Real Life Working Moms

7 Scheduling Tips for a Working Homeschool Mom

Many people believe that working moms and homeschool don’t mix. I’m here to tell you this is totally not true! You CAN work AND homeschool your children. You can also do it without ruining your children or going insane! Don’t limit yourself because you don’t fit the typical image of a homeschool set-up. What is “typical” anyway?

Whether one works in or out of the house, being a working homeschool mom is a completely different ball game. There are many aspects of homeschooling that have to be different to function well.  I homeschool and also work part-time. I know many moms who even work full-time and still homeschool their kids. Things are actually going well for these families!

To have a rockin’ homeschool while working, you have to start by developing a functional schedule. One of the biggest stereotypes of homeschooling is that you have to be at home, schooling your children from 8am-3pm, Monday through Friday, to get it all done – meaning, follow the traditional school schedule. If I homeschooled Monday-Friday with set hours I wouldn’t be homeschooling anymore. The fact is that every single homeschool is different – working homeschool moms just have to be a bit more flexible. Homeschool can be done by whatever schedule you want it to be, and it can change whenever you want it to.

Working Homeschool Mom

There are some things to keep in mind though…

1. Assess your schedule

  • The first step to homeschooling and being a working gal is that you must assess what is actually going on. What is your schedule? Do you work Monday through Friday on bank hours or do you work long 12-hour shifts with more days off? Are you a full-time, part-time, or sporadically scheduled gal? Don’t forget to assess your spouse’s schedule. It takes two to tango, and you are going to need your spouse’s participation too – at least a little. Write this all down so you can see the bigger picture.

2. Brainstorm changing it up

  • Now that you have a good understanding of what you already work, brainstorm ways to manipulate your schedule to function in your favor. Look for the times you can use for school.  Are you able to tinker with your budget to drop a day a week or come in later in the day? Can you and your spouse move the schedule around so one is off while the other is at work? Do you have family with open schedules that can help out a day or two a week?
  • **** I do not suggest going completely opposite of your spouse’s schedule. You must keep your marriage first and you can’t do that if you never see each other.

3. Do not limit your self to the norm

  • It is imperative that a working homeschool family acquire a great amount of flexibility. Monday-Friday, 8-3 schedules are pretty much not going to work with a working mom unless you choose to work every weekend or have some kind of help. Limiting yourself to this will end up burning you out and making you feel like a failure. My advice is to get that Monday-Friday idea out of your head all together. You must take advantage of the time you have no matter when it is. This means you should be considering year-round school as an option. This will give you a greater amount of time to work with.

4. Don’t shy away from creative finagling

  • Creative scheduling goes hand in hand with flexibility. For instance, on days you work, your kids are doing online work. Or when they are at the sitter, they have a list of “homework” to do that you know will be easier than the stuff you will be working on during one-on-one time. Do you have an older kid or two? They should be doing lots of independent work. They can also learn many life skills by teaching what they already know to their younger siblings. There is nothing wrong with recruiting them to help out. There are also homeschool co-ops to get involved with to take some of the load off of you and charter school services to check into.


5. Stay organized but don’t get crazy obsessive

  • Because of the need to be creative and flexible, you must devise an organizational plan that is functional and simple…but don’t obsess over every little detail. You will only burn yourself out and then be disappointed when things don’t go as planned. You need to be okay when it changes or when things are delayed. Trust me, eventually this happens to everyone. You need to be willing to change as the needs of your children change. Right now, I am re-organizing my own schedule and plan, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The only thing I regret is planning out every single math lesson for the last 3 months. We skipped about a third of them and I totally wasted my time planning all the details.
  • I have since stopped planning every little detail, which is totally opposite of many homeschoolers. I have more of a general idea of what I am doing, and I don’t do things that require a profuse amount of planning. I have dumped the curriculum that does not allow for flexibility and ease of use. I have worksheets and other resources sectioned into subjects in boxes and filing cabinets that I pull out as we need them. I also use a workbox method where I have one drawer per day of the week. I don’t exclude weekends in this since we do things on “off” days too – there’s no such thing as a routine off day in my house. The computer is also a great resource for us. I have a master plan of things I want the kids to accomplish, and we knock things off as we go. We also use an eclectic, classical approach to education, which makes things much simpler.

6. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all.

  • Every homeschooler’s time is valuable, but as a working homeschool mom, your time is even more valued. You must do things that will have maximum benefit in the least amount of time. Don’t waste your time with meaningless little things. Focus on the bigger picture and on things that will cover multiple areas of learning at once.
  • Don’t try to match what you see other families doing. It just isn’t feasible, and truly, and it isn’t what your children need. Our forefathers, who are well known for their wisdom, did not learn with a classroom full of Pinterest projects and field trips. They learned from very simple and straightforward teaching that held maximum value. Don’t let the stress of doing it all burn you out. I allowed the stress of doing it all get to me last year, and I temporarily gave up on homeschooling – what a lesson.
  • Acknowledging that YOU can’t do it all also means that your kids must have responsibilities appropriate for their ages. You should not be the one doing every little thing. If your children are old enough, they can be doing chores, grading their own math, sorting their finished work, and keeping their own logs for grades and portfolio stuff – with you keeping a close eye, of course. Don’t take this all on by yourself. You are only one part of the homeschool team.

7. Most importantly….

  • Plan in a way that gives God priority, followed by your husband. Next, put yourself on that priority list…before your children. Yes, I know this is different from some advice which says to put your kids first, but I have good reason to say this. Being a working homeschool mom is not for the faint of heart. You must care for yourself or you will burn out mental, physically, and spiritually. That means you may need to cut homeschool short for the day and relax. Or take a week off from school every now and then for a mental break. It also means giving yourself “you” time and making sure you nourish your body in a way that will keep you energized for the days to come. This is so important to keep everything going smoothly.

