Jump to content

Menu

Future plans for "COVID" homeschoolers: continue homeschool or return to public/afterschool when you both work?


Recommended Posts

Hello! Just wondering if others are in the same boat as my family and what your thoughts/considerations are for next year.

We are new to homeschooling our 6 year old this year due to the difficulties with virtual learning last year. We all love it and I feel like I have discovered so many wonderful programs and ideas to enhance his education that I never would have known about if not for homeschooling this year. I think in an ideal world we would keep homeschooling and add my 4 year old girl into the mix when she's ready. 

But, my husband and I work in professional careers (me 75% time, he works full time). We spent so much time and effort preparing for these careers it doesn't really seem viable for one of us to stay at home. It has only worked out this year b/c we still have a 4 year old that's home most of the time so our nanny has been able to care for her and then teach my son at home while she's at preschool three mornings a week.

It doesn't make any financial sense at all to keep homeschooling. My husband has been looking forward to next year when we can enroll her in kinder and him in 2nd grade and reduce our child care expenses for the first time in many years (we have 4 kids total). But, I have read so much over the last few months that really confirms a lot of the problems I have seen with public school. I've also seen how well various home education approaches address or alleviate so many of those concerns. 

So, I am looking into different ideas for afterschooling/enrichment but that seems tough b/c basically we'd be using school for child care and then trying to pack in the "good stuff" after school when he's already tired and worn out.  I wondered if anyone out there is in a similar situation and has come up with a novel solution?

If you afterschool, what subjects do you focus on? I really like the classical tradition so I thought maybe read more history in these early years, incorporate Latin, grammar, logic as he grows up? 

I know there is an after schooling group and I will look there for ideas on that, but also just wanted to see if any current home schoolers have come up innovative ways to make homeschooling feasible when both parents work typical 8 a-6 p schedules, so we can't do the shift thing like nurses, police officers, firefighters, etc! 

Thank you for any suggestions.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

To be brutally honest, we choose to homeschool our 4 kids despite it making no financial sense whatsoever.

My husband and I are both engineers with bachelor and masters degrees from fairly prestigious (expensive) universities. We spent considerable amounts of time and money educating ourselves, but currently only my husband works. I stay home educating our kids.

It is a huge financial sacrifice...but it is one we have chosen to make. We have offset it somewhat by moving to a low cost of living area so that we can keep our expenses as low as possible. And one of our educational priorities, though certainly not our top one, is making sure the kids will be strong contenders for scholarships when they reach college age.

Bottom line, I agree with you that trying to "fit" homeschooling around full time work schedules would probably negate the benefits you most want out of homeschooling. I'm sorry if that is not what you want to hear.

Edited by wendyroo
  • Like 18
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The are a number of doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc on here. I can't imagine homeschooling made financial sense for any of them, it didn't for me. I chose it for other reasons and I've continued it for yet different reasons.

From the outside I would say that afterschooling rarely works long-term. Between b&m school and extracurriculars and free time there just aren't enough hours in the day! I would suggest you pick one topic of high interest to your children and focus on that - history could be ready a section of Story of the World and a chapter of a related literature book or a picture book entry night, or science could be group lessons from BFSU (only if you personally are science minded), or a subscription to a science kit, foreign language you could learn as a family if you don't already speak. One thing that b&m schools struggle with is continuity from year-to-year and you could probably provide that for one subject.

Edited by SusanC
what I had was not making any kind of sense
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, SusanC said:

From the outside I would say that homeschooling rarely works long-term. Between b&m school and extracurriculars and free time there just aren't enough hours in the day! 

I think this is a typo.  I think she meant to type afterschooling, bc homeschooling obviously does work extremely well lonn-term.  🙂

I agree with the other posters.  You won't be able to achieve anything other than stressed out kids who are having to meet expectations from every direction with doubtful gain.  Bedtime stories, watching movies in a foreign language and working on together as a family....those are great ideas b/c they are family-oriented ones and not focused on just one child needing to do more.

Is homeschooling worth sacrificing an income?  Only you can decide that.  Plenty of families, mine included, believe so.  We have 8 kids and have graduated 6 of them from our homeschool.  Every single one of them has been able to achieve their adulthood goals bc of the opportunities homeschooling gave them.  Homeschooling has opened up unique opportunities to pursue areas of interest that have in turn opened up other doors for them along their path to adulthood.  I would not trade the yrs with my kids and our learning adventures for anything.  Homeschooling is a part of our family life and our relationships and their relationships with each other are more precious than gold.

  • Like 9
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

You both have to be on the same page or it won’t work. We both chose to sacrifice in order to homeschool. Dh knows it means he might have to work longer before he can retire or that we’ll be driving older cars. It was a choice that we had to make together or resentment creeps in. 

Afterschooling can be done, but you will be competing against the school’s homework, fatigue and the eventual extra-curricular activities. You could find a school you both approve of that fits your idea of education better. There are some hybrid schools out there that would allow for a few days at home with you or the nanny. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

My younger son will return to brick and mortar high school when it is safe for him to do so. I haven’t decided what to do with my daughters yet. Most likely, my older daughter will return for high school but remain home through 8th. 
 

