6 Top Questions About How to Homeschool and Work Full Time
As the number of homeschooling families increases each school year, so do the number of parents asking about how to homeschool and work full time.
As any homeschool parent will tell you, every homeschool looks different. Each family has its own set of scheduling needs, learning styles, budget, and goals.
Next, add in working full time to the homeschool and your homeschool day, week, and year is going to be VERY unique.
But how do we get to the point of finding our routine, our scheduling sweet spot, as we discover how to homeschool and work full time? We share some time-tested strategies below.
I am a veteran homeschool mom who worked full time for 21 years. For 2 of those 21 years, I traveled extensively out of state. For another three years, I also worked a part-time job while homeschooling and working full time.
Let me share a quick story that happened to us as we were trying to navigate how to homeschool while we both worked full time.
At the very first homeschool support group meeting I attended in 1998, the group leader matter-of-factly announced, "I'm here to tell you, it is not possible to homeschool and work full-time. You just cannot do both well."
We didn't heed the advice, because we were convicted to homeschool, and we needed two incomes. We dug our heels in, got creative, and blazed our family's homeschool trail.
Your family can do this! Here are our best tips and practical strategies on how to homeschool and work full time.
6 Top Questions About How to Homeschool and Work Full Time
Strategies covered here to help you discover how to homeschool and work full time include:
- Establish expectations and communication
- Discover the best routine for you and your family
- Plan the days and how to track assignments
- Select the curriculum that fits learning styles, schedules, and your budget
- Working full time from home
- What are some job ideas to help you be able to homeschool and work full time
Let’s look at the most popular questions on how to homeschool and work full time and learn some practical strategies.
1. What is a good first step as we navigate how to homeschool and work full time?
Establish Expectations and Communication
Balancing your homeschool and working full time requires teamwork and a unified understanding of how work, family life, and homeschooling is going to fit together. Laying some firm groundwork related to overall family and homeschool goals and expectations is essential.
However, no two homeschools look the same. Parents need to discuss what their starting schedule looks like. This is not an hourly schedule, but an evaluation of:
- What days will work best
- What hours are ideal
- What, if any, outside help will they need from family, friends, tutors, online classes
This will change throughout the years, but a unified starting point is the goal.
What is the role of each parent in the teaching and running of the household?
Parents need to discuss the role each will play in teaching and the running of the household. For example, will they split the teaching time, meal prep, bedtime routine? The division of labor is about to change as the parent who will be taking the lead on homeschooling will add planning, teaching, and grading to their days.
There are so many creative ways to schedule, work out a starting plan and then adjust from there.
What do they expect of each child?
As parents discover exactly how to homeschool and work full time, kids must know the expectations. If the children are coming home from a traditional school into homeschooling, there will be adjustments to their life. This includes understanding:
- Each person's role in household duties
- The expectations for the completion of academic work
- The level of participation in activities outside the home (church events, sports, etc.)
Knowing the expectations and having a solid line of communication set the vision for your family as you begin the season of learning how to homeschool and work full time.
2. What Does a Typical Homeschool Day Look Like When You Work Full Time?
Finding the ideal routine for your family's homeschool day is going to take time.
Local homeschool groups, Facebook groups, and blogs are good places to research what others do and gather some ideas about how to homeschool and work full time.
However, before you begin to write out a daily schedule, here are a few pre-planning tips:
- Don't compare! Your family's homeschool day, week, and year is going to be unique. Work schedules and demands, work-related travel, sleep schedules, curriculum, learning styles, budget, and family goals play a role in determining your routine. So, do not compare your homeschool schedule to a friend's.
- Be flexible. Expect the routine to change when it no longer fits your family's needs. Work demands, health issues, family emergencies, or exciting opportunities will arise and require a daily, weekly, or annual schedule change.
- Give yourself grace. Learning how to homeschool and work full time can take a while; it might take years. From 21 years of working full time and homeschooling, I can tell you that each year's daily routine will be different. It’s not a sign of inadequacy or failure if you just can’t
- Get creative with help. This is a good time to research online learning options. CTCMath covers all grade levels, is reasonably priced, and provides the planning and accountability needed when you are trying to navigate how to homeschool and work full time.
When working on the daily schedule consider the following:
- Your required work hours and flexibility.
- Your work travel schedule
- Your spouse's schedule. Remember, we discussed overall roles and expectations.
- Who is going to teach which subjects? Will you use online live classes, a tutor, self-paced classes, digital curriculum, or will you or someone else teach the subject.
- Is there a grandparent who wants to help teach a subject?
3. How Do You Plan Assignments and Track Daily Progress?
When working full time and homeschooling there will be large blocks of time when you are not at home or are working in a home office area away from your children. The time you do have to plan and track assignments is limited and precious.
