Judy Hoch is married to a truck driver and has 7 children, five of which she is officially homeschooling. She blogs about large family living and homeschooling at Contented at Home. She has branched out recently by working on an e-book and becoming a virtual assistant.
Here is the conversation we had over e-mail in the “fringe” hours of our days:
Well, with seven children ranging in age from almost 2 to 17, we’re certainly not your typical American family! Add homeschooling into the mix, and yes, we’ve received our share of raised eyebrows and less-than-polite questions.
I am enjoying the blessings of having a large family. I have teens who can drive, shop for groceries, cook, and help care for the younger ones. I also have little ones that enjoy reading, playing, and learning with Mom. I’ve even had the unique experience of teaching a teen to drive while also helping a baby learn to walk! I couldn’t ask for more.
Many readers may not know what a virtual assistant does. Could you describe your new job to us?
Virtual assistants can fill many roles, but my current position focuses on social media promotion via Twitter. My job is to represent my client on Twitter, enabling her to concentrate on developing content and building her businesses.
During a typical day, I will schedule multiple tweets announcing various promotions, events, and news as directed by my client. I also keep close tabs on her websites, ensuring that each new post will be shared with her Twitter followers across all time zones.
Working as a virtual assistant taps into my natural love of organization and efficiency, bringing me a lot of satisfaction. I love that I can earn money to help my family while doing something that I truly enjoy!
You have high school students nearing graduation and a few preschoolers. How do you manage to homeschool such a wide age gap?
Independent work and plenty of flexibility! Actually, a large part of our homeschooling success is due to the fact that my children are self-motivated and most of them prefer to work alone.
While I am aware that hands-on learning and exciting projects are often considered the ideal way to homeschool, I choose to honor their learning preferences and allow them to flesh out their learning with plenty of extra reading materials instead. I’ve found that they will pursue any topic in which they are deeply interested on their own–in fact, they’ll often go farther in their research or reading than I would ever have dreamed of requiring.
How would you describe your homeschooling style?
We are traditional homeschoolers with a bit of a relaxed approach. We rely on textbooks as the framework of our studies, but we like to keep everything as integrated as possible. For example, a child’s reading assignment is often correlated with the historical period he is studying.
What would you tell a mom that was interested in starting her own blog or virtual assistant business?
Be prepared for the time commitment that your blog or business will demand. Most new bloggers or business owners find that everything takes twice as long as they had expected. Finding a way to effectively balance work with the higher priorities of life is probably the most important thing you can do.
You have probably heard the “how do you do it all?” question more times than you can count. While we all realize that no one mom can “do it all” nor always perform perfectly, what are some things that help you juggle your responsibilities?
Yes, that question is one every homeschooling mom has probably heard many times! And truthfully, no one can ever “do it all.” That’s a point that bears repeating.
A few things that help me keep up with homeschooling, homemaking, and work responsibilities:
- Delegating household tasks to my teens and tweens, who in turn benefit from their added responsibilities
- Letting go of perfectionism, especially as it relates to housekeeping–I confess I don’t dust nearly as often as I should!
- Setting other hobbies aside in order to keep up with my main “hobby” of blogging
- Allowing my husband to take everyone away for a few hours on Saturdays–the quiet gives me time to work and regroup
- Giving myself permission to take days off from blogging in order to balance the other areas of my life
What do you struggle with most as a mom, teacher and business owner?
It’s a daily challenge to keep my priorities in order and to manage my work hours without taking too much time away from my family. I’ve found that it’s easy to SAY that my priorities are God, family, and then work. It takes an ongoing commitment to follow through so that my actions agree with my ideals.