For most of my homeschooling career I have worked part time while I homeschooled. When I first started our daughter out in Kindergarten, I was running a home daycare that I continued until she was in second grade. Then I babysat just for a couple of children. I have also taught special interest classes at our local community college and libraries, created my own downloadable activities for sale at Crestview Heights Academy, and currently am the print editor at Home Educating Family.
I would be dishonest if I tried to say that it was easy to work and homeschool. It’s not. Sometimes I feel like I am doing a disservice to one or the other. Sometimes I am stressed out. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with everything. And often I am missing out on personal things that I enjoyed. Still, I wouldn’t trade either one. I love homeschooling, and even with working part time I am still spending more time with my kids than if they were in traditional school. And I also love the challenge my work gives me and the connections I have with adults through it.
Here are a few things I have learned about working and homeschooling:
I can’t do it without God. Without prayer and time with God, my days are sure to go haywire. Spending time reading my Bible, listening to teachings, and praying is essential.
This is a season. It will not always be this way. One day these kids will be off on their own, and things will go back to “normal.” So, I am going to cherish every second I have.
For the time being, many of my personal interests have been put on hold. I do not sew, cross stich, or crochet like I used to. I am a voracious reader, but with so much of my reading time needed for school and work-related projects, I don’t read nearly as much personally as I used to. And I read a LOT more youth and young adult fiction, because it is faster and easier to read. Even our newspaper piles up, and I skim through several in one sitting.
I need to be organized. I’m still working on this one, to be honest. But I am much more organized than I used to be.
Simplifying makes things easier. I have spent the past few months decluttering and simplifying our home and lives. I still have a long way to go, but it is getting better. I tend to be a pack rat, but more stuff means that I have to organize before I clean, and I just don’t have the time for that.
Keeping a calendar and schedule are important. I can often be heard to say, “Let me check my calendar, and I will get back to you.” I no longer say yes to anything until I check my calendar and think it through. I also try to keep on a schedule. As my children have gotten older, they can do more schoolwork on their own. So I set aside the morning for one-on-one and family school time, and work in the afternoons. Most of my family is in bed by 9:30 or 10:00, so I spend an hour or so working after everyone is asleep, as well.
While my days are more than busy, they are also full of experiences and learning. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.