Sunday, June 12, 2011

Full-time, full-time, full-time = full-time?

Pheuw. The past ten days or so have been something! Although it has been fun to work, it has been hard to combine my new assignments with two other time-consuming events that occur every year around this time: the university exam period and the last homestretch of schoolwork before summer break. Add to that the opening of the beach and the fact that Abraham is at a very difficult stage developmentally, and you have a recipe for – if not disaster, then at least – difficulty. To survive, we did what we had to do. We rented some all-right educational DVDs along with a couple of “carrots,” and instituted some extra hours of screen time every day. We also included a lot of play time, and Abraham was not kept from his day-time naps (something we’ve tried to avoid lately as it totally destroys our evenings). Healthy, balanced meals were replaced by “easy and quick,” and for one night and one day, mama was “off limits,” meaning I could not be disturbed unless there was an emergency. Do you think that worked? [Listen to the irony in that question.] He, he. Not a chance!

Fact: I got the job done.

Fact: It was really, really hard. Not the job itself, but the circumstances, and I fear that the quality of my work suffered because of it all. In fact, the whole thing made me wonder if it’s really possible for me to work while teaching full-time, AND being a full-time stay-at-home mom AND supporting my husband’s work AND being a person at the same time.

However, this is not a time for wondering. I need to work because we need the income, and if I need more time or effort put into it, then that simply has to take priority, one way or another. I know there must be other homeschooling families out there that deal with this kind of question already, and in between assignments, I’m trying to find inspiration, and to figure out ways to solve our problem in a more efficient way. How do you juggle all your duties? What does your day look like?

Challenge: How many words a minute can YOU translate and type with a child at your breast?


  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I kind of lurk on your blog, since I've never met you. We are an American family living in Tunisia. My oldest turned six this year, and while we have been doing a lot of informal homeschooling, this will be our first year doing more formal things. I am planning to use workboxes, which is a system where you put assignments for your children in successive "boxes" to help them work more independently. You can use it for toddlers too, with toys, puzzles, etc. I've read so many stories of people being able to get twice as much done with workboxes, that I am going to give it a try. It might work for you too!

    (and by the way, I enjoy your blog)

    Warm regards,

  2. I'm a lurker too, but I've made a few comments along the way before. :) I hope that we will be living a similar life one day, so I enjoy reading about the ups and downs of it all.

    I worked part time from home while homeschooling one and the other was still very young. Often I worked when the kids were sleeping, or when hubby came home I would say 'tag, you're it' and go work from the library. That's how I got most of the work done. When that wasn't possible, I just did what I could while the kids were doing what they do. Sometimes it was very fragmented, but I managed.

    I think you're bang on with the priority shift, though. Sometimes we have to make adjustments. Perhaps this is a time where you will need to ease up on the lessons, and focus more on self directed exploration? Or have the boys teach eachother things? The boxes idea is great, too.

    We follow a less intense program of studies, here, and I break it up into what we call "15's" (based on the flylady system). We set out 6 tasks for each person, assign them numbers 1-6, then roll a die to determine what order the tasks will go in. You'd be amazed how fast things go, and how much they get done when they know to just buckle down for 15 minutes. Math lessons and phonics just fly! I also incorporate things like cleaning the bathroom or tidying bedrooms in this. After 3 15 minute tasks, we take a 15 minute break, then do the next set. In less than 2 hours that is all done and the kids have freedom to do what they wish, while I have freedom to get done what I need to. Maybe something like this could be modified for your family?

    I know it's a challenge to balance this all. Just be careful that your "me time" doesn't get all eaten up. Eating nothing but rice and beans is better than Momma having a nervous breakdown because she can't take care of herself.

    Hugs and good luck!


  3. Thanks ladies! For lurking, and for your ideas :) I am ever so obliged.

  4. Not lurking...but I'm sure I feel at least some of your pain.

    You should SEE my time charts. For some reason when daddy's working it's like sacred time and we mustn't disturb him...but when I'm working I get disturbed every 30 seconds to 2 mins. Seriously.

    My time card from this morning, for your enjoyment:

    6:54 mins
    3:43 mins
    1:15 mins
    1:52 mins
    4:07 mins
    6 secs (what?!)
    1:26 mins
    2:36 mins
    26:47 mins*
    4:45 mins
    6:13 mins
    41 secs

    And that's my first hour. My next hour will be done AFTER the kids are in bed.

    *During this time: a cup of water was spilled on the bed, Miriam and Rachel went outside and Miriam ate dirt, the girls played ponies and barbies, they poked holes in a billion pieces of scrap paper with pencils, every toy we owned ended up on the floor, I nursed Miriam, all the barbies were thrown down the stairs, half the dishes were taken out of the cupboards, and the girls had a snack. It was a good half hour.

  5. Ladies; meet Nancy. Whenever I feel life is a little difficult, I visit her (amazing) blog, which shows me that things could always be... even more challenging, and I feel a little better.

    Although that time card could have been mine - minus the barbies...

  6. Oh, please! You have three to worry about!

    And I never did get that second hour in yesterday (I only work 10 hours a week, not full time). Instead I got up early with the baby this morning.

    And your time card probably has lego/zombies instead of barbies, right? ;)