Is it possible to work full-time and homeschool my kids? There are many methods and strategies for successfully homeschooling students while working simultaneously. We have compiled some tips and tools to help parents aiming to optimize their homeschooling experience.
Working and Homeschooling?
Homeschooling has been rising heavily in recent years, with more families than ever before leaving the public school system in favor of alternative learning options. One report by the American Enterprise Institute stated that from the period of the spring 2020 semester and the fall 2020 semester, over 1.2 million K-12 students had left the public school system. This was more than 1 in every 37 students leaving the public school system and seeking more fitting alternatives. (Malkus 2022). For many of these families, homeschooling may be the solution. In fact, according to research conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooled students usually score above average on the SAT and ACT standardized exams which colleges consider for admissions purposes.
At first, homeschooling your children while working full-time may seem like a daunting and nearly impossible task; however, with careful planning and a structured schedule, it can be an excellent fit for any family looking to homeschool. If you are hesitant, you are not alone. According to a recent poll conducted by the National Household Education Surveys Program, only 12 percent of Americans believe that both parents working full-time is compatible with a student attending school year-round (U.S. Department of Education). Thus, an estimated 88 percent of Americans do not believe it is possible for both parents to work full-time hours and provide a viable education for their children. However, this is not the case for many homeschooling families. Even with the challenging task of homeschooling students while working part-time or full-time, there are many methods for success. Here are a few overarching strategies for success in homeschooling elementary students.
1. Adhere to a consistent and structured schedule.
It is important, especially for younger students, to have a predictable routine surrounding their curriculum and coursework. One of the ways parents can implement this method is by instilling set ‘school hours’ for their students. These hours do not have to mimic typical public school hours. Often, for homeschooling families with both parents working, it can be more successful to have students scheduled schooltime to coincide with parents’ time at home before or after work. Regardless of the time chosen to fit your families’ schedule, the importance in implementing this method is consistency. Another useful suggestion for a well structured schedule is to keep a consistent and detailed planner with lessons, assignments, and content covered in a weekly breakdown format for your kids. This can help keep students and parents on the right track and the same page. There are many weekly planners for students and parents available for both purchase and for free online.
2. Build a strong support system.
Homeschooling on its own can be a challenge, so homeschooling while working full-time can be daunting initially for many families. The next major step for success in homeschooling your students is to build a support network. This can be your spouse, friends, family members, or even other parents at work! It is incredibly important that you have someone you trust who can help take some of the load off and give you some time to breathe in between your kids’ online class times and assignments. The goal is to have a reliable network of supportive people who can contribute to helping you when work responsibilities or household tasks become burdensome.
3. Plan your students’ academics in advance.
Students in all grades have coursework which is critical to their educational development and success in later years. There are many various curriculum paths that can be followed, and there is no universally correct path to follow. If you plan your students’ coursework and curriculum path in advance, to a certain degree, this can be very beneficial in providing further structure to your student’s educational journey. Aim to plan the academic years’ classes and curriculum in advance; you should aim to challenge your students with rigorous coursework without overwhelming them. It is incredibly important to place your students in the applicable classes for their ability levels; otherwise, it can become discouraging and difficult for students in classes above their level or frustrating and boring for students who are in classes below their ability range. Thus, knowing your students abilities and planning in advance is key for success in homeschooling your students and working simultaneously.
Ultimately, there are many methods for working full-time employment and homeschooling your kids. There is no singular correct strategy for homeschooling successfully, and this can look different for every family. However, careful planning, consistent structure, and establishing a strong support system are all universally beneficial strategies for success in this endeavor. Since so many people are leaving public school in favor of better alternatives, it might be time to ask yourself, is it time for you to start your homeschooling journey?
Malkus, Nat. Pandemic Enrollment Fallout: School District Enrollment Changes Across COVID-19 Response. American Enterprise Institute, 2022. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep42710. Accessed 13 Dec. 2022.
McPhee, C., Jackson, M., Bielick, S., Masterton, M., Battle, D., McQuiggan, M., Payri, M.,Cox, C., and Medway, R. (forthcoming). National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016: Data File User’s Manual (NCES 2017-100). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.