About Kara Anderson

Kara is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom, driven by an unknown force to write everything down. She takes too many pictures, and never leaves home without a notebook. Read about her adventures with her two amazing kiddos at Quill and Camera.

Working from home & homeschooling: The hardest part of Kara’s homeschool year

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

I was laid off from my job as a newspaper editor the day I turned nine months pregnant with my first child.

I remember trying to carry my box of desk-junk and pilfered Swingline stapler out to my car. What the heck am I going to do now, I wondered.

Months before, I had worked out a sweet deal with my boss for a 12-week maternity leave, followed by working from home, then going back just a day or two a week.

But our company was purchased and I was let go, told I was welcome to submit a resume again after my baby was born.

(I like to think that that’s why I took the stapler.)

I freaked out a little, but when my son was born I realized just how lucky I was. I had an opportunity to reinvent myself.

I started to consider freelancing. I applied a few places and got some writing work.

I’ve been working in some form or fashion ever since (taking a short break when my daughter was born three years later).

Freelance writing was a great fit for a mom of littles. I would get a job, followed by a month or so of silence. Just when I was convinced my phone would never ring again, I’d get another assignment.

It was very manageable. Until last year.

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Why we practice life skills summers

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

It was a few years ago now that we had our very first life skills summer. And it all began really simply.

I made each of my kids a morning checklist:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Brush hair
  • Make bed

My daughter was a pre-reader at the time, so we made her a picture checklist. And for the three months between our regular co-op meetings, from the end of May until early September, we practiced the items on the list every day.

Until it became automatic.

Until all I had to say was “Ok guys! Do your checklists!” and everyone knew what I meant.

What was remarkable, though, was how much this one little thing helped us when the school year started up again.

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Why you need hygge, homeschool mom

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit (how difficult mothering is) quietly to each other over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.” ~ Anna Quindlen

We gather on Tuesdays. Our four families.

We bring pastries and Pokémon cards, and there is always tea.

Buckets of tea.

Embarrassing amounts of tea.

We gather around a table covered with muffins and fruits and cheese; books and broken pencils and drying art projects.

(Those last few are mostly at my house.)

There’s no schedule. No real plan.

There’s never pressure to host.

We understand when one of us is swamped with work or finishing a paper for a class. We get it when church commitments come up.

And yet, it happens almost every week, in some form or fashion, and it has become one of the most important things in the world to me.

These friendships, formed around homeschooling and mothering and being daughters and wives – I hold them in my heart.

I’ve wondered what to call the wonderful feeling I get while sitting around those tables.

And then, recently, I read about hygge.

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Are you a weird (enough) homeschooler?

karamainpicmoWritten by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

People ask me every once in a while.

They lean in close, touch the top of my hand and say it in a way that I think is supposed to mean,

“Of course I’m not referring to you … ”

“But aren’t some homeschoolers a little, you know … weird?” they ask wrinkling their noses or raising their eyebrows.

Yes. Probably.

BUT.

I often think that many of us are not weird enough.

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life with a 7- & 10-year-old

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.

It’s a funny time of year for me to share with you a day in our homeschool life, because I feel a breeze of change this season — it always seems like the holidays provide us with enough of a full stop that we can’t help but begin again a bit differently.

And so, I’m finding it a challenge to decide what to share – do I tell you about the last few weeks before our family took some time off to celebrate Christmas? Or do I tell you about our plans for the winter?

Maybe a little of both?

homeschoolday

Or perhaps even better, I should tell you about Dec. 22, the day that “officially” began our Christmas Break — the day my daughter came up to me, gently tapped me on the shoulder, and whispered, “Mama, when we start school again, I want more homework.”

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