As you can see, Whether you work full-time or part-time, you can homeschool your children. It just takes creativity, flexibility, and commitment. I know you are capable of this! Every family is different, and some of us moms have to work, or we choose to work a little because we feel that what we do is important. God will provide a way for you to teach your children whether or not you work. 🙂

Are you a working homeschool mom? What are some of the things you struggle with? I would love to hear how things are going!

About the author

Heather

Heather is a Christian gal who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she married her high school sweetheart in 2001. She has 3 children ranging in ages from 4-12. Asperger's and sensory processing issues are also in the mix. At this time, Sonlight is their main curriculum which Heather and her husband find nice for the working homeschool family. Heather juggles the responsibilities of being a part-time RN and police officer's wife. She has a reputation of creating kitchen disasters, but loves collecting new recipes and learning about natural, holistic living. Also in the family is a bunch of animals like chickens, goats, a few dogs, and cats....

83 Comments

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  • I think the most challenging part is finding viable childcare for when you are a working and homeschooling parent. Also, scheduling who is keeping the kids, which days. I book everything through my google calender and send reminders to myself, my husband, my kids and who is watching them during the time our schedule isn’t overlapping. It can be daunting at times but scheduling is a big part of organizing a working parent’s homeschool.

  • My husband is a disabled veteran so he is the stay-at-home and I work full-time with a ton of overtime over the summer because I work for a university and summer is the time we prepare for the fall term. My husband is awesome at managing the house, so luckily I don’t have to worry about cleaning, cooking or even grocery shopping, because my hubby handles it. We start school as soon as I get home in the late afternoon and sometimes school until bedtime. The kids have spent all morning playing and having free time, so they don’t mind at all. We often school on Saturdays and they go to a co-op once a week for enrichment. Paid holidays other than Thanksgiving and Christmas are school days. Honestly, it is exhausting at times.. And sometimes we only do the bare minimum.. Or play a board game as a family instead of school.. But it is working and my children are thriving and they love to learn.. So I would call it a success!

    • Jamie, thank you to your husband for his service and sacrifice. And thank you to you, the military/veteran wife. I know of other husbands who stay home while the wife works and the husband helps a lot! Sounds like you have a pretty awesome guy and a great plan for your family!

  • First off I want to say I LOVE THIS POST! I work part time in our family’s restaurant. My husband and I have switching hours, I homeschool in the morning while he is working (or sometimes from 8-11pm after I get back from work depending on my ADHD first grader sometimes the evening tends to work better for her.) We also do classical conversations! I think the hardest most challenging thing for me, is realizing that my home cannot be as clean as I want it to be. I want to constantly have everything immaculate, but I work, and homeschool and have a 10 month old, 2, 3, and 5 year old so when would I have time? I have learned to let it go, let my husband do some housework in the evening while I am working and leave the rest to get done on the weekend. Finding that “me” time has also been hard, I feel unproductive when I am not constantly making sure my home is in order.

    • Hang in there. Pretty soon your kiddos will be of age to have chores and then they can help out around the house. If you start them out young with a simple chore it’s not so hard once they get older I found.I recently went back to work.My husband is a disabled Veteran stay at home father and kids are 8,10,and 12 and the house work is the least of our problems now.

  • So grateful to see this post!! I am also an ER nurse. I have four kiddos and we just started with CC this year (which I am directing because there wasn’t a community near me). When people find out I homeschool in addition to the 12 hour shift craziness, people look at me in awe. The thing is, I feel like they are giving me way more props than I deserve. I am not superwoman, my home isn’t sparkly clean, and my husband and I have had to make ridiculous sacrifices to make it work. I definitely needed the reminder to put God first, then my hubby, then me, and THEN my kids. All too often, I put them first, and then wonder why things are going poorly. Thanks for the encouragement!!

  • We have a weekly meeting where everyone sits down with their planners around the dining room table. Everyone discusses where they need to be when (mine are all teens at this point, but this worked well even for little ones) and we arrange carpools, work and school schedules around that. We also use Google calendar with reminders. Texting has also been a tool that has saved me hours of worry when a child stays longer that expected or misses a ride somewhere. How did I ever manage without a smartphone?

    I strongly recommend guiding children toward self-sufficiency at a very early age. Our chore charts started before the children could read by using pictures and big boxes to “X” off. Gradually they take more and more responsibility in the home and school. By high school, the children set their own school schedules and plan their own lessons. In their senior year, they even choose their own courses and materials. This has really helped prepare them for the demands of college and employment.

    We also have a special family time once a week where we are all together for a movie, game, or just a bowl of popcorn and a conversation. It has become a very precious time to touch base with each other. Sometimes my married children will even drop by to participate!

  • Not only am I a working homeschool mom, I spent a year talking to 100 parents in the same situation–and then I wrote a book about it.

    So great to see other working homeschoolers share their perspectives and experiences. I hope that this is a topic to which you will return very soon.

  • I like what Peggy said about bringing out the planners to schedule every week. I can definitely see how as the kids get older that is going to help them understand all that needs to get done and how to manage their time as well. Plus, it makes sure everyone is on the same page for the week. I have only been homeschooling for 4 months now, but I am a university professor as well and am often asked how in the world I manage it. It is hard on a good day, but on top of that I suffer from a condition that leaves me with debilitating fatigue on some days. How it gets done is just like Heather said…a supportive spouse, flexibility, and creativity. If I feel lousy, we may have school on my bed. I have a broad idea of how I want to schedule the year by week, but I don’t make a specific plan until the end of the current week. So, it doesn’t mess me up if we need to change things up. You also learn to be extremely good at organizing and finding that you can accomplish tasks in short bursts if you must. In the end, I love being able to do this for my children, and so I make it work.