Tools for assigning work and tracking progress vary from paper and pencil methods to phone apps. Here are some options:
- Select an online curriculum like CTCMath that provides the transparency and accountability parents need to determine how their child is progressing, assess where their student is struggling and excelling, and plan for the school year.
- An app like Trello, Asana, and Monday. Most have a free version. These allow you to assign homeschool tasks to each child, leave messages, and have a way for your child to update the status of an assignment.
- Google Calendar
- Google Classroom - This is especially fun if you are organizing some study units and have videos and other websites to add to the assignments. Plus, you can keep these stored in Google Classroom for reuse with another child in the future.
- Digital or paper planner. There is a multitude of free and paid planners developed specifically for homeschooling families.
- Paper and pencil
- Regularly status-update meetings. You may want to start the week off having a Sunday night or Monday morning meeting to discuss the week’s activities and assignments
4. What Curriculum & Resources Will Best Help as I Homeschool and Work Full Time?
Today there are so many outstanding curriculum options. Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate all of the options:
- Does this resource fit my child’s learning style? Is your child an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner?
- Will this resource help my child develop independent learning skills? As our children move into middle and high school, the goal should be that they are able to work independently. These skills will help them as they move into a job or high education after graduation.
- Does this curriculum fit into our budget?
- How much prep time is required of the teacher? When homeschooling and working full time, prep time is an extremely important consideration.
Explore curriculum option like CTCMath where the lessons incorporate visual and auditory features, the teaching and tracking are done for you, accountability is built-in, and it’s affordable. They offer a free trial too!
5. How Can I Homeschool and Work Full Time from Home?
Much of what we’ve discussed so far can apply to both homeschooling and working full time outside the home and working full time from home.
However, speaking from experience, it is much more difficult to turn off work when homeschooling and working full time from home. Here are some of the best strategies I found from 20 years of living out how to homeschool and work full time:
- Recognize your schedule will fall flat some days and you have to be flexible. Without giving yourself, your children, and your schedule some flexibility and grace, guilt will set in. Learn to change course and pivot...sometimes daily.
- Accept teaching help by using an online curriculum. You simply won’t have time to teach every subject and give each subject hours a day. Using a self-paced online product was a saving grace for us. If you haven’t checked out CTCMath, take a look at their placement guide and pricing, then sample it! Honestly, it takes off so much pressure to have a core subject, like math, covered by a quality resource that takes care of the planning, lessons, and tracking.
- Set up a definitive workspace, even if you repurpose a closet space or commandeer the corner of a room.
- Take advantage of multi-tasking opportunities. My daughter had an internship that required me to wait for her for 3 hours at a time, three days a week. I used the time to work in the car, at a park, or in a coffee shop. When my children were young, I brought baskets of laundry to karate, opened the back hatch to the van, and folded laundry! Make use of those multi-tasking times.
- Shut your computer and turn off the phone when it is time to work on a homeschool task that requires your attention. Make that separation from work and homeschool time. There may be times when you can check emails while your children work on a test or do quiet work. But alleviate guilt by making the clean separation when necessary.
- Find time slots when your children are sleeping or having their quiet time. I found my most productive time from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Try different options. Just 15 or 30 minutes can be very productive!
- Rethink your homeschool week. Since we are not trying to recreate the traditional classroom when we homeschool, our weekly schedule can incorporate the weekends, 4-day school weeks, school-at-night schedules. It took me years in the early 2000s to figure this out. Parents, do what works best for your family, your schedule, and for peace in your home.
The goal is to help our children love learning and become lifelong learners. By being flexible, seeking the learning resources that come alongside your family, and finding the routine that best fits your family, you can discover how to joyfully homeschool and work full time.
6. What are some job ideas to help you be able to homeschool and work full time?
There are a number of social media groups specific to working from home or virtual work. Check out the Facebook groups for working homeschool moms and virtual assistants. In these groups, you will find other homeschooling parents who also manage to work from home and outside the home.
If you have a specific skill like sewing, writing and editing, photography, crafting, cooking, content creation for website owners is a growing cottage industry.
Here are some other job ideas that will help you to homeschool and work full time:
- Online teacher
- Customer Service Representative
- Content writer for websites
- Virtual assistant
- Online tutor
- Online music teacher
- Dog groomer
- Handmade business
- Social media assistant or manager
- Copywriter for a print or online magazine
- Medical billing and/or coding
- Insurance agent
Talk with other homeschool parents either locally or online. There are many creative opportunities!
Helpful Resources as You Start to Navigate How to Homeschool and Work Full Time
About the author: Michelle Moody homeschooled for 21 years while working full-time in an out of the home. Plus, she worked an additional part-time job for three of those years. Michelle is the owner of TheHomeschoolScientist.com.