Happy New Year, everyone! I hope all is well in your at home world. Well, here we are. Two weeks into 2015. Really?! Didn’t we just watch the ball drop? You know, it’s almost scary how fast time seems to go as I get older. There’s just no way I’m 47 and that this year marks 30 years since I graduated high school. Impossible! Time. That’s what’s on my mind today. Specifically, what we are doing with the time we have.
Many of you know that aside from taking care of the At Home Woman community, I also am a home educator and a small business entrepreneur. Needless to say, between my collection of jobs as a homemaker, wife, mother, teacher, entrepreneur, author and ministry leader, my time is not my own. Seriously, not even 30 minutes a day are “just mine”. Honestly, I haven’t taken any “time off” from the business in a handful of years and we home school year round with mostly single day or short mini-breaks from lessons so I needed this reprieve badly. In December, I decided to take a few weeks off. I planned to take some of that down time to get ready for our second half of the school year and cross a few much-needed behind the scenes business missions off my list. Yep, that was the plan! What is it they say about the best laid plains? Here’s how it’s gone down, folks.
December 11, 2014 through December 28, 2014: We took a little trip to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood (a family favorite getaway spot) to see the lights and enjoy some cold outdoor time. We relaxed and ate holiday food favorites. We watched Christmas and family movies. We played. We enjoyed being a family who actually likes each other and being together. I read….not just articles either. Oh, how I’ve missed that! I vegged out and did as little as possible. It was wonderful! Of course, the big mister (my husband) had a few days off for the holidays themselves and weekends but worked all days other than those. So most days were just the little mister, the dog and me doing our thing. And then we had the quartet of family love and fun in the evenings. Ahhh! Can you say “Mama’s in pure domestic heaven.”?
We took down the tree the day after Christmas. It was a few days later that I actually began putting furniture back in its place or found a new spot for it as I rearranged for a change-up. I do that…changing my surroundings by moving furniture around. I cleaned and cooked as usual since that is a never ending must.
December 29, 2014 through January 4, 2015: Time to get off my tushie to attack my plan. Gently, of course. Don’t want to over do it, ya’ know? So I fiddled with a new daily schedule for home, school and business. When you have so much that needs your attention, you need organization and some semblance of a plan. A while back, I had created a color coded 7 day schedule with task blocks for each area laying out what to do in each area on specific days of the week and daily or monthly task section plus a daily missions time management sheet for myself and the little mister. But it needed to be adjusted to fit where we are now since my husband changed jobs causing our schedule to change dramatically. I had good bones to work with so this shouldn’t be hard or too mentally taxing. Right? Yes, that’s what I thought too.
I dabbled with the semester education plan and together, my son and I decided we would take on Music and Sign Language in this second half of the school year. WooHoo! OK, what next? Get our school records updated with our homeschooling umbrella, HomeLife Academy. Attendance to date for the 2014/2015 school year, grades for the fall semester, our education plan for the spring semester. An easy task and totally in line with my internal conversation to ease back into active duty. So a few days later…….Yes, I procrastinated. Don’t judge! I sit down to tally up our days of attendance since July. “1, 2, 3……98 days! Over half of our required days for the year. Not to shabby. Quick, write that down in my book. Done! I’ll enter them online with HSA later. I have until January 15th to do it so we’re good.” (All that was me talking to myself during.)
Meanwhile, business missions 1 – 12 were on my mind. Oh honey, don’t be shocked. That’s a drop in the bucket of the actual number of to-do’s for running a business every single day. My list went like this. *Update my product formulation files. *Get my product batch records in order. *Establish a marketing plan for the year. *Do graphic design work. *Take inventory of my stock and supplies. *Source raw materials and supplies. *Get a blogging and newsletter plan laid out. *Website revisions and updates. *New product R & D. *Research trends and customer feedback. *Plan the exciting new customer program that I want to launch in 2015. Not too terribly taxing work, just time-consuming.
