Making Yourself a Priority

image

Following a 70 hour work week, when I was scheduled for only 20, and still keeping up with my homeschool mom duties, I knew something had to give.  I do not do enough for myself and I feel that now is the time.

The first thing I did, after thorough research of course, was order Shakeology.  I have wanted to for awhile but didn’t want to spend the money.  I couldn’t use that as an excuse after all of the overtime I had just put in.  It is fantastic and delicious.  In less than two weeks, I feel my skin is softer and my insides are singing.

The next thing I did was put on my sneakers.  I was already signed up for a 5k and was hugely ill prepared. I walked 4.25 miles every other day for two weeks until 5k day on May 17, 2014. I was getting stronger and faster at walking every day. The first week of walks had me grumbling to myself, “I hate walking.”  The second week of walks had me thinking, “oh, I feel stronger.”  The day after what was supposed to be the 5k, turns out someone miscalculated and it was a 5-miler, I got back out to my 4.25 route and jogged some of it.  It has been 6 years since I last tried jogging and back then I mostly erupted in giggles.

It is not easy at all, but I feel so great after I finish. I upgraded to some nike lunarglides in hot pink, invested in some calf compression socks, moisture wicking exercise pants, and FEETures socks.  I bought them in super fun colors:  sherbet, fuchsia, and aqua. I needed to upgrade from my sad black and gray.

Although we did the charity 5k in May as a family, my son left us in the dust. We are signed up for the Color Run on his birthday in October and I hope to keep up then.  In the meantime, I will be preparing for the ROC Race in August.  It appears to be a cleaner, safer version to the game show Wipe Out and looks like tons of fun!

While we are all very busy being parents, homeschooling, working and whatnot, make sure you take time to learn what you love to do for yourself.

image

 

 

Melissa ReadMelissa is in her first year of homeschooling her teenaged son, while working part-time.  She enjoys the simple life, but her husband is a super techie.  It’s an interesting balance as Melissa strives to learn more homesteading skills, while her husband is playing the latest Xbox game.  Find Melissa’s Facebook page:  Minor in Homeschool.

The Ultimate Library for a Homeschooling Mom!

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!

By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and it’s better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.  (this post contains affiliate links)

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price. 

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

 

I’m confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere — and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I’m excited to say it’s now available!

I believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it’s gone!

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle here.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

Get ALL of these eBooks for 1 LOW Price! One Week Only!

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? ($698 value!)

Homemaking

Food

Motherhood

Marriage

Faith

Faith {For Kids}

Financial Stewardship

Health & Wellness

Holidays & Special Events

Homeschooling

Pregnancy & Babies

Self-Care

Working from Home & Blogging

What are the Ultimate Homemaking Bonus Offers? ($200+ value)

bonus-images

In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it’s ever had. These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!

  1. DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  2. HopeInk—$15 HopeInk store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order. ($39.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  3. Redeeming Beauty Mineral Makeup—3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty. ($16.47 Value. Standard shipping applies – only ships to US and Canada.)
  4. Marie-Madeline Studio—A $15 store credit for anything in Marie-Madeline Studio’s online store. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies.)
  5. Once a Month Meals—A FREE One Month Pro Membership from Once a Month Meals. ($16.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  6. DizolveFREE 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for you PLUS a Free 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for food banks. ($25.98 value. Standard shipping [$3] applies. Only ships in the US.)
  7. TrilLight Health—Get a FREE 2 oz. bottle of a liquid health formula OR $15 store credit from Trilight Health. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  8. ListPlanIt—Free 3-month membership OR 3 free ePlanners from ListPlanIt. ($15.00 value. No shipping required.)
  9. Bulk Herb Store—Instant download of the instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 2 for FREE from Bulk Herb Store. (up to a $15.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  10. Fit2B™ Studio—FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at Fit2B™ Studio. (up to a $20.00 Value. No shipping required.)

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print[ about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Saving Money Homeschooling

This post contains affiliate links…that’s part of how we afford to homeschool!

 

Saving Money Homeschooling

 

I have a spinal cord injury and receive SSDI. In case you’re wondering, even counting  what Social Security pays my kids, this amounts to less than 40 percent of what I earned when I worked. My injury is a blessing because it allows us to homeschool, but it is not a financial blessing! Saving money homeschooling is critical if we are going to succeed.