  • Hi Heather and All~
    Great post! Working and homeschooling can go together and there are definite benefits to the kids if they are taught young to be responsible for their belongings and school supplies. Sometimes the more we have to do, the more organized we tend to be! I worked from home and outside the home part-time and ended up with b. cancer during my oldest’s junior year — about the time we were “supposed” to be visiting colleges. It helped that our kids ‘knew what to do’ even if I wasn’t able to be much help for awhile. Thanks for giving working moms hope and an action plan –with some great suggestions from your readers, too!

    • Dana,

      What a tough thing to go through. I am so sorry that is a part of your life. I hope all is well now. It is definitely significant when you see your children taking the reins to handle their education when you can’t. I would say, that is a part of the harvest of all your hard work over the years. Good job momma! That is true encouragement for all of us newer homeschoolers. Again, I hope all is well now.

  • I’m literally in the midst of pulling my child out of school to homeschool and I work full time and dad does as well. But we know this is the right thing for our child. I am SO not an organized person BUT I know I’m going to have to get it together at least half way better than I am now! I was soooo relieved to see a mom above say they do it in the afternoon while the kiddos have played some of the day! NOW I know this is not a mistake. Please say a Prayer that all goes semi-smooth! I’m looking forward to reading these responses. And thank you to a fellow homeschool mom who sent this article to me.

    • Mimi,

      I will definitely keep some prayers flowing for you and your family as I’m sure others will too. Deciding to take kids out of school to do it yourself is a super difficult decision – I know. If there is one thing I can say to you it would be this: Don’t second guess yourself when it gets tough. It will get tough. Don’t give up. God gave you your children – entrusted you with your children – soI know you won’t fail. You and your husband are definitely capable of handling your children’s education. Again, don’t doubt yourself or your spouse. It will be a new, adventurous journey for you. Embrace it! By the way…I suffer from MDS – Massive Disorganization Syndrome. I’m recovering from this slowly! 😉

    • Can you tell me how it is working for you? My husband and I both work full time, but our 8th grader had been struggling for years and we are talking about homeschooling while I’m still working full time. There’s so much out there I’m feeling overwhelmed just trying to figure out where to start, can I do this, will it work, how do I know what I need. What if he’s further behind than I thought and it was a big mistake.

      And I am massively disorganized, but yet organized in my own way. However have passed that trait onto my son so what if we both can’t get it?

      I really appreciate any feedback!

      I work in a demanding office environment 40hrs a week and often feel I have little left for my family when i get home, but my husband and I both agree our Son cannot continue to struggle and feel defeated every day.

      Any suggestions on what is working? Curriculum? Where to start?

      • If you are on Facebook and are considering HS (or are new to homeschooling) I would suggest joining the “Crossing over to Homeschooling” page. Some of the HS pages can get judgmental and nasty but this one is very supportive and has been a tremendous resource for me this year. You can go through the posts and find loads of info on curriculum’s and methods that different families use. There are a million questions like yours. I think everyone starts out with the same “What if this is a huge mistake?” fear hanging around their necks. I can’t promise they will make you feel better but it worked for me.

        To answer the “Where to start?” question…. find the laws for your state. They can be found in many locations but I found ours on the HSLDA website.

        • Jaime, are you aware of the Hip Homeschool Moms Community on Facebook? It is similar to the Crossing Over group. The moms are very supportive there as well. ~Leann

  • Thanks so much for sharing!! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only homeschool mom trying to juggle part time work & homeschooling! I work 2 days per week as a speech therapist at our local hospital, and my mom keeps my kids on those 2 days. The older my kids get, the easier it gets. Each work day, I write out a list of lessons for my 10 y.o., and he does them independently. My mom is there to answer questions he may have and to make sure he completes his list. My 11 y.o. is doing BJU Online this year which has worked out great for her! I was especially relieved to know I am not the only one out there who does not plan every little detail 🙂 We have always tried to follow the public school calender but are seriously considering year round schooling to relieve some of the stress of “getting it all done.” My job provides us with the money to do more field trips & extra curricular activities!

    • Emily, speech therapy is a great skill to have for homeschool. I wish I had that under my belt. It sounds like you have a great system. I’m also glad to here I’m not the only one who doesn’t plan every detail. 🙂 I initially was going to stick with the traditional school schedule with summer off but I”m finding that it really isn’t feasible for my schedule. It is less pressure for everyone. Thank you for your tips! Not everyone has the same plan, but as we can all see, it still works.

  • Kim, thank you for your comments. I like what you said about doing much in little bursts of time. That is definitely true in my home. I am sorry that you are going through a major fatigue issue. I have Adrenal Fatigue, severe anemia, and potentially arthritis (per my Chiropractor) and I suffer from tiredness and other random ailments. I understand how you feel. I’m glad that we can both take one day at a time though. Make sure to take care of yourself first, okay?

  • I love this post! I second your point about taking care of yourself. It is so important! There is no way one person can work AND teach, without taking a breather. I also second your point about not sticking just to the ‘normal’ schedule for school. I’m a single mom, and am in my second year of homeschooling. I was blessed to get a position working the graveyard shift at a facility where other than a few checks every hour, my time is my own. I use it to plan my lessons, or to relax with a book or some movies (definitely killing two birds with one stone). When I get home, we’ll either start school right then in the morning, or depending on what we have to do that day, I’ll sleep first and we’ll do school in the afternoon. It’s pretty hectic sometimes, but it’s working out for us.

