Friday, September 25, 2009

Tps for Homeschooling--Part Four--Guarding Your Time

When you stay home, it's amazing how many people think they can monopolize your time. Even if you are NOT homeschooling, but are staying home with your little ones, you have to be so careful which activities you will join, which church ministries you will get involved in, and in how you will spend your days. Homemakers are continually bombarded with requests for childcare, service opportunities at church, errands or favors, etc. Of course no one thinks they are asking too much of you because they're only asking for this "small" thing. But what many don't realize is that 100 people a week ask you for "small" things and you cannot say yes to everything without going crazy! If I said yes to all the children I've been asked to babysit in recent years I'd be watching at least 12 kids in addition to my own in addition to doing about 10 ministries at church and being my Dad's business secretary and my Mom's paid maid!

Something we do to guard our homeschooling time is not answering the phone during our homeschooling hours unless it is a very important call which I know will be brief. We don't plan errands or shopping for that time of the day. We don't schedule playdates either and I am no longer babysitting any friend's children regularly. I treat my homeschooling like a job, because it is a job indeed! If I worked outside of the home, folks wouldn't demand that time from me, so why should I allow people to demand my time because I work in the home, doing the incredible task of shaping little hearts and minds for eternity?

I'm not saying that I don't embrace those God-ordained interruptions and opportunities to bless someone or be a friend to someone in crisis. The mom-at-home is in a unique position today where she has the time to give where most do not. A rich life is lived in the interruptions. But there are far too many non-important things that can interrupt the school day needlessly if we aren't vigilant to guard our time.


Randall and Rachel Beita said...

True and sometimes it is hard for me to find the balance especially since ministry is what we do. I try to involve the little one and if I can´t I stay at home with him. Also if a ministry is during nap time I try to say no or do it at a diffrent time.

The Three 22nds said...


I am actually embracing the playdates and the "distractions" as my kids are small. They don't need a full day of schoolwork, and I feel that it is important for my younger ones who aren't in school yet to still get to see other little children- just like my oldest one did when he was younger.

I never turn down a playdate. Part of K is interaction with other kids anyway, so I consider it school at some level. (my friends don't get this...they are always saying, "but I know this is when you may be doing school..." and I tell them not to sweat it, we can work Kindergarten "book work" in anytime.)

Hauling my kids to meals on wheels, letting them "help" me babysit another child, having them help me prepare for Sunday school etc. it a good way to teach them that service is important.

I, however, don't get bombarded for a lot of requests though. I sign up for what I want to do at church (teach preschool SS and Awana) and people see my 3 (active!) little boys and think I have my hands full for too much else :)

I also never was super stringent with nap time etc. My kids are flexible and roll with the punches, which helps.

I will say however, that when school work requires more of the day things will change a little. It is important to me that they learn good study habits- but right now good study habits consist of doing their school without complaining when mommy says it is time :)

LS said...

3 22nds,
We still do an outing/playdate almost daily. However, if I took up every opportunity for a playdate, that's all my kids would do, about 4 times a day. God has given me a lot of women friends to reach out to and keeping up with all of them in person or even on the phone isn't possible. So, if I don't guard my phone time, I could be on the phone the entire day. If I don't say no to playdates and babysitting jobs, that's all I would do. You'd be amazed at how in the hardest week of my entire life thus far (last week...but it's stretching into this week too) I got two requests for babysitting from people who knew what we were going through. I also had lots of little favors to do for my parents and some church stuff. If we didn't say no we'd never have school time!

But I agree that it's nice to be flexible especially when kids are young.

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