Archive for November, 2004

Homeschooling and Home Business

Monday, November 29th, 2004

“You want to homeschool your children AND run a home business? And you think you can do both of those things—and do them well?”

The answer to that question is a resounding YES! There is no reason why you cannot home educate and have a thriving home business at the very same time. What is one very important ingredient that you must have to be successful at both?

Time Management Skills!

Now is not the time to throw organization to the wind. In fact, in order to fulfill all the obligations on your plate, you will want to have an orderly schedule for each day. A Day Planner or good calendar is a must!

Having a scheduled day does NOT mean that creativity and/or spontaneity is thrown to the wind. Quite the opposite. An orderly schedule ensures that spontaneity can arise without wrecking havoc with the rest of the day’s obligations! It provides you the ability to be creative, without sacrificing your family’s needs at the same time.

Avail yourself to the numerous time management resources that there are out there—free for the taking, including books at your local library. You will be encouraged, even if you don’t adopt their particular approach, and some things you will want to schedule:

Household chores

Both yours and the children’s. One warning: Do not attempt to schedule in your husbands, unless he specifically requests for you to do so. We have found that scheduling a husband makes for more difficulties in a marriage than it does help! Let your husband decide for himself whether or not he wants to get in on this scheduling thing—and in what manner.

School Work

There are so many different methods of home education that I won’t try and tell you how to schedule in your style. But regardless of your particular style of homeschooling, the work won’t get done if there isn’t a designated time to do it. We prefer to set aside 3 hours for “school” every morning after breakfast—an hour for math, an hour for writing, logic, and other such tasks, and an hour for educational reading (good living books full of history, philosophy, etc).

Those three hours are serious school time—and the children get more accomplished during those three hours than they ever would during a typical eight-hour public school day! Thus, school doesn’t drag on and on, boring everyone to tears and putting more demands on me than I can meet…and yet enough time is given (and taken seriously) that we are able to accomplish quite a bit more than you’d think possible!

Business Time

You have to set some “office hours” for your business, or you’ll rarely work your business. For me, my office hours are the wee hours of the morning, before the children arise, and the one hour each afternoon when we have our “rest time.” The little ones take naps, and the older ones have a “lie down” period where they can read silently, and/or listen to a story tape (we are huge fans of Patch the Pirate, by the way!) or classical music—something relaxing. That is my office time, where I make my phone calls, do my computer work, send out cards to my business team, etc… The children benefit from having a time each day to mellow out, and our business is able to grow—maybe not as fast as it would if I could put in 8 hours a day, but it DOES grow!

My priorities are as follows:

  1. My God (or whatever that means to you)
  2. My husband
  3. My children
  4. My business

When I put my business first, everything else suffers. It can be tempting to do, but I’d recommend NOT even “going there.” In my opinion, more important than a monthly check is a healthy spiritual life, having a happy husband and a good marriage, and growing thriving children. And the funny thing is, that even though my business receives approximately 2 hours of my time each day, which is not a lot of time, it’s still growing much faster than we’d expected! Those two small hours are taken seriously, and I use them as efficiently as I can…and the business grows, step by little step.

But some of you might not suffer from putting your business ahead of other priorities. Some of you may suffer from not putting your business anywhere at all! That’s fine…if you don’t ever want anything to happen with your business, that is. Let me explain. We homeschooling parents are BUSY people. We have so many demands on our day that often, the loudest voice wins. Therefore, if you don’t put your business SOMEWHERE in your schedule, you will rarely work your business, if ever…which translates into very little money made.

You know what your business goals are, right? Make sure they are reasonable, and then…make sure you provide yourself the time to make those goals come to life! Even a half hour a day is something—and that small investment of your time (day in, day out, when it’s fun and when it’s not) will help your business grow.

Homeschooling your children and running a successful home business, all at the same time? Yes, it takes disciplined effort, but YES, it CAN happen!

Make Time for Yourself During the Holidays

Monday, November 8th, 2004

Eliminate Stress

During this busy holiday season, it is often hard to remember to take care of ourselves. This is not only because of all of our holiday obligations listed on our calendars, but also because of the financial strains that our budgets go under after buying all of those gifts.

