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!
- 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?