"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Sunday, October 17

Managing a Happy Homeschooling Household

Katie over at HuMAMAe Vitae asked me to write about managing a happy homeschooling household.  It gave me pause as ...well... that could take all day! : P

I will try to keep it brief but there are no guarantees.

I guess the simplest answer would be planning, patience and prayer.

Planning - It really doesn't take much.  Ours is as simple as laundry on Tuesday and Friday, school everyday Monday thru Friday, quiet time (my sanity saver!) every day after lunch. As long as all parties involved (mom, dad, and kids) have a general idea of the plan, you have a great start. 
In the not so far past i can admit we were on a much busier schedule. Once you throw in sports, clubs, etc things can get a bit hectic.  There is a fine line between too much and just enough, and many times you hit the too much and must pull back.  There is nothing wrong with slowing down and simply being a family.  It actually does wonders within the home.
Please keep in mind flexibility is important here too.  You do not always need to say 'Enough! We're stopping everything!' (Yes, i have said it a time or two ...and thought it even more times than that) but more so, adjust to the season you are in.  Having many little ones is very different then some across the age ranges, which is different from all older children... you need to be realistic about where your family is in the overall picture of life. Flexibility within the plan is essential. 

Patience - It is God's gift to us...use it, ask for it, let it be a base for your plan.  Most of us are not born with a patient soul; many times we have to ask for it, and practice it consistently... and yes, you must teach it.  When the children are very young is when you start.  Trust me, they learn very early how to push our buttons ...if we start very early teaching them patience, you may be surprised at how your homeschool and household manage themselves at times. Side note - you must have patience while teaching patience!  Even the older ones (just like mom and dad) get caught up in the moment and don't think to pause and wait. But patience is even more than that ... it is listening quietly - listening in the silence. 

Prayer - It is our gift to God.  I personally would not get through my day without it.  Father said it very well at Mass today - "Prayer is not you talking to God, it is you talking to God and listening to His answer." All we have to do is ask and listen.  The listening part is the harder part, yes, but well worth the time.  Some will ask "How do you hear His answer?" ... Many times it's simply a matter of stepping back and looking at all that has transpired.  It may not be the answer you were looking for but it was an answer.  Sometimes it's just patience, knowing no matter what, He will answer.
Teaching prayer is very important within your home.  Going beyond asking and expecting a definable answer is hard to learn.  Start small.  Your children watch you - ALL THE TIME.  While driving past a cemetery, do you bless yourself or say a prayer for the dead?  Upon hearing a siren do you bless yourself and say a prayer for those involved?  When passing a Catholic church do you say hello to Our Lord within?  He waits patiently for you. 
These little, very necessary prayers teach that sometimes you must wait for an answer.  And most times that answer will not be found by you in this world. 
Pray each day at the start of school.  Family prayer (ours is at bedtime) is a huge balm to the soul.  (Ask me later about dealing with distractions, giggles, and such!) Pray every moment of every day.  And when you can't think of anything to say? Pray an Our Father or a Hail Mary.

There is so much more depth to managing a happy homeschooling household.  I feel like i barely scratched the surface...but hit the most important parts.

The nitty gritty of how do you manage 5 kids at 5 different lessons at one time, how do you fit in all the scheduled activities, and how do you get dinner on the table by dinner time all fall into one or more of the above categories.  It's with much planning, patience and prayer ...and unconditional love.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oh, thank you, Allison! I love what you have written and I think I will come back and ponder these pointers more. In the meantime, this post has nudged me as many other things have in the last day or so to once again focus on a little "talk to God and listen to His answer" time. :-) And THAT'S always time well-spent!