This post is the first installment of a series about working homeschool parents. In truth, this project is something I've been wanting to do forever, so I'm excited to see where it leads.
Because the start of the traditional school year is a season in which many folks are just taking flight on their home education experiences, I thought it would be fun to start this multi-week series with a new homeschool parent. So let's talk to my friend (and fellow Texan) Heather! ~ Pamela
Tell us about the work you do.
I work as a contract dietitian part-time. I'm on an as-needed basis with a couple of hospitals, covering vacation/family leave for other dietitians. I also do employee health training and facilitate support groups. My weekly work schedule varies from zero to forty hours, but on average it’s ten to fifteen hours. I also do a lot of volunteer things—attend public events for nutrition education, serve on a medial advisory board, and work for my chosen religious organization.
Luckily, some of that can be done at home.
Tell us about why you chose to homeschool.
My youngest child is five and will be in “Kinder" in the fall, but we are already doing homeschool-type things at home. Our son has severe allergies, and we keep a tight schedule of various therapies and specialist appointments. That's why we're homeschooling primarily, for medical reasons. I may also teach my teenager at home next year, but that’s still to be decided.
What are some of the challenges you face balancing working while homeschooling? What are some of the delights?
There is a lot of work on the front end here with preparation/planning, since I am a beginner. As I get older myself, I'm finding it a little harder to multi-task, but that may be because I have so many tasks to juggle: the ever-changing work schedule, school stuff, medical stuff, carving out time for family fun, and house maintenance.
Since I am an introvert, it has been challenging to seek out groups and play dates. At the same time, being an introvert helps me, since I’m focusing on one child right now. Honestly, it's a delight spending time with this hilarious kid, and I love that he's getting more science at home than he would in a traditional school.
Also, my mom watches him when I'm working, and as a retired teacher/children's librarian, she's fully capable of helping with homeschooling.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received about homeschooling? What are your favorite homeschool resources (books, blogs, websites, curriculum, etc.)?
I don't know whether it was advice; it was more of an example. I worked with a brother and sister who were homeschooled in the late '90s. He was 19 and she was 16, and they were two of the most wonderful, active, intelligent people I've ever met. It helped me move past the then-prevalent homeschool stereotypes.
As for curriculum, I love Mind Up and Brain Quest. I'm using my state's list of essential skills for public schools to be sure I don't miss anything.
What's your best advice or tip for someone who wants to work and homeschool?
Ask for help.
Well said, Heather, and good luck on your family’s fall homeschooling adventure! Readers, you can follow Heather on Twitter (@momofnorank) and on her blog, Mom of No Rank.
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