We finished taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations and lights, inside and out. Bye-Bye until next year! Things were back to normal in my at home world…minus the pressures of daily business demands. Life was good!
January 5, 2015 through January 12, 2015: We started back with school lessons. Now that was interesting in so many ways. The little mister was not feeling it and neither was I. We were in a cold snap with overcast skies that made it even harder to focus. But we stumbled through that first week back and managed to actually do some of the review I had planned for the days that lead up to the new semester. We’re still in that review, by the way. Along comes the weekend and I remember I still need to log our attendance and grades with HSA. I did that….late on Sunday afternoon. Don’t even ask what I did from Saturday morning until then because it’s unclear to me.
I touched on of the business missions. Yes, I touched my list…picked it up several times in fact. To my credit, I did go beyond the “on my mind” on a few of the tasks and initiated 3 or 4 of the missions. A good start….Yes? Oh yes, ma’am! I was easing back into things so well, don’t you think? *clears throat and gives a spunky wink*
January 13, 2015: Reality kicks in over coffee. The business offices are set to reopen next week. ACK! Oh dear! But I’m not done! I haven’t even started on some of my missions and my 7 day schedule plus the time management sheets are still “in progress”. NOOO! I’m gonna have to dive in the deep end of things and swim fast! Thankfully, school’s mostly back on track with no real smack you in the face issues. Whew! That’s at least something to cheer about.
Oh…did I forget to mention I had also planned to begin walking daily again and add some mild resistance training after the first of the year? I didn’t, huh? Well, just take a wild guess on how that’s gone. Uhh Huhh! I think I actually heard the treadmill snickering and whispering with the resistance bands yesterday. How rude! Plus, I started a daily scripture reading and Bible study discussion with my At Home Woman Sharing Room group yesterday. Hey, have you joined the group yet? Take this as your official invite. I’d love for you to come on over and get in on the study with us from the start.
That’s what I’ve been doing with 2015 so far. Notice I said “with” and not “in”. Two very different words with very different meanings. I’ve been dabbling, getting distracted and making lots of plans but no real progress for the most part. But that is gonna change…TODAY! Alright, I’ve taken enough of your time and I really must get my rear in gear on tackling my mission list. I am determined to manage my time more wisely and take a more proactive and positive approach to my days. Not so much flying by the seat of my pants. No ma’am! I’m gonna do much better with my time because once time is gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. EVER! Will you pray for me as I climb this habit changing mountain and kick it into over-drive to make up for my procrastination these last few weeks. Please and thank you!
So …..what are you doing with 2015? Do you need to make positive changes too? I’d love to hear from you on the subject of time and time management. I invite you to comment or come to the AHW Facebook page to talk about it.
Until we chat again…enjoy your at home world!
As a home educator, I’ve been asked why we home-school by those who are genuinely curious. They often are considering the option to homeschool themselves or are admirers of anyone who educates their children at home. I happily discuss our experiences and thoughts with those who really are curious in a non-judgmental way.I’ve also had the subtle and the not so subtle accusations from a few that just make me think, “Did they really just say that?” with as much stunned disbelief and sarcasm as is available to me. If you homeschool, you know what I mean. Those vary in degree and ridiculousness. I’ve probably heard just about every “opinion” you can imagine. Let me just show you what I mean.
One that probably sits on the top of the list is that we’re we are overprotective. Really….Are they serious!?! Just how is homeschooling being over-protective? Until about 100 – 150 years ago, almost every child was educated at home. Did parents teach at home then because they were overprotective? Hardly! They did it because they wanted their children to be educated…..to be able to read, write, cypher and know about the world they live in. Just look at the truth for a moment. Those who were taught at home have turned out to be some of the greatest innovators, inventors, literary and cultural icons and leaders in our history. That’s not a small thing, in my opinion. And for the record, protecting one’s child comes with the territory. It is a reality that we must look at in today’s world. What another may see as overprotective, I see as wisdom. If our choice to educate at home means we’re being overly protective in the eyes of some, so be it.
