The exertions of home schooling will far surpass any career a woman can pursue. To ensure that the rewards are commensurate with the effort – it is essential that the teacher/ mom maintains her physical and emotional health.
Every home school mom can end up looking like this mom – even on a daily basis. There are a few ways to prevent the demands of home school from consuming you, and it will require some discipline to make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you neglect certain things – teacher/mom can wind up flat on her back, which won’t benefit anyone, least of all your children. This article will address the common sources of trouble for teacher/mom, and offer solutions.
One problem faced by some teacher/moms is a critical family member. While this was more common in past years, yet today some well- meaning and/or controlling grandparents, siblings, or very close friends will try to make you feel as though home school will irreparably harm your children. If they are not convinced by statistics proving the excellence of home school, you may need protection more tangible. By this – I mean your husband. Here is where dad can and should swoop in and come to your defense. Next time Aunt Mary regales you with a home school horror story, dad can protect you from the negativity.
This is a HUGE one. Electronic distractions! Do not ever get in the habit of taking phone calls and emails from friends and family during school hours. There will always be a lady from church, or even your best friend, that somehow have the idea that since you are home all day – you aren’t busy. Be firm about this. A half hour spent counseling someone on the phone will send your school day into an irretrievable mess. Not only that – it sends your kids a confused message about prioritizing. In addition, turn off your computer! Young mothers with demanding young children crave adult interaction, which sometimes leads to long hours into the night spent on the internet. Which, in turn, leads to sleeping-in in the morning. This is very self-defeating, as your hoped for schedule collapses.
Trying to be wonder woman, and then failing will bring you down. Set realistic goals for house work – and put your kids to work! Have them do as much as possible during a set period of time. And yes- money should be paid! (this will be addressed in detail in a future post) Some jobs for kids include folding laundry, brushing/feeding/walking dog, dusting, emptying trash, unloading dishwasher. . .you get the idea. If you have pets, cook, or have a crawling baby – vacuuming or sweeping needs to be done every day. Have the oldest child do it. If you restrict yourself to the chores that are truly too difficult or dangerous for them, and have them do the rest, you’d be surprised how clean you can keep your home.
Discuss with your husband what time he can give you. Meaning – when can he completely take over for one hour a day/evening to give you a reprieve. For me, it was an hour in the late evening (9:00-10:00) for a long, hot, QUIET, bubble bath. Only when I had a newborn was this routine disrupted. One mom I know has a husband who works from home (farmer). After he does his very early morning routine, he comes home and supervises the kids doing morning chores, while she takes a long, long walk – alone. She pauses here and there to do some deep breathing. You may need another kind of alone time routine. But be sure you stick to it like glue – it can save you from freaking out. Even just sitting outside by yourself with a book, or with nothing – will work wonders.
Putting things off – anything from laundry to flashcards – will cause your home school to self destruct in very short order. I stress – dividing your day into small, conquerable sections, will keep things moving. Doing a couple of loads of laundry every day, is more efficient then waiting until your kids have no clean socks. If you automatically do the dishes while the coffee pot is brewing in the morning – you won’t be faced with a pile in the afternoon or evening. The same discipline needs to be applied to school. Putting off things that are difficult for your kids, will only make it even more difficult when they have to catch up. Enforce the reviews and rote learning NOW. Yes – they must memorize multiplication tables and a host of other things.
The single most important thing you can do for yourself, is maintain an active prayer life. Do not – I repeat – do not neglect spending time with the Lord, separate from your alone time. The larger your family and the younger your children are will affect the amount of time you have. When my family was young, I only had 15 minutes in the morning before the kids were up. Now, of course, I can spend a great deal more time. It is understandable that you don’t have much time for personal Bible study right now. But the Bible study you have with your children is of utmost importance. Spending some time in prayer and perhaps reading a Psalm will bless and strengthen you greatly for your work.
Learn to say no. Until your kids are older, the sign-up sheet at church will have to go without your name! Some people refuse to comprehend that you are completely committed to home school, or what a huge commitment it is. Also – you are not the drop off babysitter for your sister or your friends with little preschoolers. The same goes for the people who want you to teach their children and grandchildren right along with your kids. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31: 28-30
For Sage’s other home-schooling hints, go to her page HERE!