When I first started homeschooling last fall, scheduling the day was my biggest challenge. Parents ask me all of the time how I balance the teaching workload for three kids, cook meals for my family, keep all the laundry clean, and keep the house work done. My husband works for an IT service provider Birmingham AL so he is hardly ever available to help out. While scheduling all those things is the biggest challenge I face in homeschooling, it can run much more smoothly than some people would think!
At the beginning of the school year, I develop a lesson plan for the year. Of course, at times this plan may change, based on how my children, or students excel. That’s the beauty of homeschooling really. If a lesson plan needs to change because a student is not catching on as quickly, I can amend the plan and spend extra time on a subject with them and then move on. Of course, I do this for each of my children as they range from 7 to 17 years old.
Every evening, I review my lesson plan for the next day. I always schedule at least two extracurricular activities for the students each week. So, Mondays will be full of basic studies, and then on Tuesday, we might go to the library, and then follow up with the kid’s sports practice and dance. I’m always running across town for one child’s drop off and another one’s pickup.
I find that a steady schedule, as much as possible, really benefits my children. They seem calmer and at more at ease when they know what to expect for their school day. Of course, we have to rearrange things on our plan regularly. But, that in itself works so much better than the public school mandated lesson plan.
When it comes to chores, I enlist the help of my children. After breakfast, lunch, and dinner they help clear the dishes and load and unload the dishwasher. We plan meals out two weeks in advance, so the groceries are always there and some items can be prepped in advanced. Often my students will join me in slicing veggies, making tea, and creating marinades. For us, this provides quality family time while teaching our children what it means to take care of oneself.
Okay, so you’re probably wondering how my husband and I have any private time to invest in our relationship. I assure you that we are still working on that part. Many days, the school day runs into dinner time, and we are falling into bed exhausted with little celebrating of our marriage. However, we have begun to say “no” more, to our children, friends, and family. We always try to remember the original commitment we made in homeschooling our kids. We know that all of the hard work and dedication is going to be worth it. We see our children behaving generously and responsibly toward other people. We have deemed every other Friday night as a date night to spend quality time with each other. We are working hard to make sure that despite the busy schedule, each of us, including the children feel important and cherished.