dreamEvery now and then I allow myself to dream.  What would life had been like if I chose to work at a real job instead of stay home and teach  my kids?  What would it be like to get up every morning and shuffle them off to school while I go sit at a desk somewhere, doing whatever people do that sit at desks, and wish I was at home with them (or maybe not.)  When all four of my children are talking to me at the same time and my husband asks me why I’m in a bad mood and it’s lunch time and all we have really accomplished is preschool and half a math lesson and I KNOW I have to finish a good day’s work; when we haven’t done science in a week because the next lesson is an experiment and I keep forgetting to buy, say jello, and I KNOW we are behind in science; I let myself dream of such things.  So I decided to translate working terms, office lingo, the jargon of the cubicles to the life of a stay at home/home teaching mom.

Let’s start at the beginning.

First I’ll give you the phrase you are probably familiar with then it’s definition to the aforementioned mom.

Maternity Leave:  This is when the older children only do math and reading.  School may take place on the sofa more than usual and showers are optional.  There will be absolutely no play time while the baby is asleep, this is the only time mom is available to use both hands and will teach multiple children multiple subjects at once until the baby wakes again.

Business attire:  Jeans, tennis shoes and a t-shirt with a sweater/sweatshirt layered over the top.  This is the only way to get down to business by 9:00am.

Sensitivity Training:  This is when you sit two children down that are fighting and explain to them that someday they won’t live in the same house with their sister and they will miss her.  That they will always be friends with their sister and someday they will regret fighting with her all the time.

Sexual Harassment:  This is when the husband/father (who is conveniently working from home) grabs the mom’s butt when she is cleaning up after lunch.  She gives him the “it’s noon not midnight…weirdo” glare and no complaints are filed.

Working Lunch:  Eating a PB&J while cleaning play-doh off the kitchen table so every one else can sit and eat.

Conference Call:  Giving a spelling test while simultaneously making household/personal appointments on the phone.

Benefits package: No monetary value, infrequent recognition at best.  Someday the world will see some of the most amazing kids that were ever born and someone will know it is because their mom must have been completely insane.


  • Anonymous

    January 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

    haha sometimes i try to imagine what it will be like homeschooling in certain situations in my daily life now (bringing home baby 3 being one of them) and this definitely sheds some light. maybe a little too much light…

    – hannah

  • Carrie Catlin

    January 17, 2013 at 3:23 am Reply

    I make it sound like it is not the most wonderful decision I ever made. I am of course joking. It is hard work. The truth of the matter is that it is a full time job. As close as your girls are, by the time you get used to teaching one, you will be teaching two then three. This is my only year that I will have all four of them home schooling. Madelyn (14) is doing a virtual honors program and she is 99.9% independent from me. She works with teachers and other students mostly online but also in person sometimes too. I proofread and help her with math occasionally. For her I pretty much just make sure she is getting her work in on time. Then, Audrey (5) is in preschool and we work 3-4 days a week for an hour or so on reading and math…basic stuff. For the 4th grader and 6th grader, I am teaching them full time. I dropped off an application on Monday to a school Madelyn is really hoping to go to next year. After every thing settled down for the day and I sat by Luke in the living room I started to get chocked up. I remembered the day I took her to Kindergarten entrance testing. I enrolled her, but never took her to school. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t imagine this wonderful child who had changed my life forever being away from me every day. Here we are in the second half of the 8th grade and I’m starting to feel the same way. Except this time I know I have to let her go. A good friend and mentor who has 8 children, whom she has home schooled, told me that your children will leave you as quickly as they came to you. So how you are feeling now, like “BAM we just had our first kid, now we have #3” that is how they will leave. “BAM our first just left for college now we are packing up #3” I know that once Madelyn goes to high school, Emma and Gloria will be right behind her. And the same goes for college. It goes by so quickly that the truth is I have treasured every art project, every science experiment, struggling through phonics with a dyslexic child, long division, multiplication tables, Bible lessons (which we never do enough of) and most of all looking into their precious eyes and knowing that they are learning. It has been the best decision I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t spend my life any other way. Unless of course I won like 5 million dollars, then I’d send them to a really great private school. HA!

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