Monday, August 8, 2016

Working and Homeschooling. Finding Balance.

It's that time again. Everyone is getting ready for school, buying new books, scheduling field trips, and planning co-op classes. For homeschooling parents who also work this can be an especially daunting time. Whether you are working for financial reasons or personal reasons, you are always asking yourself the question "Am I doing what's best for my children by keeping them at home?"

All homeschooling parents have to have balance. That's a no-brainer. But for the working-homeschooling parent, balance is essential for survival. When we have time for school, it is a scheduled time--just like work is. And balancing these two schedules, which are naturally at odds with each other, takes constant care and attention. Am I eating into my child's school time by working on the computer too long? Am I slacking off on meals and other family time that help my children know THEY are the ones that matter? 

I have found that getting my kids on board is a huge help. They know I would rather be home with them, so we all work together to make my time at work less demanding and my time at home more fruitful. I try to teach them to see that their participation in chores, activity planning, and sticking to their studies while I am away is for the common good of the family. And I think it's working! The dishes are done every day without my having to ask. The trash is taken out when it's full. And, with some reminders, the sweeping gets done. Everyone works together to fold clothes and help our youngest with her chores. Is it perfect? No. But, we're in this together and it's important for me to know when I walk out the door that we're all on the same page and caring for each other.

Perhaps the most important key to working while homeschooling is having a support network. I do not know what I would do without the wonderful person who enriches my young ones' lives while I'm away. (You know who you are!) And there are a handful of amazing people who will take my kids to events while I'm working. I know if my kids are in need, there are reliable friends they can call in a pinch. I couldn't do this without them.

So here's to a new school year for all homeschoolers, and here's an extra hurrah for the working moms and all the people who help them. You're doing a great job!

Kate Kirkpatrick

Friday, July 1, 2016


Days are longer, hotter, and more humid. Summer has arrived here in North Carolina. Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to make our own schedule: some of us "school" all year long, others take time off and keep a public school calendar, and still others do something completely different.

I tend to do a mixed bag. We take off some time here and there but not a long stretch at any one time. I prefer to take off the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seems to work the best for me. Also, we take time off during early spring to plant our garden. Of course, I believe that teaching my child to garden, cook, can and pickle is all part of the learning process so we really never stop learning.

Not being a fan of the heat, I would rather spend summer doing our core subjects. Then when the weather is nicer, we have time to be out and about; that is just one of the many joys of homeschooling.

Summer can be a great opportunity to spend some time to focus on a tough subject or crack a hard problem. For us it’s also time to lay out next year's plan. As we advance through High School I find that laying out a plan is harder and harder each year. I have happily listened to those who have gone before me and soaked up the information they have shared.

So, enjoy your summer no matter how you spend it. All too soon the leaves will start to change and it will be time again to find the jackets and sweaters.

Posted by

Heather Garcia.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Wake Forest Homeschoolers is more than a Facebook group, a website or a Co-op. It is a community.  Twice a year we come together to put on our co-op.  We all pitch in, we teach or assist, we help with the cleaning or even child wrangling.  It takes all of us working together to make it happen.   

Kristie, our fearless leader, spends months getting ready, more so this time because of the new location. She puts thought into where the classes are located, makes sure we have co-teachers and that there are enough people to leave the place cleaner than we found it.

Teachers are busy putting together classes. I know I am working on mine.  At events I am hearing the buzz of excitement that co-op is right around the corner.  In the end it takes each of us doing our part to make this a success.

I am seeing more and more events pop up on the calendar.  People who have not hosted before stepping up to help.  It is so exciting to see everyone making this group amazing.

We have board elections coming up so if you have a desire to step up please let a board member know.  We will be happy to assist in any way we can.  Someone can tell you the different positions and what they entail. We will be discussing these roles at our next open board meeting.

Thanks again for making this group more than a bunch of people.  For making it a community!

Posted by
Heather Garcia

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's That Time Again!

It’s that time again. Biannually we ask for help with co-op.  To make it a success we all need to pitch in.  There are classes to teach, baby room to assist in, and clean up to do.  To keep our fees low we all need to pitch in and help.  Kristie, our Co-Op Coordinator, will have her hands full with a new location, so the more we can do to help her, the bigger our success.  

I know it is daunting, the thought of teaching a class, but really it’s not as scary as you think.  Come up with an idea or ask around.  I know we need classes for the younger age groups right now, so feel free to step up.  Every class has an assistant so you are not alone and there are some moms with some great ideas.   

I am always amazed with the wonderful class selection, as well as the hard working families that help with all aspects of this event.  Set up, break down, clean up and teaching.  There is a lot of work to go around and plenty of members to share in the tasks.  

I myself will be teaching a life skills class for the older kids, sort of a fun take on manners and etiquette. This is something that was requested by my last class of kids so I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.  I have also taught a class in how to get a job and money management.

It is hard for me to believe that this will be my third co-op teaching and the 4th one I have attended. Seeing it grow and watching the new families add their own touch is an exciting adventure to me.  With Kristie’s organizational skills and everyone pitching in we can make this the best co-op yet.

Have questions, need help?  Send a message to Kristie.

