Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Part Time Jobs.

Should your teen hold a part-time job during the school year, or not?  You can find a myriad of articles, blog posts, or social media diatribes from either side of the issue, but in our house we come down squarely in favor of our teens being gainfully employed.

Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

1. We worked through our teen years, and it didn't kill us.

The Man of the House and I both started working various odd jobs in our early teens - harvesting fruit, babysitting, delivering papers, on into waiting tables in restaurants, or bagging groceries.  Somehow we still managed to get our homework done, and still have active social lives.  There were times when our jobs crimped our styles, there were times when we felt overworked, but we survived, and I'm quite certain our children will too.

2. Homeschooling lends itself nicely to a work schedule.

Homeschooling can be done anytime of day, which means homeschooling students can cherry pick those great opening or middle of the day shifts while all their public school friends are stuck with evening and closing shifts.

3. It lessens the sense of entitlement teens seem to come to naturally.

There is nothing like working hard for a dollar for teaching the value not only of money but also the cost of what people own.

4. It builds character, responsibility, dependability, and drive.

Several of us have worked in fast food too, which teaches humility - and how to hustle.

5. It opens the doors to excellent life lessons.

From how to crack an egg or sweep a floor properly, to how to deal with an annoying coworker, cranky boss, or just learning when to defend yourself, and when to weather a storm of criticisms in silence, there are so many good lessons that are best learned on the job.

6. Teen jobs can lead to adult careers.

It's too early for us to tell if that will happen with any our teens - though our twenty something son-in-law seems to be on his way.  The Man of the House stumbled into what would become his life-long, family supporting career before he reached his twenties.  I left the workforce at 27 to stay home and pursue family interests, but the career I had at the time was a direct result of one of the jobs I'd picked up at the beginning of my college years, and could have easily grown on into a lifetime career.

7. Some jobs come with scholarship inducements.

Working just 15 hours a week at our local McDonalds earned our oldest $2500.00 in tuition assistance this last year alone.  You can swallow a lot of humble pie when you know you're working for a purpose.  Not all jobs offer scholarships, and some are need based, or limited, but you can usually find out what exactly is offered on a company's website.  Some jobs even offer full tuition coverage for degrees that forward their cause.  It's definitely worth checking out.

8. Some jobs offer employee discounts for goods or services.

Whether it's free food, a discount on clothing, unlimited movies, big box store memberships, or corporate discounts at the local gym, most part time jobs pay more than just an hourly wage.  And sometimes the benefits extend to the entire family.  We absolutely loved it, for instance, when one of the girls' boyfriends was working at a pizza place - he was continually showing up at our door with free pizzas (ones that were made wrong, or not picked up) to share.  We're talking teen jobs after all, the pay is not going to be great, so why not pick one with a few perks?

9. Jobs pay money.

Again, part time after school jobs are probably not going to pay fantastic wages, but life with teens is expensive, and every penny helps.  Cars, gas, insurance, clothing, sports fees, college tuition, date nights or even just an evening out with friends costs money, and money is not elastic.  In a single income home, while we're happy to give our children every advantage we can, we can't pay for everything.  We've been very clear with our gang that if they want to do it all, they're going to have to find a way to pay for it themselves.

Right now our youngest two (ages 12 and 14) have a weekly babysitting gig that pays them each $20/week.  Our 15 year old is working with me, learning how to clean our church.  I volunteer, he get's training and paid for 5 or six hours a week.  His older sister (age 17) works around 15 hours/week at a clothing store while taking full-time, dual enrollment classes at a nearby college, and acting with a community theater group.  Our oldest (now 21) works 15-20 fast food hours/week while working on his university degree in business.  Finally we have one daughter married and out of the house, but while she was home and in school she worked 15-20 hours/week, as well.

It might not be for everyone, but working outside the house has worked well for our family, what our teens have gained so far, has more than outweighed what they might have lost.


Blessings! said...

Our son started volunteering at the local library at the age of 13 because ours has a teen volunteer program. I have since learned that the hospital and Bose zoo also have volunteer opportunities. These are great for kids who are not yet 16. I learned about them by observing, asking, and sharing our experience with other moms. I have learned that the library looks within their volunteer pool before outside applications when hiring, and that Northwest Nazarene college hires people to work in their library even if they aren't students of their own. That came from asking when we were checking out the college at a younger age then just before leaving for college. In our area I have learned that one needs to be 16 years old before they can get a job (off the farm at any rate...still have some looking around here for that). In eastern Washington even farmers and a feed and seed that we frequented often said they couldn't hire our son in his teen years. So, in short, I agree on this point of working in your teen years. *smile*

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I love the early volunteer idea. Our library wanted volunteers to be 16, or I would have been all over that. We've had to be creative for the younger teens, but as soon as they turn 16 we have a crash course in job hunting :)

Dawn said...

Our special needs son (16) will start volunteering at the library soon. We hope it will lead to a part time library job which usually goes to volunteers after a few months. Our daughter started working in a consignment shop when she was 15. She loves it and can't wait to go to work. Homeschooling makes all of this very easy.

Great to see you blogging again!
Blessings, Dawn

Ticia said...

My kids are getting to that point where part-time jobs is something to look into, and I guess I better start looking into that. You've perfectly explained why I think it's important.

Also, meant to say this last time, but I'm glad to see you back in the blogosphere. You've got a great voice to add.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

You guys are so sweet :)