Carol from Homes Sweet Life: a Homeschoolers at Home Interview
I want you to meet Carol Emmert from Home Sweet Life. A homeschooling mom like me I wanted to get a peek into what a typical day (is there ever one) of homeschooling looks like….
Kemi: Hi Carol. Can you tell us a little bit about your children’s ages and grades?
Carol: Emily is 16, somewhere between a sophomore and a Junior. She plans to go to college to become an RN (Registered Nurse,) so we’re trying to not rush her through, but focus on getting the most out of her science and math classes.
Arlene is 14, in her first year of High School. Arlene is our outdoors lover, and plans to work as a naturalist after graduation. Her eventual goal is to lead hikes through Yellowstone. Her High School classes are focusing on Biology and Botany, as well as public speaking and survival skills.
Kemi: What homeschooling method do you use?
Carol: We have always enjoyed using Charlotte Mason’s methods. Over the years we’ve tried a variety of different teaching methods and always gravitate back to CM’s gentle learning. If I had to sum us up, I’d call us Relaxed Charlotte Mason. Her methods still work well at the High School level.
Kemi: Carol can you give us a peek into your typical homeschool day?
Carol: There are no typical days in our lives-LOL! We generally have three types of days now that both girls are in High School.
Ever since we’ve started educating the girls at home (way back when Emily was 5) Kurt and I have both worked outside the home. He works full time, and I work part time. I have often asked God if I could come home and be like other Moms, but HIS response has always been “My grace is sufficient.” I’m pretty sure that means “No.”
Our first type of day is our most typical, if I’m working days or nights (whichever one Kurt isn’t currently working) it really doesn’t change a whole lot. The girls get up, feed themselves, and get started on their schoolwork. Most of their work these days is independent study-style, either from books or online, so they can do most of their work without me right there. If I worked the night before, I’ll wake up shortly after they have lunch and help with whatever they need – usually grammar or algebra. If I’m working days, they can either ask for help first thing before breakfast, or we work on those things when I get home just before supper. I usually only work 3 or 3 &1/2 days a week, so there is plenty of time left to help them if we all plan well. If it’s a day the girls are staying home, then their amount of chores for the day increases to make sure we stay on top of the housework. When they need a break from studying they just head off to clean the bathrooms or fold laundry.
The second type of day is a going out day. This means the girls have a class, an event, or they’re volunteering at Conner Prairie, our local living history museum. If they’ve got an afternoon class or event (right now that might be their Literature class, singing with the choir from church at the nursing home, or a 4-H meeting,) then they work on school subjects until lunch, then get ready for the afternoon out. These are when I only work half-days, and I make it home by lunch. If it’s a Conner Prairie day (almost always Fridays,) then the preparation starts the night before, with everyone making their lunch to take, getting their outfit or costume ready, and scrubbing their hair before bed. I sometimes also volunteer at Conner Prairie so when the three of us need to leave the house before 8:00 in the morning, you just can’t count on getting it all done that morning. The girls both have historic costumes that they work in at least once a month, and uniforms (blue shirts and khakis) they wear the other days, so it’s their responsibility to keep track of what they need when. One of the great things about having teens is that they do their own laundry. 🙂 (Okay so having studied Museology (yes that’s a degree) in school I find this very cool and am slightly…very envious)
The third type of day, which is rare, is an everyone stays home day…ok, everyone but Dad who works M-F. On these days we usually lounge around in pjs until the middle of the morning, and you’ll probably find us watching a documentary on Netflix, or doing an extra art project. These days only happen once or twice a month, so they’re a treat for all three of us.
Kemi: Carol we just luuuvvv to see where homeschooling happens. Can you give us a peek into your homeschool room?
Carol: We don’t use just one room for school, we use our whole house, sometimes we use the local state park, sometimes our friends’ farm, and sometimes even Gram’s backyard. If you want a glimpse inside our home, you can find peruse the pictures in our 34 weeks of cleaning with friends posts.
