Homeschooling when you work full time can seem nearly impossible, but it’s actually quite doable. In fact, thousands of families – including those with two working parents – are doing it every single day. While there are some concerns that shouldn’t be ignored, there are ways to tackle every aspect of homeschooling while working full time. Here’s how!
How to Start Homeschooling When You Work Full Time
Before getting into the meat of homeschooling, you’ll first want to make sure you are legally compliant. Every state (and country) has its own set of homeschooling laws to help govern home education. Check what those are for where you live and take the necessary steps for filing with your local board of education.
In most cases, you’ll need to un-enroll your students from their public or private school institution and fill out paperwork to show legal intent to homeschool. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be required to do more. Once that’s done, use the following 5 tips for making your journey a breeze.
Valuable Tips for Homeschooling While Working Full Time
Once you’ve taken the proper steps to begin educating your kids at home, it’s time to see what homeschooling looks like when you work full time.
Tip #1: Communication is key
Whether one parent is working full time, both working, or a single parent working outside the home, communication is key. And it doesn’t stop with the parents. Everyone in the family should be in on the communication loop, including the kids. This prevents any hiccups due to the lack of knowing important information.
Families have a variety of ways they choose to keep everyone in the know, from holding weekly family meetings to using a wall calendar and apps synced on each other’s phones. Decide the best communication method for your family and establish it first.
Tip #2: Consider childcare (if necessary).
Once you decide to start homeschooling when you work full time, childcare is often the next biggest hurdle for working parents to tackle. If you will be educating younger kids, it’s a great idea to get this in place as soon as possible.
When our kids were younger, we hired a nanny to care for them while both my husband and I were working. I adjusted my schedule to head to work before my kids woke up, so our nanny took care of them from 6:30 am – 1:30 pm. She would handle household chores and meal prep, then when I got home, I’d handle homeschooling. It worked out great for our family.
Check local establishments in your area that offer education-based childcare, Charter schools, or other solutions such as teachers who teach from home. Even if you have older children, always consider security and maturity levels.
Tip #3: Create a manageable routine and/or schedule.
Creating a schedule and routine will be much easier once you’ve determined whether or not you need childcare. The best rule of thumb is to start with a simple schedule because you can always add to it. Starting with a full plate can make homeschooling seem more stressful and overwhelming for parents working full time.
It’s also important to understand the difference between a routine and a schedule. Think of going to work every day at a certain time as your schedule. What you do on a daily basis while you’re at work would be considered your routine. The same can be applied to what you choose to create for your homeschooled kids.
Tip #4: Get your kids involved in helping around the house.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t stop, it’s the household activities – especially chores. Now that you’ll have your kids at home, don’t hesitate to solicit their help around the home. This can easily become part of their daily routine as well. Consider establishing a chore system that will help keep every aspect of the housework in order.
Another major part to include is meal planning and prep. When your meals are planned that’s one less thing to worry about. Set up a routine for what day of the week you’ll sit down to meal plan and the best days of the week to go grocery shopping (or opt-in for having them delivered). Get your kids to help with the meal prep, and eventually, they’ll be able to prepare a meal for the whole family. This will take a huge load off your plate!
Tip #5: Outsource.
Outsourcing can become your best friend when homeschooling when you work full time.
With the rise of online classes, courses, and tutors, there are a variety of ways to meet your kids’ educational needs. Here is a great resource for online education programs to consider. With the increase of homeschooling in general, there are also live programs and CO-OP groups that can help take the load off.
In no way should you feel like you have to teach all the things. Even stay-at-home homeschooling parents utilize these resources! Consider outsourcing subjects that aren’t your strong suit or ones that your kids could use extra help with. Outsourcing also comes in handy for elective classes too!
This is also a great strategy for getting non-homeschool responsibilities done. Consider hiring a house cleaner for bi-monthly deep cleaning or a landscaper to help care for your yard. Rely on grocery delivery services to free up a few hours a week (or make meal prep really simple with a meal kit like Hello Fresh). And for one-off tasks you don’t have time for, find help on Task Rabbit.
Final Thoughts about Homeschooling and Working Full-Time
Taking on the responsibility of homeschooling when you work full time can be rewarding. I don’t want to make it sound like it can be done without any challenges because, as with everything in life, there will be a few to overcome. The tips and suggestions mentioned here are simply to help you be prepared for some of the most common problems experienced by families who are choosing to homeschool and work full time.
One last encouraging piece of advice… keep in mind that homeschooling doesn’t have to look like the traditional 8am to 3pm.
In some cases, you and your children may find it more feasible to homeschool in the afternoon or evening. Other times you may do a few lessons over the weekend. Even then, you can take learning outside the box and include lots of hands-on, project-based, field-trip packed educational experiences. You’ll quickly see how everyday life is one big lesson that can be used too!