Homeschool and Small Biz

I am one of the most unorganized people you will ever meet so I often get the question:  “How do you homeschool AND run your store?!”  So I thought I would share my secret:

Not Very Well.

It’s humbling to admit that I really struggle with juggling the amount of time required to get my business off the ground and keep it going AND giving time to homeschool.  I have to admit – the store has been getting all my time and attention.  🙁

The ironic thing is that I’m so passionate about running my own business for the main reason of being able to homeschool!  Yet I am letting it slack too much.  AGGGGGHHHHH!  So what to do?   Well, this week I hit a milestone and figured out a system that made sense to me & “clicked” so I thought I’d share it – if you cared.

room.001
No one even realizes there is a room there. My son will talk to himself (and answer) so many customers stop and look around wondering why they are hearing voices. LOL!

Homeschooling is so important to me that we built a schoolroom in the store.  I realized that I actually didn’t have any pictures of the inside of it so you’ll have to take my word for it.

My really cool son.
My really cool son.

WHY I HOMESCHOOL

My son is 12 and has Asperger’s Syndrome.  So homeschooling became even more important when we realized he needed extra help staying focused and needed help in certain areas and NO help in others!  He loves to learn and that makes homeschooling really fun for us.  Up until this point my schooling strategy has been “winging it”.  Now that he is in middle school that doesn’t work any more and I noticed we were falling behind.

I knew I needed to do something different.  I needed to keep my son focused and on task and I needed to be more deliberate in my planning and execution of his education.  I wasn’t being fair to him by not communicating my expectations and I wasn’t taking the time to followup on his work to see how he was progressing.  I had left his education up to him and that was not acceptable.

COMPARTMENTALIZING

SONY DSC   blue tote   SONY DSC

I compartmentalize everything in my head.  It drives other people crazy.  I have multiple bank accounts and each one serves a different purpose to me.  It may seem unnecessary but I have to do that for stuff to make sense in my head and for me to muli-task. SOOOOO….  I decided to take that approach to schooling.  I heard of an idea using boxes to organize tasks & while I didn’t read about how it was accomplished, that’sall I needed for my brain to just “CLICK!” and that was it.This is what I did:

  1. Labeled the bins by subject.
  2. Planned out his lessons for the day.
  3. Wrote out his instructions on an index card and put it in the corresponding bin.  For example, the middle photo shows the drawer for his Greek lesson.  I wrote out he needed to review the last 2 lessons (since he didn’t score well), I put his Greek notebook in the bin (we are always wasting time looking for his notebooks, pencils, folders, books….) AND a pencil (because he always looses them).
  4. I DATE the index cards! (important.  You’ll see later)
  5. The third image is his next lesson, MATH.  He has a few lessons in that subject but he can’t start it until the tasks in the first drawer are finished.
  6. If he has a lesson or task that requires my involvement I tape a colored tag “With Mom” to the bin so he would know to come get me.
  7. Completed quizzes or worksheets go back in the bin for me to grade/review.

PLAY TIME

My son likes to play and he always wants to know how long he has to do schoolwork before he can play.  In his case, he LOVES his Skylanders so I created a drawer labeled “Special” and I can put whatever I need in there.

Skylander Time!
Skylander Time!

In this case I put one of his Skylander figures in the drawer to let him know he can have some playtime.  BUT I also put an index card in there with a note that he needed to help me clean too!  (Chores are special aren’t they????)

If a bin is empty then he does not have to do a lesson in that subject for that day.

ORGANIZING FOR MOM, TOO.

You don't need may supplies.
You don’t need many supplies.

I need help too as I have earned a big, fat “F” in record-keeping and lesson preparation/organization.  To help me with that I saw that the index cards not only gave my son direction in his lessons but served two purposes for me:

  1. Forced me to plan and write it down.  This tracks our progress and gives me a clearer picture of where we are & where we need to go.
  2. Keeps track of what we have accomplished.  I keep the index cards until I have time to write out what we did in my notebook.  It might be a few days before I can do it so the dates on the index cards help me remember what we did & when.
Franklin Planner
Franklin Planner

I record our lessons in the same notebook I use for work.  This is one time I don’t compartmentalize like I usually would.  My whole brain is in this book so for now I am keeping track of his lessons in the same place I keep track of what I do in the store.

Not everyone homeschools but I hope this encourages other moms (& dads) out there who thought that they couldn’t pursue building a business AND homeschooling (or just making time for their kids).  It’s not easy.  I haven’t done it well, but every day I’m learning and making adjustments.

I love having my son at the store with me.  It’s a great experience for him.  And I am THRILLED I can do both of the things I love and enjoy.

Do you or someone you know homeschool?  What are your experiences with working and homeschooling?  I’d love to hear what you do.  I have MUCH to learn from others! Leave a post or email me at abundantlyfree@hotmail.com.


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