As a home schooling mom of three children since 1992, I’ve learned that it’s both exciting and exhausting all at the same time. Whether you’re new to home schooling or not, many people find it hard to understand why moms who are home all day can’t just come over, baby sit for few hours, or visit since THEY have it all together.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me to watch their children when school was out for vacation, or on three week break during year round schooling, I would be RICH! Somehow there’s a misconception that “at home” moms have all the time in the world to do as they please on a time schedule with no limits. This is a fable, a common misconception, a fairy tale. How is a mom supposed to do all of that AND have dinner ready in a clean home for her family?
Tip one: Find a partner or two. If you find someone with children close in age to yours, you will both get some well deserved time-outs. Set up a schedule with your “partners” so that each of you gets some breaks. This will help each of you catch up on a few loads of laundry, some sleep, or whatever you need at the time. Or, find an elder who could use some hugs. Children love elderly people. They give much wanted undivided attention. Ask to have the elder over for visiting day. My children used to listen to a wonderful older woman named Irene who would sit in our blue rocking chair and read to them, stop in the middle, tell one of her growing up on the farm stories, then get back to reading. How precious is that?!
Tip two: Don’t try to cram every single subject into each school day. If you must cover each subject, try the next tip.
Tip three: Plan on baby steps through the curriculum you’ve chosen. Do one little page of math a day and a math game or manipulative, instead of 2 – 4 pages or more. The children will see a clear end in site, and YOU will not be grading papers until dawn.
Tip four: Set a timer to five minutes before each subject should end. This will give the children notice that they will be moving on to another subject or activity, which means time to finish his or her thoughts.
Tip five: Save about $5 every week or so from the grocery money. When you have enough for a date, hire a baby sitter, or swap kids with one of your partners. You and your spouse need some time alone to talk, cuddle, whatever!
It’s summer and while not much changes for most home schoolers, the rest of the children in district schools are home for a while. This could cause some rifts in your own home if the neighborhood children come knocking at the door to play during your school hours. Take time to set up a plan for your summer. The neighborhood children are going to want to come and play. Have a schedule in place for when this occurs. This way you can tell them when you’re free or not.
I trained the children in our neighborhood to know what time our children were available during the summer. Then I had planned activities so everyone always had something to do. This left less time for mischief making. It also gave the other children in the neighborhood a better chance to get to know our family.
Maybe you work from home “and” home school. Or maybe the house needs a deep cleaning. Why not take summer time to lighten the home school load and plan for your children to entertain the others in the neighborhood while you get some work done. There is no better babysitter than other children to play with when Grandma is not available.
Plan at least one outing per week to get everyone out in the fresh air. Set up a schedule so everyone knows what to expect. If some of that time each day is FREE TIME, it becomes something everyone looks forward to. They can do anything during free time. So their more apt to do their chores, schoolwork, etc… if they KNOW they have FREE TIME ahead.
During the summer we had school until 12 noon, cleanup time, then lunch until about 12:45. We’d write on the schedule, FREE TIME from 1 – 5. Clean up for dinner was at 5. You get the picture.
There is a lot to be said for having a set schedule. Some say you’re a slave to your schedule. I say, “YOU make up the schedule. Set it up how YOU want it!”
Who us? We questioned once again
We cannot do that task
That’s what the public schools are for
Why would you even ask?
Then once again we checked God’s word
And found it there again
In Proverbs 22 verse 6
Our children we must train.
Not by ourselves, lest we should boast
Nor on others depend
But by the grace of God alone
We’ll do our best and then
When, at last, in heaven we stand
And Jesus’ face we see
“Well done good and faithful servant”
We hope His words will be.
© 1997 Shari Setter