    • Penelope, Thank you! I commend you for being a single mother and also homeschooling! I know that’s gotta be tough. My mom was also single, working three jobs. So I went to normal school. It sounds like you have a great set up with your job. I hope you continue to do well with this and keep up that energy! 🙂

  • I am so thankful that I found this blog! I’ve been wanting to do home school for a few years now. I have 2 daughters, 10 and 7 and I feel that they are such spirited and worthy children but they are struggling and not being encouraged at school. I also have the issue of being a single mom, working 8:30-5:00 with no family who can help, no support from their father, and no way to pay a tutor for the extra help, as well as very limited time after work/daycare to even relax. I have found your article very encouraging and insightful!! I believe I may be able to squeeze an extra few hours out if we re-organize our errands, my work schedule, and if we do this during the summer too. If I don’t have to drop them off at school at a certain time, I can adjust my schedule. Thank you again for helping me to see the possibilities! Other blogs don’t seem to understand that many of us aren’t creative enough to work from home or start a business that is flexible enough to home school.

    • Hello,

      New to this site and a bit lost. I have a 6th grader, age 12. Great student but difficult time in the public schools for a number of reasons. She would love to be home schooled. I am divorced and she is my youngest. I don’t feel comfortable leaving her home everyday while I work full time as I don’t see how that will benefit her socially. Any have suggestions, I would appreciate it. Thank you

  • Sara, I’m so glad you found encouragement here. Yes, you are right about most not understanding the everyday challenges of working, let alone working and homeschooling. Many moms don’t have a choice to stay home but homeschooling shouldn’t be excluded just because the schedule is different or limited. There are many moms out there who homeschool that are single and work. I hope whatever you decide, that you find a great plan that will help your little ones excel! Creative scheduling is going to be the one thing that helps you the most. I look forward to seeing you around here! 🙂

  • Great advice, Heather! I suspect that much of it is applicable to SAHM’s too! Way back in the 80’s homeschooling moms (if they also worked) pretty much had to keep their jobs a secret! We also couldn’t be seen in public with or without our kids from 9-3 M-F! Times have changed for the better in this case!

    • Sylvia, I suspect you are right! That’s unfortunate women felt they had to hide if they worked. I hope that we are getting away from that stigma now. As for not going out in public from 9-3, I still get asked why kids aren’t in school when we go out during school hours. I forget that other kids are stuck in a class room all day. And then I say, “My kids are homeschooled.” One finds out real quick the opinions of others when this is brought up!

  • Thank you so much for this post. I’m starting home schooling for my future 6th grader this fall. I have not seen practical and clear advise for parenrs who work full time and home school until now. I will take away very sound and valuable advice. Please keep it coming.

  • Wow, what an encouragement this artical is- thank you! We have three children 20, 18 and 8. I am home health RN. Our 8 year has a 122 IQ and is currently attending public school- She is failing math and reading because everything is timed. When she is allowed to take her time she gets everything right- but working 30 math problems in 2 mins or less and / or reading 190 words in 60 seconds is just not her- The school recent sent home a letter advising to retain her in the 2nd grade next year because of this. I of course FLIPPED! She is so smart and is the gifted program at school and they are talking about retaining her? Her homeroom teacher is even advising to pull her out of the gifted program.

    This is when I started seriously thinking about home school – I just can not do that to this precious child. She loves to learn but gets so frustarted because she can’t do it as fast as everyone else (insert frown here!)

    My concern is I do work and I have to work but I have a flexible schedule. My husband is completely (at this point) against homeschooling because he has that ridged 7:45-3 mentality of school –

    I am just clueless as to how to get the ball rolling- I have a good many friends who home-school and I have sent SOS signals out asking what curriculum they use and how they do the daily grind, smile. So, I appreciate any words of wisdom I can get my hands on.

    Thank you so much, God Bless all your efforts!
    Erica

    • Erica, I am so sorry you are going through all that. 🙁 Ugh…the more I hear the more I truly believe schools are completely unable to think outside the box. Many children struggle with timed tests. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. There are many factors for having problems with timed tests and the fact that the school can’t accept this is sad. My oldest doesn’t do well with timed tests either. I even had this placed in a IEP not to do timed tests and the school refused to follow the guidelines. I do agree with you that homeschool would be great for her. However, I feel that you must have your husband’s support. Many husbands start off very uneasy about this because it is going “rogue” compared to what typical people do…but a ton of people homeschool and the numbers are increasing fast. Does he have any solutions for the school issues? It sounds like your daughter will be the only one you would be homeschooling right? You will not need to “school” her for the same time it takes in a school. Maybe 4 hours…give or take. IF she is the only one then that will be helpful too. And if you spread it out over the year (180 days) then it opens up many options. School can happen any time of day and in any place. As for curriculum…that’s not an easy thing to answer in a comment. I’m planning a post for this in May. Maybe some other moms can post what they use here? It will work out. 🙂

  • Thank you for this post. We also homeschool with CC and I am working part time. I’m struggling with discerning what God wants me to do about my work. It is fulfilling, and I belive important. But I also wonder if I allow it to take up too much brain space and distract me from being a more “tuned in” mom. School time with my daughters hasn’t suffered. But I rarely have down time with them. So part of me would enjoy extra time to just be with them. Yet, I fear that even if I do stop working, I will just find other things to distract me and still won’t spend the time with them that I think I should. I am becoming paralyzed with the fear of making a decision I will regret… either I give up being a part of something bigger than myself, or I risk my daughters thinking they are not as important to me than other things. I just want God to make it unmistakably clear.

    • Korey, prayer is going to be your greatest help right now…and then patience. I did quit my job at one point and within a few months I regretted it. Now I’m at that point again where I want to quit again but it’s for selfish reasons and not because I think God wants me to. I’m so fickle! I have found good balance with my schedule. I am with my kids so much that I don’t think working some is hindering them in any way. We do homeschool year round so I feel totally okay with taking the school day off or doing tons of half days just to enjoy life. Spending time with the kids doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. For me, I take the kids to the park, or even to the farmers market. We also run our little urban farm and the kids help with that. I’ve done my best to limit doing things that cost money. For me, going to work helps with my sanity. I’m a terrible homemaker. Give it time and trust in Him. You will start to feel a pull in what direction you need to go but make sure you aren’t making decisions because you feel you need to do something to “be a better mom.” You are already a good mom.

