True Partners Balancing Education, Work and Life

“True Partners Balancing Education, Work and Life”

By Donna Vail

“I work with wonderful people who support me. And my beliefs are that the business needs to serve the family rather than the family serve the business.” Kathy Ireland


Long gone are the days when the same thing happens every day like when I grew up. I could always tell the time by what my mom was doing because the same thing happened every day at the same time. It reminds of that hilarious Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day. I meet people in my neighborhood and most of the dads work from home and some moms do too. My husband works from home, only needing to go to his office occasionally or for special projects. I work from home also, getting out for occasional meetings with business associates. Even though this sounds easy, it takes extreme self-discipline to fulfill work assignments while remaining in harmony with the family at the same time. So how do we do it every day?

First, we must embrace the thought that everything can’t be perfect and flowing all the time. You have to be fluid and move with the ebb and flow of life. We do this by constantly reviewing and adjusting schedules to achieve and maintain the harmony we desire. Here are three key areas we focus on to maintain balance and flow.

Think like a team and act like a team. We all know that we are in this together. My husband and I help each other out. We’ve let go of habits and patterns conditioned into us as children that don’t serve our lifestyle such as: “that’s a woman’s duty” or “that’s mans work.” While we have our areas of specified responsibility we both discuss the management of each getting feedback, new ideas and collaboration. With this open communication we are able to better support each other. There are times of weakness, we seem to take turns so when one is down or discouraged the other is there to lift up, counsel and confide in. This usually happens more often when we are over-booked, over tired or not aligned with our highest values. This can be minimized if not altogether eliminated by collaborating schedules with the family calendar, individual calendars, the weekly logistics and our daily check in at the end of the day.

“There is no peace among equals because equality doesn’t exist in this universe. Either one prevails and the other follows, or both negotiate their differences and create a great partnership.” –Harold J Duarte-Bernhardt

No more classroom, we’re self-educators. Burnout is not an option. I’ve been there and done that back in 1997 after standing in front of my children teaching, doing lesson preparation and covering as many subjects as possible. We now practice self-education where the children are teaching themselves using the highest quality resources as we mentor them. I hold the mentor meetings and manage their education while Julian is kept updated and steps in throughout the day when necessary to guide the children along with me. We live a lifestyle of learning. It’s become our lifestyle so we don’t feel a need to have time off. We are doing what we love and loving what we do.

Honor each other individually. As husband and wife we need our time. We make it a point to do little things together each day to keep the connection like having tea in the morning before we begin our early morning work and while the house is still quiet, checking in with each other throughout the day usually sharing lunch and dinner every day. Even though the majority of our waking hours is spent having family time we are sure to sit together, have the kids see us as a couple and tuck the children in at night going to bed together. (Moms… it’s easy to stay up at night to work. I’m a night owl and can very easily, but it’s much better for your health and marriage to go to bed with your husband. Limit your evening work by setting a timer or get out of bed earlier before others wake.) We also cover each other whether I carry the heavier load while my husband has other commitments or needs to work extended hours or my husband carries the heavier load while I have occasional outside appointments or business trips. We always choose first for the family and make all else work around this. We are constantly adjusting as the needs of the family change along with the needs of our work.

One final note and probably the most important when it comes to raising a family and relationships is flexibility. There are times when best laid plans fall apart and something truly wonderful happens. In those times when things don’t seem to be working we have learned to look for the blessing within the challenge. It’s at the threshold of support and challenge that we experience our greatest growth and life gets better than you could have ever imagined otherwise. Even when it doesn’t feel like it we’ve learned to count it all as love. Hindsight is 20/20 and the blessings will be revealed.  So when things feel as if they are falling apart remember, they’re actually falling into place.

“To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.” –Lao Tzu

Parents Inspired to Action:

  • Spend time with your spouse determining how involved each will be in the different areas of life including the children’s education. While one of you might be more involved or responsible for their academics you can both collaborate.
  • Having a structured schedule with a little flexibility included will help you work together in a more organized manner and meet the deadlines as well as attend extracurricular events. Look for ways you can coordinate schedules in the easiest and most organized way. We have a family calendar in the laundry room that everyone can view, mom has her master calendar and dad has his calendar and what he is responsible for.
  • How can you begin strengthening your bond as a couple while in the midst of everyday? Can you enjoy time together in the morning before the day starts for just one cup of tea or coffee? If you’re working outside of the home, can you meet for lunch once a week? Occasionally my husband and I eat lunch poolside, after the kids on warm sunny days. What are little ways you can stay connected and honor each other individually and as a couple?

Children Inspired to Action:  

  • Children need to see their parents as a couple. This provides them with security knowing their parents deep love for each other which over flows into the children. No need to tell them this but rather model it with some of the suggestions given in the article.
  • Children are genius’s and are fully capable of educating themselves when encouraged and given a rich environment with whole and complete resources to learn. This is not some new fancy schmancy learning concept. Self-education goes back to the ancient ways of learning demonstrated by Socrates and Plato. When you look into self-education you will find many of the great minds who have shaped our present day, learned through self-education. I know it can be scary at first. I was your typical skeptic due to my public education experience. I studied self-education for years before I decided to implement it. Now it’s the best thing I have ever done.
  • As you and your husband are navigating your plans, schedules and the every day you are modeling this for your children. Let them see you collaborating rather than meeting behind closed doors. It will overflow into their ability to do the same with their education, special interests and projects. This also translates into their ability to work with others whether it’s a partnership in learning, business or marriage.

You might be wondering what kind of systems you can incorporate to get the results you’re looking for in your own homeschool and life. What are the daily details to make it happen? Trial and error can take a lot of time. Successful people always incorporate the help of mentors and coaches so they don’t have to re-invent the wheel. If you would like a more systematic approach that includes the details to help you produce real change fast, I recommend joining the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle. It keeps you inspired and you receive coaching directly from Donna in the critical areas needed to successfully set up and execute simple and effective homeschool systems providing an education in excellence while creating family harmony. It’s easy. It’s affordable. Get started today at

2012 Theme: Waves of love.

© copyright 2011 Donna Vail International

All rights reserved.


Want to Use This Article In Your e-zine Web site, blog or newsletter? You have my permission, as long as you include this complete excerpt with the article: Inspired Education Mentor Donna Vail publishes the all inspiring ‘Living an Inspired Education’ e-newsletter. Every issue reveals tips, tools, and secrets to simply and confidently home school with inspiration! Start living a lifestyle of true freedom and inspire the best in your child.  Get your free weekly education and success mindset tips now at

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