Welcome to our October “31 Days” series at NextGen Homeschool: 31 Days of Homeschool How-To Tips! As NextGen Homeschoolers, we remember what it was like to be homeschooled ourselves, and our experiences as students have helped shape many of our best systems and strategies today. In the next 31 days, we’ll be sharing with you what’s working for us, answering the most common questions we get from today’s first-generation homeschooling moms.
How to Keep Working & Homeschool
My family and I have been navigating some challenging bumps in the road, and working while homeschooling has been one of our biggest struggles.
Let me start off with what God’s word says. Matthew 6:26-30 says:
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Everyday I wake up, I have to remember to trust God with everything. When my husband and I decided that we would homeschool several years ago, I left a full-time job as a seamstress for an awnings manufacturer. It was something I had done for more than 10 years, and my income was my security at the time. We were already struggling, so the idea of leaving work was just crazy to me!
Looking back to that week, I can honestly say now that God provides — and that’s amazing in itself, to just know how much He has provided! When I left that job, I kept my other part-time job cleaning the Daylight Donuts shop that my sister Rosanna and brother-in-law own. I went from working weekends at first to working six hours a day cleaning both of their shops every day, seven days a week. Now I homeschool during typical daytime hours, and then I go to work.
Working as a Team
Through homeschooling, my family has learned to work together in some highly stressful times. These are life skills that I am proud my girls are learning alongside us as parents. Homeschooling doesn’t simply benefit your kids, even though that was my sole intention at first. It brings you all together as a family. Although I have moments of doubt as we struggle on an almost daily basis, the rest of the time I realize that this has been the best choice I have ever made.
My older two girls, Stormie and Rachael, have helped me at work cleaning the donut shops. We call this our bonding time, because as we work, we talk. Well… they get me all alone in a building that echoes, so really I just listen as they talk and sing to me about anything and everything, and I feel very connected to them.
Rachael also jumps at the chance to help with her baby sister Melody, changing diapers, making bottles, and playing with her every chance she gets. Her younger sister Faith, who loves animals and wants to be a vet when she grows up, takes care of our dogs. This has been a huge help for me! All the girls have daily chores, so the house stays somewhat clean despite our busy schedule.
And through it all, our bills always somehow get paid. Yes, things have been tough at times, but I promise I would not change one minute of it. Every moment I get to watch my girls learn, is worth any stress!
Keeping Your Priorities in Mind
If you decide to work while you are homeschooling, remember to keep your priorities in order. God first, family second, and then work. This may sound backward to some, especially in our culture, but I have learned that this actually works better than what I was doing before.
God provides for those who seek to do His will. Even if we are to blame for our circumstances, God always has provided for us. I know my children see this as well. I praise God that my daughters are gaining what I call “faith skills” instead of losing their faith in a public school.
Do you work as well as homeschool? How do you balance working with your homeschool, home and personal responsibilities? Are you thinking of homeschooling but worried that you won’t be able to work as well? Share your questions and comments!