Last Updated September 23rd, 2010

Coping with the Extra Work Homeschooling Adds On

I have to admit, these past few weeks have been just hammering me. Very challenging. It’s hard getting used to the demands of homeschooling a third grader. Especially since the K12 program is so demanding. The amount of work is pretty amazing some days.

It’s mostly good. But some days are really draining.

I have a love/hate thing for taking my daughter to Community Day classes. They’re classes she takes with a credentialed teacher with other students. Her class is a group in grades 3-5.

The break from teaching is great. I get to run errands with only my youngest along. Then I have to pick my son up from kindergarten, give the two kids a quick lunch, then pick my daughter up from her classes, and finish off her school day, as the Community Day only covers 3 subjects, and to keep up more has to be done.

That drive time really adds up fast. Messes with the daily routine pretty seriously, and so those days tend to be on the long side.

Her online teacher-led classes do much the same, but at least they only eat up an hour of the day. It’s just that it throws the routine off.

There’s some benefit to both, although it’s frustrating when they’re covering something we already did on our own. But I know my daughter isn’t always catching on to everything right away, so even if it’s review I consider it a benefit.

I’m learning a lot about my daughter’s learning style, and trying to teach her better study habits. She’s used to being able to skim through and get enough of an idea to do well in her classes. That isn’t working with this program. She’s having to make more of an effort than she’s used to.

When things are quiet, I work while she studies. When she needs something, I’m right there to help her. But things aren’t quiet too often with a toddler in the house.

The hardest part is when we have a rough day and I just feel exhausted in the evening, but still really need to get some of my work done. My productivity for my business is down, and I know it. I hope to get things into a better routine so that I’m not always struggling to find time and energy to work.

On the plus side, my daughter loves some of the advantages of homeschooling. When we remember, I turn on music for her to listen to as she studies. She loves that, and tends to be more cooperative. She also likes to stand while working at times, which never went over well at public school. The ability to fidget really is a help.

The ability to take breaks at need has been nice, although we have to be careful about how often they happen. I had to remind my daughter tonight that she can ask for a break when she thinks she needs to get outside and play for a little. Much better for her than sitting at her desk all day. She’s more focused if she can be physically active occasionally.

It will be interesting to see how she and I feel about this as the school year goes on. Homeschooling through an online public school is challenging because there are so many more rules to deal with than in traditional homeschooling, but it’s the style that appeals most to me and gets the least resistance from family members. We’ll see if I continue to enjoy it, which despite my complaints, I mostly enjoy tremendously.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated August 19th, 2010

How I’m Adding Homeschooling to My Home Business Routine

It’s about a week and a half until my daughter’s homeschool program officially starts. To be accurate, it’s an independent study course through an online public school. CAVA provides us with a teacher to contact, and classes to attend on Tuesdays so there’s some in person interaction with fellow students and the teacher.

This is going to be a huge impact on my routine. It’s going to be interesting, and that’s why I’ve started the changes now, before things get started.

My goals in changing the routine now aren’t just about me. They’re about getting my daughter into a bit of a school routine before she has to be on it. We’re doing math and a bit of writing, mostly, at this point. Next week I’ll be having her learn how to use the online programs for her homeschool so that we’ll be completely set when attendance starts to matter.

Our day starts just as though she were still attending the local public school. I have to walk my son to kindergarten anyhow, which gets all of us moving bright and early. No point to dawdling the morning away.

I give her some math problems – addition, subtraction, multiplication. Caught her early on not paying attention to the signs on the problems, but now she pays better attention and shows her work, which is really improving her accuracy. Very useful for when she’s doing regular school work.

We’re figuring out how to deal with my youngest, who loves her big sister and wants to be a distraction. My oldest is quite capable of distracting herself from her school work, and really doesn’t need help from her siblings.

I’ve warned my daughter that she owns her homeschool time. If she doesn’t work, she’ll be stuck at her desk until it’s done. I’m still reminding her some that she needs to focus when she starts goofing off, but the goal is for her to manage her time without a lot of nagging from me. I know she can do it.

Besides, often enough I’ll be involved directly enough in the process that she’d better be paying attention.

I also figure on using Sunday evenings to plan out the week ahead. That’s a tip I got from some of the moms on the K12 site, and it makes a lot of sense. Have plans so that I know what I need to be ready for the week ahead.

A big thing is being stricter with myself on the times I have available for work. They need to be more productive. I do some work by my daughter’s side when my youngest is napping, and I’m getting better about grabbing the laptop when the kids are playing together and don’t need me. Can’t sneak off to my desktop… that’s just begging for trouble. Perfect bait for a still breastfeeding toddler to come up, want to nurse, pound on the keyboard and mess with whatever she can reach on the desktop.

