What Are You Doing with Your Time?
Are you too busy to homeschool?
As homeschoolers, we have the responsibilities of parenting and home education.
Of course, there are responsibilities outside of both those areas.
At times, all of those responsibilities can demand your attention all at once.
Which can leave a homeschool parent feeling crazy busy. And even very stressed.
One responsibility can try to interrupt another – very legitimate – responsibility.
So, how does a homeschool parent determine if it is an important interruption?
What if it’s just a time sapper?
And what if these interruptions interfere with homeschooling? Making every aspect of our lives crazy busy.
What do we do then?
Is it ever OK to be too busy to homeschool?
In other words, is it ok to set homeschooling aside to take care of other responsibilities?
Think about this. In most homeschools, there is one parent that is responsible for the home management and the home education. While the other is responsible for financial support.
Then they divide all other responsibilities between them. It can get to be a lot.
But they must get it done. At some point in time.
How do homeschoolers juggle the responsibilities?
It’s sad to say that some don’t. At least, not very well.
The Myth of “Too Busy”
Here is a short exercise for you to do:
- List the number of hours you sleep each week.
- Now list the number of hours you work/parent/hold down the house each week.
- List your recreation hours.
- Add them up and subtract from 168.
- This is your extra time – think about where it went.
Was that how you wanted to use it?
Some parents struggle with feelings of what some call homeschool guilt. Especially when they can’t check off every item on their to-do list.
A list that includes homeschooling, home management, business or work, and finally, nurturing family relationships. Unfortunately, recreation (taking care of you) gets neglected.
But there are ways to let go of that crazy busy-ness. And still take care of your responsibilities as a homeschooler, provider, caregiver, do-it-yourselfer, and whatever other hats you wear.
Other bloggers have touched on this subject of being too busy to homeschool.
And while the recommendations may not give over-night results, the changes will be noticeable.
Dont’ Just Take My Word for It
Misha Thompson from The Offense of Joy talked on Simple Homeschool about making intentional choices. Choosing your priorities. These choices help to live a full life. Not a busy one.
Rachael J DeBruin at Diamonds in the Rough warns about watching out for distractions. She suggests planning our time wisely to help deal with them. Doing so can help us make quality time with our loved ones. (I love how she deliberately used the word, “make” in her explanation.)
Maribeth Spangenberg wrote on Eclectic Homeschool Online that she had to stop and pray for help. She wanted to be less harried and more relaxed. Otherwise, her juggling act of chores, homeschool and other tasks would result in more mysterious bruises.
Tanya of Kentucky Sketches wrote in Hip Homeschool Moms encouraging homeschoolers to be discerning. And not to be so busy with even good and needful things. Doing so makes room for us to forget to truly nurture our children. (Which is a whole other topic outside of being too busy to homeschool.)
So, basically, each encourages us to be aware of our decisions.
And to also be aware of those things that distract us and pull us away from our priorities.
Here’s Another Question…Or two
Heidi Ciravola of Starts at Eight posed this question:
Are we really too busy? Or is it more about the choices we make?
As I attempted to validate my question, I ran across Heidi’s article, Intentional Living – No More “Too Busy”.
Heidi decided to live intentionally. To cut out the fluff. So that she could proudly say she and her family sat down for a night at home.
Meanwhile, others were going on and on about how they were running themselves ragged.
Choose Your Priorities
Tim writes his article to an audience of writers. But we can apply it to our “busy” lives.
When we stop to talk to someone, we make a choice. We didn’t somehow squeeze them into our frantic schedule, as Tim reminds us.
Here is what we did. We decided.
We gave them that precious commodity we call…time.
So, how is it we are too busy? We weren’t so busy that we couldn’t spare a few minutes.
His suggestion was to strike the word “busy” out of our vocabulary and use “prioritizing my time.”
Which then leads us to the truth. We can stop complaining that we are too busy. (A fault of mine.)
Instead, we can say what is truly happening. We are not prioritizing our time well.
First Things First
So, before we even open a calendar to make an entry, I suggest writing down what your priorities are for the day.
That can be the list that you work from.
What must you accomplish this day? Start with your obligations. You know, feed yourself, the kids and the pets. Oh, and sleep. (Hygiene may be optional, but it does have great benefits.)
Then, deal with those things that will have dire consequences if they don’t get done. Things like paying the rent or mortgage, utilities, food, and car note. (For some, this could be the RV payment.)
Next, those things that you have to do. Work, maybe? Perhaps business building. Homeschooling can go here as well. (If you didn’t put it in the dire consequences section. Some of us must turn in results and evaluations, I know.)
Afterward, you can add the extracurriculars. For yourself and for your homeschool.
Remember, taking time for yourself first is important. Your frame of mind is everything.
So take that time for movement, reading, or meditation.
But taking time that does not bring you closer to your goal or that does not refresh you must be cut.
The Fly Lady is a wonderful resource to help you declutter your home, mind, and ultimately your life. The peace of mind, the increased productivity, and serenity that results in reducing clutter is priceless.
There are also Pamper Missions. (Yay!)
She even has a section for those of us who need our hands held called, BabySteps.
And PLAN ahead.
I know the very idea of planning means it is done ahead of time, but sometimes you just have to be redundant.
So, Plan to say yes to the above points.
As well, Plan to give some things the big, “NO!”
As Tim says, in order get rid of some of that busy-ness, “You must ruthlessly cut unnecessary stuff out of your life.”
So, instead of being too busy, you are now choosing not to prioritize certain things.
You choose to prioritize those things that progress your health, your homeschool, your business, your relationships.
You Cut out the fluff.
When Life Throws a Fast One, You’re Still OK
Understandably, life can throw you a curve ball.
At that point, go back to the criteria. Is it have to, need to, want to, or fluff?
Prioritize it accordingly.
This may mean other things will have to take a back seat for the time being. Not neglected. Just a back seat. For example, you may have to slow down on the business building if some major issues arise that need handling.
So, how can we maintain homeschooling when life events happen?
What can keep us from being too busy to homeschool?
Real tragedies being an exception, make sure you cover any basic requirements. And keep them covered. All else is gravy.
If you need to take time off to handle emergencies, do so without guilt.
You are the facilitator of your child’s education.
The beauty of homeschooling is you can meet your student where they are.
You can continue to guide them to achieve the goals you’ve set as a family.
My research answered my question. It also changed it a bit.
When is it OK to be Too Busy to Homeschool?
On where you prioritize homeschooling.
And if you understand that being too busy is a myth.
We can choose our priorities.
At times, some things will take priority over others.
Then, at different times, you may switch their positions.
The choice of whether it is OK is really our own.
What you choose depends upon what must happen at that moment.
When circumstances arise that must be dealt with, of course, it is OK to handle those situations.
Blaming homeschooling is not an OK excuse to neglect major responsibilities.
However, everything is a choice that must be made.
It is how you prioritize your time and your choices that determine if you are too busy to homeschool.