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Home educating and working - is it possible?

(14 Posts)
AlwaysRocking Wed 07-Sep-11 20:56:06


My dd is only very little at the moment but I have recently read a bit about home ed and think it sounds like a great idea. However I am on my own with her, so not working won't be an option for me. I just wondered if anyone had experience of working part time and home educating at the same time? If I'm in a similar role to now I would be able to work from home a lot (currently work two days a week in an office and do the rest of my work in the evenings) which I guess would help, but wonder if I would be short changing dd if I had to sometimes take calls etc during the day? I am lucky that my mum helps out with childcare a lot and I guess dd would be learning things through the time she spends with her too? Sorry if this sounds silly, really just trying to figure out if it's worth looking into in more detail.

musicposy Wed 07-Sep-11 21:10:35

I work part time from home and have home educated since my youngest was 8 (she's 12 now). I had always worked since they were born, so I guess it's never seemed unusual or different to them.

Sometimes, in an ideal world, I'd like not to have to, but in reality, I don't think it hurts them. They tend to work harder when I am so that when I'm off we have lots of relaxation time. Admittedly, they weren't home educated when they were younger, although I did work when they were preschool and toddler age, so it was only age 5 -8 I didn't have them at home in the day.

The other nice thing about home ed is it can fit round what you do and doesn't have to be 9 -3 like school. Because my work is mainly after school and evenings, I used to resent it far more when they were in school because I had 3 days when I barely saw them. Now, they just study when I work and it's time well used for us all.

I think it's do-able, with a bit of working round things.

rebl Wed 07-Sep-11 21:10:58

I've just come over here to ask almost exactly the same question. We are thinking of home educating our dd (yr 1) but I am on placement for a distant learning course twice a week (although I could take this down to 1 day a week). I need to study 16 hrs a week as well, which weekends and evenings would work I guess.

What do you do with the home educated child when you have to go to work?

julienoshoes Wed 07-Sep-11 22:06:08

Some home edders use HE friendly childminders, some use grandparents/family, some have a nanny shared with other HE families, I've known some use Au Pairs, and others get together with other home ed families and swop childcare.
Lots of home educators I know work from home, some with their own businesses on the internet.
Depending on the age of the child, some work early in the mornings, before the children are up and about.


SDeuchars Thu 08-Sep-11 07:58:04

DC are now 17 and 19. I have always EHE and always worked as sole breadwinner. When they were little (up to 5 and 7), I worked 2.5 days per week from home but I could do some of that evenings and weekends. I also trained and worked as a childminder (with a childless friend, but in my home) so I got paid for looking after my own two. At that stage, our pattern was:

Mon - I work at home for an IT company; my friend looks after children
Tue - I look after children
Wed - We both look after children
Thu and Fri - I do the other 1.5 days' work; my (now x)H looks after our children

I was setting up my own freelance business during this time so I also did work for that. It was exhausting! but manageable and very much worth it.

We moved house when the DC were 5 and 7 and then I continued 2.5 days' for the IT company and setting up my own business. When they were 9 and 11, I went completely freelance, which made it easier to manage my time because people were looking for deadlines to be met over weeks, rather than specific contact times. I've done about 20-25 hours per week since then. But I tend to do that for 52 weeks a year (taking work on holiday, for example). I also worked early in the morning (from 5-8) before the DC needed me and until late in the evening.

EHE children see all of life, not just the bits where the family is at leisure. My DC have always known what work looks like, know that I get stressed because I want to be able to do everything (and I can't!) and know that they will also work some time soon (DD is at uni and DS is working out what to do next).

Because I was working and the xH was pretty useless (even after divorce, the time he spent with him was basically dead time, when no normal-for-us EHE happened), the DC have always been expected to participate in home responsibilities. From about 16, DD took on a reasonably major share of cooking so that I had one less thing to have to do.

FionaJNicholson Thu 08-Sep-11 08:56:31

I think it depends whether you have a child who will settle with other children or who will accept being placed with another adult (either out of the home or sharing his/her space with other people) My son for example kicked off massively whenever this happened, so while it was sometimes necessary to sort something it was always a major major headache. He was also super-alert to any sign that my attention was diverted elsewhere. I gather this isn't normal though! One of the upsetting things was being lectured by people who thought it happened because I was "too soft".

toddlerama Thu 08-Sep-11 09:03:13

I HE our 4 yr old (and almost 3 yr old really - it doesn't just start suddenly when they turn 4!) and teach part time in the evenings from home. They are supposed to be asleep, but often aren't. They just listen to the lessons I'm giving in my office "subtly" (yeah right) but my students know the deal and they don't mind. If they did, they would need to find another tutor because I don't know how I could separate the children from work any further. I think it depends on the nature of your work - I tutor 5-18 yr olds and nobody or their parents have minded.

