Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to work and homeschool too

I hope everyone had a great New Year!

I know from previous surveys that a high proportion (perhaps 50 percent) of families of profoundly gifted students wind up homeschooling at some point during their school years. These days there are a lot more options for online schooling and individualized instruction than in the past.

One thing that holds some families back is the assumption that one parent (likely Mom for a variety of reasons) will need to stop working in order to homeschool.

But it turns out that working and homeschooling aren't incompatible. I have a piece published over at Fast Company today on the ultimate second shift - "How These Parents Work and Homeschool Too."

To make it work, families need to embrace a few ideas.

First, work does not need to happen between 9 and 5, but even if it does, school does not need to happen between 9 and 3. Any of the 168 hours in a week can be in play! (well, probably not 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., but still).

Second, all working parents need childcare. For some parents, school serves this function, but the educational and custodial care functions of school can be unbundled. A number of homeschooling, working parents have nannies for some chunk of time. These caregivers might be able to supervise some aspects of schooling (e.g. trouble shooting for an elementary school student taking an online class).

Third, homeschooling parents can share the load. Two parents taking half the homeschooling means that the time load is cut in two. Many families belong to homeschooling co-ops or even district-run programs that offer electives or specialized instruction one day a week. This becomes time parents can work. Homeschooled kids might go to college classes, or do intense athletic or artistic endeavors, which fills some time too.

If the pieces of work can be moved around, then the math works. Someone could work 35-40 hours a week, and homeschool for 20, sleep 8 hours a night, and still have 52-57 waking hours per week left over. It would be a full life, but a doable one.

Do you or have you homeschooled? If so, did you maintain any professional involvements during this time?