About Me

Hello my name is Kathy Balman. I am a wife to my wonderful husband who I married in 2000 on my 19th birthday and a mother to two wonderful children. My daughter is 8 and my son is 7.

If you are curious as to why my blog is named Kathys Cluttered Mind just take a look around and you will see why. My brain NEVER shuts down and there is so much I want to see, say and do! So my blog is a way for me to do that. I used to have one niche now I have several. I have readers from all over the World and from all different walks of life. Some of my favorite things to write about are homeschooling/unschooling, geocaching, travel, fieldtrips, freebies, movies, books, healthy eating, Georgia, LEGO, volunteering and more. We also do product, travel and curriculum reviews!

Our thoughts on homeschooling/unschooling:
In August 2011 we began our homeschool journey. Our ultimate goal is to homeschool through high school. We follow an unschooling, eclectic, relaxed, delight-directed, experiential approach to homeschooling. We use anything and everything we can get our hands on that is FREE or nearly FREE. Each month my children pick topics they wish to learn about! I then help them find resources (library books, videos, lapbooks, etc) they can utilize to learn about their interests and passions. Nothing is ever forced in our homeschool. If they are frustrated with something we move on. For example we tried to get Gwyn to read in the Fall of 2011 and she wasn't quite ready there were tears and meltdowns. So I backed off and waited until she said she was ready. One of my ultimate goals is to have my children enjoy reading and learning. Because as one of my favorite children's authors once said,  "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." We incorporate a lot of unit studies, lapbooking, thematic units and literature based learning (Charlotte Mason). We often take fieldtrips 2-3 times a week, because both kids enjoy hands on learning and being out of the house (okay so do I).

Homeschooling has been going great for us. We have had some ups and downs and have made many adjustments along the way. It is by no means an easy job and I often tell people it's the hardest job I have ever had. But we so happy we choose to home educate our children and look forward to what lies ahead.

The Journey to homeschooling:
We knew when Gwyn was about 3 that we definitely wanted to homeschool, but we didn't think it would ever really happen because of financial reasons. Since my husband was homeschooled throughout elementary he new first hand the benefits. After realizing we couldn't afford private school and really disliking what we were seeing in the public schools we knew our only option was to somehow make one income work for our family, so our dream to home educate our children could come true. And so the journey began....

I was a retail manager for 10+ yrs. I did EVERYTHING. I did marketing, managed a staff of up to 15 employees, cleaned, stocked, handled money, provided customer service, you name it I did it. I made great money but I worked long hours. Once we had children we decided the retail hours were not going to work out for our new family. I had ideally wanted to stay at home, but that just couldn't happen because of financial reasons. So I transitioned into a desk job at a Real Estate school. I was there 5 1/2 yrs and really enjoyed it. My boss was very flexible and understood I had a family and that they came first. I was an administrative assistant and again did EVERYTHING, except manage a staff. But I did learn a few new things. While working at the school I had the opportunity to take classes to get my Real Estate and Appraisal license and also a Home Inspection Certification. I also learned quite a bit about website design. When the economy took a dive the company decided to branch out into the Travel industry, so I also learned a few things about being a travel agent.

Staying at home to homeschool was still my goal and Gwyn was approaching Kindergarten fast. In 2009 a series of events occurred that I now consider a blessing. The short version is we found out that the home we owned had black mold in the walls and it was causing my son and I to be sick. So we left the home and it was eventually foreclosed on. We also decided to file bankruptcy since 95% of our debt was incurred from the house. Now why on earth is this a blessing well we were finally in a position to live on one income.

Our old cars were already paid for with cash (we will never purchase a new car or have another car payment again). We went back to apartment living which meant less utility bills. And we had no credit card debt or medical bills. So the transition to one income began...

In 2010 we enrolled Gwyn in the GA Public Pre-K program so my mom would only have to care for Rowyn. Gwyn was just becoming too much of a handful for her. So I cut my hours down to part time so we could slowly start the transition to one income and Ben (my husband) searched for a better paying job. He finally found a better job with a great company and we are praying that his job hopping days are over.

And as stated at the beginning of this page we began our homeschooling journey in August 2011, just in time for Kindergarten! I told my boss I had to quit, I attended my first homeschool expo and I haven't looked back since. I am so happy that my dream to be a stay at home/homeschool mom has finally come true!!!

Blog Awards:

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Savannah @ HammockTracks said...

Kathy, I just read this introduction and think that you would be a great fit for my Who Home Schools weekly feature. If you are interested please send me an email and I will provide more details.

The Carpenter's Wife and kids said...

I really appreciate your honesty about yourself and I too can relate to the effects of the changing economy. My husband was laid off but we eventually ended up in Alaska which is a great place for homeschoolers. We are one one income but the state helps us pay for homeschooling. Thanks for sharing your insights on this blog.

Diane Hurst said...

Hi Kathy, I can't contact you through your email on this site, as I don't have Outlook (and my husband doesn't want it installed). But you are the winner of a giveaway on Homeschool Mosaics; please contact me at gentleshepherd@gmail.com

Melissa said...

Hi Kathy! I'm so glad I finally made it to your blog. I think we bumped into each other briefly at a conference or two last year. I hope we actually get a chance to chat this year. A few things have happened in our homeschool over the last year that make me think a more "delight directed" approach may work better for us. Would love to talk to you about the ins and outs.

Alexis F said...

I'm so excited to have found you! I, too, am an eclectic home schooler =) We have the same approach that you do. I'm looking forward to reading more about what you do!

Radical Selfie said...

I'm glad our paths have crossed, Kathy! As I mentioned on Instagram, I'm always happy to connect with other unschooling parents. I'll be checking out your posts (I'm already diggin' the scene!) and staying in touch via Instagram.

Book Publicity Services said...

Hi Kathy, hope all is well! We have sent you 4 books to review (per your request), and I just wanted to follow up and see if you were still planning to review them? Kitty Hawk, Jorie, Kingdom of Oceana, and the Dragon of the Month Club. They were sent to you back in December... If you could give us an update on the reviews that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

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