For working parents, homeschool support can be quite a challenge. There are many reasons why a parent may have to work either permanently or temporarily while homeschooling. Juggling homeschooling responsibilities is a challenge for stay-at-home parents, but even more so for a parent who must work.
There is no rule that says single parents can't also homeschool their children, but it might be more of a challenge for a parent who must work full-time and shoulders the full responsibility of paying the bills. However, there are many different methods of finding working parents homeschool support.
- Ask Family for Help: Grandparents may have the extra time that Mom or Dad doesn't and be willing to help homeschool their grandchildren. As an added bonus, grandparents have often lived out moments in history and can give inside information not found in textbooks. Other family members can lend their expertise. A graphic artist cousin can teach the kids art, or a sister who is good at baking can teach math and measurement.
- Teach at Night and on Weekends: If you must work during the day, try teaching the children in the evenings and on the weekends. Many homeschoolers finish their school work within a few hours each day and spend the rest of their time in independent learning. Since you'll need child care for younger children, you may want to seek a babysitter or day care that puts emphasis on learning through play or field trips to enhance your child's learning during work hours.
- Enroll in an Online School: Online schools can be a little more expensive than teaching the subjects yourself, but you'll have the advantage of online instructors who can help your child learn when you aren't able to work with him or her. Older children often can become self learners anyway and just need the help of a tutor to get them through topics they don't fully understand.
Both Parents Must Work Out of Financial Necessity
There are some cases where both parents simply must work for the family to stay afloat financially. Or, perhaps you are in a career where stepping aside to homeschool for even a few years will take you back to square one. Whatever the reasons, some families have to have both parents working. Here are some ways to find support if you are a two parent, both parents working household that wants to homeschool:
- Trade Tasks with Spouse: Split up the work with your spouse. For example, if you'll be homeschooling the children, ask your wife or husband to take on the cooking for the family and some more of the cleaning to free up your time for this important job. Other couples split up the subjects according to which partner is good at which topic. Since most people marry someone at least somewhat opposite of them, you'll l likely find that your spouse is good at the subjects where you are lacking and vice versa.
- Opposite Shifts: Probably one of the easiest ways to homeschool if your children are in the lower grades is to work opposite shifts. This way, one parent is always home with the children and teaching. Most homeschoolers will tell you that learning goes on all day long, whether teaching more formal or in an unschooling method, and not just during "homeschool hours". The challenge with this type of support is that you'll not see your spouse as often. Make time for a weekly date to keep your relationship strong.
- Help From Family: Another solution is to again seek help from family and friends. Other homeschooling families may be willing to allow your children to join theirs for a few hours during the day, if you'll babysit for them when they need a break or time together as a couple. Your local homeschool support group, church and neighborhood is your best source for finding another family with similar teaching styles and values.
Parent of Child Finishing High School at Home
Perhaps you are the parent of a teenager who wants to finish high school at home. In this case, you really don't need a babysitter or a teacher so much as you need your child to be accountable to complete the work. There are many different programs available, from correspondence programs through universities to online programs. Whatever method you choose as your child finishes up his school career, stay on top of the work he is completing by checking his progress and checking in with his teachers regularly. Most programs that are online also offer parental access. The teachers and administrators are your best source of support.
Your best support will come from those around you, who will offer additional ideas and encouragement. Seek out like-minded friends from family, homeschool support groups, social clubs, church and other parents.