If I hadn’t quit my previous profession to homeschool I could have easily covered a nanny, tutors, and a housekeeper. I don’t homeschool for financial reasons. 
 

If you look at my signature, you can see I was previously afterschooling. I chose to do so only in math and phonics because we all needed time to do things outside of school. Now that I am homeschooling full time again I can see that there was a definite trade off. Academically, the children who went to public school are weaker than if I had continued teaching them. I don’t know that I can label that as something I regret doing, but it is a thing I am dealing with and weighing when I consider my post-pandemic options.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, dahmdr said:

But, my husband and I work in professional careers (me 75% time, he works full time). We spent so much time and effort preparing for these careers it doesn't really seem viable for one of us to stay at home.

I started laughing thinking about this comment.  It makes me wonder what the stereotype is of families who homeschool if the premise is the above doesn't apply to most homeschooling families.  Independently wealthy or uneducated living in poverty?

As seen below, it is the norm, not the exception.  ( I didn't include my specifics, but yes, I am also a college grad who isn't working outside the home but definitely working full-time--homeschooling that is!)

3 hours ago, wendyroo said:

My husband and I are both engineers with bachelor and masters degrees from fairly prestigious (expensive) universities. We spent considerable amounts of time and money educating ourselves, but currently only my husband works. I stay home educating our kids.

 

3 hours ago, SusanC said:

The are a number of doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc on here. I can't imagine homeschooling made financial sense for any of them, it didn't for me. I chose it for other reasons and I've continued it for yet different reasons.

1 hour ago, Plum said:

 We both chose to sacrifice in order to homeschool.

 

1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

If I hadn’t quit my previous profession to homeschool I could have easily covered a nanny, tutors, and a housekeeper. I don’t homeschool for financial reasons. 

 

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dahmdr said:

So, I am looking into different ideas for afterschooling/enrichment but that seems tough b/c basically we'd be using school for child care and then trying to pack in the "good stuff" after school when he's already tired and worn out.  I wondered if anyone out there is in a similar situation and has come up with a novel solution?

I knew someone on a babywearing forum who basically used school as child care and did a fair amount of enrichment on the weekend 🙂 . People also report that the "worn out" thing gets a LOT better at older ages, so they can actually do more after school as they get older. (We pulled DD8 from school after kindergarten because we had discovered that afterschooling wasn't going to work.) So you could look for a school with minimal homework, so you really could work with them at night. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I “afterschool” but my kids mostly do not participate in any after-school activities.  Right now one child has an activity on Saturday mornings, and that is a new thing.  
 

I supplement.

 

I have to have peace with what is happening in school and focusing on particular areas of greatest need.

 

My kids have all had areas where they need extra help, and that is my focus.  I leave things alone that are going well with public school.  
 

What I see is that most people like to have their kids participating in activities, and then there are truly only so many hours in the day.
 

My kids are more introverted and need a lot of quiet/personal time and take a lot of time to calm down for bed.
 

After school activities are pretty much not possible here, the only way to do them would be to home-school and be able to have more control of the day.


I think look at the big picture.  What are your priorities and goals.

 

What do your kids need.  
 

What do your kids enjoy.
 

What kind of things go really well when you spend time on them 1:1 or as a family.  

Edit:  I think it’s important to consider what kids are getting and missing at public school, in order to be balanced.  This can change every year because it depends on the grade, the teacher, the child’s interests, the child’s personality, etc.  

Edited by Lecka
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I knew someone on a babywearing forum who basically used school as child care and did a fair amount of enrichment on the weekend 🙂 . People also report that the "worn out" thing gets a LOT better at older ages, so they can actually do more after school as they get older. (We pulled DD8 from school after kindergarten because we had discovered that afterschooling wasn't going to work.) So you could look for a school with minimal homework, so you really could work with them at night. 

OTOH, in my experience, older students also have more they want to do after school. My younger kiddos don't really do many extracurriculars, and certainly none in the late afternoon or evening. My oldest (a homeschooled 6th grader), though, has a lot going on in the "after school" hours. He has his guitar lesson and comic book drawing club. If Covid had not struck, he was going to join a math circle at the local university. The rec center sports classes for his age are always after dinner. By late middle school or high school, some kids will also be trying to juggle a job.

Our local middle schools don't let out until a bit after 3, and the bus would drop him off just before 4. That doesn't leave a lot of time for friends, free time, dinner, a bit of homework, extracurriculars, AND afterschooling. Especially if you are trying to get them to bed at a reasonable time so they can make the bus at 7:15 the next morning.

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing — I am home with my kids in the summer for the most part, which makes summers a good time to have some kind of educational goal/project. 
 

So I do have that as a block of time.  
 

