Homeschooling in itself is a challenging prospect. Adding a career to that task, makes it even more challenging. By God's grace, I have been able to continue homeschooling while also helping contribute financially to my family.
I have my degree in elementary education, and have taught in several school settings from private to public to after school to homeschool. In this 2 part article, I will share some of my tips for maintaining sanity and order in the home and homeschool, while also working.
Schedule/RoutineThis one is the most challenging one for me. I am not a morning person, and I am quite convinced that I never will be. However there are some times when it's just plain appropriate to have a plan. Having a plan helps your day carry on even when you just don't feel up to it. Many days I'm simply too tired to get up and do school. But you know what? That's ok. There are many times in life when we simply MUST do things that we don't want to do. Sometimes school is one of those things. Sometimes work is one of those things. Having a routine helps those days run so much better.
Being consistent also shows my children that even though there are some things that we may not feel like doing, we still need to do them and they are good for us. We all have those days when we simply don't feel like we are capable of doing every responsibility entrusted to us, but God gives us grace to continue. He has called us to this journey, and He will help us to complete it.
In the beginning, I tried to be super scheduled. I even had a cute little colored paper all printed out and hung in the kitchen. EVERY DAY that thing stared me in the face, daring me to try and actually accomplish everything that was listed on it!
I quickly discovered that for us routines work much better. So a typical day looks like this: breakfast, start school, lunch (whenever our stomachs are grumbling), finish school, afternoon activities. It might be free time, working on projects, rest time, lessons, art class, office hours, etc.
In our house, everyone helps. It doesn't matter the age or ability, everyone helps. Mostly that means that the kids have chores and are responsible for keeping their rooms tidy.
We rotate our chores by the month. Whoever is on dish washing duty earns the privilege of sitting in the front seat of the car. It cuts down on arguments, and everyone knows what they are supposed to do and what is expected and required of them. It's refreshing to switch chores each month. A month also allows the child to really practice their chore and get really good at doing it.
We don't pay our kids to do their daily chores, but we do pay them for extra chores. Sometimes I will list the extra chores that need to be done and assign a dollar amount to them. When the task is completed, the child is paid. This is pretty good motivation and allows each child a choice of which chore they want to do and whether or not they want to earn some money.
Because everyone helps, I am free to focus on my work and other big tasks that need to be done.
Be FlexibleAs with all plans, there are always some hiccups. Someone will be sick. A family member will need help. Doctor's appointments. Dentist appointments. Toothache. Deadlines for work. A new baby. You get the picture. Interruptions are plentiful.
I have realized that I need to stay flexible. If I'm not flexible and willing to adjust my plans for the day, I will end up frustrated. The kids will end up grumpy. NOTHING will be accomplished.
In the long run, it's better to go ahead and live life. Believe it or not, your kids are learning something, even on the tough days. They are learning life skills and how to cope with sickness or stress. They are learning how to minister to others and be a blessing to someone who is hurting. These are skills that can't be learned in a text book.
On these days, we just try to accomplish as much school as possible. Sometimes that means no actual book work is done. Other days we manage to finish math AND literature. Still there are days that we can only seem to finish 1 page in a history reader. It can be frustrating and feel like you aren't making any progress, but I have learned to look at the big picture.
My children are making progress, and that's encouraging. If I look at where they were at the beginning of the year and compare that to where they are now, they have definitely grown and learned.
Continue reading part 2 of this 2 part article.
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