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My house unapologetically reflects the fact that children are in residence. From the toys on the lawn to the projects scattered around the house, a visitor can readily see that this is a place of creativity and learning.
I sometimes hesitate to invite people to my home. It is furnished haphazardly and it is brimming with life and all that life brings. It is our home, filled with our children. If I am to be judged by the condition of my home, then perhaps you shouldn’t visit.Our walls scream with artwork, progress charts, reminder lists and papers. The books, toys and projects that are often left out are a testimony to the active minds and imaginations of my children. If my house were spotless and barren, it would be dull indeed.
Clearly, our housekeeping standards loosen when homeschooling is added to the equation of daily life. But it is important to prioritize cleanliness. Before homeschooling, it was a priority to have a clean house. Since homeschooling, it is a priority to be living and learning together.
Still trying to figure out how much you should clean? Ask your family. Don’t do more than that which needs to be done.
Does it really matter if the attic is cleaned this year or next? Or is it more important to sit and read a book with your child?
What are the things that you can only do now?
In seeking a balance between the pull of tasks and time, I encourage you to consider this: What are the things that you can only do now? Hold a baby, nurture a faith, teach a song, read a story, mold a character. If these things aren’t done now, you won’t have the opportunity to do them 5, 10 or 15 years later. What are the things that only you can do NOW?
Being a parent also requires sacrifice, perhaps more than you ever thought. When homeschooling is added to the equation, we are called to sacrifice even more of ourselves.
Envision your life working outside the home from four to six to eight to ten hours a day. Meals would still have to be cooked, the laundry would have to be done. You would find a way to fit it all in around your work commitment. So too with homeschooling. Everything else must fit in around this primary commitment. The beautiful part of homeschooling, however, is the freedom you have. You can read aloud to your children while they fold towels. In my home, we have some of our best conversations while I am cooking or when we work in the kitchen together. Homeschooling is a major commitment, but while you are educating the children, everyday life goes on. The exciting part is that you are all living it together.
Homeschooling is a time of giving up and of gaining. By simply living this lifestyle, we model for our children that relationships come before work, that work comes before play, that people come before things and that commitments must be honored.
When we began to consider homeschooling, we made many lists. To do. Not to do. This curriculum. That curriculum. One year. Long term. To an extent, these prepared us for our new lifestyle. In some ways, however, they missed the mark entirely.
I was not prepared for some of the things I have had to give up. So many pursuits and simple pleasures have been put on the shelf. There are days when I resent the extent of my personal sacrifice.
For me, the other side of the balance sheet was not fully calculated either. The pleasure of the children’s company (most of the time), the thrill of witnessing learning and discovery, the peace of knowing our children are safe and protected, the joy of watching them grow, the assurance of watching their souls develop. Some of these were unexpected blessings. Some of them are blessings awaiting their full fruition. Either way, what we had to give up pales in comparison to what we got — our children’s hearts.
I’m a deeply flawed, Christian mom, author, speaker, attorney and listener with a rich variety of life experiences. I advocate and champion mothers and family life. I help weary, discouraged moms find solutions for unexpected family challenges so they can know peace, joy (and a little bit of fun!) in the divine calling of mothering. Maybe you can relate to my non-Pin-worthy life. If I can ever serve or encourage you, please find me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.