Somehow, over the past year, my blog went from being about how I can help others’ live a simpler life, sharing what my journey to simplify has been like, and what God is doing in my life, to being about how to make money with my blog.
A Simple Life Too became a “Beast” when I stopped blogging about my heart and what I wanted to write about and it became about “how can I make some money.”
I am sorry.
So, I am sort of starting over again.
No, I won’t get rid of the content I currently have, as some of it really is useful. But I am going back to why I am writing in the first place – by making sure everything I post is because I want to post it, because I hope it really is something that might be useful to others, and / or it is something that truly brings me joy.
I also am not going to fight my life to post more often.
I have a baby. I have three other children. I homeschool, nurse the baby, clean the house, spend time with my husband, and have quality time and conversation with the folks in my church community.
I live, then I write. I can not continue to live to write.
I will write about our homeschool experience, from the humble perspective of what I have learned so far and what God is showing me WE should do.
I will write about what God is doing in my life and speaking truth. I will probably write about the Biblical holidays.
I might write about how I am working with my children and trying to encourage them. I might also write about our issues with food and how we are trying to eat healthier… and sometimes failing miserably.
I might write about how I really want to go to Disneyland / Disneyworld or some other aspect of my desire to travel. I might still write about trying to work from home… and what has worked and hasn’t worked for us there so far.
I might even come up with something new. We will see…
I would love to hear from you. What did you like and/or did not like from A Simple Life Too this year.
Keeping your home always clean and organised is challenging enough, even without homeschooling. When you also add this task to your daily schedule, you may find it impossible to get everything done.
Since you can’t afford to give up the one or the other, the only thing left for you to do is to find a solution. You may have to accept the fact that no matter how hard you try, you may not be able to handle everything alone. That’s why it is a good idea to ask for help from the other members of your family or occasionally hire professional cleaners who will take care of the disinfection of the premises of your home.
You could also use the professional service as a temporary solution while working on ways to handle the problem within your home (and budget). Here are a couple of tips to implement to help you be able to manage homeschooling and housekeeping going forward.
Make a schedule – This is definitely the first thing you have to do, if you want to be able to get everything done. You may feel like the homeschooling is the most important thing in your life, but you are still a parent and an adult who needs personal time. Therefore, making a schedule is the best solution. You can still make the homeschooling a priority, but also make sure that you designate specific hours of the day for the cleaning and organizing of your home and also schedule time for your hobbies and personal interests.
Avoid the distractions – The distractions are your worst enemies, so you will have to learn to avoid them any way possible. If necessary, unplug the phone when you are homeschooling or doing some of the cleaning chores. The computer and/or mobile phone probably also takes a lot of your time, as well as a lot of the time of your kids. You will be surprised how much you can do when you are not constantly distracted by these things.
Encourage your kids to clean – Take the time to explain to your kids how important it is to keep your home clean and organised. This way it will be easier to teach them to clean after themselves, organize their rooms, and even help you with some of the chores. They can start by just arranging their books and supplies after the lessons.
Give up on some of the additional curriculum and/or activities – When you see that the time is not enough, you will have to make some sacrifices. The extra curriculum activities are certainly important, but they are definitely not most significant. The moment you notice that you can’t follow your schedule, you need to start deciding what needs to be dropped.
How do YOU manage homeschooling, household, personal time and more? What are your best tips?
Do you face any challenges with your homeschool? Are you not sure you even CAN homeschool? Are your challenges physical issues? Financial? Do you feel you lack the education or simply don’t have the personality to homeschool? Maybe you have child with special needs?
I am here to share with you that if I can homeschool through all of our families challenges, you probably can to!
Homeschooling From The Bottom 10%
I recently read an article in the 2015 print edition of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine – “Getting Started: Light A Fire”. In the article, Dr. Heather W. Allen uses some statistics from NCES – the National Center For Education Statistics, including Gross Family Income of Homeschool families. Guess what? Our family’s income was in the bottom 10% of all homeschoolers. Or to be clear, 90% of homeschool families make more money / have more income per year than our family. And yet here I am, paying for my children’s homeschool, staying home instead of working outside of the home, and somehow still living decently off of our meager income.
Now, do I love being in the bottom 10%? Not really. Do I wish we did have some of the things that most others have, like more choices in curriculum or a second car to go do more field trips and activities? Yes! Will I stop homeschooling to have more money? NO WAY.
God convicted me to homeschool, God promised to provide at least the basics of what we need, and He has made good on His promises. And so I continue on, even though it isn’t easy.
Homeschooling From a Broken Background
Unfortunately, I come from another “bottom” group, although you won’t find this one in the statistics article. This is my background. There seems to be this thought out there that homeschoolers must come from happy, well adjusted, Christian homes to be able to do what they do. I did not. I came from a completely broken background – abuse, divorce, no encouragement, public school bullying and teasing, addiction, and more. I come from a place where most people would never consider that I could turn out to be someone who follows God and who homeschools.