Thanks in advance for all your hard work

Posted by Heather Garcia

Monday, February 8, 2016

Be an Ambassador

Even with the growing homeschool community, there are still some very negative connotations that go along with our choice to homeschool our kids.  We hear: “unsocialized”, “uneducated” and “unambitious”. We’ve heard we are “lazy parents” or we are “super religious” and  we certainly  “are not teaching real science”. Or combinations of all of these statements- I am sure we have heard them all.  Even the assumptions of helicopter parenting or being that “Tiger Mom”.

Now, I am sure there is a little of this going on among the homeschoolers, but most of us are just normal people who have made what we think is the best decision for our kids.  A lot of times, we have had to homeschool our children despite an unsupportive spouse or family, or even community ridicule.

I’d like to think I am an ambassador of sorts. I don’t mind most questions; well, maybe not “what do you do all day?” But as a general rule, I say, ask away! I am an open book or as open as I can be, anyway.  I have had the whole range of questions asked of me, and mostly I just answer as honestly as I can. Sometimes I ask the same question in reverse to a parent of a public school child. Maybe this can be seen as not being very nice, but one can only answer “are you doing your child a disservice?” so often before you lose it.

Today, I was in a group that has nothing to do with homeschooling and a conversation started. I dispelled a few myths and gave some good information. Information, this wonderful woman said, she has never heard before from other homeschoolers. I don’t hide what I am nor do I shy away from what I do.  Also, I share information I have, willingly and freely. Not only did I make a new friend, but helped someone who felt lost and put them at ease.

We are blessed in our group to have some wonderful ambassadors- not only on the Board but in the membership. I have seen members giving information and sharing experiences. They help new homeschoolers and even the frustrated old timers.  The community is what matters. What we are building here matters.  

Posted by

Monday, January 25, 2016

Family Togetherness

Here in NC we saw ice fall from the sky and then a nice layer of snow fell too just to make it interesting.  That means the state closed up shop.  Time to embark in some fun family times: board games, fireside chats (because the power was out) and dinner at the table by candle light.  There has been a lot of time to spend together.  

Now for some this is a blessing, for others, not so much. For me, it’s not so bad.  We generally are stuck home when there is a weather event due to my location in the “sticks”.  Homeschooling goes on, housework happens and we all go about our day.  Though, even with my extreme homebodiness, there comes that moment when you just can’t stay inside anymore.  

I watched the news, kept an eye on the weather and decided I would try to enjoy this storm and wait it out.  But, by Saturday when my husband suggested we brave the outdoors, I was dressed and ready before he got up! I guess I do have my limits of being at home!  So we went to the store to pick up a few things- mostly to get out of the house.  

My driveway road had trees downed by ice which made the drive out a bit of an adventure. The main roads were clear so getting to the store not so bad. It started to snow again; just lightly enough to send us home.  On the way back to the house, we decided to go ahead and cut down trees to make the road easier to traverse.  It was a good outing.

All in all we survived the storm and managed to not be overcome by cabin fever. And, the good news is that it looks like we are going to warm up this week! That will make all the crystal trees coated with ice disappear, and the snow will melt, but so will the ice.

Back to your regularly scheduled homeschool activites.

Posted By
Heather Garcia

Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding Friends

Definition of friend according to Merriam-Webster:
friend, n.
  • a person who you like and enjoy being with
  • a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

Being a stay at home, and a homeschooling mom, has made friendships both easier and more challenging.  What do you do if you really like someone but your kids do not mesh, or what happens if the problem is just the opposite? I have been blessed with an amazing group of friends, and a fantastic peer group. That said, there are times when I feel like a fish out of water. I have friends with kids in school who work and I find it hard to spend time with, or even common topics, but we still care about each other.  We support each other to the best of our abilities.  

Still, in any group (kids or adults) you will have differences of personality or opinion. So what do you do? Here is what I do: I try to be polite to everyone. I am acutely aware that some people do not like me.  I feel it, and have even had to hear it.  Mostly I try to smile and do my thing.  If you like me, great!  If not, we are grown people and we can be nice to each other, especially if our kids are playmates.  Yet, it is much harder than it sounds. Having a party with “all” my friends, means a diverse crowd.  People from all walks of life-both ends of the political and financial spectrum-with so many varied backgrounds. We make the term “melting pot” look boring.  I see it more like a stew.  Not everyone likes lima beans, or peas, but mostly we can all agree on a rich broth.

There are people I consider friends who I know don’t reciprocate and I have chosen to be okay with that.  With some people I interact, I am cordial to, but we are not friends.  Sometimes, the differences can be chalked up to just life; other times, it’s not enough shared common ground, still I am friendly.  The diversity in any given group, and especially a secular homeschool group, often has the unfortunate problem of having someone who does not like someone else, or there is an issue and a divide where people pick sides. To me it seems like we are all grown up enough to find a way to get through any issues- to be polite and to move on.  

That said, I have been in a circumstance where I have had to leave a group because of a personality clash, where I was not part of the “clique”. As a result I am acutely aware of feeling like an outsider. One that does not “belong”.  To this end, I try to reach out and embrace anyone new in our circles.  Even if we do not end up being the best of friends, it is my hope that we can be friendly, and that they felt welcomed by someone.  We are all human and all deserve respect and common courtesy.

Posted By
Heather Garcia