This entry was previously posted at The Old Schoolhouse’s Homeschooling With Heart blog.
Many of us have hobbies and interests outside of homeschooling but find it hard to find balance. How can we give our children and homes first priority and still find the time and energy to pursue those things integral to who we are?
I am a writer – one that until recently found it difficult to carve out time to pursue my dream. The past few years has been really hard for our family and it was difficult enough to focus on homeschooling let alone anything else. But by the grace of God, He has brought us through and we’ve entered into a period of calm. It’s in this time I’ve reflected on how best to move forward.
The first thing I’ve realized is that my time belongs to God. We are called to be good stewards of all things and time is no different. I can’t count the hours and minutes I’ve wasted and it grieves me. I am determined now more than ever to make the most of every moment—from homeschooling to managing the home, to writing.
So where do we go from here? The first step I would suggest is to prioritize. What is most important to you and to your family? Forget what everyone else is doing. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? Make a list and go over them with your spouse. Be brutally honest. Anything that isn’t a priority needs to be chucked.
The second step is to delegate. Are your kids older? How much schoolwork are they able to do on their own without your direct input? What chores can you delegate? It’s important to remember that children are far more capable than what we give them credit for. My 11-year-old daughter has mastered cleaning and she enjoys it. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders knowing I can depend on her.
The third step is to discard. If it’s eating up your time, whether it be social media, texting, or playing games, it needs to be reigned in. If you’re teaching your children, focus on them. If you’re cleaning, focus on that. Time is a precious commodity. Don’t waste it. Live in the present.
Next, make small changes in your routine. Get up earlier or stay up later. When your spouse is home, ask for an hour or two to yourself at least once a week. Saturday mornings were gifted to me. I would pack up my laptop and notebook and head to the local library to work on my writing in silence. At night, after everyone else is in bed, I stay up an hour or two later to work. If the kids are able to work independently, so am I.
A word of caution: don’t sacrifice your family’s time for your own. Your kids won’t always be young. If they need you, be there for them. But encourage them to work and play independently from time to time and as they grow you’ll find yourself with more flexibility. Work together and nurture each other’s interests.
Take the time to take care of yourself and pursue your interests. It is just as much a part of you as homeschooling and managing the home. Let your children see your passions and encourage them in theirs. If it’s something you truly value, you can creatively find the time. Most importantly of all, ask God for wisdom and guidance in balancing your life. By desiring to glorify God in all you do, you will succeed where it matters most.
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