Some days I actually feel like I have it pretty easy. I used to work full time and homeschool and had little ones that demanded a lot of physical energy and somehow needed to fit sleep into the daily plan as well. Those were interesting years.
Life still isn't easy, but comparatively speaking, I know I do have a wee bit more discretionary time than during that season. But, as each year passes on the homeschooling scene, the responsibilities there increase. More complex subjects, more activities to consider, more lengthy projects, more kids studying more subjects as each year goes by. So, how can we squeeze in everything that "has" to get done?
Well, let's see what fills our time each day. . .
- A housewife's work takes 4-6 hours a day (cooking, cleaning, bills, errands, etc.)
- Homeschooling takes 6-8 hours each day (including planning, grading, and teaching)
- And being a mom is a 24 hour a day job.
Obviously, something has to give. Rather than pretending that I do actually get all of those things adequately done each day, I figured I would share how we make do with what we have. God gave me enough hours today to accomplish what He wants me to do with them.
Twenty-four hours must be enough, I just need to figure out how.
Some plans and tips that have helped me order my days:
Prioritize -- What is the most important to me, my family, and my day? I like to remember the idea that whenever I choose to do something, I am simultaneously choosing to not do 100s of other things. Is what I'm doing right now really more important than all of those other things that I am not doing? Also, my relationship with Jesus Christ is of utmost importance, so my day must start there and our school day starts there as well.
Multitask -- I shared some of my thoughts on multitasking about a year ago during my "Sharing Footprints" series. But, briefly, I look for as many ways as possible to combine necessary tasks. Spending important time with a child while getting chores done is an easy way to do this.
Share the load -- Kids can be a great help in conquering the housework hurdles. Other homeschool moms can network to arrange field trips and extra-curriculars. If you have local family they might help teach a topic you struggle with or take the kids now and then to allow for planning or projects that get interrupted with a houseful of warm bodies.
Take a day off -- I used to feel such pressure to conform to the typical school calendar. We school through the summer, so it doesn't really make sense to keep working exhaustedly when I really just need a day to plan or clean or sleep. We don't do it often, but every few months I need a day off just because I do. No guilt over that any more.
Organize -- For my sanity I need a schedule (that functions as a goal for the day, not a slave-master), I need time set aside for necessary tasks. I need the house in relative order.
Self-discipline -- This is an area that I know I need to grow in. When I stay disciplined with what I have put in place, life rolls much more smoothly. When I get lazy and let things slide, everything just keeps slipping. Discipline (my own) holds a major key to the order of my day, but I too often fail to utilize its strength.
Keep it simple -- Again, an area that at times I am more successful at than others. When we have a reasonable amount of commitments I find far more satisfaction in what gets accomplished each day. I know God's primary place for me is at home, and I need to remember that more regularly.
I love the weekend -- Weekends are so critical to how the rest of my week goes. They are most important for a time of rest, physical and spiritual. But, they also usually provide some planning time, some blogging time, exercise, projects, etc. When they get too full of other commitments my week also suffers.
Balance, in everything balance. Seasons change, children grow, new challenges loom. No matter what the difficulty in maintaining balance in an era of my life I find it manageable as I surrender it to Him.
Despite all those great ideas, I wish I could say that I consistently implement them on a daily basis. Some days it seems like a losing battle, but we do see growth over time. Always learning, always growing.
And, since I'm always looking for more encouragement in this area, I will definitely be heading over to read others' tips and would encourage you to do the same. You should find them on the TOS Crew blog tomorrow, March 16.