balance

Podcast: Our work schedule (and how to come up with your own) via EntreFamily.com

Podcast #20: Our work schedule (and how to come up with your own)

Balancing work time between spouses, especially when you’ve got a family to take care of, can be more than a little tricky.

We’ve written previously about our work schedules and daily/weekly routines (here and here). They’re an ever-evolving thing for us, and yet the longer we do this dance of both of us working from home while sharing family and homeschool duties, the better we get at it. 

It’s a frequent topic in our EntreFamily Facebook group, and a continual conversation with other EntreFamilies we know in real life. We’d be willing to bet it’s a topic that matters to you, too.

Hard as it can be, it is possible to find rhythms and routines that allow you to both keep on top of your business, do your most important work AND care for your family intentionally in the midst of it all.

So join us as we share how it works in our home, what we’ve learned about ourselves and each other, and the key things to take into account as you create your own shared work schedule.

Ryan's work setup. Blocking out the world with his noise-reducing headphones and enjoying his MANY screens.

Ryan’s work setup. Blocking out the world with his noise-reducing headphones and enjoying his MANY screens.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How we devised our weekly personal and work schedules, and how we make it work while homeschooling our five kids (note: this podcast was recorded before we put our kids into school temporarily).
  • Why our schedules perpetually evolve and always will.
  • The three parts of our work day and why we divide it up that way.
  • Creative ways to get more work done when you’ve got kids in the home (hint: the work force you might not have considered).
  • How your personal routine (or lack thereof) affects your work routine.
  • The invaluable effects of personal reflection.
  • Key things to consider when creating a schedule that will work for you.
  • Why it’s important to understand your own values and personal mission (as well as those of your spouse).
  • The practicalities — work responsibilities, kid’s schooling, extracurricular activities, personal rhythms and productivity, mealtimes and bedtimes and the pillars of your day.
  • Why you should keep trying when scheduling gets frustrating.
Mischievous but adorable munchkins playing by mommy's desk.

Mischievous but adorable munchkins playing by mommy’s desk.

Resources from this podcast:

Quotable:

“Intentionality is the main thing.” -Ryan Langford

Find Ryan and Stephanie:

Ultimate Bundles

Entrefamily

Entrefamily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Go ahead and listen by clicking on the play button right here at the top of the post.

Or, listen directly through iTunes or Stitcher!

Thanks for joining us for today’s podcast!

All photos from my Instagram account.

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It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

Why we put our kids in school (after 7 years of homeschooling)

Before sharing we we put our kids in schooling after homeschooling, ’ll begin by stating what may be the obvious, but there is no perfect option when it comes to educating your children.

At least that’s been our experience this spring, as for the very first time ever we opted to put our three oldest kids into school after seven years of solely homeschooling.

Although we surprised a lot of people with our decision, it didn’t ultimately feel surprising to us. Different, outside of our norm, a learning curve for us and our kids — it was all of those things and more.

But it wasn’t a total surprise and this is why: because although we’ve never actually gone and done it, we’ve discussed and contemplated the idea of school myriad times before. We’ve frequently said we would never say never and just because the time hadn’t arrived yet didn’t mean it wouldn’t come at some point.

Several wise friends have encouraged me over the years not to hold tightly to any particular choice, but to take each year as it comes. None of us know what life will hold, and so we’ve come to agree with them that a “one year at a time” policy might be best.

That said, I thought it might be helpful to work through some of the questions that might be on your minds…

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

The reasons why we put our kids in school after homeschooling

Back when I was pregnant with our fifth child Oliver, I wondered if we might want to temporarily put the kids into school and began researching local school options last January.

After having such a great experience balancing homeschooling and work while traveling and spending some time in Europe, we came home encouraged and sure that we’d be ready to jump back into homeschool after summer, new baby or not.

What we didn’t take into account was that we’d end up spending 2 months living in Nashville and more time driving across North America, or that we’d spend 3-4 months this winter developing a brand new business with a model that was unfamiliar to us.

In other words, we got worn out (it could even be argued that we wore ourselves out; let’s just tell it like it is).

Whatever the case, by the time we hit January, we were plain old tired.

I had struggled with a lot of postpartum depression and anxiety this time around and was having a hard time doing life in general. Although we were more or less “keeping up”, we weren’t thriving and didn’t feel like we were giving the kids our best.

This brought us back around to the school conversation and within one short week, we knew it was the right decision for this season. We went forward with applying at a local private school that stood out to me when I looked around last winter.

