How to support a family while you homeschool

I love writing on this blog, but if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure I’d write here if I didn’t need to support my family. It’s true that I started writing about education because I wanted to figure out what to do with education for my own family. But it’s also true that writing a blog is a lot of work.

And when I started writing this blog I was not homeschooling. I wrote the blog while the kids were in school. Once I started homeschooling, this community became an invaluable resource for me to turn to for support and information. So I kept writing.

Then I took a break. Of sorts. But I realized that I’m also writing this blog to make money. I make a lot of money coaching parents who are homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling. I don’t think I noticed how much money I was making doing that until I wasn’t writing on this site.

The best way to get yourself writing a blog is to depend on it for income. Sort of like the best way to get actresses to lose weight is to threaten to take their job away if they don’t lose weight.

When you support a family with a blog you have to always be trying new stuff. Sometimes I try new stuff like try a million ways to get a business line of credit (the answer is no). I’ve tried measuring my work hours with a billable time-tracking app (my kids are right – I am always working). And this week I am trying discounted coaching sessions (as a wake-up-early hack).

Erin Wetzel is a frequent contributor here, and she paints for a living. She is always trying new ideas to see which paintings will sell. This is her most recent idea. And seeing her try new things makes encourages me to test new ideas as well.

During the next few weeks I’m going write more about getting ready for applying to college. Hopefully that will work out well.

But there are some problems with this topic. For example, the goal for colleges is the manage their luxury brand so they get “good” applicants so those applicants can give money to the college. (This is why kids of alumni have a 40% higher chance of getting in and probably use an essay service to boot.)

Also, I have said that the point of education is to have a good childhood and a good life. Getting into college is not an end game. Yet here I am, paying the tutors to put pressure on my son to absorb more test-taking data so he can have a lot of choices for college. Not that I  haven’t been a hypocrite on this site before. But perhaps not to this degree.

So I guess I’ll also be trying something new in the department of hypocrisy. But at least I won’t have to worry about making money. And maybe down the line someone will offer me a contract that requires me to lose weight.

31 replies
  1. Bos
    Bos says:

    Answering the question of how one can support a family while homeschooling by saying you make a lot of money off counseling other homeschooling parents reminds me of those scams in the back of magazines where you send in money for a kit to help you make money at home and what it is is a plan to put an ad in the back of magazines telling people to send you money.

    So how is the education coming along? Any chance you’d like to unpack the bit in your penultimate paragraph about pressuring your kid via tutors to pump up his test scores? Maybe if I say there’s a chance another parent will hire you to manage their kid’s test pressure tutors and ameliorate their own anxiety about hypocrisy? You could invent a new program called “holistic ambition management” that mostly entails billing parents when they tell you how bad they feel about ruining their kids teenage years for the sake of Big Test.

    I kid. I still like your blog. And I can have a laugh at your expense sometimes, but you get to laugh all the way to the bank, so it’s a win-win.

    • Cecelia
      Cecelia says:

      Well in my neighborhood there are six test Prep centers so she isn’t alone. I think her odd life is a better sell for getting into a better tier school. She’ll probably lie and have her kids say they live on the farm still because it’s exotic and colleges do geographic profiling for admissions. I’m just curious if your kids will do well without mama bear telling them how to breathe. Send them to sleepaway camp. They’re old enough. See how they fare. Do they ever see their natural father or stepfather ever or does that not matter. Is anyone a constant in their life but you? What are you going to do. Your older son will go to a decent school get a job. Your younger will join an orchestra. Then what? Are you going to get pets to enter into competitions?

      • Jessica from Down Under
        Jessica from Down Under says:

        P, can you please block Cecilia? Not because I think we should censor speech; she could start her own blog on why she hates your guts. (Or about how to be a perfect person since apparently she’s got her life all together.) But because I like reading intelligent comments that make me think a little bit more about the topic at hand in a different light, and everyone’s life has just enough hardship in it already that no-one needs to read poison unless they really want to. And three vicious comments under one article was total overkill.

        • Penelope Trunk
          Penelope Trunk says:

          Yeah, she’s a pain. But I like that people see what I deal with. I block people who are knowingly racist in their comments (sometimes people don’t even realize they are racist and I leave those as a point of interest.) I also block people who threaten my life. But I try not to block people who hate me or think I’m full of shit.

          People should be able to tell me I’m lying to myself or being stupid or whatever. Often I think people who hate me have a lot of insight. That is not the case with this commenter, but I think you guys have already let her know that.


  2. Shari DeVoogd
    Shari DeVoogd says:

    Life is a journey. Roads take twist and turns. They even come to an abrupt halt at times. It does not make one a hypocrite when a fork in the road is reached or steps are retraced. You are a honest seeker and an inspiration. Thank you for your time and transparency.

