How DO you do it?

So its been a long time…. Am I still homeschooling and working full time? Sure am!

 We declared last year’s experiment a success so we’re at it again, this time with more confidence. Along the way I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks.  When I was looking around for advice, help, and perspective on the possibility of homeschooling while working…. well… there really wasn’t any.  My idea raised a few eyebrows and still is sometimes the cause of some awkward conversation.  We took off with it anyway, and we’ve made it work.  In reality, I don’t think we are all that different from the average family, homeschooling or regular schooling or whatever.

A typical day for us looks like this:

5:00 am my alarm goes off and I head out to exercise at Ultimate Change.
6:30 I’m on my way home to shower and dress, but first I kiss my husband goodbye since he’s leaving for work about that time.
7:30 school starts! We begin with Bible and move on to math, English, and then science or social studies.
10:00 time for me to be at work. I live exactly two minutes from work, so I can spend the time I would otherwise be driving to work actually working with he kids. After I leave, various family and friends provide supervision for the four hours we are both at work.  During this time, the kids work on reading assignments and chores.
2:30-6:00 Husband gets off work, heads over to NOCCA to pick up Mackenzie. They head home and do errands, get going on dinner. I leave work around 6 and head home.
6:30 until 9:00 Once I’m home, we have dinner, do baths, relax and get ready for the next day. We do the normal family type stuff, ride bikes around the neighborhood, visit with friends, etc.

Weekends are catch-up time.  We do a lot of our planning, playing and resting on those days.  I know that schooling my children while working is a big undertaking.  Here are two things I’ve discovered:

First Day

Mackenzie and Levi first day 11th and 6th grades

1)  I like it!  I look forward to school time with my kids.  I’m best in the morning and I feel so happy to be giving my kids the best part of me rather than my end-of-the-day leftovers.  In about the same time I used to spend on homework begging, cajoling, fussing and wondering what in the world the teacher wanted, we finish the curriculum assignments.  We laugh and have a good time.  I like learning, and I like learning with them.

2)  We don’t do MORE rushing, stressing, or fussing than I observe and hear of in families who do regular school or even homeschool with a non-working parent for that matter.  I attend exercise class early each morning with other moms who are making calls to their kids during class to see if they’re up and getting ready for school.  They leave just like me and go home to start breakfast and getting ready for school routines.  I could be spending my time making sure backpacks and lunches are packed, papers are signed, uniforms are clean, homework is done, and then shepherding my children out the door and driving for an hour to three different schools.  Instead, I pack my morning full of actually schooling them.  Either way, it’s busy.  Either way, it’s packed.  This way works for us.

Caleb First Day

Caleb’s first day of PreK-4 with his school box.

This year, we’re doing 11th grade, 6th grade and Pre-K 4, along with Mackenzie’s involvement in the culinary arts program at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.  The kids are flourishing and guess what?  So am I! We are happy. Everyone is healthy and thriving. Perfect?? No way!! But happy, absolutely.

It can be a little weird when I’m working and someone asks “Where do your kids go to school?”  “Uh… we homeschool,” I say and steel myself for the funny expression as the person tries to figure that out. I’ve found, however, that most people are kind, or uninterested at worst.  Very few actually press for details about how in the world I would try that since I work.

I return again to one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a mother.  If you can search your self and know that you are placing your child’s best interest at heart, not acting out of fear, but following your God-given mom-gut, then GO FOR IT!  Do what is right for YOU and YOUR KIDS.  Experts, statistics, and the accomplishments of other parents aren’t the ultimate guide to raising your kids.  Plus, there’s a wonderful freedom in finding the right thing for your family and getting busy doing it!  Yep, at the end of the day I’m tired, but I don’t remember a time that wasn’t true.  Now, it’s a good kind of tired knowing I invested the best of myself in what I feel is best for my family.  That’s how I do it.

Mommy's first day of school prize:  Skinny Cinny!!

Mommy’s first day of school prize: Skinny Cinny!!


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