Overview: All your questions about getting a job for your homeschool student — answered! From a veteran homeschool mom’s experience with five teens!
This question gets asked all the time: can we use the teen’s job outside the home for homeschool credit?
In this podcast episode, I answer that one and many more about getting a job for your homeschool student.
Two of our kids had formal jobs, two others had less formal ones — and one didn’t get one at all. So all of my information is based on this varied experience! As always, there is no right or wrong answer here. After listening to the episode, do what you think is best for YOUR teen, YOUR family, and YOU!
- When getting a job for a homeschool student is a good idea vs. not so good
- What type of job to get
- How to get the job
- Paperwork needed
- How to handle the job itself
- Giving homeschool credit for the job — yay or nay
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This episode is sponsored by SchoolhouseTeachers.com and their June BUMBLEBEE sale!
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Episode 58: Getting a Job for your Homeschooled Teen
Homeschooled Teens & Jobs at The Happy Housewife
The Best Part-Time Jobs for Teenagers at My Joy-Filled Life
How to Help Homeschooled Teens Land their First Job at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Helping Your Teen Find Balance between Work and Homeschool at There’s No Place Like Home
You are listening to episode 58 of the, It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast. And this could be some things to communicate about before they actually get the job. Are you ready to handle this type of thing on your own, because you will be handling it on your own?
Welcome to another episode of It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people. So you can confidently competently and even contentedly provide the high school education that best fits your teen and your family, and live to tell about it. I’m your host Ann Karako from annieandeverything.com. Hi everyone and welcome today. We’re going to talk about getting your homeschool teen a job. And I’ve got to start out by saying that we didn’t actually let our older three kids get a job. My husband was very
0 (1m 9s):
firm on that. He was a guy who worked a lot during high school. And that meant that he couldn’t do a lot of the things that he might’ve been otherwise interested in doing. He didn’t have the time to do it because after school he was always headed to work and all weekend, and he didn’t want that for our kids. So the older three girls were not allowed to even think about getting a job unless they were doing something that was related to the career they wanted to pursue. And of course, the problem becomes that when you don’t know what that career is, then you have no idea what to do to try to make money. Right? Well, so our oldest plays violin and she did know that’s what she wanted to do.
0 (1m 53s):
So she earned money by busking in the streets of downtown Branson and she played for a wedding once, and so she made a little bit of pocket change doing those things. The second daughter, she’s very athletic and we thought maybe she would be going into something as far as coaching or something. So she was allowed to work as a referee at our local recreation center for soccer and softball, the kids’ leagues. She did that. The third one didn’t really have any kind of goal in mind and didn’t really care whether she worked or not. So she didn’t have a job, but then we came to our fourth kid and that’s our boy, our only boy.
0 (2m 39s):
And for some reason, it just seemed to me anyway, to be a good idea for our son to do something outside the home; away from all these girls, to have some outside accountability. And so we did help him get a job at Chick-fil-A and that worked out really well for that is one place that I can highly recommend getting your teen a job at. They teach them a lot about work ethic and politeness and communication in society. You know, that whole, my pleasure thing. That’s what they teach them to do, and I’m a fan, not going to lie. So it was a great experience for him.
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Then when his younger sister was starting to think that she wanted to get a job, we went ahead and let her get one at Chick-fil-A too. No more was there this restriction of, oh no, it can only be about what you want to do for a career. So I think having seen both sides of this coin, I think there are pros and cons to getting a job, but it is a question that comes up a lot in the, It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Facebook group. And so I wanted to do a podcast about it so that we can just talk all about it. And we’ll talk about the pros and cons as well.
0 (4m 1s):
So first of all, let’s discuss when this is even a good idea. I don’t think it’s a good idea for every kid to get a job necessarily. I think it really does depend on the kid and the situation. So what are some of the situations where this might actually be really positive? So one is when the academics are hard for your kid and they are tired of spending day in and day out on academic pursuits. If they’re not doing that well and they need to feel productive, then I would suggest maybe it would be a good idea to get them a job outside the home.
0 (4m 42s):
And they can do that for credit. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that later, but they could do that for a credit or two, and then they don’t have to do as many bookwork credits. And I think that can be a really good fit. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. All kids like making money, I don’t care who they are. They like getting that paycheck. So I think that might be a good situation where the job gives the kid a sense of wellbeing that they might not have otherwise had. I think boys, in general, might be more prone to be interested in getting a job. Now don’t get me wrong.
