Homeschool, Influence, Motherhood, Working & Homeschooling
Comments 16

Working While Homeschooling: Past, Present, Pressures

do women work while homeschooling? via lagarfias.com

We are the few, the brave, the uncounted, but increasing numbers of homeschool mothers are also working mothers. Undeniably this is a growing trend – for many reasons – and unmistakeably so. Nearly every other homeschool mother you meet is also contributing to the family budget in some meaningful way.

Working and Homeschooling Before

This was not the case a generation ago, when I was a homeschool student instead of a homeschool mom. The homeschool movement was still in the pioneering stages then. Parents were by and large unconnected to resources, publishers, and support groups. Finding information, materials, and encouragement was time-consuming and difficult. Most homeschool families utilized institutional materials and methods, which took time and effort to convert to home use. Legal threats in the nation-wide hostility toward parental rights in education caused each family to spend even more time and effort on reporting, records, and paperwork. Homeschooling was more than a full-time job itself.

Even if a mother did assist her husband by working part-time in or out of the home, social pressures kept her from saying it openly. Most homeschool families came from conservative churches where godly womanhood was divided along “stay-at-home” or “working woman.” Public misconceptions regarding homeschooling pressured women to assure questioners she was devoting undivided attention to her children’s education. One large homeschool legal defense organization reportedly denied representation for any family with two wage earners. It was not in a homeschool mother’s best interest to openly say, “I work and homeschool my children.”

Working and Homeschooling Now

It is a much different scenario today. The growth of homeschool support groups and the invention of internet and social media make information and assistance readily accessible for any homeschool parent. The homeschool materials boom in the last 2 decades provides a plethora of easy, affordable, accessible ways to teach your children any subject under the sun. Freedom for homeschooling and relaxing of regulations frees families to concentrate on real learning.

There is no longer a stigma attached to working, either. Not to diminish the real problem of feminism within our society and even churches, godly women have found a new path: putting God and family first, they strive to be a helpmeet to their husbands, discipler of their children, and shining example within their homes, churches, and communities while exercising their God-given gifts and talents for His glory.

Where are They Working?

Talk to any number of homeschool moms and you will find a variety of ways they work. These busy, organized, talented women are entrepreneurs, freelance writers, consultants, and tutors. They direct co-ops, keep books, run day-cares, design websites, and provide public relations. Some bake, sew, counsel, and decorate. They are in sales, advertising, education, nursing, and the performing arts.

How Do They Work While Homeschooling?

Ask any working homeschool mom, and you are likely to get a wry response to that question.

  • We don’t do it all at once!
  • Delegation.
  • By the seat of my pants.
  • Lists and more lists. Even a list for me.
  • Some days better than others.

I understand the pressure of working while homeschooling. I have worked as a private music teacher/church music director for the entire time we’ve been homeschooling our four children (working between 20-40 hours a week), up until two years ago. I then put music aside for health reasons while I began writing for the homeschool community.

I now work in web publishing is nearly full-time. I’m also taking college courses at the Institute for Creation Research’s new School of Biblical Apologetics. I have four children, ages four to thirteen, that I am teaching classically. I know the physical, emotional, and spiritual pressures that working while homeschooling brings.

I plan to write more on this topic in the future, since I know a lot of you are in the same boat. In fact, I’ve outlined several posts already for this series. In the future, we’ll discuss topics like

  • Setting and maintaining your priorities
  • Schedules: can’t live with them, can’t live without them
  • The spiritual life of the busy, working homeschool mom
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Making marriage a priority
  • One-on-one with your children
  • Balancing friendships
  • And more.

In the meantime, I want to hear from you. Are you a working homeschool mom? What are your biggest struggles? 

16 Comments

  1. Great post, Lea Ann! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, especially setting priorities and scheduling. The Lord knows, I need all the help I can get…

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  2. Great post! I’ve always done something, too, but this year it feels like more because I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grow up and I’m doing it! I’m halfway to a master’s degree in English (yep, that’s a lot of work in itself!), teaching several English classes at a local community college (just started this fall, so it’s a new learning curve to boot), homeschooling my youngest (who needs a lot of attention still for learning), and carting my 16 y.o. (doesn’t have her license yet) to CC classes, work, and everywhere else. Oh, and I have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I’ll tell you how I manage it all: not very well! Many good things have gone by the wayside, some intentionally, some not. I’ll look forward to reading how you do it! 🙂 Hey, would you like to do a guest post for my blog on scheduling?

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    • I would love, love, love to get my masters, but I’m not adept enough at scheduling to try to do it while homeschooling! I really admire you for doing all that at once! I wonder how many years until my 7-year-old is independent enough to allow me to continue my education? He’s a little hyper-active, and while he can read well enough on his own, I really need to be in the same room with him most of the time to keep him on task. Good luck with everything!

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    • Bethany: Right now I am SWAMPED and struggling to keep up with my writing commitments I have already. : / Will you ask me again in a couple months? I anticipate hitting my stride then. HA! (famous last words)

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  3. Wow, Lea Ann. I had no idea you worked full-time AND homeschooled! I definitely want to hear how you do this, as I have been applying for jobs as well, and I want to continue homeschooling. We love the curriculum we are using, but it is also time-consuming. You prove that it is possible to work and homeschool. I can’t wait to hear your strategy!

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  4. Lea Ann, it’s refreshing to read this. Many, many of us are in your shoes, and I know that there are NO easy answers to many of the struggles we face when we try to juggle too much. Yet for many of us, simple economics require that we help our husbands in this way. So, we figure God is going to give us the strength we need, day by day by day. I really look forward to this series of posts… but take your time, too! LOL! Don’t do too much! 🙂
    hUGS,
    ~aNNE

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    • So great of you to stop by, my busy friend. I have a little time cut out of my weekly schedule to explore this topic more with my good friends here, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s input, too.

      Have a great week!

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  5. Pingback: Dreams and Passions of Homeschool « My Personal Homeschool Blog

  6. Pingback: Priorities | Whatever State I Am

  7. Thanks so much for this post, Lea Ann. This afternoon, which I’m trying to juggle everything during a week when I feel like just crawling in bed and staying there, I just felt like I needed to click on my Google Reader (I have 226 unread items – I’m a little behind!). I have two very good friends whose posts I always click on first when I’m behind, well, first after my hubby’s that is! But, today I clicked on yours first without a thought. It was a nudge from the Lord, I know!

    I do not earn an income. But, lately I’ve seen a huge increase in “work” outside of my responsibilities as a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom. Ministry opportunities. Writing opportunities. Administration opportunities. The hours I put into them seem to equal a 20-30 hour part time job. I love it all, but I have not balanced them well at all for the past two months. Reading this post and your Priorities post encouraged me so much because it reminded me that God has brought these opportunities into my life, and He has a plan to balance them all if I will just submit to that plan! Thank you for the encouragement!

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    • Great point, Ann. Our “work” is not measured in merely paying hours, but also the volunteer, ministry, and pro bono activities that take up so much time and energy.

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  8. Edie Patrick says

    Thank you so much for opening your heart and encouraging mine. I work part time as a nurse in a local hospital and homeschool our 2 daughters. Some days I think that the best thing to do would be to just put the girls back in public school but then the Lord shows me in small but sound ways that He is in control and He will help me be a little better organized!! Again, thank you and keep up the good work.

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  9. Pingback: Working While Homeschooling: Schedules | Lea Ann Garfias

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