She does the same often enough for the laptop, but it takes only a moment to close it and protect whatever I was doing.

I don’t expect to have this all solved before we officially get started; in fact, I don’t expect to have this all solved within the first few months. But I figure I can have things in some sort of order, and work from there.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated July 22nd, 2010

Time to Think on Back to School

I’m feeling unusually organized this summer. I actually bought school supplies for my son already since kindergarten is starting in less than a month here.

It probably has to do with registering my oldest for homeschool. It got me thinking on what my son will need to go to school.

We did good. I bought his backpack and lunch bag for under $10 all together. Hopefully they’ll last more than one school year, but with kids it’s hard to tell. At least he likes them.

If selection is what you’re thinking on for your kids, this is the time to shop, before it’s all picked over. I bought my son’s stuff over at Ross, so the selection was already pretty small but they had some he liked.

I’m sure there will be a lot of back to school sales coming up, but I don’t think I could beat the price I paid by shopping already. Any my son’s happy. That’s a pretty good deal.

It still feels like the middle of summer to me, though. Hardly seems possible that school is coming up so fast.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated July 1st, 2010

Do Homeschooling and Working at Home Mix?

We’re working on a big experiment around here this summer. My oldest daughter and I are trying out a bit of homeschooling.

We started up just this week. I expect combining homeschooling and working at home to be an interesting challenge, even though I know many work at home parents do it. But it’s going to be a new part of what we do.

I’m enthusiastic about it. We plan to go through the program if we do it, as they have a California public school option that is free. It’s so far above the quality of the schools around here, and even in our old district that was much better that I don’t know if I can stand to do less for my kids.

My son’s going to kindergarten in the fall anyhow. He desperately needs time to learn to be around other kids on his own, I think. Homeschooling may be an option in a couple years for him.

Fitting in Home Business Stuff

The biggest challenge may be fitting in enough time to keep working on my home business. So far so good on that front, however. I’ve always said busy times make me work harder.

Business lessons are also a part of my intended curriculum. My daughter has long expressed interest in what I do; why not start teaching it to her?

I do some work while she works on assignments where she’s not asking me a lot of questions. It means dealing with more interruptions than I’m used to, but that’s fine.

I’m doing my best to be still better about evening work hours after the kids are in bed. Time to cut back on acceptable distractions! Except my husband. Not cutting him out.

I have no doubt that this summer’s efforts will be a challenge, but that’s a good thing. Even if we decide it doesn’t work for us, or my daughter says she really can’t stand to leave her school friends, we’ll both have learned something new about what we can do together.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated November 24th, 2009

Taking the Time for Science During the School Break

Came up with a really fun idea Saturday afternoon. We decided that since the kids are on break for Thanksgiving, we’d do one science activity a day. I suspect that some of the idea came from reading this post at The Mother’s Handbook: To Science, or Not to Science, at least subconsciously.

My kids still love science, because we’ve always kept it fun. Sometimes they come up with their own experiments; other times my husband and I help them or we pull out one of several science activity books we have around the house.

dirt and water experimentScience geeks? Us? Could it be?

Pretty much runs in the family.

Our first experiment was to get a few types of dirt from the garden, then mix them up with some water in a jar and see how it settled out. I’ve been saving spaghetti sauce jars lately because they’re such a good size for random uses.

The kids were quite impressed first by how the layers settled out, and then by how long it takes for the really fine stuff to settle. They’re still checking it each morning.

cornstarch and water experimentYesterday we went for the cornstarch and water experiment. There are plenty of great YouTube videos of this one, but my kids didn’t care because I didn’t pull up any videos until they were actually playing with the cornstarch and water suspension. About a cup of cornstarch to somewhere near a half cup of water, for those who are interested.

They had quite a bit of fun with it, and particularly enjoyed that when they spilled it was pretty easy to clean up. It becomes so firm when you do anything to it that it’s really not much of a problem.

They played with it for about a half hour. Would’ve been longer if I didn’t need them to get cleaned up for dinner.

I haven’t picked today’s project yet. My daughter has asked for something more challenging. Time to really dig into the books.

Some of the titles we use:
How to Make an Egg Swim, Grow Mold, Eat
730 Easy Science Experiments: With Everyday Materials

And if you really want to get into trouble, try They’re a science surplus store and I hardly trust myself to go there. Too dangerous to the budget. My husband only dares go there when he’s looking for fun Christmas gifts for the kids and I’m always talking him down on the list of things he wants to buy. Not easy, I want them too! And that’s not even an affiliate link. SciPlus is just that much fun.

I really love keeping science fun for my kids. Even if they don’t choose it as a career path I consider a good scientific education to be of tremendous value. Doing little projects at home and talking about some of the principles keeps them interested.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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