I have always loved being a homeschooling mom and homemaker. A few years ago, I found that I needed to start bringing in some income in addition to my homeschooling “job.” (The backstory in a nutshell is that my husband left me/us 8 years ago. Four years ago, he stopped sending any financial support at all, leaving me to fully support my children and myself on my own.)
I have been extremely blessed that I have been able to earn money from home. I’m definitely a homebody and introvert, so I know that working outside the home full time would totally wear me out, without adding in the challenge of homeschooling on top of that. I’ve also been able to work just part time for the most part, although I am juggling 3-4 different jobs!
Writer/publisher. Shortly after Chris left, I started writing my first Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple book. I self published the book, selling it on my website and on Amazon. That branched out into 4 books, which were eventually combined into one larger volume. Then, I wrote Language Lessons: From Listening Skills to Conversation, a companion book addressing language skills. These days, I’m not writing, other than blogging, so my commitment to this business has been primarily filling orders, which doesn’t take a lot of time.
Two years ago, I became a counselor for our homeschool cover school. My duties here include attending school events, scheduling meetings with families to help them choose curriculum, collect attendance and grade reports and help in whatever way needed. We also have formal portfolio review committee meetings with high school students in May; I help give achievement tests, write the monthly newsletter, etc. Some meetings are at my home; some are at the school office, but I’m able to fit them in around my other responsibilities (or vice versa). Some months, this job requires only a few hours of work; other months, the time adds up to several full days.
Job # 3
I make mermaid tails that I sell on Etsy. This job can get crazy busy through the summer and pre-Christmas.
Speech pathologist. I sometimes do speech therapy from my home. This is an off and on endeavor.
So, how do I do it all?
I can’t claim to have it all figured out, but for me, the key is good time management. If I don’t make lists and schedules to follow, I get easily overwhelmed. I schedule most meetings in the early afternoon. Some weeks, I’ll have several; some weeks, I have none. This has worked well for me, because I try to have Emily finish the most difficult of her schoolwork in the morning, so she needs less assistance later in the day. She actually does most of her work on her own now, anyway.
I try to keep a general schedule for sewing. If I sew for one hour in the morning, one hour in the afternoon, then two hours in the evening, the orders don’t overwhelm me, I’ve given myself permission to take breaks, and I don’t feel that mermaid tails are completely taking over my life. I would like to work out a stricter schedule-- for example, allotting a certain time period each day for housework, blogging, and other computer related activities. Dealing with customer questions and other email demands can suck up a lot of time. I really think I would be better off to sit down at the computer twice a day to deal with it all at one time. I haven’t mastered that, yet, though, and tend to be at the computer off and on all day long!
I try to keep a list of things to do, especially if it is a busy week. Just writing the to-do items down, then crossing them off the list allows me to move them out of my mind. From mailing packages to bookkeeping, to newsletter writing, if a task is written down, it’s more likely to get down on a timely basis and I’ll be less stressed.
Teaching my child to work independently. I like to be involved in Emily’s education. We’ve never been a “textbook” family, so just handing her a stack of books to work through hasn’t been my style. I prefer unit studies, hands-on activities and reading together. However, by high school Emily needs and wants to be taking more responsibility for her schooling, so expecting her to work more independently is working well. I check in with her every hour or so to be sure she is on track, and am flexible enough to take 30 minutes to go over a difficult math lesson with her whenever she needs me. We often watch documentaries together in the evenings, watch her Dave Ramsey Financial course videos together and discuss her literature and history reading assignments throughout the day.
I do miss the days when homeschooling finished at lunch time, the kids had a quiet time in the afternoon, and I had free afternoons to curl up with a book, but I also feel extremely blessed that God has provided me with opportunities to earn a living from home and I am able to make it work while homeschooling.
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