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.

Staying On My Wall: Embracing Convictions During Job Loss

castle wall

“So, why don’t you get a job?”

When your husband loses his job, you start hearing that a lot.

My family became one of the many families facing unemployment when my husband failed to qualify with his new firearm for his federal security job. He had worked at that job for over 10 years and had had no problem proving his proficiency previous. This new firearm, however, had become his Achilles’ heel.

price family

Following his dismissal came almost two years of temp jobs, and “You’re over-qualified” or “You’re under-qualified.”

And I began hearing, “So, why don’t you get a job?”

It was tempting to get snarky and answer, “What makes you think I could get a job when my husband can’t, especially since I’ve been out of the workforce for over 8 years?”

With God’s grace, I stayed on my wall.

With God’s grace, I did not get snarky. Also with God’s grace, I stayed on my wall.

You see, a friend taught me a big lesson from Nehemiah.

Nehemiah had been the cupbearer for the king of Persia. After hearing about the wall of Jerusalem being broken down, God moved Nehemiah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. God even moved the king to provide his blessing and permission to Nehemiah.

Walls were very important for cities. Walls were the major defense against outside attack. A broken wall allowed easy access for attackers and wild animal scavengers. Secure walls allowed the city to grow and prosper within.

Not everyone wanted Nehemiah to accomplish his goal. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab kept trying to cause trouble. In an attempt to stop the work and harm Nehemiah, Sanballat and Geshem sent a letter to Nehemiah asking to have a meeting with him. Nehemiah was no fool. He knew what he was called to do. His response to those who were trying to distract him was, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3).

Now the fact is most who mentioned to me about getting a job outside the home did not mean to cause trouble or to harm me. They just did not realize that having a job would stop and take me away from the “great work” I am doing. By being a stay-at-home, home educating mom, I am defending my family from humanistic attacks and worldly scavengers. By staying here on my wall, I allow my family to grow and flourish. I am providing the security and stability of a wall to my family and husband when finances and unemployment are insecure and unstable.

We chose to keep me on the wall during my husband’s unemployment.

I do not know what God has for your family. If you and your husband think you should try to find a job during a time of financial crisis then go for it. Trust and submit to God and your husband in this matter.

If on the other hand you feel strongly in your conviction to stay on your wall, do it. Trust the God who has called you to the “great work” of home and homeschooling to work through you in spite of the challenging circumstances. Remember, “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 6:7). Others may see the predicament your family is dealing with, but usually do not notice the “great work” God is doing in your family and you through your commitment.

Give me a wave from your wall, and I give you a shout out from mine. Do you need any extra bricks?

 

mrs priceBetsy Price has been married to her husband Mike for almost 25 years. She has her Bachelor’s degree in education and has taught in the classroom. After many years of infertility, God blessed Mike and Betsy with a beautiful daughter through adoption. Betsy now spends her time serving God and her family through homemaking and home educating. Visit her blog MrsPriceIsRightHomeschooling.com where she shares about homeschooling, homemaking, mothering, wife-ing, and anything else she finds interesting.

Giveaway: $25 Gift Card to Amazon + 2 Ebooks!

Launch Party Giveaways

Karen DeBeus of Simpy Living For Him and Bible Based Homeschooling has graciously donated a $25 Gift Card to Amazon.com plus her 2 eBooks to one lucky winner!

In addition, 4 more winners will win a copy of each of her books.

  1. Simply Homeschool by Karen DeBeus
  2. Called Home by Karen DeBeus

Karen recently shared a post about Homeschooling Through Job Loss.  Her desire is to bless someone else in the same way that her family was blessed while her husband was without employment.

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Homeschooling Through Job Loss

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Homeschooling during a job loss has been quite a challenge this year, yet in so many ways it has also been a blessing. It definitely has taught our family some real life learning. We learned things that no textbook could teach.

My husband was without a job for six months, yet through it all we were continually provided for. We had difficult decisions to make, stressful days, and a roller coaster of emotions. Yet, God was there the entire time.

We did our best to point the children to the Lord each day. We showed our weaknesses and how mommy needed to bring it to the Cross when worry took over. They saw us pray. They prayed. We all came together as family knowing that God had brought this upon us because something bigger must be on the horizon.

Some days were really difficult to homeschool. I was sad. Depressed even. I didn’t feel like teaching. Yet, isn’t that what I tell my kids everyday? “Even if we don’t feel like it, we still have to do things.” 🙂 How funny when the tables turn!

Here I am the mama who writes about simplifying. The mama who writes about homeschooling. The mama who writes and speaks about using real life lessons to teach.

“The best lessons are never from the lesson planner…” I always say. Oh, was that really me? Oh, how God makes me laugh! Now all of a sudden, we are in the midst of some heavy duty real life learning, and I just wanted to stay under my covers some mornings.

The Lord taught us so much during a difficult time. Yet isn’t that the purpose of a difficult time? To learn from it? Just as we teach our children, the Lord teaches us. He wanted to strip away the idols of worry, lack of trust, or whatever else I was holding on to. The only way to do that was to immerse me in the very thing that I was scared of. The Lord was immersing me in a situation to bring me out of it refined and new.
We learned to trust and learned first hand His provision. We learned to decipher between needs vs. wants. We learned most of all that God’s people are beautiful and when His love is in action, there is nothing like it. I can’t tell you how many things happened that were just amazing, such as the day we went grocery shopping and we spent a certain amount of money. When we came home, even though it was a holiday and there was no mail delivery, I went to the mailbox. I knew there was no mail delivery, but was compelled to check it. When I did, there was a grocery store gift card for the amount we had spent, with an anonymous note. One other time a very large sum of money was sent to us via certified mail with no note except John 13:34-35 typed out. It came when I had been at my lowest. I needed more than the money that day, but the encouragement. God’s people showing HIS love. Truly indescribable.

During this time we were studying Genesis in our homeschool. Every single lesson we learned seemed to parallel what was going on in our life. It was like God knew exactly the lessons we would need, and He prepared them in advance for us. Daily we would read our passages and the children would shout, “It’s like us!” Unbelievable. When we came to the end of Genesis and we had learned about Joseph, Genesis 50:20 was so important to us! We knew He was going to accomplish something great through this situation.

 

Genesis 50:20

 

Most of all my kids saw all of these lessons. “God will provide” became their daily mantra. We waited for the day when we would shout, “Hallelujah! Daddy got a job!” Eventually the Lord provided for my husband to begin his own business. Nothing short of God’s ultimate care.

So homeschooling through a difficult time is not easy, but is worth it. He teaches. I always say He is the Master Teacher. Not me. He is teaching my kids. He taught our family so much this year, that had we never opened one book, we learned more important lessons than anything. My children will grow up having seen the skills to cope in difficult situations, and not because I did it well, but because we pointed to Him through it all. Hopefully when life hands them a rough spot someday, they will remember where to look- to Him.

Losing a job was a blessing. I have my priorities straight again. I have my eyes opened to the ONLY thing I NEED. I have contentment and joy that comes only from eternal hope in Jesus.

Homeschooling during such a time was certainly not easy, but one that I am grateful for. Life isn’t always easy, but with the Lord teaching us, we can’t go wrong.

 

Karen DeBeusKaren DeBeus is a homeschooling mom learning to live more simply and keep God at the center of it all. She is the author of two best selling eBooks, Simply Homeschool: Having Less Clutter and More Joy in Your Homeschool, and Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool. Visit her over at Simply Living for Him and Bible Based Homeschooling {on a budget.}