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Chatting with other working homeschool moms is one of my favorite things to do.
These interviews are designed to encourage busy moms by sharing what homeschooling looks like while working and juggling other things.
It is always nice to know we aren’t alone.
Join me as we chat about challenges to overcome, what and how working fits into our lives and more!
Today I am happy to introduce you to Ashley Fox.
Hi, I’m excited to do an interview with you! I’m a working, homeschooling mom of three fueled by venti lattes and Florida sunshine.
I homeschool my 6 year old son with two and four year old future homeschoolers following closely behind. I have two websites – SomeRandomLady.com is my homeschool and organization website, and SRLprintables is my planner site and Etsy shop.
Now you know why my lattes are huge!
Chatting LIVE With Ashley!
Resources Mentioned In The Video Quick List:
- Magic Tree House Books
- Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read
- Daily Planner
- Homeschool Planet
- X-ACTO Electric Pencil Sharpener
- Sit Stand Desk (She got her’s at Costco)
- Planners are her life favorite tool.
Question 1: Please share with us what made you begin the homeschooling adventure with your children?
I’d never really considered homeschooling before my son was 4. He was in part-time preschool and HATED it.
Every day was a struggle – even to get him to go for 3 short hours. He’s a funny guy. Has lot of opinions and his own ways of doing things. He loves to learn, but he doesn’t want to be told how.
I started looking online for part-time kindergarten options, but the prices in our area are astronomical.
One thing that kept popping up as an alternative was homeschool. I researched, read everything available, weighed the many pros and very few cons, fretted about it for a few weeks, and finally brought it up to my husband who shrugged and said, “Sure, if that’s what you wanna do.”
In the end there were a lot of reasons why we chose to homeschool. The main one being that it is a perfect fit for our family, and my son loves it.
Question 2: What is your homeschool guiding principle?
My kids tell me what’s working and what’s not. Sometimes it’s hard to listen, but they say what they need – whether it’s in words or actions.
My job is to figure out what’s working, what’s not, and use that information to meet their needs. So, I’d say my guiding principle is Do What Works.My Homeschool Motto is: Do What Works. Click To Tweet
I’m not committed to any particular homeschool style or curriculum. I use an eclectic mix of methods and materials and bend it all to fit us. My focus right now is for my kids to keep their curiosity and love of learning as they grow. For that I need to be flexible. I need to do what works.
Question 3: How would you describe your homeschooling style?
My style is to make everything fun! I can spin any topic with a little enthusiasm and creativity – even handwriting can be engaging.
Question 4: What is the hardest homeschooling challenge you have had to overcome?
We’ve had a difficult time this year – suffering a catastrophic loss of our home due to floods from Hurricane Irma. With six moves in six weeks, we had to take a step back from school and really focus on keeping our family together and feeling secure.
At one point I seriously considered putting him in school until we are settled in our home again. But he was adamant that he would NOT be going to sit in a classroom all day. Honestly, I can’t imagine him sitting there either. He needs to be with me right now.
It’s difficult to trust the process of homeschooling – to trust that my son will continue to learn without me making plans and printing worksheets. But I know that we can take time off and pick back up later. He’s continuing his online reading and math games for now, and has told me that he’d like to start “school” again in January when we are settled.
Question 5: Share a homeschooling win with us that stood out to you?
We were chugging along with kindergarten when my son decided he didn’t want to do any of his regular work anymore. What?!? Panic! Argh!
He was 5 years old telling me, “Mom, I just want to go to the playground and read Magic Tree House books all day.” I was like, first of all – you can’t read those books yet. Second of all What?!? Panic! Argh!
Well, I finally gave in and trusted him. That little boy spent three weeks doing nothing but turning the pages of Magic Tree House books while he listened to them on CD.
Then one day he brought me one and said, “Mom, I’m going to read to you now.”I about died.
He sat down and read the entire first book to me. It took him about an hour. The whole thing. I’m still amazed to this day.
He’s funny like that. He didn’t want me to teach him how to read. He wanted to read his own way – in his own time.
That’s when I knew I needed to start really listening to him. I needed to start really trusting that he knows what he needs. It was hard for me but was a win for him and a huge triumph for our homeschool.
