Can You Homeschool When You Work Full Time? Yes!
Many parents consider homeschooling their child but are put off or concerned that they won’t be able to fit it in around a full time job. I’m always thrilled when I can reassure someone who has asked me, “Can I homeschool and work full time?” It is entirely possible to homeschool when you have a full time job, even if that job is outside the home, and this blog post will help you discover creative ways you can make it work. You may wish to take a look at my other homeschooling blog posts with articles on exams, socialisation, costs, homeschool styles and more as well as 100+ brilliant UK homeschool resources!
I personally work and homeschool my three children, and people often ask me how and why I do it. The answer?
The ‘why’ is that I love it, and that motivates me to make it work. The ‘how’ is that I built a business that I can run from home.
Is it easy?
Ha! Is anything worthwhile easy, really? Although I LOVE homeschooling and I LOVE my job (running the website you are reading from right now), and I wouldn’t change it for the world, it is a lot to take on.
How Is It Legally Possible To Homeschool With A Full Time Job?
There are four things that make it legally possible to homeschool while working full time. They are:
- There is no legal requirement to stick to school-style hours when homeschooling, as “full time education” is not specified in more detail. This means that learning can happen in the morning, afternoon, evening, the middle of the night… any time!
- You are not legally obliged to follow the national curriculum or indeed any curriculum. This means that you don’t have to stress about completing a certain number of workbooks or aim for a set volume of written work about any subject. The law states that homeschooled children should be provided with an age appropriate full time education- it does not dictate what age appropriate is, so anything from swimming to museums to websites to puzzles to art to meet-ups counts as education.
- There is no legal minimum age that you can leave your child at home during the day (but this must not put the child at risk- obviously). If you have a mature, sensible 12 year old for example who is well aware of how to look after themselves, contact you if they need to and contact emergency services, they may be able to be at home while you work.
- There is no legal maximum age limit for which you can use childcare- so you can arrange babysitters or childminders whenever you like.
These four factors mean that the foundational factors are in place for you to homeschool while working full time. It may not be entirely straightforward or easy but it is possible, especially if you are creative and flexible with your time and resources.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
If you are considering a change in work in order to homeschool you may be concerned as to how much it costs to homeschool. I have written a full blog post on the costs of homeschooling, including the exact amount we spend each month.
Childcare Ideas For Homeschooling With A Full Time Job
Here are some ideas for childcare that may help you homeschool while working full time. Below this are ideas for learning opportunities that may be particular suitable for children who are learning independently while you work outside of the home, as well as some fun and educational ideas for homeschooling together “out of hours” (early mornings and evening/night time!)
- Do a childcare swap with another homeschool mum, or a mum with a preschool child. These mums may relish a day to either work or have some free time, so you can have their child one day and they have yours another.
- Pay a childminder. If your child is not old or mature enough to be at home on their own, a childminder may be a good bet. They are often reasonably priced and school-age children can benefit from a quiet environment throughout the day if the childminder’s other charges have already been dropped at school or nursery. It also means there is an adult there to help them if they are doing homeschool work during the day.
- Hire an au pair. If you have a spare room in your house, a live in au-pair may be a great and affordable option for someone to be around during the day to watch your child, especially if your child is a bit older and fairly independent. Many au-pairs are bilingual so this may be a great opportunity to introduce other languages to your child too!
- Book drop-off homeschool groups. Organised days like forest school groups or subject-focused groups are a great option to both give you time to work and provide a fun and educational activity for your child. If you need time either side of the group perhaps consider asking another homeschool mum to do the pick up or drop off, and either return the favour or gift them a regular voucher or other thank-you token.
- Ask friends or family to take it in turns to look after your child. This works especially well if you have family near, or friends who you can reciprocate with.
- If you work shifts, see if it is possible to arrange shifts that make it easier on your childcare schedule.
- If you have a partner, see if they are able to rearrange their work hours so that you have the opposite shifts occasionally. Of course you don’t want to do this too much as you will miss having time together as a couple and family, but it can be a shorter term solution for getting those childcare slots filled.
- Take your kids to work with you, if you can.
- Flexi-school. This means children attend school for a portion of the week and are at home for the rest. If you can’t make other childcare arrangements work this might be a way to compromise while you figure out alternative work options.
- If homeschooling with a full time job is proving too much to handle, consider a change in career. Working from home is how I both homeschool my three children and make an income at the same time (sometimes literally!)
Other Tips On How To Homeschool With A Full Time Job
- Homeschooling is hectic, and so is holding down a job. I personally find that there is very little (or no) mental energy left to come up with lesson plans or creative ideas. If you and your child wish to have some structure or follow a curriculum I would recommend getting one with the work done for you, ie grab and go lessons that are ready to simply read and do with no prep work. The best curriculum I have found for this is the Horizons curriculum, which can either be used traditionally or as a resource that you can dip in and out of. I have a post about the different homeschool styles and curriculums here and the top rated curriculums for younger children here.
- Plan and keep family time sacred. Ensure you get family movie nights with blankets and popcorn, or walks in the woods, or days to the beach, and date nights. Homeschooling can be intense and so is working full time, and doing both is only sustainable if you plan quality time for self care and relationship maintenance.
- Use mornings and evenings creatively! When you can, get up to watch a sunrise together or go to a local woods before dawn to hear the birds’ dawn chorus. Take photos of spiders’ webs or frost or dew on the grass during golden hour. In the evenings, go for a late-night trip to the park or a late-night swim, or a walk to see bats and local nocturnal wildlife, or a late cinema trip when you’d usually be in bed. There are lots of very special and unique memories to be made when you get out and about when everyone else is tucked up asleep, so look at homeschooling while working full time as an opportunity to grab these opportunities with both hands!
- Get a planner. My goodness, you need a planner. A calendar won’t cut it if you are trying to keep track of what your child or children are up to with regards to learning; a comprehensive homeschool planner has the space to enter all the info you need such as who needs to be where at what time, what subjects or learning adventures you are in the middle of, as well as grocery lists, meal plans and other essential household organisation!
- Outsource everything else you possibly can. Want a cleaner? Get one, if you afford it. Don’t want to shop and cook? Get one of those subscription boxes where all your meals are planned out for you and you just chuck it in a pan, or get some ready meals, or do some meal prep. Don’t want to shower? Hire someone to wash your hair. (Kidding.) Seriously though, however you do it, just outsource like your life depends on it.
6. Seek support from other home educators who understand what it is like to balance both a job and homeschooling. Take a look at my post on UK homeschooling support groups to find like-minded people to help you in your journey!
I hope this post has been helpful in answering the question “Can I homeschool and work full time?” Please share this post and thank you for reading!