My husband works full time, and adds as much overtime as possible, but altogether we earn just enough to live comfortably…until you consider homeschooling and two kids with orthodontia.

There’s not too much I can do about the orthodontia, other than an FSA and payment plan, but the homeschooling expenses I can work with. In fact, a significant portion of my time is spent finding the least expensive ways to provide my children the education they need. Here are some ways I find to save money on homeschooling:

  1. Free educational adventures. We live in a very rural area, so visits to farms are educational outings that cost little to nothing but provide entertainment and learning. My in laws own two horses, and both of my kids ride with them. My grandmother in law teaches oil painting and has taught the children how to paint. My husband’s uncle lives on a lake and teaches my kids to fish, gut, and process their catches.  Any one you know has something they can teach your kids, and most people will do it for free because it is fun. You also have skills you can teach your children. For instance, I’m a blogger…I teach them to write. My husband teaches them basic home maintenance and “shop class”.
  2. Shop around for materials. I do not purchase “boxed curriculum” for several reasons, not the least of which being the cost. (The second reason being it is unusual for a child to be on the same “level” in every subject.) Once I have determined what level my child is in a subject (using free placement tests that most curriculum providers have on their websites) and what materials I want to use, I compare prices on Currclick.com Amazon.com, Half.com, Abebooks.com, and Ebay. It is rare that I do not find the curriculum I want on at least one of these sources, and usually quite a bit cheaper than purchasing from the manufacturer.
  3. Watching for sales. Just yesterday, I received an email from one of my favorite lapbook creators offering all of their materials for only $.10! I bought what I can use right now, but also what I know I will need in the future. I have five more years of homeschooling with my son and seven with my daughter. There is plenty I will still need to teach them, and I buy what I will need when it is at a good price. (Planning ahead is key for using this method of buying materials. I use The Well Planned Day system from HEDUA.com so I can quickly see what I will be teaching next year or in two years, so I don’t miss a good sale and so I don’t buy materials we don’t end up using.)
  4. I watch for freebies. Many curriculum providers have freebies. Sometimes these are only partial curricula, but with supplemental materials these can be thorough. On Currclick.com, one of my favorite resources, there are pages and pages of freebies. You can sign up to receive newsletters from your favorite curriculum providers to give you a heads up when they are offering sales. I share sales and discounts on my blog (simplyhomeschoolliving.net) and on my facebook page (facebook.com/simplyhsliving). Most homeschool bloggers do the same.
  5. Sell your used curricula. If you’re like most homeschoolers I know, you have shelves or boxes (or both) of curricula your kids are done with. That’s money. You can sell used materials (not just books, but manipulatives, movies, DVDs, and CDs) on Amazon.com (they also take trade ins), Half.com, eBay, Abebooks.com, and Craigslist. Your local homeschool community may also have a curricula trade or sale board (mine just set one up on Facebook, and we also have a trade during the end of year co-op Knowledge Fair).
  6. Sell your time or skills. Everyone is good at something. I write, so I have a homeschool blog where I have affiliate links. Those links bring the reader to companies I like. When the reader buys something from that company, I get a tiny portion of the sale. It doesn’t add up to much, but every little bit helps. I also do nail art. Friends “hire” me for birthday parties or before big events to do their nails. Again, it is not a lot of money, but it is a little, and it is also fun. If you sew, knit, crochet, make jewelry, or do any kind of craft, you can set up a store on StoreEnvy or Etsy or Ebay and supplement your income that way. Some homeschooling families start businesses where each member of the family works, such as Great Products (they have the BEST homeschool tee shirts and toys ever!)
  7. Make what you need, or find it free. The internet abounds with free resources for homeschoolers. EasyPeasy All in One Homeschool provides an entire homeschool education for free. You can find word search or crossword generators, coloring pages to print, and literature reviews everywhere. An entire math education from addition to theoretical physics can be found on Khan Academy. A course in American Literature doesn’t need to come from a set textbook…just go to the library and check out the classics! After your child has read it, have him or her write a book report, put on a play, make a video, or just tell you about it.  Foreign language can be learned with free online resources like DuoLingo.com.
  8. Use your library and museums. Our library has resources for schools including huge Rubbermades full of materials on different topics (such as weather or “life in a log”). They also have free or cheap activities for all ages. We have several museums in the area that all offer educational activities, from the art museum that has free Drop In Wednesdays (each week focuses on a different work in the library and then the kids try to recreate the style) to the World Children’s Museum that offers activities based on different world cultures (right now is Chinese New Year).
  9. Find a co-op. Large, organized co-ops aren’t cheap…for this last year, we paid over $200 altogether for the children’s courses, not counting the cost of texts. However, it is much less expensive than my teaching those courses myself! I don’t have the materials or skill to teach anatomy, music, Crime Scene Investigation, etc… You have to balance how much it would cost you to buy everything you’d need to teach a course verses how much it costs to do it at co-op. And please factor in your desire (or lack thereof) to teach the course in question. I mean…I am not teaching blood splatters. Period. If there isn’t an organized co-op in your area or they don’t offer what you need, consider coordinating with some other families to exchange skills. I’m particularly good at math, so next year at co-op I am teaching Business Math. Another mother is the music ministry coordinator at her church, so she teaches music. I would be willing to guess that, within your group of friends, you will find a wide variety of skills and abilities.
  10. Just say no. If a course or subject is not necessary for your child to learn, and it is too expensive or difficult for you to manage for them, just say no. Many, many families stretch their wallets to the breaking point to fulfill every interest of their children. This is especially true with “extracurriculars” (which aren’t really so for homeschoolers, but I hope you get what I mean!) You just can’t do everything, and your child’s education will not suffer if they don’t study pottery, Ancient Roman architecture, or four different foreign languages. Or, find another way to do it – have them do an independent study instead of taking a course, or for older kids, have them earn the money for the lessons they want.

