Monday, June 24, 2013

Part Two: Mama, are you TOO busy??

Trying to Juggle it All??

If you missed part one in this series "Mama, are you too busy??" then please check out my link here:

Also, I love to share my friend's lovely blog entries as well. In this link a good friend of mine (who is also a very busy homeschooling Mama of four!) shares how she strives to maintain "Balance" in her own life:

In the first section of this series we looked at our time use in cleaning, our time used in cooking, and lastly at using a bit of creativity to have quality time with our spouse, even in a hectic schedule! Today we will look at three more topics: Time With Our Children, Time In Our Homeschool, and also Time For Our Appointments.

4) Time With Our Children: Our kids are homeschooled so there is ample opportunity for me to spend time with my children. However, we still need to use a bit of creativity as we often have many things on the go that can sometimes cause our quality time together to be reduced to little more than schooling and shuffling from place to place in the van together! Yep, for real ;)

So I need to us a little forethought to make a short drive, or hike, or conversation, or book reading, to allow for deep and meaningful conversation together. Any time together, if planned with a purpose, can be made to be quality time. But we must watch out for distractions...

I find that distractions from my children can include: facebook, twitter, emails, texts, even this blog, too many appointments made in one week, too much stress, lack of sleep and irritability...the list can go on. Nonetheless, by planning our time wisely, I believe we can deal with many of these aspects of our lives yet still make quality time with our most treasured loved ones: namely our children.

 I also try to include the children in all kinds of regular activities that I participate in: sometimes grocery shopping, sometimes exercise walks, or other times some of my ministry commitment at church. Kids love to help, and I believe it is a good idea to be able to model for them a diverse and productive lifestyle. It is modeling for them simply "life" and also allowing them to interact with ourselves, and various other people that are a part of our larger community.

My hubby and I also try to limit outside evening extracurriculars. We already have church twice a week, my eldest is now involved in a youth group, and we have a few other non-negotiables that will come up for our evenings. One or two extra-curriculars for each child is what we aim at. That alone can be overwhelming though in terms of cost and we tend to look for programs all the children can participate in at the same time (like our dance class which is Saturday mornings, or swimming classes which are usually all on the same evening within short time spans of each other). 

I remember reading a book a while ago called "The Home Court Advantage" by Dr. Kevin Leman, where he encourages parents NOT to allow their parenting roles to be reduced to that of a taxi cab driver. That always stuck in my mind, and I try to adhere to limiting extra-curriculars to the ones we feel are beneficial, yet are not overly time-consuming.

5) Time In Our Homeschool: This one will not be for everyone, but anyone can utilize the principles. One thing I've learned over the past year in our journey is that if you try to focus on something else while schooling your children, you WILL make an assignment take about twice as long! For example: if you're working on a math problem with your middle schooler, then turn off all distractions (media, phone, other projects) and let your child see your undivided attention. My goal is to do that for each section of our schooling, however morning and afternoon breaks allow for Mama to have uninterrupted time to do chores and complete other obligations. Children often enjoy some play, rest, or reading during these much coveted time slots. Remember: focus, focus and more focus!

One more time saving tip for homeschooling is to have a great organizational system running in your home. Of course it needs to be one that works for YOUR version of homeschooling, and your family's overall personality in general. It will not look like anyone else's, but it is essential to being a good steward of our time. I have a folder for each child with a list of each subject they are working on, plus any upcoming 'tests' or larger assignments. We also have a large book shelf with all workbooks we are currently working on. A craft station is also near by for easy access. Simply find a system that works for your home, and then stick to it!

6) Time For Our Appointments: doctor, dental, midwife, hairdresser, etc.

It's amazing how much time in a household of six, is taken up by these types of things. They are not a weekly occurrence, but usually every month I have to make ensure that I haven't double booked ourselves and that time is left open for any last minute follow-ups that may come up (i.e. a dental filling, a sick child, now a baby that is on the it's way so many midwife & doctor's appointments!)

The simplest way for me to keep track of all of these is to use my handy dandy LARGE family calendar on the fridge. I also use my phone when I'm out & about; I've got a calendar app that came on my Android cell phone.

When I book our regularly occurring appointments I try to make them say for a Wed or Thurs morning. That seems to work best for my hubby's work schedule if he needs to watch the younger ones. The point here is to find the times that will work for your family's situation. Then when you're needing to book, it is an easy thing to slot into your schedule.

Lastly, when you receive a card from an office with a reminder about an upcoming appointment, then jot it on the calendar right away! Otherwise, you may forget and get a nasty charge for missed appointment....thankfully I haven't had that happen too much, but I want to avoid extra charges at all costs :)

There you have it! Three more areas of life that need to be managed, instead of allowing them to manage you...and don't miss the last post in this series, where I will discuss having an overall life management plan that works for YOU!!!

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
Abraham Lincoln(1809-1865)

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  1. Hi there,
    I am following you at The Beauty in His Grip.
    Although I am a grandma I still need to focus on my activities. Sometimes I get bogged down in taking on too much. - VBS, secretary of community association, and I am a writer, and painter who blogs and is trying to follow God's leading.
    I am so right brained that a schedule is very hard for me - I do what comes as it comes up - but should try to be more focused, I think.
    But somehow God manages to get things done. (somehow).
    Janis www.janiscox. author of Tadeo Turtle

    1. Thanks Janis for sharing from your journey. It is so true that is a daily temptation for all of us: to stay on track!
      Thanks for visiting :)

  2. I applaud your discipline and keeping (pretty much) to your schedules. What a wonderful time to be teaching and training your children. When my chilfren were in school, I did not know about home school. For two of mine, it would have worked, but not for the third child. She was a day dreamer and difficult to keep her mind on one thing. Later she graduated as class president and with honors. I couldn't believe it. :-)

  3. I hope my comment went through! Blessings on you and on your family!

  4. Oh Yes, thank you for sharing at "Tell Me a Story."

    1. Thanks Hazel for stopping by. I am encouraged by your journey with your third child...I have one that is a daydreamer (just now at home then at 'regular' school!!) There is always hope for our children's future :)

  5. We are also a family of six, and yes - the calendar can be horrendous if we let it. We also try to limit evening activities because my husband is a pastor, so finding quality family time can be challenging some weeks. :)

    1. I can only imagine if we were pastors how much more busy it would be! My hats off to everyone in the ministry full-time and raising children..I'm sure not always easy, but so worth it.

      Thanks for stopping by & sharing :)

  6. Homeschooling moms absolutely amaze me! You do so much, manage so many things throughout each and every day, and with a smile (most of the time). One of the most inspiring women I know is an Olympian and a stay-at-home mom. I still don't know how she does it but I want to bow down almost every time I see her! :)

    1. I hear you! Some of the moms I know who homeschool, and say work outside of the home, really inspire me :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by Fawn!!

  7. I couldn't have done it without our homeschool schedule! I built breaks into our schedule too. Each child got a 30 minute break, and during his break I was having one on one with the other child. Each child also had a 30 chore training time.

    I would work alongside each child training them on a new chore or this would be the time that they did their old chores. The other child was working on school work on their own while I did the chore training with his brother.

    I loved my homeschool schedule. It actually freed me up to get more done in my day! Thanks for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party!



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