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I’m not saying girls wouldn’t be, but I think for a lot of boys, they need some time to be up and about and doing and perhaps working with their hands, maybe more so than the feminine gender. I don’t know, don’t slam me for this one. I’m just going on my experience. And I do only have the one boy, but he was definitely ready to not be stuck at home. Not be working in the books all day. To be getting up, doing something. Any kid who wants to make money, if that’s a driving force for them and you can even use it perhaps as a goal; a motivational goal, as far as their schoolwork goes; if you want to keep this job, you got to keep your grades up or whatever.
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However, you want to do that, that can be a great reason for a kid to get a job. If they need to save for college. I will say that our daughter has amassed a large chunk of money towards her college expenses. And that has been super helpful as we’ve been in the college search, knowing that that was there. So that’s something else. If you know that you’re going to need to have pay for some college, that it’s not going to all be covered by scholarships or grants or whatever, then it might be wise to get your kid a job, and then they just put it all away and then it’s there when they need it for college. So these are some situations where it’s actually a good idea to get a job. Now, when would it not be a great idea, for the amazing introvert, the just amazing, I don’t know why I use the word amazing.
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For the one that’s a real, you know, strong introvert. The person that is very intimidated by public situations then don’t force them to get a job. That’s just going to be frustrating all around. They’ll have plenty of time to grow up and do that. They don’t have to do that as a teen. When else might it not be a good situation? If the job does start to take over the time that should be devoted to schoolwork, that can become an issue. And it did become a little bit of an issue with both of my kids who had outside jobs. They got so wrapped up in the job and having to be at work and they kept getting scheduled for more and more hours.
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And it, somehow it didn’t seem to be, didn’t seem to be possible for that to be pulled back very easily. And I’m blaming my kids on that, not the management at the place. So it just, for whatever reason, became something that they were way more motivated to do than their schoolwork. And then it began to take over their entire schedule. That is a con that I would definitely want to talk to you about from the beginning here that that can happen. And so both of them were definitely doing a year-round school situation because they couldn’t get anything done, completed, fully completed just in the span of a semester because they were working so much.
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So that’s something to keep in mind as well. So if you’ve got a kid who’s going to be easily distracted by the job, and then they’re not going to get their schoolwork done. And it’s just not, not, not going to get done, then it might be time to either pull back from a job or not get one at all. Or have them prove to you first, that they can handle the schoolwork in a limited amount of time, something. What type of job to get? So both of my kids got the same job, so I can’t really speak to different types of jobs, but, as a parent, we do want it to be in a good environment. We want it to be a fairly clean environment, both physically and socially, if you know what I mean.
0 (8m 56s):
So some of those things out there can be a place where kids are getting into a lot more information, being exposed to a lot of stuff that they don’t really, we don’t really want them to be exposed to yet. So definitely be careful about that. If that’s the type of thing that concerns you. That management needs to be friendly. And here’s the thing too, our teens, while we want them to develop commitment and we want them to understand the responsibility and that they’ve got an obligation to the workplace, by the same token, if the management turns out to be people that they can’t work with or communicate with, or the management is just unfriendly from the get-go, then it’s time to find a different job.
0 (9m 38s):
This is something we can walk them through and they can learn. A guy I used to work with, said it all the time. I was looking for a job when I found this one. And it’s true, deciding to leave a job for reasonable reasons is not the end of the world. And they can find something better most of the time. So if the management is friendly then great, but if they’re not, it might not be the best fit. Definitely, in our case, it was good to have a job that was very easy to get to. Cause there were times, that I had to drive him back and forth. And so that came into play. I will say, though, it’s easy to go the other direction and just get too picky.
0 (10m 18s):
And then it’s more about us being helicopter parents than it is about them actually getting out and learning from somebody else. So keep that in mind as well. Our kids are going to need to get thrown in the pond if you will, at some point or other. That doesn’t mean we throw them in the complete deep end of a situation that we’re not comfortable with, but by the same token, we don’t necessarily have to hold out for the absolute 100% perfect experience either. There are lots to be learned, even when it’s not everything we wanted it to be just don’t be too picky, I guess that is what I’m saying.
2 (11m 2s):
So here’s the thing about getting a job; our daughter was actually 15 when she got hers, but that’s because they knew her brother. So they were willing to hire her. But when you’re talking about a teen’s first job, they have no experience at anything. So yeah, the choice is kind of limited anyway. But here’s another story; my son applied to the national, he filled out the application online, and was rejected, online, immediately. So you know that this is just a computer situation where the computer is evaluating the answers based on some algorithm and spitting out an answer.
