Thursday, March 21, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - How to Pay for College, Part 2

Once you and your future college student have pursued all of the standard avenues for funding tuition and other collegiate expenses, it can be tempting to think about returning to the work-force yourself, to help out.

The majority of homeschooling families survive on a single income.  That makes sense, as homeschooling is a full-time job in and of itself.  That also means there is a potential source of additional income lying dormant in your home.  If one parent is already able to support all of the household expenses, then theoretically a second income could be used completely for outside expenses (such as tuition for your children).

Of course that's not entirely true, because going back to work comes with expenses of its own in clothing, travel, tools and the like.  I've dipped my toe back into the workforce waters a few times in the last few years - once as a para-professional in a school, once as a temporary worker closing a local branch of bankrupting big box store (a fascinating "Americana" experience), and briefly herding toddlers at a daycare connected to the college where the kids have been dual-enrolling.  Each time I ended up spending almost as much as I earned back into the job.

Mind you, I wasn't making much to begin with.

One of the shocking things to keep in mind, if you are considering going back to work, is how little your years away will be worth to potential employers.  That might be a topic for a future post.

The biggest problem I encountered with working though, apart from discovering how comfortable with "traditional" roles my formerly egalitarian husband had become, was that it was detrimental to the schoolwork the children still at home.  I know some people are able to pull off working and homeschooling at the same time.  I am not one of them.  So, this will probably not be an option for us this time around - maybe when our youngest is applying to college (if I can still walk without a cane by then).

However, if you are going to try heading back into the workforce to help pay expenses for your student, and if you live close enough to their college or university of choice, you might begin your job search there.  Some schools offer a tuition waiver for the families of their workers (even if you're a janitor or cafeteria server).  My mother-in-law went to work in the admissions office of a local college when her two were in high school, and was able to offer them free tuition without touching her take-home pay.

Not all schools offer this benefit, but it's worth checking out benefit packages if you're thinking about heading back to work anyway.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

1 comment:

Ticia said...

My mother-in-law worked at Baylor, and if her kids had chosen to go there for college while she was working there, they would have tuition or partial tuition waved. That is an amazing benefit for sure.
And, yes, I've noticed the times I'm not home for some reason their work level deteriorates.