By Angela McKee, Records Team Leader/Office Manager
It’s a new world out there for many homeschoolers today–split families, disabled spouses, increased living expenses and many other very unique family situations. I fall into these categories myself.
I am a working mother. And yes, I still homeschool my children. I am not super woman, I am not amazing…I do what I have to do. I have coined the term “homeschool hybrid” to describe moms like me. I began my homeschool journey nearly 20 years ago (Oh, by the way, I am not old. Maybe in denial, but definitely not old.) When I began, the homeschooling world was a different place. As the years have passed and I had to begin working about six years ago due to my husband being disabled, I had to look at things a bit differently and think through core values, wants, needs, absolutes.
Why was I homeschooling? Had that changed? How was I going to continue? When? Where? Who? The “why” was obvious. We all have our whys and they all look different. The how, when, where and who have fallen into place over the past few years. At first, I was working from home in our family business. We were still together everyday and other than the busy, chaotic schedule, we managed to keep things pretty consistent. Crazy but consistent.
About three years ago, I began working outside the home due to the strain and stress that comes with self-employment and seasonal income. This was not the easiest decision I have ever made, but I was very blessed to find HLA. It was definitely the perfect place for me, and God knew that. It is a place where God and family always comes first, whether it is the families we are serving or our own family. There is a very fine line between the ministry and the day-to-day service that HLA offers.
So back to the “homeschool hybrid.” I utilize home and “school” by taking advantage of the growing trend of the past several years–tutorials. This, my friends, has been the most incredible blessing and answer to prayer for me. Tutorials are popping up everywhere and they are much different than your co-ops of days past. With co-ops, the moms work together and each teach and contribute. Tutorials are generally led by qualified instructors who have a passion for the subject being taught and many times are homeschool moms or dads too. This year, our tutorial has a chiropractor teaching A&P and a homeschool mom/microbiologist teaching Biology.
I first used a tutorial with my oldest daughter in 7th grade, and she took a language arts class with emphasis in writing. I was hoping to better prepare her for high school which was just ahead. Since she had been a late reader, I didn’t know what to really expect; however, through those classes and a wonderful teacher, she learned that she loves to read and became a writer. At this time, it is is just a hobby for her–nothing published (yet), but I could not have pulled that out of her. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I am a math person. I can read through Algebra problems, giggle and get excited to find a correct solution to a matrix equation. Give me classical literature and tell me to write a report on how the protagonist evolves and best relates to the antagonist and you will lose me while I get a Tums to calm the nausea.
Parents utilize this classroom style instruction for various reasons. Some moms, like me, find themselves in a situation where they must go back to work. Some don’t feel confident teaching some subjects, e.g. Advanced Physics with an emphasis in Advanced Statistical Mechanics, visual and performing arts, or math. Some want their students to take classes where a group setting really enhances a student’s studies like art or theater. Some parents, unlike days past, are coming out of the public school system for various reasons and just like the structure and added confidence of having some accountability.
Whatever the reason, I want you moms out there who find yourself in this situation to know it is OK. It can be done and done successfully. I just graduated my oldest daughter last year and she is starting classes at a local community college in the fall. It can be done and we did that while I worked. I am not going to lie and say it’s easy. It takes commitment. You may not get to go home and crash after a long day, and you may be doing math and science projects til midnight. But you can do it, no matter the circumstances, as long as you know in your in heart and mind that it is the best thing for those precious ones that God has given you to raise.
And, also know that if in your heart and mind you know that continuing to homeschool them is not the best, then that is OK too. We, as parents, have the best interests of our children at the forefront of our hearts and minds every day, every minute. Utilize the tools you have and don’t carry “mommy guilt” for the things that you can’t do. Just know you are doing the Lord’s work. We are “Homeschool Hybrids.” We do it all and get really good gas mileage. Sometimes we amaze ourselves at how much we can do before we run out. God keeps our tanks full.
Praying for all of you working and single moms out there on this Mother’s Day.
With love in Christ,