One of the amazing things about homeschooling our children is the amount and quality of time that we get to spend with them. At first, I didn’t really understand this. I knew that I would spend more time with my son, but I didn’t realize how sharp that difference really is.
I am incredibly blessed to have that time with my son, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not one second of it. Our homeschooling journey was a bit windy, but wonderful.
On the level of keeping it real, though, I think we can all admit that there are times it gets a little exhausting. When one or more of your children is energetic and intense, it can become even more so.
If you can relate, have no fear: you can approach this year armed with ways to stay ahead of your kids!
Start With Prayer
Start each day, each week, each semester, and each year with prayer.
It doesn’t have to be a long, scheduled session (although that works, too); it can be a few focused minutes before you start your day.
Starting each new day or phase with prayer does two things. First, it centers your heart and mind on God, rather than on the million little details that love to become distractions. Second, it reminds you continually that you are not in this alone.
Ultimately, God knows your kids even better and loves them even more than you do. Let him help you truly meet your kids’ needs.
Have a Backup Plan
If you know that your child might run through your lesson plans in no time, it’s a good idea to have ideas ready and waiting in reserve.
Do you remember that unit that looked amazing, but you had no idea when you’d be able to work it in? Or that science experiment that sounded like a lot of fun, but has nothing to do with what you’ve got planned? Well, this might just be the perfect time to pull it out.
For a variety of reasons, our kids don’t always abide by our carefully planned days. Perhaps you have a gifted (neurologically atypical) child who will whip right through random lessons (or even full textbooks) like nothing you’ve ever seen, but spend weeks or months on others. Maybe you have a child with a very high energy level but an ability to focus that doesn’t yet match up.
Either way, you’re going to need something a little extra for when those times hit.
This is a hard one for many of us, especially at first. In the midst of being a wife, educating our kids, keeping a home running somewhat smoothly, volunteer or ministry service, and maybe even working part or full time, there’s a lot to keep straight. Letting some of those details go sounds pretty intimidating.
Now don’t get me wrong; there are things in each family that are non-negotiable. However, there are a number of things we moms tend to hold onto because they’re tied to structures that we’re comfortable with.
At times, letting some of those things go is worth the benefit.
In our family, one of those things was a set bedtime. I tried…oh, how I tried. However, I have a profoundly gifted child who just doesn’t need as much sleep as most people. (This is a pretty common trait among neurologically atypical kids.) He generally does just fine on a few hours of sleep a night, but if I try to force him into “normal” sleeping habits, it doesn’t go well.
So, we came up with a compromise. He gets to make his own sleep schedule as long as he also controls his attitude and his responsibilities. If he shows me a bad attitude or lets his schoolwork or responsibilities slide, I take over his schedule.
We’ve done this for the past 12 or 13 years (he’s now 19), and it has worked out well. Is it something I would suggest for every child? Of course not, but it’s worked well for him. He has learned self-control, autonomy and responsibility for his choices, and respect for others. If I had been more concerned about keeping a bedtime schedule than meeting his needs, much of what he has learned would not have taken place.
Putting It All Together
These details will look different in every family, but it is something to consider. Is there an area in which a bit more flexibility would benefit your non-stop child?
Homeschooling (and parenting) the child that just doesn’t stop is never going to be an easy task. There are ways to stay a step ahead of them, though. It just takes a little forethought and organization!