    • Cecelia
      Cecelia says:

      If there’s anything she isn’t it’s transparent. I think she’s extremely cunning. Oversharing Doesn’t mean transparent. Depends on what you overshare. I like reading the blog so she’s doing something right. But you can’t not post for long stretches without losing everyone who isn’t a regular. I don’t see why it’s so hard to post a short thing daily or something longer weekly. You offer expensive services but you can’t even keep up w blog. That’s why I don’t use said service which sounds intriguing. All internet success stories understand the need for regular updates.

      • Cate
        Cate says:

        It is entirely possible Cecelia is the alter ego of Penelope, who hates herself. I.e., she is Penelope posting to troll herself and see what people say.

        However, that doesn’t seem to fit our Penelope (who I like very much based on her writing, since I don’t know her in real life).

        But Cecelia seems weak and pointless in her comments, and we have to ask why, since most people commenting here are seekers too in life.

  3. Cecelia
    Cecelia says:

    You’re an interesting person and you post so much personal stuff people feel like they know you. And you make people feel good about homeschool. So your readership will generally defend anything you do. Despite claiming loyalty and pro marriage attitude you spit out two guys and will never post a study on the need for male role Models or the post 50 marriage rate. You put kids before spouse and that’s what you modeled for Them. I bet they do the opposite esp because they seem they’ll be late bloomers with girls and from what I see teenagers aren’t dating like they used to. I dated at 13 and so did most of my peers. Now that’s really rare. Don’t think it’s you. Kids today are much more juvenile than in previous decades. I don’t know you or second husband but it really seems like you used him and that you use your best friend and just use people. And I applaud your devotion to your kids but can’t shake how you seem to need to live through them. If they’re talented then you must be. If they get into a good school then you could’ve. What school did you go to?- are you unhappy with how you turned out. You’re so not a hypocrite. You actively mislead readers because you’re so competitive. You say grades and scores don’t matter love does and finding your own way like your sons chose cello and tech and this wasn’t all your micromanaging. You spend more than most people on tutors so that’s not really homeschool it’s private tutoring. People can scream yes it is homeschooling and my reply is it’s unique relative to others but isn’t homeschooling. It’s a fancy flexible private school. Homeschoolers are the main teacher or it isn’t. It’s something different. Yes my opinion but I find it odd Bc I think 95% of homeschoolers have a parent as the primary teacher not tutors. You used disability to get your kids services up the wazoo and I was always insulted by that. What disability does your older son have that required so much service? Anyone can get an autism diagnosis. He’s fully verbal social but because he once had what seemed to be typical behavioral issues for a young child and wasn’t ready for school, you’re entitled to waste taxpayer money. You’re a shark. Cut throat and focused. You are wracked in self doubt but I never once thought you were a hypocrite. I never once doubted you’d teach to the test. It’s okay that you preach values you don’t have. We just disagree as to why you do it. I think you do it to be competitive and give yourself assurance in case your big plans don’t work out exactly as you need them to. I don’t think it’s your life way

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Public schools don’t just hand out expensive services willy-nilly. The child has to go through multiple rounds of testing to even get an IEP. Then the IEP team puts together a plan IF the child has met the criteria!

      My youngest daughter is getting services for speech and will be getting a specialist to work one on one with her academically and she is also provided special equipment and chairs because she is so active.

      Are you going to be mad at me too? You going to tell me my child is normal and doesn’t deserve the thousands of dollars in services?

      Why do you care so much about the services Penelope’s son received? Do you know her personally or something? It is weird that it gets you so emotionally charged.

  4. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I will submit there are varying degrees of hypocrisy. And you’re reacting (as many parents do) to the biggest hypocrite of them all – the higher education system. I naively used to think it was the responsibility of the higher education system to limit their size and influence in society in some manner and point out pluses/minuses to applicants including time needed to get a degree and student debt. Now I look at it like expecting Washington, D.C. to give up their influence and power without a fight. It isn’t going to happen. So you and everyone else does their best to fit in the best way they see fit.
    The hypocrisy of school became evident to me in the 7th grade. My friend and I were made members of the National Junior Honor Society. Then we were expelled after missing two meetings. Maybe it was the best thing that could have happened. After that, I made sure I was getting good grades and I was on the honor roll in addition to learning the curricula pushed in front of me. There’s nothing like a little incentive/motivation.
    The best advice I can give regarding schooling is to know it for what it is. Recognize it has its shortcomings, know what they are, and make the most of the higher education experience. If you want to get high test scores and good grades, go to all the classes and take good notes of the material the professor considers important. Then prepare for the tests and know you are prepared and you’re doing your best. All this work does not preclude independent thought. It’s additional work. I found it interesting as my professors had industry experience either directly or as consultants. Everybody’s mileage will vary so finding a path and recalculating a path as necessary is important.

  5. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Well, I for one hope that your homeschool coaching leads to more writing here.

