Balance in Homeschool
It was already 4 pm and I had totally forgotten to take out the frozen beef for dinner tonight…Again!
Has that been something you’ve thought yourself over the years of homeschooling and managing all the things it takes to run a household?
If so, you’re not alone.
Homemaking can be hard enough with tiny humans running around as it is – but add in the job of teacher with hours of school work and the planning to boot – and we can quickly be drowning in all of our tasks.
So, we start seeking the idea of balance. But I have some tough news to swallow. The idea of balancing all the things while homeschooling is near impossible. You just can’t do IT ALL. Sorry. I know. You want to garden…and sew…and clean toilets (seriously – you WANT to do that?) and you want to do it all well. But, you really just can’t. I’m so sorry to break it to you.
See, God doesn’t want you to do all the things. He really doesn’t. He wants you to do the things He designed you to do. THAT is what balance is truly about – discerning His priorities in your life, not what the world or the homeschool mom down the corner does with theirs.
How do we figure this out for our own lives, you wonder?
You have to determine your priorities through prayer.
The first step is to seek the Lord, with your husband, for the will of the Lord for your days. There are so many GOOD things we can be doing with our days alongside our tiny humans, but just because they are good doesn’t mean they are for you in your season. You may LOVE the idea of homesteading and having a full blown garden, but if you have littles and have never done something like that before – your dream may be something for a later time. For example, I have a newborn, but really want chickens. I desire chicken, have done the research and could have my husband build a coop any day now. I know the big girls would be more than willing to add chicken care taking to their list of morning chores – but it’s just not God’s will right now. It would be something that would tip my balance scale. This seems obvious, but there are smaller, less obvious things you may not be thinking about. You don’t HAVE to be part of that bible study, co-op, add that extra art program everyone is raving about, or attend those extra curricular activities. God will show you what you’re able to do if you seek His will.
Build good habits in your children for better balance.
Every second you spend teaching your four year old how to load the dishwasher as she makes a bigger mess of water on the floor may seem like time wasted – but really it’s an investment in a well balanced future – and it’s home economics (y’all don’t forget those are major life skills for our tiny humans!). Our littles are far more capable of helping us bless our home through daily and weekly chores. They can be taught from young ages and it can be part of your daily schedule to increase your homes efficiency and balance! Kids as young as three can sweep and unload the dishwasher to the counter. Older kids can be assigned rooms for dusting or moping! And when the whole family comes together to knock out the chores with some music pumping in the background, it becomes a joyful thing and gets done in no time!
Meal plan and make things simple by batch cooking.
If you have a lot of things on your plate, the dinner plates may turn up empty without some forethought. I know it stinks, but you’re going to have to sit down, make a menu and shop, and then know what you’re cooking each morning to prepare for it better. We do a lot of batch cooking on top of this in our house. If I’m making pancakes that morning? I make enough to feed a small army and freeze them in morning size batches. If I’m cooking a pound of ground meat for a casserole? I will cook up four pounds instead and freeze the extra three pounds in one pound packs for future meals. When you know what you’re cooking your kitchen never gets crazy after a full day of homemaking, mommying, and homeschooling.
Group your kiddos for every subject you can.
Now, we don’t want the kindergartener and the sixth grader all completing the same math curriculum – but there are many subjects on our rosters that CAN be combined from the youngest to the oldest learners! In our house we each have our own leveled Language/Writing, Reading, and Math – but for Science, History, Art, Music, Hymn Study, etc, we do all in a one room school house fashion! There is such joy in watching the olders aid the youngers and the youngers stretch their thinking beyond what they would have done before.
Don’t try to do it all every day.
One of the the things that has really helped us have greater balance within our schooling hours is loop scheduling. Those individualized core subjects? You have to do them every day. But the remaining subjects we do in one room school house style? Those we loop. Completing one or two a day only and coming back around to them when the loop repeats. It eases up the amount to prepare and the time required for school each day.
Stop looking at other’s school days!
Please, PLEASE, stop looking over your shoulder into your neighbors (or even your best friends) homeschool space! Don’t look at what they are doing. Don’t look at their curriculum. Don’t look at their extra curricular activities. REMEMBER – you’ve already had the best guidance from GOD about your homeschool and your day. If he leads you to talk to a trusted friend, then do it. But if you had peace, don’t let anyone or anything that looks pretty upset that sacred space.
Momma, balancing all the things you see and dream for your life is an unreachable task. But if you step out of the ideas others shove your way, and let the Lord lead your homeschool, a peace can enter even if there isn’t really what others consider balance.
How do you plan on adding peace to your homeschool day? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!