Our family has just come through a period of unemployment. My hope for you is that you never have to experience it, however… there are worse things in life. You can recover from this. So if you find yourself homeschooling and your bread-winner is unemployed, I hope these bits of insight from my experience help you through it.
And if you aren’t going through a period of income loss, these life lessons may be just what you need to hear today to motivate you to get your financial house in order.
Homeschoolers, one of my fears during our period of unemployment was that I would have to go back to work, and we would no longer be able to homeschool our children. If we had not had an emergency plan in place, that would have been a certainty from the get-go of this whole thing. I see this opportunity to homeschool as a blessing as I’m sure you do too. So protect it by getting your finances in order so that should an emergency arise in your family, you will be able to continue homeschooling.
5 Lessons Learned Through Homeschooling and Unemployment
1 – Men and Women View Things Differently
Okay, we all know this right? But especially when it comes to money, men and women see things from different perspectives. My husband and I are a good balance for each other. But it takes intention and practice to try to see things from the other person’s point of view. We have been through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and welcome each other’s point of view. Make sure you are open and honest with your spouse about your finances and are sensitive to their feelings and opinions. You each bring something valuable to the discussion.
In his book, Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey writes:
“Somewhere down inside the typical lady is a ‘security gland’ and when financial stress enters the scene, that gland will spasm. This spasmodic gland will affect your wife in ways you can’t always predict.”
That totally describes me. Luckily my husband is well versed on the Financial Peace course and he recognizes this behavior from me when he sees it. whew!
Mothers, in particular, often find their purpose in caring for their family – whether they work outside the home, work part time, stay at home, or whatever. Their “job” or “income” doesn’t define them the way it does for a man.
So what about the men? They are born to be protectors and providers. God has created them this way. I’m not saying all men embrace this role. But for the homeschool family who is dealing with unemployment of the main bread-winner (usually the husband), it is important for the wife to understand that her husband is dealing with different emotions and a different kind of loss than she may expect. Although their job should not be their identity, providing for their family is a huge part of their identify.
If you want some guidance in getting your financial house in order, I highly recommend The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. And no matter what your situation, recognize that your spouse has different concerns, fears, needs, and responsibilities when it comes to your finances.
2 – Transition Period
It’s pretty obvious there will be a transition period for your spouse if they become unemployed. But recognize that your children will go through transition periods also. They will be thrilled that Daddy is spending more time at home, but it may take some time for them (and you) to adjust to doing school when Daddy is at home.
And when Daddy goes back to work, look for behavior and attitude changes that may be the result of him not being around as much. Kids thrive on consistency. And the changes in their routine and structure will take some adjustment. Be sensitive to their needs and give them some time to adjust to their new normal.
3 – Support Structure
Seek out people to provide emotional and prayer support to both you and your spouse. Look for people who have experienced unemployment who understand what you are going through and can give solid advice on getting through it. As with anything, guidance from someone who has experienced what you are going through is meaningful, helpful, and often more valid than what someone else can offer.
Many homeschool families rely on the income of one spouse. Although losing one income in a two-income family can be just as painful, the affects on the family are different. But support from any friends who have experienced job loss is encouraging and grounding.
4 – Want vs. Need becomes Need vs. Need Right Now
When making decisions about our finances, we often ask the question, “is this something we want or need?” And when there is no money coming in, we are careful not to indulge on things we want but don’t need. However, during unemployment, we began asking a new question, “is this something we need right now?” We have a list of things that we need, but don’t need right now. We know the priority of those things and will tackle them when we can.
Depending on the ages of your children, consider having discussions with them about want vs. need vs. need right now. Having this discussion with your kids helps them see that you and your spouse are focused on providing necessities for the family, and helps them think through the best use of resources.
5 – The Best Things in Life Really Are Free
Getting to spend extra time together as a family was a blessing for us. We knew the time would not last forever and were able to cherish the extra time we had together.
Find ways to enjoy time together as a family that doesn’t cause you any extra expense.
- Dancing, laughing, singing
- Enjoying the outdoors – going on hikes, biking, etc.
- Reading books – the library is a wonderful, free resource
- Church events
The best things in life really are free. Love. God. Family. Grace. Peace. Laughter. Sunshine. Rain.
Please don’t let the stress of losing an income keep you from enjoying your family time. Seek God and use this time wisely. There is a reason and purpose for what you are going through.
My prayer is that this post is helpful to you and that you will be blessed as you continue to homeschool through this difficult time.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
How To Prepare for Life’s Financial Emergencies
Because incomes are never certain forever, I encourage everyone to get on a plan to financial peace to prepare for an uncertain future. We never saw this period of unemployment coming, but we were prepared for an emergency because of the Dave Ramsey plan. Get The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
by Dave Ramsey and get started on baby steps to financial peace so that your family is prepared when an emergency hits.
Financial peace is possible, but you’ve got to get on a plan!
Let’s talk about it. Are you prepared (or preparing) for a financial emergency? Please leave comments below.