Home with All Littles: 4 Moms Q & A

moms of many manageThis week 4 Moms of 35 Kids are answering reader questions.

In response to Homeschooling: What about Single Moms?, Suzanne asked, I am a single mom who has homeschooled for the past 6 years. Yes it is a challenge. But God has been with me every step of the way. I need to seriously bring some income into this house and continue to HS my children. Any suggestions?? I wonder about medical transcription/medical billing/coding from home. Is this a realistic way to provide for my family? 

I’m not going to be much help on this one since there has never been a need for me to contribute to our income. God has blessed Raising Olives and our family does make a nice bit of money each month through this blog, but since the purpose of RO is ministry and not income, we don’t make nearly as much as we could.

Perhaps we can get some help from readers. If you know of a good way to make an income from home, please feel free to leave a comment for Suzanne.

Shana wondered, Have you posted or could you post about what it was like when you were younger and starting out?  How did you spend time in the Word?  Were your kids memorizing then too?  Did you start pre-school at 4?  Now you look so organized and sorted and well I am just not. 

Here is  our schedule from when we had four children ages 3 and under. Amber was 3 1/2, Kaitlin was 2, Matthew was 14 months and Alyssa was a newborn. Alyssa regularly woke at 5:30 to nurse and then went back to sleep. Add in blowout diapers, spilled milk, sibling squabbles, burned dinner, lost shoes, etc. and this should give you a good idea of how our days went.

I’ve always been a morning person, so I’ve always had my Bible reading/prayer time first thing in the morning. On this schedule I have it after my shower, but that was probably short lived because I generally take my shower after spending time with the Lord.

Life with lots of littles being what is, I didn’t always have time to have devotions before everyone was up. Don’t forget that personal devotions, with no children present is not the requirement of the Scripture. Read the Bible to your little ones, pray with your little ones, memorize with your little ones and remember that someday you will have a lot more free time for one-on-one time with God.

We did a lot of memorizing when our children were all small. We actually spent more time on it than we do now. We’ve done Scripture memorization at the breakfast table for as long as I we’ve had children who could speak and we still go through our memorization box during breakfast each morning.

We have never done what most people mean when they use the word ‘preschool’. We use the word, but when we say ‘preschool’ we mean that our children participate in memorizing with our family (they do this from birth) and they learn to read. Most of our children have learned to read ‘early’. As Mark put it in our family’s educational goals:

Teach the little ones to read and be consistent. The sooner they learn to read the better unless it would be of benefit to the child to wait.

One of the things that helped us in those early years is that we didn’t feel the need to start ‘preschool’ or ‘school’ at a certain age. We spent lots of time with our children and when we saw that they were ready to begin learning something, we taught it to them. Most of them began learning to read when they were around 3 or 4, but didn’t begin learning to write until several months to a year later. We didn’t officially teach math, science or history until our oldest was much older and now, when we feel that a younger child is ready to begin history (or science), we tell them, “You’re old enough to be doing history with the other children.” and they start officially participating.

People forget that we are educating children, not producing widgets.  The idea that when a child turns 5, they are ready to learn to read, learn to write, learn to spell, memorize math facts and absorb the story of ancient history is kinda silly, in my ‘professional’ opinion. Outside of a classroom setting, when was the last time you decided to start learning five completely different topics/skills all at the same time?

Also visit the other moms of many to see what questions they’re answering today:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room


Related posts:

Recent 4 Moms posts:

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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13 Responses to Home with All Littles: 4 Moms Q & A
  1. Babychaser
    September 22, 2011 | 11:28 am

    Wow… I love your schedule! And am so encouraged by your post. I’m expecting my forth in March and will have four children 5 and under. I thought that was going to be crazy… but you are showing me it’s possible (with God of course). I’d love to know what “pick up trash” meant for your 14 month old in your schedule. My youngest is 14 months and I’m pretty sure he’d eat anything if I wasn’t right with him (and even still he may try). I know all our babies are ready for things at different times, but I would love to know what that looked like for you.

    Thanks too for the chore ideas! I’m going to try to take inspiration from your schedule and see how it may help our family!

    Thank you!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I have a 14 month old right now and she would also eat anything that was on the floor. I don’t remember that happening with Matthew, but I did closely supervise this clean up. We all worked together.

    Matthew was responsible to pick up any napkins or large pieces of food that had been dropped and put those in the trash can. It was a simple job, but one that he could do without breaking anything or making a bigger mess.

    Amber used a small dust pan and brush to sweep up under the table and I helped by pointing out crumbs that she didn’t see. I also had to pre-clear the table because the little ones couldn’t handle serving dishes and other larger items.

    Hope that makes it more clear.


  2. Carrie
    September 22, 2011 | 1:49 pm

    My suggestion to the single mom who needs to earn income from home would be to launch a Virtual Assistant business. I know dozens of women who earn a full time living marketing their skills (graphics, writing, web design, marketing etc) to other business owners/website owners.