And again, for the most part my kids don’t participate in much outside of the house, so it is possible — but I think this is based a lot on them not wanting to do other summer opportunities, or some things being outside of our price range, etc.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

OTOH, in my experience, older students also have more they want to do after school. My younger kiddos don't really do many extracurriculars, and certainly none in the late afternoon or evening. My oldest (a homeschooled 6th grader), though, has a lot going on in the "after school" hours. He has his guitar lesson and comic book drawing club. If Covid had not struck, he was going to join a math circle at the local university. The rec center sports classes for his age are always after dinner. By late middle school or high school, some kids will also be trying to juggle a job.

Our local middle schools don't let out until a bit after 3, and the bus would drop him off just before 4. That doesn't leave a lot of time for friends, free time, dinner, a bit of homework, extracurriculars, AND afterschooling. Especially if you are trying to get them to bed at a reasonable time so they can make the bus at 7:15 the next morning.

Yeah, that's a good point. 

At some point, time-wise, something's gotta give. For us, the "something" was school, because we wanted social time, appropriate academics, and plenty of play time. Given that appropriate academics for my 8 year old include algebra and appropriate playmates are 7 year olds, I couldn't figure out a way to work around school. 

But I did think about it 🙂 . And maybe if my kiddo's social and academic constraints weren't so far apart, I could have made it work, I don't know. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Another thing — I am home with my kids in the summer for the most part, which makes summers a good time to have some kind of educational goal/project. 
 

I did a lot of math remediation with my high school-aged sister recently 🙂 . It was a great time for that. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dahmdr said:

Hello! Just wondering if others are in the same boat as my family and what your thoughts/considerations are for next year.

We are new to homeschooling our 6 year old this year due to the difficulties with virtual learning last year. We all love it and I feel like I have discovered so many wonderful programs and ideas to enhance his education that I never would have known about if not for homeschooling this year. I think in an ideal world we would keep homeschooling and add my 4 year old girl into the mix when she's ready. 

But, my husband and I work in professional careers (me 75% time, he works full time). We spent so much time and effort preparing for these careers it doesn't really seem viable for one of us to stay at home. It has only worked out this year b/c we still have a 4 year old that's home most of the time so our nanny has been able to care for her and then teach my son at home while she's at preschool three mornings a week.

It doesn't make any financial sense at all to keep homeschooling. My husband has been looking forward to next year when we can enroll her in kinder and him in 2nd grade and reduce our child care expenses for the first time in many years (we have 4 kids total). But, I have read so much over the last few months that really confirms a lot of the problems I have seen with public school. I've also seen how well various home education approaches address or alleviate so many of those concerns. 

So, I am looking into different ideas for afterschooling/enrichment but that seems tough b/c basically we'd be using school for child care and then trying to pack in the "good stuff" after school when he's already tired and worn out.  I wondered if anyone out there is in a similar situation and has come up with a novel solution?

If you afterschool, what subjects do you focus on? I really like the classical tradition so I thought maybe read more history in these early years, incorporate Latin, grammar, logic as he grows up? 

I know there is an after schooling group and I will look there for ideas on that, but also just wanted to see if any current home schoolers have come up innovative ways to make homeschooling feasible when both parents work typical 8 a-6 p schedules, so we can't do the shift thing like nurses, police officers, firefighters, etc! 

Thank you for any suggestions.

 

 

 

I work full time and homeschool. I afterschooled for years before we began homeschooling. 

Childcare is the biggest hurdle. Once a child is school-aged, it is nearly impossible to find affordable childcare during the school year outside of a school setting. Although there might be some regional differences here. There is no daycare during the school day for a school-aged child. We used a nanny service for childcare pre-COVID and it was very expensive. Another thing that allowed us to homeschool was the local public homeschool enrichment program that offers a full day of school with no volunteer requirement for parents. 

I have an only child. I don't know how we could do this with more children. 

Afterschooling is very difficult. Your child will have homework after spending a long day in school followed by some kind of childcare setting if you work. You can't ask too much of children after a day like that. Honestly, my BTDT advice is to find a school that teaches what you would afterschool, or at least most of you would afterschool. Don't count on afterschooling to fix problems with core subjects like math. Find a school that does a decent job with academics and afterschool by reading aloud and playing games in the evening. 

What are your local public schools like? Are they acceptable? 

Is there a private school or a charter school in your area? A private Montessori school can be a nice compromise. Can you afford private school tuition for all of your children? 

Here's the uncomfortable reality (coming from my BTDT experience), the only way to get away from "mainstream" education is to chart your own course which requires giving up some things. What is most important to you? 

You will find families that afterschooled math, Latin, history, etc so I won't tell you that you can't do those things. But what are you going to give up for that? What burdens will it add to your family life? 

There are many families who homeschool in non-traditional ways. There are working moms who homeschool in the evening and on the weekend. If you can work out the childcare, you can find a way to do academics to fit your schedule. But it will take a lot of you to work a full day at work and come home and homeschool your kids in the evening. Of course there is a lot of work associated with having your kids in school. Homeschooling can be less stressful way because you have control over what you're doing instead of enforcing stupid homeschool in the evening. 

