I was first given the example by my own mother. My mother is a Physical Therapist, and an exceptional one as well. She did not choose between being a mother and having a career, she had both. When my older brother and I were 3 and 1, she found a job as a Physical Therapist at a Nursing Home that was owned and operated by a local family. My mother explained to them that she put being a mother first and that she wanted to be able to home school her kids, so she would need a somewhat flexible schedule and to be able to bring her kids to work. I want to add, my mom worked full time, a full 40 hours and sometimes up to 50 per week when her patients needed her! This is how she did it.
First of all, the owners agreed to let her use a small empty room as her class room that was very close to her office. Although she wasn’t in her office that often because she was usually somewhere in the building working with patients. We only used this for a few hours a day, after we were done with our lessons she would take us to a lady’s house, usually on her lunch break, for us to play and run around and have fun until she picked us up at the end of the day. Let’s be honest, you can’t expect a 5 or even a 7 year old to behave in a nursing home from 9-5. When we are a little older we wouldn’t go to the babysitter’s until about 3, so we had a normal length school day, although it was far from normal learning.
Before you get too worried about the quality of our education, my older brother just graduated medical school with an MD and my younger sister is a Pharmacist, so we were fairly well prepared for higher education. 😉
However, that isn’t really the point, you already know home school students usually do very well or you wouldn’t be looking into how you could home school your own kids! We need to focus on how to get it done!
First of all, to be really successful at being a homeschooling and working mom, it will help to embrace the notion of homeschooling on the go. For my mother, she used travel time as learning, as well as evenings and weekends. For instance, it was a 30 minute drive from our house to my mom’s work, then of course a 30 minute drive home. She would use that hour as completely focused learning time. We would sing learning songs, do addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc in our head as our mom would quiz us. We would talk about our lessons from the day before or tell our mom about the book we read. Then over the dinner table (we sat down and had family dinner every night) we would talk about other interesting things and my father would often join in then as well. I would argue that we learned more from this hour and a half (the drive and dinner) then the average kid does in an entire school day. Not because my parents were these brilliant teachers, but because we wanted to impress our parents with how much we learned and we loved having their attention (as most children do), so we remembered what they taught us. I remember when I was in public school in 8th grade (my Mom only did home school for Elementary School) my teacher asked the class, why do we have fall back. Nobody was raising their hand so I did and explained why there is a time change. My teacher stopped and looked at me very surprised and asked how I knew that. I laughed and replied that everybody knows that. My whole class disagreed with me, none of them knew that. We had discussed it at a family dinner when I was 6 or 7 I think. I had known that since I was 6! And here were 8th graders that didn’t know! If you are homeschooling on the go, your kids will eat up your every word and will want to learn from you, and you will be shocked at how far ahead they are when you just teach them everything you know as you go about your day!
I currently have a daughter in Kindergarten and a very rambunctious 2 year old son. I’m going to be honest, I might be changing my story when my son is old enough for school on how practical this is, but I hope not! 🙂 With my daughter I have a friend who also home schools who has children the same age, and she takes over playing and teaching my kids in the afternoon when I’m focused on working. We wake up early in the morning and do Math, we are continually learning Spanish, and we read and write every night. My daughter can already read and she loves to read, she is ahead of her grade level and I have been able to work outside the home just like my mom did. You can do it too! You need a good support system, that’s not true, you need a GREAT SUPPORT SYSTEM, find that boss who understands you need flexible time to teach your kids, find that friend who is willing to watch your kids while you are working, and get to work!