  3. caroline
    September 22, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    To Suzanne,
    The most important thing (I would think) is that whatever you do you have complete control of the schedule. I have 4 kids and have a business with a 25 year old company that I really enjoy. I have a 7 week old and have literally done nothing with the business in over 8 weeks yet it still provides an income. Would be happy to talk with you if you so desire. Just email at carolinegeertgens@gmail.com. Good luck and God bless, Caroline


  4. Hilary
    September 22, 2011 | 6:02 pm

    Suzanne –

    What a great thing you are doing for your children even though it would be so tough homeschooling as a single mom. Know that Jesus sees what you are doing and will help you.

    What Carrie said about is a great suggestions. If you don’t have those skills you can take care of other people’s kids – either all day or after school. You could sell it by being an after school tutor instead of just a babysitter. 😉

    Cooking – making dinners/meals and selling them to busy moms could make some money for you BUT be careful b/c you might have to meet state or county food handling requirements.

    Odds and ends – you could wash and iron men’s work shirts and mend clothes or sew on buttons. A LOT of working mom would pay to have this done for them.

    I pray that you find something that will meet your needs.



  5. Jeanette
    September 22, 2011 | 6:29 pm

    Regarding Suzanne’s question about single moms homeschooling. My husband, and my children’s father passed away after a year long battle with cancer, when they were ages 3, 8, 10. It was our goal to homeschool, but I was financially strapped as my husband had no life insurance and I was only high school educated. Still I was committed and found that a newspaper motor route worked for us. The kids could bring school work with them, be of tremendous help with the work, and also learn a bit about business. I also found a very part-time bookkeeping job that was 2-3 evenings per month. Aside from those two sources of income I trusted in the Lord and he provided our needs. By the worlds standards we were poor, but my children who are now grown, recall our years with joy and happiness. Good luck to you Suzanne, and any other single moms who are committed to HS.


  6. Lara
    September 22, 2011 | 8:01 pm

    Ooh, I’m borrowing your line, “People forget we are educating children, not producing widgets!” I love that! I sometimes feel I need to prove to my mother (a teacher) that my daughter is learning. Just because I don’t do things the way she or the state do doesn’t make them any less valid! Thanks for that reminder!


  7. Jessica
    September 22, 2011 | 9:29 pm

    I have four under four(it was four under three, but my oldest just turned four) right now and it is definitely a crazy time! I just finished Managers of their Home, but the schedule the author uses is more for when you have older children to help. I so appreciate you sharing your schedule from the four under the age of three! Thanks for all you do!


  8. Claire
    September 22, 2011 | 10:38 pm

    Hi Kimberly,
    This is a great post! I have a 2 yr old and a 4 month old and I love how you scheduled to wake up in the morning to shower and spend time in the Word if time allowed. I would love to start this too but since my baby isn’t sleeping through the night and I feed her on demand at night I feel so exhausted in the mornings. I read in one of your other posts that you said you feed on demand, so how did you manage to have energy for the morning? and did you wake her up to feed so she would stay on schedule for the day? I’m just a new mom with so many questions! Thanks so much : )


  9. Kirsten
    September 22, 2011 | 10:57 pm

    Just a thought for the single mom… try learning court reporting skills. You can learn at home – the problem is that it will take about a year to master it at home, but then you can make about 60k a year working doing captioning for TV’s. Also, if you ever wanted to work part-time or had a situation where that could work for you, you can make quite a bit working as a court reporter for the courts part-time or for lawyers at depositions. My mom works in accounting for a court system, my dad’s a lawyer, and I had a friend who worked as a court reporter, and she was really happy with the flexibility.

    Just a thought. Hope it goes well for you! If the Lord has led you to that decision, he will provide.


  10. Nicole
    September 23, 2011 | 12:44 am

    Dear Suzanne,
    I have done the following things to bring money into the home, without leaving the home or at least for long… bookkeeper for a church (I went to the church for a few hours), medical billing (I got this job because of a friend and had to drop off or pick up work from the office once a week), I have done babysitting in my home. My aunt did medical transcription from home but unless you are a very fast, it’s not great pay…they pay per word. I’m not sure how old your children are, but at one time I worked at our local hospital for 18 hours a week in the evenings. This provided health insurance and income. Do you have any skills that you could market (typing, web design, etc)? My mom drove a school bus when we were younger and she was allowed to have us on the bus with her. Praying you find the best way to bring income into your household.


  11. cassie
    September 23, 2011 | 1:06 am

    For the single mama….i worked for a company called teletech and worked from home. Its just customer service over the telephone and very flexible shifts/hours. They’re always hiring and its decent money. Just thought I’d throw that out there. Also..what area do you live? Maybe i can help find things in your area that you could do from home. Anything i can do, please…I’d like to help.


  12. Suzanne
    February 6, 2012 | 2:29 pm

    “Don’t forget that personal devotions, with no children present is not the requirement of the Scripture.”
    Thank you! I have 6 kids 11-new born, and “quiet time” wasn’t working out for me. I felt the Lord telling me pretty much what you said above, and we had a wonderful Bible time together today without the condemnation of not having personal devotions first.
    Also, I appreciate you sharing your schedule.
    Thanks, Suzanne


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