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Homeschooling in the Evenings

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: Our eighth-grader is having trouble in school. We've tried everything possible to turn it all around, with no success. Is it possible to homeschool in the evening, with some days here and there? My husband and I both have to work. A lot of people say we are being selfish because I won't quit my job. But we don't live extravagantly; we live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes barely.

A: This is a tough question. Where would your son be during the day while you're at work? A 13-year-old boy still requires adult supervision. It's certainly possible to homeschool in the evening -- many parents do. Homeschooling and working can be done together -- it just takes some juggling to make it work.

Is it possible for you or your husband to change your hours or work on alternate days? Can one of you work part-time or find a position that allows more flexibility? Can either of you work from home?

You and your family are the only ones who can decide the working vs. homeschooling issue. If your family decides to give homeschooling a try, then everyone must be willing to adjust their lives accordingly. Families can save money by renting movies instead of going to the theater, not eating out, buying items used at yard sales, taking modest vacations, driving older-model or less expensive cars, etc. One homeschooling mom told me when she sat down and figured out how much she spent on clothes for work, lunch, travel, and other expenses (including take-out food for dinner), her actual take-home pay, adjusted for taxes, was not very much. With a little tightening up, and her working at home part-time, she was able to homeschool and still live comfortably.

Have a family meeting and discuss all the options. Whatever you decide as a family will be the right choice for you. What other people think you should do must not influence your decision. Good luck.

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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