Welcome to another “Day in the Life of an Indie Author” post. Curious why I chose the Indie path? Check out my introduction to this series.
Now that my fall schedule is back in full swing, I decided to share how a typical weekday works for me. As a homeschooling author mom, the school year presents a bigger challenge for me. Just like any writer who has to juggle writing with a day job and other responsibilities, though, I make it work.
When I first found fellow writer moms through two incredible online groups—Writer Moms, Inc. and Writer Mom Life—I was amazed to discover just how many homeschooled. As I look back and think about it, though, I’m not sure why I was surprised. It makes perfect sense given what I know about homeschoolers.
A Match Made in Heaven
Many of us have the challenge of figuring out life in a two-income culture on one income. Most of the homeschool moms I know have found jobs they can do from home and/or they know how to shop wisely and carefully and don’t waste a single thing.
Want to know how to turn one whole chicken into twelve meals for a family of four? I can answer that.
Added to the ability to manage a household, plan and implement the education for all the children in the family, maintain a small business (or more than one), quite a few of these homeschool moms lean toward the literature side of things. Sure, some are math whizzes or science gurus, but quite often reading and books consume most of their attention. Sometimes, homeschool moms are known to write up their own curriculum when they can’t find exactly what they need!
With all of that tossed together, it makes perfect sense that I’ve met several other writer moms who homeschool.
An Ever-Evolving Balance
Each school year brings changes and shifts in priority. My children are in seventh and fifth grades this year. At this point, we’re working toward more independent learning and work. This makes my balance easier in some ways. Instead of reading history chapters with them or lecturing through the zoology chapter, I can assign them to read the lessons independently, answer questions or write summaries based on what they’ve read and then grade and evaluate them to make sure they’re understanding the concepts.
When they were in preschool, they needed me to sit beside them and guide them as they learned to use scissors, hold a pencil and form their letters. Now, I can assign, evaluate and correct when needed.
Of course, with the higher grades comes more paperwork and more complex lessons to teach. I have the pressure of knowing high school is right around the corner, and high school in a teacher’s mind equals college requirements and the massive importance those institutions place on ACT/SAT scores.
Each year, I have to reevaluate how we do school, how we (and I) schedule our time, which curriculum will best fit the needs of my children and our family, all while adequately preparing them for their future and giving them additional opportunities to explore the subjects and participate in activities that most interest them.
Each child is vastly different. Not only are they in different grades, but they have different learning styles, different interests and different strengths and weaknesses. That often requires double planning.
A Fluid Schedule That Works for Us
So, how does our schedule look this school year?
I lesson plan and schedule out work so that the majority of our lessons fall in the first few days. Most of their work on Thursdays and Fridays can be done independently. On days when everyone focuses and cooperates, our school time all together is easily completed between 8 and noon. They complete the rest of their work in the afternoons.
Often, I might still be grading late in the evening if they didn’t finish everything before I switched my focus to work at 1. Once I’ve completed lessons with them and given them their assignments, I will begin working while I wait for them to turn in work.
Thanks to the gift of a laptop earlier this year from one of my mentors, I try to type up my blog posts and work on my newsletter in bed when I first wake up in the mornings before we start school. Any formatting or photo editing has to be done on my primary computer, though; so those things happen in the afternoons. Other work, like revisions and most social media posting or editing, I prefer to do on my main computer as well.
Some days we help paint boxes that a local group sends to area military personnel overseas or help our local bookstore owner straighten up shelves or put out new books. Other times, our schedule shifts when we keep a friend’s child for a few hours. And still others, we take the day for a field trip to one of many museums, parks, historical spots or more around us.
Though I plan out our week and include any events or activities I know about ahead of time, we often have changes to it as we go. My husband doesn’t have a regular 8 to 5 schedule. Some days he works until 4 or 5; others, he works mid-day until after supper; and still others he’ll be home until around 3 and won’t be back until midnight. His two days off each week typically fall during the week, though. That also tends to change up our daily schedule. He does help out with school and housework and so much more as often as he can.
A Typical Schedule
In theory, a typical school day should play out something like this:
6:30 to 8: Checking emails and social media, typing up blog posts or newsletter content or short stories or revising (while kids are—in theory—doing schoolwork, getting school supplies ready, eating breakfast and getting dressed)
8 to noon: School
Noon to 1: Lunch and grading
1 to 5 or 6: Work (sprinkled with frequent interruptions to grade things, solve arguments, remove garbage from a certain dog’s mouth (hint: it’s not Bentley), start supper preparations, answer texts or phone calls, prepare for the next day’s lessons or plan the next week’s school, welcome the neighbor kid and politely keep him from eating all the snacks and/or wipe up muddy pawprints)
6 to 7 or 7:30: Supper, more grading when necessary
7:30 until: More work—or weekly activities (typically out of the house two nights a week and podcasting one) or spending time with the family or cleaning
Of course, some days—like today—we got a later start because my husband closed at work last night, and we needed a little extra sleep in order to function through the rest of our day. I still finished my teaching before lunchtime and worked on this post while the kids did their independent work.
A later breakfast means a later lunch, which means I probably won’t sit down to start my revision work until 2, but the kids have done most of their work and the stack to be graded is nearly complete. I need to set this aside for now to solve an argument that’s broken out over the pizza slices, then grade their work and catch up on emails.
What questions do you have about my schedule or about homeschooling? What responsibilities do you juggle and what works for you?
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