I Work From Home ... and I Homeschool

BlogHer Original Post

We are going into week 2 of our homeschooling adventure. (You can read my first two posts about prepping for home schooling and our first day here and here.)

It's been QUITE the whirlwind.

There have been many pluses to teaching Christopher at home. Along with studying the actual literature, we watched The Simpsons version of The Ravenand the BBC production of Austen’s Emma AND IT TOTALLY COUNTED AS CURRICULUM. Which is more full of WIN than I can adequately express. I have loved homeschooling more than I thought I would. I love spending time with my son, even though it can be frustrating at times.

The thing I love the most is teaching him life skills.

This is HUGE in my book as far as importance. I want my kid to know about credit scores, insurance, how to check the oil on a car, change tires, how checking and savings accounts work and I am sure Jon will make sure he knows the ins and outs of a computer. My sons WILL all be proficient at cooking, baking, cleaning and caring for children before they leave my house. They may not be the best at doing it every day and staying on top of it (especially if they take after their mother) but they will KNOW HOW.

And I am learning a REALLY valuable lesson with homeschooling.

EVERYTHING IS EDUCATION. 

Everything.

Helping bathe the baby? Learning.

Grocery shopping with me? Learning.

Running after the baby so he doesn't tear all the books off the shelf at Borders while I am trying to figure out what literature to buy you for next month? Learning.

I had lots of fall fruit and vegetables stocked up, and so I decided to teach Christopher some of my favorite, easy fall recipes to make for dinner and dessert.

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We made my homemade Apple, Pear and Cranberry Crumble Pie...

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And...my roasted winter roasted vegetables...

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And...this is how my kitchen looked after we were done...

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Hey, I’m nothing if not real. (I am totally digging Butterlump’s ‘off-the-shoulder look’ for fall.)

It's just how it is.

Mess happens, you know?

(And if you want the recipes for the above morsels of goodness, you can get them here.)

I accepted my lack of housekeeping management skills long ago as a parent (though I never stop trying). The hardest thing, as I knew it would be, is juggling homeschooling and working at home.

Fortunately, I am blessed to have some flexibility with what I do, but sometimes there is NO flexibility to it. I have deadlines, obligations and things that other people count on me for and that put food on our table.

I had a huge, huge project due THE SAME DAY I STARTED HOMESCHOOLING. It was probably THE biggest project I will have at my job -- the creation of the official blog of the magazine I work for, and I am the one writing it.

I have spent COUNTLESS hours over several months thinking about, talking about, dreaming about, meeting about and preparing for the launch of this site. It has been my baby and I have overseen each step. 

To say that I was overwhelmed having two huge things merge at once would be an understatement. While the fact this is a soft launch for us helped as far as having less stress(we are not starting to feature people from the magazine until it launches in December ), I got very little sleep that weekend between putting the school room together and making sure the content was ready for the site launch. 

But barring difficulty, I thought everything would be fine.

ENTER THE DIFFICULTY.

(Seriously, it always shows up like that fungal infection that WILL NOT GO AWAY. Not that I would know that from personal fungi-ridden experience or anything, people.)*

We had some technical issues with the site, and the designers told me the launch was going to have to be pushed back a few days. I was a BIT relieved only because I would not have to do any shout outs on social media and mother hen it all day.

But it also meant worry and a LOT of email exchanges and meetings with them and a flurry of emails apprising my boss of what was going on while she was on a photo shoot for the magazine in Morocco. ALL while trying to get my 14-year-old off to public school and managing his homework and activities and teaching my 6th grader math, history, science, Latin and Greek roots, life skills, music, art, current events and shuttling to lessons and homeschool activities.

Oh, and I also have an adorable and mobile 17-month-old that tends to be into something that causes MORTAL DANGER every time I BLINK.

And then there is the housework and day-to-day things that you have to do to keep a house of 5 running.

It's amazing any of us have clean underwear this week. 

But we do.

AND...THE SITE LAUNCHED BY THE END OF THE WEEK. Which meant I didn't get beheaded by my boss from Morocco! Yay!! (Not that she really would. She is a sweetheart and a half and didn't even stress it. I like to think it is because she had supreme confidence in my abilities. :) )

Working day-to-day has been hard, but I am learning to take what is in front of me in small chunks and to be as flexible as possible. 

Our schedule is working something like this:

Mondays and Wednesdays, Christopher goes to grandma's for music lessons and school work until around 1 pm. (After Christmas he will then go to orchestra at the Charter School next door). I do what I can while taking care of Baby Butterlump during that time. Those are the days I try to schedule if I have to go to appointments, or take ME time or drive the hour to my office to meet with my boss.

Every other day of the week it is just us.

On Tuesdays we meet a group of friends at Borders and have cocoa/coffee and the mamas talk while Christopher look at books. Then we all go to the children's book section to browse, read, chase our kids and pick things to buy. I also scour for bargains to buy to continue to build our curriculum. Today I bought a book of science experiments, a FABULOUS art history book and a really intriguing book of basic word history. I really look forward to Tuesdays. It's good adult "me-ish" time that I can also work into being a plus for learning. We go home, eat lunch and start school. Tuesdays are late days, and Christopher works until he goes to scouts at 6 pm. 

We don't usually start schooling on Thursdays until about 10-10:30. The baby goes down for a (thankfully) LONG nap around that time and it is just easier to get going when he is not charming us by toddling around getting into everything. Plus, I am not the best morning person, and it takes us a bit to get going with the baby's routine meeting my fierce streak of A.M. LAZY.  Christopher goes into the school room works on math. We've just found it easier to get it out of the way first. Then he works on various things according to what he wants to do. (I do have basic weekly requirements, but I have no beef with him ordering it by what strikes his fancy and interest.)

While he is working and the baby is napping, I try to get as much work done online and around the house as possible. Like most WAHMs, you know that this can REALLY vary. When Christopher needs help, I go help. Sometimes, I have to have him work on other things if I am in the middle of something important, but I try very hard to not put him off. Jonathan was supposed to help with the math but honestly... he's not really been awesome at it thus far. But, it takes time to establish things and he has ALWAYS been a HUGE help around the house and with laundry, so I am not complaining. (Another HUGE help is that I have my niece come and clean my house twice a week. It isn't nearly as expensive as a service, and she appreciates the pocket money. I appreciate the sanity and extra time it gives me. )

If Christopher gets his weekly work done and crossed off, Fridays are "Movie and Treat Day".  Last Friday I taught him how to make Rice Krispy Treats, and then he watched a series on the Civil War. That is when we viewed The Simpson's version of The Raven, and Emma. I try to watch what I can with him, but it is a great time to catch up on what I need to and to also focus on my little baby. (That is a big struggle, but you'll have to tune in next week for more on that aspect of all of this.)

We are somehow managing to keep everything up and really enjoy it.  

I have learned that this homeschooling thing is a team effort. It means that everyone has to shift the way things get done.

I will likely never have perfection or order or balance, but I REFUSE let that destroy the fun and joy of this journey. As long as I can have that, I will TOTALLY settle for many really awesome days and a bit of sanity here and there.

*Seriously, y'all...I'm fungal-free. For reals. Pinky swear. 

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