One of my favorite things as a blogger is answering reader questions because it helps me feel like we’re sitting together as we enjoy good conversation. I have a long list of reader questions saved and will be sharing my answers with you through various blog posts. I’m really looking forward to sharing this series.
Q: How do you make time for yourself with so many young kids at home & homeschooling?
(My four children’s ages are roughly 6 yo, 4.5 yo, 3 yo and 8 months). I started homeschooling our oldest at 5 years old while I was still pregnant with our fourth/youngest child.)
A: Well, as you can imagine, not every day is the same. For many years I did not set an alarm which meant I would wake up to my husband’s alarm or a kiddo silently staring at my face. Or there was that time we lived in Los Angeles and because Zack had such a late start time we didn’t need to set an alarm. Glory days! ;) But back to reality, not setting an alarm became a very stressful way for me to wake up. I was behind on my day, and the day had hardly just begun!
After much resistance I finally decided to become an early riser, and by early riser I mean hours before my children rise I rise, to spend time reading my Bible and writing while drinking my coffee. Reading and writing are the things that fill me up, so those are the things I do first thing to start my day.
I have had to learn the art of discipline in order to become an early riser. Waking early is not a natural tendency for me just yet. It’s worth it though, because when I prioritize sitting with God first thing in the morning I’m my best self and really enjoy who I was created to be. It takes a lot of intentional planning to have this schedule, but it’s very much worth it.
OK, let’s talk about HOW I make time for myself with so many young kids at home (plus how I homeschool).
Throughout the day there ARE predictable times when I can take a few minutes to spend on myself, even with my four children at home, but it’s taken practice to be able to recognize these times. As my friend Jessica Turner teaches, small pockets of time spent on activities that are important add up to much success! Preach, sister. Reading for just a few minutes a couple of times each day brings success. Writing one paragraph twice a day brings success. Searching for new recipes, cleaning a small area of my home, praying with a friend, drawing while I wait for dinner to simmer brings success. Try it yourself! This method is how I accomplish anything and everything.
What are you wanting to focus on or accomplish yourself? Cut out the time-wasters in your life and replace them with what brings you joy and personal growth. I know I don’t need to coach you on what are your time-wasters, you already know what they are… But if you need help, send me an email ;)
Being able to predict my day is one of the benefits of having a routine at home. Because of our routine I can find small pockets of time to rejuvenate myself. Now, every day and week aren’t exactly identical, but with the passing of time our schedule is mostly predictable, so I use this knowledge to work for me. After lunch each day is nap time or quiet time, which includes me, and once the kids are in bed I have a little more time each evening. Once a week I have a sitter come for a stretch of time so I’m able to write uninterrupted.
What kind of a routine would your family thrive on? What natural activities do you find yourself and your children doing throughout the day that benefit them? Do you have any future-focused goals for yourself and your family? Think about these questions this week. Look at your calendar, how can you add them in? Don’t be afraid to weed out the things that aren’t providing growth. I mean honestly, pull out the weeds! You are in charge of yourself — now go, be in charge! Make some changes! Take care of yourself in this way.
For my family, we prioritize eating meals together at the dinner table, reading, creating, being in community, sharing household chores, and learning about God. Our day naturally includes each of these things. And ultimately this is how my family decided to homeschool. There is much to teach and learn by working together and talking to my children as born persons; they are capable of much. I know the same applies to your family, too :)
Zack and I decided to combine:
- our personal/family interests
- our calendar commitments
- his work schedule
- the ages of our children
- my love of reading and learning/teaching, and say YES to homeschooling.
For curriculum I use My Father’s World for Kindergarten and Sonlight for Pre-K and yes, there’s been a lot to learn with homeschooling but has it been worth it? Absolutely. I jumped in with both feet and have been learning it as I go, reading, studying and asking questions as they come. Some of the curriculum I purchase direct from the websites, some pieces I purchase secondhand from private Facebook groups.
We definitely go to the library to supplement our learning materials! I place holds for books related to upcoming lessons and usually schedule lessons 2-3 weeks out. Most of the time I teach when my youngest is taking his morning nap, and our lessons take about 90 minutes. Throughout the rest of the day I integrate what we’re learning for the week into our daily play. This is how I include the rest of my children, although I have tried many different ways of teaching (including time of day). Even with four young children I’ve found homeschooling to be a natural fit for our family, and being able to sit with each child one-on-one feels like such a bonus for me!
A few resources for you to consider…
- The Lifegiving Home by Sarah & Sally Clarkson
- The Lifegiving Home Experience (12-month guided journey)
- Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
- The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner
Now tell me about you. How are you making time for yourself as a mother? What has been easy? What is a challenge? If you’re considering or currently homeschooling, what are your questions or praises? See you in the comments! xx