The kids were quickly accepted and the school worked hard to accommodate us and make the process speedy. Within two weeks start to finish, we were dropping them off for their first day (whoa Nelly).

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

Why did we choose a private school?

This is too big of a conversation for this post, but one of the reasons we choose to homeschool is our belief that public school doesn’t offer the type of education we want for our kids.

We want something more individualized, that really works with their unique personalities, interests, gifts, strengths, and weaknesses, rather than an education determined by the average student (or even the lowest common denominator) in a large classroom.

We also wanted smaller classrooms and more hand-picked teachers. We preferred a world view that matched up more closely with ours. We wanted to be more involved and feel like we were part of a community where our kids were really known and not just on a conveyor belt that pushed kids through the system with a cookie cutter approach. We also wanted really solid academics and a more rigorous approach to particular subjects.

Though there really is no such thing as a perfect school (including the school they’re currently attending), we felt overall that this private school matched up more closely with our ideals for our family and our children’s education than a public school experience would.

And I’m sure I’ll receive flack for making that statement, but it’s honest if nothing else. I don’t think a public school education is necessarily a bad thing (after all, I’m the product of public school and I’d like to think I turned out OK), but I also saw and experienced the weaknesses of that school system growing up in it and it’s just not what I want for my kids.

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

Filming for our current launch.

Did we do this so we could work more?

Yes and no. For the rest of the winter, we did need to work more hours as we finished getting this new business launched and off the ground as well as possible.

Beyond that, however, we looked at it as a way not to work more hours, but rather to catch our breath and feel more refreshed and rested before jumping back into homeschooling again in the fall (at least, that’s our current plan).

We’re both trying to take one weekday off “work” per week, to do projects around the house, bring some more organization and stability back to our lives, and for me in particular, to practice a little self-care and spend extra time with our pre-schooler and baby.

We also needed the mental and emotional release that came by not carrying the burden of wondering each day whether we had done enough to educate our kids.

We needed to temporarily pass that off to their teachers and be available to support them, of course (because success in school is hugely dependent on the home environment), but not be the ones solely responsible for everything they needed to learn each week.

Having them in school means one less thing occupying our mental space and will give us the freedom to not worry about school or playing catch-up during the summer either (which we probably would have done had we kept homeschooling the remainder of this year).

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

Will we go back to homeschooling?

Yes, we plan to start up again this fall.

Taking this hiatus has definitely cemented the fact that I love having our kids at home and take so much joy in overseeing their education. There are many things I miss about it and we both feel that it makes more sense when it comes to our family’s values and lifestyle choices.

What do we like about having our kids in school?

  • There’s something to be said for not having to worry about their education, and instead just getting to be plain old Mom when they get home each day. It simplifies our relationship to some degree.
  • Although we still have a pre-schooler and baby at home, it definitely is easier to get work done without the noise of 5 little people (and the mess that follows).
  • They’re enjoying making friends, something we’ve had a hard time doing since moving to our new community two years ago.
  • We’ve seen some big improvements in the work quality with one child in particular, and another child is receiving special learning assistance that was really needed. We’re hopeful that by the end of this school year we’ll be over the hump with the two non-readers we started out the school year with, and having all three big kids reading independently next year will make a HUGE difference compared to how hard the first half of this year was. Part of the struggle this year was just a particularly difficult mix of our kid’s ages, specific needs, and overall household dynamics. Previous years had definitely felt easier than this one did.

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

What’s not so great about having them in school?

  • It really messes with our evenings – we miss being more relaxed and just hanging out together. Now we have to fuss with things like spelling words, read alouds (both of which would have been done earlier in the day while homeschooling), homework for the eldest, making lunches, checking planners and signing permission forms, etc. We don’t see them most of the day then feel like our family time in the evening gets eaten up too quickly.
  • It can still be a lot of work to keep up with it all – lunches, school activities, uniforms (for those in private school), homework in the evening, field trips, drop off and pick up, etc. I would say now that we’ve got the hang of it, the work load is definitely less than when we homeschooled, but for the first month it honestly felt like almost as much work and these days it still feels fairly significant. Putting your kids in school is different, but it’s not a cop out or a way to get off scot-free.
  • We just miss them in general. They’re gone for almost 7 hours and that’s a pretty huge chunk of time.
  • They have less downtime than they used to, and the younger ones in particular have had a hard time adjusting. Our introverted son especially craves quiet, creative play time and he struggles to get enough to meet his needs when he’s gone at school all day and sometimes we have errands or other events in the afternoon/evenings. Our extraverted daughters handle it better because they love the extra time with other kids.
  • I’ve been rather shocked by the level of dramatics that play out in the classroom. One six year old darling can generate quite enough drama on her own. Put her together with 13 other girls and a heap of boys that act like, well, six year old boys… and it’s a recipe for tears and “she said this” and “she doesn’t want to be my friend”. Every. single. day.
  • It cramps our style. We now have places to be at certain times, and can’t just take off for vacation or travels when it suits our family. I get that I probably sound whiny and entitled even saying that, but there are very good reasons we value the flexibility and freedom that comes with our entrepreneurial, homeschooling lifestyle. It’s hard work, but so worth it. Yet another reason we’ll be going back to it in the fall.