Homeschooling is not easy and it is not cheap. It is a lifestyle and more than a full time…but one you have to pay to do! Just like in every other area of life, however, there are ways to save money while still achieving a high quality result.

Kathy LaPan is a homeschooling mom of two in Northern NY. She has an MBA in finance and teaches through SchoolHouseTeachers.com. Check out her blog at Simply Homeschool Living.

Teen Writing Course Giveaway ++ Freebies/Giveways Link Party

 (This post contains affiliate links) Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 6

Welcome to Week 6 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far!

Last week’s winner of the Allon Book & Parent’s guide is:

Judith M.  (juditht***@*****.com).  Congratulations!  I will be in touch shortly. If you’re new here:  We are hosting one giveaway each Monday that is put together especially for homeschooling families!   We’ll have pampering items, curriculum, e-books, print books and more!  After the giveaway, we’re  featuring a spot where other bloggers can share a link to their own giveaways that they’re hosting on their own blogs.  It’ll be fun!  It’s a great place to come where you can enter several giveaways for homeschoolers AND get some freebies for homeschoolers all at once.  Plus, it’s an easy way to get to know some new products and try them out for yourself.

This Week’s Giveaway is Hosted by Fortuigence

Fortuigence_essayrockstar_logo If you or a family you know is homeschooling a teenager, they NEED this program!  It is an online Expository Essay Writing Course.  My 16 year old son has taken the course and we’ve been really impressed with how his writing skills have improved.  Yes, I’m a blogger.  No, I’m not an expert in writing.   Blogging is pretty much written in conversational style, so I’m not always worried about the intricate details.  🙂  I was absolutely thrilled to have Lily, the writing teacher behind the scenes of Fortuigence, take on the grading and instructing of my son’s writing.   It alleviated some of the stress of teaching an older child in our home!  Here’s a quote sharing a little more about this course from the Fortuigence website:

The Expository Essay  When your child takes this short course with us, they’re going to learn to write an expository essay. This type of essay is important because it’s the most common type of essay your kids will ever write and one they’ll be asked to do frequently in high school, college, and in the workplace! The purpose of an expository essay is to explain or inform your audience objectively about a specific subject. In this short course your kids will be taught several approaches on how to give clear and thorough written explanations about their topic of choice. For example, they could explain a step by step process, give a general overview, classify their topic into several types, or compare and contrast different aspects of their topic. They can choose whichever approach they like. Last but not least, your kids are going to be trained in a 5-step writing process that they can apply to any type of writing project they face in the future. This short course is one of four writing units in our semester long Essay Rock Star writing program and takes about four weeks to complete. But here you and your kids have the opportunity to sample our online classroom and teaching approach without having to make a big financial commitment from the start.