I am not a woman of patience, an encouraging attitude, perseverance, discipline, gentleness, etc… And yet, God has been instilling these things in me throughout this process. He has been working them out in me by homeschooling. I literally change month by month, year by year, as I commit to the course.
I really am a story of Beauty From Ashes. When once, many years ago I did not even WANT children, I now find myself delighting in teaching them, spending time with them, growing them, and seeing them get to do and experience a better life than I ever did.
All Is Certainly Not Perfect
I still have much growing to do. We are still in our first years of homeschooling (4 so far) and I know there is much for ME to learn and change. I have encountered some serious challenges the past two years, mainly physical with a miscarriage and now a challenging pregnancy, but also a relational and spiritual setback.
My patience is a little “soft” right now and I have to repent and try again daily. I have seen that I have not been encouraging the children as well as I could and have been negative towards them at times. Again, I have to repent daily and try again. I have wanted to give up so many times, but I can’t and I won’t. So sometimes, we lighten the load and sometimes, we take a week off. Sometime mom just needs a day to do something different. We do whatever it takes and still make forward progress.
Even with our imperfection and struggles, we still get complimented out in public at how well behaved (not great, but better than average) our children are, how happy they seem, how sharp they are, and how quick they are to make friends with those who they meet.
No, not perfect, but worth keeping on for.
If anything I said resonated with you, please let me know.
It is that time of year – homeschool catalogs start appearing in the mail and we all dream of the homeschool we would love to do, have, afford. Then, we get down to reality and start analyzing and comparing and figure out the homeschool that we ACTUALLY can have and afford:-)
This brought me to the idea that I would share with the homeschool community my favorite homeschool catalogs, why they I get them, and how I plan my homeschool year with them.
A Beka – Although I had heard about A Beka for a few years, I feel like I just discovered them this last year. Somehow, I ended up with one of their catalogs, but I don’t remember if I requested it or not. However I received it, I am glad for it. Their homeschool catalog is easy to use and I could see how well a couple of their products, that were affordable to me, would be used in our school. Some of their products are very colorful and at or ahead of state standards.
YWAM – I love to support missions and YWAM makes is easy by providing great books for sale, with the proceeds going to the missions. Their catalog is a bit easier to read and use than the website (for me) and gives me the entire list of books on missionaries and their history series, along with the available unit study guides. There is also a large set of books for older students and adults. We try to order a set or two per year when we take a break from regular curriculum and do a special missions study.
Christian Light Publishing – Christian Light Publishing is one of two providers of curriculum that we use that comes from the Anabaptists (i.e. Mennonites and Amish). Their catalog is so easy to use, easy to see the Christian influence, and see each grade’s curriculum, along with a few examples and support materials. We use their Bible Curriculum.
Rod and Staff – Although there is now an independent business supplying Rod and Staff curriculum online, their main business comes through their catalogs (they are the other Anabaptist publisher and their business does not use the internet). To order their catalog, find their address online and write to them to order it. Their products are great in their simplicity, purity, and is completely Christian. We love their Kindergarten series.
Queen Publishing – If you have ever been interested in a Charlotte Mason style curriculum, then you should check out Queen Publishing’s catalog. They have curriculum for every subject and lots, and lots of copywork! We use their Language Lessons series.
Sonlight – I want to be transparent here, I didn’t actually get the Sonlight catalog last year because I did not order anything. Sonlight is more of a dream homeschool and unfortunately, out of my budget. I did consider asking Sonlight if I could purchase a catalog from them so I could have the book lists from each grade:-) But to be clear, I don’t want to take from them, so I would offer to pay for it unless I thought I would order at least a couple of books.
Christian Books – The Christian Books Annual Homeschool catalog is like the uber catalog of homeschooling, which is why I get it. They have a lot of the titles from the previous publishers I mentioned, plus many, many more. I love to see all the options before I make my annual homeschool planning decisions. And since I do order through them a few times a year (i.e. if I need on title from one publisher and another title from a different publisher, CBD makes so much sense because I can save on the shipping and only ship from one place) I automatically get the catalog every year.
Timberdoodle – I saved my very favorite for last. Timberdoodle is my dream homeschool. It is the most creative package of homeschool curriculum and resources, and I know my children would stay much busier if it was our homeschool. It is also one of the most expensive homeschool options. Unlike Sonlight, I do order a couple of items every year, mostly supplemental learning toys, to supplement our homeschool and give some more hands on / interactive learning. This is usually a holiday or birthday gift.
Disclosure: Some of these links may be affiliate links. Actually, I wish I had affiliate links for all my favorite providers, but alas, some simply do not do affiliate programs. If you would like to support my blog, you could order your books through Christian Book Distributors, which I do have an affiliation with.