Guest blog by Kelly Kemp.
In February, 2018, my family’s life was turned upside down by our decision to remove our son, (then aged 10) from school to educate him at home. Although it all happened very quickly it was something we’d actually been looking into for some time, as his mental well-being began to deteriorate, and it was becoming more apparent that school just didn’t suit him.
The decision was made easier by the fact that I wasn’t going out to work, having given up my career in Early Years in October 2016 to care for my daughter who is autistic. In fact, just the previous month. In January, 2018, I had started my VA business, and my client list was beginning to grow.
This did give me pause for thought; would it be possible to work on, and grow my new business as well as giving my son the attention needed to enable a proper education at home? My research into home education showed that a period of ‘deschooling’ is recommended. This can be a few weeks or months of doing very little, as far as schooling is concerned, to allow the child time to adjust to not being at school, and to find the best way to facilitate their learning.
I decided that while I was deschooling. I would see how business went and decide whether it would be a viable option to continue. What I discovered was that being a self employed VA is possibly one of the best ways a parent can home educate, but still work and contribute to the family finances.
After a few weeks we settled into a routine, where we did home ed activities in the morning, and after lunch was dedicated to client work, while my son either worked on something independently or spent time on his Xbox, watching a film, or reading. Over time, our routine has evolved, and now I tend to do most of my work in the mornings, (he’s a pre-teen – lie-ins are life!) and then we home ed in the afternoons.
It’s not always easy; as my client list has grown my workload has increased. There are more deadlines to be met and I have to spend more time working on my business. All of this can sometimes take my focus away from my son, for which I feel guilty.
However, what being a VA does give me is flexibility. If there’s a home ed trip or class to go to I can usually arrange my work to fit around it so that I can take him. Currently, I’m working on ways to scale my business in a way that will allow me to take at least one full day off each week to purely focus on my son and his education.
Starting my VA business has meant that I haven’t had to make the choice between a career or home education that so many parents are faced with when their child’s schooling is no longer working out. It has also shown my son that it is possible to create your own opportunities, and, because he sees that I work hard, hopefully, I’m setting a good example too. Who knows, maybe in a few years’ time I’ll have trained him up and he can join me in the family business?
Kelly is a creative VA supporting female coaches and business owners with design and tech tasks so that they can spend time working on their business or their self care. She lives in the West Midlands with her husband and two children and runs on tea and chocolate. Visit her website here.