From a review that I did for Essay Rockstar on my other site, Sidetracked Sarah, you can see just how much we love this program:

“By using the Essay Rock Star writing course, my son was able to dramatically improve his writing skills. He was not at all confident at the beginning of the course, asking me lots of questions as we went along. But, as time went on, he rarely asked me anything. I’d have to ask him or log into the platform to see if he had completed his assignments. The longer he was in the program, I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing results that I was finding! Each communication that Lily (a.k.a Mrs. I.) sent to my son was always so very encouraging. She never made him feel dumb, but always helped him to build his confidence in writing with her encouraging words of instruction. She has a gift for teaching children! Each time she communicated with my son, she would give useful tips to help him improve his essay, if needed. It was always just enough information to guide him in the needed direction, so that he could complete the assignment as instructed. My son went from hesitant writer to confident writer in two essay assignments. To say that makes me very happy is an understatement!”   Read more

If you’d like more information about Essay Rock Star, be sure to check out their site by clicking on the picture below.  There you will learn how the course works, screen shots of actual communication between the teacher and student, You Tube videos and more! Essay Rockstar - Expository Essay Writing Course Giveaway!

Are You Interested in a FREEBIE, just for Parents?!

free writing course If you are interested in learning more about teaching writing, be sure to sign up for Fortuigence’s free course for parents called  “Top Teach: 7 Steps to Gain the Confidence, the Know How and an Easy to Follow Framework to Ensure Your Child Learns to Write Well at Home“.  

Giveaway Time!

Homeschoolers:  Enter to Win This Essay Writing Course! If you’d like to have the chance to win the Fortuigence Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course, enter into the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Other Giveaways & Freebies:

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)

Homeschooling, Working…and Priorities

Priorities

One thing I have noticed over the years of being a homeschooling, part-time working mom is that there is only so much time in a day!  When your time is pressed to the max, you HAVE to make decisions about your priorities…and those will look different for each individual family. (AND THAT IS OKAY!)

For me, it means that I have to make changes to our eating / meals. Over the last several years, I have started learning more and more about healthy eating and ways of better preparing our food so that it is better for our overall health. HOWEVER I have to keep in mind that when I am working, work HAS to be a priority. (Because there are only so many hours in a day and only so much energy for a day.) Therefore, if we need to eat (which we obviously do) then there will be times that I cannot prepare our food as I may wish to do.

For instance, a few months back we had a situation happen where my husband made a mistake on our bills (which is HIGHLY unusual for this “numbers guy”).  From that, I went to working thirty hours a week outside of the home.  One thing I realized very quickly was that I was not going to be able to “cook from scratch”, homeschool and work 30 hours a week (along with everything else life requires). So, what was the first thing to go? Food that required a lot of time to prepare. Did I feel bad? Yes, actually, I did. HOWEVER, I reminded myself that it wasn’t the end of the world and that we were doing what we needed to do at that time. And that OTHER PRIORITIES were more important.

FamilyEating

Not only did my focus change with regards to food, but also with where I spent my time while I was home. During that time, I pretty much quit all blogging. When it came right down to it, blogging was simply “something fun I like to do” and definitely not something that provided any kind of benefit for my family. I LOVE to blog, don’t get me wrong, but during this time it was more important to me for me to hang with my family instead of in front of a computer screen.

Remember ~ and have peace about ~ whatever priorities you pray about and God has guided you toward. Every family is different. Do not judge yourself against others! We have to remember that we truly only see a VERY SMALL amount of the REAL part of other families. Ours isn’t the only one that may be “a mess” or “trying to hold it together” – we all have our struggles. And that is okay!

So, what is my overall point? My point is this: when squeeze comes to squish, you do what you HAVE to do. Don’t spend your time feeling guilty about this or that (as that is the devil!) just do the best you can do with what you’ve got. And remember…this too shall pass AND most importantly, that the Lord is there with you and will help you and your family get through these times. It is amazing how family can really pull together when they have to!

Working & Homeschooling

Juggling Mom

Juggling Mom

 

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as it has been a continuous struggle for me, my husband and my family. It is hard to do things that are against what you believe the Lord would have for your family – however – the Scriptures DO say it is okay for women to work (Proverbs 31), just that the husband should be the main provider while the wife is the main one at home raising the children. I know it is not a struggle that just my family has, as it is something I see asked A LOT on different homeschool forums.

