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Working and Homeschooling: Meet Tammy

workingandhomeschoolingmeettammyHave you ever wondering how you can work and homeschool?  Many families make it work.  Meet Tammy.  She works full-time away from home and homeschools her daughter.

Who are you homeschooling?

I’ve homeschooled my daughter Tess since kindergarten.  She just turned 15 and is a freshman.

What work do you do?

I am married and have 3 children; identical twin boys who are 26 and went to private schools. My daughter is 15 and has not attended traditional school. We live in a small town. My husband and I own a liquor store (that’s a story in itself) I am vice president of the library board, my husband is president of the chamber of commerce. As with small town life, we volunteer in various areas and keep busy!

How many hours do you work each week?

When we started homeschooling, we lived in city of about 400,000,  I worked one day a week. During the early elementary years, we were part of an online homeschool.  We scheduled our week so that we completed our school week in four days.  This was pretty easy to do, I was home all day, our schedule of courses for the week printed out.  We marked them off our printout as completed.  Tess could see progress being made and learned how to budget time.

At about fourth grade, we moved to a much smaller community (about 1080).  We also transitioned out of the online school program and became independents.  I worked on call which caused us to learn flexibility. I didn’t always have much notice as to my schedule.    When I was at work, Tess could come with me and work on her own or she could work at her dad’s office.  Any questions or additional instruction came in the evening.

Our lives became really interesting when we bought our own business 3.5 years ago, Tess was in middle school.  Our mornings are spent on instruction; her afternoons are spent on schoolwork and chores.  During our instruction time, I write down in my book what I’ve assigned, what we’ve done together.  Tess is responsible for writing down in her notebook what she did and the time she spent on each subject. (this eliminates the “I forgot”)  We go over the previous day’s work each morning.  If she has questions while I am at work, she texts, or waits until I get home to complete the work.

I work about 47 hours per week, away from home.  While I am working, Tess finishes her schoolwork and chores.  She volunteers at our library for several hours one afternoon each week.  She helps with the Books and Babies program in our community as well.

What does a typical homeschooling week look like in your homeschool?

We start our school day by looking over work for the previous day, discuss any problems or questions from those assignments.  Next, we go through the assignments for that day.  While I am home, we make sure to discuss/cover everything that is expected to be completed that day.  If we need to be away, there are always things that can be read in the car and worked on while waiting for the car, dr apt, etc.   We usually don’t do any schoolwork on the weekend.

How do you combine homeschooling and working into something that works for your family?

This summer we made the decision to school year round.  We discovered that we could complete 4 years of high school in 3 if we took out the 3 month breaks.   I made a chart divided into semesters with the state requirements (master list) for graduation off to the side.  Each semester has a list of courses to be taught (in pencil) along with the dates to start/complete (also in pencil!) We take two weeks break between semesters and will take a day or two off during the semester as needed.

I have a high school notebook that is divided into subjects.  Each week, we log the lessons and time spent on each course.  The final grade for that course is written on the sheet at the end of the semester.  The course is marked off of the master list on the chart once it’s completed.

What tips would you give to someone considering combining homeschooling and working?

For the working homeschool family, organization and cooperation are essential.  If Tess doesn’t do the expected work for the day, she knows she will have extra the next day.  After a few times, of “I forgot” she learned it doesn’t pay to procrastinate.  She can, and does at times, extend her work into the evening.  I don’t mind as long as it’s done before she goes to bed.  Her dad is our biggest supporter, he understands the time commitment and helps out when he can.  He has volunteered to teach a “night course” in a few semesters!

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