Can You Work AND Homeschool?

work-and-homeschoolParents are always concerned about maintaining their standard of living when considering homeschooling. So their first inclination is to try to keep working while homeschooling.

It can be done, but before you decide on whether to work or not, think about these questions:

  1. If you have a spouse or significant other, do you need both incomes?
    Often, expenses can be cut down to a point where both incomes are not necessary, or at least not completely. If you can work it out so that one parent does most of the schooling, and the other does most of the bread-winning the rest can and will come out in the wash with a bit of planning.
    If you're a single parent, do you have, or can you create, a steady stream of income from a home-based business? Do you have enough income to pay for daycare on occasion? 
    This is a tough question, I've met single homeschooling parents who run the gamut from being independently wealthy to being on welfare because they do not work. The truth of the matter is that whatever happens, and whatever you decide, you have to be brutally honest with yourself on what is possible. I do believe it's possible to be a single parent and homeschool - I've seen it! Instead of a spouse with whom to communicate, you need to have a strong relationship with your kids. They need to be on-board and ready to do their best.
  2. How much older is your spouse? Do they have a physical job requiring strength?
    My husband cleans and repairs pools, he is often carrying 100 pounds of chemicals, parts, etc. He's also 11 years older than I am, and cannot do this for the rest of his life, this is a fact. When we discussed homeschooling, that was one of my concerns - what if something happens? I don't need to work full time, but I did need to keep my skills sharp to be able to pick up the slack should the unforeseen happen.
    Moral of the story is that some families have hefty insurance policies, others have skills on which they can fall back. Whichever the case is for you, make sure that you're both clear with expectations, hopes, dreams, and fears. The fears are often far smaller in reality than they are in our head, so getting those out in the air is important.
  3. Do you have the support of your family? Do you have relatives in the area who might be called upon to help? 
    Here's a dicey question. We have some family members who are very supportive and others just sort of look the other way because it's a losing argument. We have the advantage of knowledge, experience, and statistics...
    That said, if you have family who might be willing to help, terrific! If not, start networking. Maybe there's another family who is in the same boat and you can help each other out. Bottom line here is to start getting out there, find meet ups, find groups and co-ops, start talking to people. You never know what you'll find until you look.

Next - Working Homeschoolers: Setting a Schedule that Works

Gail Nelson

Gail is a mom to four kids, two of whom are at home being homeschooled. She teaches violin and viola, and wrote Teach Your Kids Music in 12 Weeks, and blogs sporadically at As Editor in Chief of Learning Tangent, she oversees the daily operations of the magazine.

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