Do you work and unschool too? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-23-2011, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you make it work? Does only one parent work and the other one unschools? I know there are some single parent unschoolers out there. I'm just wondering if I can juggle the working/unschooling/parenting/being a human being myself.


Edited for clarity, my story didn't seem relevant.

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#2 of 13 Old 03-04-2011, 08:11 PM
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Just saw this thread and noticed nobody had replied so I'll jump on in...


My DH works full time. I work part time with a home-based consulting business, and I teach occasionally at a local University. Because my jobs are very flexible, and because my husband is often working from home, we're able to manage without any child care (we recently moved away from family).


Just thinking about how my kids learn I can't see why working would be an impediment to their learning. Kids don't learn "9 to 5", and in fact require so much less time than school kids to absorb the same amount of material (ask any public school teacher how many hours a day she'd need to teach one child and she'll tell you she could cut their school day in half and still do great!). So I don't think a single parent working has to mean the end of unschooling.


The big issues would be how many hours one works (ideally not the majority of a child's waking hours in a week), and how flexible the work schedule is. Perhaps an ideal situation would be to work evenings so that you can hang out with the kids during the day and have a caregiver babysit in the evenings. If the kids stay up late, as so many unschoolers seem to do, lol, then it wouldn't have to cut into your need to sleep in mornings, and most caregivers would not consider it their job to "teach" a child in the evenings.


However, if you are away during the day it would be important to have a caregiver who understands and fully supports unschooling. Otherwise there's the risk they won't be able to help themselves from wanting to "teach" the child and that could be counterproductive. 

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#3 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 11:43 AM
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Well, for us, neither parent is "unschooling" because we are not doing anything to our dc. They do what they do and we do what we do, each of us and altogether. Clear as mud, right?


Our situation presently is that I am home all of the time, and I'm working on a commission (book illustration) and when that's done, non-commissioned artwork and writing (amongst a long list of other things- there's an unjobbing tribe that addresses that part). My dp has a very chaotic job schedule that means he works shifts around the clock with no pattern whatsoever. So, today, forinstance, he's leaving at 3pm and will return around 1am, leave again at 7am and be home around 4:30pm tomorrow. Then he's home for five days straight, works odd shifts around the clock for another six days, has a few days off, and on and on.


We have no childcare and no family. One of us is home all the time, or we're out together. This summer, we have markets to attend, and our dc will be with us- whether my dp is at his job or not, I will be there with our dc.


It's very hectic in some ways, and in others, like when we don't worry about how we don't do really anything at "normal" times, it's just the way it is. There's a flow to the days and to feel well, that flow has to have the space of a week to even everything out; a flow that takes place over the course of just a day would be too fast and stressful for us. It's a lot like our diet. It evens out over a week rather than each day.


I agree that if there were one adult and a need for childcare, it would have to be a carefully selected person whose ideology matched the way we trust ourselves and one another to live our best lives. Given that, though I really don't see any reason it wouldn't work out just as well with one adult who works in or out of home. For me, the whole point is that we (as in all humans) are able to enact and capable of living our best lives. However that looks is how it looks, and is. It won't be the same for everyone. It won't likely even be the same for long for each family/person.


It has taken a lot of effort to remove layers upon layers of strictures from our life, though, to be in a position that allows us to mostly just live the way we want to (which is still part of a journey toward a goal, as in we have not arrived, but are just beginning now. It took long to get to the starting place). It has taken a lot of values-structuring and hierarchy determination. We couldn't have lived the way do now, five years ago. It would have been impossible. We had to journey to where we are to live the way we do. But that was an important part of the journey for us, and while it may now be invisible to my dc, it certainly wasn't and isn't to dp and me. For us, it took a lot of work and determination.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#4 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 01:22 PM
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I'm a single, hsing parent and I work from home. It's quite the juggling act but we're managing. We went through a homeschool charter so that we could pay for some classes, which gives me some hours to work and a break from constant parenting. I don't adore that, since, while the school is unschooler friendly, our Educational Supervisor is quite the opposite of an unschooler, though she's a lovely person. It was too stressful for me to keep track of all their learning without the aid of some bookwork. so we've ended up being a bit more school-ey to be able to manage that. Next year we hope to go through a homeschool/on-site hybrid, which will allow a lot more freedom (it's project-based, individualized learning) and give me more time for the working and being a human being part winky.gif


The things that keep me sane are our weekly homeschool parkday (having a parenting/schooling community is invaluable to me), their homeschool classes (it's sort of like a co-op but you pay for the classes) which they love, and the one day a week that they hang out with my parents - my mom takes them to the library, they do household projects with my dad, etc.


