After homeschooling a while, one of the things parents lament is how busy they’ve become. And yet with homeschooling being so super-flexible, letting ourselves get crazy busy doesn’t even make any sense.
A wise person once said people find ways to fill the time they’ve got. This couldn’t be truer in some families. Is your family like that?
It seems the abundance of free time caused by homeschooling can prompt parents to find creative ways to fill all that extra time. New homeschoolers in particular are guilty of over-planning. I admit it. Way back when, I did it, too.
Though ambitious schedules can work, it’s important to separate out what’s really needed from everything else. Or, risk overwhelm and exhaustion, that is. Only through careful prioritizing can families really pack the punch they’d like into every day, and still stay calm in the process.
Did you realize prioritizing is actually different for every family? For some, it might mean placing on temporary hold (or quitting altogether) the extra classes and activities that aren’t really a necessary. In others, prioritizing means cutting back job hours, volunteer duties, or slightly lowering standards for a clean and tidy home. Still others find cutting course content is what it takes to get that buffer of space and regain sanity. As tough as these decisions might be, freeing that extra time — and saving the physical and mental energy – is usually worth it.
If you’re uneasy right about now, you aren’t alone. Producers, multi-taskers and high-achieving types (like me) have trouble prioritizing at first. We can place artificial pressure on ourselves to do everything, all at once, all the time. Combine that tendency with the perception that others seem to accomplish a lot more than we do, and feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy begin to grow.
With time and practice, though, prioritizing gets easier. Learning to say no, recognizing we’re good enough, and trying not to compare ourselves to others takes time to hone. But, eventually, we can settle into what works for us, whether or not it resembles we originally thought life should look like.
At least once a month (mark a calendar if you need to), take time to look at your priorities and how your days have been going. Reorganize what needs to get done each day, each week and each homeschool year. Remember homeschooling is a choice, and with that choice comes ultimate control. Only by prioritizing can homeschoolers truly have the schedule (and the life!) they desire.