Can a Parent Homeschool & Work At Home?
Absolutely. But a fair question would seem to be, “Who would want to?”
Since we’re just getting started, here’s a little bit about me.
I’m a mid-40’s husband of 18 years. We have 8 (That’s right, eight) children that we homeschool and have done so since day one. They range in age from 4 to almost 17. The question we’re usually asked at this point is if we are Catholic or Mormon. Well, neither. We’re just passionate Protestants. And yes, we know what causes it. And so do you. Another question frequently posed to my wife is “You must be a saint! How do you homeschool and work at home?” Clearly, there must be some organization and that is a necessary part of work-at-home/homeschool life.
We do work at home, running a small business and that suits us to a tee. We also homeschool and have been part of the homeschool community for almost 13 years. But things can and do get a bit dicey when trying to mix homeschool and a work at home business.
Try speaking with a client on the phone and have your 16 year old asking about the chord progressions from an old 70’s Eagle’s tune, or better yet, playing it in the background! On an electric guitar. Or a 4 year old sharing an interesting looking insect he has found out back (BTW, that’s part of the kids homeschool studies…). Both of which can be joys or distractions, depending on the timing. You can and must draw some distinct boundaries.
It’s been said that fences make for good neighbors. Of course, it’s also been said that firearms make for a polite society, but, back to fences and boundaries. I think it’s critical, when we work at home, to have some definition between work life and home life, and that’s even more true when we homeschool.
A friend and business associate of mine who also works at home, Alan Masters, explains that “Even though your client may say they understand, no business person really wants to have a telephone conversation with someone whose child is audible in the background. This very typical scenario will lead your client to wonder if you can really pay attention to what they are saying when there are clearly family issues going on at the same time.
“The ability to shut a door and limit the sounds of home life will lend a much more professional tone to your business. On the other hand, a door or some other barrier allows you to walk away from the job when it’s time to re-enter family life without being tormented by the piles on your desk or the lure of the computer screen.”
Very well put. And he should know, as he’s been doing it for many years. Barriers or boundaries, when we homeschool and work at home, we must have some type of system in place to differentiate between the two.
But this is just scratching the surface. There’s also the time, family and economic justifications.
Now that we’ve established that we can homeschool and work at home, let’s look into the why.
There are any number of reasons why someone would choose this type of arrangement, so I’m not going to go into all of them. But I would like to go into some reasons that would, I believe, be more of a common denominator across the board.
When we choose to homeschool, we’ve made a huge personal commitment to do so. Our worldview is such that it’s our duty to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Prov 22:6) Deut 6:7 says these things we must “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
So for us and our family, our decision to homeschool is, for the lack of a better term and running the risk of sounding cliché, a faith based decision. We attempt to make all of our decisions in this fashion.
There are many other reasons, such as the quality of education your kids receive at your homeschool vs. public school; there are no drugs being sold at home, no gangs, no scandals with inappropriate teacher/student relationships, negative socialization, etc. But for us, those are peripheral issues. We feel called to do it.
So why complicate homeschool by having a work-at-home business?
Well, I enjoy the commute! The real reasons are somewhat deeper, however.
For some who work-at-home, they were just tired of office politics, maybe their job(s) were outsourced (I won’t get into the economics of that in this article), they were downsized in a company restructuring or they were simply laid-off when the company dissolved. The work-at-home option can become quite attractive when you have more control and input in your own future.
For others, it might be just a way to supplement what is typically, in a homeschool family, a single source of income. Let’s face it, it is hard to homeschool and live on one income today, given all the realities of today’s economics. A work-at-home business can go a long way towards not just making ends meet, but socking money away for unexpected (are they really unexpected?) expenses, college and retirement, just to name a few.
There are also the benefits of the tax code. Now, I’m not a CPA or a tax lawyer, but I do know that the benefits of owning a work-at-home business are many and the IRS, it seems to me, is pretty kind to us.
A work-at-home business has no dress code. You can save a whole bunch of money on dry cleaning, eating out, you name it. Same for the kids. As the principal of our homeschool, I set (along with my wife) the dress code and it does not include overpriced clothing like A&F, Hollister (Why name a clothing line after a one-stoplight cow-town in California’s central valley?) or $150 Nike’s, so as just to impress their friends. For a family our size, well, let’s just say we must save a lot.
I read once, after you break it all down, a women brings home under $2.00 an hour, taking into account all that is required for her to work a part time job making $16k a year. I don’t know about you, but for all that hassle, a work-at-home business makes a lot more sense.
To homeschool and work at home may look daunting. It does require organization and a real commitment. But for the extra time that’s left in the day for your family, it’s well worth it and the rewards are great. Just ask the kids.
If you currently homeschool, a work-at-home business just might be a good fit. Something you might want to consider, anyway. There are lots out there; it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits best for your family. Just make sure that the one you choose provides plenty of support. Because, if you homeschool, you may not have all the time yourself to learn everything on your own.
What should you look for? A low cost-of-entry should be one aspect. Another would be a turn-key opportunity providing ease of entry, with a real blueprint on how to make it work. And of course, a product(s) or service that is in demand and provides real value. That’s what we did and it works well for us.
Why homeschool and work at home? Because in a lot of ways they go hand-in-hand. A homeschool is about teaching and a work-at-home business is about working. Our children deserve our very best when it comes to both and being there teaching these life-skills makes all the difference in the world.
© 2008 Greg de Mocskonyi | homeschoolworkathome.com
By: Gregory de Mocskonyi, Sr.
Greg de Mocskonyi is the proud homeschooling father of 8 children and has been married to the lovely and fetching former Laura Gizzi of Winter Park, Florida for 18 years. They work at home in Clear Lake City, TX. For more information on how they homeschool and work at home, visit their website at homeschoolworkathome.com