Jan 31, 2012

Homeschooling and the Working Mom

Supergirl was single and had no kids
(Photo by Sam Howzit)
In the past three posts, we talked about when it would be good for parents to consider homeschooling for their children: bullying, ADHD, and other reasons, such as giftedness, mental retardation, distance from school, religious conviction, and financial flexibility.

I also promised I would talk about homeschooling and the working mom, that is, moms who work outside the home.

Let me get direct to the point: it is very difficult for a working mom to work outside the home and homeschool at the same time.

Even stay-at-home moms and work-at-home moms have their bad days with homeschooling. But a working mom who homeschools will really be stretching herself to the limit.

How about staying at home?

If you know in your heart that it is in your child's best interest to be homeschooled, because he is being bullied in school or for other reasons, then ask yourself this next question: is it really necessary for you to be working outside the home?

Take a calculator, sit down, and look at how much you could save from staying at home, not commuting to work, not paying for childcare, not paying tuition, not eating out every day, not drinking designer coffee.

Speaking of designer coffee, brainstorm, too, on what luxuries you are paying for that you could do without.

It might turn out you can afford to live on one income after all! In addition, you will be teaching your child valuable lessons in frugality and finding joy in non-material things.

Here's another option: you may be able to do your work at home. This article would be too long if we listed here the ways to find work you can do at home, but this blog has talked about that several times in past articles. Now, suffice it to say that many mothers have done it, and you can too.

Nonetheless, there are situations when you really have to keep working outside the home. What then?

Maximize your resources

There are two things that can help you homeschool your child even when you are not at home: the Internet and a tutor.

Admittedly, this goes against the traditional way of homeschooling, where the parents teach the child personally.

On the other hand, it still fulfills a good number of homeschooling's obejective:
  • It protects your child from bullies.
  • It protects your child from negative social influence.
  • It gives your child one-on-one attention.
  • It gives your child time to independently and thoroughly pursue his or her own interests.
The Internet is full of resources that can help your child learn almost painlessly at home. I have listed some of them in a previous post, Educational and Child-Safe Computer Sites

Time4Learning.com, in particular, gives your child U.S. state-approved curriculum up to Grade 8. Now that the Philippines is moving to a K-12 educational system, Time4Learning's curriculum becomes compatible with our own.

For Filipino and Araling Panlipunan, you can get your child textbooks from local bookstores, and let your child read through those and answer the exercises.

When you get home at night, and also on weekends, you can go over the child's lessons together to see what  needs to be reviewed or supplemented.

A tutor can also help you ensure that your child is studying and learning at home as he should.

Of course, none of these come cheaply. Nonetheless, I would venture to say that it is still cheaper to do it this way than to enroll your child in some of the best private schools in the Philippines.

You may ask, can I do it without help from the Internet or a tutor?

I would not advise it. You would be burning your candle at both ends. Don't try to be a superwoman. Remember that Supergirl (Superman's cousin) was single and had no children.

By the way, here's one last advice: get yourself a support group. We have one on Facebook and another on Yahoo Groups. If you're interested in joining these groups, let me know and I will invite you to them (the FB group is by invitation only).

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