by Kathy Green
The legal and practical aspects of homeschooling require you, the parent, to oversee and direct the process of educating your child. You’re in charge. Many working parents believe that working and homeschooling is out of the question for them. Not true! The real story is that there are many parents, including single parents, that must work, but have found ways to make homeschooling possible for their family.
It may take a period of trial and error and a bit of creativity to find what works for your family, but the effort is worth it! The rewards of homeschooling can be happier, healthier kids who are reaching their full learning potential, a less stressful lifestyle and more harmony in your home. Since homeschooling is a way of life (YOUR way of life!) rather than a compartmentalized and timed system of learning, families can incorporate learning into any hour of any day, all year long!
Remember that there are 168 hours in a week. Even if you are working 40 hours a week, there are still many more hours for parent-directed learning to take place. Depending on the age of the child, formal education in a homeschool setting takes anywhere from 20 minutes (for early learners) to three hours a day (at the high school level), five days a week. At most, that’s 15 hours a week! Understanding this frees parents from thinking that they need to be instructing their children at home for 6 hours a day each day.
Others can help teach, too. Even though you are in charge, delegating can be key to working parents! Master the art of delegation. Involve older siblings, grandparents and other genuinely interested relatives in teaching some subjects. Also, most homeschool families do employ the assistance of private instructors in specialty areas, such as music, sports, and the arts from time to time. Some hire private tutors for areas where they feel students need more instruction or support than they can provide. Sometimes a local homeschool co-op day can be added to the mix. There are lots of ways to create a winning combination for your child’s formal program of study.
Informal learning adds to the process of homeschooling, too, and typically requires much less direct parental involvement. This type of learning is where homeschooling shines! Natural learning and development happen for children throughout the day, wherever they are and through whatever it is they are doing. Whether they are at play, hard at work on a project, spending time with grandparents or friends, or engaging in an activity that they love, learning and education are always taking place. This is the education that really forms the child, births passions, and helps them to become who they are meant to be. Informal learning takes up the better part of a child’s day and adds many more hours for those who are counting!
Sometimes it’s just a matter of gaining the support and confidence needed to take the first steps into the world of homeschooling as a working parent. Please reach out to HOME for guidance and reassurance. Join our Facebook page, "Working and Homeschooling in Maine," to connect with other families who are, or have, worked and homeschooled, successfully. You CAN do this!
Kathy and her husband Ed are the parents of four grown daughters who were homeschooled through the 12th grade. They are now helping with the homeschooling of their grandchildren!
In 1990, Ed and Kathy founded Homeschoolers of Maine in an effort to provide information, support and encouragement to homeschoolers throughout the state.