Can one successfully homeschool while working?

It is a normal concern to wonder if one can do both as both take a lot of time and energy, however, there are a surprising number of homeschooling moms who are also working. The majority that I know work part-time and many of them from home. Shockingly, there are even those who work FULL-TIME and homeschool.  Now, that I am intrigued about! So, the answer is “YES! but…”

This day and age it is extremely difficult to live on just one income, even if you don’t have a lot of debt. Because each family and each home are so different, it is difficult to give specific help to those who may be facing this situation, but it is possible to encourage you that not only is it possible, but it is possible to THRIVE while doing it!  Personally, I have had to work part-time since I quit my full-time job and we started homeschooling five years ago. Keep in mind that many different factors will make this easier or more difficult.

  • Having a husband who is supportive and helpful will be a HUGE factor as to how it goes.
  • The number of hours you work will affect how it works.
  • The time of day can be a factor as well. [As a side note, I have known homeschool moms who didn’t NEED to work but simply WANTED to work. I would *SERIOUSLY CAUTION* you to reconsider, if this is you. Although it is possible and many do it, it definitely has an affect on the family. It takes a lot of freedom of time as well as causing additional stress on ALL family members.]

I have worked from home; worked inside and outside the home at the same time; and just worked outside the home. In the beginning it was fairly easy for me to work from home, but as our youngest got older (and louder LOL) working from home became more difficult. I then went to inside and outside the home, followed by just outside the home. We have been working toward me being able to stay home and not work at all since the beginning, but that is not a reality yet.

Both working inside the home and outside the home have their pros and cons.

  • Working inside the home means you will not need to purchase new clothes to wear – you can work in your pjs if you want! (Well, unless you Skype, then you will want to at least change your shirt. *grin*)
  • Most often you can pick your own hours that you work. Things that often don’t go with working from home are noise (young children and pets) which are the two reasons I finally went to working outside the home. One thing I have been completely impressed with is the talent of MANY homeschool moms! I know those who decorate cakes (beautifully!), make homeschool curriculum (that sells!), publish books (that sell!), quilt, sew, bake and MANY other things.  There is SO MUCH talent in the homeschool community!
  • Working outside the home provides the quiet necessary to run a business as well as it can give you some “adult conversation” time. *grin*
  • Depending on the job, it may also provide some form of benefits (insurance, vacation, etc. – which none of mine ever have but there may be some that do).

One question I hear a lot is “How do you get it all done?”

Simply put – YOU DON’T. *grin* It’s pretty much like “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”. It is possible you will need to make changes to the way your family works. For instance, eating. I know many homeschool families like to eat as homemade as possible. This may not be something you will be able to continue as it is much more time consuming than not. However, if it is something of EXTREME importance to your family, IT CAN BE DONE but something else will not get done unless you have help from someone (husband / kids).

So, can working and homeschooling be done? ABSOLUTELY! Can you homeschool, work AND do everything else? NO! If you do end up working, I pray your husband will be a blessing to you and your family and help you with the house, the cooking and with the kids (even homeschooling!).

I pray this has been an encouragement to those who are currently working and homeschooling as well as those who may be facing doing both. I want to encourage you that YOU CAN DO BOTH! as long as you realize your time will be split and your need to accomplish more in a smaller amount of time. You will need to NOT expect perfection from yourself (or your family). And accept that some things you may want to do will have to wait.

 

Dawn WintersDawn is a woman of God who is married to the love of her life. She works part-time, homeschools their two boys (since 2008) and loves animals. She enjoys learning what the Lord will provide for each day. You can find her over at Guiding Light Homeschool.

Homeschooling on Rice and Beans

homeschooling on rice and beans

Homeschooling is hard enough without factoring in any money issues. My husband and I have never been well off, and we have chosen to live as a one income family so that I can homeschool our children. That would be hard enough, but then my husband started his own business when my oldest was three, just as we were getting into our homeschool journey with some preschool work.

Of course, preschool and kindergarten are pretty easy and pretty inexpensive. Our low, self-employed income had little impact on our homeschooling for the first few years.

