In fall 2016 my world was turned upside down. *chuckle* At least it felt that way. It has been my first year as a public school mom after 13 years of homeschooling. Talk about a life change, ho-ly-cow. *laugh* Over the course of the past 18 months I have had a number of circumstances converge and we had to make some changes including not homeschooling for now. I’m not going to go in to details at this time, but this has been one of the biggest changes of my life. And it has been a very good decision for our family. *smile* Today I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about scheduling as a stay-at-home, public school mom:
- Some goals for scheduling the stay at home mom’s time
- Why Schedule?
- Where to begin
- An example
Some goals for scheduling the stay at home mom’s time
I have always put together school year schedules for the children and myself to help us be proactive with our time rather than reactive. Budgeting the time, just like one does with finances. Prioritizing, and deciding in advance what time should go where to make sure there is balance with work, play, and rest. So desiring to continue to live life on-purpose I began putting together a new plan for my days!
It took me a long time, however to think through how to function on this new planet of mine. At first I couldn’t even catch a vision for what my time would actually look like. What should I expect to be able to accomplish in a week? What is realistic and what isn’t? What will our days even look like with the children coming and going from school? What would their needs be now, different from before? So – after weeks of trying to think it through in my mind without success, I finally sat down and began to put things on paper where I could see them and organize them.
We save time, energy, and money by being organized – even in our time. We need to prioritize our activities. To make sure we have time for the most important things, and determine which things need to wait until another season of life. We need to have balance in our days and weeks – time for work, for play, and for rest. To maintain health physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And we need to give this gift to ourselves, our spouses, to our children, and to teach these disciplines and skills to our children for their own lives. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too; to live a carefree, whimsical life and yet also be responsible, dependable, and productive. And life is so rewarding and delightful when we are productive! We need to approach parenting as we would a profession; take it seriously, and embrace it whole heartedly. I don’t mean to sound cliche, so let’s look at this practically. *smile*
Where to Begin
I wrote out lists of what needed to be plugged in to my new schedule. One of my main goals has been to complete as much of my work responsibilities as possible while the kids are in school, and not have my responsibilities still ahead of me when they’re home. I was not as able to pull this off as much as I had hoped, since being a large-family mom there is a lot to do; but much of the work is done. I desire to be able to give my time and attention to them without feeling frustrated because there’s much to do while simultaneously needing to help the kids. We have been apart for 6 hours by the time they get home and I want to be able to focus on them. To know that I’ve done enough for the day supporting the family – and now I can simply embrace the kids and help them personally. *smile* Here’s an example of what one’s list might like.
Then I began creating a schedule for myself. *smile* I pulled up my scheduling template in Excel and began plugging in the items from my list – and the vision began to appear. *smile* *whew* Once I had the non-negotiable tasks plugged in such as wake time and bed time, my shower, getting kids ready for school, time for lunch, driving to and from school, dinner, some of the grocery shopping and errands, then I could see what blocks of time were available to plug the rest in to.
Then I would usually put that new fall schedule into play for a week or two before adjusting it. Or on my new planet of Public School Mom, a couple of months before I had found accurate expectations for my timing, and a realistic and comfortable schedule for myself. Putting in things I’d forgotten to include, removing things I actually don’t have time for right now, adjusting timing to be realistic.
When reviewing my schedule I realized that I’d forgotten to put swim night onto the schedule, and date night. Initially I wanted to have all of the chores at home done so that we could just play as a family when kids were home, however I realized that the children still need to contribute to the functioning of our home. This means they still need some jobs to do themselves. I need to teach them to work, not just to play. So – I put those things back in.
Some things I anticipated having time for, I actually don’t in this season of lots of young children. For me, going to an exercise club right now isn’t something I have time for. But I can see that when I prioritize and piece it all together. There will be time for this in later years, just not yet. *smile*
And I added a Saturday column to my week because there are some responsibilities for the family that simply need to stretch on to that day. Such as chores for kids, some of the grocery shopping and errands for me. And I need to see that on my plan.
This is not my schedule, but an example of how one’s schedule may look. It can be helpful to make bold a couple of times in a schedule so that they stand out for attention. It can also be helpful to add shading so that at-a-glance one can see what happens between two staple points in time.
So despite beginning life on my new planet, I still need it to be productive. *smile* My how-to’s and why’s for budgeting my time still apply so that I may serve my husband, our children, and my own needs to the best of my ability with the time the Lord has given me.
Blessings on your weekdays!