It’s About Time is a blog series on time management. Join us as we take a peek into the lives of different homeschool moms, all with a unique approach. Today, let’s meet Anika!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed learning and sharing what I’ve learned with others. So when it was time for me to pursue my dream job, I naturally chose to be a teacher. I taught 4th grade for six years, and then I resigned in order to be a stay-at-home mother in 2005. I started homeschooling in 2011 when my first son turned 6 years old. Our family has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and today I have five energetic children ages 17, 14, 8, 6, and 3.
What does my schedule look like?
We start our day with family worship and breakfast. I’m usually the slowest eater, so my boys usually take the clean dishes out of the dish drain, put them in the proper place, and work on personal projects while I finish breakfast. Once I finish eating, the boys and I take a walk together and then get started with our school day.
My 17-year old daughter is an independent learner, so school time with her consists of college preparation, reading, and discussing practical subjects that will be of importance as she transitions into adulthood. On the other hand, school time with my boys is a mix of teacher-directed and independent assignments and activities. Homeschooling with four boys is not an easy task, but I believe God uses the challenges I face to develop my character and make me a better woman.
For many years, I did the majority of the cooking and cleaning around the house. This year I happily passed along many of my kitchen duties to my two teenagers who are willing and able to prepare healthy, tasty meals. My 14-year-old son makes scrumptious “better than store-bought” granola, pizza from scratch, and original soups. While my daughter delights our family’s taste buds with her delicious desserts, creative casseroles, and homemade spelt bread. The younger children assist in the kitchen, but their chores mainly revolve around helping with laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, and keeping their bedrooms tidy.
“It takes teamwork to make the dream work.” When I am having school with the younger boys, one of my two teens prepares lunch. The other teen is responsible for washing dishes after the meal. The two of them work together planning the meals and placing the weekly pick-up order for the groceries we’ll need. My husband pays for the groceries, and I drive to the store to pick up the groceries. My sons unload the van, and my daughter puts the groceries away.
With a family of seven, one of the main challenges I face with juggling my time is keeping up with everything that needs to get done. In addition to homeschooling my children, I am an author and the founder/director of FIGHT for Your Marriage with Anika. We offer monthly marriage support teleconferences, monthly Facebook live streaming, in-home meetings, and one-on-one marriage mentoring sessions that help women master mental health, marriage, and motherhood. The mentor sessions are affectionately called “Titus 2 Talk Time” because Titus 2:4 mentions women of experience helping other “women to be sober, to love their husbands, and to love their children.”
For many years I wrote reminders and notes on scrap pieces of paper and sticky notes. This system worked well when I remembered to read my notes, but since I like to keep my workspace tidy, I often neatly stacked my notes out of sight. Unfortunately, out of sight often meant out of mind.
A couple of months ago, I purchased a simple planner. It has been a much neater and more efficient way to record my ‘things to do’ and appointments. I keep my planner open on my desk and highlight tasks and appointments when they have been completed and are over. Highlighting helps me feel productive and motivates me to keep handling my business.
In addition to homeschooling my children, I am an author and the founder/director of FIGHT for Your Marriage with Anika. During the week, my work with the ministry involves several hours of over the phone mentoring sessions. In order to save time, I use an appointment scheduling software that allows women to book appointments with me online using links on the ministry’s website (www.fightforyourmarriagetoday.com) and Facebook page.
Creating and following a daily schedule is another thing that has helped me juggle my time. Our family schedule helps me prioritize and manage my time. Unfortunately, many of our past schedules had looked great on paper but were simply unrealistic when it came to meeting the unique needs of our large family. For one reason, I kept ignoring the fact that work sometimes keeps my husband away from home past the boys’ bedtime. My children love their father, and my sons have an unspoken rule that it’s unacceptable to go to sleep without seeing their father. They get in bed on time, but they are often lying in bed waiting and listening for the sound of my husband’s car. Once the news spreads that DADDY’S HOME! the house often erupts with shouts of joy and the pitter-patter of small, medium, and large feet racing to the back door to greet him.
Our most recent schedule doesn’t look as good on paper, but it’s working for our family. My children get to see their father in the evening before they go to sleep, and I get to start my mornings with lots of much needed and appreciated quiet time. Since they tend to fall asleep after 9 PM, my children tend to start their day a little before 8 AM. This gives me the opportunity to wake up several hours before my boys and have time for personal prayer, Bible study, and office time before my two youngest sons greet me with lots of hugs, kisses, and questions.
Our schedule helps us make time for what’s important to us—worshipping God, eating wholesome meals, exercising our bodies and brains, spending time together, getting plenty of rest, and serving others.
Whether very detailed, a little detailed, or not detailed at all, I strongly urge homeschooling families to consider creating a realistic schedule. Using a schedule to help put some routines in place may help your family be on one accord as to what needs to happen during the day. Schedules can also help give families a sense of order and peace in the midst of this chaotic world we live in.
Are you ready to get started with your family’s schedule? Great! I suggest taking some time to prayerfully reflect upon the following questions:
- What’s important to our family?
- What do we do on a daily basis that we want to continue? Discontinue?
- What do we want to start doing on a daily basis?
May God bless you as you begin this new school year!
In addition to being an author, speaker, and featured radio and podcast guest, Anika is also the director and founder of “FIGHT for Your Marriage with Anika,” a ministry that offers products, support, and services to women. Through Titus 2 Talk Times, her unique marriage mentoring sessions, Anika helps women in broken marriages practically apply principles from the Bible, dismiss discouragement, put their armor on, and FIGHT – Fervently Pray, Identify Bible Promises, Give Thanks, Have Patience, and Take Time for Testimonies! Connect with Anika here.