It's a juggling act and it's hard - I don't get enough work done (which is partly because they aren't with their dad as much anymore, I used to work more on the weekends), I'm constantly feeling guilty about not paying enough attention to either the kids or to work and it can be exhausting and draining but I wouldn't trade it for regular school ever. It matters enough that I find the ways to make it work and find the ways to have peace and ease with it =)

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#5 of 13 Old 03-16-2011, 10:30 AM
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My dh and I both work full time from home.  We have a nanny come in ~30 hours a week and basically play, do art projects, bake, and read books with our 6 year old while I do most of my work (we both work in the evenings after he goes to bed, too).  We love this arrangement, especially because we get to stay connected all day even if we're doing separate things. Our son can interrupt both of us if he has something exciting to share or needs a "Mommy break". He's such a self-directed learner that I feel fine about making sure he has enough interesting books and a well-stocked craft cabinet and just leaving them to it. 


It's more expensive than public school but less expensive than private school, and I honestly think it's waaaay easier than it would be to arrange our lives around a school schedule and all the ups and downs associated with spending the day apart then reconnecting at night.

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#6 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 01:56 AM
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MY dh works full time 50+ hours per week, and I work PT 20 hrs/week, opposite when he works.  So one of us is at home with the kids always.  

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#7 of 13 Old 03-21-2011, 08:13 PM
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Dh is an attorney who own his own business so he works about 50 hours a week but is flexible for field trips or needed time off etc. I work as a midwife. I have two full days a week of prenatals, a local homeschool teen or my mother babysits the kids and they do museums play out side etc., plus 4 hours a week of childbirth education where they are with my dh. Plus I have births which often land at night or on the weekend. I am not sure I would say I am a 100% unschooler more like a very loose homeschooler. We don't buy curriculum but go to the library, use the encyclopedias and spend a lot of time out side. I am struggling though. My kids are doing very well (8,5,4,1) but it is just a lot to do everyday. I do think it can be done though.

Homeschooling, midwifery mom to 4 beautiful blessings(8,6,4,1)

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#8 of 13 Old 04-06-2011, 12:20 AM
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Yes... I work part time as a substitute teacher (ironic huh) and those days DS goes to a sitter.  I work 2-4 days a week based on district need... and school year ends mid may here.

I'm a single mom so the sitter is really my only 'helper'.

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#9 of 13 Old 04-06-2011, 10:33 PM
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Sort of. It was really working out when I just had one seasonal job doing taxes. Tax season was our summer, and I could focus on the kids the rest of the year. Then I accidently picked up a second part-time job teaching at a community college. It's too much. My hubby works a FT job and is doing an apprenticeship on his weekends, so the schedule gets pretty tight. I could probably pull it off if I had more support from him or the money to buy help, but no, this is not unschooling. Unless of course the lesson is why not to overextend yourself....

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#10 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 05:21 PM
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I don't, but I wanted to share an amazing mom who does unschool and works from home. She lives in England. She's an inspiration to me because I've always wondered "What would I do if something happened to my husband? She does web design from home.


Her website for the design is and her personal blog is

Homesteading, unschooling mama of three.
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#11 of 13 Old 04-09-2011, 06:09 PM
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I work part time and Dh works fulltime.  Older DC watch the younger one, once a week she goes to a sitter.  


It involves some juggling, and I occasionally feel guilty that we cannot take advantage of xyz opportunity (because it takes place when I work) but it has been worth it overall.  Not only does it bring in extra money which we all enjoy, it gets me out of the house and into an occupation i thoroughly enjoy.  It is a good thing.

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#12 of 13 Old 04-11-2011, 10:31 PM
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I'm an RN so I get those back-breaking 12 hour shifts, but that means I only work 3 days out of seven every week (90%). DW does post partum doula work so she takes on clients, meaning sometimes she is working a lot, sometimes not at all. She's home full-time at the moment because DD is only 7 months old, but that will probably change because we need $$$. We schedule swap and have kept DS home for four years, and will keep doing that. When I first conceived of US my kids I thought it would be impossible since both of us were working, but a lot has changed since then and there were many in the US community who were encouraging that US takes on many different forms.

My challenge right now is to take on some overtime, but I'm going to try to do it from 7 pm to 11 pm so it doesn't disrupt our family life too much.

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#13 of 13 Old 04-12-2011, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I work part time and Dh works fulltime.  Older DC watch the younger one, once a week she goes to a sitter.  


It involves some juggling, and I occasionally feel guilty that we cannot take advantage of xyz opportunity (because it takes place when I work) but it has been worth it overall.  Not only does it bring in extra money which we all enjoy, it gets me out of the house and into an occupation i thoroughly enjoy.  It is a good thing.

This.  I often think that I would be a better homeschooling mom if I didn't work, so that our schedule had more flexibility and I didn't have so much on my plate.  But overall, I think it's good for me and for our family that I have a chance to do some work that I really like and is meaningful to me.


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