  • After a very difficult school year when my 10 yr old son struggled in public school, my husband and I made the decision this spring to homeschool him starting in the fall. I am a computer consultant and I travel out of town most weeks Mon-Thursday. My husband is self employed so he has a lot more schedule flexibility and can take our son with him so we have come up with a creative schedule to make a go at this. State guidelines in WI say there should be 875 hours of instruction per year so I am stretching the school year out to spread out the weekly load. One “untraditional” thing we are doing is not having a formal begin and end to the school year. To keep things fresh in his mind, as soon as school let out in June, we started on a light summer schedule which includes reading, writing, and math retention, along with some fun science and history projects totaling about 5-10 hours a week. Our main study schedule will begin in mid August. The plan is to have him do daily lessons in Reading and Spelling with my husband, one Math session via Skype with me on Tuesdays, and Math, Science, Grammar, and Social Studies Thursday afternoon, Friday, and Saturday when I am home. When I laid out my lesson plans, this schedule gave me time to cover all the lessons, with time left over in some subjects. I plan to use any extra time to insert some fun projects. I feel prepared and confident so I am looking forward to the adventure!

    • Barbara,
      This looks like a great schedule – half the battle is just making the decision to homeschool and creating a plan you can live with! The other half is tweaking it as you go. 🙂 Even if the days don’t always turn out like you plan, just keeping at it every day will take you amazing places! I applaud your courage to tackle homeschooling in a nontraditional way. There are lots of resources out there if and when you get stuck; don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

      Best to you!

  • Thank you for this article. I am a wife, homeschool mom, and dentist. I love that I am not alone in this as a working mom. My hubby runs our small farm. I work 4 days a week. My hubby and I both do the HSing, although I do the planning. We are going to be doing Classical Conversations for the 1st time this yr. so excited. One other tip is that 1 or 2 days a week my kiddos come to work with me. I have a very large two room private office in my dental practice and we’ve turned it into a home away from home. The kids do school work and I bounce between teaching and teeth. 🙂

    • Kamra, we are starting our 3rd year with CC. We love it, and my husband and I are excited about where CC will take us in the Challenge years with our girls’ education. Hope you have a great first year!

  • This was a very helpful article, just what I needed right now. I work full time at home babysitting one additional baby (my own kids are 14 months, 4 and 6 years), plus a part time job in arts ministry and running my own etsy shop. I just started the babysitting at the end of our last school year so we’re approaching our first school year with me babysitting fulltime.

  • I am so thankful that I found your post!! My little girl is 4 yrs old and about to start pre-school at our local Private Christian School. After attending the new parent conference we decided putting her in school was going to hurt her instead of help her. When we realized that I had taken a full time position outside of the home! Now a week later I found this post and am in love that I’m on the right path! My husband is home during the day and works of an evening. He does socialization and outings with our girls and when I come home of an evening we work on worksheets. We are taking it slow and letting her learn at her own pace!

  • I am feeling so lost on this homeschool adventure. I don’t feel support at all from friends and family, it is just me and my husband on this road. I work part time and we have had a lot of craziness in our life the last 2yrs. My older daughter wants to go to school, but we can’t afford to send her to the private school we would choose. I want to homeschool so badly yet I feel every road block is in my way. I am happy to read your blog and hear I am not the only one who has hard days and get lost. After reading I feel like I am rebuilding the energy and direction I need. I am going to try to get back to my path and get my 6yr old back on board with me. I need to be more organized with my time and create that weekly for my daughter to see what is expected. If there is any info that people found helpful when teaching a strong willed 6yr old girl I would love the insight. I will pray for more guidance as we continue on the adventure.

    • Aimee – so sorry to hear about your lack of support and the many roadblocks. I have a strong willed 7 year old. I see a long road ahead of us on this, and mommy is a bit strong willed, myself, so I need to frequently check my spirit with God and make sure my attitude and heart are in the right place. I find that many heart to hearts are needed, many reminders, many revisits to God’s word backing up parental authority. We have good days and bad days. The good days generally come when I have remained calm and straight forward and have really tried to determine where my daughter is coming from. Bad days generally happen when I am not cool, calm, or collected. Pray, pray, pray. You are not alone!

    • Aimee, I want you to pray on this. If you truly feel this is the path you should take, and your husband has your back, you need to consider that this may be the right path. It is not easy. But the things in life that make the biggest difference normally aren’t easy. My kids were back and forth about homeschool for the longest time. Now, not at all. They are thankful but it has taken a while to get to that point. For the record, it is not your children’s decision. Don’t even give them the option. It’s nice to hear their input but they are kids. My kids thought homeschool would be easier so at first they loved the idea. Then they realized it wasn’t and wanted to go back to “school.” I’m sorry that you feel you have no support. Get in touch with a local homeschool community. You will be the minority because you work but don’t let that bother you. Working homeschool moms are everywhere, we just don’t advertise it usually because we do tend to get some odd responses at times. As for planning, I suggest having a list. Some are very strict about their schedules but I have a hard time doing that. We just go at our own pace. Schedules don’t work for us. We have a routine instead. I look forward to seeing how this plays out for you!

  • I am so glad to read posts from other working and homeschooling moms!! This will be my first year homeschooling and working and every time I tell someone I am homeschooling they think I am quitting my job and look at me like I am crazy when I tell them I am still going to work and homeschool. You moms Rock!!! I am so glad to be joining your ranks!!

    • I agree! People think I’m crazy. I haven’t started homeschooling yet – my daughter will start kindergarten next fall. But I feel led to homeschool even though I can’t afford to drop my hours. My co- workers keep saying I’m crazy and it’s starting to make me doubt myself. I am glad to see I am not the only one in this boat! ! Thanks ladies for the encouragement!