I remember when our oldest hit first grade, and we had a few things we wanted to spend some money on that first year. It wasn’t a lot, but when you have no money, anything is a lot. I remember pulling out the piccolo that I had received as a birthday present in high school one year, when I thought that I would pursue a degree in music. I remember holding it and thinking that I hadn’t, and wouldn’t likely, ever use it again, since I never followed through on the music degree.

So, I listed it on eBay.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sell something every single time I needed school books. But I also knew that in that moment, for that year, it was what we needed to do. I knew God could bless it. And He did! I remember the excitement and joy when I found a double set of Math U See manipulatives being listed by a lady for “a friend who just wanted to sell them to a mom in need” for only $20. That was only one of the ways that God blessed and stretched the little bit of money we had from selling the piccolo that year!

Every year since then, the way that God has stretched our money and provided for our homeschool needs has been different. Sometimes friends have given us things, sometimes we have found things at used curriculum sales. Along the way, our family has grown, our needs have increased, and God has provided. Not a single year has been the same, God continues to “show off.” But every year has been the same in that we had what we really needed.

At the hardest point in our self-employment journey, financially speaking, I often went to the grocery store with only twenty dollars in my pocket. I stretched that twenty dollars as far as I could to get food for as many days as I could, hoping that in a few days I would be able to come back with another twenty dollars. We eked by for weeks, months, on the smallest of budgets and lots of rice and beans. School-wise, we were on a “rice and beans” budget as well. God would provide, and we would have “enough,”– curriculum and supplies might be the bare minimum, but we had enough.

One might wonder why I didn’t go back to work, or why my husband didn’t take a second job, or why he didn’t give up on self employment? You wouldn’t be the first to ask. Though that’s another story, the short answer is that we were right where God wanted us. He was teaching us a lot through those hard times.

One thing we learned was that God always provides for His children. He doesn’t always provide the way we expect, it may not even be the same way twice, but He will provide. Now that we have been through that, and for now while finances are not quite so tight, we have learned to trust God more than we ever did before, and to continue to look to HIM to provide, rather than any money source.

I never doubted that God would take care of us. I know that God is faithful. And He is. Whatever drought you might be going through, financial or otherwise, hold on sweet Momma! It might be ‘rice and beans’ for a time, but God does provide.

Image Background Source: Rice by Petr Kratochvil

 

Amber OliverAmber teaches her three children from the heart of Texas, while God teaches her heart through the journey of homeschooling. Seeking purpose in the mundane, Amber hopes to encourage other mothers as she shares what God puts on her heart. Find her on her blog, Classic Housewife, Facebook, and Google+.

Homeschooling When a Parent Lives With You

Homeschooling When a Parent Lives WIth You

 

Three years ago (March 2010) my mom came to live with my family of 6 due to a recent diagnosis of dementia. It was very difficult to bring her in, especially when we were living in a 3 bedroom, 1600 square foot home. I was in the middle of homeschooling my three boys, which at the time were 14, 12, and 9 years old.

This wasn’t the first time that my mom had come to live with us. But, this time was a permanent move, since her health had deteriorated to the point where she needed assistance. Within a few months we were scrambling to find a bigger house to move to, so that we could feel less pressured with everyone in the same room all the time! It was quite challenging to homeschool and have an elderly mom sitting and commenting at us 20 feet away all day!

2010 was a difficult year for us. We filed bankruptcy due to my husband’s job loss (and no hope of finding a new job during the recession in 2009). We had to take my mom into our home so we could be caregivers. We were trying to move so we could short-sell our home of 11 years (which ended up in foreclosure). We were living by pure faith as my husband was trying to work from home as a freelance web designer. We were homeschooling the three boys while I was going to college online as a half-time student. Later that year we also took care of my husband’s father, who was diagnosed with stage 2 (almost stage 3) breast cancer. He spent two months with us after recovery from a partial mastectomy. Yes, men can get breast cancer, even at 78 years of age!

It is definitely not an easy road when someone has to walk a path that is unknown by most people. Most of our friends have said at one time or another, “Why don’t you put your kids into school so you can get a break?” Or, “Why don’t you just put your mom into a nursing home?” They don’t understand that we have thought through all of these options, but our family works best when we are all together under one roof.

