the network for radical unschooling families
Hi! I am wondering if there are any working parents out there unschooling, and if so, what does it look like? I would have the ability for my husband to be home some of the time but the rest, I could have my daughter with me at work. Is it possible to encourage and fulfill a child's curiosity if unavailable during the day (for the most part) due to working? I would love to have some solid feedback about what it looks like for your family and the ages of the children. Thanks so much!!!
I run a Web Design company with my husband. Our business is nearly three years old. For the first 2 and a half years I was able to work flexibly around the kids and also Andy worked from home. When I had to go out to meetings he was able to hang out with the kids. As the business has grown this has been a less sustainable option. In February of this year a friend, who had been regularly babysitting one eve a week, started looking after the boys at our home for two 5 hr sessions a week. It worked very well as she was interested in the way we choose to parent and unschool.
She has recently moved away and I have found a childminder for my boys (age 5 and 7). This has been a nerve-wracking experience for me but I am really thrilled with who we've found. I still keep to two 5 hr sessions a week and build any more extra work into evenings. I have learned how to work incredibly smart as well as incredibly hard! The childminder was worried about having to 'teach' my kids so I think she was very relieved to learn about 'unschooling' and all that entails. The boys have settled in very quickly and in the days when I'm not working I ensure that our lives are as fun, interesting, varied etc as possible. The boys often want 'at home' days in front of the TV but they've also been really enjoying going out on adventures.
I can't have my boys with me at work because so much of the time I am on the phone or in meetings. For the time being I feel we have found the best solution for us. I'm really happy to answer any more questions and also for anyone else to add thoughts and ideas into our situation.
Hope this helps :)
Currently I work away from home while my partner is trying to build a business at home. We've found the key to juggling work and kids is by being more flexible - actively looking for odd hours, ways to work from home, ways to "overlap" schedules so we each have time with the kids and each other. It helps to keep in mind that nothing is set in stone... except maybe "no school" (unless the kids want to go). I definitely found that taking school off the table as a child-care option helped free up my creativity more in terms of thinking outside the box.
My newest schedule has me away from home three day (two nights) in a row. We'll see how it goes. I know other parents who work in the medial industry and do something similar - work two or three long shifts in a row and then are home the rest of the week.
One caveat I have about having a child with you at work is to step away from any expectation that your child will want to join in somehow. Depending on what you do, you might not have considered that, but parents who have their own businesses, in particular, sometimes fall prey to the dream that their kids will want to be part of the action. Sometimes they do, but I know more mom-and-pop businesses where the kids don't want to be involved than those where the kids are jumping in.