Is one of the hardest things, not just about home educating but about parenting. With the new year comes time to reflect and consider priorities and expectations.
Taking a more structured approach to home education takes time; to research, to plan, to prepare and also to deliver. Today, for example, I worked from approx 9-10.30 with Sam, paused for quarter of an hour to put washing on/bin out. Read, played and chatted with him for the rest of the morning. Lunch and quarter of an hour to catch up on work emails then it was out for ‘fieldwork’/exercise/socialization. Home for a bit of art, by which time it was gone 3pm. And that is pretty standard, I’ve long learned trying to do other stuff (housework/work etc) during the day is a recipe for frustration for all involved, I might get the odd 10 mins but they are a bonus. Sam needs and deserves my full attention. If something needs to be done (like tea) than I try and involve him and make it part of our day, life skills and all that! With the occasional weekend/late night burst Maths and English prep is minimal on a day to day basis. With everything else as we do little written work it is mostly about having ideas for the practical side and knowing what books we want and making sure I have everything we want to hand when we want it.
Then there is the groups, I enjoy pulling together groups and working with other people’s children but they are extra work. Not so much the putting together of the activities more the coordinating with others. But Sam gets a lot out of working in small groups and we’ve both got good friends, plus if I didn’t put in the effort he’d never socialise as he is very awkward with groups – very sensitive to squealing and shouting and rough play – so I have to make the effort to make sure we have groups that do suit him. But am being careful this year to only spend time and effort on stuff that is completely right for Sam and fits in with our routines, and do any prep/organising outside of Sam focussed time.
Then there is the not small matter of keeping up with the house. Pete is very good at recognising that I am a home educator not a housewife and mucking in. But there is an inevitability with being the one at home most that it is me who picks up more of the day to day chores. Compromise on standards is definitely needed. I do my best to keep everywhere clean, tidyish, laundry up to date and meals cooked. It is not sparkling, there are odd cobwebs, in the winter bedding isn’t washed as often as I’d like, skirting boards could do with a wipe and windows are definitely not clean and as for the carpets they are stained beyond belief. Tend to manage washing, food and cleaning kitchen and 30mins tidying on a day to day basis with bigger jobs relegated to the weekend.
Weekend is also when the job ends up being squashed in (and late nights/early mornings). I am incredibly lucky that I work doing what I love, from home and in a job that actually the kids can lend a helping hand with (and actively benefit from). Plus being self employed I do have a very high level of control over how much I do work. Last year the balance was wrong, it was necessary for the first half of last year for me to put in a LOT of hours all computer based (and there was a lot of guilt about neglecting the family) and that led to lack of motivation and a complete inability to produce anything in the second half of the year. This year I have found my creative mojo again and only thing slowing me down is lack of time 😉 One day I would like to have the time to work on some projects of my own but struggle to fit in what work I have at the moment.
Also there are the things I do because I enjoy them, the things that remind me I am a person in my own right not just Mum/wife – Guiding takes up a lot of time, a lot of it enjoyable but a fair amount a chore, I love sewing and crafting and reading and making time for friends and extended family.
And then there is blogging I am days behind on posts this week!
Sometimes it feels as if it could all crash to the ground. Have really made an effort to try and learn from previous collapses though and fairly relaxed and doing well at the moment just keeping an eye on those potential trip hazards!