I’ve seen this question come up frequently. Can you homeschool and work full-time? The answer is yes. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, straightforward, or popular. However, it is definitely possible, and people are working full-time while homeschooling as we speak. Here’s how to homeschool and work full-time without going crazy.
Questions to Ask about Homeschooling and Working Full Time
This series of questions to ask before you get started can help you plan and implement a homeschool around your regular job and full-time hours.
- If you already have a job, are the hours fixed, or do you have flexibility?
- Are your children independent, or will they need constant supervision to finish work?
- If you work at an office, is your employer open to a hybrid work environment or working from home full-time?
- If you already work from home, do you have a dedicated office space or a dedicated school space? Will you be able to provide supervision?
- If you don’t have a job, can you find jobs to apply for during non-traditional hours?
- If applicable, is your spouse or significant other able to help with homeschooling at all, or will the responsibility fall solely on you?
- Does the homeschool curriculum you want to use support independent learning or require heavy lifting from the parent?
Reasons Why Homeschool and Work Full Time Might Not Work for You
More people are homeschooling than ever before, but while there is increased interest and support, you will still find some challenges. These are some reasons why it just might not work for you and your family.
One parent is not on board. If you are in a two-parent family and one parent is fully opposed to homeschooling or just generally unsupportive, you will find trying to homeschool and work full-time to be very difficult. Both parents need to agree that this is the best option.
The student is not on board. If your child is old enough to have an opinion, and their opinion is that homeschooling stinks, you will have a problem on your hands. Your student has to be committed and at least agree that homeschooling is a good option for you to make this work.
Your community is strongly negative about homeschooling. While homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, you will definitely find pockets of extreme negativity where the local school system, law enforcement, and social services are vehemently opposed to the very idea of homeschooling. This kind of community would make it very difficult to homeschool and work full-time. Just to be clear, it is very rare to find a place where all three of these entities are fully supportive of homeschooling, and that is okay. I’m talking about active opposition — that’s what you want to avoid.
Pick an Approach to Work Full Time while Homeschooling
The most important thing I can share with you is that you need to pick an approach that will work for your family. Don’t be afraid to customize your approach – that’s the beauty of homeschooling. No specific method is going to work for each and every family. What works will vary by students, learning styles, parents, personalities, and schedules and the possibilities are endless. I’ve personally seen this work in real life in several different ways. Let’s look at some options.
Hard-Core Homeschool Planning
I have one single-parent friend who takes two weeks off from work and creates a full syllabus for each class her high school student will take. She lays out every single assignment, every due date, and every expectation for each class in the syllabus. Then she goes over it with her student and has her child sign a contract that they will finish all of the work as assigned or attend public school after a specified period of time. This method is not for everyone but works well for her homeschool. Explore homeschool planning for ideas.
Delegation of Teaching
Another mom I know finds a variety of teachers for her children. She purchases a video curriculum for math, finds local classes for them to take for science and art, hires a tutor for a foreign language, and provides a student-led curriculum for writing and literature. One grandparent I know participates in a homeschool co-op just so that his grandkids can attend the co-op and take classes.
Online Homeschool Academy
One of the parents I know has chosen to enroll their student in an online academy. The student attends class in person online, receives assignments directly from the teachers, and turns everything in thru the online system. It’s not a purely homeschooling method, but it allows your child to do school at home and have some of the flexibility of homeschooling without a big lift from the parents. Examples of online academies include Liberty University Online Academy and K12.
Work Boxes for Homeschooling
A mother I know works full time outside the home while Dad works full time from home. Mom uses the work box method to assign her children material. Each child has a series of boxes containing work for the day in each subject. The child must open the box and work through whatever has been assigned. When each box has been completed, school is done for the day. Dad keeps an eye on the kids with an open office door, and then checks that they are staying on track during his breaks and lunch time.
Flexibile Homeschool Scheduling
Some parents who work full time during the day simply hire childcare and then do all of the schoolwork in the evening and on weekends. This allows for full flexibility and choice with homeschool methods and curriculum while also allowing the parents to work outside the home.
Develop a Solid Plan to Homeschool and Work Full Time
You have answered the questions. You’ve chosen an approach that fits your personality, lifestyle, and student. Now you are ready to take the next step. Now you need a plan. Work with each child to plan a daily homeschool routine, rules, expectations, and goals. If you have older children, it is especially important to work together to put a plan in place. Get their buy-in. How many hours will be spent on schoolwork each day? How much free time will your child have? Will they be expected to complete chores while you work? What will the consequences for missed work be? How will you handle tutoring needs if your child is struggling with Algebra? Who will drive your child to outside activities or group classes?
Make sure to test your child’s comprehension for reading materials or video content, math lessons, or science labs. Especially if you are using a video curriculum, it is easy for some students to gloss over the material without actually processing what they hear.
Flexibility When You Homeschool and Work Full Time
If you have days off, be sure to take them when public school is in session. This allows you to enjoy local parks, museums, and other attractions without the crowds that occur when school is out. It’s a fun perk of homeschooling!
Make sure to provide all of the necessary homeschool supplies to complete assignments, including things like material for science labs, books, videos, pencils, and paper. For students old enough that no caregiver is needed, make sure to provide all that is needed for quick and easy meals in your absence.
Childcare During School Hours
Hire or find childcare as needed and lay out clear expectations if they will be providing care while your child is also accomplishing the schoolwork you’ve assigned. One of the ways I have seen this work is when retired grandparents are able to provide care while the parent works.
Ways To Be More Successful When You Homeschool and Work Full Time
Improve independent learning. Helping your child move towards independence will greatly improve the success of your homeschool when you work full-time. You can do this by teaching them to read independently. Make this your primary focus until you reach the goal. You can also improve independence by teaching your child study skills, how to follow a schedule or to-do list, and different ways to focus on tasks.
Set clear expectations. This is so very important. Make sure your students know exactly what needs to get done. Every assignment, every part of the book, every test, and every expectation needs to be spelled out. Without crystal clear expectations, some students will end up defaulting to computer games or other distractions because they just don’t understand or get confused about exactly what needs to be finished.
Hold your students accountable. If your child is completing work while you are away from home, it’s important to check that the work is actually getting finished and hold your student accountable to complete work in a timely manner. Come up with a routine that includes checking your child’s work to make sure they understand the material and are getting the work done.
Don’t Limit Yourself: You Can Homeschool and Work Full Time
Whenever you choose this path, you will come across many naysayers, perhaps even your own inner voice. While it is not an easy task, it can be done, and successful homeschoolers work full-time every single year. Do not limit yourself to the options you find in this post. Be creative problem solvers, and come up with a way to make it happen.
Maybe you both work at home full time and can strategize your potty break timing. Perhaps you need to form a homeschool pod. Different parents in your friend group each take a turn “hosting” the homeschool one day per week. Maybe you can find homeschool drop-off classes, and someone else will teach your child Chemistry for a fee.
The possibilities for homeschooling and working full-time are endless.
Leave a Reply