How I Work and Homeschool Successfully

The working homeschool parents desk.

“Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.”  – John C. Maxwell

Trying to work outside the home while homeschooling is not an easy task. I know this because I have worked part-time and full-time, in the home and outside the home since the beginning of our homeschooling lives. It would be silly for me to tell you “follow these steps and it will be easy.”  Nope, can’t do that. It won’t be easy. After all these years trying this trick and that method, I know what works and what doesn’t work and have found tools to help you be a successful working homeschool mom or dad.

Before we talk about the usual planning and scheduling let’s take a look at curriculum choices and methods of homeschooling. These are simple things you do to make working and homeschooling easier. Picking a simple curriculum and approach will help you homeschool and ease any anxiety that your not doing enough.

CURRICULUM CHOICES

Lesson planning is probably the most time consuming task. Purchasing your curriculum is a lot more fun then lesson planning. To save you time All In One Homeschool and Ambleside Online are the best choices.

Hands down the easiest, least expensive curriculum is through All In One Homeschool Everything you need is all in one place. Each daily lesson plan gives your child clear instructions on what they are to do for that lesson. You will need to print worksheets out but that’s about it.  I have friends, besides myself, that have used this with wonderful success. It’s amazing! For high school students there is  All In One High School.  It is free or you can make a donation.

 Another program is Ambleside Online. A wonderful program that is also FREE and lessons are already planned for you.  It follows a Charlotte Mason approach that means books are necessary. They have provided all the information you need to obtain the books needed for the courses.  Plus there are lesson plans and curriculum from Year 1 to Year 12.

METHODS OF HOMESCHOOLING

This will probably be the only time you see me suggest CYBER SCHOOL, available through your public school.  I mention this because it is typically just like public school except your child is at home. It is different for elementary student then for the high school student.

My friend uses this type of program and she goes over her 3rd graders work while her husband helps with any homework when he arrives home in the evening.  

The CHARLOTTE MASON approach is perfect for the harried homeschool mom. When my boys were about 7 and 8 years old we had to live in a hotel suite for about two months while we were looking for a place to live on Oahu, Hawaii. It was hard living in a hotel room a.k.a. small suite, searching for a home and still trying to educate. This method worked because we would read books from the library and went on many nature walks. All we needed was our sketch books and colored pencils.  A “living” education.

Become the  RELAXED homeschooler by  narrowing your teaching down to the three r’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.  Read Ruth Beechick’ books: The Three R’s and You Can Teach Your child Successfully  she shares just how simple it can be. This can be practiced in the case of an emergency such as a job loss (happened to us.)

In all honesty, I believe every method can be used while working. However I have found that Charlotte Mason and Relaxed homeschooling lend themselves to a naturally less structured day. At the same time you know you are making progress.

Planning and Scheduling

The planning of homeschool is the easy part. It’s the act of working out your schedule that can be daunting. That’s why I like BLOCK PLANNING with a twist.

BLOCK PLANNING and Priorities

I discovered I am terrible about giving directions but I want to talk to you about priorities and why setting your priorities will keep you together. Then watch the video on Block Planning.

PRIORITIES

  • Spiritual
  • Personal
  • Family
  • Job

My priorities are listed in the order of most important to least important. Spiritual is at the top of the list. What that means is if I am asked to go for coffee (personal) it will need to be scheduled after my time with God (spiritual). If I am going to get a haircut (personal) and my son decides he can’t walk to the gym that day (family), he will have to wait until after I get my hair done. These are examples of how I use the list of priorities. These priorities also turn into my blocks for planning with coordinating activities designated to each priority block. Take a look at how I use the Block Planing method. (You can get the complete planner by clicking on the image.)

Example of how I use Block Planning

Within these blocks you will have detailed information.

  • Home includes doing laundry, meal prep, house cleaning and any house projects.
  • Personal might include a night for a long shower or bath, haircuts-time just for you.
  • Homeschool will have lesson planning, reviewing children’s progress, activites.

Now you can set time allotments for each area.  I give myself an hour a day for Home activities. But because my schedule varies from week to week I can move around the blocks to accommodate my job and still get what I need to, done.

Give more time to areas that are a priority which can also change.  If your child gets sick than you may decide to make less time for your Home block.  

