Testimonial from Caroline of The Modest Mom Blog
For a variety of reasons, my husband dropped out of college when we married, almost 11 years ago. We became entrepreneurs, owning a cabinet shop and a lawn care company, we had five children, and we started homeschooling.
Then, one day, he came home and said he had been thinking about going back to college and finishing the graphic design degree he had originally started. I was excited and supportive of that decision — but actually making it all work seemed a bit overwhelming!
So how have we made this work financially?
We sold our business and our house.
We advertised his lawn care company on Craigslist and found the perfect buyers for it.
We also put our house up for sale, and while it didn’t sell before he started college, it sold after his first semester. We moved into a small rental house that some friends of ours have graciously given us a good deal on.
I started an online business and a blog.
About five years ago I started an online clothing company called Deborah & Co. I also started The Modest Mom Blog, and signed up as a consultant with Lilla Rose (beautiful yet practical hair clips) and L’BRI (all natural skincare products).
Those four income sources have provided for our family of seven while Sean finishes college. We don’t live on student loans for our monthly bills, and we made sure we had plenty of money in savings for emergencies before he started the four year college.
We utilized a community college to save on core classes.
Sean started attending some classes at a local community college, getting some basic requirements done before he went back to the 4-year college. He was able to fit those classes into his schedule while he still owned and operated his lawn care company. Plus, those classes (including books) were totally covered by the Pell Grant.
We applied for every scholarship and grant we could find!
We do have one small college loan we have had to take each year, but most of his college is paid through grants and scholarships. He is attending a private college that is not cheap, but it was the best fit for what he is needing.
We were told to apply for the Pell Grant, and each year have received the full amount possible. We don’t use any other forms of government assistance, and feel grateful that this is there.
Sean received a large transfer scholarship, since he was coming from a different four year college. Then he applied for the art grant and received the full amount, plus a Missouri grant.
Those grants and scholarships cover most of his tuition; and we took out a no-interest loan for the remainder. We have enough money sitting in savings to pay off loan if need be; but our plan is for him to graduate in May, find a job, use his first few months of salary to pay off the loan, and for us to continue on my “online income”.
We live very simply.
It is not easy being a work-at-home, homeschooling mom. I get asked all the time how I do it all. My answer is that I keep things very simple! I can’t over-commit myself, and we don’t do lots of extra-curricular homeschooling type things right now.
We have told our children that we are in a unique season of life, and we are all looking forward to Sean’s graduation this May!
While we wouldn’t suggest every family in our season of life do the same thing, we feel that Sean has been blessed with a gift in art, and we wanted to see him use that talent instead of sitting on a lawnmower. 🙂 We feel incredibly blessed that the Lord is providing for our family through our online businesses and given Sean this opportunity!
Caroline has been married to the only love of her life for almost 11 years. Together they have five children, ages 9 and under, which keeps them busy! In her late night moments, she blogs at The Modest Mom Blog.