How Many Parents Work and Homeschool?

This short post appeared first over on Sulia, and I thought perhaps it should be cross-posted here.

According to Catherine to a 2012 post over at A Spirited Mind (she used 2007 Census stats and reportedly verified them with a Census employee), the numbers look like this:
  • 808,000 families homeschool with both parents in the work force,
  • 509,000 families homeschool with one parent in the work force and one at home,
  • 127,000 families homeschool with a single parent who works, and
  • 64,000 families homeschool without a parent in the work force.

I suspect that the current number is much higher, given the rise in interest in homeschooling.

Anyone want to volunteer to crunch some 2010 Census numbers?

5 Reasons Why You May Need to Earn Money While You Homeschool*

*Hint: It's not just about the money.

Penelope Trunk wrote a provocative piece on why one need not earn money while homeschooling. I encourage you to read it, especially since I have heartily recommended her blog in the past. She's a compelling writer, that's for sure, even when I disagree with her.

In light of her comments, I've done some reflection on what I've learned in my research into the lives and experiences of working homeschoolers.

Five of the most common reasons why parents chose to earn money while homeschooling include. Do any of these sound like you and your situation?

They need healthcare.  If you've listened to the news lately, healthcare is expensive. Full-time working homeschoolers are in the minority, but many of them do work to get or pay for medical insurance. Parents of kids with special needs who require a range of doctors and experts are common in this group.

They are single parents. Some of the most passionate homeschoolers I've encountered have been working homeschool parent who believe that their children receive the best education at home, for whatever reasons. Several of these parents I count as personal friends. And, no, they don't all have alimony checks to cover their needs, so they learn to succeed at working while homeschooling.

They intend to homeschool only for a little while (or a little while longer). Over the last two years, there's been a trend in my neighborhood for parents to homeschool only for junior high school, to get their kids past the enormous peer pressure common with pre-teens. Other parents, especially those of gifted/"2E" kids may homeschool until a better school option can be found. Still others homeschool while a child works through a grave illness, or, in the case of military families, to round out a semester in which a move has taken place.

I also have encountered moms of pre-teen and teenage kids who want to ease back into the work world. A part-time job can make that adjustment easier and give the adult something new to think about as the kids become more involved with the larger world.

They "fell into" homeschooling and have yet to make substantial adjustments to their lifestyle to accommodate the choice. For those of us with a few years of experience under our belt--and with flush bank accounts, it can be easy to forget the folks who stumble into homeschooling and have to play "catch up" with learning the joys and worthwhile sacrifices inherent to the experience. We fell into homeschooling because of a food allergy. Others come to it because of bullying, poor schools, frustrations over standardized testing, etc.

They appreciate the challenge. In my experience, most working homeschoolers are part-time employees or own their own business. I am in this demographic myself and find the intellectual pursuit keeps me grounded in the adult world.

The Take-Away: The reasons for why people work while homeschooling are as diverse as the homeschooling demographic. If you find yourself needing to work and homeschool, then know that others have gone before you and everything turned out fine. Meanwhile, we seasoned working homeschoolers should seek to further showcase those realities.

How to Work & Homeschool Giveaway on Goodreads

If you're contemplating purchasing a copy of How to Work and Homeschool this month, why not put your hat in for the Goodreads contest that ends on October 31? Together with GHF Press (my publisher), I'm giving away not one but two copies over there.

While you're over there, be sure to come say "hi" on my Goodreads author page.

Can't wait until the end of the book? Want the book right now? Purchase details are here.

Remember: The new How to Work and Homeschool Parents' Discussion Group is up-and-running now along with the regular Facebook page. This week I added a new Amazon store, and don't forget our Pinterest board.

{Self-Care & October Giveaway} Mommy Time Offers Working Homeschool Moms a Place for Renewal

Special thanks to Mommy Time* for this month's giveaway.

What are you in the mood for? A massage? Some yoga?  Mommy Time delivers.

While I was researching my book, I became familiar with the many challenges working homeschool parents face.

One of those challenges involves parental self-care.

Allocating time and energy to nurturing one's body and soul is as essential to success on work and school fronts as sunshine is to plants. Unfortunately, self-care (like sleep) is too frequently backburnered by all parents, most especially working homeschoolers.

In the coming years, as our population grows, I predict that savvy entrepreneurs will opt to reach out to working homeschoolers alongside stay-at-home parents of young children. It's only logical since our needs overlap. Just like all parents of young kids, we working homeschoolers could use some hands-on help to free us up to exercise, get a massage, and socialize a little with other parents in an inviting atmosphere.

{Homeschool + Work} 3 Steps to Homeschooling While Working Full-Time

For parents who work full-time outside the home and yet desire to homeschool, it can be challenging to see where and how to begin.

Here are the first three steps that the parents with whom I work move through in order to get where they want to be.

