I am THAT Mom Who Brings her Tablet to the Park




I am THAT Mom.


The mom other mom’s whisper about. 

“Can you believe she can’t take a few minutes to watch soccer practice?”  

“Isn’t spending time at the park with her children more important than Facebook?”  

“Doesn’t she know her kids are more important than her laptop?”  

While the kids swing, I answer the alert on my phone.  My fingers create a clickity clack melody while my daughter attends ballet class.  Splishes and splashes compete with the sound of a conference call.  Yes, I am that mom.  

While other moms were swearing off smartphones and committing to spending more quality time with their children, my quest for the best productivity apps continued. The trend of giving up smartphones for giggles and sticky hands continued leaving in its wake judgement for those who continued to be summoned by alerts on their phone.  

Addiction and misplaced values cannot be blamed for my refusal to give up my smartphone. My arsenal of technology supports the ballet classes, swimming lessons, and homeschool curriculum.  I am a homeschool, work at home mom.  My life is an endless game of beating the clock.  Late nights and early mornings blend together and threaten to turn me into a cast member of The Walking Dead.  I needed to end the confusion between sunrise and sunset and find structured time to attend to both my work and my homeschool. 




I will not pretend that structure and balance are easily achieved.  I won’t even pretend that the guilt you feel for working while have children will disappear.  The reality is we have to do the best we can by maximizing our time without causing our children to be sacrificed.  Let me add that spending a few hours working while your child is happily engaged is nothing to feel guilty about.  Dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor do not define your worth.  This life is colored by many seasons and each one is not without challenges or blessings.  My current season brought me the challenge of finding the best balance (not perfect) that I could achieve between working and homeschooling.  One small step in that direction led me to working while my children enjoyed classes and activities. It may seem crazy to some but my homeschooled children are well socialized and enjoy plenty of opportunities outside of the home.  They also relish the independence of interacting with children or other teachers while mom sits on the sidelines.  Today, those sidelines serve as my office.  My traveling office allows the freedom for my children to partake in those activities and for me to get work done so time at home can be spent together.  

So, the next time you see a mom engaged in technology at the park or during practice, turn your head, bite your tongue, slap yourself, or whatever you need to do to prevent your darn blasted judging. 

So What is this Miracle Schedule for the Work at Home Homeschool Mom?

Moms often ask me about my schedule and I am always hesitant to share it.  One, it is far from perfect.  Two, schedules only work with the natural flow of your lifestyle and chances are we not the same person. Let’s not even get into how many times it goes off course which is proven by the crumbs on my floor.  

6am:  My work day begins while the kids are still sleeping. 

8am:  Breakfast

9:30am:  School begins and work ends for the moment 

(Work hour tally:  3.5 hours)

12pm:  Lunch.  Kids get an hour break.  I will either wrap a few things up or prepare for dinner.  

1pm:  School starts up again.  I do not work during this time.  If I am not needed I use this time to prepare for the next day or clean. 

3pm:  School ends.  My office hours begin.  

5pm:  Office hours are over and it’s time to make dinner. 

(Work hour tally:  2 hours)  

6pm: Dinner

7pm-9pm:  Family time!  However, I will use this time to clean or work on a project if the family activity is watching the Flash or one of those shows my husband watches with the kids. 

9:30pm:  Shower and final clean up.  

10pm-Midnight:    Work if needed.  (I normally is needed unless it is a day where the kids have several activities)

(Work tally:  2 hours) 

I call this my skeleton schedule.  As you see it does not account for activities, cleaning, or life.  Still working on adding in unpredicted events but my crystal ball is still in the shop.  However, it does provide for 7.5 hours of work…potentially.  

Classes and activities vary from season to season so it is hard for me to account for those hours.  However, on our busiest season I will get about 4-6 hours a week to work while my children are happily engaged doing something else.  Believe it or not, that is enough time for me to cut back on office hours or go to bed at a decent time.  I think one hour of uninterrupted time is equal to 5 minutes of time at home; so I highly recommend shooting for this uninterrupted time.  

You may be asking about weekends and where my husband is during all of this chaos.  Yes, I do work on weekends if needed.  During that time my husband provides me with much needed uninterrupted time.  During the week, my husband works long hours so I do my best to keep the times he is home for family time.  


My best advice is to find a routine that works for you.  I hate routines but sadly it is what it takes.  Give yourself grace.  Pray for direction and always put your schedule in God’s hands every morning.

Daily Action Plan to Help You Get it All Done!  

I added a section for writing in a verse to focus on for the day.  I encourage you to post this and refer back to it to keep yourself on track and keep your verse on your mind.  





Cleaning Schedule for Those Who Do Not Like to Clean...like me!








