Homeschooling vs. a Job

In this corner, we have homeschooling! Staying home, keeping house, being in charge of the education of your children, and being the manager of your home are all important things in life and many of us believe that they are God’s will for our lives. In that corner, there’s a job. Working outside of the home and bringing home a paycheck might be truly necessary for survival. Are these two things are totally at odds with each other?

Believe it or not, these two things don’t have to be in opposition. For the last 9 months, I’ve done both! I work part-time outside of the home as a massage therapist at a local spa, and I also homeschool my 5 children. Trust me on this: If I can do it, you can too!

In the past, I’ve had issues with judging moms who told me that they “had to” have a job to make “ends meet,” because I knew that we had made a specific decision to sacrifice a certain lifestyle in order for me to stay home with the kids. But, after living for 2 years in a home of less than 1000 square feet of space, trying to get dinner and dishes done in a kitchen that wasn’t big enough for two people to stand in and many more “sacrifices” that I don’t have space to mention, I was tired.

There are simply a few necessary things that my family needs in order to function. (One of those things is enough room to stand in the kitchen and allow a child to retrieve a drink of water without having to step into the hallway. Seriously.)

Homeschooling and Working

How do the kids get in all of their school work? How do I keep up with the house since the kids are at home all day and I am not? Well, I’ll tell you that it took us a while to get into the groove, and we’ve had to change it up a time or two.

At first, my husband was out of a job. With him home, it went pretty easily at first. I just wrote out the lesson plans at the beginning of each week and made sure that hubby knew what the kids should be working on during the day so he could keep them on task.

Then, he got a job, and things changed. I shuffled my schedule so that I worked longer hours on fewer days. I only work 2 days each week, plus 2 Saturdays each month. For a while, his sister helped us. I worked out a list of school work, lesson plans, and chore responsibilities, and she kept them on task. In fact, they seemed to get more work done on the days she was with them then on the days I was home. (Oops.)

Work Out a Schedule

I hate schedules. I’m a fly-by-my-pants kinda momma. Sometimes it has served well, and sometimes I have let it be my excuse. I’m convinced that the Lord allowed some circumstances in my life in order to teach me better discipline and self-control so that I could teach the kids better.

We have to have a schedule here these days. I’ve had to schedule the boys’ school subjects so that none of them need the computer at the same time. I’ve scheduled art for days I’m at home. I’ve scheduled activities for the preschoolers (twin 4-year-olds), and each of my older students (15, 11, and 10) has at least a half hour of time with them daily.

Here is a quick outline of how the schedule looks at the moment. Until after Spring Break, the kids are home without us for 2 days each week. It’s only a few hours, and hubby comes home for lunch. My oldest will be 16 this month and is capable of watching the kids. It’s with his help things get done; I don’t know what I’d do without him!

  • 9am – Up, Breakfast, Instructions
  • 10am – School Starts, 11yo computer first
  • 10:30 – Mom leaves on Monday/Friday
  • 12:00pm – 10yo Reads to Twins
  • 12:30 – Lunch, Dad is home
  • 1pm – Chores from Chart
  • 1:30 – 10yo computer, 11yo twin time
  • 2pm – Teen twin instruction activity time
  • 3pm – Dad home, teen computer
  • 4pm – School complete
  • 6:30 – Mom home

There you have it! You CAN work outside of the home, at least part-time, and still homeschool your children. The main components include an adult helper or an older teen who can ensure the safety of young ones, and a great schedule that you can work lesson plans around in order to accommodate the needs of your family and homeschool. It’s totally doable! Seek the Lord’s counsel and what He would have you do in this season, and all will work out for your good. Be blessed!

By DaLynn McCoy, 9 year homeschooling veteran to 5 kids ages 15, 11, 10, 4, and 4. DaLynn blogs about faith, homeschooling, and health at For the Display of His Splendor.

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