Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Support System

This has been an interesting topic as I investigate the actualities of Home Schooling Lorelei while working. A little context for you, I am graduating from USF with my BA in Psychology in exactly two months. I have worked for the same company for nearly three years (another May milestone) and my career in Project Management looks even more promising now that I have earned my Certified Associate in Project Management certificate. I've finally gotten to a place where I can support our little family of two on one income and monthly support from Lorelei's natural father. It's been a long, tenuous few years but we've come out better than ever.

All of that being said and my daughter quickly approaching school age, I have decided to take on Home Schooling. Sheer madness I tell you. My searches online have been vaguely promising. There a hundreds of working single moms and dads as well as dual income households that boast home schooled children. Unfortunately, after reading dozens of accounts they most seem to have the same few points in common
  • One or both parents work from home
  • Single parents work odd hours (second and third shift) or part-time positions
  • The "home schooled" children attend co-op classes while the parent(s) are at work which basically turns itself into a labor-intensive private school experience
As you can probably tell, none of these are great options for me.
While I may be able to work from home in the future, it's not likely given my job responsibilities. And while it would be wonderful to go out and find the perfect position that allows me to work from home, times are tough out there and as any single parent can attest, income security trumps almost everything else.
As for the second option, I have a lot invested in my current career and it's not just vanity that makes me value this. If I'm it for Lorelei and me, I have to prioritize our well-being...and start getting creative. I'll just say it, I'm not a fan of the co-op yet because I haven't found one I liked. If I do, check for an update.
Take Charge
I refuse to give up. If Home Schooling means I can turn the educational process on its ear by taking matters into my own hands, that must mean I can do what I love best; control everything! Let's turn the clock around, learn year-round and double up studies whenever possible.
The Plan
  • New lessons on nights and weekends
  • Practice and homework during the days (see below)
This might not sound revolutionary but trust me, it's going to take a complete reconfiguration of our schedules to make sure to get about 20 hours of learning time into each week.
The Support
  • In home day care provider (find one in Florida) - Lorelei and I were lucky enough to find an exceptional in home day care provider when we returned to Tampa Bay. She is amazingly committed to the children she watches and has jumped on board with our Home School mission. She has offered to work with Lorelei one-on-one while the younger children nap for approximately an hour a day on worksheets I provide. Lorelei is thrilled to do her "homework" and our inaugural week proved a smashing success. Bottom line: Lorelei is away from the school setting (as planned) while still learning and I keep my full-time hours at work.
  • Grandma - one day a week Lorelei gets to spend the day with Grandma. My mother has been 100% supportive of my decision to Home School and has agreed to work with Lorelei during the day (a little longer than the day care provider) on worksheets and computer programs.
  • Online resources - I mentioned them on the Home School page and I'll keep updating as I can. Specifically, Nick Jr. Boost (a paid site within has proven itself to be one of the best learning sites. While I don't rely on it solely for curriculum, it's an excellent way to keep Lorelei learning while I'm making dinner or doing laundry. The laptop goes wherever I am so we are always together; so I can monitor her activity and give the appropriate encouragement or troubleshooting.
  • The State of Floria - No joke. Our tax dollars pay for research, development and implamentation of countless resources and most if not all are posted in the internet, just sitting there...waiting...seriously. Get Googling!
  • The Library - I can't believe I have to say this one but it's amazing how many out there forget what an amazing resource this can be. Through the online databases and requesting site, I can search and request thousands of book, video, Wii and computer titles. They're delivered to my home library in a reasonable amount of time. We can experiment with what works and what doesn't with zero out of pocket (save the occasional late fee).
  • Been-there-done-that Parents - The first rule of parenting? Everyone else knows more than you do. It's just a fact. A parent with one kid knows more than someone who is expecting their first. A parent with three older kids can lecture a parent of one toddler and the toddler mom should just shut up and listen. You may not always agree, and you may walk away with a list of things you'll never do but it's a free fount of knowledge and the proof is sitting right in front of you. Before investing one cent in anything else, start talking. Even if they've never Home Schooled, even if they think you are crazy for doing it, keep talking!
There are so many more places and people available to assist and for State and Non-Profit resources I'll need a whole other Blog post but we can leave it at this. After some hand-wringing and serious doubt, I think I've figured out how to have it all. Mind you, I won't have a social life for the next however many years, but on the great priority list of life, it just didn't rank.

Good luck from Bat Country

1 comment:

  1. I'm eager to follow your blog - I am also planning on homeschooling while working full time. Good luck to us both :)