Fast forward to the present time, and we still have my mom living with us. Her dementia has progressed only slightly since it is not Alzheimers. Yes, we have had to move twice since we left our sweet home. My husband found a full-time job this past February, and for the first time in our marriage we are finally getting caught up with our finances. Still, all the days seem to blend together as we continue to do life together. It is hard to get through some days because we do not get any reprieve from the care-giving. But, the one lesson I have learned through all of this is that God has ordained it from the beginning, and He knows what is best for us. When the time comes for us to stop homeschooling, or to put my mom into an assisted living facility, we will know for sure because we will have full confirmation from God.

Until then, we remain faithful and loyal to each other. We are showing our children to think about others (and not just about self); we are praying with our children that God will continue to bless us as we reach out to our friends; we are hoping that God will use our story to encourage others to stick with Him during the hard time. Both easy and difficult times are temporary; the only constant thing is God’s presence and provision.

 

Jeanne CerroneJeanne Cerrone is a homeschooling advocate and mother to four children (three teenage boys and one girl). She has been married to her sweet husband, Robert, for 17 years, and she currently lives on a 1-acre homestead in Peoria, AZ. Her passion includes teaching, reading, sewing, exercise, and nutrition. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Northern Arizona University. You can follow more of her story at http://millenialhomemaker.wordpress.com.

Juggling Homeschool and Working Full Time

As a busy, homeschooling mom who works full-time, I often get asked how I manage to homeschool while holding down a full time job. I am honored to be able to share a bit of my homeschooling adventures with you today.

I never thought about homeschooling.

I have worked full time since before my husband and I married nearly 25 years ago. Although we always thought I would stay home one day to raise our children, I never felt qualified to teach at home. God has a funny way of changing our hearts and minds.

Fast forward 20 years.

My husband lost his job in the construction field nearly three years ago. It has been a very rough road. We had to sell our home to avoid foreclosure, and our finances are still very strained. At the same time, our oldest son was struggling in public high school. I desperately wanted to put him in a private school, or a smaller charter school where he could be given more assistance, but we did not have the finances.  A good friend of mine who is a homeschooler felt led to take my son under her wing and tutor him. Together, we taught him through his last two years. He graduated last October, just a few months behind his class, with a B average.

The entire time I was working with my son to get him through high school, God was working on my heart and putting in me a deep desire to homeschool our youngest two children (almost 10 and 13). But with an unemployed husband and an uncertain financial future, I could not quit my job. Besides, I love working at my church, supporting our pastor and our church community. God would not relent, and continued to give me a deep burden and desire to educate my children at home.

Saying “yes” to the unknown.

After much prayer, and some arguing with God, I removed my daughter from public school last year and took on the challenge of homeschooling a 7th grader. I did not know what I was walking into, but I knew that God would be with me. It hasn’t been easy. Thirteen is a hard age to begin homeschooling and it has not come without tears on both sides. But, I can finally see the light peaking through and we are looking forward to continuing our journey next year. My son, who will be in the 5th grade next year, will complete his elementary education in public school, and then I will homeschool him beginning in 7th grade.

So, how do I do it?

Flexibility is Key. Given my employment and other ministry involvements, our schooling situation can change at any moment. Flexibility has been huge for us, and I do not hold to a rigorous schedule. Some days we don’t get much done at all. Sometimes we catch up on the weekends. I have learned to focus on what is most important and let the rest go. This year we focused on Math, History and Science, with a little bit of vocabulary.

Here is a little glimpse of our week:

Mondays. This is my only day off, so we school from about 11:00AM until we are done. Yes, I allow my daughter to sleep in. She is up early the remainder of the week. And besides, I like my quiet time in the morning. Sometimes we take a break in the afternoon to watch a movie together, or grab a coffee or hot chocolate. Sometimes we toss the books out the window (not literally) and opt for a nature lesson outside. My eyes have been opened to the truth that every moment can be a teaching and learning opportunity.

Tuesdays & Fridays. My daughter goes to my sisters and works on her studies there in the mornings. Any work that is not complete is finished in the evenings.

Wednesdays & Thursdays. My daughter goes to my sisters, but has the days free. We school at night on these days, between 7-10PM. It hasn’t always been perfect, but over the last few months, I’ve gotten better at juggling dinner, laundry, cleaning and schooling.

Resources.