Good luck with whatever you choose. The ultimate question is what is most important to you? Your family happiness, your child's academic success, your child's happiness, etc? There isn't one right answer for every family. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have enjoyed homeschooling more than I thought, too—it’s a tough call, but you still have time!  An established career is a valuable thing, so its good to think things through. To look at it a different way, if you had been homeschooled K-12 and went on to be an engineer your parents would probably be very proud of that. Wanting the best for our kids’ education usually comes with the hope of affording them options such as you have. It’s okay to not want to let that go loosely.  I say this as someone who walked away from my career as a teacher and plan/hope to never return to full time work while we have kids at home—it’s what worked for us.

Just reading here it sounds like you are very interested in the programs but have not taken on much of the instruction yet. Perhaps you can begin to take on more instruction until you reach the number of subjects and schedule you can handle. Then look in to subjects you can outsource via tutors, co-ops or online. See if you can be fully engaged in schooling or if you do better with paid support. Saving cash on childcare may have to wait until the kids are old enough to be safe while you work.  Alternatively I’d look for charter schools or even paid private schools that do programs you like. You’ll find a balance!  Even if the kids go to public school for awhile while you adjust finances, work hours or other pertinent things, you will find what works best!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I knew someone on a babywearing forum who basically used school as child care and did a fair amount of enrichment on the weekend 🙂 . People also report that the "worn out" thing gets a LOT better at older ages, so they can actually do more after school as they get older. (We pulled DD8 from school after kindergarten because we had discovered that afterschooling wasn't going to work.) So you could look for a school with minimal homework, so you really could work with them at night. 

Not most of the high-achieving ps students I know.  They are run ragged with AP workloads and ECs.  My kids' friends have had hrs of homework and are focused on creating themselves in the image of the desired college admissions profile.  A lot of these kids arrive at college burned out bc of the loads they carried in high school. (a couple of our kids' friends were up until 1 am doing homework more nights than not during high school. )  Their college friends have told similar stories. 

Less involved students may have more time (unless they are working jobs, dating, etc that means they will be time crunched for other reasons.)

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, dahmdr said:

It doesn't make any financial sense at all to keep homeschooling.

Homeschooling never makes financial sense.  People who are successful with homeschooling long term are those for whom it is a passion or a necessity (or both).  They sacrifice in the financial realm in order to reap homeschooling's benefits.  

If you are interested in afterschooling, I found that a reasonable way to do it is to focus on content--so, read alouds, which kids find fun--and piggyback skills onto homework assigned by the school.  

  • Like 17
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, EKS said:

Homeschooling never makes financial sense.  People who are successful with homeschooling long term are those for whom it is a passion or a necessity (or both).  They sacrifice in the financial realm in order to reap homeschooling's benefits.  

If you are interested in afterschooling, I found that a reasonable way to do it is to focus on content--so, read alouds, which kids find fun--and piggyback skills onto homework assigned by the school.  

Oh, you're telling me. If I wanted to make maximal money, I'd have gone to work for a hedge fund. I have a math Ph.D and fancy math contest results... they were literally recruiting me for years. You have no idea how much money I'm passing up here 😛 . 

(Even if I didn't want to do that, and I didn't, I could have made PLENTY at, say, Google.) 

Edited by Not_a_Number
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

People also report that the "worn out" thing gets a LOT better at older ages, so they can actually do more after school as they get older.

I disagree with this.  Or maybe it gets better and then gets worse again.  I afterschooled my younger son at age 5 (easy), again at ages 10-12 (trickier because there was quite a bit of homework from the school, but still not impossible), and again at ages 14-16.  By the time he was in high school, the afterschooling consisted of me augmenting the assigned work and no supplemental stuff.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, EKS said:

I disagree with this.  Or maybe it gets better and then gets worse again.  I afterschooled my younger son at age 5 (easy), again at ages 10-12 (trickier because there was quite a bit of homework from the school, but still not impossible), and again at ages 14-16.  By the time he was in high school, the afterschooling consisted of me augmenting the assigned work and no supplemental stuff.

Yeah, I meant "gets better in elementary school." I'm sure it's harder in high school. 

Sorry, my kids are little, so I wasn't thinking that far ahead! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

You have no idea how much money I'm passing up here 😛 . 

Money...sanity.  But the rewards are priceless.  Truly.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, EKS said:

Money...sanity.  But the rewards are priceless.  Truly.

Hah. I know what you mean.

I do miss the external validation. I really do. An 8 year old just doesn't express her appreciation the way my coworkers might 😉 . And she tests my patience more. 

I love doing it, though. And I do ultimately find it extremely rewarding. But I can't pretend it wasn't a hard decision. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, EKS said:

Homeschooling never makes financial sense.  People who are successful with homeschooling long term are those for whom it is a passion or a necessity (or both).  They sacrifice in the financial realm in order to reap homeschooling's benefits.  

If you are interested in afterschooling, I found that a reasonable way to do it is to focus on content--so, read alouds, which kids find fun--and piggyback skills onto homework assigned by the school.  