I am also specific about what my priorities are for the month, week and day. That means you need to remain flexible at all times. Move things around when you need to. I will always pick my children when they are experiencing life dramas over getting a haircut. Hahaha !

To be successful at homeschooling while working you need to take a look at your curriculum and homeschool approaches. You will prioritize your plan and skillfully schedule.

If you have to work, you have to work. After to talking with several homeschooling mom’s they rather focus solely on being a homeschool mom. If that’s what you rather do or move towards not working, here are some helpful book’s to help you reach that goal.

You may find the way that I block plan helpful while working and homeschooling. You can download the blank year at glance, month, week, and day planner by clicking here to get your Free planner.

How to Plan a New Years Eve Party for Families

 

Our plans for a New Years Eve party for our family go’s something like this: My husband and I struggle to keep our eyes open as we sit on our cozy sofa awaiting the fall of the iconic NYC Ball to slowly spiral down in Time Square. As the clock hands move near midnight and the New Year approaching our eyes snap open to the sounds of cheers and toot’s of blowing horns.  Another year has passed and our attempt to have a New Years Eve party for our small family has been less than exciting.

This year I am hoping that it might be different because my last homeschooler, the last child, is 14 years old and although he is the ultimate introvert, he is interested in having family friends over for the evening.  The need for a New Years Eve Party plan has arisen.

I am confronted with the challenge with creating a New Year’s Eve Party that is fun for teens and pleasant enough for the moms and dads. If your New Year’s Eve party is for your family than you can scale down but it is all applicable and will help you have a lot of fun. 

  1. The Family Meeting
  2. Your Budget
  3. The Guest List
  4. Your Party Theme
  5. The Arrival Time
  6. Send Invitations or Tweets?
  7. How to Decorate
  8. The Snacks and Drinks
  9. Party Games

The Family Meeting

In the beginning stages of  planning the party you are going to sit down and listen to what he, in our case, has in mind for his New Years Party.   This is where you mindfully listen without interrupting. In our case my son had no idea what he might want to do so I was able to make suggestions that he liked.  It was that easy.

The fundamentals of your party:

What is your budget?

Who are you going to invite?  Your guest list and invitations.

What will be your theme? Black and gold, Gamer Night, colorful, whatever you can imagine.

What games and activities will you have?  

When will the party start and end?

How are you going to decorate?

What will you serve for snacks and drinks?

 

The Budget

You need to decide on how much you want to spend on your New Year’s Eve party.  Knowing your budget will be the guide for everything on your list.

The Guest List

Using your budget will help you decide on how many friends to invite. The bigger the invite list the more food and paper supplies might be needed. It will also help to ensure that you don’t forget someone that you would not want to leave out.

Your Party Theme

You can go the traditional route with black and gold but why not change it up a little. For an example of a party theme I will use “Gaming into the New Year”. Using that example the balloons could be pearl red and white and when you laid the party favors on a coordinating table cloth, they would be eye catching. Use games from the year that were popular and lay the game boards down as the base for your center piece. You get the idea.

The Arrival Time

This largely depends on what type of party you and your family decided to have. Even if it is you, your spouse and your kids. A good time is 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm.

Send Invitations or Tweets

Right away I thought “phone calls” but I remembered that today we send Facebook Invites, Instagram, Twitter and the list goes on.  If there is time a nice mailed invitation makes your party special. Evite and Greenvelope are online invite options that I am familiar with.

How to Decorate

This is my favorite part of having parties.  I am going to continue to use the “Gaming into the New Year” theme as our example.

I always do what I call “a walk through” of the space to get ideas of what my guests are going to see and how much space do we need.  Let’s start with the entrance.

Think about how you can convey the theme you have decided on. You definitely want to have New Year’s “fun” look. Using party favors to decorate with is also a nice addition for the overall look.

Balloons in bunches or arches at your entrance. For our theme I see red and gold colored balloons.

Cardboard cutouts for the “Gaming into the New Year” theme I was thinking of Rich Uncle Pennybags inviting the guests in.

Lights wrapped around pillars and strung in the windows.

What will your guests see and smell when walk into your home?  The smell of cookies and peppermint? A table set for snacks and treats? Balloons floating on the ceiling?

