Today we’re going to talk about balancing work, homeschool, and extracurriculars as a homeschooled teen and how you as a parent can help them with the adjustment. Sounds like I’m already in homeschool teacher mode! When your teen starts working, things can get a bit tricky trying to balance everything, not to mention crazy busy. I’ve already been through this a couple of times, so I hope I can you with this transition.
Getting that first job is so rewarding as a teen and as a parent and it’s a huge milestone in our kids’ lives. But before deciding on whether to pursue a job during the school year there are a few things to think about.
- Is it absolutely necessary for them to work during the school year, or could they just work during the summer?
- How heavy is their course load?
- How many activities and extracurriculars are they already committed to during the school year.
- How are their grades? Would having a part-time job help, or hinder their grades?
- What hours would they work?
- Can you work around their schedule if needed?
- Are you ok with your kids working late at night, on church days, or during school hours?
These are just a few of the questions to think about before your homeschool teen gets their first job. My two oldest kids started working part-time during high school. One as a sophomore and the other as a senior. The first one was definitely a learning curve for our family. It always is with the first! She decided that because she played two sports, which were in the afternoons and evenings, it would be better if she worked somewhere where she could have a flexible schedule and they were ok with her changing her availability throughout the year. My son played only one sport, basketball, so his scheduling was a little easier. But they were both also involved in church and of course, they need to have a little social life. They were able to let their employers know about sports schedules in advance and their employers worked around those dates. As far as everything else, they did the best they could. You can’t have everything and that’s part of growing up.
A word of caution: Some employers hear the word “homeschool” and they immediately think they are available all day, any day, anytime to work. Make sure that your teen is clear with potential employers about their availability so they are not taken advantage of. They should be treated no different from any other student employee.
If your student has a heavy course load or is dual-enrolled at a local college, consider if they can handle it all. The old saying “You can have it all” isn’t true, something always has to give. Think about what might have to be sacrificed and are you and your teen ok with that? Is it worth it? Which is more important, the dual enrollment, the extracurriculars, or having a job?
By taking on a job, even a part-time one, will that leave your teen with enough time to complete all of their school work, or will they be giving up Wednesday night youth group? Make sure to discuss with your teen what your expectations are. I was ok with mine going to youth every other Wednesday night, instead of each Wednesday and every other Sunday. But you may not be. If they are only going to be able to work a couple of hours each week, it may not be worth the gas money to get them there.
How many commitments does your teen already have? Sports, classes, clubs, youth groups, etc. are all commitments. Not to mention family commitments. Is your teen already over-committed? If so, maybe this isn’t the right time to start a new job or maybe your teen is ready to let go of some of his or her’s commitments. Letting go of commitments can be a tough decision, but it’s definitely a step toward being an adult.
This pretty much goes with everything else, but think about what hours your teen will be available to work. Most teens work after school and some till closing which can get pretty late. Some homeschool parents are willing to let their teens work during the day when others would be at school. Are you ok with that? Can you work your homeschool schedule around a work schedule or would you prefer it the other way around? A lot of this depends on your homeschool, your teen, and their work ethic towards school and how much you as a parent can handle since you are the one driving them back and forth to work until they have their own car.
I don’t think I realized everything that went into my teens having jobs, homeschooling, and trying to balance sports, youth, and everything else that comes with teens until we were there. It is exhausting, patience-trying, crazy busy and so rewarding all at the same time. And it’s pretty cool watching your teen grow up a little bit more.