Bingo.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We didn't have to make this decision re: homeschooling per se, but for coming home to be with our kiddo, a singleton, although we did not know that would be the case at the time.  The decision process, financially was the kind that people are talking about here.  I will never say that what we did is the only one and right way to do things--I just present it here as the way we approached the issue.  

Both DH and I have MBAs and had jobs at the time that paid like we had MBAs and a bright future-- mine was probably brighter than his.  We had a paid-off house, and some savings.  I mention this because I know it makes a difference.  But we HAD these savings largely because we both maxed out stock purchase, retirement contributions, and so on, which meant that both of us had taken home ~45% of our salaries for years.  The savings made a difference, as did the fact that we knew we could live on one salary.

In the decision to come home, we did the math on childcare/nanny, the extra costs involved with my working (work clothes, commute, frequent housekeeper, eating out more, and all the things we bought just because we could.  Then I looked at what I earned, after-tax take-home pay (not gross) and it turned out that after we deducted the expenses...it just wasn't all that much for what it took out of our lives. 

Then we valued the intangibles as best we could.  

I left a LOT of stock options on the table, and we both knew that was a take-away, and we both knew that DH would have to work a little longer. 

A few months after I quit, DH gave me a wonderful present, thanking me for quitting.  He had been skeptical but he said that the relief he felt, knowing our son was in MY care was palpable, and that his stress level had gone way down (compared to the 5 months our son was in daycare).  

Some days I wish I had those stock options back, and to tell you the truth, I wish I had kept my hand in with my area of expertise.  It would have made it easier to jump back into the marketplace sooner, at a great rate of payt I was a little ignorant and a little idealistic.  I've landed well--happy and with employment I like.  

Anyway, the thought process might be helpful to someone.  Thought I'd mention it as one way of looking at things.  

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Patty Joanna said:

 

In the decision to come home, we did the math on childcare/nanny, the extra costs involved with my working (work clothes, commute, frequent housekeeper, eating out more, and all the things we bought just because we could.  Then I looked at what I earned, after-tax take-home pay (not gross) and it turned out that after we deducted the expenses...it just wasn't all that much for what it took out of our lives. 

 

My mom wasn't a homeschooler, but she did become a SAHM when she did this same cost exercise and found out that she was making $12/week.  She was actually amazed because she had a fairly decent job.

OP, best of luck with your decision.  Even if you end up not doing homeschooling long term, I'm glad that you're enjoying it for now. :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

I started laughing thinking about this comment.  It makes me wonder what the stereotype is of families who homeschool if the premise is the above doesn't apply to most homeschooling families.  Independently wealthy or uneducated living in poverty?

As seen below, it is the norm, not the exception.  ( I didn't include my specifics, but yes, I am also a college grad who isn't working outside the home but definitely working full-time--homeschooling that is!)

 

 

 

Adding to the list, my husband and I have three advanced STEM degrees between us, including two doctorates. My husband also did a post doc. And we didn’t pursue any of them at the same time. So a long time with low income while pursuing higher education.

I will say that perhaps the financial sacrifices were easier for us because we never really had money until after our son went to college and we both worked full time for the first time in our marriage. We spent so many years living on little money that we were used to very frugal living. It likely would have been harder had we both been working full time and were accustomed to the lifestyle that allowed and then one of us quit or drastically reduced hours. I am also fortunate that my degree and experiences were quite marketable, so I wasn’t too affected by time off. Plus, I never had huge career aspirations. I’ve turned down promotions more than once. And we accrued very little educational debt, as most of it was paid for by scholarships,fellowships, or employers. So that made living on one or 1 1/2 incomes easier.

Edited by Frances
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

From your handle, I’m guessing you are an MD?  (Correct me if my assumption is wrong!)

There is a Facebook group that may be of interest to you: Homeschooling Physician Moms. There are some relatively recent threads (last few months) about why people have chosen to forego their practice and homeschool, or switch to part time and homeschool. There are also some who have homeschooled and then gone back to work.  There are many, many COVID homeschoolers on the group, and there has been at least one thread asking questions similar to yours.

My 2 cents: Afterschooling can work, but I agree with others that you’d probably want to focus on just one or two subjects lest you burn your kids out. And, it may mean foregoing other extracurricular activities. 

What are your goals in homeschooling?  Is the goal to provide a “better than brick and mortar school” education?  If you live in a good school district, I’d say that goal may come back to bite you :).  Homeschooling is hard work and there will be many days (or long stretches of time) when you may feel you are not doing a good job (or your kids may make you feel you aren’t doing a good job).  Are rigorous academics the goal? If so, you can accomplish this as an afterschooler if you focus on 1 or 2 areas.  You mention the appeal of a classical education (Latin, history, etc) — Is the goal to give your child a classical education? There may be local private schools that offer a classically oriented curriculum.  There are also hybrid schools (they usually have the kids in brick and mortar school 2 days a week, home for learning 3 days a week) in many cities that you could look into. Is the goal to develop strong family connections and a strong family culture that includes shared pursuit of learning and inquiry into the great questions? If so, then prioritizing your time at home makes sense.