What have we learned?

  • There is no perfect solution. Each educational option comes with pros and cons.
  • We weren’t doing as bad a job as we thought. In fact, we’ve recognized that we were actually doing a pretty good job most of the time. Having the kids in school has highlighted some of their strengths and the benefits they’ve received from all these years of homeschooling are shining through.
  • Deep down, we really love and value our unconventional lifestyle and are eager to return to it BUT it’s been a beneficial experience. Honestly, it was the right thing for us in this season. We have no regrets and we’re both grateful that we did it.

It was a big decision, but in this post we share the ins and outs of why we put our kids in school after homeschooling for seven years.

Image credits: school supply bucketsdesks in classroomgirl blowing dandelionswings, school bus, and our own cute kiddos dressed in their school uniforms from my Instagram account.

Podcast # 15: The transition from job to full-time entrepreneurs – how one family did it (with Kris & Katie Kimball)

For many of our listeners, the question isn’t “how do we make our entrepreneurial family schedule work?”, but rather it’s “how do we take the leap and get to that place of being a full-time EntreFamily?

Today’s podcast guests know full well the amount of hard work, planning, preparation and guts that it takes to make the transition from relying on a job to going it all on your own.

I specifically wanted to catch up with Kris and Katie now, rather than 6 months or a year from now, when they’ve figured things out a little better and the uncertainty of those early months have faded in their minds. I wanted to hear from them while they’re still in the trenches, just figuring it out, and while it’s all still new and fresh and challenging and exciting at the same time.

That’s exactly what we got. They’re less than 6 months in to their journey since Kris quit his full-time gig and they decided to really make a go of this. They were honest and real about what it’s looked like for them – the good as well as the hard.

I think it will be particularly helpful to those of you just considering making the change or walking through those early months of it yourself, so let’s jump in to our conversation with Kris and Katie Kimball!

Read More

Why running a business blog is hard… when you’re still running a business

You may have noticed a lack of posting and podcasts recently. We’ve keenly noticed it, too.

In fact, we’ve particularly missed both writing for and interacting with this community here at EntreFamily.

It’s something that Ryan and I have increasingly grown to enjoy and value, since it can be so hard to find a tribe of others that really, really get you. (Which we feel that our readers here really do. Get us, that is.)

Back when we were in the planning stages of the EntreFamily website, we talked a lot about who we were, who we hoped our audience would be, what we thought we could offer them, and what our message would focus on.

Over and over in those conversations, we landed on these two points:

  1. We’re not gurus, experts, or anything of the sort. We might be a few steps or years ahead of some of our readers (and probably behind some of them as well). But we always wanted to be in the trenches with you all. Running the same race. Still on the journey. And sharing it all with you as we go.
  2. That meant that we needed to stay actively involved in our own business pursuits, aside from this site. We never want to become those people that only want to teach from a pedestal, while not living this stuff out in our actual day to day.
During our very last week of three months of travel... here we are freezing our tails off at Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.

During our very last week of three months of travel… here we are freezing our tails off at Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.

Which leads me to our absence…

We’ve been working, y’all.

Really hard.

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Podcast #11: Leaps of faith and finding work/family balance with Bob and Linda Lotich

One of the greatest parts of this podcast for us is getting to connect with other inspiring, like-minded couples, and this podcast was no exception.

Ryan first connected with Bob on a bundle project early last fall, and then I met both Bob and Linda briefly at a conference in October. We were both impressed with the work they had done to build up their blog, ChristianPF.com, into their family’s sole source of income.

What I love about their story is how they’ve bravely jumped into this lifestyle of being entrepreneurs, even though it was never the original plan, and in the midst of a difficult layoff. Their quick success with the blog is testimony to their hard work and especially Bob’s tenacity in testing, experimenting and learning how he could best optimize the site and maximize their revenue.

I know you’re going to be inspired by hearing their story, so let’s get right to it…

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