My homeschooling journey has changed a lot over the past 16 years. My favorite memories are of having all four of our children at home, spread out over the kitchen and living room. Now with two in college and only one left studying at home, my days look a lot different. My middle schooler is a lot more independent and can complete most of her studies with little input from me. I have started my own business and most days find my daughter and me sitting side by side working on our own projects.
While this stage of homeschooling looks different from the cozy days I look back on so fondly, I want to make sure that my daughter and I still take advantage of this gift of time that we have together. Here are some helpful hints I have found for making the most of the time I have left with my daughter, while also accomplishing the tasks involved with running my own business from home.
- Set aside dedicated time for working and for schooling
To ensure I am using my time wisely and not letting my work life take over my home life, I make sure to set aside specific times for work. Right now, this happens to be from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. There’s something satisfying about getting up while the rest of the house sleeps, starting my day off with prayer, and then tackling the day’s workload. When 8:00 rolls around, I know it is time to set aside my work, wake my daughter, and help her get her day started. When we are schooling together, I make sure to give her my undivided attention.
- Coffee shop schooling
The freedom to get out of the house and school anywhere is one of the luxuries of homeschooling. My daughter no longer begs to go to the local playground, and field trips to the local zoo or fire station no longer appeal to her. But she does like to get out, have a change of scenery, and still get her studies done. We have instituted twice monthly “Coffee Shop School.” There’s something that appeals to teens and adults alike about setting up our laptops at the coffee shop, nibbling on scones, and sipping warm beverages. An added bonus is she gets her work done even more quickly without the distractions of home—and so do I!
- Make time for fun
With work deadlines and school assignments vying for attention along with household chores, it can be easy to become so focused on daily tasks that we forget to have fun. My daughter and I both get through our work faster if we plan for an afternoon walk at the local reservoir with friends or suddenly break for an impromptu mid-day visit to the yogurt shop. When we look back on these years, I want it to be with fondness. Making time for fun and relaxation goes a long way to making this stage of life both productive and memorable.
- Take care of you
As a working homeschool mom it can be easy to forget taking care of yourself in the daily chaos of meeting the needs of your clients, your students, and your family. Finding time to take care of myself means I am better able to take care of the others the Lord has entrusted to my care. Number one on this list is making time for private prayer and Bible study a top priority. Additionally, the rewards of meeting with other women in various walks of life for prayer, fellowship, and discussion of the Word more than make up for the time taken from other pursuits. Making the effort to prepare nutrient-rich meals keeps my body fueled and able to tackle the tasks at hand. Fresh air and exercise do wonders for a tired body and weary mind. As much as I wish I could get by on less sleep, I know I need at least eight hours each night to restore my body and prepare for the demands each day brings.