You asked about possible alternative scenarios for afterschooling / homeschooling:

1.  Consider hybrid school (also called university model) - the 2 days at school, 3 days at home model I mentioned above. Perhaps there is one near you.

2. Is it possible for you to go down to 0.5 FTE? If so, at least in the early elementary years, you can definitely have a rich homeschool and work part time.  You can have a nanny help with some subjects on the days you work. 

3.  You don’t have to homeschool M-F. You can make weekends school days and let two of the weekdays be the child’s “day off.”  (Keep in mind that mean no rest for you. You can do that for a period of time, but you’ll want to think through a longer term plan or an exit / transition strategy because burn out is real and it is nasty and takes longer to recover from than one might think.)

best wishes to you and your family as you navigate these questions!

 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Homeschooling definitely does not make financial sense.  Although we are fortunate to be comfortable on one income, we do make sacrifices in order for me to stay home.  We feel that the benefits for the children and our family as a whole outweigh the financial gain.  I would never choose to do this while working full time--no way.  That would put my kids at a real disadvantage and I can't imagine the stress of juggling a career and the kids' education.  As my kids have gotten older (now 12 and 14), we have added some outsourced classes little by little and they have become very independent with those.  I could see starting to work part time when they are both in high school IF they are succeeding with mostly outsourced classes.  I could definitely not have done that when they were in elementary school and still have provided them with the rich, hands-on learning experiences that filled our days.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I do miss the external validation.

Yes to this. That’s why we need these forums 🙂 To remind us that we are actually working and working hard.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

What are your goals in homeschooling?  Is the goal to provide a “better than brick and mortar school” education?  If you live in a good school district, I’d say that goal may come back to bite you :).  Homeschooling is hard work and there will be many days (or long stretches of time) when you may feel you are not doing a good job (or your kids may make you feel you aren’t doing a good job).  Are rigorous academics the goal? If so, you can accomplish this as an afterschooler if you focus on 1 or 2 areas.  You mention the appeal of a classical education (Latin, history, etc) — Is the goal to give your child a classical education? There may be local private schools that offer a classically oriented curriculum.  There are also hybrid schools (they usually have the kids in brick and mortar school 2 days a week, home for learning 3 days a week) in many cities that you could look into. Is the goal to develop strong family connections and a strong family culture that includes shared pursuit of learning and inquiry into the great questions? If so, then prioritizing your time at home makes sense.

You asked about possible alternative scenarios for afterschooling / homeschooling:

1.  Consider hybrid school (also called university model) - the 2 days at school, 3 days at home model I mentioned above. Perhaps there is one near you.

2. Is it possible for you to go down to 0.5 FTE? If so, at least in the early elementary years, you can definitely have a rich homeschool and work part time.  You can have a nanny help with some subjects on the days you work. 

3.  You don’t have to homeschool M-F. You can make weekends school days and let two of the weekdays be the child’s “day off.”  (Keep in mind that mean no rest for you. You can do that for a period of time, but you’ll want to think through a longer term plan or an exit / transition strategy because burn out is real and it is nasty and takes longer to recover from than one might think.)

These are great suggestions.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

An 8 year old just doesn't express her appreciation the way my coworkers might 😉 .

When my dyslexic son (the older one) was maybe 12, he actually thanked me for teaching him how to read.  One of the most amazing moments of my life.

More recently this same son has told me several times that my teaching was what made him a good writer.  It's weird because while I was homeschooling him, I never felt like we were making much progress on his writing.  But in college he ended up getting a minor in writing and rhetoric, and he got As in all of those classes.  These days I actually have occasion to edit documents that he has contributed to for his work, and his contributions essentially never require any changes (whereas I usually have to rewrite the other parts they are so awful).

My point here is that appreciation really can happen, but you may have to wait a while!

Edited by EKS
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some families can't afford to homeschool; others can if we decide it's worthwhile. Ours has. (The most noticeable hit for me is not adding to my retirement account; the part DH notices most is the increased cost of paying for health care.) We bought our house with an eye to paying for it on DH's income at the time only, supposing I might stop working for some time and he might not continue to get raises.

My BFF can't afford to. They use Story of the World as bedtime reading, Miss 7 takes piano (currently on Zoom), but there's not much else they can do during the school year. (Two parents with three official jobs and one kind of serious side gig.) In the summer, there's a lot of foreign language enrichment, inexpensive travel (not this year obvs), reading books, science activities, etc.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

DH and I both worked outside the home, and sent our kids to our parish school before crisis hit our family.  My guess is that when it's safe we'll send them back. My kids have done well with homeschooling.  They've learned a lot, and I loved having the time with them.  But they did well in school as well, and the very good reasons we had for choosing school still apply.  

