The Hardest Part of Homeschooling

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The hardest part of homeschooling, for me, is making time to spend with my kids.

Yes, you read that right. I’m with my kids, for the most part, 24/7 and yet, in my opinion, one of the most challenging aspects of homeschooling is making time to spend with them…time that doesn’t involve me schooling them, that is. And, I suspect that this is true for a great many homeschooling moms.

While we’re not a strict, full-boxed-curriculum-set, school-at-home homeschooling family, we do “do school” for several hours a day. Our state requires four-and-a-half hours each day and, in doing what I consider to be a full days’ work, we generally adhere to that. A typical (if there is such a thing) day finds me getting the kids up around 10:00 and getting some basic household chores done and breakfast eaten before having our morning devotional time and starting schoolwork.

We do about two hours of seat work, have lunch and relax a bit, then, finish our day with science, history, and any read-alouds or hands-on projects. By the time this is finished, I’m usually ready for some time to myself and the kids are generally content to go off and play or watch TV.

Suddenly, it’s time to fix dinner. Then, there’s cleaning up after dinner, helping kids with music practice, getting baths, and so on.

Before you know it, it’s bedtime for the kids. Just like that, the day is gone and I find myself lying awake thinking of how little quality time I’ve spent with the kids and planning to do better the next day…but doing better never seems to happen, not consistently, anyway.

They’re growing up before my eyes and one day this time to myself that seems so important now is going to be all I have.

I don’t want my kids’ memories of growing up at home to be only of “mom, the teacher” or of mom on the computer, having some time to herself. It often seems so hard to find that balance between finding some time to refresh myself and making time for my kids outside of “school.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this summer…about ways that I can spend time with each of my kids, growing my relationship with them. Really, what would be involved is rather easy, it’s just a matter of finding — or making — time to do it.

Brianna would love to just go wander around the mall. It wouldn’t even have to involve buying anything. She’s just at the age where being at the mall is enough.

Josh enjoys building with Legos, playing with his army men and playing video games (which I can do now that we have a Wii. I’m telling you, a Wii is great! Most of the games involve real, normal movements, not trying to remember which buttons to push in some intricate series.)

Megan loves to color…and I have my own coloring book and crayons.

I am also going to totally steal Maria’s awesome idea of writing letters to my kids.

I’m sure that I won’t be able to incorporate these ideas — along with any more that I think of or any that you may have to suggest — with each child, every day, but I should be able to do some of them a couple of times a week. And, Brian tries to spend some one-on-one time with one or two of the kids most days of the week, so, between the two of us, each of the kids should be having some alone time with at least one of us several times a week.

I really want to commit to making spending one-on-one time with my kids a priority this year. Investing in my kids has the potential to bring so much greater reward than many of the ways that I have been using my time. I still plan on carving out some time for myself each day, as I think that such a time of unwinding and refreshing is important and necessary…but tying those heart strings with my kids is equally important.

How do you find a balance between wife/mom/teacher/etc.? What are some of your favorite ways of spending individual time with your kids?

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  1. Oh, I can so sympathize with you here. I have to intentionally carve out time for each child. Sadly, sometimes they are the ones reminding me that I need to play a game with them, etc… Tim and I also takes turns “dating our children”. This hasn’t always been easy to plan, muster up the energy to do, etc…, but it has always been very rewarding. We only take them out for about 1.5 hours, but they are always so excited about it. They always talk, talk, talk because this is the only time that they don’t have to compete with the siblings for mom and dad’s attention. Maybe by the time they enter college, we’ll have this parenting thing figured out, ya think? lol!

  2. I know how you feel. I spend a good deal of time with my oldest doing her school work, and then the baby will need something. My poor two and a half year old seems to feel left out. She’s taken to sitting next to us and asking me to write her name on the marker board whil Gwen works. It’s hard. I feel like there really isn’t time for everything, let alone to relax!

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