“How can I homeschool my child if I’m working full time?” It’s a question that comes up frequently when parents are debating whether to homeschool. Well, given our current events, it’s quite possible you’ve at least partially figured out the answer to that question. Tens of millions of parents suddenly became homeschoolers in some way, shape, or form over the past couple of months. And perhaps it’s something you discovered you and your child really enjoy doing.
What you’ve experienced this spring is really only a preview of what true homeschooling is. If your children are enrolled in your local public school system, they’re probably learning through some type of online remote program. And while that can be part of an actual homeschool day, it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. True homeschooling will usually require more time and work from both you and your child every day. So, how do you juggle it all?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one family may not work for yours, and it may take a few different approaches to find the right fit. Let’s look at a few scenarios you might be experiencing right now and in the coming weeks and months.
You’re working full time at home while your child is learning remotely through school or homeschooling.
This is a tricky situation, for sure. You need to work for a living and your child needs to learn. Fortunately, if you’re homeschooling in the true sense of the word, you can have your child do some independent work and study while you get your work done and then do the actual instruction once you’re done for the day. It may be a pretty full day, but one of the benefits of homeschooling is flexibility. You can have class any time that’s convenient for you.
Perhaps you do a class or two before you start work, have your student study what you just taught for an hour, break for lunch, have more independent study or even some free time to play outside or watch TV, then finish your classes after your workday is finished. It’s really in your hands, and there’s no wrong way to homeschool, schedule-wise. These are strange times, so most routines are out the window for now.
If your child is learning remotely through his or her school, you can most likely take a similar approach. Many schools have moved to a very relaxed schedule, with only a few classes each day–most with either recorded classes that can be viewed at any time or pre-assigned lessons and work that can be completed at any point during the day. This type of school day can be treated in a similar way as homeschooling, only you won’t really have to do much (if any) of the actual teaching.
You want to make the switch to true homeschooling.
If you decide to make the move to true homeschooling, you have many options as far as curriculum, academies, and types of homeschooling. You may have a few questions about homeschooling in general and where you should turn. Some questions you may have:
- What school/class options do I have?
Quite a few. First, decide if you want to do any teaching. Some homeschool parents do all the teaching, some elect to have their children take a full load of live or recorded classes taught by a certified instructor, some choose a blend of both approaches. This comes down to your budget, your schedule, and your desire to participate in the instruction.
At Bridgeway Academy, we offer all types of class options that fit any type of teaching scenario:
- Textbook learning: Choose from customized textbook packages (grades 1 to 12) individually selected by our expert advisors to fit your child and his or her personality and learning style; Full-Year Grade-Level Kits (K to 12) that provide everything your student needs, with curriculum tailored to his or her strengths and learning style; and individual Self-Paced (grades 1 to 12) textbook courses that allow students to learn at a pace that’s comfortable for them.
- Online learning: Choose from our Total Care blended learning package (grades 1 to 6), which combines the best of textbook learning with online instruction; Self-Paced online courses (grades 1 to 12), which allow students to log in and view pre-recorded classes at their (and your) convenience; and Live Online Classes (grades 1 to 12), which meet once a week in a virtual classroom with a live instructor and classmates.
With these options available to you, should you decide to take on some instruction, you could choose some Self-Paced textbook courses where you provide the instruction, as well as some Self-Paced online courses that allow the students to do the work themselves; you could also sprinkle in a Live Online Class or two for more peer-to-peer and student-teacher interaction. This type of solution provides the best of both worlds–you can teach as your schedule allows, and your child can work independently with online courses and Live Online Classes while you work.
If you need to dedicate your entire day to work, you could opt for a full class schedule of Self-Paced online courses and/or Live Online Classes. This is probably a better solution for middle and high school students who are more suited to working independently. A fully online school day keeps your student busy and gives you the time you need to focus on work.
Of course, you could still homeschool with these options on your own. It’s just a matter of finding the curriculum and format (textbook, online, virtual classes, etc.) that work for you and your student.
- What are my curriculum options?
The first decision to make is whether you’re looking for secular curriculum or Bible-based studies. Most curriculum providers offer a selection of both, so this simply depends on your preference. But all publishers and online resources are different, so do your homework to determine which is the best fit for your child. A website like Curriculum Express offers textbook curriculum from hundreds of publishers, so you can pick and choose what you’d like to teach your student.
Both secular and faith-based programs are available with Bridgeway, and each offers plenty of curriculum choices. Regardless of which you choose, Bridgeway Academy partners with the best-of-the-best in homeschooling and education to bring you a curriculum plan that fits. We get to know you and your student first — then we put together a plan that leverages your strengths and meets your academic needs. Visit our Curriculum page to see which partners we work with to ensure your students get top-notch curriculum for their homeschool studies.
- How should I balance my day between work and school?
The easiest answer is, however it works best for you. As I mentioned earlier, homeschooling offers the benefit of flexibility. You can literally homeschool whenever (and sometimes wherever) is most convenient for your schedule. If you work a 9-5 job from home, start classes at 7 or 7:30 and go until it’s time to work. During that time, your child can partake in either independent study or online classes (or both), and then you can finish up with another class or two from 5 to 6. Or use some time early in the morning and then during the evening. Or maybe even dedicate some weekend time to school. A few hours on a Saturday morning can make up for an entire day during the week. You can literally create your own schedule since homeschooling has no set school hours!
- What about activities?
If you’re looking to work some activities into your child’s schedule, look up homeschool groups and co-ops in your area. With these types of groups, kids get to socialize with other students of all ages, learn from other homeschooling parents/teachers, and participate in group activities. Many co-ops plan group field trips; if you work full time, this is a great opportunity to get your child together with other kids for fun and learning. Also, look into extracurricular clubs and activities in your community (local sports leagues, YMCA/gym groups, library clubs, etc.). As long as you’re able to leave your desk at home to take your child, these types of activities make homeschooling even more rewarding.
- Should I choose a partner? If so, why?
Whether you choose to go with strictly independent study or would like to partner with a homeschool academy like Bridgeway is entirely up to you. Each has its benefits. If you opt for independent study, Bridgeway can still provide the curriculum and online class options–you take it from there and handle the rest!
Should you choose to partner with Bridgeway…well, you’re in for the best possible homeschool experience. Why? Because we’re with you every step of the way during the homeschool journey. Unlike independent study, enrollment with Bridgeway Academy provides you with unparalleled and unlimited support from expert and experienced academic advisors, and full accreditation so you know your child is getting credit for their education and is eligible for college scholarships. Plus, we’ll assess your student’s personality and learning style in order to put together the perfect homeschool program that allows him or her to enjoy learning and thrive in an environment that’s suited to the child’s strengths and personality. You also get to be a part of the Bridgeway community, where your student can join clubs like Minecraft and National Beta Society, participate in our virtual events like field trips, talent shows, and spirit week, and we even have events for parents.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available, whether they’re with Bridgeway Academy or on your own, any of which can be conveniently worked into your schedule. If you opt to have Bridgeway as your partner, we’ll work with you to create the best possible program for your child that also allows you to continue working full-time to support your family. You can have the best of both worlds–full-time work for you and a high-quality education for your child.
Call 1-800-863-1474 to learn more about us!