Three years ago, I started a series on Working While Homeschooling.
Since then I’ve noticed a huge uptick in interest in this, and so I thought I would share with you guys how my Working While Homeschooling experience has evolved in the past year or so, and then in the future I will continue the original series!
Because, yeah, I’m still working and homeschooling at the same time. This wasn’t the plan, and I keep hoping it will not be the plan soon, but realistically? . . . I don’t see that happening. We are in a big “Dave Ramsey-pay off everything” phase right now, and then comes college savings and retirement and all that, and you get the idea. Though, I do still have the dream of my own business evolving to the point of it being my only “work.” I have some definite ideas on how to make that happen, and am working on developing that. But in the meantime, I’m still working my personal business and a contract for a national organization as well. And as my kids are getting older and needing me less, that will most likely continue!
We keep my “work” very much in mind when make our homeschool plans, and have placed greater importance, especially this year when they are now doing 4th and 2nd/3rd grade level work, on independent learning. Basically, giving the girls at least some work they can do on their own if I am not available to be there. Or, for them to come with me with questions, but mainly complete themselves. I am just not able to be 100% hands-on at this point, and also, they have grown to not want me to be either. They are proud of their independence! And yes, I am constantly having to make sure they aren’t being lazy and are actually completing assignments, and not skipping parts. “Doing your work thoroughly and completely, and to the best of your ability” has been a big part of our process this year.
How in the world are we accomplishing this? First, it has taken us almost the entire school year for them to get to this point (they are almost 10 and 8 as well) of learning how to truly be independent in their work. We also focused on curriculum that makes this possible. We use Teaching Textbooks for math and SpellingCity.com for spelling (I pull Abeka spelling lists off right from SpellingCity.com to use!). We have done Bible workbooks or KeysforKids.com for their devotional time – it was very important to me that they start developing the habit/need of personal devotional time now that they are both young Christians and also can read well on their own. And, it gives me a chance to have my own devotional time! I don’t get to have my own if they aren’t busy with something to do! And I desparately needed that back in my own life!
We started Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing this year, and while I wasn’t quite sure about it, both girls have really enjoyed it, and have requested it again for next year. These can be done completely independently if I am not available, or they can just come to me when they have questions or don’t understand something. They have had their own handwriting or copywork to do each day. We have used Math Songs and Math Keys to practice the math facts rotating numbers each day. And then I will assign whatever is to be done with whatever current science, literature or World Geography units we are working on.
This year, we began with working together in the mornings and them doing their independent work in the afternoons for most of the year. But just in the past few weeks, we are now changing and adapting our schedule once again. I am now giving the girls their independent work (the majority of their assignments) first thing in the morning, and I am changing my work schedule so I do my client calls primarily in the mornings at the same time. This will hopefully leave most of the afternoons free! During the afternoons, we will do any group projects that my input is still needed for, field trips, errands, or outside activities.
Our girls are now at that age where the time limits my job has put on them is really becoming a problem. We have realized that our girls are having a stronger need for even more time with “friends.” They want more time at the homeschool park days (severely limited on our previous schedule) and they have been begging for more “lessons” – which has been difficult to do when I work in the afternoons. Yes, the dreaded socialization issue!
We hope this will give us more freedom to try out some of the traditional after-school activities. Or hit a museum without stressing about me having to be on the phone at a certain time. I have missed being able to be creative with field trips. That sort of thing. Also, this leaves my afternoons free to explore some of my own creative business ideas when my “office hours” are done, and the kids are playing outside.
I have also found to it feel incredibly freeing to get work out of the way first thing in the morning and then being able to “mentally leave the office” instead of watching the clock all day, so I won’t be “late.” I am looking forward to continuing this through next year as well!