(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?