0 (11m 48s):
And so we didn’t take that answer. We went down to the local place and asked to see a manager and I walked him through that process. I did not do his talking for him, but I took him down there. We talked about it in the car. I coached him through the things to say, and I stood, oh, maybe a foot or two away from him as he handled the situation. And then if there were any questions, I was there to chime in. If I could be helpful, I tried to let my son answer everything first, if it needed clarification, or if the manager looked to me, then I would speak up and the manager hired him because of course, the managers have the final say in who gets hired and who doesn’t get hired.
0 (12m 37s):
And it meant something to the manager that my son went down there in person. He could communicate with him and decide if he was somebody who was able to communicate well, who would be good working with the public as a customer service individual. And that’s sometimes what is needed. So if it’s an online application and that doesn’t necessarily pan out, I say, always go the personal route. Half the time these days, if not more than half really, it’s not what you know, it’s who, you know, so go down and make yourself known to somebody. Or if you have friends that are willing to hire teens, then tell them about your kid.
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Hey, my kid could do that. Would you be willing to hire them? And then of course, when it’s friends, you have to be very diligent to be responsible and make sure your kid is getting to work and not making excuses just because it’s friends, right? So you almost have to treat that situation more responsibly than when it’s just a more anonymous situation. So I guess the upshot is my personal opinion on that, especially when we’re talking about a teen’s first job; the personal approach is always going to be best. So anytime you can get your teen in front of the person, who’s making the hiring decisions so they can communicate back and forth. I’m still convinced that homeschooled teens are going to have a great impression.
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They’re just used to communicating with all ages. They’re used to dealing with higher thoughts. They’re used to discussing things because that’s what we do a lot in homeschool. So get your teen there, where they can impress that hiring manager, right? Going to jump right in here for a second and say that this episode has been sponsored by schoolhouseteachers.com. Schoolhouseteachers.com, the quintessential homeschooling solution provides high-quality Christian education, supplying all the necessary tools for successful home education to over 9,000 Christian families around the world. Join these families and create a strong faith-based foundation for all your children.
0 (14m 45s):
As you homeschool using the learning style that works for your family. Keep the fun rolling throughout the summer with SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There’s no need to slow down your children’s education. Simply switch gears, giving them something to be excited about, educate and entertain your kids at the same time by selecting their favorite electives during the summer months over 400 courses are available to choose from. Plus schoolhouseteachers.com is unique in that it provides options for every subject. You’re not limited to one course per subject. Use the code: bumblebee during schoolhouseteachers.com bumblebee sale to pay only $30 for an ultimate quarterly membership, which is normally $49.97, and the entire family will immediately receive access to all that schoolhouseteachers.com has to offer.
0 (15m 33s):
With the SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership mom is covered too. Spend some time planning out the next school year with the complimentary 2021-2022 Smart Mama Planner. Relaxed by the water with a print copy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. You get four copies delivered to your doorstep per year. If you’re a member and enjoy an evening away from the hustle and bustle of it all by attending one of the exclusive, Hey Mama members, lounge events, or ask questions in the engaging Facebook group and the chatbox on the site. Join today and receive access to curriculum downloads, electives, self-paced video lessons, streaming educational videos, including Drive-Through History and the Torchlighter series, record-keeping materials, and more. SchoolhouseTeachers.com every grade, every subject, every student.
0 (16m 17s):
Some states require paperwork. So some states require a work permit, even though you’re homeschooled. Your kid is homeschooled. I really feel like in our case; it’s been a long time ago now, so I don’t remember all the details, but I feel like, Hey, I think I was the administrator. So I signed the permit. I don’t think we had to go to the public school and get a signature on that. But you would have to look that up for your state. It has something to do with schooling and working. That’s the neat thing about being a homeschooler, is homeschoolers can work during the daytime hours when the other school kids can’t.
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And so that means your kid could get better hours, more hours, or just even the hours that are not as stressful because they can work during the day. And that is super nice. And also then they’re not up late at night and all of those good things. When it comes to the kid is now on the job. How do you handle that whole situation? Well, yes, you have to work your schedule around their work schedule. So that means there might be some adapting in your school time; if you’re having morning time or any kind of family unit study or whatever.
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You’re going to have to adapt around that because the work schedule rules. And that’s gotta be something that you weigh carefully. It’s something that did affect us these last few years. And it means that you can’t go do things necessarily all the time that you want to. And the kid has to be sure to ask off and sometimes they forget. And so, yeah, the thing is though that the kid has to learn how to handle all of that by themselves. This is one of the reasons we send them out to have a job is so that they can learn about some of the details, the practical skills of living life. And one of those is communicating with management about the schedule and then also abiding by the schedule that is given.