It is important that your home is inviting and comfortable.  You can add colorful pillows. Clear flat surface space so guests can put their snacks and drinks down. You might need to move furniture around or take furniture pieces out and bring other pieces of furniture in to create the space you want.  Throw sitting pillows on the floor to make it comfortable for children to sit if they want to.

The Snacks and Drinks

Everyone’s favorite at my house. Snacks and drinks can be as simple or complicated as you choose.  From chips and salsa to hummus and vegetables whatever puts a smile on your face.


If you want to make some fun sugary treats check out The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook.  My son watches Youtube cooking shows and that’s how he found Rosanna Pansino. In her cookbook she has cleaver ideas for Italian cream Sodas, cheese cake and the simple sugar cookie.

Nerdy Nummies making The Best Gingerbread Cookies Recipe Ever!


Once you have your New Years Eve snacks and drinks displayed you want to place your food at the end of the room to create space for the families to play games and hang out.  This also directs your guest to mingle first before grabbing goodies to eat.

Party Games

These family friendly games make it easier for your friends to get to know each other. There is no need for people to try and make conversation. Just a need for laughter.

Charades This link is a charade generator and gives great ideas for your game!

Pictionary

Giants,Wizards, Elves is like Rock, Paper, Scissors but sounds like tons of laughing and fun!

Musical Chairs with a twist.

I hope this helps you in having a fun evening with enough to keep those eyes open long enough to watch watch the ball drop in Time Square. 

Tell everyone what your family does for New Years Eve in the comment section below.

 

Camping Games and Activities for Fun with Your Tweens and Teens

In the desert mountains enjoying hiking and camping

Mom, there’s nothing to do.”  

You have heard that before.  The idea of camping and the possibility of quiet family time brings back memories.

The wonderful fragrance of the spruce that adorns the roads as you arrive to the campsite.  Car doors fling open as your children jump out to survey the best place for their tent. We have overcome “boredom” you think. The back hatch of your car swings open and out comes the camping games, fishing poles, tents, campfire wood, and the other supplies for your camping activities.  Let the happy memories begin!

“Any berries you see the birds don’t eat, you had better not eat.” Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

My friend has a wonderful Summer Series where you can finish reading about the fun camping games and activities.

Mom, there's nothing to do!  Read on for camping games and activities
Read my post at True North Homeschool Academy

5 Meaningful Ways to Plan Your Spring

 

 

A meaningful spring will yield a great education Click To Tweet

Is Spring Passing You By?

You are probably engrossed on finishing your lesson plans and forgetting all that nature has to teach.  This came to mind when my youngest son and I decided to head to our local garden center on the hunt for plants.  We had a wonderful time together and he was able to find the plants he wanted.

To my surprise he said he wanted to buy succulents.  Aloe Vera to be exact.  He taught me all about the healing properties of the Aloe Vera plant and why these types of plants worked well for him.  As we walked around the tables of flowers and plants we learned what types we could use in our garden and what other things we might need for planting.

Spring Inspirations

After such a wonderful afternoon I started thinking about other things we could do things that we would enjoy enough to create a meaningful spring.  To read those fantastic ideas visit Forging Foundations where you can read my guest post along with some other wonderful spring inspirations..

“How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?” ~ Henry David Thoreau Click To Tweet

Spring time!
Bring Spring Into Your Homeschool

How Spring Saved Our Homeschool

Discover how spring can bring life into your homeschool
How Spring Saved Our Homeschool

“Watching the stars in the sky, planting little garden landscapes and hiking trails breathe more life into our homeschool. Every year spring saves our homeschool with it’s abundant opportunities waiting to be discovered. With the birds chirping and snow melting it is getting hard to keep the boys focused on indoor science experiments and endless reading about adventures on the seas.  It is time to go outdoors!”  Continue reading . . .

You may also get more reading ideas with activities in this blog post 10 Easy S.T.E.M. Activities for Your Homeschool

Spring Series

In my guest post at my friends blog, Forging Foundations, discover how the magic of stories brings these natural activities to life with the season saving spring.  You also don’t want to miss out on this years Spring Series at Forging Foundations where you  will get some great ideas and suggestions for your homeshool family.

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