Going hand in hand with this one is that we must be afraid of this or that and that we are depriving him of life and learning about the real world. That one just really amuses me. Evidently these folks think we (my family) are living in a pretend fantasy world filled with marshmallow clouds, candy cane forests and rainbow pooping unicorns. While it is true that we take our assignment of protecting our child seriously, we don’t shield him from the realities of the world or negative things in life in an unhealthy way. We just choose to present them in a way that we feel is morally right, true to our faith and age appropriate as well as mental maturity appropriate.
Then there is the “Oh, you are one of those people.” with the insinuation that we are somehow weird. Ok, I’ll give ’em that one. I probably am a bit weird by their standards. No matter. I like who I am and I like who my husband is. I like who my child is becoming as he grows and matures too. Weird is in the eye of the beholder, you know.
And of course, I can’t forget to include the “you’re a religious nut” looks and comments. First of all, I’m a Christian, born again by and through the blood of Jesus Christ. My faith and lifestyle is about relationship and trust, not religion. It’s not about denomination either so don’t even go there. Secondly, It’s true that we (my husband and I) are not in agreement with much of what is advocated in today’s society from both a moral and biblical standpoint. But we are not now nor have we ever been “religious nuts”. We are children of the Most High and the only true and living God, who are covered by His grace and humbled by His mercy. We are no better or no worse than anyone else. We’ll leave it at that.
How about this one? “Aren’t you afraid they will fall behind?” Hmmm…..Behind what or who? The majority of the public and private education establishments are turning out a high number of graduates that cannot even do simple elementary math without a calculator, have a reading level that is below the so called standard, cannot spell worth a hoot, do not seem to be able to write with correct grammar, do not know the geography and history of the US or the world and are basically not ready for higher education. They can regurgitate information but what have they actually learned and mastered? In my opinion, the focus is passing the standardized and required tests so that state and federal funding remains intact or is increased. Learning doesn’t seem to be on the agenda. Even universities are now seeking homeschool graduates because they are academically solid and more well rounded all the way around. I’d say that publicly schooled kids and in many cases, private schooled children are the ones who have fallen behind the homeschooling community.
Some of my favorites would be the “When do you get time away from you child?”, “How do you put up with being with your child 24/7?”, “When do you get free time?”, “Don’t you need time to yourself?”, or “When do you and your husband get time alone together?” Well, let’s see. I’m a full time parent and proud of it. I waited for many years to be blessed with my child. He is my priority. It was sort of understood that once I became a parent, free time or time to myself would be minimal. It was a given that time alone with my husband would be less spontaneous and less frequent. I don’t “put up” with my child and I don’t want to get away from him. I love him and enjoy him. In another’s eyes, I may have given up many of those things, but in exchange I got hugs, cuddles, sweet memories, amazing love and the greatest blessing I have ever received. I understand that the season will come when I will no longer be “on duty” 24/7. And I know when that time comes, I will miss this season of raising him.
How about the one that gets joked about the most in the homeschool community? We are taking away the opportunity for socialization. Uhhh….OK? Might I be the first to inform you that you socialize pets, not children? Humans interact and engage. While I’m at it…..you do know that interaction or what you are calling “socialization” is frowned upon, discouraged and that kids more often than not get in trouble for this when they do it at school, right? And you must know that there are other opportunities for interaction such as church, group activities, participating in sports, and even the grocery store, family gatherings and the like? Tell me….where did you go to school again?
