Let's just cut to the chase shall we? Why are you REALLY working and homeschooling?
If you're working just to provide the extras for your children: dance class, sports fees, nice family vacations to theme parks, then you need to evaluate just how important those external things are to you and your family. With some soul-searching I hope you'll find that time spent with your children far outweighs any of the outside activities you might be able to afford, and choose to stay home instead.
IF you're working and homeschooling to provide for basic needs, like groceries and the electric bill ~ keep up the good fight! If God has called you to educate your children at home AND He has provided in such a way that you need to work, trust Him to work out the details!
I feel a need to back up and begin again...
The first real heart-to-heart talk you need to have with your spouse is whether or not you're really called to educate your children at home. Homeschooling can be a wonderful thing, and it has been a tremendously fun, yet challenging, adventure for our family. However, home educating is not for everyone. Some families do better with boarding school, some with traditional private school, some with public school. You must first determine the philosophy of education you want to follow for your family to know which direction to look towards when your children reach school age.
Sometimes God makes it obvious what you should do. For us, that path was and is home education.
It has not been easy, but it has been worth it!
One of our favorite pastors used to say "God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, yet He often prefers to provide it one hamburger at a time." We have lived one of those lives. God has always provided for all of our needs, but rarely for all of our wants. My Heavenly Father is generous and kind, yet, thankfully God knows how to give me what I need, and not always what I ask for!
Back to the WHY are you working and homeschooling...
Sometimes the Mom needs to work outside the home to help the Dad provide for basic necessities. Perhaps it is for a season, a year, or even for a lifetime. Have you ever met a farmer's wife? They work just as hard and as long as the farmer, they work as a team to accomplish everything that needs done. I am not married to a farmer, but we share that same idea of working as a team. God joined us together, and when we work as a team, God gets the glory for all that is accomplished.
If you are a Mom that needs to work outside the home, know that you have my prayers, and God's ear. He hears you. Perhaps it was a job change for your husband that caused the need for you to find outside employment, a move, an injury, a child with special medical needs. Whatever the circumstance that brought you to this place, God knows. He wants you to rely upon His power and strength to get you through each day. He wants you to know that He is enough.
Once you have established that God has called you to homeschool, and accepted the reality that you need to both work to meet your monthly bills, it is time to get serious about the HOW.
Is your philosophy to go to work, and then come home and replicate school at home for your children? While that may sound good on paper, it's not going to fly in the real world of everyday life. There are not enough hours in a day to work, sleep, and replicate a traditional school setting at home.
If your philosophy of education is to provide the best education you can for your children, while keeping them at home, then you've got working room, and at least one foot in reality. This is going to be a hard enough road to journey, don't make it any more difficult than it needs to be. This is what I was speaking of in the introductory post about educating your children. If your goal is educated children, who can grow up, move out, and be successful adults on their own someday, you can tailor their education to what they need. It probably will NOT look like the education you had growing up, and that is OK.
My husband and I are both products of the public schools. Instead of trying to replicate our own childhoods for our daughters, we asked God what He wanted for them. The answers were both simple and complex. He wants them to learn about Him. He wants then to know how to read and write, and do basic math. He wants them to know how to cook basic meals and do their own laundry. God wants our daughters to grow up with a sense of wonder and awe, to appreciate the natural world around them, and to see His handiwork in it.
Some of these tasks are measurable: reading, math, laundry. Some are much more difficult to quantify. How do we approach teaching them about God, his care, and how do we help them keep their sense of wonder? Scripture says it best:
We are to show our children God in the everyday things of life. We are to spend our days speaking truth into their lives, and we are to live our lives as examples of what it means to follow Christ.
What does this mean to the family where both parents need to work? It looks like cherishing every moment you have together. It is overlooking the small things that might otherwise annoy us and choosing to focus on the good our children are doing. It looks like dying to self. It looks like protecting whatever family time you have, and spending it doing meaningful things, like taking a hike, or playing another game of Candy Land, because you're doing it together.
It looks like keeping God first, your marriage second, and your children third.You cannot walk this journey alone, and you will not walk it successfully if your children usurp the place your spouse should have in your heart and your life. Remember that first heart-to-heart? If you are called to homeschool and work, and you trust God, it will succeed. If you're not called to do both, or you fail to trust that God's plans are better than your own, you will likely fail.
On a side note: single parents have a doubly hard road to journey. If you know one, help them! If you are one ~ May God richly bless your efforts to follow Him!
A working Mama needs two things: a Bible, and a library card.You don't need a lot of money to educate your children well, but you do need a lot of love, and to use your time wisely. A working mama doesn't have time to grade a lot of worksheets, so look into learning methods that can help you and your children. Read up on Charlotte Mason and narration. Work on short lessons that get to the point and keep your children's attention. Spend more time reading with your young children than you do lesson planning.
Really, really, truly, truly, if something takes you more than 30 minutes a month to lessen plan for it ~ it is NOT going to happen. Start with the basics: what does your state require you to teach/ or your children to learn? Then decide what you want to add to that, one small step at a time.
Work with your husband, not against him. Decide who will work days, who will work evenings/ nights/ weekends. Then be thankful that you can find a job that meets the needs of your family.
No WHINING!Working Moms and Dads have no time for whining, from themselves or their children. If you feel yourself starting to whine you need to snap out of it. Go sing a hymn or recite your favorite Bible verse over and over again until you mean it. You are setting the example for your children to follow, ask God to help you make it one that follows Him.
Next time, Lord willing, I'll share about a schedule, for you, and for your children. Just because I don't write lesson plans doesn't mean there's not a schedule to follow!
If you're enjoying a peek into what real-life home education while both parents works looks like, why not sign up to follow us by email, or on Pinterest and be the first to read every week's posts?