(Be sure to see Part 1 for ways # 1-5 )
6. LEARNING TO SAY NO
Life’s interruptions happen to all of us. It definitely helps to have our plan in place. When you know what you’re supposed to be doing at a given time, you know what you can’t do.
Learning to say “no” was really hard for me at first. I’d feel bad telling people I couldn’t do whatever it was they wanted me to do; but remember, your time to train your kids is so short. I know, there are days it feels VERY long, but in the whole scheme of life, it is short and will be over before you’re ready for it to be.
I’m not saying you should always say no, but do stop to evaluate. In raising my kids, we ministered to many elderly people and if they had a need, I would usually break from our schedule and take my kids with me to meet that need. That is education at it’s best!
However, there are so many opportunities to involve your kids- good opportunities, that if you choose to involve them in too many, you’ll not be at home much and it’s incredibly difficult to effectively home school your kids if you’re hardly ever home.
Your homeschooling experience is a season of life and during that season, you MUST learn when to say no or you will be constantly distracted as will your kids, and you may miss out on some really sweet times together as family.
7. RECOGNIZE WHEN GOD CHANGES YOUR SCHEDULE
There may be times when you come to realize that God has changed your schedule. Something beyond your control comes into your life and it’s time to cooperate with God and see what He is trying to teach you as a family.
It may be a move, a job change, sickness, pregnancy that causes you to have to “put life on hold” for a time. During my 36 years of homeschooling, I’ve had a couple things that really shook my plan.
During the time our 4th son Josh fought with leukemia, our whole family had to pull together and take care of Josh. At first I determined we would continue doing school, but it wasn’t long before I realized that was totally unrealistic. “School” was put on hold and we had 7 months of intensive training in what really matters in life. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but I am grateful for the lessons we all learned during that time.
Another time when my dad was sick in Massachusetts, My boys and I alternated trips, taking a week or two- week turns, going up to help my sister care for him. I wouldn’t trade being able to help my dad and for my sons to help their grandfather for anything, but it was a huge balancing act and life was not “normal” for several months.
8. STOP AND EVALUATE
It’s so easy for us to make our plans and get in a rut and plow ahead even when it’s not working out! I find I need to constantly evaluate.
Just because something worked effectively last year or for some of my kids, it doesn’t guarantee it’ll work this year or for all of my kids. You need a plan, but don’t be afraid to change it. The purpose of a plan is help you be efficient in accomplishing whatever God has for you to do. Make your plans, but expect to have to tweak it to best meet the changing needs of your family.
Flexibility is being cheerfully willing to change my plans when circumstances beyond my control require it.
So, when it’s under your control, evaluate. When it’s not, realize God is teaching you flexibility and probably a lot of other things in the process as well.
Feel free to share some of the things you’ve done to be more productive as a mom. What has helped you the most?
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My biggest struggle with these types of interruptions is the pressure other family members are putting on us to be at a “certain place at this point”. I had a very difficult pregnancy then buying a house and moving two months before my due date. Then, my recovery from that pregnancy was very difficult. Transitioning into and out of all of those life changes were slow for us because of the size of our family. I am not complaining at all because I am so grateful for our new little one and our new home. My biggest struggle is how some people that are close family members have made comments and put pressure on us about where they think we should be right now as far as school is concerned. They also continue to pressure us and make comments to our children that they should be in public school all six years we have been homeschooling. This has frustrated me to the point that I wonder if we should continue down this path because of the influence these people have on our children’s lives. I feel like it is making it harder for some of our kids to do well because of the things these people say to them.
Thank you for this post. I know about illness derailing school. Our oldest daughter at home (we have 8 kids aged 14 to 21 months) struggles with Lyme disease and other co-infections. She has been seriously ill since January, and although we tried to push on, school basically had to stop for everyone from then on due to the number of doctor visits, etc. Now, just when we have started to try to do school again, we have had to travel to Florida for 6 weeks or more to help take care of my dad who has advanced prostate cancer. I was beating myself up over the fact that my nearly 7 year old son is still in the very early stages of learning to read, and I realized that I never thought about the fact that God is the one who has changed our schedule! It is not anyone’s fault where we find ourselves, and it has been a learning experience for all of the children (and me). Anyway, thank you for your encouragement!
Your situation now is so much like mine was when Josh was sick and then shortly thereafter my dad was sick and we took turns caring for him. You are right. It’s a season God has ordained for you right now and oh, the learning you are receiving- things you couldn’t learn any other way. God is in control and homeschooling is great because you can come back and pick up when life allows. I had one of those almost readers at the time too and she eventually learned to read and everyone eventually “caught up” with schooling. We just put it on hold for 7 plus months. God will bless you and give you grace for the journey.
Thank you so much for posts. Somehow they are exactly what I need to hear. Thank the Lord!