If you’ve been blessed to be able to homeschool your children without having to find additional work for pay, I’m sure you’re thankful, since homeschooling is a lot of work already! If, however, you find that you need to generate income in addition to homeschooling, know you are not alone. It’s not easy, but it can be done with some purposeful planning and intentional prayer. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider when looking for ways to help make ends meet.
Explore “Work at Home” Options
Technology is making it easier than ever before for certain types of work to be done from home. Are you skilled in an area that allows for working remotely? My friend, Kay, has put her teaching skills to work as a tutor for an online school with “office hours” scheduled around her homeschool day. You may have sales skills, artistic abilities or other talents that would allow you to start your own company and set your own hours around your homeschool responsibilities. The actual instruction time you need to homeschool probably will not take 8 hours, so you may have time to squeeze in some “work at home” hours after school is done.
Alternate Shifts Between Mom & Dad
Though you may sometimes feel like ships passing in the night, it is possible for one parent to work days and the other to work nights and to share the household and homeschool teaching tasks. My husband and I were able to arrange this alternating schedule with him working full-time day shifts and helping with school in the evenings and on weekends while I worked part-time nights and taught the bulk of the subjects during the day. If you split up the subjects based on your abilities and interests, you can both be working parent-teachers. Your children will benefit from the quality time spent with both of you.
Call in the Grandparents
An emerging trend of having retired grandparents oversee the homeschool while parents are working has been successful for some families. Parents still provide the oversight, vision and choose the curriculum, but the grandparents are the ones ensuring the children are safe, nourished and staying on track with their lessons during the school day. Parents may even teach new lessons in the early evenings after dinner so that the grandparents can simply oversee the “homework” or practice sections and activities of the curriculum the following day. A friend of mine works as a nurse on weekends and holidays when her husband is home to care for the kiddos. She occasionally needs to work on a weekday so her parents fill in as the substitute teachers for the homeschool. Her kids love this change of pace and the grandparents are happy to help and spend time with their grandchildren. Grandparents can also help for just a few hours, if mom and dad’s work shifts create a gap in child care.
Utilize Online or Self-paced Curriculum.
Older children using self-paced or online curriculum programs will not require as much teaching time from you, thus freeing you up to work while still having time to oversee their education. Once you’ve researched and made your curriculum or program choice, your role may be simplified to correcting tests, giving feedback on writing assignments and projects, and monitoring daily and weekly progress. This option can be an excellent choice when both parents need to work and still want to find a way to homeschool children who are mature enough to work independently.
Swap Homeschool Days
Do you have a friend or family member who is also homeschooling and wants to work part-time like you? Perhaps you can alternate and each work three days and school both sets of children three days Monday through Saturday? This arrangement would require the adults to have similar views on homeschool methods and curriculum choices and to set expectations ahead of time. The schedule you work out could be a blessing for both families! My two neighbors have children the same ages and they’ve been able to swap teaching duties with each other. One mom teaches science to all the kids, and on another day, the other mom teaches writing. They are able to take advantage of their individual strengths and free up some time for other pursuits.
Incorporate Work Into Your Homeschool
Some folks have had success starting family businesses that are part of their homeschool day. From small farms that sell produce or baked goods, to service oriented businesses like child care, dog sitting, or landscaping, families are finding ways to learn and work together. Keep in mind, it may be your older children who are able to devote time to pursuing a passion that generates income covering some of their own expenses, thus freeing up your general household budget. Though I don’t have time to delve into this topic, you may also want to investigate the idea of creating passive income from things like real estate, royalties from writing books or music, or developing products.
Don’t give up on your desire to homeschool if you also need to create an income for your family. The two tasks are not mutually exclusive. With creative thought, cooperation with friends and family and gritty determination, you can make it happen! Homeschooling gives you the freedom and flexibility to schedule your family life in a way that makes sense and “cents” for you!