Thanks for your thoughts. I think this makes sense. It's a lot to juggle, and hard to feel like you aren't doing a great job for your kids. I feel so committed to homeschooling philosophically, and can see how hard it would be for my DD to go back (into middle school no less!).
So mostly I find myself thinking about quitting work rather than enrolling her in school. Where we live public school isn't an option we consider, so it's a cost to put her back into a small Quaker school or similar lovely but pricey environment.
I don't think I can sustain work and hsling personally, so something's got to give.
I'd love to hear other experiences or thoughts too.
It's just a different cost/benefit breakdown for everyone. I find the mandatory attendance schedule personally devastating because it controls our lives too much, but some of that has to do with how I am about doing things according to others' plans and timetable. Our family is also involved in community music and dance activities locally (and dh does some of his freelance work at these dances and is trying to build toward more) and to participate means being able to be up late many evenings. Even if it's just weekends those evenings really mess with kids who need to be up at 6:00 AM Monday morning. My kids do learn folk dance and play music and things like that and we would lose the ability to do at least half of those activities we now do as a family if they were in school.
There are no alternative options besides public school here but I think our public schools are pretty good. However, I have a special needs child who was not being served well in school. I believe that no matter what they did, it was a bad environment for him. I also felt very unhappy with our teen's previous school experiences.
So my kids have been in school before, a few times in and out for my oldest. Some of that had to do with work pressures and some with thinking they would be better off. But ultimately, if I am able, I would prefer to change the work rather than stop homeschooling. That would include quitting if I could afford it. We've already tried various approaches and I feel our family loses something precious when kids are in school. It wouldn't be the end of the world to have them in school if it was necessary but as long as it isn't we'll stick with homeschooling. Like you I would be thinking of quitting if I could.
Would your family ultimately, including yourself, be more happy if your lives included school? I cannot even begin to guess the answer for you. But I really sympathize with feeling overextended and that you are not giving enough attention to the children. I understand. It sounds like you would miss your work if you left? How much will you miss it? Is this major personal fulfillment, is it essential survival income? I think you will feel divided and impatient with your little one compared to when your older one was little if they are in school too, but perhaps a little bit less so. There will still seem to be very little time at the end of the day for togetherness, attention for each will be in smaller portions than in the old days, and they will be gone a lot. But a Quaker school would also attract my interest if it were me... I wish I could help but I just want to wish you success in finding the best arrangement for your family.
ME&HE... loving our: dd(18) ~~ds(13) dd(13)~~ dd(10)
I work part time, from home. I'm a writer and also teach writing. Usually I teach one evening a week and write a couple of mornings when my seven year old is with his grandparents... plus I try to squeeze in writing time here and there. It works well for me, mostly. I have less time to write than I would like (and less than I expected-- we hadn't planned to homeschool, and after a year and a half, although I love having my son and home and think it absolutely the best option for him, I feel like I am still adjusting to the shift in expectations). I figure it is all temporary-- at seven, he still wants and needs a lot of my time and attention but this will not always be the case. So I am trying to slow down on the writing and be okay with that, and really be present with him. I have to say though, that although it sometimes feels busy juggling both, I do like my work.
Writing, reading, unschooling.
When we home schooled our 3 girls, I worked very part time answering the phone for a self-employed contractor. In the morning he would transfer the calls to my phone and I had an answering machine for when I couldn't answer. If the call was important, I'd page/call him and give him the message. This was back in the mid 80s so probably isn't as relevant now with cell phones. I did alterations and dressmaking at home.
Now we are home schooling our son (14, in 8th grade). Dylan has school 4 days a week. I have a full-time dressmaking business in our home. He has a school desk in my sewing room. We do math and la (spelling and grammar, discussing the literature book--currently Huck Finn) in the morning when he needs my help the most. Afternoons he is on his own for history, science and reading. I am available for help and to answer questions. Science experiments are done under my supervision; occasionally with my active participation--they are fun to do. I sew about 6-7 hours a day. Mon.-Wed. and Fri. with dinner dividing the time. Thursday I spend at the business that I have a sewing contract with; Dylan has no assignments on that day outside reading his literature selection. Saturdays I sew all day. Sunday is family time unless I have a deadline which happens several times a year and I can plan on them.
It's early in the homeschooling journey for us, but I'm hoping that as DD needs more learning time, she'll also have more capacity for independent work. I really love my work, getting to use some different gifts and passions, modeling that for my kids, helping to bring in a little income... I involve them in work when I can. And I love and trust the friend they stay with 2x a week, similar parenting styles, but also great differences for the kids to be blessed by, so even that feels like a win.
The downside: the prep for the afternoons they stay at my friend's. Days I feel distracted by something I really want to do in one sphere when I'm supposed to be working on another. Tiredness. We can't do fun things only available on the days I work.
But really, I love working part-time. It feels like the best of both worlds. I'm very grateful for my job.
I work 1-2 days a week and homeschool. It works out well when I work 1 and it feels overwhelming when I work 2. I have worked more and DH had to pick up the slack and I did not feel very positive about the whole situation. If you can do 4-7pm that might just have to work. Maybe DH can even pick up extra work or find a second job. My DH has been working overtime so I can work less and that has been a huge help financially and emotionally for me. Good luck with your journey.
Oops - I didn't realize I wasn't subscribed to get automatic notification of responses! Thanks to each of you for sharing about your experiences. It is really helpful to me to hear about what different families have been doing to try to strike a balance.
As I read about some of your experiences (sewing and Huck Finn sounds delightful! ) I realize that it isn't quite the juggling but the sheer amount that I am trying to hold together that isn't working. It really would be ideal to just be home 100% for my kids right now, but there are some good reasons to work, and I wonder if I could make it part-time instead of full-time.
It's is conceivable that I could try to make that shift happen with my employer... I work for a small non-profit, and I love my work (running adult literacy classes, both teaching myself and training tutors). It's a few blocks from my house, when I need to I can just bring my kids in a pinch. There's some time flexibility. And I don't want to "lose" it because it would be hard to find a spot like it say in a few years.
But they are talking about hiring a p/t teacher next fall and I could think about offering to be the p/t and having them hire a f/t instead. I'd lose income but stop paying daycare (and I tell myself I would save money on the meals I don't have time to prepare, the person who helps clean the house, etc etc etc - It's expensive to be so overstretched, lol!!)
The later it gets into the spring the more I realize that by not having enrolling either of my girls somewhere else for the fall I am sort of making a decision to have both home (maybe a little preschool for dd2 who is 4 if I was to be part time, just not f/t daycare).
I feel like I find so few families around here who homeschool and work -- or if they do that have no time to socialize, lol! So it's really good to chat with other moms about how they make it work.
Mama to my sweet girls: (2/02) and (2/08) and 3/11 and new baby (5/14)