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So don’t be a helicopter parent, let your teen learn from the people that are responsible to tell them about these things. And then let your teen learn too, from any mistakes they might make. There have been mistakes. There have been times where, oh, I forgot to ask this off, but I’ve got a softball tournament or whatever that I have to be to. So what do you do when you have to be in two places at once? How do you handle that? It’s a great opportunity to talk your teens through it, but don’t try to solve it for them. They’ve got to do the communicating with all the parties. They’ve got to find the substitute to take their work shift, whatever it might be. This is on them.
0 (19m 14s):
And this could be some things to communicate about before they actually get the job. Are you ready to handle this type of thing on your own because you will be handling it on your own? You know, back to the bit about if they end up quitting a job, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s the other thing. If they end up losing a job because they’re still learning some of these lessons, and they don’t have them right yet, and there are consequences for being late so many times or what have you, and they lose a job because of that. That’s a life lesson. Now, of course, we’re going to help them in every way we can to avoid that possibility.
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But if it does happen, let’s not go off the deep end; let’s call it a life lesson. Let’s coach them through it. Let’s see if we can help them find another job. If that’s what we want to do and try again, they will learn from this and they’re not gonna become bums on the street or anything because they lost a job as a teenager. So try not to turn that into a big, hairy tension-filled experience. Try to be on their supportive side, through it all. There might be some hard things you have to tell them, but do it in a way that they know that you’re still on their side.
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It’s not the end of the world. What else did I want to say today? Oh yeah. So there’s money now coming into their little hands and how are they going to handle the money? So this is a great time to have a personal finance course as part of their high school. And I’ve got one to recommend. It’s called Personal Finance Illustrated. I will put a link in the show notes for that. Teach them how to handle their money and some people are very hands-on about that. Or as I said, you can have a course that they would go through. Seven Sisters also has one, I’ll put the link to that if you want one from a Christian perspective.
0 (21m 19s):
So here’s the thing I probably am thinking now, in hindsight, that I wish I had kind of legislated my kids on how they were going to handle their money a little bit more than I did. So, there are such things as guidelines for, okay, you’re going to save X percent. If you are a church member, you might want to have the kid tithe X percent and have just a small amount left for spending or fun money. However, whatever percentages you like, that’s not the issue. It’s let’s get in the habit of saving some money. Let’s get in the habit of giving some money or using it for the greater good and that we’re not spending everything we make.
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So I think that’s super important, and I wish now that I had done that a little bit more firmly with my kids. So something to keep in mind, they’re going to need a bank account, right? Just in the last several years now, it seems like everybody gets direct deposit. Hardly anybody actually gets a paper check anymore. And even if they’re not, even if they are getting a paper check, they’re gonna need a bank to deposit it into. So they will need a bank account. And if they are under 18, your name will have to be on that bank account with them. I found this to be super handy because I can pull up everybody’s bank accounts online because I’m on all of them.
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And it just gives me an overall picture. I’m not nosy, don’t get me wrong. I’m not in there all the time, finding out how they’re spending their money. But I do have just kind of an overall big picture about it. If they owe me money or I owe them money, it’s really easy to transfer back and forth rather than having to pay them cash. So definitely get them to the bank with you, with them so that you can open up an account for them. And then in our family, it’s once the teen has a job, then it’s their job to pay for certain things that we use to pay for such as, certain clothing, certain supplies, car insurance. If they have a car any extras that they want;
0 (23m 28s):
gas for that car or gas for our car, if they’re using our car to get to work, these are things now that the teen starts to pay for. And this is super helpful too, not gonna lie. So again, it’s kind of on the order of how are they handling their money? No, they can’t spend it all on their own toys. They have to have some for the necessities of life that especially anything that they’re using as part of the investment towards getting to work; the car, the gas, those things they have to pay for. We’re not going to foot the bill for them to get to work, just to have them keep all of their money and not help us out with that.
0 (24m 9s):
2 (24m 11s):
So those are kind of all
0 (24m 13s):
the logistics about getting the job, staying on the job, getting to the job, what to do with the money. But now let’s talk about the homeschooling aspect of this. Should we, or should we not give credit for the kids’ time on the job? And I am a firm believer that yes we should. If your kid is working any more than 10 hours a week; and my kids worked 20 to 30 hours a week, I would have been really putting a burden on them if I did not give them credit for that. Because if they’re not getting credit for the time they spend at work, then that means they have to have all of the credits that they need as bookwork academic credits.
