I used to bristle a little when people would ask me what I “do,” only because my answer seemed to disappoint them. It implies that work outside the home is somehow more valuable than what I “do” within these four walls. Now that I have given it some thought, I am glad to say that home educating is my job. People with a “job” have:
A defined task(s). I have the task of teaching my kids. Love it. Best job I have ever had. And I have to plan. I have a defined set of tasks that I prepare for. I am not a mom that does well with unstructured or vague school time. I know that all of life is learning but I am also obligated to make sure they can work with numbers, read and write and know something about the natural world. For my family that is best done with a set time for lessons and my kids look forward (most of the time) to learning something new that I have prepared ahead for them.
Measurable goals. My Bible is my standard. It’s filled with my goals. I try to evaluate myself regularly and I ask my
husband to do so as well. Once in a while, when I’m feeling especially brave, I will ask my kids how I’m doing. That always gets me more than I bargained for. They are also surprisingly gentle. They often focus on different things than I do and they help me lighten up a bit.
I also set yearly and long term goals for each of my children, and for our home education in general.
Opportunity for advancement. I get promoted every year. It’s never boring and I get to constantly experience new things alongside my kiddos.
A schedule. There are certain hours for working certain jobs. I find we are the most productive when I guard our homeschooling hours. If I schedule time that is dedicated to learning and actually stay home to homeschool, amazing things happen. My children thrive on routine and a regular schedule is a tool that will make learning easier and more productive.
Commitment. Companies expect commitment and loyalty. I have to be invested if I am to do a good job. I believe if you are going to homeschool you have to be all in or it won’t work. When you are tentative your kids sense the wavering and school won’t go as smoothly. Whatever you do, do with all your might. If you are going to homeschool, why not go for it? You will have a much more fulfilling experience when you do.
A boss. I work for Him. I’m not trying to sound super-spiritual, but it’s true. He’s Who I most care to please. I look forward to the day I hope to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Remuneration. My pay comes in the form of well-written papers, drive-by hugs, and peanut butter sandwiches with my kids as we watch the clouds. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about the “Benjamins.” When my daughter won the essay contest I was paid. My hard work teaching her paid off. I don’t think of their learning success as evaluation as much as payment. And when they are able to receive scholarships to university because of what we have done in our little homeschool, I really will get paid.
Benefits. I have a day that I can schedule and a life that I order, with God’s help. I have vacations, days off (for errands) and sick days (not mine, theirs). My benefits include snuggling to read in the middle of the day and being a part of my childrens’ light bulb moments. Benefits are not always evident, so you have to look out for them and be aware–things like flexibility of schedule for things like doctor visits, not having to get out in the cold and snow to take them to school, being able to travel, taking special field trips to enhance learning and tailoring your child’s lessons to their learning style and bent.