1. Solve the daycare issue. There are various ways to do this, depending upon your unique situation: work part-time from home/part-time at your workplace, hire a nanny, share a nanny, hire a relative (always try to pay if you can although if someone volunteers, that's lovely), downgrade and/or downsize a lifestyle/budget/household, etc.

If one parent can be at home at least part-time then this first hurdle is easier to clear. (See also my post on daycare solutions from earlier this year.)

2. Give up traditional ideas about "when" school occurs. K-12 education takes only a FRACTION of the time allotted to it in a traditional school day. This is in part because 1) large classrooms demand teacher energy and focus and 2) schools function as daycare for much of our society.

If you're going to be out of the house during the 8-to-5 hours, then remember that nights, weekends, early mornings--these are all "fair game" when it comes to scheduling time to educate your own kids at home.

3. Finally, develop a schedule that works for your family--and stick to it. The parental discipline is essential, especially if the adult(s) are gone 40 hours a week or more. (There are several useful sample schedules in the back of my How to Work and Homeschool* book.)

If you found this post useful, I invite you to join me (and several hundred How to Work and Homeschool fans) on Facebook. And be sure to check out my Goodreads giveaway of the book during October 2013.

Explore More:
How to Homeschool When Both Parents Must Work Full-Time
Basics of Keeping a Weekly Work and Homeschool Schedule
Lessons from Single Homeschool Parents

*FCC Disclosure:  The asterisk indicates an Amazon Affiliate link. I am a member of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This is an affiliate advertising program through which sites like mine earn money by advertising and linking to

{Homeschool Tips} Awesome, Portable Learning Resources for Elementary-Aged Kids

Yes, that's my motto as a freelance writer/author and homeschool mom.

Have kid. Have iPad. Will travel. 
Consequently, I'm always looking for portable, quality educational products. Featured below are three stand-out options we've come to rely upon this academic year.

Horrible Histories

This semester, we've seen both versions--the off-the-beaten path Scholastic one (via Netflix) and the knock-your-socks-off CBBC series. Hands down the CBBC version wins our vote for best of show. Quirky, clever, and filled to the brim with all the gross-out humor of the Terry Deary books on which both series are based, the CBBC one is as much fun for me to watch as it is for our son.

Note that the gross-out humor is strong with the CBBC version, but the trade-off is that our kid really did learn his Western civilization. I know this because I dusted off my B.A. and M.A. in history and tested him orally. I was floored at what he'd learned and retained. (If your kids--or you--are weirded out by potty humor and talk of public executions as family excursions, then please steer clear.)

We watch Horrible Histories via, which means as long as we've got WiFi access for the iPad, we're good to go. We've seen all the seasons now and are awaiting the rumored creation and release of a feature film.


We've used the MindSnacks French app before, but this semester we're both enjoying the Spanish version. It's a great way to learn vocabulary and spelling in particular. I assign two rounds of it daily to supplement our foreign language curriculum (which is largely DIY because I have yet to find anything I like). I play MindSnacks, too, and allow my son to watch me complete the more advanced levels. This seems to have encouraged him to keep progressing on his own.

We love Bookboard!


Back when we started with the children's book subscription service this summer, I wasn't sure how long we'd last. Our kiddo was an "early reader" and appeared to have all but given up his interest in picture books, which are heavily promoted as being central to the Bookboard experience. (There are, however, plenty of text-only readers for advanced readers in Bookboard. They just don't photograph as well as the graphically oriented picture books!)

We've been Bookboard subscribers* for a couple of months now, and we both remain very happy with it. In our household, it's a supplement to our own books and library books. Our kid enjoys the "gamification" of unlocking new books, which are tied to his interests and abilities and therefore keep him engaged. For me, the portability (WiFi required) is a real help when I need to work away from home and with him in tow.

To try Bookboard for yourself for free, visit their website.

*FCC Disclosure: I am a member of Bookboard’s Blog Ambassador program. I am compensated, from time to time, with free products and monetary payments. 

I am also a member of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program through which sites earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Any views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

What People are Saying about "How to Work and Homeschool"

I'm loving this round-up my publisher put together of nice things said about the book thus far.

Colleen Pence, San Antonio Mom Blogger
“I love it because it’s thorough and hopeful and helpful and chock full of amazing resources for non-homeschoolers as much as it is for homeschoolers.” [Read more]

Jen Merrill, Laughing at Chaos

If you’re working and want to homeschool, or homeschool and want/need to work, or are already doing both and wondering how others manage everything, you really need this book.” [Read more]

Susan Sachs Lipman, Slow Family

“Most helpfully, Pamela outlines different homeschool/work scenarios and schedules, based on family needs, that would help any family consider the best way to tackle homeschool and work, philosophically and practically.” [Read more]

Jimmie Lanley, Jimmie’s Collage

“You will find something in this book that resonates with your own particular working situation.” [Read more]

To read a sample of the book on this website, click here. To preview it via Amazon, click here.

Image credit The Graphics Fairy