• Jessica Matthews

My Life as a Stay-Home, Work-from-home, Homeschooling Mom and Watercolor Artist

Updated: Jul 27

Alternate Title: Summer Life Update



This is me, Jessica, in my new painting space. It's in our kitchen with the shared computer/homeschool space. My hubby needed a desk and space to write, so I gave him the space I had in the back room, which is also a playroom/craftroom/workroom for our girls.


Even though I have an art business and my husband, Ryan, is working hard to get his author career going, we still consider us on a single income. My husband's teaching position is our steady income. Living on a single teacher's salary in today's time is HARD. Our art and writing side businesses basically cover the costs of art and writing. Around Christmas time my art business picks up more, and I'm able to cover Christmas gifts.


I mention finances because it's something we all deal with. We live paycheck to paycheck, but I'm certainly not complaining. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to stay home and homeschool. Is it hard sometimes? Yes, but it is so worth it. I also have amazing parents that take us on trips with them. Thank you mom and dad!


So What Do I Do Each Day?


Summer is different, since we go by Ryan's school schedule and take June-July off. This summer has been full of swimming, art business stuff, a beach trip with my parents, camp for the girls, a terribly long couple of weeks of Covid, high heat and drought (my poor garden), editing hubby's 2nd book, book signings with my hubby, an arts and crafts festival, a quick educational trip to see the Parthenon in Nashville, TN, and lots and lots of homeschool planning for the new school year.


School Starts Back Aug. 1

We use Amblesideonline.org and absolutely love it! My girls are in Years 7 and 6. Y7 looked intimidating at first and required a lot more planning, but after digging in and prereading some of the books I'm really looking forward to it. I could see it becoming our favorite homeschool year yet.


My Homeschool/Personal Schedule for This Year (M-F)

  • 6-8am- Wake, Morning Routine, Breakfast

  • 8-9am- Morning Work (together)

  • 9-10am- PE/Nature Study hour

  • 10-11:30am- Independent Work (with me available to help)

  • 11:30am-1pm- Lunch/Break

  • 1-4pm- My Art Business Time (except on grocery/errand day), and the girls finish up any remaining independent work

  • After 4pm is dinner and family time.

We may have a schedule, but we know we can be flexible when we need to be. It's the beauty of homeschooling and working from home. I also do more art business work on Saturdays, or we may have a festival or book signing to go to. Sundays are for church and restful activities.


My Watercolor Art Business


I spoke about homeschooling first because it's my primary job. My art business, it still feels a little weird calling it a business, is basically a hobby that I wanted to share. I'd do art anyway. I always have. At least now the art doesn't stack up in the top of a closet. I can share it with people, and it blesses both them and me.


So what do I do?

  • Blog- I post updates for anyone interested, and blog any reviews or special things that come up. I plan to do more of these. If you subscribe to my website (sign up at the bottom of my web pages), you'll get an email notification when I post a blog post. If you sign up, you can unsubscribe anytime. I don't spam people.


  • YouTube- I've been filming more of my art and posting time lapse videos to YouTube. I also like to post sketchbook flip-throughs when I finish a sketchbook. YouTube is something I really want to grow. I'm trying to figure out if I should do more longer real-time videos. Do people like those? I know tutorials are popular, but I don't have good audio equipment, and I really can't afford to get any. I'm not sure how I feel about talking on YouTube yet either.


  • Social Media- I like to post on Facebook and Instagram, but I have to be careful not to let it bog me down. It's a good way to do quick updates to show what I'm working on, and I love to get inspiration from other artists.


  • Website- I almost have my shop fully updated with everything I removed from Etsy. Sales are slow, but I'm trying not to get discouraged.


  • Arts and Crafts Festivals- Despite being a major introvert, I LOVE doing these. I meet new people, sell some things, and connect with pet owners who are interested in portraits. Even if someone just wants to tell me about a pet they love or a special pet they once had, I love hearing people's stories.



  • Pet Portraits- I had to give this its own category. I love doing pet portraits. These can mean a lot to people, especially if they have experienced the loss of a much loved pet. They make great Christmas gifts. I have a list if you want to get on it for a future portrait. Just contact me and say, "Hey, I'd like to get on the list for (month)." It's no cost to get on the list. I'll put you down for that month, and reconnect with you then to talk about the portrait details. So far, I have openings for every month.

A Few Random Other Things


Our Pets- We have a dog named Luna, a cat named Coda, and 7 chickens with 5 baby chicks on the way. They are family members, inspirations, and entertainment. They also take a lot of care.


My garden- I struggle to do much work in the garden in this heat, but thankfully we do have some produce coming in. I appreciate anything willing to grow for me, lol. I at least gave it all a good start in the spring. Right now the squash bugs initiating a hostile takeover.


Hubby's Book- My husband, Ryan, is writing a young adult post-apocalyptic sci-fi series about alien bugs taking over the planet, humans forced to live underground, and teens attempting to save humanity. The first book Release Day is already out. Since I help him edit, I've already read the second book, and it's even more impressively written than the first one. The sequel will be out in a couple of months. Though it's not my personal preferred genra, I'm proud he's following his dream, and I admire his creativity. His website is https://www.ryanmatthewsauthor.com/ if you would like to know more about it or purchase his book.


On my art desk- Right now I'm working on a very um... interesting looking dog portrait. I just can't get the words "Ewok" and "Wookie" out of my head with this one.


What I'm Reading- The Canterbuy Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger

The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys by H.E. Marshall

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell

That's basically it, just an overview of summer and my life. When school starts I will be busier, but I do well on a schedule. Then when I need a break, we'll take a break. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do.


Feel free to leave me a comment, request things you'd like to see me do (seriously, blog posts and YouTube video suggestions would be great), or even just tell me about your pet. Don't forget to subscribe to this blog and to my YouTube channel if you haven't already. Likes, comments, and subscriptions all help out little work from home people like me.


Thanks for reading my ramblings!

-Jessica

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