A lot of parents contact us every year at VaHomeschoolers who want to homeschool their children, but don’t think it is possible because they are working full time. This includes both two-income families and single parents. Combining homeschooling with working full time can be challenging and involves a lot of planning, but it definitely is possible—and many parents have done it successfully.
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.
Reliable child care is a major issue for most homeschooling working parents, and there are many different successful strategies for dealing with this. None of these will work for every family, but one or more of them may work for you.
One popular strategy is to work from home, through telecommuting, flex time, or running a home business. This is becoming easier every year with new technology which makes it easier to communicate with your office offsite. Another strategy is to work opposite shifts from your spouse or caregiver—one parent/caregiver stays with the kids by day, then works at night, and vice versa.
Some parents bring their kids to the workplace, where they do their schoolwork in a quiet place during the workday. Some parents of teens are comfortable leaving their teenaged homeschoolers alone at home to do their schoolwork.
You may be able to find family members or friends who are willing to watch your children during the day while you are working. Sometimes the family members or friends will also homeschool the children. The legality of having someone other than yourself do the actual homeschooling varies from state to state, so do check with your state homeschool organization before committing to this arrangement.
Whichever options you choose, you will need to make sure that your child has the opportunity to participate in exercise, social, and extracurricular activities outside the home. This may involve creative scheduling on your part or coordination with other parents or caregivers. For instance, perhaps your student could spend part of a day volunteering in the community, or spend the morning going skating with another homeschooling family.
As with any other homeschooling experience, you’re more likely to be successful if you surround yourself with a network of supportive people. There are a number of online support groups and newsletters for parents who are combining working with homeschooling. Your state homeschool organization may be able to direct you to other families in your community who can help you with child care and other logistical issues.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated solely to homeschooling issues. Created in 1993, VaHomeschoolers is a state-wide, inclusive organization that provides information on homeschooling and protects and promotes homeschooling freedoms at the state and local level.
We provide a comprehensive website on homeschooling in Virginia, answer questions through our toll-free homeschool help line and email homeschool help desk, publish the bi-monthly journal Voice, as well as several electronic bulletins, and offer conferences and seminars on homeschooling throughout the year. We represent homeschooling interests in the state legislature and across the state, and help parents and school divisions resolve homeschooling issues.
Our organization has no political or religious affiliations; we focus exclusively on issues related to homeschooling. Our website does cover the specific legal aspects of homeschooling in Virginia but it is also filled with information and resources on homeschooling that apply universally. It is a great place to gather further details and support on all the topics discussed in this series
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Leslie Nathaniel has been a member of VaHomeschoolers since she began homeschooling and is now a member of the Board of Directors. Her children began learning at home as soon as they were born, but they became official homeschoolers when her eldest reached kindergarten age in 2002. Prior to children, Leslie worked in information technology consulting. She is a homeschooling mother of two. As a volunteer for VaHomeschoolers, she answers telephone and email requests for information; writes articles for the VaHomeschoolers Voice homeschool journal; speaks at conferences and seminars on a variety of topics; and organizes homeschooling seminars around the state of Virginia.
Celeste Land is a member of the Board of Directors for VaHomeschoolers and the director of our Government Affairs department. Her two children began homeschooling in 1996, and are continuing to learn at home right through the teen years. Her daughter has recently graduated from homeschooling high school and will be attending college full time this fall. Celeste has lobbied on behalf of homeschooling interests here in Virginia and Washington, DC, for 10 years. Her articles on homeschooling have been published in the VaHomeschoolers Voice and the VaHomeschoolers website, as well as several homeschooling magazines in the USA and Canada. She also has been a speaker at many homeschool seminars and conferences.
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