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Balancing Homeschool & Work

When I started homeschooling, I knew I WANTED to be at home with children, but I still needed help financially. People often assume that to homeschool you have to be a stay at home mom. Most are surprised when I tell them that I work outside the home. It’s not always an easy task, but we manage. My motivation comes from being steadfast. Following through on commitments keeps me going, however, sometimes I feel pulled in different directions. My husband works the night shift and I work during the day. Alternating our schedules has allowed us to have a good support system with homeschooling. We also didn't have to pay for child care, let alone there was noway I would have been cool with someone other than family overseeing my babies. Your children are always learning, watching and adapting to their environments. Please believe that most of what they pick up comes from the early structure of their childhood development. I also depend greatly on my parents who help with getting the children to their outside activities. We will continue to try and balance our lives with home education and work as long as Allah allows. I definitely would quit my job before I give up homeschooling my children. It is a great sacrifice that is awarded with many blessings. I wish I could have afforded to stay at home from the beginning. I know several mothers who put off well paying careers to be home with their children. They BUDGET their entire lives around making homeschool work. As a society we have degraded the stay at home mother and her integral role. I encourage mothers to feel empowered by their roles in their home and take advantage of such a marvelous gift. I thank Allah for the privilege, confidence and the blessing to be able to homeschool my children. We are determined to make it work by any means possible.

Make it Work!

I’ve learned to look at my work experience as a blessing. I’m fortunate to have a career that pays enough to help supplement my children, and allows me flexibility with scheduling.

As counselor for my county's health department, I work three shifts per week.

You would think that leaves with 4 days free for homeschooling and managing my home, but for me its not just my job that demands my time, I also manage a social services non profit, our community homeschool Co-op and sit on the board for our community Muslim educational circle.

I think I'm moving slowly toward me staying at home, but for now, I have to make my schedule work for us. It's so hard to move from having an income to not having one at all. With Silah and Suhailah now learning more and requiring hands on instruction with lessons, it will begin to require more of even my time. I am now trying to figure out how I can bring in an income and be home within the next two years or sooner. My community work is extremely important to me. Next to my family it gives me such a great feeling to be able to help others.

If you are finding yourself worried or stress about managing work and homeschooling, sit down and have a talk with your husband. Brainstorm potential ideas for maximizing your schedule. If you have extended family or friends who are supportive of homeschooling create a network to help one another. I am a FIRM believer in it's takes a village!

Even after SEVEN years of homeschooling, I’m still amazed at the flexibility we have had with our homeschooling schedule. We’re able to start our school year when it fits our family, taking longer breaks for holidays, or scaling back when my last two babies arrived. I was just telling a close friend who recently decided to homeschool, "DON'T YOU LOVE THE FREEDOM!" Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking that homeschooling has to look like a traditional school setting. Learning can happen at any time, not just Mondays through Fridays, 9AM until 3PM.

If you work outside the home and want to homeschool, consider afternoon lessons, evening lessons, or even on weekends. You can also look at a year round approach, spreading out your plans over twelve months instead of nine.

When you’re wearing many hats, you’ve got to manage your time wisely. Between working, managing a home,teaching my children and my non-profit work; there aren’t enough hours in the day to get EVERYTHING done. We learn from our beloved Prophet to give everything it's just due! It's no use doing a lot of things and being mediocre at it. You have to figure out a plan that will fit everything in in accordance to priority. NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR CHILDREN TO MAKE THINGS WORK! You can literally choose to leave off off everything outside of the home but never choose to leave off the up bring of your children.

Planning my weeks is a priority with our lifestyle. I have to communicate with my husband about school days, my work schedule, doctor’s appointments and extra curricular plans. We have a rule of one PAID extracurricular activity at a time, to minimize cost. My kids are extroverts, and there’s no shortage of fun things in South Jersey. I’d love for my kids to experience everything, but it’s just not possible. We sit down together and talk about what works for everyone. We keep a large dry erase monthly calendar in our entryway so everyone can see what is scheduled for the month. We can change things out as needed. Once a week, I take a look at my calendar and sift through our to do list. I plan my homeschool instruction and meals around our work schedules. The more you can plan ahead, the smoother things will run.

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