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Working on It: Balancing SLOCA and Work – Shelli Rohr

April 26th, 2018

{photo by Olu Eletu}

We’ve got one more post in this series to share before the school year is over – here’s another interview with a SLOCA parent who works either part-time or full-time in addition to keeping up with SLOCA life.

In this series, we ask questions to find out just how they manage to balance school assignments, home days, family, chores, meals, and other activities all while holding down an additional job! It’s certainly not easy, but many parents have chosen to work alongside doing SLOCA, and we want to share with our readers how they work on making it all work. These interviews show that where there’s a will, there’s a way!

If you’re a parent who is “working on it” as well, we hope to encourage you and we are inspired by you! We hope you can relate to these questions and answers. And if you’re a reader who is considering SLOCA but is unsure about how to manage the workload with an additional job, read on for some thoughtful answers to relevant questions.

Today we will hear from Shelli Rohr, who will share about her family:

{photo by Shelli Rohr}

Q: How many years have you been at SLOCA and what grades are your children in?
This is our 11th year at SLOCA.  I can’t believe it has been that long!  Chloe, our oldest, is a sophomore at SLOCA High School.  Sophie, our youngest, is in LMS.  We also have a son who is special needs and a cancer survivor who attends a special day class in the Lucia Mar School District.

Q: Are your kids in the 2-day or 4-day track?  Do they attend Friday Foundations and/or Academy classes?
We have been a “Track B” family and Sophie still attends on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Since Chloe is now in high school, she is at SLOCA on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Occasionally, we will attend Academy classes.  It all depends on scheduling and if the girls are interested in the classes being offered.

Q: What is your job outside the home?
I was a part-time kindergarten or first grade teacher up until this year.  I am now a mentor teacher who helps new teachers with classroom management skills as well as effective teaching techniques.

Q: How many hours a week do you work?  What is your schedule?
I taught on Thursdays and Fridays.  My partner was there Mondays-Wednesdays.  As a mentor, I am able to set my own schedule.  I must meet with my teacher(s) for 1-2 hours per week.  I set up times that work for both of us.

Q: How do you fit in the homeschool piece?
I am a firm believer that homeschooling can happen anytime and anywhere!  Both my girls have a basket where all their schooling materials are kept.  The basket would travel with us.  Sunday nights, I would look at my schedule and map out my week of homeschooling.  Chloe was an early riser, so a lot got done in the morning before I left for school.  Sophie, the night owl, did more in the evenings.  There were times when we would be “car-schooling” if one of them had an activity or an appointment.  When my son had stays in the hospital, we would be schooling in the play room there. 

Q: How do you (or do you) keep your house clean?
This would be a NO!  Something had to give and this was it. Trying to keep everything incredibly clean as well as work and homeschool the girls was impossible.  I had to give myself grace and realize that it is okay for the living room not to be picked up.  I would rather have this time with my kids.  The cleaning will be waiting for me when they have grown.

(If I am to be totally honest, when my son was going through intensive chemo treatments, we were gifted with housekeeping services.  That is the only time it was really clean.)

Q: What do you do for dinners?
The slow cooker, and now the InstantPot, have been my best friends.  On Thursdays, I typically used one of these devices to get dinner on the table.  The slow cooker would have the meal ready when I got home and the InstantPot allowed me to get food on the table in 20 minutes.  Fridays tended to be my longest working days and I deemed it my “No Cooking” day.  My husband knew he was in charge of dinner.  Whether he made something or picked something up, I didn’t care as long as I did not have to think about it.

Q: How much does the other parent in the home help, with homeschooling and housework?
For the first several years, Jim would work 4 - 10 hour days so that he had Fridays off.  The girls would be at school on Thursdays and then he would homeschool on Fridays.  He mainly concentrated on math and science since those are his areas of strength.  When his schedule changed and he needed to go in on Fridays, I was able to hire Brenda Holton, another SLOCA parent, to help out.  She came to my home on Fridays to homeschool my girls along with her kids.  This helped with her tuition costs and my girls got a lot of homeschooling done.  

Q: Do you have a strong family network that helps with the care of the kids, meals, etc?
Unfortunately, we don’t really have any family nearby.   We do have a strong “SLOCA family” who has always been willing to lend a helping hand when needed.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone considering SLOCA who works and is worried that they can’t do both?
I believe that if you are passionate about something, you will make it happen.  We wanted our girls at SLOCA and we were willing to think outside the box.  School doesn’t have to occur between 8-2.  It doesn’t have to happen in your living room.   Can you change the hours or days that you work?  Do you know someone who might want to help out? 

I also believe it is really important to be connected at SLOCA.  It is these relationships that I made at SLOCA that really helped me out.  Parents videotaping a recitation for me on the days I had to work, sending me notes of classroom connection meetings I missed due to work, picking up my girls for “special activities” so that they could attend, or buying lunch for one of my girls because they left it at home.  Being connected at SLOCA made it workable.  

We love this! Thank you for sharing, Shelli. What great encouragement, as well as practical ideas such as having a “No Cooking Day,” getting homeschool help from another SLOCA parent, and staying connected to our SLOCA family for support. You show us how creative thinking and relying on others for assistance can really help make SLOCA and all the benefits it brings to your family manageable.

Readers, please add to this conversation by leaving a comment below!

And if you’re a SLOCA parent who works and would like to be a part of this series, please email Down Home and let us know – we’d love to interview you too!


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