In my opinion, there is more than one way to raise kids who have a wonderful childhood, and go on to achieve their goals as adults.  I look at the young adults in our family, all of whom went to school K - 12 and I'll be thrilled if my kids turn out as well as they did.  They're amazing people.  I will also say that when we found ourselves in crisis, the fact that we were a two income family gave us the flexibility we needed to meet our family's needs. 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

We both work full time and send our kids to our Parish school.  I know they will cover the basic skills there just fine.  We have plenty of time at home to dive into the fun stuff:  mythology, history, literature...  That said, I’ve loved having them at home during the Pandemic.  I’m living the dream right now, home with my kids and working full time.  I kind of dread going back to “real” life someday.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alice is a physician on this forum. You may want to message her for ideas and support.

I was an attorney before homeschooling, but am actually going back to school to become a psych nurse practitioner. I wanted something more flexible that could easily work around our homeschooling lifestyle and more portable so that we could travel. There many ways that you can work a professional life around homeschooling; you may just have to get creative.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful comments. Really, I should have posted this topic as "Looking for Discussion Group on 'Rethinking School!'" I blame S. W. Bauer for challenging all of my preconceived notions about public vs. home education! 

My husband and I are products of moderately good public schools and have always been big advocates for public school. We choose to live in a small, old run-down house in a school district renowned for being one of the "best" so that we could send our kids there.  I really believed the best way I could raise my kids was to work hard, read to them a lot, set a good example for being a lifelong learner, and earn enough money to send them to college. I always trusted that with "good enough" public schools and our efforts at home to read to them and enhance education on weekends they would do quite well (and maybe they will?)

What I am discovering, however, is that even the best of the public schools are constrained by testing requirements, No Child Left Behind, etc. We live in Texas, which calls for testing quite a bit throughout the school years. As SWB noted in her book, so many school days are devoted to test prep and practice, test administration, retakes, etc. and the teachers feel so much pressure to teach to the test. In addition, what we have seen with our older boys is that there is a significant amount of pressure to "pass" students in the name of No Child Left Behind. It is very difficult to hold kids accountable.

Our children have come to expect that each of their tests is but a first try--they always have the option to retest, often until they get a passing grade. I think this is good for students with test anxiety, and I think it's good that they review material they clearly didn't understand, but for one of my sons it has led him to expend the minimal amount of effort required in school and it seems like often the teachers end up lowering the requirements so that all of their students will pass. I could go on an on with other examples from my family and my teacher friends, but essentially it has been very eye-opening to read her book and have a lot of my previously nebulous concerns articulated so well.   

It's tough at this stage to reconfigure or reconsider career plans, child care arrangements, etc.  I wondered if there were others out there engaged in this process as well.  I really appreciate the ideas about private schools (yes we have a well-regarded classical charter in our area), hybrid schools, etc. I have been brainstorming about how to adjust my work schedule as well. 

For now, I am enjoying the opportunity to teach my kids whenever I can and be more directly involved with their learning processes. I'm glad this forum is available for questions, comments and sharing of experiences.  

 

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dahmdr said:

What I am discovering, however, is that even the best of the public schools are constrained by testing requirements, No Child Left Behind, etc. We live in Texas, which calls for testing quite a bit throughout the school years. As SWB noted in her book, so many school days are devoted to test prep and practice, test administration, retakes, etc. and the teachers feel so much pressure to teach to the test. In addition, what we have seen with our older boys is that there is a significant amount of pressure to "pass" students in the name of No Child Left Behind. It is very difficult to hold kids accountable.

No Child Left Behind ended in 2015.  My last school year teaching in Texas public schools was the 2014-2015 year, so I didn't get to experience what's been going on the last few years since then.  Do you know what took NCLB's place?  It really was a less than ideal program.  I do know Texas was reducing the number of EOC tests required to graduate and mandating far fewer days devoted to district level benchmarks.  I taught at a high performing public middle school, and I'll say that, while testing was important to keep up our status as high performing, students also came to school more supported and, therefore, in less need of a "teach to the test" mentality.  The testing is still there, it's still on the teachers' minds, and it does guide the standards/material covered.  But, at least at my school, the teachers are able to teach more comprehensive and engaging lessons because students can handle them and are well behaved enough to actually do the lesson effectively.  It's not perfect, but it's not exactly a garbage experience, either.  😂  Testing doesn't start until third grade in Texas, and, since your kids are young, you may be able to use your schools for a couple of years, adjust things with your budget/career, and get them back out before testing becomes an issue.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the "best" school district in my small state and I have wondered, idly, what exactly it means to be the best. My district clearly uses college entrance and popularity contest. But I wonder how our best holds up to the best in different states? I guess NCLB was intended to provide some standardization across the country, although that isn't what happened in practice.

 

I have friends who are both doctors and they homeschooler their kids by alternating days they worked and hiring a retired homeschool mom to come in on the 5th day to supervise.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2020 at 4:48 PM, dahmdr said:

It doesn't make any financial sense at all to keep homeschooling. 