Money is very tight, and I don’t have a lot to put into curriculum. We borrowed, bought used on eBay and were offered some for free in exchange for blog reviews. I call my style “hodge podge” and “whatever works to get the job done.”

Final thoughts.

Sometimes I worry that my daughter isn’t learning anything. But I can tell from quiz scores (most of which have been verbal at this point) that she is learning, and that I am being successful in this crazy journey that I’ve said yes to. Do I believe I could have worked full time and schooled in the younger years? I doubt it. The fact is that since my daughter is at an independent age, she pretty much schools herself. I feel as if I am more of a facilitator than a teacher on most days. Nonetheless, her education is now my responsibility and I take it very seriously.

It is freeing to know that homeschooling doesn’t have to look the same for every parent. If you have a desire to school your children, but work full time, it is doable. I’m doing it! The main thing is that you find what works for you and your child. With a lot of time and effort, and LOTS of prayer, you can be a successful homeschooler! I would love to answer any question you may have. I have also written a few posts about homeschooling on my blog. Just do a search.

Barbie is mom of four beautiful children, ages 22, 19, 12 and 9. She works full-time supporting her pastor and church community, and recently began homeschooling. She has a passion to help women walk in their identity and purpose. She loves coffee, chocolate, painting and spending time with her family. Barbie blogs at My Freshly Brewed Life, where she shares honestly about her life and her faith, and is the Managing Editor of 5 Minutes for Faith, a site dedicated to ministering to the heart of women.

Beginning Homeschooling with Little Money or Support

Hi.  My name is Amanda and I would like to share my homeschool story with you. It is just beginning, as my oldest is turning four this year.  It’s been interesting so far.

CJ - Beginning Homeschooling

My Family Disowned Me

To start, my family disowned me when they found out I was pregnant with CJ, mostly because my now husband was the father. From the very start of my life as a parent I have had little to no support. Thank God my mother-in-law took up the slack and gave me the support I needed through those first nine months. She even organized a baby shower for me and got my mother and sister to show which meant the world to me. She is one of my main role models of mother hood.

We Lived in a Hotel Room

Shortly after the birth of CJ, my husband and I needed to move for work. At this time, things are better with my mother and I choose to move her way with CJ first to find work, while my husband finished school. During this time, my mother found another man and left me and my son at her now ex boyfriends house with no money, car or option. My husband had to drop out of college to move up to where we were early and get us out. For two weeks, we lived in a hotel room with a one year old while I worked 14 hour shifts at a veterinary clinic to save for a deposit on a house. I’m not complaining, God blessed us with that job at just the right time, and the hotel cut us a break by charging us for 1 person instead of 3.

We Became Active in Church

We did find housing we could afford, and had started attending a church that stretched its finances to turn on our utilities. What we later found out was our house was located in the biggest known drug neighbor hood in Texas. God blessed us again by having our beloved dog, Daisy Grace, walk into our house. Because of her, three robbers never made it to our door, and probably countless others. It was during this time, that God put it my heart that I needed to homeschool my children. When I first brought it up to my husband, he asked me the usual questions of how we were going to afford this, continuing life on one income. I showed him the information that i had gathered about the benefits of home education, but what sold him was how much we had already saved with him staying home while i worked. It was amazing to him how much we would be spending if we had a second car, insurance and gas for a second car, day care, etc. in order for us to be a two income family again. No matter how we looked at it, we would always be a one income family from then on out.

This was also part of our big push to be more self sufficient. Saving as much money as possible to move to a better neighbor hood was priority number one. Tragically, our move came about because my step mother died and my father wanted me and his grandchildren closer.  So in my third trimester, with my second pregnancy we moved across country to our farm.

God blessed my husband with work within the first month of moving, our daughter was born, and CJ was old enough to start preschool work. We couldn’t afford a curriculum, so I made do with dollar store flash cards and work books. By my daughter’s first birthday, CJ knows all his colors and shapes, he does age appropriate chores and is starting to show more interest in reading. All of that was God’s doing.  He kept my family together.  He placed us in amazing circumstances and brought us through them, and He gave my children a desire to learn that I had never seen.

When I think all is lost because we can’t afford luxuries like internet and curriculum, He provides the answer and resources.

Amanda submitted this story by emailing me at homeschoolsurvival@gmail.com.  Would you like to submit your story, too?  Send me an email.  You may want to look at our guidelines.