In a lot of ways, “working homeschool moms and dads” is a misnomer. All homeschool parents are working – a 24/7 job that demands intense concentration, a highly developed skillset, and years of effort before completion!
However, an increasing number of homeschool parents are juggling part-time, or even full-time, jobs in addition to their homeschooling career.
Sometimes it’s due to financial difficulties or the reality of single-parent households. Sometimes it’s part of a family business.
We’ve also compiled a list of tips from working homeschool parents that have helped them handle working, homeschooling and running a household:
1. Determine how your work is going to fit your homeschool.
Jobs that have flexible work hours, and sometimes telecommuting abilities, tend to work best with homeschooling. Popular job opportunities that have worked for many homeschool families include:
- Offering transcription, writing and editing services.
- Performing night shifts as registered nurses.
- Running in-home daycares and preschools.
- Working as realtors.
- Driving school buses (ironic!).
- Working in essential oils, cosmetics and other businesses that can be managed from home (such as VIPKID).
- Managing small businesses such as landscaping, home improvement, and accounting services.
2. Set up daily expectations and time allotments.
Many working homeschool families have found it essential to carve out specific time slots for work vs. homeschool activities. By planning schedules, sometimes on a daily basis, they can manage expectations and minimize conflict.
Technology can be a real time-saver if you have a shared electronic family calendar, including hours when working parents are at home.
A related tip is to table any questions that arise during the day for a time that doesn’t impinge on work hours. It can be tempting to drop in on someone just because they’re home, instead of waiting for when they’re actually off work.
In the same way, the working parent needs to treat a “school-day” as such … not interrupting an algebra lesson just because it’s their break time.
One homeschool family has a father who works as a software engineer from home. They found the best scheduling was for him to work mostly evening hours when the kids were in bed. With this setup, he still has time to join the family for lunches … a win-win for all involved.
4. If applicable, scout out places in the house for work hours.
Having a home office can help your children understand the difference between “work work” and “homeschool work.” It can be as basic as setting up a table in a basement, bedroom or even a roomy closet!
5. Let your kids know the rules ahead of time.
If your children need to be quiet during work hours, explain this without antagonizing them. Some families use signs, such as “on a call” that hangs on the door while their parents are talking to clients on speakerphone.
One homeschooling father takes a headset with him into his home office, so that house noises don’t transfer to his calls. His children have been trained to slip “daddy tickets” under the door to ask for a little break whenever he’s able to come out.
6. If possible, involve your kids in your work.
No, we’re not advocating illegal child labor! But depending on the age of your child and the nature of your business, you can introduce them early to the wonders of employment and holding down a job for a steady income.
Just like Katie Ward wrote in her guest post, homeschoolers have found great fun in working together to develop their own family businesses.
Even if your work isn’t conducive to a family setting, your children can sometimes help in small tasks. These include sorting paperwork, accompanying parents to their work offices, or looking after a younger sibling for some impromptu babysitting.
7. Explore homeschool enrichment programs and other resources.
If your work schedule allows you to work longer hours for fewer days, you may consider homeschool co-ops and enrichment programs for the days when you have to work. We have a list of area enrichment programs on this page.
We have updated this blog post, originally published in May 2015, for timeliness and detail.
Do you have other advice for working homeschool moms and dads? Let us know in the comments!