Being working mothers, our options for educating our children can seem limited, public school verses private school. Each with its pros and cons The thought of home education doesn’t even seem a possibility because of scheduling. I want to suggest that you can educate your children at home. How do I know? Because I do!
There are four things you need to get started:
1. Family Support: First and foremost is the support of your husband as well as extended family. Without family support, working and homeschooling will be nearly impossible. Young children will need to be cared for while you are at work, preferably by a trusted family member who is willing and able to keep a simple and flexible schedule. Remember that no two days are identical and therefore the routine should be flexible not ridged.
2. Curriculum/Program: There are many, many wonderful curriculum and program choices designed for the home educating family. There are so many in fact that if you are just getting started it can be overwhelming. For the working mom, I suggest an “all inclusive” program that provides all or most of the items you will need including lessons plans.
I personally use Classical Conversations which lays out the subjects that will be taught each week. We also meet once a week for class which includes hands on art and science projects. However, I do supplement reading, writing, and math.
For math I use Saxon Math which works well with Classical Conversations. My son, who is a hands-on-learner, enjoys Saxon Math because he uses manipulatives in addition to worksheets. The teacher’s guide is well designed and provides all the information needed to explain the math concepts.
Another option is online learning or distance leaning. This is probably better suited for the older child who can work independently.
In the end, each family’s needs are different and you will need to find a program that meets your needs and expectations.
3. Scheduling/Organization: Now that you have your family support and program, it’s time to schedule, schedule, schedule and organize, organize, organize. Organization is very important to keep everyone focused including yourself. I currently use a binder/file folder system, an Excel school calendar and a On The Go paper calendar.
Because I use curriculum that is “pre-planned”, it only takes me a few minutes a week to prepare. I know each week what we will be expected to learn as each subject is broken down into 6-week periods, therefore, I can prepare accordingly. I look at the material, determine what I will need for each week, if any, print it, tab it, and/or find it at the library. I then place the material in a file folder marked for that week, for example Cycle 1 Week 12. I then place the Saxon Math worksheets in the file folder behind tabs marked Monday – Friday, (one lesson per day). Once the Classical Conversations material is covered, I move it to the Review Binder which is divided by subject. All other material is filed away.
When it comes to scheduling, home education is generally flexible. However, being a working mother who also homeschools, keeping a schedule is important because you are not only working, and homeschooling, but also running a household, including extra curricular activities. The flexibility is still there, but every minute counts.
4. State Compliance: Most importantly make sure you are in compliance with your State’s law regarding homeschooling. It is your responsibility to submit any required documentations within any time limits. It is also important to document your child’s education.
If you are considering homeschooling, I recommend attending a Great Homeschool Convention. There you can look at different curriculum and attend workshops to help you make your decision.