  • I am considering home schooling my 15 year old daughter. I work full time Monday- Thursday 10 hour days. Is it possible that I can do it? We just moved to the city from a small town. My daughter is not adjusting to inner school at all. Need some advice…

    Mom seeking help,,,,

    • The first thing to do is find out requirements for your state.
      The second is to find homeschool groups in your area. One thing about the homeschool community is that they are ALWAYS willing to talk to moms who are seeking information about homeschooling. Google your area, check with meetups and meet another mom face-to-face to talk. There will be tons of options you probably never even thought about.

      Find a group. Talk to someone. Learn about your options. Good Luck.

  • My husband is a police officer too! We are from Pennsylvania. I have a 6 month old and a 2.5 year old. Before my second was born, I was obsessing over the idea of homeschooling my children. I conducted an overwhelming amount of research of laws and curricula… after my daughter was born and I returned to work from my maternity, the circumstances at my work place changed and I thought I’d be promoted into a salary, more professional position. I was already accepting the idea of sending my children to Christian private school. I was somewhat promoted (I was given the responsibilities of the job, with only half the pay raise I expected and the position itself was eliminated). Surprisingly, I really enjoy what I do now and I love the office I work for. But I’m starting to think about my children’s education again and remembering how much I wanted to return home and be with them. However, being a FT stay at home mom is not feasible for us financially and I would have to at least work part time. Your post is inspiring and it’s a perspective that you don’t find much online. Most home school moms are home full time. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you for this! I am a working homeschooling momma. I am a dentist. It is our second year homeschooling and our first in Classical conversations. I love it. People think I’m crazy I am sure and say things like you must be superwoman. I hate that and it is actually embarrassing to me. It is hard and I’m not superwoman — I am so blessed to have a great hubby, my house isn’t perfectly clean, and I give up a lot to make this work. But actually I find we have much more freedom and time together and our schedule works better for us than when in public school. Keep on keeping on working moms. You can do it.

  • Can I tell you that I totally needed this post! I am an RN also and working three 12 hour shifts per week. My husband and I feel led to homeschool but we cannot afford for me to drop my hours right now. I am starting to feel the stress and responsibility that will be on me when I start homeschooling next fall. I was starting to question myself, but reading this post really helped me feel that maybe it is possible! ! I appreciate you writing this inspiring post! ! Thank you!

  • Hi Heather,
    What a Great article! As a working mom myself, sometimes I feel like I just do not have enough hours in a day, to homeschool too. Your article really helped give me some ideas on how to make it work better for our family. So, thank you!
    I also wanted to let you that I shared this article on a homeschool/working group I am a part of. Just too good not to share 😉 Here is a link to the Linkedin page in case you like to check out the group too.
    https://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=8190802&trk=anet_ug_hm

  • Hi Heather,
    This article is such an ispiration for me
    I work full time and also my husband but with the help of a group, we find out that we can do this!!!
    For us, the struggle was in our mind, we thought too mutch about “the norm”
    It’s so clear in your post at point 3
    Do not limit your self to the norm
    This is the key
    I give an example:
    I’m Italian and Homeschool in my country is legal but not well known so only few family made this choice
    I could not find a curriculum for homeschoolers in my language, so…
    I started with an American one 🙂
    and this helped me to learn english and my doughter now has started K5 as a bilingual
    This is not easy of course but rewarding
    I feel more involved in my daughter life, I can teach also carachter qualities, so important for us-not always possible in public schools.
    How we do this as we both working? I made more than a 100 phone call and as many talksand we found a wonderful nanny who follows the curriculum that we give.
    And also internet, mums blog, free printables, abeka curriculum
    All this things are very useful
    Thanks so much Thanks to all the parents that share their experiences, we would never have thought to be able to do this instead thanks to people like you Heather… we are here!!

    • Silvia, so sorry I am just now responding. I forget to check the comments! You are Italy? Wow! What a beautiful country…some day I hope to go there. You sound very determined, especially since you are using a curriculum that isn’t even in your language! I wish I had that much motivation! I am so glad you found encouragement with this post. Thank you for encouraging me. I needed that today! I hope you have a good year down this new path of yours!

  • I just wanted to thank you for your post. My son is 8 years old, and was recently diagnosed with being gifted with ADHD. It literally brings me to tears when I think about the treatment he has endured over the past few years. I work as a school counselor myself, so I expected certain behaviors from other kids. What I did not expect was the
    cruel treatment he received from some of the
    adults. I recently began to seriously consider
    homeschooling after having a candid conversation
    with his teacher (she is certified in special
    education). She said to me, “Your son does not
    have ADHD. He gets straight A’s. When he is engaged in the lesson, he is one of my
    best students. He is actually brilliant and
    extremely bored.” She told me I should move
    forward with getting him classified, not because he
    needs the services, but in order to protect him
    from certain teachers in the school. I could not
    believe what I was hearing, but I know based on
    past experiences, what she was saying was true. I
    have been praying to God to help me find another
    way. Your post gave me so much hope. I have a 8-
    3 schedule, with summers off. My husband is a
    network analyst with traditional 9-5 hours. My
    mother and father who help with babysitting are
    both retired educators. I can see through your post, there is a way to make this work. I’m going to continue praying and continue reading your blog. I swear, if you were in front of me I would give you a
    big hug. Thank you so much…keep going….the
    world needs you!

    • Tennille,

      Awww, “air hugs” to you. It sounds like you’ve already got the hardest part figured out…figuring out where your child goes when you are at work. I would recruit the grandparents for more hands one childcare and include some lighter teaching for them. Then do and hour or two at night with you son in the evenings after dinner…and a few hours over the weekend. Homeschool may totally allow your son to blossom. It can be very motivating for those “gifted” learners. I think you will do great!

