Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homeschooling When People Know You're Home ~ A Tragic but True Tale of My Mediocre Beginnings


{I am a bit embarrassed to share this but do so in hopes that it will encourage others.}

For a lot of family members and friends, it is hard for them to realize that your “let’s-go-get-coffee-on-the-spot" schedule must be altered. Or, perhaps you were like me in the beginning and you were the culprit. I flirted with the two life-styles. I was a homeschooling mother when there wasn’t anything else to do on the social calendar!


Tupperware parties, baby showers of old friends (I’m sure I can come up with their names if I really tried!) and occasional invitations to Starbucks (Just how many “times” does it take to call something occasional?) were beginning to overpower the days I spent at home with my child. Then, I would get frustrated when I didn't finish all those neat projects I had planned for our school. The house certainly wasn’t cleaning itself and the dinners were getting skimpier by the meal. By the end of the day I was tired, wiped out and grumpy from trying to get it all done. Could I really home educate? The answer is yes, if I truly dedicated myself to our home and our school!


Help from Your Husband

I wish I could say I was the mastermind in the area of reducing, but it was truly my husband who helped me to crop and chop my calendar of events. I can tend to be the “I don’t want to hurt their feelings by not going person” while my husband helped me to realize that the family God gave me were the ones that were getting hurt. The impatient mother and snappy wife were teaching something, but not the skills I had in mind! It was time to show my dedication to my family and my home.


Prioritize Your Calendar

Yes, there are times when a baby shower is in order (the key here is “close” family and friends) or a jaunt to a coffee shop to do some catching up. Consider Saturdays when father is home to bond with the children or when a friend is really in “need”. As far as the “product” parties go, you can politely call the hostess and say you made a commitment to homeschooling your children that you take seriously but would be glad for a catalog. She will be just as pleased (and maybe even impressed). Perhaps you can limit some of your social activities to once of month and give grandmother some special bonding time with the grandchildren on that day. The bottom line is that your home schedule should dominate your social calendar.


Telephone Time

Maybe you are already in tune with this simple philosophy and it’s not the running around that is draining you but the constant telephone calls. That was my second problem once we faced the first problem. (Yes, I am a slow learner.) We would be in the middle of a craft with paint all over my hands and sure enough the phone would ring. Of course, I would run like a maniac trying to answer it (Isn’t there something about “curiosity killing the cat”?) with my elbows (which I assure you wasn’t what the Creator had in mind as their function) only to find it was a telemarketer or perhaps as it was this time, someone who wanted to see “what’s new” in my life. As I politely begin to “chit-chat”, I notice paint dripping down my skirt onto my carpet and “frustrated” mother is officially on the loose again! I ask my friend if I can call her back in a few hours since I am in the middle of a project. “Oh no!” she answers, “I’ll be at work by then and can’t be disturbed there.” Finally, a light goes on in my head. This homeschool is my work and I shouldn’t be disturbed either.


Take Charge of Your Hours

Yes, dear ladies, the answer is that easy. If you have an answering machine you can simply leave the following message and you will feel liberated by the second! “Thank you for calling the ________ residence, we are not able to answer the phone right now but will return most calls after 2 o’clock”.  We usually finish up “formal” schooling by noon (I say “formal” because our children are learning all day long!) but I include lunch and clean up in the time mentioned so that I can get everything in order before someone expects a phone call returned. Perhaps you will say 3 or 4 o’clock. The basic idea is to leave your self completely available to your homeschooling whims during the day.


Time to Appreciate Time

Let us be honest with ourselves, everything goes smoother when mother is home ruling the roost. When you have more control of the laundry, organization of your home and management of your meals. That is the recipe for a smooth, homeschooling day. You will have more patience to teach that math problem, administer to those cuts and bruises, and hush any quarreling with the children.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of”. A homeschooling mother can think in the same terms, “Do not squander time for that is the stuff homeschooling is made of.” And when you have surrendered your schedule to your family, blessings will abound. You will reap what you sow (Galations 6)!


Other Tips to Simplify Your Homeschooling Days

Homemaking Helps for the Homeschooling Mother



Feeling Like You are Getting Nowhere? ~ A True Homeschool Story of Encouragement

For free Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason Ideas and Homeschool Helps, Visit Here.


38 comments:

  1. Your post is full of good ideas. I like the phone message that says calls will be returned after two, and your thinking that home schooling is your work, and not to be interrupted with phone chats. The paintings are lovely, I must say.

