I want to share with you today something that his great for me. Something that I think I finally figured out (after 3 years). I think I've finally figured out this homeschooling thing and how to stay sane!!! I made some changes this year that have effectively changed our homeschool days. I want to share them with you, because I think that they can be very helpful if you're new to this and struggling.
#1. I said NO!
Part Time Nanny
Sunday School Teacher
Part Time TeachersPayTeachers store owner
Part Time Graphic Designer
and on and on.....
I have always enjoyed being busy. Some weeks, I all of the things that I am a part of have an off week. There's no Bible Study, I'm not working as a nanny, and maybe Co-op is cancelled that week. How nice is it to just put up your feet for a week and enjoy the peace? NO ME! Normally, these are the weeks that I find a way to add another responsibility to my life. Then, the following week, ALL of those things on the list above, and maybe even more collide and I am a hot mess! Homeschooling goes to the bottom of the list. I'm not a great mom, wife, or daughter. Worst of all, I get depressed. I doubt myself and feel like I am failing everyone.
Well, this year, I finally found my courage and my voice. First, and with a ton of guilt, I told the church that I no longer interested in being on the regular schedule for Sunday School. I told them that I'd like to be a substitute. Beyond just decluttering my schedule, I choose to change this, because I felt like I hadn't been to church in forever. I felt like it was time for me to get some one on one time with God.
The other thing that changed was my nanny gig. The truth is, I'm not really a nanny anymore. I started with this family almost 13 years ago. Their oldest is going to college next year! Then, there will be another senior coming up and a freshman in high school. My job is really just to get these kids to their activities. It's actually a pretty sweet gig, BUT doing this means that I get TOO MANY last minute phone calls for pick up and drop offs. The other unfortunate thing that has happened is that my poor son, who has been going with me to do this job since he was 8 weeks old, knows dinner from fast food better than dinner at a table. My daughter was whisked into this too. There were nights that they really needed to be at home, being read stories or sleeping and instead I was running kids around for my job.
The change this year for my nanny gig....I'm limiting it to 2 nights (with an occasional 3) per week. There have been very few surprises, and we have been getting home really early so that we can still have dinner together and get to bed on time.
#2. Monday....no Funday!
In years past, we have had activities on Monday morning or maybe Monday afternoon. This year, that was a BIG change!! Mondays are now an at home day. We haven't been making playdates or really going anywhere at all on Monday. The reason being, I need Monday to prepare for the week. Monday is when I realize that we are out of towels and bread....so I do some laundry and head to the bread store. This works well for me, because Monday is like a day of renewal for me. I tend to WANT to get things done and really power through them with a lot of energy, so this actually makes all too much sense!
#3. Quiet Time!
Remember when your kids were babies and they napped? It gave you about an hour or two to fold some laundry, just onto Facebook, or rest on the couch? This year, I brought nap time back....in the form of "Quiet Time". This year, from about 1-2 pm, my kids go up to their own rooms and have an hour to play, read, or rest. They need to stay in their own rooms and they are allowed to come back down when the timer goes off.
My 7 year old, I think he secretly likes this time to himself. My 4 year old, well, she's usually calling about once every 15 minutes to see if the timer went off.
As for me, I've been taking this time to do all kinds of things. Usually, the first thing to do is regroup. I look around and see what needs done......"Hmmmm....the dishes....the messing the living room....the mess in the dining room....the toys that landed on the kitchen floor....laundry...." If I'm really on top of things, I may have asked the kids to help me pick up before they go up their room. If not, I take a few minutes to pick up. Some days I work on my TPT store. One day, I realized that a show that I love was on Netflix and I watched it while I folded laundry. If I'm really tired, I try to make myself just take a break. This has been such a good thing for me!
#4. Time Away!
My kids are always together! Sadly, my son doesn't have great ways of showing that he loves my daughter. He will play with her, but most of the time he is begging to get away from her. That's really hard for us. This year, I was able to make a couple changes so that they can have time away from each other.
The first, is our co-op. Thankfully, my kids each have their own class for co-op and they literally don't see each other for 4 hours on Tuesdays. The other thing, is our YMCA homeschool program. My son has been going to this for a while, but this year is the best it's ever been. The program used to be a 1 hour swim. Now it's 2 hours of gym time and swim! While I am taking him there, my Aunt come and gives Chloe her full attention. Chloe loves that, Matthew is happy, and MEEEEE....I have 2 hours to sit in the lobby of the YMCA to just think!
I've been very happy with these changes. I've known that some of these needed to happen for a long time. I wish I just would have had the courage and the discipline to do what I needed to do. Consider what might make your home a happier place for homeschooling and for making peace. I hope these ideas help.