Right now I:
*teach two French classes
*run a sensory playgroup for children with SPD
DD (age 5) is in:
*a Monday co-op (1 class, a drama club, and playtime)
She also would like to start piano and ballet this year, and she's starting in a Wednesday co-op for more classes this fall. She really likes taking classes. As far as academic interests go, she's into math (addition, substraction, basic multiplication), French, and learning how to read right now. She's also been learning how to knit hats on a round beginner's frame that she got for her birthday. Mostly she's a social kid and really thrives on playdates and playgroups.
DS (age 3.5) has OT twice a week. He's not into groups right now, so we've pulled back from that for the time being. We're looking into an open gymnastics program for him, which would meet both his interests and his sensory needs. He's into writing letters, building marble runs and fairy houses, making playdough creations, and Tinkertoys.
We go to the library once a week for storytime and to get out books and movies and we have memberships at several local children's museums.
It sounds like a busy schedule and I guess it is, but it's spaced out over the course of a month (i.e. Earth Scouts meets once a month, I teach one of my French classes only once a month, my other class is once a week, the library is once a week), so on a daily basis we're generally not running flat out. I have time to sit on the computer and check in here at MDC. The kids right now are chilling out in princesses dresses, coloring in the Sesame St. coloring books their gram gave them for Christmas.
I really enjoy being able to provide them with experiences that will broaden their understanding of the world. We do a lot of field trips, to farms, to museums, to fairs and festivals, etc. I also really enjoy seeing them come to conclusions and new realizations on their own. DD figured out basic multiplication principles in the car one day when she was 3. I have no idea what sparked it, but there you go. We never pushed it and she's been gradually building her understanding in fits and spurts as she develops. It's fascinating to watch how she thinks. DS likes to ask questions like, "Where were we before the sun existed?" He ponders things. Again, no idea what sparked that question, or most of the other ones he comes up with. But I got to see it happen, and that's pretty cool.
I work off and on as a massage therapist and herbalist. I also write, spin fiber that I plan on selling in the spring and summer at the farmer's market, I compound herbs that I sell as well.
I know its hard when they are so young. They seem to demand all of your time. Can you make playdates for your 5 year old around the time your 20 month old takes a nap that way you have some free time?
Or maybe keep your 5 year old occupied when the little one takes a nap that way you have some free time? Hire a homeschooled teen to watch them for a few hours a week? See if you can trade off with another homeschool mom, have her watch your dc for a couple of days a week and you take her dc a couple days a week.
Before I started working from home and ds3 came along, I had the other two in childcare and we did lessons at night. Then it went to working part time out of home and that freed up a lot of time to be with the kids and do things during the day.
I am just me. Cert. HHP and Herbalist and mom to three wonderful home educated boys.
And I don't have to put on a "teacher" hat and drill information into them for a set number of hours each day either (that doesn't work for us). Very free, for us all, and yet we are all learning what is needed.
To explain, I am really into cooking at the moment, so I spend some time each day reading and trying recipes. The kids do their own things while I am in the kitchen, with my 2 year old coming in to put on his apron and help stir the batter or my 4 year old meandering over to see what I am doing. I have chosen easier recipes that don't take quite as much concentration as others b/c I don't always have completely uninterrupted time presently with my new baby and toddler and youngsters, but I am happy with the compromise.
I think it depends on how old your kids are, their needs (special needs?), and your interest you want to pursue as to how much independence you truly will have.
And because there is natural flow to life, some days will be crazy and you'll get a second in to yourself in the evening and other days the kids are off in their own world and you may have more time then. The hard part for many ppl is that you don't know for sure unless you schedule it.
What I am learning is to be more flexible, patient, to know myself better and what I want and don't want, as well as communicate what I need to my family. Like they say, unschooling isn't a method, it's a way of life and that takes time to come to.
I just keep in mind someday they will be all grown and I will miss this time. As long as I get some breaks and have my own interests here and there, it helps me survive some of this chaotic life with babies.
Some things may take a little more effort finding someone to watch the kids while you take a class, or if you work part time. I see it as doable in many cases.
I know I can deal with the frustrations that come and go with having small children around during the day mainly b/c the usual options don't work nearly as well for us (school or school-at-home). I have become more creative with finding ways to have time for me. I have become better at not feeling guilty when I need a break and also better at setting boundaries for me during the day. I wouldn't have learned those things as well if I didn't "have to". (if my kids weren't around, I would not have gained those skills)
I don't think that if someone doesn't unschool, it's wrong. I would say they are just simply choosing another set of life skills to learn and missing out on others.
Mama to DS (10), DS (8), DS (5), DD (3), & DD (6 months).
Lucky Wife to My Techy DH for 11 years.
We Homebirth, Full-term Breastfeeding,
Connection Parenting, Life Learning, our LDS faith.
Cat- FT ministry student and Sonlight hsing momma to a wild crew of girls
Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07
And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12
It isn't many hours, but it's enough to keep me satisfied. I used to get that "ack, what AM besides 'mom'???" feeling and this has definitely been great. Plus she gets free classes
Depending on the work schedules of your dp or family members/friends who live nearby, it would be easy to take classes, get a part-time job, or get out and keep up with a hobby. When my daughter was 1.5-2.5, I took a couple classes online and took an anatomy class on Saturdays when my husband was home. That helped, too, because I had something else to use my brain for I also know moms who work from home grading tests or writing articles.
i have older children than you and like others have said, it does get easier!
my dh and i have swapped roles when i went to work full time outside the home and he stayed home while writing a novel. that worked really well, he is much better at time management than i am and is a better stayathome parent. now we are both working and this is until we are debt free and then we might re-evaluate our schedules again.
i also have a night during the week for my passion, west african drumming and singing. i'm a part of an all female ensemble and we have such a blast learning new rhythms and songs.
i think in order to do it all, you have to make sacrifices. and i was unable to make the sacrifices i'm making now when my babies were under 3.
So...I started my own website, combining two of my loves....writing and homeschooling. It is tough at times, because I'm so ALL OR NOTHING, but you just can't beat yourself up over it, ya know???
So, for right now...I'm doing what I want, just in a different way than I thought. I'm also teaching a craft class for k-2 at our local homeschool co-op-- that's something I've always really wanted to do.
While it may not be perfect, I just try to find ways to make me happy. I enjoy writing lists/planning, so I'm always getting to research/plan/write lists for homeschool and, honestly, it makes me happy.
I keep books with me. Anytime I have some down time, I'm reading New Moon from the Twilight series.
I remind myself that I'm still young. I had my daughter at 24 and my son at 26. I'm 30 now. I'll still have plenty of time to figure out who I am and where I'm going...and for now, it's fun to get to try on lots of different hats.
Every now and then the house gets messy so I take an afternoon to declutter/organize/clean. I can't concentrate in messes.
Like Rachel, I have my own website, but have two different blogs. One focused on homeschooling, and one focused on reading (as well as improving my writing/vocabulary).
Homeschooling has enriched my own personal life, my family life, and my bond with my daughter so much.
mama homeschooling Satori, dd6 in the beautiful CO Rockies