Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Full House: A Homeschooling Mama shares her tips & tricks

I'm busy. I'll just come right out and say it. 

I'm a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling momma of two sets of twins (Delaney & Carter, 5, and Drew & Logan, almost 3). I care for my next-door neighbor's 18-month-old boy during the week, I'm a medical transcriptionist before the kids wake up and after they go to bed, and I'm a Wildtree representative who tries to do parties a couple times a month. I homeschool all of my kids. Oh, and I attempt to keep up with the housecleaning and laundry (usually unsuccessful, but at least I try). I get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and usually stay up until 10 or 10:30 at night, running all day long, forgetting even to eat. I'm BUSY. I've been called “super-mom” before, but really all I am is a mom, just like every other mom, who does her best to keep her head above water most days.

There are many reasons why we chose homeschooling for our family. 

Number one is that I like having them near me. Selfish? Maybe, but I think they like to be around me, too. I also love the flexibility. Some days we don't want to leave the house, so we don't have to. If we feel like taking a few days or a week off from school just because, we can do that. And it's really fun to go places when all of the other kids are in school – the parks, stores, amusement parks, etc., are all virtually empty.

We like learning about what we want and spending as much time on it as we need to. I like that my kids don't need to know if they are “behind” or “advanced” - they just ARE, and there are no feelings of superiority or inadequacy.

With that being said, since sending my kids away for 8 hours a day isn't something that we're interested in doing right now, there are some things that I do try to do to make things run a little more smoothly in our home:

Wake up before my kids. This is a big one. It's the reason why I get up so dang early. (I wish it was much later, but my kids are all early risers, up by 6:30 at the latest.) I need a little bit of time to shower, have some coffee, and just be by myself. I usually work during this time, which I don't love, but at least it's nice and quiet!

Have a schedule. We are pretty rigid with our schedule. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all around the same time every day. Naps for the littles are at the same time every day, which is when the majority of the bigs' schooling gets done. Field trips and errands are usually done in the morning, and stay-at-home time is in the afternoon. Now that the kids are a little older, we have more and more flexibility, but we try to stick to our little schedule as much as we can, because it makes everyone (especially momma) happier.

Meal plan. We do 2-week meal plans, which means we do a Costco run and grocery store run every other week. Hubby will pick up a couple of odds and ends during the week on his lunch hour, but otherwise we try to hold ourselves to bi-weekly shopping. Wildtree's freezer meals have helped so much with meal planning – our meal plans are usually 50% Wildtree and 50% whatever else I can get on the table in 30 minutes or less, with a night or two of breakfast-for-dinner or leftovers thrown in.

Make time for myself. Okay, so this one is a challenge. I try. I really, really try. Unfortunately, I really only leave the house by myself about every other week, and it's usually to run errands for my family. I'm working on this, though, I promise! I really do feel like an actual person when I force myself out of the house, even if it's just to grab some groceries. When I have an actual Moms' Night Out, I'm a brand new woman!

There are people out there who say that they don't know how I do it – handling all of these kids, working a ton, and homeschooling. They seem to think that sending my kids to public school would make my life easier and give me more time to myself or to keep up my home. And sometimes the doubt crawls into my head. I mean, my house would definitely be cleaner and I would get more work done if I sent them to school. But the truth is, there are so many better reasons NOT to send them away for 8 hours a day. Homeschooling may not be the best choice for every family, but it's PERFECT for us!

Thanks for reading!

Karis Hollis
Guest Blogger: Michigan Homeschool Family
Metro Detroit Mommy 

Karis is a crazy-busy wife and mom of two sets of twins, Delaney & Carter (5) and Drew & Logan (3). She is lucky enough to be able to spend her days with her children while working from home. She finds great joy in homeschooling her kids and in getting to watch them learn and grow every single day. She recently became a representative for Wildtree ( and has found that she has a passion for helping people feed their families healthy, easy meals every night. You can also find her on Facebook at Wildtree with Karis ( In her very, very minimal spare time, she likes to read all kinds of novels and tries to catch up on Pretty Little Liars. She also loves to try new restaurants and new wines. She enjoys blogging about her family and their homeschooling adventure. 

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