 

You're right. It's doesn't make any financial sense to keep homeschooling. We did it anyway. My husband and I both had professional careers. I actually had a job that would have put me in a better position than his job did and I have two college degrees. We are now in our 11th year of homeschooling. We live on a very modest income and many people would say we can't afford to homeschool. I still don't regret it. I have adult kids and know the years fly by. My son will be graduating this year and I've so enjoyed all the extra time with him.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2020 at 3:48 PM, dahmdr said:

 

We are new to homeschooling our 6 year old this year due to the difficulties with virtual learning last year. We all love it and I feel like I have discovered so many wonderful programs and ideas to enhance his education that I never would have known about if not for homeschooling this year. I think in an ideal world we would keep homeschooling and add my 4 year old girl into the mix when she's ready. 

But, my husband and I work in professional careers (me 75% time, he works full time). We spent so much time and effort preparing for these careers it doesn't really seem viable for one of us to stay at home. It has only worked out this year b/c we still have a 4 year old that's home most of the time so our nanny has been able to care for her and then teach my son at home while she's at preschool three mornings a week.

It doesn't make any financial sense at all 

You may need to separate family goals from financial goals because it seems as though the are oppositionally served. Then prioritize which is most important. 
 

Financially? Enormous sacrifice. Assuming a minimal salary of $50,000, over the past twenty years is a million dollars, not counting any investment benefits. I can make it even worse financially, obviously more painful by a higher income. If you have a scenario as I do, in which you’re stricken with a disease that leaves you unable ever earn? Worse. And I cannot get disability nor the medical insurance that accompanies, not can my children collect social security when I die. 
 

That said? Our family goals trumped our financial goals. All this and I’m still not sorry. Knowing what I know? I’d still choose to homeschool. You can’t have the money back lost over twenty years. Neither can you gain the hours and days spent relaxed, unhurried, spent together, exploring together, learning together homeschooling. I don’t want to make a difficult choice harder, but I earnestly believe no one can have both and we must choose. To sell it otherwise is a disservice. It’s totally okay to make either choice and it’s okay to say we prioritize financial goals (and the benefits increased financial standing gains) but I think it is too easy to tell someone they can have the best of both worlds when a compromise is a compromise and not the same. ❤️ 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I took 15 years off from my career and just went back to it last year. Now we are homeschooling again but I have my parents who are watching my little kids while I’m at work. Homeschooling at nights and on weekends is exhausting. 
I’m very happy I took all those years off to homeschool the grown kids but am not going to do it forever with this set of kids. I do need to contribute to retirement and for now I’m providing our health insurance.

In order to stay home all those years we purposefully bought a small off grid house in the woods that was very cheap to live in.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/29/2020 at 8:52 AM, dahmdr said:

Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful comments. Really, I should have posted this topic as "Looking for Discussion Group on 'Rethinking School!'" I blame S. W. Bauer for challenging all of my preconceived notions about public vs. home education! 

My husband and I are products of moderately good public schools and have always been big advocates for public school. We choose to live in a small, old run-down house in a school district renowned for being one of the "best" so that we could send our kids there.  I really believed the best way I could raise my kids was to work hard, read to them a lot, set a good example for being a lifelong learner, and earn enough money to send them to college. I always trusted that with "good enough" public schools and our efforts at home to read to them and enhance education on weekends they would do quite well (and maybe they will?)

What I am discovering, however, is that even the best of the public schools are constrained by testing requirements, No Child Left Behind, etc. We live in Texas, which calls for testing quite a bit throughout the school years. As SWB noted in her book, so many school days are devoted to test prep and practice, test administration, retakes, etc. and the teachers feel so much pressure to teach to the test. In addition, what we have seen with our older boys is that there is a significant amount of pressure to "pass" students in the name of No Child Left Behind. It is very difficult to hold kids accountable.

Our children have come to expect that each of their tests is but a first try--they always have the option to retest, often until they get a passing grade. I think this is good for students with test anxiety, and I think it's good that they review material they clearly didn't understand, but for one of my sons it has led him to expend the minimal amount of effort required in school and it seems like often the teachers end up lowering the requirements so that all of their students will pass. I could go on an on with other examples from my family and my teacher friends, but essentially it has been very eye-opening to read her book and have a lot of my previously nebulous concerns articulated so well.   

It's tough at this stage to reconfigure or reconsider career plans, child care arrangements, etc.  I wondered if there were others out there engaged in this process as well.  I really appreciate the ideas about private schools (yes we have a well-regarded classical charter in our area), hybrid schools, etc. I have been brainstorming about how to adjust my work schedule as well. 

For now, I am enjoying the opportunity to teach my kids whenever I can and be more directly involved with their learning processes. I'm glad this forum is available for questions, comments and sharing of experiences.  

 

Since you are in TX, I assume that "well-regarded classical charter" is a Great Hearts school. 

The issue with charter schools is that they are required to do the same testing as public schools. (Although perhaps that is not the case in every state.) In our state there are Montessori charter schools that assign homework so they can fit in all of the test prep. Maria Montessori would probably cry. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...