Homeschooling can be successful for all kinds of families, even if parents have to work full time. As homeschooling has grown, more and more single parents and working parents are joining the homeschooling movement. While there are more factors to consider, there are all kinds of ways to make it work.
Some two parent households work different shifts so that one parent is home with the children at all times. One parent works the night shift while the other works days, for instance. Some parents are also able to do flextime where they work part time from home and part time from the office.
Single family parents can also work and homeschool. In some families, grandparents or family friends watch the children while parents are at work and homeschooling is done either independently or at home later. Other parents may team up with other single homeschooling parents to watch each other’s children while the other is at work. Still others use day care or babysitters during their working shifts.
Some parents find ways to work from home. Some homeschooling mothers provide day care in their homes, for instance. Others do medical transcription, sales, writing or other work for outside employers from their home. Still others run their own businesses from home.
Older children may be able to stay home and work independently while parents are at work. This works well for some families but it also depends on the maturity level of the children. Check your state laws to see if there is a minimum age for staying home alone.
Younger children will need to be supervised, but the bright side is that younger children need only a few hours of education per day so homeschooling can still be done during off-hours and weekends. These kids can go to a day care or be watched at home while parents work. Homeschooled teenagers from the community can even watch children part time for very reasonable rates. Some working parents also arrange for children to stay with homeschooled friends during their work shifts, either for pay or through some sort of trade of services.
In terms of curricula, all of the same resources are options for working parents as any other homeschooling parents. As with all homeschooling, parents will need to find what resources best suit their children and their learning styles. Computer-based curricula can be a good fit for some kids whose parents are busy with work, while others may work best with educaational videos, books, apps, worksheets and other materials. Some families may also make use of public school at home options such as Connections Academy, where a long-distance teacher is assigned and children work through textbooks and online work that’s compiled by the teacher and the state. This can also be a good temporary option for curriculum when first transitioning from public school to homeschool, and then families can move to their own homeschooling style once they have built up confidence.
Virginia Homeschoolers has information about successfully homeschooling while working. They point out:
Veteran parents say that the secret to combining homeschooling with full time employment is lots of planning, flexibility, and communication with your family and friends. Organization and scheduling are essential to making this type of homeschooling work for your family. Schooling does not necessarily have to occur between certain hours of the day, and you may be able to fit schoolwork or educational activities into late afternoons, evenings, or weekends. It can be very helpful to talk with other working parents about how they have organized their lives to balance work, school, and family.
For more advice and support, see these helpful resources: