I mentioned last week that I started college. Well, I didn’t stop doing anything else, I just added school to the pile. 12 credits this semester. My biggest challenge is keeping up with the kids’s schoolwork while I make time for my own work. The college advises setting aside something like 168 hours for each class. That’s about 42 hours per week for a full class load. I thought today I’d write about a few ways we are coping as a family, even thriving, with the added workload. I call it double schooling, and it is possible.
Combine, Combine, Combine
When my kids are doing Spanish online, I sit across the room and try to get in some reading. I have a ton of reading to do, and most of it won’t be in a quiet nook curled up with a book and a piping hot mug of coffee. I combine reading with park time, Spanish class, cooking lunch, bath time, and whatever else I can. There are only so many hours in the day, and I have to utilize them well. By fitting reading into the things I already do, I’m actually able to get it done.
The Crockpot as a Best Friend
Dinner just isn’t going to be fancy right now, let’s face it. However, we still have to eat. One of my favorite things to do is use my Crockpot. For some reason, my home is less crazy in the morning hours, and it is easier to get dinner done far ahead of dinner time. It can’t sneak up on me if I have it going at 11 or noon. Some of my favorite Crockpot dinners are barbecued chicken, taco soup, and roast with potatoes and carrots.
Some people think that using online resources for school is somehow cheating. Let me tell you, there is no way to cheat learning. Either you learn it or you don’t, and the method is not as important as the fact that you retain the information. I don’t feel one iota of guilt over letting my kids do math online (that I don’t have to grade) or Spanish (which they are learning by proper pronunciation instead of by my half-correct attempts at a language I barely know). We are using Great Parents Academy for math and Middlebury Interactive Languages for Spanish. They are both excellent and free up some time for me to listen to a lecture, read, take a test, or write a paper.
Know Your Own Internal Clock
I do better in the morning, even though I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person. Maybe it’s because my brain is less crowded when I wake up. Regardless, first thing in the morning, I am bound to do better with tests or things that are intellectually challenging. I plan that time for tests and harder work. In the evenings, when I’m more likely to be stressed, have breathing issues that make me exhausted, or am just brain tired, I listen to lectures (and take notes!) and write informal discussion posts or rough drafts. You may be the opposite; it doesn’t matter when you do what things, as long as you know what works best for you and work around your strengths and weaknesses.
I feel like I may be a small segment of society, homeschooling and going to college. Anyone else out there? What’s your best advice for making it work?
** This blog post was originally posted on BlogHer 9/2/2015.**