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    1. Thank you Terra for taking the time to share! It always is helpful to know what is of interest to the dear readers. Sometimes we think maybe it is just "me" with certain problems and so you hesitate to share in certain areas...

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  2. This is my second attempt to post a comment, hope it doesn't show up twice. Just want to say I like your post and the phone message that says calls will be returned after two, and that homeschooling is your work and not to be interrupted with phone chats. Pretty paintings too.

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    1. Thank you Terra for taking the time to share! It always is helpful to know what is of interest to the dear readers. Sometimes we think maybe it is just "me" with certain problems and so you hesitate to share in certain areas...

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  3. I love this! I always tell people this has been one of my biggest struggles when homeschooling. People know I'm home and expect that means I'm home twiddling my thumbs. I get requests from family members and neighbors asking me to do things like meet the plumber since they can't in the middle of the day, or people always expecting me to be the one visiting them, since I "have more time on my hands." It's especially hard on those days when homeschooling goes later into the afternoon, or on snow days, and then there are neighbor children coming over and interrupting. I always feel terrible because I want people to count on me, I want friends to feel like our home is always welcome, but on the other hand, we need to get stuff done sometimes too!!

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    1. Yes, it is a difficult balance! My husband really was a blessing in this area since men tend to think more practically while I can oftentimes be too emotional and make a mess of things. We certainly don't have "more time on our hands", we just have a different kind of "work". Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hello Jes it's Sandra from France as you know I'm not homeschooling my children but I take care of them and be at home. I struggle a lot those days with my housekeeping and one of my problem is social media. I'm so frustrated at the end of the day because my home project don't goes has I want and then be irritated and yell of my children!! I have to pray and cut down my social media time. Thank you for your post today, it's remind me what my priorities are. Blessings

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    1. Hi Sandra! Nice to hear from you again :) I know many of us have that struggle as well! When I find that evil urge to go online when I should be doing something else, I shut off the computer AND unplug it. It sounds so simple but it does wonders!!! Then I put on some inspirational music and enjoy my homemaking :)

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  5. This is lovely written Jes and reminds me of the book I'm currently reading "The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst. I'll share with some homeschool moms I know. Love the beautiful graphics you pair with this message. ~ Abby

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    1. Thank you Abby for your sweet support! :)

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  6. JES-What a great post.... your transparency is wonderful and will probably be understood by most women reading this. I have had some similar struggles and I, too, was so helped to realize that this stuff at home IS important and that IS my obligation. It is amazing how many women/church people/etc will "guilt trip" a person into doing more than they should.... and it is so freeing to pull back, knowing that we are honoring and obeying God and our husband

    . I heard a program by Elizabeth Elliot several years ago that really helped to solidify this for me... she said something like... Ladies, you can't be a keeper at home... if you are not AT home." Something like that, but it sure stuck with me and I found it easier to say no to the parties, the ladies' activities, the fun stuff, the extra responsibilities that others expected of me and not feel the need to defend doing my work at home. :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing and encouraging Joy! The interesting part is, is that the older women I know aren't doing all those "fun activities" when they are no longer raising children but are looking for ways to spend time with their families and grandchildren. This tells me that the best times are enjoying what is in front of me right now.

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    1. Nice to hear from you Carolien, I hope this was a help in some way!

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  8. JES, these are WONDERFUL words, chock full of wisdom from someone who truly understands. It seems that it is so hard for those who do not homeschool to understand or fully comprehend that our work in teaching our children is every bit as important (even more so) than their whims and demands upon our time. I know exactly what you mean and could relate to so many of the things you said. I appreciate your transparency and honesty and the wonderful advice. I, too, have learned to let go of many things for the sake of what is most important. Some day, if God spares time and our lives, there will be time to do those outings....for now, these precious hours with our children are most precious and going by way too fast.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better, thank you Cheryl!!! :)

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  9. Homeschooling is behind me now that our girls are grown, but I do have a comment I can't hold back:
    I'm so glad we are past the Tupperware party era, lol!
    Have a great evening. :)

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  10. Taking on the responsibility to home school one's children is a serious one and of course requires complete dedication, concentration and maybe, at times, as you have illustrated, giving up other activities, due to scheduling of lessons. But, as you have found, it is a small price to pay for the many, many days of bonding, teaching, learning, and sharing with one's children, not to mention, the countless memories both parent and child will cherish in their lives.

    Thanks for sharing your own experience with homeschooling, JES.