A lot of our girls’ education happens in the kitchen and dining room. That’s where we work together and talk about life. They do a lot of their schoolwork in the living room on the couches, or in the front room on a small table.
Kemi: So Carol, you know that Homemaking Organized is all about homemaking or the details of home. We love to find out how others keep their homes. I know you mentioned your girls pitching in so can you tell us a little bit more about your own homekeeping and how you manage to fit it in with homeschool?
Carol: The care taking of the house has fallen mostly upon the girls for the past three or four years. This happened for two reasons: one- they like me to drive them places, and there is no energy left for that if I have to come home from work and scrub something, and two- they’re good at it! Seriously, of all the things I’ve tried over the years, teaching the girls how to clean the bathrooms, use the vacuum, wash dishes and do the laundry have paid much larger dividends than I ever could have imagined. In case you’re wondering, no, they don’t get an allowance for doing chores, it’s just part of being in our family. A job well done can be its own reward. Knowing the girls can do almost any cleaning chore I could do has freed me up to be able to spend more time talking with them, which is SO very important with girls. I treasure the time we have together, realizing that these two who used to be so little are now taller than me and thinking about life after High School. (That’s a beautiful thing and one I plan to emulate)
Kemi: Carol you sound super busy already but do you have any crafts or hobbies that you would like to share?
Carol: I like to sew, I like to bake, but I love to garden. Sometimes the gardening is difficult, and the crops are small. Yet, God teaches me so much about how He cares for me as I garden. As I prune the apple tree, or pick back the mums, God brings to mind the verses about pruning to bear even more fruit. I plant, I water, but God gives the increase. That reminder from my garden encourages me to share my faith, knowing I might be the one who plants, or maybe the one who waters. In all of life, it is God who gives the increase.
Ok, I’ll also admit I like to garden because it gets me some alone time. While the girls will help me if I ask (tell them to,) and Kurt occasionally helps me prune the trees, mostly I get to be by myself in the garden. In my garden, I can be alone even in the midst of a city, because its just God, me, the earthworms, the roly-poly bugs, and the ants. Slugs and snails are not welcome in my garden, and meet a swift end. The advantage of living in the city is that if I find a grub, I can toss it into the middle of the street, and in just a minute or two someone will run it over. Don’t worry, I only toss them when the street is clear – there is a keen advantage to living half-way between two stoplights.
I also love to create art. I had not done a lot of drawing or painting while the girls were young, but now that they’re older I can make time to get back to the things I love to do a little more often. Last year I found a love of needle felting while they were reviewing ARTistic Pursuits. I hope to do more of that this year.
Kemi: Carol we know you work part time outside the home. Can you tell us about your work?
Carol: I work as a merchandiser at our local grocery store. I have a specific store assignment, so I’m responsible for resetting the entire store twice a year (one section at a time.) Take out slow selling items, rearrange shelves, put everything (including new items) back on the shelf. It’s like weightlifting while doing a giant jigsaw puzzle!
My husband Kurt and I also have a home-based/ web-based nutritional business.
Our website is: www.insideandoutwellness.com We help people understand the science behind nutrition and supplement as necessary to overcome health challenges. I love to see people achieve better health.
Carol and her husband Kurt make their home in Central Indiana. Their girls have learned that “life is a field trip” and are frequently found trying new things. You can keep up with their family adventures at Home Sweet Life
Carol! I never knew all this fun info about you and yours!
Great job, Kemi and Carol! 🙂
This is great Kemi and Carol. I’ve often thought it would be lots of fun to volunteer as a historical interpreter at our local living history farm, so that sounds like so much fun!
Doesn’t that sound like fun?! We visit the Fort near our area I sometimes I wistfully think about “what if?” Pretty cool. Thanks for inspiring Carol 🙂
We do love Conner Prairie! You should check into your local history places, many of them LOVE to have volunteers! They are especially stoked about families volunteering, anyone want to don a costume? Our girls are 2 of 100 youth volunteers. It makes it more real to the school kids who visit on field trips to see actual “kids” in the daily-life activities, plus, it’s a lot of fun!