I heard all the horror stories about homeschooling and decided a while back that it was not for me. I had had a hard enough time helping my son with his preschool homework so there was no way we could make the homeschool situation work. I had also encountered a few homeschool moms and they were either overwhelmed with homeschool or overwhelmed with homeschool, there was no in between, no middle ground. I imagined myself up all night doing lesson plans, frequenting Staples, turning my beloved office space into a full fledged classroom and spending hundreds of dollars a year on curriculum. Nope, not how I envisioned my life. Besides, I didn’t think homeschooling was possible as a working mom.
We lived in an okay school district but wanted the best for our children so we purchased a home in an area where the schools had the best ratings. I was sure that I would be pleased with the school because it met the requirements that I had; diverse in student body and high academic achievement. Then kindergarten happened. I was just flat out disappointed and there are a myriad of reasons for my disappointment. Some of my reasons include:
- Lack of diversity in leadership and therefore a lack of cultural sensitivity – This is important to me and maybe it’s something I should have considered before sending him. We dealt with a minor issue of discrimination and the administration was receptive to my feedback, but had they had a diverse leadership body the issue may have never occurred in the first place.
- Total removal of all things of faith – Now, in sending him to public school I was aware that there wouldn’t be an integration of faith into the curriculum but I didn’t know that even the mention of God would be discouraged. For me, this was a game changer.
- Exposure – We purposely monitor the media that we allow our children to consume. There are certain radio stations, movies and television shows that we simply do not allow them to watch. My son would come home singing the latest pop songs, the very songs that I had attempted to prevent him from listening too. What’s the big deal? Well he was only in kindergarten and I think children have their entire lives to be grown, let them be kids for as long as they can.
- Lack of “real” American history – As an African American, this is a touchy subject for me, but I want to make sure that my children are aware of their history, pre and post slavery. I wanted to teach them about Africa and the greatness that lies in that continent and I want them to know more about African American history than Dr. King and Frederick Douglass.
- Flexibility – The elementary school schedule is grueling for a work from home mom. School starts at 7:30am, which means I have to have him up, fed and ready to roll by 7:15am. The year we did traditional school, it was a nightmare. From the long carpool lines to the constant requests for volunteers in the class, my schedule was almost impossible to manage.
We just completed our first year of homeschooling and it was everything! We used the free Easy Peasy online curriculum and also studied Africa and African American history. He also took Math at a local co-op. Some might argue that homeschooling is more of an option for me because I work from home, but moms who work both in the home and outside of the home are opting to homeschool.
Met Rachel Emshoff…
We are a family of 7. I have five children, three children are from my first marriage and we have two children together. I work full time weekends as an RN. I chose to homeschool for many reasons! I wanted to give my children an education that focused on helping them gain the tools to educate themselves based off their own learning styles. We wanted flexibility to learn out in the world taking more field trips and traveling the U.S. We also want a faith based education that allowed them more freedom in exploring the bible and seeing evolution as a theory not a main topic. During my own experiences in college, observing children in school I wanted to avoid free use of personal electronics in school and internet, use as well as bullying.
We use Abeka because it was highly recommended to us because of the Christian values integrated into the curriculum. We use a lot of Pinterest for science and miscellaneous ideas. I also give research topics or let them follow their interests.
Advantages to Homeschooling
The advantages of homeschooling for us have been flexibility to travel and learn. We have been able to take more field trips too! I enjoy watching my children learn and being more hands on with them. Again the Christian values are important to us and we simply can’t afford private schooling with five kids.
Here’s how other working moms are making homeschool a reality…
“ I work full time as a prosecutor and homeschool through Classical Conversations curriculum. I homeschool nights and weekends. Dad has been out of work/in school most of time since we started last year so they are home with him or their older siblings. My kids are 4, 7, 11, 15, and 19. I homeschool the youngest three but have a deal with a daycare that lets me drop the 4 year old off as needed. The other two are old enough to come to office with me except on court days. I work extra early to make up for time I miss on community days and work from home as needed.
I chose to homeschool because of the bad influences and bullying at our local school.
Before homeschooling, my commute was 8 hours a day to bring them to better charter/private schools. I chose to homeschool because of the bad influences and bullying at our local school.” – Sharrolyn Jackson Miles
“ I am a homeschooling mom of 3 and decided to homeschool my oldest way before my other children were in the picture. My oldest daughter actually asked me to homeschool her. She was getting reprimanded for reading ahead in books and her school had very little art opportunities. This may not seem like a big deal except for the fact that she draws, paints, and sculpts as much as she can and and since the age or 8 has read two to three books a week. Another major factor was the socialization and influence that she was receiving in public school…as well as the lack of and misinformation related to multicultural education. When I remembered that I had a double major in Literature and African American history, our homeschooling journey began.
…we did homeschool work like other families do homework before or after dinner.
When I worked, I worked an early shift where I got home around 3:30-4pm and we did homeschool work like other families do homework before or after dinner. We also did a bit on the weekends. I had childcare during the day and asked that they go to museums, parks, etc. while I was at work.” – Amber El
The fact is, homeschooling is possible, you just have to be open to a unique schedule and arrangement that best fits your family. On the other hand, homeschooling may not be a possibility or the best fit for you. It does require patience, time and focus that you may not have working full time or running a business. Just know that there are options if indeed homeschooling is your desire. Here are some suggestions if you work a traditional schedule:
- Hire a tutor or caregiver during the day that can do some learning activities with the kids.
- Find a homeschool co-op in your area.
- Complete schoolwork after work hours and on weekends.
- Work out a more flexible schedule with your boss (maybe telecommute once or twice a week, half days once a week or come in earlier so that you can leave earlier).
- Ask God for wisdom. He can and will show you how to make it work.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
Are you a working homeschool mom? We would love to hear how you are making it work. Share your schedule in the comments and we may feature you in a future article on homeschooling!