  • My husband and I are contemplating homeschooling with 1 of our 3 children. He is 14 yr old and is failing English and barley passing math. He is very smart but does not like the classes at school since the teachers do not have control of classrooms and he gets distracted very easily. My husband and I both work Full time and I am excited to meet with a friend who is part of CC here to go over the CC program. I am relieved to hear others being able to handle teaching and working together. I look forward to reading more positive notes in homeschooling . I applaud all who have taken on the adventure with their family.

  • I was just googling ‘homeschool schedule working moms’ and came across this. I am about to start homeschooling my daughter, after homeschooling my son for a year now. I work 30 hours a week, some from home, some at the office with a sitter to watch my son (and soon, my daughter). Anyway, with 1 child, it wasn’t too hard to schedule in between my work hours, and just fly by the seat of my pants each day/week as my work schedule changed, but I felt that with 2 kids, I’ll have to be more organized. I enjoyed your tips, and it helped calm me down, as I sit here and play with my schedule to try to ‘fit in everything’.

    • LOL, glad I helped calm you down. Seriously, it’s one day at a time at my house. I have gotten away from the “crazy” controlling schedule. It just never works like I wanted it to. We have moved into a year round more flexible semi-routine that is doing well for us. Next year I’ll be schooling three though! Finding the right curriculum to manage it all will be key for me.

  • My husband and I are thinking of homeschooling our kids. They will be 12 and 15 next year. I am a home health/hospice RN and my work day is flexible. My spouse was in the Marine corp for 20 years, but he is is currently working full-time and going to school. (he wants to be a history teacher) We have talked about him doing something else that has more flexible hours. I know we can do this but I’m a little worried. We love our school (private school) but the cost has really gotten to us. The kids were given the option the of public school or to home school with their current private school. They are choosing Homeschool. They can continue with sports, go on camps and even take classes at the school too. I’m torn, am I qualified to teach my kids? What about college, and will my kids be ready for college? I don’t want to totally mess them up. My Kids are smart, My oldest is already taking an AP class at a freshmen. When curriculum do I use? Both the kids are smart. 15 year old is taking a AP class. I want to make sure they are challenged and are ready for college.

  • We have homeschooled off and on in the past, but it’s always been my idea and my husband wasn’t super supportive. I recently took a part time job and now my husband is convinced that homeschool is the way to go from here on out. Thank you for the encouragement. Most homeschool groups simply ask you “if you really need to work” or “adjust your priorities”. Nice to meet someone who is doing it! Our kids are finishing their last year of public school now while I figure out who is going to watch them will I am away. (Family is not nearby.) I don’t have the first clue how to find a sitter we will like! Good will provide.

    • Dianne,

      I know EXACTLY what you mean of those comments of “if you really need to work.” Technically, I don’t “really need to work.” I choose to work…for many reason. Know that I will never shame a woman for her choice to work. My goal of writing this serious is to encourage those working moms to not exclude themselves from this life of homeschool. While it will look very very different, it is still a very doable thing. Finding a sitter might be tough but I’d start with your local church if you are involved with one. Or find another homeschooling family. I hope it all works out for you!

  • I am seriously considering homeschooling my son who will be in 8th grade next school year. I am a single mother and I work. I have supportive family very near. I am in the very very beginning of the process and I was just wondering if anyone else also had the same situation as myself. Advice, words of wisdom, relatable situations and anything else would be great!
    Thanks

    • Hey there Maranda!

      It is great that you have a supportive family. I can’t image doing it without that. While I’m not single, I do know of several who are that homeschool who are in the HHM FB community page which is a private group that you can participate in.

      As for my “words of wisdom,” first off, what does you son think? At 8th grade level, he will be the one that will make or break this homeschool experience. He is at a level that he will very independent for the most part so I would assume that homeschooling will be much easier than say…3 littles who have learning issues. I think your situation is totally doable. And in all honesty, you will see him so much more with him not at school. I would let him be very acting in the planning and choosing process. And if he doesn’t want this…it’s going to make life a bit more difficult.

  • This post and the comments came along just when I needed it. I have a 1st grader, I work FT M-F 8:00-4:30, as does my husband with a lot of OT. It is very hard to connect with women in our situation. All of the homeschool support around my area is geared toward traditional “mom stays home” situations. It’s the end of the year and my tank is running on low and my fears (is she well adjusted, did I miss something important, etc.) are running high. This was a wonderful encouragement. To be reminded I’m not the only one making this situation work, and I’m not crazy for trying. Thanks ladies!

  • Ok, first my confession: I am a seasoned homeschooler of 5 kids (18 yrs experience) and am trying to salvage this homeschool year before it is too late. My 2 remaining homeschool-age kids are 16 yo son and 8yo daughter. Long story short is that I had to go FT last August in order to secure health benefits.Previously, I worked PT evenings 2 minutes from my house. I am an RN, my job is Reimbursement nursing in a Nursing Home My husband and I carpool (we work near each other, 35 min from home), leave home at 5am and return around 4:00 pm. I pretty much left 16-yr old with T4L and haven’t checked all his assignments. Now I am trying to learn Odyssey Writer, and catch him up. There have been days where he hasn’t even attempted school. He will be doing school all summer, I don’t know whether to go back in time or just have him continue from where he is. He has completed some assignments, but no written assignments.

    My 8-yr old dtr is in better shape, since I have a 20-yr old dtr home who has been helping her. However, I can’t expect a 20-yr old to put her life on hold to be a homeschool mommy while I am at work. I can’t find a ride for kids to nearby co-op, because nobody lives near me. It also saddens me to think of sending my kids to a hs group without me. When my 3 oldest kids were younger, I was home during day, and we had typical hs day, and were involved in hs co-ops. So this is totally new for me.

