Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Homeschool Moms Rock Efficiency!
We homeschooling mamas have become great at “changing things” (read: problem solving) for the sake of efficiency! Most homeschooling mamas (myself included) have done the following things to make efficient use of their time:
· Bought gadgets to streamline cooking without losing nutrition.
· Bought audio books to keep up with the many books our kids read.
· Listened to those books on the way to piano lessons, or robotics club, or even church.
· Organized our homes and our school space so that no time is lost trying to find the things we need.
· Organized our time so that we efficiently transition from one activity to another.
· Chose curriculum for simplicity of use.
These types of efficiency seeking measures are really useful in giving you extra time for your homeschooling or other endeavors. (Who here, besides me, loves sticky notes, calendars, and great filing systems?)
Getting it all in doesn't automatically equal success in homeschool!
For me though, these types of efficiency seeking measures are often an attempt to get thirty hours worth of work into twenty-four. While that my seem impossible, I have found in my twenty - plus years as a homeschooler that...
...the problem with trying to manipulate your life and time in order to “get it all in” is that sometimes it works!
(You were expecting me to say it never works, right? I wish!) The problem is that efficiency may help us to get more work in, but "more work" doesn’t automatically equate to success in homeschooling. When we succeed at "getting everything done" efficiently, we can accidentally drop the things that should be priority but can't be efficiently organized, cleaned, or put on a calendar. Things like these:
· organic relationship cultivation in my family that happens in "down time".
· a relaxed environment and schedule that fosters true learning.
· the mental space to ponder the good, true, and beautiful with my kids.
· the ability and desire to homeschool with excellence, to do the parts of the job that aren't pleasant (when my other activities fulfill me in some way).
· appropriate assessment, which includes time to listen to my children’s hearts – discipleship through education- (in favor of an easier numerical grade).
·the idea that “greater love has no man (or woman, or mom or dad) than this: that they would lay down their lives for their friends" (or children). (John 15:3)
The costly problem with efficiency is this: it's entirely possible to meet all of your daily, busy goals and lose sight of your purpose by doing it! (How many hours have you spent with your head in your hands trying to move the pieces of the activity puzzle around to make them all fit? I've spent tons of time doing that, without ever asking the question "why?"!)
The best way to be successful at homeschooling is to do fewer things!
The things I have noticed over the years that, logistically, really do need fixing are few.
On the other hand, here are some things to fix in your homeschooling journey that really do help you to succeed at your purpose (even if you don't meet every daily goal):
· Drop busyness. You are not harming your kids if they are not in 85 activities.
· Drop visions of the “perfect homeschool” – that doesn’t exist and it’s an unfair standard to hold yourself to.
· Drop the feeling that your kids are missing something by being somewhere other than a school (so that you can be absolved of the responsibility of recreating those experiences for them).
· Drop the idea that it’s your job to make your children happy. It is your job to lead them to Christ, and your kids will sometimes want things that are not good for them. · Drop competition and comparison. You are called to require your children to steward their own giftings well, not someone else’s giftings. Cultivate who your child is and do not compare.
· Drop the desire for someone else to do that job. If you are going to homeschool, then be all in to the academic work and the soul work, too. Your kids deserve nothing less.
This is the much easier path, but harder to validate! Boy do I look good with a checklist, and a blog-worthy school-room set-up! The world cheers if my kids speak two languages, play 3 sports, master 4 musical instruments, and graduate from high school with an AA degree! But too much activity and too many goals can be like "make up" masking poor relational work and uncultivated souls in our kids. And since that is true, I have to ask myself if the busyness I am placing on my children is really what they need, or is it what I need to feel that I am doing a good job?
If things aren’t working at home, perhaps I don’t need to be more efficient.
Perhaps I need to change deeper things, like my priorities or my commitments, or how I view success in this homeschooling journey. Perhaps I don’t need another stop-gap measure, another kitchen widget, a better organized school room, a new curriculum, new community, or new tutor. Instead, perhaps, I need to refocus on my mission as a parent and as a home educator and to execute that mission by giving myself and my kids the gift of time and the permission to do less.
As you look at your purpose next year, consider the things that are important for you or your kids, but that you can't quantify or make "more efficient" . What important things do you want to attend to? Start making your goals from there! If you feel comfortable, register at our site, log in, and share your thoughts about this in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!