Photo taken in March, it's much greener out there now!
Good morning! I'd like to follow up last week's post, Calling All Working Homeschool Moms, to say thank you for your support and encouragement, and to share how I've shifted our routine to better meet our family's changing needs.
You are such a wise group of ladies. It was helpful for me to read about what your schedules look like... I tend to be the type who gleans inspiration from taking a peek into other people's lives (that sort of sounds creepy, but it's also why we love blogging, yes? I bet you understand!).
Among the goodness I took away from your comments, three things that really stood out for me were:
1. Don't try to work in bits and pieces.
- This was great for me to hear, because working in "bits and pieces" is something that I can't do with the kind of work I'm doing now (mostly writing, workshop planning, studying). I used to do more sewing for 'work' and did find it very possible to sit at the machine for 10 - 20 minutes as I found the time. Now, sometimes it takes me that amount of time just to get the words flowing. I was sort of thinking something was wrong with me because I couldn't do this work in bits and pieces, so it was nice to feel understood.
2. Save my daughter's independent work to be done during my work time.
- Again, sometimes hearing something from another person's perspective feels like a breath of fresh air. For a few months now, since we switched to our new Science curriculum, we've been saving it for the afternoon because we enjoy it so much that it was fun to look forward to at the end of the day. Saving a less favorite subject/work for the afternoon can feel a little tedious when the day is winding down and the basketball hoop or friends are calling. But, I had to be realistic about my needs too so I moved some things around. Now we have more independent work scheduled for the early afternoon.
3. Stay open to changing needs. Frequently assess the routine.
- Right. Stay in the moment. Do the best you can today with a loose grip on tomorrow. Is there really any other way? Of course we have long term goals as a family and individuals, but more than anything, it's the right here and now that shapes the future.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
So, what have I done to improve my current balancing act?
I've given myself a work schedule!
Basically, Monday through Friday, the hours of 1:00 - 5:00 are mine for working. It doesn't come close to the full time hours I could certainly fill these days, but it is so much more than I was scheduling before. And that word, scheduling, is key for me. I need to make it an appointment or before I realize it I'll be in the kitchen baking a cake or something. My family is supportive (as always) and on board, so we will give this a go and see if it helps. As it stands, in the morning for about 2-3 hours I am full on lesson support (as needed). After lunch, Emily settles into her more independent work/activities of the day, and I work.
I don't lock myself in another room as that just feels kind of sad for how connected we are. One of our main reasons for homeschooling is to spend our days together rather than apart. Emily accommodates my need for relative quiet, and we each go about our work. By 2:00 or 3:00 she has finished up her independent work and will do as she wishes until 5:00. At thirteen, she's fully capable of occupying herself, or she may decide to get together with a friend.
There will be exceptions of course. Two afternoons a month I host home-ec, one afternoon I host a homeschool knitting group, and about once or twice a month Emily has a program at the library. And there will be the spontaneous outing or field trip. Like yesterday, Emily and a friend had an opportunity to be volunteer ushers for the Boston Lyric Opera, who performed at a local school. As a result, our day shifted, but what a good reason to shift. I am a mother, flexible is my middle name.
It feels really good, and all I had to do was say what I needed and my family was like "okay, sounds great, we'll support you completely." Guess I should speak up more often! (Just kidding, my family will tell you I speak up plenty.)
Again, thank you for listening, sharing your own experiences, and making a difference the way that you do. It is all very much appreciated.