It’s 4 am and I’m barely awake. It’s probably been just a few hours since I got to sleep. Nonetheless, if I want to get any work done before the kids awake, I better get to it. This is how a typical morning starts for me. I’m a mom to four and I home school them all. My career is also done from home. I am blessed to have these options. But I can also tell you it’s not for everyone. Many ask me what a typical day for me is like, how I get through it, and why I choose this “stressful”, but rewarding lifestyle.
The Early Hours
Once I’ve risen out of bed and logged onto the computer, I check emails, facebook messages, Associated Content messages and forums, and more. If anyone needs assistance or just wants a shoulder, I’m there. That’s one of my favorite daily activities and I repeat it throughout the day in between everything else. I’m a Community Guide at Associated Content from Yahoo! So, helping others learn the ropes is a must in my normal routine. Truth be told, I would still do it without the title.
Next up is getting some articles started, and if I’m lucky, I’ll even get some written before the kids get up. If not, that’s alright, at least I’ll probably have some outlines and ideas started that will be easy to finish up later. The most I believe I have written in this time-frame is ten. But that was on a tight deadline. On average, it’s probably one or two articles or 20 outlines. By outlines, I mean I write my title, make a space for my intro, title any subheads, maybe put a few short notes under each subhead, and list my sources and related links. This is just one of the many methods I use to speed productivity.
Once the kids are up and moving and have finished with breakfast, it’s time to start school. We do have goals in mind and we do have certain things that need to be done each day. But I allow the kids to choose which order they want to do their schoolwork in – except for science class because we always do that in the afternoon away from home. We might go to the library, a museum, the park, and more. Most common is the park and library. Other field trips are as needed according to what they are learning.
Some of their learning is independent. But some things they need me to work with them on. For instance, someone might need to read to me or I may need to teach a new concept or give a spelling test. On the other hand, there are also activities, such as silent reading, where they really don’t need me much. Sometimes I write or answer emails in between those times so I don’t get behind. But I am always available if they have questions. During school time, the kids have to come first, no matter what else I have on my schedule.
This has made me an expert multi-tasker. But, sometimes I just can’t get to anything but teaching the kids. We use the computers for some lessons and at times one of them may need mine. I may also be doing something with them on the computer, such as playing an educational video, showing them a virtual tour of the human body, or playing an educational computer game with them. Even though we have goals in mind, some (but not all) of our methods could be described as unschooling.
Since there are kids at various learning levels, our school day can be a little longer than a typical school day. But then again, some days it’s not, if the lessons allow for mixed-age grouping. We always learn for at least the required four hours per day. But most often, our day is longer. Sometimes we start school at 9 am and aren’t finished until 5pm.
So, you thought my day ended when the kids finished school? Wrong. In some respects, it has not even begun. There’s still dinner to get through, more emails, messages, inquiries, posts, etc to answer. Oh, did I mention I also own several websites? So, to add to the inquiries from writing sites and email, I also have them from my sites. Once I have done my share of answering questions and inquiries, it’s back to writing. This could mean articles for clients and content sites, blog posts for my sites, content for pages on my sites, and more.
In between writing, I also need to keep an eye on Twitter and facebook (my profile, groups, and various fan pages I admin). I consider these things a break from the writing. And yes, I do also converse with people and play facebook games here as well. I also read plenty of articles written by fellow writers and promote those too, along with my own. Hey, if a person wants to be productive and not get burnt out, breaks need to be included. I have to remind myself of that at times.
My writing and also planning for the next school day could go on well into the night. Many times it does. So, you ask, where do normal things like grocery shopping and other errands fit in? My reply to that is there’s room for everything. I’m one of those people who always seems to be able to find room to do more.
Why Do I do This and do I Recommend it?
Well, I love my lifestyle and it’s the right fit for me. But I only recommend it to the brave and daring. Alright, it’s not that bad…well, it may almost be on certain days and is definitely not ideal for everyone. If you think you may want to do what I do, think about all the tasks I listed, add everything else you already do in a day, and if you don’t go insane just thinking about it, it might be for you.
I teach my kids at home so that I can provide them with the best education possible in an environment conducive to each of their unique learning styles. I feel like this is their best option at the moment, but am always open to new ideas and opportunities. I work at home so I can do all of this. I write because I don’t know how not to and because I like to help others. As a home school teacher, mom, writer, website owner, and AC Community Guide, I am definitely working all the time. But, I can honestly say that every bit of it is a labor of love.
Homeschool Methods: Mixed-Age Grouping FAQ
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