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 Dee as she talks to us about trusting God in our homeschool!
Juggling Life As A Homeschool Mom
As I write this blog post about time management, I’m smiling (and crying) inside at the irony of it all. The fact is, I’m sitting down to write at 12:30 a.m. because I have “no time” during daylight hours to write. But in all seriousness, I know I’m not alone in this, as we mamas juggle many things every day, constantly trying to do it all.
Although I’ve been on a long hiatus, I began my professional career as a writer and researcher in 1993. I’ve had the opportunity to work for various trade journals, community newspapers, business magazines, and educational organizations. I even owned my own editorial services business for several years before having my son.
I suppose you can say that I’ve been homeschooling since my son was in the womb. Singing to him, praying with, and for him. But I never imagined that I would homeschool. I’d planned to resume my writing career at least part-time when it was time for him to attend Kindergarten. But God had other plans. I wouldn’t know until several years after his birth why I needed to take even more time off from my career than I’d planned in order to be there for him. I’m blessed to be the mom of a precious 13-year-old who’s inquisitive, sensitive, and really quite entertaining.
Whenever people ask me what our day looks like or whether we have a schedule, I chuckle. Here’s why. No matter how well I plan the day, nearly nothing goes as planned. I know that doesn’t seem very encouraging, but it’s the truth. And it’s a truth that I suspect many of you moms out there have experienced. Yet in spite of this, I assure you, there is hope.
In my house, each day is pretty typical in terms of getting dressed, eating, etc. But my best-laid plans can quickly fall by the wayside depending upon my son’s mood, how distracted he is, or how many things, including schoolwork and chores, were undone from the previous day. When my son was young, our schedule, if you want to call it that, was simple. Teaching my little guy his ABCs and numbers was easy. We played games, and learning was quite fun for him. Our days also included singing Bible songs, lots of hugs, playing, and many failed attempts at napping.
Now that he’s older and can work more independently, I’ve tried to implement more structure in our days while simultaneously addressing his special needs. He’s very bright and interested in a multitude of subjects, which can make focusing on the task at hand challenging for him. Having to redirect his focus back to what he needs to do takes a lot of time. So sometimes that means we don’t always get through every subject that day. Much of the time, some subjects are integrated with others. For example, we may be working on math and science, but English/Language Arts may be included in the science lesson because of the reading he’s doing and the writing work that accompanies it. And history may also be covered while working on those subjects as well. This approach works best for us because we work on the subjects for as long as we need to. That can be anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. The point isn’t to rush through the work but to make sure there is an understanding of the material and find ways to make it relevant to everyday life.
My main challenge is that I find that there are always too many chores to do each day in addition to our schoolwork. Mentally chastising myself for what I didn’t get done on a particular day just isn’t helpful. So finally, after all these years, I’m slowly embracing the idea that I am doing enough, even if I don’t get everything done on my list. I can see that my son is learning even if it looks different than what society says it should look like.
All along this homeschooling, and parenting journey, I can see that God has been using all of it to teach me valuable spiritual lessons. As I thought about what I could share to encourage new homeschool moms, I wished I’d had a list of great resources and helpful tips. But I don’t. However, what I do have is simple. My greatest resource is something we all have within our reach. It’s Prayer. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Daily I ask the Lord to help me prioritize my day. I ask him to help me to know what needs to be done versus what I think needs to be done. I literally ask Him, “What does my son need today?” Ask Him what he wants you to do for and with your children each day. And He will tell you, be it in that still small voice, an impression, or directly through your children. Because you see, my plans and your plans for the day may look totally different than what the Lord desires. He alone knows what our children’s needs are each day. He’ll show you what’s most important.
Additionally, for moms who are new to homeschooling, I would encourage you to take things slow, particularly if you have children who have challenges and/or special needs. This tip has proved successful for us, especially since my son has grown older.
Our children aren’t robots, and they’re not machines. They’re fearfully and wonderfully made. However, they don’t always want to do what we want, when we want, and they may not be in the mood to go along with “the schedule”. I can see the difference in my son when I slow things down and spend more time with him in lieu of rushing around trying to tackle making a big meal and mountains of laundry. I can’t tell you how many times he’s come to me, reached for a hug, and told me how much he loves just being around me. And that when I’m so busy, he wishes I wasn’t. He’s quite the science kid, and half-jokingly said that he wished he could design a robot to do all of my housework for me and one that could even cook all of our meals.
It’s taken some time for me to wholeheartedly embrace the idea that homeschooling is not just something you do, but it’s a way of life. It’s part of your daily life. It’s about making everything a teachable moment without really thinking about it. And really, when you do that, it takes the pressure off of you to “do it all.” As I mentioned before, we begin teaching our children in the womb. Our growing babies hear our voices talking and singing to them and praying for them.
While the Lord wants us to manage our time wisely, He doesn’t ask us to “do it all”. His desire is for us to raise up our children to know, love, and follow him. May Deuteronomy 6:4-9 be the prayer of all of us as we endeavor to homeschool our children and show them Jesus.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
In addition to running an award-winning writing business for five years, Dee has been a contributing writer for Comstock’s business magazine, a senior writer and editor at KLOVE radio, and a contributing writer and editor at the International Journal of Childbirth Education. But these days, she can be found working on a health evangelism certification, cooking up interesting science projects with her son, and baking apple/pear crisps for breakfast.