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’s blog post comes from a recent interview Andrea had with Belinda Bullard, a homeschool veteran of 16 years and creator of A Blessed Heritage.
I did not always want to homeschool. I went to school for chemical engineering and worked in the field. I worked at a plant then became a training manager. When we began seriously thinking about homeschooling, I was pregnant with our third child. I knew I was leaving my current employer, but I was disappointed when the only opportunities that chased me—literally—were part-time. When we began to ponder how we might string together a couple of part-time jobs to at least replace some income, a seed planted when our oldest was an infant began to germinate. Could we do this? Should we do this? For a professional couple with all the material trappings to match, bringing the breadwinner home to school our children seemed far-fetched yet intriguing all at the same time. There were a number of shifts to our thinking and, consequently, our doing during that window of time before we actually became homeschoolers (How to Afford Homeschooling).
Now, I have been homeschooling for 16 years, and when I am not homeschooling, I am creating A Blessed Heritage curriculum, speaking at various conferences, and gardening. This is our last year of homeschooling. My kids are now 17, 22, and 25.
Our schedule now looks much different than it did when my kids were younger.
Two of my children have gone on to college, and my youngest daughter is now a senior in homeschooling. She splits her time between homeschooling and dual enrollment at the local college, where she takes two classes.
Our day usually starts at 9 a.m. when we do our Bible, read together, and do her schoolwork that is not included in the dual enrollment. That typically takes us two hours. Then she does her dual enrollment classes online due to COVID-19. While she is working independently, I am still there at the kitchen table for companionship and to check in with where she is.
We do a 4-day school week with Friday as the make-up day.
We really work with the ebb and flow of our body clocks.
Here is a quick rundown of our schedule:
- 2 hours Homeschooling with Mom
- 2 Dual Enrollment Classes at Community College
- Dance Classes
- Working at Dance Studio, etc.
Our evenings are usually full of activities.
This is my homeschool schedule but remember to roll with the changes and don’t buck against them. Ask yourself, “When do my kids learn best?” Set your schedule that way.
For scheduling, I love the good ole pen and paper. I love a good notebook and use that to create my own planner using the bullet journal format. Traditional planners did not allow me to function well in all the different hats that I wear.
On the weekends, I try to do a weekly mind dump of everything in my head. I write down ideas, things that need to happen, and strategies. Even if all those ideas won’t happen immediately, the weekly mind dump has been helpful.
My biggest time management tip that I would share with a mom who is just beginning homeschooling is to set your priorities on a day-to-day basis.
Ask yourself, “What is the priority today?”
You might have elaborate lesson plans; however, you might not make it all the way through. This can leave you stressed out. But if you know your priority for the day, even if you don’t make it all the way through your lesson or had to modify it, you would have still met your priority. When you have that checked off, it brings peace!
We get so caught up in believing the images we see that we have to portray. The “I am every WOMAN” song does us in. Remember, the Proverbs 31 woman did not do it all at the same time. Show yourself grace and freedom.
Finally, make sure to create a margin in your homeschool. Don’t be scared to take the breaks. We followed the breaks of our local school system, but you can create your own based on your family’s needs.
Every day make sure to rise up before your children to get those few minutes to anchor yourself.
I have planned reading days where the kids have assigned books to read during the day, and I use that time as my teacher’s workday.
Here are a few more ideas to create margin and reset your homeschool:
- Add in morning stretches–for yourself and your family. Movement invigorates the body and the mind.
- Incorporate a break, whether it be 15 minutes for chores or exercise, or a day or week, into your homeschool schedule. Mental breaks can help facilitate learning or restore peace after a frustrating lesson.
- Take a field trip, even if it is a virtual trip. Exposure is a valuable instructor.
- Watch educational movies or add an in educational games. Informal learning is as effective as formal learning.
- If school has become overwhelming, streamline to the basics–reading, writing, and math. All subjects do not have to be taught every day. Use time as an ally.
I hope you found these tips to be helpful and remember to embrace every season of your homeschool!
Belinda describes herself as a continual work in progress, which also happens to be, with much grace from God, married to her best friend for over 27 years. They have three beautiful children.
She is a homeschool teacher but also taught as a college instructor from 2003-2018. Her most important role is to be a servant for the Most High.
Finally, She is a business owner and writer. God has anointed her to write an American history curriculum and related products that feature the African-American presence in building this great nation.
Learn more about her curriculum, A Blessed Heritage, by visiting her website http://www.blessedheritage.com. You can also follow her on her blog, the Blessed Heritage Chronicles: https://blessedheritagechronicles.com/.