Relax with a good book from Book Exchange! No transaction fees; Flat rate shipping!

It is important, now more than ever, to remember to take a little time for yourself each day. There are many inexpensive ways to care for yourself and here are a few ways that I will try to take time out for myself during these next upcoming months.

Try to eliminate as much stress as you can so that you have time to take care of yourself. Set aside time each day to accomplish one of your holiday goals that you need to get done. Setting aside an hour each day to purchase gifts, wrap gifts, address cards, and make batches of cookies is much more manageable then trying to do that around all of your family’s scheduled events.

If you are one of those crazy moms who finds herself always scampering around at the last minute trying to get all of your holiday shopping, wrapping, and baking done at the last minute, then it might be helpful to find information that will help you in achieving a more organized holiday. Ironically, there is a great website out there called, Organized Christmas that will be right up your alley when trying to stay on track this holiday season. With all of the proper planning and the great advice that this site has to offer, it will be much easier to not be as stressed.

I have also found that with all of the family events that seem to fall on our calendar, many times we have discovered that our own little family hasn’t gotten to really enjoy our own Christmas together. Remember that it is okay to tell your extended family that you have your own family traditions and that you may not be able to make it to everything. There is little joy to be had in running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to attend every single thing and enjoying nothing.

Also in order to continue eliminating stresses try not to take on the role of the martyr during the holiday season. If you have volunteered to take over one of the holiday dinners, request that everyone bring a dish or two to help ease the burdens that always get piled on the hostess. This is not the time to work yourself to death or to be resentful towards your loved ones; this is your time to devote towards those closest to you and to remember what the holiday season is all about.

Pamper Yourself

Automatically whenever I think of the phrase “pamper yourself” I immediately think of the day spa. I have never had the pleasure of going to a day spa, but it seems like if I really wanted to pamper myself, that is exactly where I would head.

With my limited budget I have found that there are a lot of more creative ways out there to really indulge myself without spending a bunch of money. Here are a few ideas that I enjoy indulging in:

Pour yourself a big mug of hot chocolate and add all of the yummy additions such as marshmallows, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder to make you feel like you have just spent the day at Starbucks. Couple this mug of hot chocolate with the addition of a big fat library book and turn on some jazz music to create that Barnes and Noble feel without the temptations of buying anything.

  • Run yourself a nice hot bath, light some candles, and pour yourself a glass of wine. Take that smutty magazine that you have been dying to read, but never seem to find the time and actually read all of the celebrity gossip and latest fashion advice.
  • Hit your local beauty school for the extra pampering you deserve, but could not afford on a high-end salon budget. At our local beauty school a pedicure is only $15, a manicure is $10, and an hour and a half massage is $25! Those are amazing services and you get the added bonus of helping a student complete her certification.
  • While working on Christmas cards and wrapping gifts, enjoy an old holiday movie that brings you joy and memories from your past Christmases. It is hard to be stressed when watching, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It is even harder to be stressed when watching “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
  • Take a night off from cooking once in awhile and enjoy a nice meal out. This is a good time to actually use some of those coupons that you have cut out from the local paper and enjoy a night free of dishes and the stress of worrying about what you are going to eat. Keep in mind that this does not have to be the best restaurant in town, but if your spouse offers than don’t turn him down.

Even menial chores that need to be done around the house can be a time of pampering when festive music is played or candles are lit creating a more peaceful feel around your home.

Enjoy the Holiday

There are so many things in life that we look forward to and then in an instant they are gone and we can’t believe that we had spent hours, days, and months preparing for them. Try not to let this holiday slip by you unnoticed. Savor each moment with your family, with your friends, and enjoy the true meaning and spirit of these joyous holidays ahead of you. I am one of those people who often find myself not ever opening my gifts because I am so anxious to see the expressions on my loved one’s faces when they open the gift that I got for them. Really take the time to look around you at each of these faces- around the dinner table, around the Christmas tree, and while enjoying that special Christmas church service and thank your blessings that you have gotten to spend another holiday with them. By focusing on these things, you hopefully will have no time to focus on the stress that the holiday brings along with it.

With all of these things in mind, I am wishing you a peaceful, pampered, and enjoyable holiday season!