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My Life as a Homeschooling, Homesteading Mom

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

I’m a self-proclaimed homebody.  I used to feel the need to apologize for it because I have felt judged at times for not having the desire to get out more.  But I refuse to make apology for it anymore!  On the contrary, from now on, I know the answer I will give when I’m asked why I don’t get out more.  I will proudly proclaim: “I’m a homeschooling, homesteading mom!  And I love my job!”

Almost ten years ago, when my oldest child was still a baby, I attended a monthly “Mommy and Me” group with some of my girlfriends from church.  I looked forward to it every month!  It was a blessed release in my baby-grind world.  (If only I could tell my ten years ago self what I know now:  “It’s only a season.  Savor the solitude Jaimie! And don’t waste all that valuable time.  The days will fly by and one day you’ll wish for the quiet hours of nap time.)

Julie was one of my better friends at that monthly playgroup.  She had given me precious advice that I cherished as a new mom.  She helped me figure out how to get my baby to sleep more.  I will FOREVER be grateful for that!  One of the nuggets that she shared wasn’t even advice.  It was just a simple statement and I think she would be surprised that I remember it and took it to heart all these years later.  One day, as the summer was drawing to a close, she shared that school was starting and she wouldn’t be coming anymore.  I was confused because she was a homeschool mom and what I knew about homeschooling was that moms get to make their own schedules.  I missed her at each of the following play groups.  I got even more confused when I saw other homeschool moms showing up regularly.  Why couldn’t Julie find the time?

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Fast forward ten years and I have the answer.  She was 110% committed to homeschooling.  She treated it as her job. A job that she couldn’t just decide to take the day off whenever she wanted.  A job where you show up and put your time in, whether you feel like it or not.  It wasn’t something to do unless something else more fun or interesting came along for a day.  She was ready and willing to say no to things that she really wanted to do because it would take time away from her homeschooling day.  I admire that so much in her because I try really hard to keep my priorities straight.  Teaching my children is my full-time job too.  Add to that off grid homesteading: laundry by hand, cooking everything from scratch, cleaning the house, keeping up with the dishes, food preservation, and our home business.  Sometimes it seems like more than a full-time job!  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am a mom.  My time is not necessarily my own because my children require a lot of it.  But I do set my own schedule.  After all, that’s one of the beautiful things about homeschooling.  I have the choice to set school aside for the day, if there is something else more pressing or if we all just need a day off.  The problem arises when I take too many days off.  One day turns into another and another.  I turn around and the week is gone.  Taking too many days off is a sure way to waste an entire school year.  Whether you see yourself as more of an unschooler, classical educator, Charlotte Mason fan, or loyal to your favorite curriculum, I think you know what I mean.  Being a home educator takes passion, commitment, and being intentional in creating learning opportunities for our children.

Before you think we are all business and no play, we schedule time off from school to enjoy lots of activities.  We take extra time in the late summer and fall to get all the garden produce canned and enjoy camping as a family.  We also travel a couple times every year, as we get the opportunity to speak and share with others about our life and homesteading.  We are not digging away in the trenches every day of our lives!  We are just trying to be intentional with the time we have at home.  I’ve learned time is a gift and I have to be purposeful with it.  It flies by so fast and even faster as my children get older.  At the close of this spring, my oldest will be in 5th grade.  Ahhh!!!  How did that happen?  It seems like just yesterday I was teaching him as a kindergartner to write his letters.

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This season of homeschooling is just that, a season.  I know my homeschool days are numbered.  I will not always have a 4 year old who begs me to read to him constantly.  I will not always have a ten year old whose face lights up with every new and amazing fact he learns in his studies of astronomy.  In ten years, I don’t want to look back and regret that I didn’t savor these years.  I choose to seize this time with my children, to enjoy their discovery, and to teach them everything I can.  It’s the best job I’ve ever had and that’s why I’m proud to be a homebody.

 

 

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About JaimieB

Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead. They live with their two sons and her parents Tim and Joann on 50 acres located deep in the American Ozark Mountains.

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15 comments

  1. So much this! Those days go by all too fast, and before you know it, your babies are all grown up and trying to be the adults you worked hard to raise them to be.
    And, then, one day, they are on their own to serve the Father…and the nest is a bit more empty….and you miss those days when it was all you could do to eat a piece of toast in private. 🙂

  2. Love this article!!!! What a light in the darkness!

    • As a homebody and homeschooling mom as well, I completely understand. Life can pull us in so many directions but when we have committed to raising /training and homeschooling our children we have to learn how to put things in order. I have always believed that as a wife and mother my first ministry is home. I watch my friends at times so busy with homeschooling, attending groups, involved in political duties, and so much more. I admire the ability to do so much, however I have also watched their children suffer character issues due to the fact that mom is just so busy. When I feel the need to compare and question if I need to do more outside of my home. I am reminded that home is my first cAlling, Adoni has blessed my husband and I with 5 beautiful blessings and one on the way, that’s 6! Talk about a lot of dedication and responsibility at home lol! And like you, I love what I do, it is not easy but I love it and I wouldn’t change it t&s is the season that I am in right now💕. Blessings, love and shalom to you and your family, and thank you so much for sharing this encouraging message.

