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It’s too easy to fall into the trap of doing too much.
First, you add another curriculum, a co-op, then another activity for the kids. Now you’re running around town and wondering how to tell if you need to simplify your homeschool.
Here’s how to tell if simplifying your homeschool is the answer:
You End the Day Exhausted
The first sign of doing too much is when you finish the day exhausted and worn out. You just want a moment of peace!
And it’s not the good exhaustion of a well-run day. One where you accomplished everything on your to-do list and know you made a difference in the lives around you. You feel tired but good at bedtime.
No, we’re talking about exhaustion where you finish the day wondering what you managed to do each day.
Perhaps you spent the day in the car chauffeuring the kids from one place to another. Maybe you spent the day chasing your toddler and mopping the kitchen floor ten times.
But you can’t remember exactly how you spent your day. All you know is you are exhausted with nothing to show for it.
Important Tasks that Don’t Have a Place in Your Schedule
One mistake people make is to fit important tasks into spare moments. I’m talking about planning on spending your time relaxing with your husband folding laundry. Do you find folding laundry relaxing? I don’t!
So why are you spending your precious time with your husband folding laundry?
Another common mistake is not to plan the time to prepare dinner.
Dinner is on the schedule. But when do you plan on cooking it?
First, you have a co-op, then a few errands. The next thing you know, you come home ready for dinner only to discover you still need 30-45 more minutes to actually cook the meal!
Your kids are screaming, your husband is grumpy, and you’re ravenous. Guess what.
It’s time for pizza! Again.
No Time for Yourself
Do you feel like you have no time for yourself? You have responsibilities and duties to complete. You can’t afford to take 2-3 hours to go to coffee with a friend.
Where will the time come from!
Your days and weeks are so jammed pack that you have no time. There’s no time to read a book, go to coffee, or start a class.
You’re running from sunrise to sunset. Or should I say son rise to son set!
You’re on a treadmill going nowhere and simply wearing yourself out.
Never Finish Your To-Do List
You never even come close to finishing your to-do list during the day. There’s always something important left undone. And you feel like a failure.
There’s no time, you wail! Between washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, chasing toddlers, and teaching kids to read, you’re swamped. And that’s not to mention the countless activities your kids are involved with.
There’s no end to life on the treadmill.
If you could just finish your to-do list one day, you might be able to stop long enough to catch your breath.
Always Feel Behind in the Homeschool
The other problem with doing too much is that you always feel behind in the homeschool. You’re never able to finish everything that needs to be done.
Homeschooling has turned into a desperate cry of sit down and work, sit down and work! There’s no time for a long read-aloud, history projects, or to study art. Where do people find the time?
You’re busy running the kids to all the social activities and educational classes they need so you don’t miss anything.
But in the end, you’re always behind.
Is this really how homeschooling is supposed to look?
How to Simplify Your Homeschool
Cut, Cut, Cut
The first thing you need to do is to cut everything you can for a time. Cut out the non-essentials, the classes, the activities, and the sports.
Stop trying to deep clean.
Go through with a pen and cross out anything that’s not vital to staying alive. So yes, children need to be fed. Dinner can’t be cut.
You don’t need to cut everything forever! Just cut long enough for you to re-evaluate your lifestyle.
Often Christmas break and the end of summer break are great times for cutting. Activities have come to a close so you’re not letting a team or co-op down when you return to a sane pace.
However, think about how many activities are healthy for your family to be involved with. Too many and you destroy family life. Too few and the family goes stir-crazy.
Concentrate on the Essentials
As you cut, concentrate on just the essentials for the week. Perhaps this is Sunday morning church, your daily and weekly house cleaning, and a very basic homeschool.
Observe how much time the essentials take. How much time do you need to make dinner? What about the daily and weekly house cleaning chores? How much time does a very basic homeschool take?
Cut Your Homeschool Back
I mentioned cutting your homeschool back to a very basic homeschool. So what is a basic homeschool? Generally, I think of it as reading, writing, Latin, and math.
You can cover a lot with just reading, writing, Latin, and math! A good Latin program teaches grammar and vocabulary along with Latin. And if you’re wondering how Latin teaches logic, it’s because Latin is one of the most logical languages out there.
Have your kids read books about history, science, and art. Listen to classical music while you make dinner. Give yourself room to breathe and to figure out what truly needs to be a part of your homeschool.
Think of simplifying your homeschool as burnout prevention. Give yourself and your kids time to relax and breathe. Enjoy the homeschool. Have a family life.
Go on long nature walks, enjoy spontaneous projects at home, spend a few hours at the library browsing through books.
If you’re running on the treadmill all day without a pause, you’re going to burn out.
Simplify your homeschool so you can get off the treadmill and relax.