Artist Living

Creating a Structure that Works for YOU, not anyone else, but YOU!

Me Ra Koh

As we wrap up another year of homeschool, I have to say I’m SUPER proud of  my kids.  They knocked it out of the park this year, and Brian and I got to witness it first hand.  The one thing I love about homeschool is that every family looks different in how “school” plays out for them.  Our family is no exception. Some days are put together, and some days are crazy messy.  But we are constantly creating what makes sense for us.

We have a busy travel schedule that often shifts at the last hour.  All four of us have to make a conscious effort to work together to find our constants, our anchors as a family, in the midst of unexpected twists and turns that accompany dream building.  The grandparents play a vital role too. (we love our grandparents!)

I used to feel like a homeschool failure.  After all, we don’t raise chickens in our backyard.  We don’t belong to any homeschool co-ops.  We don’t do a number of things that parents often ask me about when they consider homeschooling.  I can’t tell you how many times I looked online at buying a DIY Chicken Coop Kit because I really want to try raising them!  But over the years, this insecurity has faded more and more, and I see two strong, creative, confident kids finding who they are and experiencing joy in the midst of it.  Our family has created a structure, beautiful rhythm, that works for us.  It may not for anyone else, but for us it’s perfect.

Thanks to a wonderful neighborhood full of kids, great church and awesome park system for little leagues, the kids get all kinds of play time with friends.  But I get to sit down with Pascaline every week and teach her about writing.  I get to brainstorm plot ideas with her and edit every paper for another rewrite.  Her last writing assignment for this year was to write a creative story that involved two main characters, a beginning hook, two scenes of Rising Action, a Climax, one scene of Falling Action and a Conclusion with moments of dialogue intertwined.  Can I brag on her a little?  As you can see from her video yesterday, she’s got quite a personality.  🙂  Well, she’s a born storyteller.  She read me and Brian her paper and I wanted to cry.  She DID IT!  Every single story element was there, and her story was tight.  Not only did she understand all those pieces of storytelling, but she made them her own.

People ask me all the time how I manage homeschool with our business and travel schedule.  The bottom line, one cannot exist without the other.  When I work five days a week, I’m a wreck–completely out of balance.  When I’m with the kids five days a week, I feel just the same with being out of balance.  But when I do both with Brian, trading off days between the two of us with work and school, I feel this wonderful ebb and flow of pouring out and filling up.  It isn’t an easy balance to keep, by any means.  And there are so many times when I end a work day, feeling like I’m really in the groove, only to leave it for a couple days to do school.  But having to steward both responsibilities forces me to time manage like nobody’s business.

When I sit down for a work day, the day is scheduled out before I even begin working.  No time to wander on Facebook.  No time to surf the web and other blogs.  For me, I think this is a great set up because when I have to much time on my hands–I tend to fill that time with things that don’t build me up or inspire me.  Instead, I end up surfing the web and finding all kinds of reasons for why my dreams will never happen.  Anyone hear me on that one?  🙂

I’m not sure if it’s the same dynamic in other countries, but I find that our country puts a lot of pressure on parents to do things a certain way.  To perform at a certain level.  Many of us may not even realize we have a choice to create a structure that works for us–for the needs of our family.  I’m not saying everyone should homeschool, but how often do we do things as parents that we feel we are “supposed” to do versus what our family needs at this moment.

If you could take a blank piece of paper, crayons, colored markers, even paint! and map out a summer that was right for your family, at this season in your family’s life, what would it look like?  What emotions would you want to experience as a family?

Next summer wouldn’t have to be the same.  Give yourself freedom to just look at this summer.  What would you create?  If guilt starts to creep in, keep it out for ten minutes of free thinking.  What would you do if you had a magic wand?  What would your family’s summer look like day to day?

Everything you write down may not be possible, but I guarantee there will be some that are.  And it’s amazing how the smallest, intentional, purposed, bit of shift can unfold into a new gateway of endless, unexpected possibilities.

What is one small shift for you and your family this summer?






  1. I often get so caught up in the “big picture” goals for my family that I forget to focus on the small things, the things though that end up really creating the fabric of your family life. Thank you so much for this reminder today.

  2. Jennifer Tacbas says:

    Great post! Some random thoughts… I think it’s great to often remind ourselves that we do not have to be what others think we should be. As parents, individuals, photographers…whatever works best for ourselves, whatever fills us up, is all we should be concerned with.

    Social media is bittersweet in that my business would not exist without it, but there are also so many distractions and discouragements lingering online. I wholeheartedly believe in eliminating as much negativity as possible and choosing to only surround oneself with positive energy and people. It was a conscious choice I made last year, and it has done wonders for my happiness and health. Truly!

    P.S. I’m digging the art projects starring the seaweed boxes. 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing! This summer is different for us because this is the first year my younger son is not attending special needs summer school. He had been attending since he was 2 years old and now that he is going into 1st grade, I just needed him to be home with me.

    When we moved to San Diego, we transitioned into him being in full day kindergarten. My days are super lonely without him there so I wanted him home with his brother and I during the summer. 2 weeks into vacation and I am glad I made that decision! 🙂

    I used to always think I needed to keep up with the Jones’ when it came to raising my kids and that I wasn’t pushing them enough. Now, I say “whatever!”. 🙂 They are only young for so long and I want them to enjoy their childhood and for their dad and I to enjoy it with them. 🙂

  4. Me Ra says:

    Michelle, I love that you are deeply in touch with what you needed. You needed him to be home with you, and I often feel those stirrings in our heart are a compass to what our kids are needing too. I can’t wait to hear how this summer unfolds for your family.

    Thanks so much to everyone who commented on Pascaline’s video yesterday. She left all of you a comment this morning, and as you will see, you boosted her confidence to a new level. Deeply thankful for all of you! Her heart is singing with possibilities today!


  5. Love it MeRa – beautifully said and a great mama you are!
    Let your mind rest & relax … you are doing this thing!!!
    We can see the fruit in your kids already …

  6. Jess Robertson says:

    Ditto what Lynda said 🙂 we are planning on homeschooling Zach and if he turns out half as awesome as your kids I’ll be happy! You’ve done an AMAZING job being a mom, wife, teacher, photographer, dreamer 🙂 and you still manage to fill us up too! Thanks for sharing this…loved it!