  3. I remember you telling me you are perfectly content being at home- and you’re a homebody while we were at the lake playground by the lodge talking about homeschool groups, play groups, etc. My family not really fitting in them, we don’t fit the clicks. Not to mention that we really homeschool pretty differently than others. Reading this was a nice reminder for ME to be content.. no matter where I am. Here I am- just itching to get outdoors. I can’t wait for this snow to melt so that we can get out and go do our schoolwork outdoors somewhere in the mountains. I’m happy inside the home only when absolutely necessary- I’d much rather be outdoors. Anywhere. Not in social settings, but hiking with the kids, primarily. We spend the majority of our summers out in the mountains foraging, hiking, kids doing a bit of photography now- we also do writing, reading, history and bring samples in for our microscope when we’re out and about. I suppose it will be different when it’s actually OUR home, not just a rental in town.. But I’m not a content homebody yet. 😉 I have never been content in town. Much love to you and your precious boys.. Thanks for this awesome reminder.

    • Yes, I remember Amber! I loved getting to know you that day. 🙂 I would still say that you are always actively involved in homeschooling, just in nature! Which is a great choice! We actually do a lot of school outside in the spring and summer too. I don’t mean by “homebody” that I’m inside all the time. My homestead is my home, so even outside I’m still home.

  4. Just what I needed to read today! I am also a homesteading, homeschooling mother and it is definitely has its ups and downs, ins and outs but wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for sharing such a positive post! I don’t feel like the only one!! 😊

  5. My husband just came in and asked me what I’m reading. I said, “Justification for everything I’m feeling lately.” Ha!! Thanks for the encouragement…these are all the things I believe but, I’ll admit, I do struggle with feeling like I should be out more…

  6. Love your article. I am also a Mom who homeschools in our beautiful Ozarks. Although we live on a modern farm now, I also know about living off the grid. I lived that way with my parents for 7 yrs after they settled in the Ozarks. It is a lot of work, but SUCH an awesome way to grow up! Nothing like teaching kids responsibility and frugality by having them haul their own bath water from a spring. 🙂 Your kids will thank you one day for your time and effort.

    Mine have spent much of their “free” time after school for the past year helping clear woods and build a barb wire fence around our property. I wonder how many 9-13 year olds can build a fence?! Love teaching them practical things as well as typical school work!

  7. Thank you! I needed to read this today, as a homeschool mom of a 13, 11, and 9 year old the struggle is real. This is an area I struggle in and this article has spoke to my heart.
    Blessings
    Tiff

  8. Loved this article. As a mom who plans on homeschooling my 3 boys at the start of next school year, this was a great read! Thank you!!

  9. Jamie–as a new mom who is about to start off-grid homesteading in the Ozarks (and homeschooling, once the boy is old enough!) reading your words is both encouraging and bolstering. I “gave up” a full time job and much of my old life in order to make this change, and I know it has been baffling to a lot of the people I used to know. I am so happily “barefoot in the kitchen,” and really look forward to our rich days together at home! I feel like this is the Father’s good design for a family, and it’s so rare to find someone else who also seems to understand. 🙂

    I love the authenticity and love you use to talk about your hardworking, beautiful life. I am looking forward to getting to understand it better in my own way soon. Shalom, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. My husband and I love learning from your YouTube channel and blog.

  10. Magdalena Alvarez

    The days are long, but the years are short! This post is an excellent reminder. I have homeschooled our nine children for over 12 years, and for the past 8 years or so have been making baby steps toward urban homesteading. I have learned to slow down, cherish each moment, and think long-term. I have learned to cut out the parts of schooling that were not necessary and delve deeply into the things that do. Having a daily Morning Time has been the most important factor in making our homeschooling days successful. Even if something unexpected comes up (the chickens get out AGAIN, or an old friend stops by), I know for sure we did the most important things during Morning Time.
    I so enjoy your Youtube channel and website. Thank you!

  11. I have been living on a fairly primitive homestead for the last two years and actually learned about you shortly before we started our own journey of self reliance. We do not yet have children, but know when we do, homeschooling is our only option. I seems so daunting! I barely have time as it is and to then surrender your past and be a fully involved parent seems as exhausting as it is extraordinary. I see in society there is too much trust in a broken system and as a result the children are losing their fullest potential and families are losing the importance of their roles. Homeschooling is the best way to ensure true values are instilled in our future. You gave great words of encouragement. You are a wonderful family!

  12. I homeschooled our 3 for 22 years total. It was the hardest job I’ve ever loved! Boy, did I learn a lot. But you are right, time is swift and it won’t be long till they’re graduating. Enjoy every day, even the hard ones.

  13. I am with you and I am so grateful for your example as well as knowing there are others out there walking the same path. I have homeschooled for 19 years and am new to torah…and now I hope to join the homestead movement! Thank you and your family for teaching us! I did want to say I love your head coverings lately…where do you get them?? I usually just wear a bandana but you have some very pretty ones, like in the picture above. Thanks!

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