me to many homeschool-friendly resources.
Teaching for homeschool groups helped me
stay connected, as well as sharpen my skills.
Other kinds of jobs might complement a
homeschool, too. For example, some parents have their children participate in their
home-based businesses to teach them useful skills. Not every job will benefit a home-school, of course, but it may be worth seeking those that will.
• A part-time job can help you
prepare for a future re-entry into the
As hard as it is to imagine, your precious
homeschooling years will fly by and eventually end. When they do, you may need to
enter the workforce full-time. This could be
a matter of resuming a career you enjoyed
before homeschooling, or it may mean embarking on a brand-new adventure. Either
way, a part-time job while homeschooling
can help you build or maintain skills you
will someday need for a full-time job. Although homeschooling helped me hone my
teaching skills in unexpected ways, my potential employers are not likely to value that
experience like they will my customer service skills, broad literary knowledge, and
homeschool group teaching.
• Saying “hello” and “goodbye” at the
same time can weaken your marriage.
For some couples, including us at one time,
the only way they can meet their financial
needs and continue homeschooling is by
having one spouse work in the morning
and the other work in the evening. I would
suggest this is a last-resort solution. Although my teaching job was child-friendly
and took place during the day, my bookselling was during evenings and weekends.
Many days I had to hastily kiss my husband
• Adding a part-time job to your
goodbye as he walked in the door and bom-
bard him with a list of need-to-knows. Who
could blame him for often succumbing to
the ease of fast food for dinner? That, of
course, was worth at least two hours of my
bookstore labor, not to mention that we had
little family time. Date night opportunities
were rare, and the weekly evenings we spent
watching a DVD together didn’t go far to
nurture our marriage. Although booksell-
ing helped ease our financial strain, it also
strained our relationship.
full-time job may result in complete
Although you are not earning a paycheck
• When you must choose between your
for all you do each day, make no mistake:
homeschooling is a full-time job. Add to-
gether homeschooling, housekeeping, and
caring for your younger children, and you
may feel as I did—that you really have two
full-time jobs. Depending on your cir-
cumstances, you may be able divide your
responsibilities among other family mem-
bers, but even then, taking a part-time
job may result in more stress and exhaus-
tion than you can handle. If you are the
emotional barometer for your family, as I
was, your burnout will affect everyone.
job’s demands and your family’s needs,
guess which is likely to suffer?
No matter how committed you are to putting family first, they can’t fire you like your
boss or clients can. When you’re pulled in
two directions, it’s much easier to rationalize that your family will be “fine” than it
is to refuse your boss. I can’t tell you how
many times I “had” to put my work before
my family, which included our homeschool.
Because I could spread myself only so thin,
I began to cut corners with my children’s
education—and it showed.
In a perfect world, homeschool parents
could focus completely on their children
each day. In reality, though, life is often
more complicated than that. With the
promise of extra income glittering in the
distance, it’s easy to forget that a part-time
job will affect more than just your bank
account. Before you take the leap, spend
time weighing the potential hidden costs
and benefits, too.
Cheri Blomquist is a former homeschool
mom who is now the author/instructor for
The Denim Beret writing program (www
. denimberet.com) and two courses for
Schoolhouse Teachers .com . She is also a freelance writer/teacher and runs the website,
What’s In It? The Concerned Parent’s Guide
to Young Adult Literature (www.wiilitguide
.com) . Cheri lives in Colorado with her husband, five children, and one ornery cat. A
romantic when away from her computer, she
loves the arts, travel, the Renaissance Festival, and beautiful scenery.
Although you are not
earning a paycheck
for all you do each
day, make no mistake:
homeschooling is a