    Maybe the title should read “How I support my family financially while homeschooling” or “want to hire the No-Bullsh$$ homeschool coach?”

    Because the title preys on tons of homeschoolers fears and those who are always looking for a way to make money and homeschool. And well, not everyone can be a homeschool coach and several that are coaches shouldn’t be!!

    So…welcome back? Or?

  6. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    I think working while homeschooling very young children is VERY different than when you hit academics… the time involved when you hit upper grades is so very different than a kindergartener/first grader that is pretty much unschooled. The quality here has really deteriorated. Resources/articles seem outdated here lately and authors are grasping.

  7. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Cecelia, why do you even read this blog? You make a ton of assumptions. Since you have it all figured out you should start your own business coaching people on how to get their lives on track and figure out how to raise their children.

  8. shelli
    shelli says:

    If you make a lot of money coaching parents on homeschooling, I applaud you. Maybe you manage to do that because you’re so popular and controversial? In my experience, I have found homeschooling parents to be very frugal and downright cheap. They are a hard sell. I offer free advice, yet I rarely get an e-mail. Anyway, you are doing something right. Keep up the good work. (I have enjoyed your blog for a long time, but this is my first comment.)

  9. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Writing a blog is a lot of work. I know that’s true even though I don’t write one. It’s evident to me as it constantly needs new content even though a lot of the old stuff is still applicable. Many times the old stuff is worthy of repeating with a new twist. The new posts you’re planning to write on getting ready for applying to college are necessary for this blog. However, they could present their own challenges as they’ll likely be more about satisfying requirements for the college than the needs/wants of the student. So I’m thinking a big part of applying to college is much more than getting accepted. It’s knowing why you’re applying to a certain college and what doors/opportunities are opened once a degree is received from there.
    “I don’t think I noticed how much money I was making doing that until I wasn’t writing on this site.” This sentence now makes me think of exercise (when I am exercising). You don’t know when you’re dehydrated until it becomes noticeably apparent and you’re thirsty. Then it’s too late as you’re already dehydrated. It’s necessary to drink water at certain intervals depending on exercise intensity. So I think the same analogy holds true for publishing blog posts. There are certain intervals that are optimal. Looking forward to your next post.

  10. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    I’m surprised the author wants to lose weight. Isn’t she already pretty skinny? Don’t they say that at a certain age you have to choose between your body and your face?

  11. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I would welcome a blog on your children applying for college, simply for the company. It seems to be a monumental task. We’re in the thick of it at my house.
    PS glad to see you back up and writing

  12. Michelle G
    Michelle G says:

    I would also say that if my daughter and I had spent more time getting ready for her to apply to college, maybe the actual applying for college wouldn’t be such a challenge emotionally for her and for me. Basically, I think that blogging about your kids growing up and all of you getting ready for that transition would be really good material.

  13. Kathy Dombroski-Donchak
    Kathy Dombroski-Donchak says:

    Supporting my family while homeschooling has been such a challenging topic for me, not because I had trouble earning money but because I felt like my work as an educational consultant for a long time was at odds with our home life. What I realized was that the very things I experiment with at home carry over into recommendations I make to educators – both home-based and school-based. I wrote about my thoughts on why homeschooling is the hardest form of teaching on my blog this morning, but also the most rewarding work I have ever done as a volunteer. I am grateful you are back to writing on your blog, your candidness is needed.

  14. Danielle Lynne
    Danielle Lynne says:

    Interesting. I just came across this blog. I retired after flying 28 years to homeschool my special needs son and am now starting to think what I can do to create a new career. I have two older children, whom I also homeschooled. One was valedictorian of his college and is now doing an internship in Nepal. My daughter is in grad school studying speech pathology. She us also working to pay cash for school.
    We worry so much about our children, whether homeschool or public school. In the end, it all works out.
    I’m looking to fulfill a need in the world, make money but also something that will give my special needs son a trade. His future seems so unclear. He will always need to be monitored but is so bright and social. All I can do is teach him, give him all the experiences I can think of,and be a role model. I seem to always be fighting dull scissors. I’ve been looking into a sharpening business. It might be a future trade too? Keep schooling! Find a homeschool co-op that fits your family (love ours!),join special Olympics, or intramural sports, stay active, look for new experiences…. Life will work out! I might add that you need to align yourselves with supportive people. There will always be those who make a career disagreeing. I consider those types just a speed bump while navigating life.:)
    Good luck on your journey! I’ll be following!

  15. Danielle Lynne
    Danielle Lynne says:

    OH my word, I can’t believe that the post above is mine! I will never post from my phone again. It seems it messed with grammar and topics…. my apologies for such a horrible read!
    I will be following you and your boys! Again, good luck!

  16. Roger
    Roger says:

    I don’t think these types of thoughts are limited to home-school parents.

    In today’s economy, people may have to find freelance work between full-time jobs. There is a lot of carry-over here. Thanks!

Comments are closed.