’re at work — “day care” isn’t designed for kids that age!

    • Heather Sanders Nov 05 at 12:07 pm Reply Reply

      Kay, it certainly is unique for each family, especially if one’s children are not of an age where they can be at home alone. I’m not sure what type of career you or your husband have, but the responses to the Community Question, “Homeschooling When Both Parents Work”, may have several suggestions that work for your family.

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