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Hands On Spelling Activities & Week Plan









Hands On Spelling Plan for the Week



  • Hand out new spelling list.
  • Say and spell each word out loud with your child.  
  • Have your child copy each word and word definition into a spelling notebook. (The writing reinforces spelling and the looking up the definitions reinforces vocabulary and dictionary skills.)







  • Have your child write out each word 5-10 times each. 

TIP: To alleviate boredom I allow the student to write out the words with colored pencils or ultra fine sharpies. Of course writing out words is not a novel idea but it is still a very effective tool as writing forms a connection. 






  • Have your child write out one sentence for each spelling word.  If your child has trouble thinking of a sentence you may help.  I try to reinforce good handwriting and grammar during this exercise without going overboard.  
  • Challenge your child to write a sentence or two using as many spelling words as possible.  
  • Alternate activity:  have the child draw a picture of each word (or an image representing a sentence the word is in) and write the word under the picture.




  • Pretest is given to determine which words are still posing difficulty. Any words that are still difficult for the student are to be written out five times each. 
  • Play a spelling game. 







This is spelling test day!  Now all that hard work will prove valuable.  The traditional spelling test is performed by the teacher saying the word and the student writing the word down.  That is the only way I have done spelling tests.  However, I have allowed my student to recite his words orally for to change things up. Another way to change things up is to allow the student to use a dry erase board for the test.



TIP:  Any words missed on the test are written out five times. You may want to add any missed words to the next week's spelling list.

I hope this proves helpful to you and your child.  One of my kids was failing every spelling test until I decided to add in a hands on approach. 

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Discovering Dyslexia

alyquy

The look on her face, as she stared at the flashcard, revealed the confusion going on inside her head.  She could not make sense of the letters. The simple word"in" became an impossible puzzle. She knew what an "i" sounded like.  She knew what an "n" sounded like.  But the pieces did not fit.  The word was never formed.  Her bright eyes grew misty and the storm came.  The only evidence of a reading lesson were the tears that fell on the table.

Why could other children her age read and she could not?  Why was she unable to learn?  I had no answers.

She was a smart girl, so I thought the road to reading would be a well lit path.  The path dimmed with each flashcard and each reader book she could not decipher.  We had bright moments when the words made sense and stickers were happily given for her achievement.  Those moments were overshadowed by a disconnect between what she saw on paper and what she was able to understand. The world of reading was closed off to her.  I tried to give her the keys but the door would not unlock. Her ability to understand what was being read to her was well above her grade level.  Yet, here she sat unable to remember the entire alphabet and struggling to read sight words.  I had to find the key that unlocked her ability to learn.  I had a child who asked me to teach her how to read and yet I could not.  I had a child who begged me not to teach her little sister how to read before her.  I could make no guarantees.

Determined to find a key, I headed to the bookstore to purchase yet another set of early reader books. I looked at the selection and felt defeated.  I had almost everything there and what was left were cookie cutter versions of the same materials. Then a promise of hope walked up to me.  She saw the book in my hand and told me what a great resource it was for her daughters.  I smiled but doubted she could understand the struggle going on.  She told me her daughters were dyslexic.  Dyslexia.  It was the third time I had heard the word that week.  Could it be possible?  My promise of hope offered a name of a reading specialist who may hold the key.  I called immediately and made an appointment.

It was the day before my daughter's 7th birthday.  My husband and I sat across from another promise of hope as she explained our daughter's test results.  She began by telling us how impressed she was by some of the scores.  Alyssa is a very bright girl who scored well above her grade level in many areas.  Despite her difficulty with rote memory she scored high in math which was a testament to her intelligence.  Like the wind foreshadows an impending storm, I knew these kind and encouraging words would leading us toward the rain.  The disparity in her high scores to her low scores were vast.  The vastness represented the severity of the disability. Alyssa also showed a problem with both phonological awareness and phonological memory.  Many dyslexics only have an issue
with one but she has both.  Her quick wit and keen observation betrayed her as the scores in rapid naming and processing put her well below a Kindergarten level.

A storm never stays.  The ground feels the impact of the lightening and is covered by the rain but it always resurfaces.  It resurfaces to feel the warmth of the sun;  the feeling of hope. What seems like
devastating winds reveals truth and clears a path.  Dyslexia does not prevent the swirls of creative imagination from moving.  It does not strip the person from feeling the joys of the written word.  It
does not mean defeat.  It simply puts you on a different path of learning.  We are leaving the dark path behind as we follow a new well lit path. We stand grateful for God's nudging, grateful for the rays of hope He brought this mom who sought only to grant her child's request to read, grateful to know this beautiful mind.

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Richele McFarlin, author of Under the Golden Apple Tree, and founder of Moms of Dyslexics, enjoys a good cup of coffee as she demonstrates her ability to wrestle HTML to the ground and write from the heart.