Question 6: If you could go back and redo something in your homeschooling journey what would it be and why?
I would have bought more curriculum and materials for kindergarten. I know, I know, most people will say they bought too much!
Well, I had it in my mind that kindergarten should be life and a library card. My kid needed a LOT more.
We did end up buying a little kindergarten curriculum, but it was still very bare bones.
I was working, had a 1 and 3 year old at home, and was sourcing or creating or supplementing all of our lesson plans.
By the time March hit I was burnt out. D.O.N.E., but we had 2 months to go! I phoned it in for the last couple units – with homeschool AND work.
In retrospect, I wish I would have had more curriculum to lean on. Maybe I would not have been so burnt out.
I’ve made some changes this year, and have loved the eclectic first grade curriculum we decided on. We don’t follow the pacing guides, and we are doing it out of order and taking long breaks, but it’s there for me. I feel like I have a back-up.
Question 7: Share with us how you find time to fit all the moving parts of homeschooling your children, your website and “life” in your day to day?
The biggest change from last year (kindergarten burnout year) is that my younger kids now attend preschool part-time.
We start most of our homeschool days by walking or biking my kids to school right down the street. It’s a great start to the day because we get outside into the fresh air, and my 6 year old gets to exercise his inner squirrel for a half hour which allows him to focus on homeschool when we get back.
Then my son and I have our side-by-side work time. He works on his independent work, and I work on mine. I plan my day and answer my emails while he does his workbooks or computer work or “paperwork” which is really just craft time. (i.e. I put out construction paper and he cuts it into tiny pieces that need to be swept up later!)
We might take a nature walk or visit our children’s museum before we pick up little sis after lunch. As she rests we read aloud, play games, watch videos, and write stories.
At 3pm it’s snack time. Except for Tuesdays – that’s poetry teatime. Then we play outside or visit a park until it’s time to pick up little brother around 4:30.
Before dinner is either “go play outside” or “go play in your room” time for the kids while mom cooks or more likely takes a deep breath and heats up meatballs in the microwave. Then it’s “clean up the house” time, baths, and bedtime stories.
I get to work about 8:30 and work until 11 most nights. Sometimes longer, and sometimes I break for Scandal or The Walking Dead. Except for Fridays. Friday nights are pizza and a movie and mom-gets-two-extra-hours-to-work night.
I work in little snips between these activities, and you might catch me hanging out in my Facebook group in the middle of the day sometimes.
My kids go to camp on public school breaks and in the summer – which gives me time to get a lot of work done, which in turn gives me time to get a lot of not-working done later. And some days my husband is home during the day, and the boys spend the day fishing or at the park.
Question 8: What do you wish non-homeschoolers knew about homeschooling?
A lot more than they think they do, haha!
We’ve heard some very interesting comments from non-homeschoolers.
Mostly, though, I wish they’d just let go of the stereotypes and understand that we don’t hate public school. Our goal is not to shelter our kids for their whole lives. We are simply choosing what’s best for our family. Just like everyone else.
Question 9: If you could give a piece of advice to a parent who is considering homeschooling, who is also working, what would it be?
Organization is key! I set aside 15 minutes to plan my day each morning. I know what needs to get done, and I can set a positive tone for my day.
Question 10: When children that are homeschooled are talking to you, what is the one thing you wish you could tell them?
That it’s really pretty great to be homeschooled. And cut your mom a break. She’s doing her best.
Question 11: Your website offers so much information for parents, can you tell us what your favorite parts are?
- Around the World Studies: We had so much fun with our Around the World studies last year! If you haven’t dug into geography I would highly recommend it – just for the food alone!
One of the resources Ashley uses is Epic! Get your first month of Epic! FREE
2. Author Study: This year we loved doing an Author Study – which is something I really enjoyed when I taught elementary, too!
3. Facebook Community: But my favorite place to hang out lately is in the Homeschool Resource Room – a community Facebook group that I started with three other fabulous bloggers that have now become my friends.
Thanks for joining us Ashley! You can find and follow Ashley around the web here:
Read the whole series here!