I do prefer not having to do it, but heyho. Maternity leave here I come....

exoticfruits Thu 08-Sep-11 09:11:53

I would call it short changing her.She could go to school where she would come first and you would have all the hours around it. Education doesn't stop at 3.15pm

julienoshoes Thu 08-Sep-11 10:28:32

That's right, education doesn't stop at 3.15. When you are home educating, you'll be educating from waking til sleeping!
I well remember getting 'cosy' with my hubby late one night, when dd2 came in and "Tell me about polysaccharides........." wink

It won't matter a jot really when you work really, as long as you make time to give your child what she needs from you as a her facilitator of education.

It may well be that your child will be getting on with something, whist you are making calls. There will be times when she is so absorbed in some
I used to arrange to take work calls when our children were happily occupied at HE activities.
I have taken work with me to home ed camps (at Peak Camp you'd often find me up the lane taking calls where I could get a signal!)

Almost all home educators I know, do so on a limited budget, a large number of them are either in a partnership, where they both have to bring in some sort of uncome or both work part time-or they are single parents who have to work some hours.

Home educated children, get to see how things are in the real world, they learn the realities of working to bring in money, in a very direct way.

I think with what you have described, with support from your family, you'll easily be able to offer your child an suitable and efficient education.

I can't remember the source, but studies have shown that a child at school -far from coming first-gets about 18 mins one to one time per week!
Even if you choose to do 'lessons/school at home' type of HE, it is SO much more efficient than school, you'll easily cover in a couple of hours, what would take all day in school!

AlwaysRocking Thu 08-Sep-11 20:17:09

Thank you for all your replies, lots to be thinking about. Appreciate hearing about possible childcare too, I didnt realise any childminders took older children. My wider family are quite focussed on academic achievements and we have a lot of teachers in the family, so this would be quite a departure if I decide to go ahead with it, but I love the idea of being able to help dd to learn about the things she wants to learn about.

musicposy Thu 08-Sep-11 21:13:11

You can still be focussed on academic achievements if you want. Maybe more so because children aren't held back by the system. smile Plus a significant number of our home ed group are teachers, including me. None of those things are mutually exclusive.

exotic fruits did you read my post where I said that when my children were in school and I worked I barely saw them for 3 days a week? I know lots of people in this position. Now I work and home ed I see them lots more. They are anything but short changed. Not all work can be conveniently fitted in from 9 -3, and it's a wonderful freedom if education doesn't have to be, either. We too have stories like Julie's!

AlwaysRocking Fri 09-Sep-11 07:32:11

Musicposy it was more other family members attitudes I was referring to rather than the reality of home educating, IYSWIM. smile It was good to read about your experience and how you've made things work for your family.

Saracen Fri 09-Sep-11 10:05:53

As musicposy says, "You can still be focussed on academic achievements if you want. Maybe more so because children aren't held back by the system."

In fact, among some parents who have very high academic ambitions for their children, home ed is seen as the way to go. I saw an article in an American magazine which was aimed at corporate high-fliers which presented HE as an elite education and the best way to secure entry into the most competitive universities. Along similar lines, an acquaintance of mine used home education to hothouse prepare her son to win a scholarship to a local independent school at eight. She had his whole future planned out. She told me she had done the same with his older brother, who by that time was a medical student. We all thought she was a real slave driver because she had him working three hours a day from the age of five and always ensured his work was completed before he played with our kids. Eventually it dawned on me that three hours a day was still a lot less than he would have been doing at school!

Perhaps you could sell home ed to family members as a more efficient form of education which may take your little one further. What teacher wouldn't love the opportunity to really focus on relatively few students and see how far they can go with a lot of attention and flexibility? Not to mention being freed from the constraints of a system which doesn't trust them to decide what and how to teach and requires them to spend a lot of time on paperwork. I'm sure they would agree that it would be wonderful if they could take their classes on a field trip every week without regard to the school budget, supervision ratios, permission forms, timetabling issues and justifying the time away from other subjects. I find that teachers are often fairly keen on home ed when they realise how close it is to the way they would love to teach if only they could.

Tarenath Sat 10-Sep-11 08:50:04

Working and HEing is definitely possible. I'm doing it! Admittedly my situation is slightly different. I work as a nanny and I have the luxury of bringing ds (age 4) to work with me. From next week he will be staying with his stepmum part time though as my job description is changing. At this age he's still mostly learning through play but I'm still able to fit in anything more structured in the evenings and weekends.

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