When I started working and homeschooling, I was easily intimidated by the families who were home together all day. I wanted to be able to make salt maps and detailed timelines. I wanted to cook special meals to go with our cultural studies. I wanted to do all of the amazing things I saw on homeschool blogs.
But, I was comparing myself to the wrong benchmark. You see, I have always valued homemaking as an important career. The work of raising a family and managing a household is full of purpose, freedom, and creativity. You will never hear me preach that women need a career to be fulfilled or important.
However, over the long-term, working to earn an income has been a necessary role for me. I have found that homeschooling has given me a greater ability to have the family life that is important to me while I worked full time.
I am thankful for the education and opportunities that have allowed me to work as I have needed to. I am also thankful for the unique skills and benefits that my career has brought to homeschooling. There are certain values that I was able to teach through working while homeschooling. Your work can be an inspiration to your family as you communicate specific values through your actions.
There are many ways to communicate the importance of family. However, there is a special kind of message you are sending to your kids when you choose to homeschool even while you are working. You are letting them know that despite any challenges that life throws your way, family is valuable and worth fighting for. You are setting an example of how to deal with the craziness of life without compromising your values and beliefs. If grandparents are supporting your family with childcare or other help, you allow them to take a greater role in their grandchild's life and solidify this belief even further.
You are working hard every day to bring financial support and high-quality education to your family. Do it wholeheartedly and do with pride and you will set an example they won't forget. Be honest about your struggles and bring them in on how you deal with them. Show them your faith and conviction. Show them your sense of purpose in all that you do. You will teach your children a work ethic that they could never learn in a classroom separated from real life situations.
I remember the day my husband taught my kids to do their own laundry. He told them, "Mom is not going to work and homeschool and do all of the housework." He set the foundation from the beginning that everyone had a role in our household and was expected to do their share. Sometimes it's hard to incorporate this into the household when kids spend hours at school and then come home with hours of homework - there is an imbalance there that is hard to overcome. Homeschooling allows a more practical balance of time and teaches kids that all life skills are important. When you are working, teamwork to manage the home becomes a necessity.
You have a choice. You can worry about all of the ways your homeschool doesn't measure up to the neighbor's, or you can take advantage of the lessons you CAN teach and make the most of it. Your choice can be an inspiration to your entire family.