“Are you busy?”
I’m sure it is my over-sensitive nature that feels like answering that question with sarcastic sweetness, “No, I am just sitting around snacking on bon-bons. What could I do for you?”
I’m not really unkind and I do love to help folks. I just resent the thought that a homeschooling mother is ever NOT busy. In fact, I am delighted to have control over our schedule and be able to readjust activities to help others. It is a part of the homeschool lifestyle that teaches all of us (children and adult) that life is about loving others. I am willing, and actually desire, to sacrifice my plans for God’s plans, but I am not willing to de-prioritize our school time. It is a challenge most home educating families will encounter.
Establishing school as a priority and implementing boundaries to protect your schooling time are vital aspects of controlling your schedule. The telephone is not a crisis line—although sometimes crisis arise. Screening calls—and being upfront about that—is not rude. During our school year, our phone message typically states, ‘If we are home and not answering, we are in the middle of learning. If this is an emergency, speak up and we’ll change our plans. If it is not, we’ll call you later.’ There have indeed been times when school needed to stop—but not that many.
Drop-in guests are another common potential school de-railment. Even when I am not actively ‘teaching’ the children, guests are a distraction. Over the years we have chosen different ways to handle such interruptions. It has been our goal to remember that our home is truly the Lord’s. It is His to use as He sees fit. That said, He is also the Superintendent of Schools. The responsibility of home education is not a small one. One welcoming but restraining way of enjoying guests is to state, ‘Oh, it is good to see you. Come in. We are doing school, but we would enjoy taking a short break to chat with you.’ Folks will usually sit but remain mindful that work is on hold during their visit. On very rare occasions, I found it necessary to clearly state time boundaries to drop-in guests.
There are certainly needs that will arise in your own family—and others—that will create time stressors on your homeschool. Some of our richest times came as we wove education into meeting those needs. Aging parents with medical appointments, friends with publicly schooled children who need help when emergencies arise…those are God-given burden privileges that we can embrace. Being a good time steward is a life lesson that will bear eternal fruit. Our homeschool days do not need bells to move us from activity to activity—but they need the guidance and peace of following the leading of the Holy Spirit! He is willing and able.
– Billie Jo