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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom (part 4)

(Part 4 of 6)

#4 8:00am Start Time? Not in Our House!

As I’ve said before, we are each uniquely made, and therefore our homeschools will look different form one household to the next.

There are some families who rise with the sun (or earlier), have a rockin’, productive, runs-like-clockwork, morning routine that includes a sit-down family breakfast, morning dishes washed, teeth and hair brushed, and parents and kids fully dressed and ready for the day by 8:00am.

And then there’s my family.

My kids love to sleep in, I enjoy at least 2 hours of “me” time every morning before I begin “Mom duties”, our kids are now old enough to make their own breakfast, and school doesn’t begin until 10:30ish. And our oldest 2 are the only ones who are dressed for the day when school starts; I’m usually still in workout clothes and the other 3 kiddos are wearing what they slept in the night before.

I have a feeling my home looks a lot closer to what most homeschools look like, but we do a great job as Moms feeling guilty that our house does not operate like the homes of public-schooled kids, don’t we?

Kids need sleep, and so do Mom and Dad.

We have teens and pre-teens in our home. Any given day can mean at least one of our offspring is in the middle of a growth spurt. I choose to let them listen to their body and give their body what it needs.

Sometimes it’s more sleep, sometimes it’s a day to just “chill”. Homeschooling gives you the flexibility to listen to the rhythm of your family.

I also enjoy the fact that when my kids were younger, school took place while in costume; every year you could find me in the costume aisle at Walmart snagging clearance priced disguises.

Showing up for “class” in costume gave them the ability to express themselves, and to have the space to enjoy what interests them. For me, it was a welcome sight to see a relaxed pace, where my kids could be kids.

Having a relaxed atmosphere in your home doesn’t mean you are living in chaos, it just means you are creating a space without all the stress of the hustle and bustle that comes with a family who is away from home the majority of their day. I am grateful that I make our schedule, and we are not held to another’s.

Some may ask, “What happens when they get a job or go to college?”. Our 17-year-old works out of the home Monday through Friday, and has adjusted just fine. We allowed him the space to decide what time to go to bed so as not to be tired the next day, and what time to wake up in the mornings to give himself enough time to get ready.  Giving him this space allows him to take personal responsibility, just as he will be expected to when he moves out on his own.

So relax Momma, give yourself some time in the morning; give your kids some time in the mornings, and give them space to be kids – they will grow up soon enough!

#5 I quit making schedules

Remember when I told you I have a degree in elementary education? Remember when I told you how I tried to bring public school into my homeschool?

This should give you a little insight into how I started out running our homeschool. I had our day scheduled out in half hour time blocks. Now, if I had one child, this might work well, but we have a few more kiddos to manage, so my half hour time blocks brought our household nothing but stress and a feeling of failure on a nearly daily basis.

In a home with kids ranging in age – at this particular time – from under 1 to 17, Mom was not only educator, but also diaper changer, breastfeeder, entertainer, chef, grocery list maker and shopper, and, oh yeah, wife to an amazing husband.

Each Sunday I laid on the floor with books spread out and schedule books open.

Each Sunday I wrote out a plan that, in my head, would be smooth and FINALLY create that Pinterest-worthy homeschool environment. Surely the event planning committee for our state homeschool convention would be calling me any minute now, asking me to share my wonderful insights into how to create the perfect homeschool, complete with an air-tight, efficient, and doable-by-anyone schedule taped to my fridge and laid out beautifully in my spiral-bound homeschool planner.

Yeah, that call never came – but I am working on projects that I will be on stage sharing with you someday soon 😉

Since the call didn’t come, and because I was ready to throw in the towel because I clearly did not have what it takes to run a homeschool, my husband spoke words into me that he had been saying since our first year of homeschooling – “why don’t you stop making a time-based schedule and just focus on getting certain lessons completed each day? And at the same time, give yourself grace if something doesn’t get completed on the day you planned. We homeschool, remember? We make our own schedule.” Those weren’t his exact words, but it went something like that and, after 10 years of guilt and doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result (isn’t this the definition of “crazy”?!), I heard him loud and clear! And I physically felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I could breathe. I felt lighter.

Now we block schedule our Monday through Friday to include the hours that are set aside for “Mom’s Me Time”, homeschool hours, Mom and Dad’s business time, any kids activities (we try to keep these to a minimum by getting more than one kiddo involved in the same activities – this will change as we add more teens to the home, but more teens also mean more drivers 😉), and family time. Yes, our days are full, but they are much more manageable and actually more productive than they were before – even though we added 2 home-based businesses to the mix!

So, Momma, relax. Creating and displaying a super detailed schedule for your home only brings about stress for you and your family (because Momma be crazy when things don’t go as planned!), and you could possibly be unintentionally sending a message to another Mom that she could never homeschool, or homeschool well, because the thought of having every minute planned out seems impossible to her. As Moms, let’s be intentional about being real, encouraging others, and building others up!

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Pam Spinker
Author-Speaker-Mentor

I help Christian homeschool moms, just like you, thrive in your home and in your walk with Christ. If you question your abilities, or feel like you’re drowning in homeschooling, you’re in the right place! 

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