As many families are starting the school year and starting to get into a routine, the questions from homeschoolers change from “choosing” to “using.” Many of them are quick and easy, such as “Where can I find the maps?” or “When do we use this item?” Others are more complex, based on the individual family’s situation.
One mom I talked to recently is using two separate curriculum packages with her three children. She was feeling overwhelmed, and explained that they just couldn’t seem to get everything done every day. I encouraged her to not feel obligated to do every assignment and to even skip a book now and then if they needed to. She said she had already cut everything back to the bare minimum but they were struggling to get even that much done. As we continued to talk, she began to list the various activities her children were involved in each afternoon… music, dance, sports. They absolutely had to be finished with school by noon to fit all those things in. The mom had made a careful schedule before the school year started, but it just didn’t seem to be working out the way she had planned.
I was reminded of the year I tried something similar. I was sure that we could get all our academic work done by lunch time, and then each afternoon we could be involved in a fun, social-type activity outside the home.
Yeah, it didn’t work out very well for me either.
By mid-year I learned the hard way that there is such a thing as over-scheduling. I nearly made myself crazy trying to keep up with everything. It was a difficult decision, but I ended up cutting out most of our outside activities and focusing more on our at-home learning. I was surprised to discover how much more relaxed we were, and how much more we actually were able to get done.
Based on my own experience, I suggested to the mom who had called for help that perhaps she needed to consider dropping some of their afternoon programs. Obviously, they are all good things, but there’s just no way any of us can fit in everything we would like to do.
It truly comes down to a matter of priorities. It’s a fine balancing act to do as much as you have time for, without overdoing.
It seems like that’s an ongoing lesson that we continue to learn throughout our lives.