Like most women in America, I find myself extremely busy. I am the mother of three children, the wife of a teacher, coach and part-time cattle farmer, a blogger, a homeschooler and, oh by the way, I have a full time job.
Many of the homeschooling families that I come in contact with are ones in which the husband works outside the home and the mother works at home as the resident domestic goddess and educator extraordinaire. When I mention to people that I have a full time job and homeschool, the cries of, “Wow – I could never do that!” increase exponentially and I am often asked how I can manage to do both. In this article, I will give you my answers to that question.
I am able to manage working and homeschooling because:
I have a wonderfully supportive network.
In my professional experience as a Foster Family Coordinator and Child and Family Therapist, I have had the privilege of training families to open their homes to children in need. One of the main points that we attempt to convey as we prepare families for this monumental task is that ASKING FOR HELP IS A STRENGTH, NOT A WEAKNESS. I have learned to apply this in my own life and in the area of homeschooling, especially. Having a supportive network of friends who believe in what you do and ones who are willing to step in and help when you need it is essential to your ability to be an effective and confident educator. My network includes my Mother-In-Law who keeps my children twice a week so that I can attend meetings (and make uninterrupted phone calls – remember those?), a wonderful group of homeschooling neighbors who provide many opportunities for “socialization”, a co-worker who swaps with me for child care once a week for a few hours, a wonderfully engaged husband who tends to the kids in the evenings if I have work that is still pressing and a whole host of others who help me carry the load that would otherwise weigh me down and prevent me from being able to follow the call to educate my own.
Working a flexible schedule is very helpful but not necessary.
For me, working a job that allows me flexibility has been an important aspect of how we schedule our days. Fortunately, I am able to work from home and can take time between my work tasks to do formal lessons with my children at various times throughout the day. Because I have been with the same company for nearly 15 years, I have built a relationship with my employer that enables me to have the flexibility to work for a paycheck as well as spend the time that I need to educate my children. Approaching your employer about a flexible schedule is easier when you have proven that you are a valuable and trustworthy asset to the team. Now… I bet that someone is shaking her head and …