    Poppy

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    1. Hi Poppy, I really appreciate you sharing here on this homeschooling article and pointing out the blessings of home education! I do agree with you wholeheartedly :)

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  11. While I don't homeschool... and I "hate" the phone so I don't use it much.... however, I can certainly relate to a lot of what you shared.

    I know - it's a struggle - to see my home and my being at home as always top priority - that said, I don't know what is because I am a stay at home mom. I do care for my home and family... but it is not always with JOY!! (now, I'm embarrassed) ((sigh!!)) I just really appreciate your candidness here this morning...(as I read!).

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    1. Thanks for sharing Bevy! I think we all struggle these days with so much distractions (internet, entertainment, coffee shops...)! Keeping focus takes work but is very rewarding! Our homes will be that peaceful haven we all desire once we invest ourselves (with our time)...

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  12. Praying that many, many homeschooling moms find this post! So well written, JES. :) Thank you!

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    1. Hi Lisa, It is nice to hear from you! Thanks for stopping to share and encourage :)

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  13. Thank you so much for this!! As a homeschooling mom in a small rural community full with mostly retired people. It has been hard to get the point across that schooling is my job. I am trying not to be rude but we don't have time for the 5 drop-in visits or 10 phone calls a day.

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    1. Yes, it can be very hard and does need to be handled carefully... The drop-ins we can't control but we can with the phone calls. Perhaps maintaining your homeschooling position when someone arrives would be a thought... We can say something like, "would you like to sit in while we continue our homeschool? I can prepare you some tea but we need to finish our course and keep schedule as we have material to cover before year end...." God give you wisdom!

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing! I feel like I struggle with a similar problem -- but it comes from trying to bite off more than I can chew inside the home! While balancing working to help my husband and managing the house, I load on elaborate meals, pinterest projects, crafts, and other fun but not all together necessary homemaking activities. The result? The necessary homemaking activities such as laundry, dishes, and cleanings fall to the wayside. Alas!
    I keep thinking about verses from the Bible that talk about denying yourself.
    And really, it's probably good practice for when/if I become a home-schooling mom. It would take up just as much time as my part time job, if not more!

    I'm so glad you shared this. It is really encouraging. Thank you!
    -Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, Thanks for sharing yet another struggle many of us face as well! "Balance" is a needful thing... I usually try to do all the basics before I dip into the dessert projects (or I reserve those for Saturdays or even give myself an hour a day to enjoy them). It just makes for a happier household though it did take me some time to figure that out!!! :) As I stated above, I am a slow learner :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing this! My littles are not yet at the "homeschooling" age but they are home with me all day and it is my privilege to be home with them, loving on them, teaching them, and directing them as we explore life and find joy in the midst of our days. It is a great reminder that this is my primary "job" and should be treated with such importance. Great words of wisdom! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing Nicole! I think this is something we can all related to as homemakers whether we are currently homeschooling or not. Have a lovely weekend! :)

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  16. Oh JES... I needed this today. I think that I am doing this as gracefully as I can, but I have friends who are snippy with me right now. Your words encourage me.
    My problem is not the phone, it's the friends who have realized I don't answer it and now come by all the time, "Just for a second." They always say, "I'm just going to be here for a second because I know you're in the middle of something," but they just stay around. I love these friends, but it's hard to ignore them while they just stay and I have to get back to all the kids.
    It is nice to know someone else has gone through this.
    Blessings,

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    1. Oh dear, we had moved pretty far out when we started homeschooling so I didn't have that problem but I see how hard that can be. Praying for wisdom is the best we mothers can do! :)

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  17. When my older two were first homeschooled I tried to do everything and be everything to everybody. It was so hard and their schooling did suffer. Now with the younger two I try and stay home and it works great, now I just have to learn to keep schooling with Dad is home working :-). Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings.

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    1. Yes, getting used to papa being at home took some time for us but we eventually figured that out too! :) Thanks for sharing Terri!

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  18. JES, I have read this post before, but when I came today and realized that... I just had to read it again and God has blessed me with it... and reminded me that it is time to do some "pruning" again! Thank you. :)

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  19. JES this is wonderful advice. It took me awhile to learn quite a bit during my homeschooling years. I had to be honest with everyone and let them know why I was not accepting phone calls and so forth. But it was worth it!

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  20. "The bottom line is that your home schedule should dominate your social calendar." Amen! This is a very well-written post, my friend! I loved what you said about the phone and creating a message that lets people know we will come them back in the afternoon. I think I will do that :)

    I greatly appreciate your sound wisdom and advice. May the Lord continue to use you, sweet JES!

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