How much do you have on your plate?
When I sat down to write this post, I felt a little distracted. You see, this month, I didn’t do a very good job of keeping track of my calendar. I am having a hard time remembering what commitments I made, to whom, so I was sorting through emails and conversations on Facebook to make sure I didn’t drop any of the balls I have been juggling.
I admittedly have a lot on my plate. I Homeschool the kids. I have a toddler to keep me busy. I have a home that needs cared for. I am responsible for purchasing groceries and household items. I cook (sometimes- Hubby cooks more than I do). My husband needs my time and attention too. I also volunteer with my local Homeschool group, USO, my husband’s unit, and will start with the spouses club and Red Cross soon. I teach art classes, tutor a child, work as a reviewer, and have this blog with its laundry list of responsibilities.
It’s a lot. And I really don’t think I am alone in having a lot on my plate- which leads me to the final topic of this Homeschool Scheduling series I’ve been working on all month.
It all comes down to You.
You can have all the pretty charts, schedules, and systems in place-
But without You, nothing is going to get done.
Take care of Yourself.
Homeschooling is rewarding and wonderful, but it also requires energy, attention and patience. Taking care of yourself will enable you to be a better parent and teacher for your child.
Some of my friends are runners, and know they need just a little time each day to get their blood pumping.
Some feel their best when they are dressed nicely and have their hair and make-up on.
Some start the morning early to pray.
Others need time to read, or to knit, or need people to socialize with.
Personally, I feel best when I get a little bit of time outdoors each day. I need to feel the sun on my face and grass under my toes. I need fresh air! So, I have found a way to get outside each day with the kids so I can feel whole and happy.
What makes you feel happy and whole? Figure it out, and do it.
Just Say No.
Did you see my list of obligations above? Clearly, I stink at this…. But it’s too important to not discuss.
My friend told me once that I needed to choose between the good and the great. This is so true. There are tons of wonderful opportunities for my kids to participate in. Classes we want to take, people we want to spend time with, and places we want to go. There are tons of things I want to do.
I’m lucky that there are many opportunities for personal growth and community service where I live. There are tons of things I’d love to do! But I still have to remember my friend’s words, and look for the great in a world of really good things.
Look closely at the opportunities you are saying yes to- and don’t be afraid to say no more often. If it doesn’t fit your schedule, if you’re too tired, if it’s not a perfect fit for your family, Just Say No.
You only have 2 hands and 24 hours in the day. Outsourcing is your friend, and time is valuable.
Give the children chores. Spread the housekeeping responsibilities out among family members.
Younger siblings can be paired up “Buddy System” style with older siblings. Older kids can teach younger kids school subjects. In our home, Bug practices his reading with Little Miss. Mr. Man works on writing his letters on the white board with her too. Bug and Mr. Man review phonograms together. While they work with each other, I am freed up to teach the third child, or get chores done.
Don’t be afraid of investing in “time savers.” If you can afford someone to come over and work as a mother’s helper once a week, do it. You can use something like Motivated Moms, eMeals, or Simplified Dinners to save yourself time and energy.
Find a Routine.
Set hours for your homeschool, and stick with them.
In our home, I know if I don’t get up and get school going by 8:30, school just isn’t going to get done. We don’t make plans outside the home before noon on school days. I have a routine, and I stick with it.
Find what works for you. You may do your best work with the kids from 12-3 while the little ones have quiet time, or maybe you have a high schooler who works best from 7-10 pm. Either way, find a time that works for you, and try and stick with that routine.
Don’t Give Up on Your Curriculum (unless its dire!)
Someone wise once said that the best curriculum is one that gets done (thank the well trained mind forum for that gem). There may not be a perfect curriculum for you- but you have to teach anyways. When things get tough, try to tough it out.
You can adapt the assignment, add in extra work, and tweak what you have… but don’t be distracted by someone else’s idea of the “perfect curriculum.” At some point, you have to stop looking, and just get the job done.
If you need, take a break to regroup, and then get back to work!
Of course, there will be some exceptions to this- if your child is in tears each week, then of course try and find a solution that works better.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Homeschoolers
I take it you read homeschool blogs (ha ha). You probably have friends who homeschool too. Remember that no two homeschoolers are going to look the same, and what works for me may not work for you.
This post has been full of advice, but let me tell you, I struggle with these things. We can work on it together this school year, and hopefully finish the year without feeling overworked, under appreciated and burnt out.
One More Time Saver for You!
All month, I’ve been sharing resources meant to make your life a little easier, and today, I want to share with you an awesome menu planning resource that can save you time and money!
That’s it Folks!
We’re done with Homeschool Scheduling 101. Read the Rest of the Series!
Up next month, The Great Homeschool Organizing Challenge!