• The Homeschool Reading SLP

Homeschool and Work? Say What?!

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

So let's talk about homeschooling. And working. This is a tough topic to tackle because I want to be encouraging, and, well, honest. Can someone work and homeschool at the same time? My story mandates full disclosure: Not everyone is living my particular set of circumstances, blessings, situations, etc. And, it really may matter.

I am a pediatric speech-language pathologist, feeding therapist, reading interventionist, creator of children's camps, business owner....Okay, so I am all over the map. (My first homeschooled child you will soon meet here gets it from me.) I am also interested in all things committed to the development of children.

After years of increasing doses of ADHD medicine to control our middle son's "behaviors", we pulled (pulled (v): homeschool slang; withdrawing your child from public school) him in mid-fifth grade. I was worried about what to do about both teaching him and needing to work. My husband, though leary of homeschooling (and probably worried about me not working), was done watching our sweet boy lose weight and having his spirit stomped out by the demands the public school setting was putting on his little body and soul. (Our ADHD and homeschool journey is another blog yet to be written.) This first homeschool year, I settled on doing teletherapy for another company. Teletherapy is therapy, online. I worked 10-15 hours a week but from home. There were days that Zach did school between these sessions. For a child that needs lots of breaks and movement, this was JUST FINE with him! He jumped on the trampoline, worked on an assignment, ate lunch (no more medication, appetite back, gaining weight, "Yay, homeschool!"). I also advertised private speech therapy to be done from my house. In the afternoon, I might see one or two kiddos. Our youngest child was already attending a small, local preschool and thriving. So, he stayed there. Zach and I would pick him up each day. My oldest rode the bus home. I was there to greet him everyday. (All things I wasn't able to do before we were homeschooling- yay, homeschool).

My husband is a super nice guy, a sales rep, loves to cook, and will wash clothes...Okay, so he's a rock star. He was and is a mandatory part of this being able to work. As time went on, I also began to do early intervention in the local area. Early Intervention is offered through the State for all areas of pediatric development for children ages 0-3 years (If this is something your child needs, search "early intervention in" + your state. Here, it is "Louisiana Early Steps". Seriously, they will come to your house!) This meant needing to leave our home- and Zach- to work. That is where Tall Boy (my husband) came in. Visits were scheduled on his home-office day. I put out the books and wrote the lesson plans- and sometimes they were even followed! I eventually learned that school and homeschool are not the same. You do not have to keep the same hours, schedule, curriculum- anything. So, if I needed to pick up school in the late morning or afternoon, I could (yay, homeschool).

Since that first year, we have had both younger children at home, had one in school for first grade, and even had all three at home for one semester (Homeschooling was NOT for our oldest- He was back to the middle school by spring). After five years of homeschooling, Zach, for whom we started this journey, recently completed his first (sophomore) year at the public high school his older brother will graduate from this Friday. This was his decision after much prayer on both of our parts. He is doing great and loving it. I hope to tell you more one day about the amazing things God has done on my sweet boy's journey. The side-bar point here is that homeschool (and public school) may not be for every child in every season. Maybe one or the other is for a particular child. There is nothing at all wrong with that.

During these years, I have opened two private practices with an office (not recommend while starting out!) as well as have launched a reading intervention teletherapy practice of my own online. I have continued early intervention in some seasons and not in others. I have gone into daycares and preschools for one or two hour blocks working around my children's and husband's schedules. We have always been in a homeschool co-op one day a week. My husband has helped with that in seasons when I have not been able. When very busy with the office, and after the unexpected loss of my mom, my "best homeschool Momma-friend" swooped in and literally. taught. my child. (yay, homeschool).

Work and homeschool today involves only our youngest. Well, except that I also teach other kiddos around his grade two days a week. I work two to two and a half days a week from the office (It's mostly online right now). Sometimes, it's the greatest thing ever. I get to really SEE my kids outside of the door well or while racing somewhere in the car. My work, on the other hand, brings me a joy that I can not get at home. Sometimes, I cry everyday for a week because I feel spread too thin. That's blatant honesty.

Can you homeschool and work? My story has characteristics that you may not find similar. I would encourage you to ask yourself more questions: What do YOU need to do so that it can be done? There are mommas out there that seem to be rocking this thing with far less help than I have. What are ALL of the ways you could bring in income? What are ALL of the scenarios that could happen at home with the adults' work schedules? Can you talk to your boss? Have you presented her or him with all the possibilities? What specifically should YOU do? Be creative. Google it. Ask everyone you know, what they are doing. And, dismiss all things that make you feel you aren't doing this thing right. Especially the ones that tell you that you "can't", "shouldn't", "always" or "never". Having some basic set ideas going into a school year or month or whatever we feel realistic has helped. For example, I know I have to see most of my therapy/reading kiddos on a certain two days. Also, I HAVE to block time on my schedule to process through what needs to be done the next week. That's just me. Tall Boy and I go in knowing our "hard limits" on specific days and times for each other. Beyond that, I think it's been more true than not, that we walk into different seasons of homeschool not exactly sure how we will make it all happen. It always does, though. I think that requires being somewhat fluid around those hard limits. I think that has been a big reason we have been able to do it. I'm willing to do whatever I have to do to have what "it all" is by my definition. I'm still working on it all not being all to me. There are seasons in all of it. You don't have to do anything the way I did (please don't, seriously, did you read this?!) That is just fine. Above all else, seek God's Voice. He Provides. You're gonna be okay, momma. You got this. Proverbs 3:6 Blessings ☀

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