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And that means that they’re spending not only are they spending all that time at work, but now they’re spending a whole bunch more time on schoolwork. I just didn’t think that was fair for my kids. Work is work. They’re going to work, not to have fun, but to work. So it’s taking something out of them and schoolwork is also working. And so what am I going to subject my kid to, 50, 60 hours a week of work, whether job work or schoolwork. Because I’m not willing to give them credits and it’s only going to be extracurricular. I don’t think so. I didn’t think that was fair. And you know what, both of them were accepted with no question to the colleges that they applied to.
0 (25m 45s):
And all I wrote on the transcript is work-study. And the number of credits I gave both of them, two credits for their work because again, it was 20 to 30 hours a week. I could have given them more. When we’re talking about how many hours is worth a credit, I didn’t feel comfortable giving them more than two, but I did give them two per year for their work. And I just called it work-study. I didn’t call it Intro to Customer Service. I didn’t do anything like that, cash handling? No, no, no. I just called it work-study. I gave them two credits. That was my reasoning behind that. Extracurriculars are great, but they’re not absolutely necessary.
0 (26m 29s):
None of my kids, frankly, had any extracurriculars to speak of and they all got into colleges, just fine. So a lot of people want to make a big deal about extracurriculars, but you know me, I’m the real person, the ordinary person. And for most kids, the extracurriculars are not a big, hairy deal. They’re not absolutely necessary and if you want to put your kid’s work on their transcript as credit go right ahead. Oh, and then yeah, I did give them a grade for their work credit. Some credits were not based on schoolwork. Like my daughter was a nanny for a friend of mine.
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I didn’t give her a grade for that. That was my oldest daughter. I forgot to mention that. And she made a little bit of money there, but that was just more like in an act of service. And she made a little bit of money, but not a lot. And it’s not like she was really learning a whole lot. So I didn’t, I made that a pass, fail credit for her. But my younger two who were going to an actual job, in a real public institution with an actual manager and a schedule and all of that, I did give them grades for that. And I based the grades on what the supervisor or manager had to say. So I would ask the manager, Hey, how are they doing? Or I would notice whether they were getting their raises right, or not.
0 (27m 51s):
Or if they were getting any kind of promotions, those are the types of things that can be equivalent to evaluation. And then you can give a grade for their quote-unquote work-study. And that’s what I did. So yeah, just that caveat, I mentioned it earlier, but I do want to bring it up again because it is one of those ones that I look back on and I’m like, eh, maybe didn’t handle that exactly the right way. Is that idea of, okay, now the job becomes more important than the schoolwork because a.) I like making my money mom and b.) it’s more fun than schoolwork.
0 (28m 31s):
And so they start working more and more hours and the schoolwork slides a bit. That’s something that I do just want to caution anyone against, make sure your kid can handle both. And we always told our kids that the job needs to come second, but we were actually going to say maybe a little lax about that at certain times. If we knew they had plenty of time to get the schoolwork done even if it went into the summer, then we, we did kind of let work, have a priority for a season. But, occasionally there was a time where we had to say, okay, you need to tell your manager to cut back your hours, because schoolwork is suffering too much and you need to get these grades back up.
0 (29m 15s):
You need to get yourself back to better being on schedule because you’re not going to get this done even by the end of summer if we don’t knuckle down now. So, I’m always just a real person, and this is how we did things. I’m not telling anybody else how to do things, but we didn’t do everything perfectly. But sometimes it’s just helpful to know how somebody does things and what to look out for. And sometimes it’s helpful to know how they messed up, right? So that you can either try to avoid that, or you can be like, oh, she even told me that and we still got stuck in that trap. It happens.
0 (29m 55s):
Don’t worry about it. We’re all just doing the best that we can. And we’re all just learning as we go. And that is okay. Don’t let the experts, quote-unquote, try to weigh you down with a bunch of burdensome stuff. If getting a job works for your kid, great. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. But the one thing I am going to say, definitely give them credit for it. Don’t make it be an extracurricular activity, that’s just my two cents. Alrighty, if you have any questions about anything I’ve said today, definitely leave a comment on the show notes, which you can always find by going to the website, annieandeverything.com, clicking the word podcast in the top menu.
0 (30m 40s):
And then looking for this episode, which again is episode 58. And then you can write your question in the comments and I’d be happy to answer it. Thanks so much for listening again today. In two weeks I will be talking about financial aid for college. So if you know, we’re on the topic of money, right? So come on back to hear about the different types of financial aid, personal stories about the types of aid that we got and that’s going to be a good time. So thanks again for listening. Remember it may not always be easy to homeschool high school, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. See you next time.