Guest Post: Working Outside the Home, Homeschooling Mom

Perspectives from a working (part-time outside the home) homeschooling mom.

Since Liesl is still under the weather, here is a guest post from a friend (Disclaimer:  I am in no way as amazing a homeschooler as Liesl.)  I have been homeschooling my kids since they were 4 and 2, they are now 9 and 11.  I have also always worked part time outside the home and I love my profession.  I also love homeschooling my kids, and I think it is great that I can do both.  But… the dynamics might be a little different?  The key things for me for being able to juggle both are:  organization, time management, and some work that they can do without me present.

The Deadline:  On the days that I work, I know that I am on a deadline with schoolwork.  Once 2 pm hits, if it isn’t done, it’s not going to get done that day.  Well…usually. On a more typical day, I have from about 8 or 9 am to 2 pm  to get it all done, including breakfast and lunch, and on some days, doctor, dentist, or orthodontist appointments etc. where we cart our work with us where ever we go.   Now that my kids are 9 and 11, there are some days when they’ll finish some things on their own after I leave.  (This shocks both the part time nanny and their mom.)

Prep Work (or what keeps me up late most nights):  On a typical day, I need to do all my prep work the night before.   Usually I am up late when I get home from work getting ready for the next day.  I have a weekly schedule for which items are scheduled for which days.

I also have labeled drawers set up where I put their work for each subject.  I might be copying a worksheet, or creating one.  I might be setting up a project, or writing a note listing which things are assigned in a textbook.   I make notes each evening in on organizational teacher’s binder about what I plan to have them do in each subject for a given day.  It’s both a planning book and a record of progress.   But…having it done before I go to bed is essential for my sanity and for things having any chance at all of running smoothly the next day.  Also as my kids are getting older, this means that if my kids wake up early they have the option to get some of their work done before anyone else is up.  Most often they choose to read or do some of their more “fun” subjects.

Organization (or how I try to contain the chaos):  In order to keep things on track I have a white board where our subjects are listed.  As my kids finish them, they check them off.  This keeps me from losing my mind as I try to bounce back and forth between both kids and subjects, and as I try to figure out what we have left to do.  My kids also seem to like checking things off and seeing the visual list get shorter.  Some subjects we do together (i.e. science, history, art), and some they do independently (i.e. piano practice, foreign language).  Some subjects are mixed (i.e. math, spelling, writing, grammar, Latin).  Like Liesl, I have a writing center set up that gets used daily.   Some subjects take 10 minutes, and some take longer.   I try to make sure that the things they need me to help them with, are finished first.  However, on a given day they often choose which order to complete their subjects.

Independent Work (which makes me SO happy):    In general I have been, and am working toward, fostering more independence in their work.  Some days this works better than others.  And it also tends to work better for some subjects than others.  For example, foreign language:  my daughter does Rosetta Stone Spanish and my son does Pimsleur German I.  I like that they can just go do it on their own for a little bit of time every day.  Besides, I don’t speak either of these and would be of little help (I took French).  They also practice piano and sing their choir songs without me.  I just love to listen.    For some other subjects, I need a curriculum that I can modify, or weave together with another (or several others) to create what I need.   I just don’t have time to create everything from scratch.

Some things I use that help me:   To name a few (not at all comprehensive)…Meet the Masters, Meet the Great Composers,  History Odyssey, History Detectives, Cover Story, Study guides from Novel Ties, Lively Latin, Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, Engineering is Elementary, and so many more.  Also, I love days when we take field trips or a class somewhere.  And sometimes, we just plan a fun day where we don’t do any work at all.

So, in general I think my home school days probably look a lot like everyone else’s.   But, I try to make sure we are done by 2 pm.  If we are not, the work gets spilled into other days in the week, and once in a while the weekend.  On a day that I don’t work, things are much more relaxed.  Things work about the same, but there’s no deadline (yea!) and more time for projects and creativity.

Thank you to my amazing (and inspiring friend!) for writing this post! If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy some of the earlier interviews I did about a year and a half ago: 

 

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