    It is too late to place my 16-yr old in the local high school, and we can’t afford online community classes at this time. I hate the thought of public school, but am feeling overwhelmed at the moment. My husband thinks we need to place youngest in school, since we would need to rely on 16-yr old to help her next yr, when he has trouble doing his own work. Has anyone else faced this situation? We don’t have relatives nearby to help.

    Thanks for listening to my rant! I really want to make this work somehow, and I need to ensure that my 16-yr old isn’t totally screwed up. I appreciate any suggestions and words of encouragement.

  • Whether you’re a working mom or not, home schooling definitely takes great strength and commitment. Love your tips! This is something I can definitely use as work does get in the way at times. More power!

  • Thank you for the tips. I started homeschooling my 4 children (11th grade, 9th, 7th, and 4th) but was hired with the Department of Children and Family Services (aka CPS) and found the challenge of homeschooling becoming more than I could handle. We muddled through and they were able to get most of the work done in time. I want to try a new homeschooling method than what I used last year.

    I too am a Pacific Northwest mom, I live in God’s country and we do not plan on ever moving away. My now senior is autistic but is getting ready to Eagle in Scouts, is a senior Explorer with the Fire Dept. and has been a leader in Scouting events. I am more worried about him not being ready for college since he has ambitions of being a Paramedic. The other children do very well, okay my youngest wishes she was back in school, she is a social butterfly and easily distracted. I am looking for more structure of what needs to be taught, I had the children enrolled in a private online academy that promised so much more than what I got and will not be going back to that academy.

    Do you have any suggestions of a curriculum that I can use as a template? My husband works nights, I always make jokes that he is married to Safeway but now he can say the same about my job, so it is not as funny. With such busy schedules I am looking for something to help guide me to make sure the children are learning what they should be learning. I think I am a victim of having the traditional school schedule and a teacher putting together their education plan that I am worried I will miss something and mess up their chance of a good college education.

    Thank you for any suggestions,
    Virginia

  • I work from home(daycare) I have a kindergartner, 5th grader and 8th grader. I have no problem with the youngest but the older 2 I think I may have to give them a list of things to do and have them work independently and if they have questions that can be what we work on it the evening. My 8th grader isn’t getting up till 11am so if he wants to do his work later then I think that should be ok, I think one of the reasons we homeschool so they are not sitting for 8hrs a day. but I am getting frustrated for sure

  • This is all SO helpful, thank you all! I had been moving toward homeschooling my about-to-be 8th grader for 9th grade, but some things have come up that have me looking at doing it this year. His sister (going into 6th grade) wants to stay in public school, and I’m thinking that’d let me focus on one at a time 🙂 He’s borderline ASD & is getting bullied and isn’t learning anything (although they have him on the B honor roll…) he gets answers down and turns them in, but is learning far less than he can. I work full time days, but 2 days a week I do it from home. My husband works days full time also, so it’ll be a juggle.

    Here’s my question for those with (young) teens who are home by themselves and schooling…what do they do the rest of the day? I’m worried about him having too much free time and much of it “unattended.” At least for now, he can’t really go anywhere, so he’d be at home alone from about 7:15-3pm at least 3 days a week.

    • Hello Becky,
      I feel your pain. I am out of the house at least two days a week during the week and am now in Grad school. We are struggling with the very question you asked about the “unattended” time. Here’s what I’ve found working so far…

      I make long lists of chores and things they need to do. Not just school stuff. Normally my list is so long that they don’t have a lot of down time. Though, if I forget to make a list…it all falls apart. They work on the school they can do without me. For the 8th grader that’s most of it. Another thing we will be doing this year is using a work book style education (Lifepac) because it’s straight forward and easy to grade. And Teaching Text books because it grades itself. I want my kids to be able to get through the basics without too much pain and then have some interest led learning which seems to stick the most regarding long term memory anyways. This has opened the door for things like my daughter writing about Walt Disney, Astronomy, etc. It’s a lot of trial and error. You can try it out for a year and see how it goes.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I have recently had to rejoin the work force due to husband being laid off. He took a much lower paying job. He works out of state. I now work part time and my hours will increase to full time in Oct. I was feeling overwhelmed about schooling my 4 kids (ages 16 – 3). However, after reading the post and comments I have more peace. Going to depend on YeHoVah and prayer!!

  • My children were all homeschooled until last year. We put them into a christian private school that meets 3 days a week. Because I work, the school has asked us to leave. My option now is back to homeschool or public school. We do not want to put them in school but because they have “tasted” being around other kids and making a lot of friends, I am reluctant to put them back at home all day and everyday. I work full time outside the home, 10hr days, 4 days a week. I am only available to them in the evenings and on the weekends. I feel like I am doing them a dis-service by taking away their ability to be around other kids. Please help

    • Tiffany, it is often very hard to bring kids back home after having them in private or public school. They become more interested in other same-age peers than their siblings and parents, and they often enjoy being able to have the freedom that comes from being in a classroom in which the teacher is far outnumbered by students. It is definitely possible to homeschool in the evenings and on weekends, but it can be very hard to homeschool children who are opposed to it and who would rather be in public or private school. The best thing to do is to sit down with your children (depending, of course, on their ages and maturity levels) and talk with them about your options and why you feel the way you do. Allow them to tell you why they feel the way they do too. Ultimately, the decision is up to the parents because we are the ones who are responsible for making hard decisions for our children, but again, it can be stressful and less than productive to force your children to homeschool.

  • Hi, I just wanted to thank you for being so encouraging! My son will start kindergaden this year, and I never thought of homeschooling until the past 6 months. I work 32 hours a week. I keep praying about it and cannot stop thinking about it! My daughter used online curriculum but this time I want to homeschool my son for several reasons, but mostly because I feel like I am suppose to. It can be discouraging because when I tell people that I’m thinking of it (even some of my friends who homeschool but dont work) they think it would be too much on my plate. I feel like it will be hard but that it can be done! Thanks again!

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