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Working Homeschool Moms: Teaming Up With Others

While there are a good number of working homeschool moms (and dads) who do everything alone {{hugs}}, there are also a good portion of us who can only function because of the assistance we get from others. Mixing work with homeschool can get a bit hairy and chaotic. But, with help, things can be GOOD!

Do you work and homeschool?  Check out our working homeschool moms resource page that contains more articles about how to balance homeschooling and working.

For those of us that are a part of a homeschool tag team of sorts, we need to consider the needs of all who play a role with our children’s education. Having a second – or third – person to help is a lifesaver! But it can most definitely NOT work at all if we don’t do it right. We need to set the stage to produce effective teamwork. We need to consider that our homeschools are in fact made up of a true teaching team and not just a one woman (or man) show.

Working Homeschool Moms

These last couple months my homeschool situation has had a few speed bumps which have caused us to grow and to shift into a different direction. Taking on a new job has been fun and exhausting…and confusing – especially when it comes to managing time, teaching the kids, and depending on others for help.

It’s one thing for me to be able to pick up the curriculum I want and then go teach it but a whole other thing when I expect someone else to teach the stuff I have picked out. And let us not even mention how they will manage in my homeschool room where only I seem to know where anything is. {Insert SIGH here} Expecting others to be able to pick up where I left off or to know what we are learning without any prep or knowledge base is unrealistic. Even if the teacher’s manual is pretty obvious, just opening it up can be overwhelming for many.

So how do we utilize the help from others then? How can we function as a team? 

Last month, I wrote an article called, Having a Homeschool Dad in the Mix, which talks about the benefits of dad being involved and how to jump start it. This post was inspired from a recent experience when my husband FINALLY stepped up to do much more in our homeschool than he has ever done in the past. At this point he is suddenly taking on TWO Full days of school most weeks which is like throwing someone to the wolves.

Through this process, we’ve learned some things about making this whole shared homeschool teaching thing work. And for the record, my husband helped me make this list of “lessons learned.” Now, I’m using my husband as an example but all of these observations do cross over to anyone else who is helping you.

1. My curriculum choices were not structured enough for daddy to be able to fall into place with teaching. He was utterly confused with how it all worked. My children and I have always used Classical Conversations as our spine but my husband found this to be too scatter brained and open-ended (which I kind of agree with but we just went with it).

It frustrated him greatly. His teaching style is definitely different than mine. He wants something where the book can be opened, kids learn something, book closed – more like traditional school. Oh and he wants them all stacked up in a pretty little neat pile too. Hmm…

2. Building off of #1…This brought on the great debate about what should be getting taught to our children. And what kinds of curriculum to use too. It was actually a very healthy conversation that should have happened a long time ago.

Of course, this type of conversation can only take place if all parties want to actually talk about it. Once my husband started helping with the teaching more consistently, this conversation became much more important to him. Go figure.

3. Building off of #2…This brought on the hunt for a “better” curriculum. Since we are a “teaching team” now, we both need to be happy with the curriculum we are using. In a picture perfect world, we would have already been making buying decisions together when it comes to this but that hasn’t always been the case. I made decisions based on what I liked or what sounded good. So now, 2 months into school, we are choosing to switch things up. Yay for me…..

4. We also discovered that maybe I’m not so great at organization – at least not in the eh-ehm  “logical” way that my husband understands or expects. So my goal for the next month will be to set up the school books on shelves with quite possibly even bookshelf labels and color coding {gag} to keep things more “sane” for everyone. Thrashing around the schoolroom looking for the answer key can be a bit of a problem…I guess. Between me and you, I’ve even been tempted to snap photos of what each book looks like and post it somewhere very obvious. {I’m sensing a Pinterest worthy post!}

5. Having a general plan or goal for the week is not good enough. Step by step instructions for what is due and where it goes when it is done needs to happen. It needs to be typed out and put somewhere very obvious. Just giving verbal instructions is not enough. You will most certainly be harassed repeatedly at work if it isn’t very clear cut and quite possibility even have your lesson planning homeschool skills questioned all together! Yah, that happened.

Overall, what I am very grateful for is the fact that my husband is realizing that he can’t just be present to teach. He has to be involved in the decision making of every part of our school from curriculum research to schedule planning and everything in-between.

Being working homeschool moms means we need to utilize all the help we can get! Whether your helper is your spouse, your babysitter, a grandparent, or someone else, please make sure to include them in the planning and construction process of your school. And then, make sure to set up an environment that is ripe for success!

Do you work and homeschool?  Check out our working homeschool moms resource page that contains more articles about how to balance homeschooling and working.

I am positive that there are so many more observations and tips to build on this. I’d love for all of you to include your two cents below in the comments. How do you make it work? What are your go-to tricks? Who is the one that is helping you and how often?

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....

5 Comments

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  • Yep, having help comes with a price. We use a box curriculum and the Sue Patrick Workbox system for this reason. I also have to do weekly lesson plans that both the kids and their teacher for the day check off. However, having this help allows us working parents a sliver of a break because we have to do everything an at home parent has to do -plus maintain a job. It can make a person batty. Organization makes it so that we can see issues as they arise accross the board.

  • I agree with you. My mother does the bulk of homeschooling for 4 children. Although I would rather have a more literature based approach, I knew I needed to minimize teacher involvement because she is spreading herself over 4 kids. We talked and are currently using Alpha Omega’s Monarch which is online. It is working ok, but I think both of us would rather go with something else next year.

  • I recently created a new discussion group on LinkedIn for working/homeschooling parents. The reason I chose LinkedIn is because not only is a good place for people juggling home and careers, but it lets us directly post great work-at-home opportunities that we notice on LI as well! PLEASE consider joining us and keeping the conversation going: https://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=8190802

  • My husband is consulted prior to purchase of any curriculum book. The worse part is he simply defers to me, then gives me grumpy looks/comments when he doesn’t understand what needs to be taught. It’s a vicious cycle since then I end up doing all of it, and he wants to help… Most of the stuff I purchase is in pursuit of understanding for my children (not ours). Maybe this year he won’t just defer to me!

  • This post made me chuckle a few times because it’s reminds me of my husband and I. This is my first year homeschooling our 4 year old. My husband has been unofficially helping as he is a teacher by profession. I kinda just ended up here and happy to be, but with a more relaxed approach. It does help to be more organized and to have a guide. I know we have to be more organized as he advances in grade level.

    My husband mainly helps with reading. Unofficially perhaps once a week. I try to have my plan for the day all east the night before. I need to get better at this. Still learning what works best for all of us. Right now, keeping God as the focus and learning from bible stories is our way of doing things 🙂

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