Juggling Homeschool and Working Full Time

As a busy, homeschooling mom who works full-time, I often get asked how I manage to homeschool while holding down a full time job. I am honored to be able to share a bit of my homeschooling adventures with you today.

I never thought about homeschooling.

I have worked full time since before my husband and I married nearly 25 years ago. Although we always thought I would stay home one day to raise our children, I never felt qualified to teach at home. God has a funny way of changing our hearts and minds.

Fast forward 20 years.

My husband lost his job in the construction field nearly three years ago. It has been a very rough road. We had to sell our home to avoid foreclosure, and our finances are still very strained. At the same time, our oldest son was struggling in public high school. I desperately wanted to put him in a private school, or a smaller charter school where he could be given more assistance, but we did not have the finances.  A good friend of mine who is a homeschooler felt led to take my son under her wing and tutor him. Together, we taught him through his last two years. He graduated last October, just a few months behind his class, with a B average.

The entire time I was working with my son to get him through high school, God was working on my heart and putting in me a deep desire to homeschool our youngest two children (almost 10 and 13). But with an unemployed husband and an uncertain financial future, I could not quit my job. Besides, I love working at my church, supporting our pastor and our church community. God would not relent, and continued to give me a deep burden and desire to educate my children at home.

Saying “yes” to the unknown.

After much prayer, and some arguing with God, I removed my daughter from public school last year and took on the challenge of homeschooling a 7th grader. I did not know what I was walking into, but I knew that God would be with me. It hasn’t been easy. Thirteen is a hard age to begin homeschooling and it has not come without tears on both sides. But, I can finally see the light peaking through and we are looking forward to continuing our journey next year. My son, who will be in the 5th grade next year, will complete his elementary education in public school, and then I will homeschool him beginning in 7th grade.

So, how do I do it?

Flexibility is Key. Given my employment and other ministry involvements, our schooling situation can change at any moment. Flexibility has been huge for us, and I do not hold to a rigorous schedule. Some days we don’t get much done at all. Sometimes we catch up on the weekends. I have learned to focus on what is most important and let the rest go. This year we focused on Math, History and Science, with a little bit of vocabulary.

Here is a little glimpse of our week:

Mondays. This is my only day off, so we school from about 11:00AM until we are done. Yes, I allow my daughter to sleep in. She is up early the remainder of the week. And besides, I like my quiet time in the morning. Sometimes we take a break in the afternoon to watch a movie together, or grab a coffee or hot chocolate. Sometimes we toss the books out the window (not literally) and opt for a nature lesson outside. My eyes have been opened to the truth that every moment can be a teaching and learning opportunity.

Tuesdays & Fridays. My daughter goes to my sisters and works on her studies there in the mornings. Any work that is not complete is finished in the evenings.

Wednesdays & Thursdays. My daughter goes to my sisters, but has the days free. We school at night on these days, between 7-10PM. It hasn’t always been perfect, but over the last few months, I’ve gotten better at juggling dinner, laundry, cleaning and schooling.

Resources.

Money is very tight, and I don’t have a lot to put into curriculum. We borrowed, bought used on eBay and were offered some for free in exchange for blog reviews. I call my style “hodge podge” and “whatever works to get the job done.”

Final thoughts.

Sometimes I worry that my daughter isn’t learning anything. But I can tell from quiz scores (most of which have been verbal at this point) that she is learning, and that I am being successful in this crazy journey that I’ve said yes to. Do I believe I could have worked full time and schooled in the younger years? I doubt it. The fact is that since my daughter is at an independent age, she pretty much schools herself. I feel as if I am more of a facilitator than a teacher on most days. Nonetheless, her education is now my responsibility and I take it very seriously.

It is freeing to know that homeschooling doesn’t have to look the same for every parent. If you have a desire to school your children, but work full time, it is doable. I’m doing it! The main thing is that you find what works for you and your child. With a lot of time and effort, and LOTS of prayer, you can be a successful homeschooler! I would love to answer any question you may have. I have also written a few posts about homeschooling on my blog. Just do a search.

Barbie is mom of four beautiful children, ages 22, 19, 12 and 9. She works full-time supporting her pastor and church community, and recently began homeschooling. She has a passion to help women walk in their identity and purpose. She loves coffee, chocolate, painting and spending time with her family. Barbie blogs at My Freshly Brewed Life, where she shares honestly about her life and her faith, and is the Managing Editor of 5 Minutes for Faith, a site dedicated to ministering to the heart of women.

Comments

  1. what are your thoughts on homeschooling 8 year old third grader with dyslexia. I have a full time job and my husband works out of the country 3 months at a time. I am frustrated with the school system, but can’t quit my job to homeschool. Just trying to get opinions from mom’s who homeschool and work full-time.

  2. First of all, pray and ask the Lord for his heart. Secondly, I would consider homsechooling year round with your daughter. If you have a support system during the day, she can work on workbooks while you are working. But you can work on the other things at night, and if you school year round it would take some of the pressure off to get it all done in 180 school days. I do not know the homeschool laws in your state, so check there. But considering your husband is away a lot, this might be the best option. But I’ve never schooled a younger child. Praying you find peace in whatever you decide. Thank you for reading!

  3. Barbie, you are simply AMAZING! Can’t figure out when you sleep! Lol! So proud to have you for my #1 example! Balancing everything so well!

    • I’ll tell you a secret! I don’t sleep. Well, I do, but I go to be late. I like to think I lead a well balanced life, but that can’t be farther from the truth. I lead a life filled with God’s grace! Hugs!

  4. Loved reading your story Barbie!! Thank you for sharing! I am struggling lately to find our groove. This season has grown more complex and is going to become even more so when our adopted girls come home. I need to really seek God on how He wants me to teach. My eldest is pretty independent, too, but she does need lots of encouragement and motivation to get going on it.

    • The beautiful thing about homeschooling is it doesn’t have to fit into any kind of box. You have the freedom to school how, when and where you feel you need to. As you add two more to your family (so exciting), God will show you a clear path!

  5. Thank you this post a friend of mind suggested I read it. This will be our first year homeschooling grades 1 & 2. My husband works at night and I during the day. I did have a preschool job lined up for the am but, that fell thorough. so here I am trying to figure out how we are going to do it with both of us working outside the home fulltime. God placed this on my heart to homeschool our children… so with a lot of prayer we are constructing a new plan for our changed situation. Again I thank you for this post. Just what I needed.

  6. Wonderful blog!! Thank you for sharing your words of encouragement. (They ARE encouragement, even if they aren’t intended to be!) My husband and I both work full time, M-F, so it makes homeschooling look like an imposibility, but I know that there IS a way. I just need to figure it out. 😉 I have a question – How much time do you spend on each subject every day? Do you do a different subject each day? I’m trying to figure out how to make my current situation conform to a positive homeschool experience. My son is 7 and will be starting 2nd grade in a week. 🙁

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