There are times I get super busy such as when family visits or all our play dates and appointments get clumped into one week. No matter how much I try to spread out our activities, I go through periods of non-stop excitement and then the welcome reprieve of being at home for a few days with nothing pressing to do.
But…there’s always something to do.
It’s easy to think that we have this flexible lifestyle with all this time on our hands, but that’s not really true. I have to get the boys out of the house to socialize (What?!! Do homeschoolers do that?!!), and we have errands and occasional doctor appointments or what-have-you too. (Not to mention 3~4 weekly appointments/classes during the school year!) Then when we’re at home, I have to take the time to do the laundry, get the house into a “livable state,” plan homeschool, and oh yeah! Homeschool! My kids don’t always get to do anything they want to do. We have work to do! Planning it and executing it is a lot more work than you might guess. Even though I consider myself a “relaxed homeschooler” who doesn’t follow any prescribed deadlines or course of study, it takes a long time to figure out what I need to accomplish with the boys in order to keep them on track to becoming well-rounded, educated adults. (Actually, I think it would be a lot less work to follow the instructions in a comprehensive boxed curriculum!)
The mornings we do homeschool lessons are not always flexible either. There is a certain amount of work I need to do with the boys, even though I don’t worry about meeting certain deadlines or “mile stones.” I would like to cover a variety of topics, and I also want the boys to have time to explore what is meaningful to them. But it’s impossible to do all that — with two different children — in one day. I have to pick and choose what we do each day, and some items never get checked off the “want to” list.
On top of this, I take time to write, which is sometimes how I relax and sometimes how I…oh. do. I. dread. having. to. write. Or sort photos. Or any other mundane task that someone needs to do or it’s just going to pile up into impossible, insurmountable mountains of tedious work. (But sometimes I stop everything and watch a show on Amazon Prime too, and I don’t feel guilty about this!)
There are things that never get done. There are people I rarely go visit. There are weeds that never get pulled, and there are recipes I never try out. I can beat myself up over this because on one hand we’re flexible homeschoolers, and I really want to do all the things, but on the other hand, there are more important things — priorities — that must get done. I try to remember this.
And my #1 priority is my kids and their education! Luckily, spending quality time with them, doing fun things + educating them overlaps most of time. (When it doesn’t overlap: handwriting lessons.)
When I finally have time to sit down at my computer and I 1) don’t have a pressing deadline, and 2) I’m not bone tired, homeschool planning is my compass to get back to what is most important. I make lists of what the boys are doing and what I want to do with them. I ask them if they have a project or idea they want to pursue. I think about the ideas I want to pursue with them. I also make lists of writing ideas, tasks to get done around the house, reminders for this and that….Because I’m growing older and I can’t remember anything anymore unless I write it down!
But the thing is: when I think about the boys, their ideas, our goals, and I line them up on a page, and then I step into the activity room to get it ready for whatever lesson or endeavor we plan to undertake, I feel like I’ve finally made it back to the destination that all these busy days were part of and leading me to: our home, our education, a life well-lived.
And when I say “our” education, I mean our education.
2 thoughts on “Homeschooling Is My Compass”
We never have time to do everything we want to do or accomplish. Our schedule is definitely more flexible than a public school family, but every day there is something that doesn’t get done either school-related or life-related (my kitchen floor is so dirty! maybe I’ll get to that today). I have a goal of getting us out more this summer. And a hope that we will find some friends that my boys will truly bond with. My boys have played with our neighbor’s boys who are very similar in age, but the fit isn’t really there. My oldest wants to play with them, but I don’t think they really get along. It is too bad since they live so near us, but once they start public school they will be gone all the time anyway so it is inevitable that we will need to find other social outlets.
Emily — Thank you for your comment, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! I completely understand about that dirty kitchen floor as mine is usually pretty dirty too! That’s too bad about your neighbors. I have always wished our boys had some neighbors to play with, but there are no “fits” in this neighborhood, and everyone seems to keep to themselves anyway. It’s hard to find like-minded people, and you have to be really intentional about getting out there. Make it a priority, and it’ll happen. Good luck!