Then there’s the one that I really had to get past. This one was like a slap in the face each time it reared it’s ugly head but is now funnier to me than you can imagine. I’m sure this extended out to include my husband but it felt as if it was a bull’s eye shot directed straight at me. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not qualified to educate our child because I don’t have a teaching degree. And that I was not educated enough because I didn’t go to college. Excuse me!?! I know of some with teaching degrees that have absolutely no business in front of a classroom teaching anyone, much less kids. As for not going to college….SO! As if a piece of paper somehow makes a good teacher or constitutes being smart. I don’t know why some think a degree is an adequate and ultimate measure of qualification or intellect. News Flash! I have a brain and I know how to use it. In fact, I’m very smart and even more importantly, I’m teachable. And furthermore, I’ve been teaching others (children & adults) for more years than I can count in some way, form and fashion. Sooo…that just doesn’t fly, hon! Case closed!
The reality is that my husband and I were our son’s first teachers and that didn’t stop when he reached school age. We’re qualified to teach him because we know him well. We have an inside track on how his mind and interests flow and can take the time to broaden his horizons, delving into those areas in a way that a certified teacher in a public or private school with 25+ students can’t, but probably wish they could Yes, it’s true that neither of us have a degree of any kind from a university but we are intelligent and have a common sense approach to life. We have continued to learn throughout our life and are not uneducated or dumb by any measure of the word.
The fact is, our child is flourishing academically with above grade level capabilities and has retained a love of learning. He freely expresses his individuality with a wide variety of interests and a willingness to explore them. He uses his imagination in fascinating ways and dreams big. These are qualities that seem to be missing in many children that I’ve seen in recent years.
While public and private schooled kids are spending 7-8 hours in school classes, then another 2-4 hours at home doing their take home assignments every day with mom and/or dad sitting down to teach…errr….I mean help them, my son spends 3-5 hours max on his lessons with me or his dad by his side and the rest of the day he is free to be a kid. By the way, we teach/learn to mastery in this home academy……so we make sure he gets it before we move to something new, no matter how many days that takes. In addition, we live a lifestyle of learning everyday and with every opportunity.
I’ve had frequent opportunity to see for myself that my son is very well adjusted and balanced in social settings . He knows how to behave and interact with people of all ages and gender. He has character and manners, is respectful and courteous, honest and adventurous.
He doesn’t see or set limitations on himself that shouldn’t be applied because we don’t set or example limitations before him. There are no molds here. We encourage him to fly above the trees and see from a different perspective than what the world deems as acceptable. He actively participates in both my business and his dad’s business, going with us to events and client meetings or deliveries, helps on an age appropriate level and enjoys it. I don’t think he is suffering with a lack of anything.
All these comments and questions used to bother me. They don’t any longer. You know what they say about opinions. Umm Hmm. I have settled in and refuse to let the thoughts and mindsets of others influence or upset me. Frankly, these sort of “opinions” have become a source of entertainment to me as well as a matter of prayer. Now, whenever anyone comes up with loaded questions about why we home educate, I’ll just smile and say, “Because we can.” I know that regardless of what others think, this is the right choice for us and it is what’s best for our child. And I’m grateful that we have this option.
I’ll be quiet now. I really must get back to living and learning anyway. Thanks for reading and I hope you share this article if you found it a good read. Please let me invite you to stop by the At Home Woman community on Facebook and chime in with comments about this article, or homeschooling and education in generally. You’ll find a link to this article posted to the page there.
Enjoy your at home world!
- Homeschoolers May Excel Better Than School Bound Children (mamasbagoftricks.blogspot.com)
- The Homeschool Choice (r16sixteen.wordpress.com)
- What Schools Can Learn from their Homeschooling Counterparts (eyesonheaven.net)
- A Minor Rant & Why We Chose To Homeschool (thenormanators.com)
- Why would ANYONE choose to homeschool? (girlfriendscoffeehour.com)
- Why We Homeschool (anotherhatchettjob.wordpress.com)
- Are Homeschoolers “Weird”? (r16sixteen.wordpress.com)
- The Definition Of Socialization (kidzedge.com)
- Love of Learning (cultivatingtrio.com)
- Is homeschooling right for your child? (abc15.com)