Have you ever wondering how you can work and homeschool? Many families make it work. Meet Bree. She works full-time away from home and homeschools her son.
Who are you homeschooling?
My 8 year old son
What work do you do?
911 Public Safety Dispatch for a smaller PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point)
How many hours do you work each week?
40 plus overnight hours 4 nights/10 hr shifts
Do you work at home or away from home?
Away from home, hour drive each way commute
What do your kids do while you are working?
He mostly lives somewhere between my husband’s and my shift, so my son sleeps part of the time I’m away. The rest is time with his father, time as family, time out of the house for field trips or activities such as Lego Build and Play events, Home Depot workshops, Karate classes, Museum time, grandparents time.
What does a typical homeschooling week look like in your homeschool?
4 days our son has time with his father as listed above. 3 days a week, we do self interest learning including unschool and eclectic curriculum choices along with reading, writing, math workbook and online work for basics. Science is mostly child led, but in our kitchen or inside pot garden. Social Studies is formally Little Passports activities, but daily citizenship and manners. We don’t keep to a schedule due to my shift, unless a formal class/activity time has a set time like Karate and out of the house workshops.
How do you combine homeschooling and working into something that works for your family?
I am the primary teacher of our son, at his choice, mostly. I keep to a 3 day school week with his father taking him on field trips 1 -2 times during my work week so that I can sleep days for work. We overlap one day, usually, and it’s a review day or family time.
What are some of your greatest challenges related to homeschooling and working?
We did have our son in school for pre K and Kindergarten. Our biggest challenge was a series of indifferent or abusive teachers who told him he was “stupid and would never get it,” before he was 6. Impressionable, he believed them and went non-verbal and stopped wanting to learn, stopped caring. It’s taken 2 and half years, but we finally have him, angry and defiantly, doing curriculum essentials. However, he is verbal. I do his speech therapy with him regularly. He, also, laughs, dances and sings now and loves child led science and art activities. There is little to no support in my area. Those that say they have a group are restrictive and exclusionary.
What tips would you give to someone considering combining homeschooling and working?
If you don’t have a support group, create one. Family, friends, actively look for homeschoolers online, in person, however you can find them. Also, do not forget self care. You can’t teach them how to be adjusted, happy adults if you are not adjusted and happy yourself. Just as we want them to find their passion, we have to follow ours, including and, sometimes especially, the passions that don’t include our children.
Anything else you would like to share?
It has been a long, hard road of recovery from the apathy and anger and trauma from public school. We do, however, support the decision of others to public school their children. Everyone has their own best fit. Trust your instincts. This is your child(ren), your future and theirs. Sometimes the best learning happens on a reset day. Sometimes just snuggling and watching movies and reading books counts. We need to teach them how and when to relax as much as how and when to learn. Hugs are the best connection. The next best, in our house, is movie or kitchen time (depending on the day and mood).