When you homeschool, it can be difficult to set and maintain scheduling boundaries. Try Sara’s tips to stay focused and avoid derailing your school day.
Do you know the one skill all homeschooling parents need? The ability to set scheduling boundaries! After all, you need to drive the kids to activities. Your spouse needs you to run an errand. The church is asking for volunteers. Everyone wants a piece of your time.
So how do you maintain scheduling boundaries?
Treat Scheduled Time Like an Appointment
Treat your scheduled time (for exercising or homeschooling, for example) like an appointment. You wouldn’t skip a doctor’s appointment just to run a quick errand, would you? Give yourself the same respect you give the doctor and treat your time as an appointment.
Thinking of scheduled time as an appointment works beautifully with homeschooling. I’m always tempted to wait and homeschool later. We’ll start after the kids finish playing, I’ve scrolled through Facebook, or I’ve chatted with a friend. By then, no one wants to start. The kids are grumpy, tired, and miserable. The delay sets us up for a horrible homeschool day.
But when I treat homeschooling like an appointment, that means I call the kids downstairs at 9:30. We sit down and start school.
The kids are full of energy. I’m fresh. And we have an awesome homeschool day.
So treat your scheduled time like an appointment and enjoy the benefits!
I don’t know about you, but the computer and phone are enormous distractions for me! I hop on just for a second to check Facebook. An hour later I look up and wonder where the time went.
The kids have disappeared into their rooms to play. I loathe disturbing happy kids, so I pick up a book and another hour disappears.
The trick here is to remove distractions. Turn off your computer. Put your phone in a drawer. Concentrate on what you have scheduled for the time at hand.
Once the homeschool (or your workout or quiet time) is over, you can pull out your phone and see what you missed. I bet the world didn’t end while you were homeschooling your kids!
Schedule Time for Extras
When you schedule your day, it’s tempting to plan only work and errands. That’s a recipe for disaster!
It’s vital to include time for extras. Give yourself time to go to coffee with friends, play games with the kids, or sit down with a good book.
For me, having time built into my schedule for extras saves my sanity. If the kids ask to run down to the library, I can say, “Absolutely! Let’s go after lunch.” If a friend calls and leaves a message during the homeschool hours, you can call back during your free time and enjoy a guilt-free conversation.
Create enough margin in your schedule so you can savor the fun extras that come your way.
Write Down a List of Answers
People always call and ask you for favors. And often these favors fall during scheduled times making it hard to maintain scheduling boundaries. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to say no.
One solution is to write down a list of answers to common requests and post it on the fridge.
These answers can be things like:
- I’m not available now, but I’d love to XYZ on Saturday afternoon.
- That sounds amazing! I’m not available this month. Call me back in the summer, and I’ll see what I can do.
- I’m sorry, but it’s not going to work for my family.
Refer to your list when someone wants you to do something during a scheduled time. This saves you from trying to come up with an answer on the fly. Something that’s often incredibly difficult.
And if someone approaches you while you’re out of the house, stall for time. Tell them you’ll get back to them later, so you’ve got time to think about whether or not it’s a commitment you want to make. And you never know. Upon reflection, it may turn out to be a fantastic opportunity you don’t want to pass up.
Find an Accountability Partner
While it feels like we’re the only people in the world who struggle with maintaining scheduling boundaries, the truth is we’re not. Many people have trouble.
Ask around and find a friend who needs an accountability partner with you. Arranged schedule check-in times to assess how each of you is doing, and share tips and tricks for staying on track.
You can even call each other before you start a time block on your schedules, such as house cleaning or homeschooling. Then call or text each other when the time block is over.
Knowing that your friend is homeschooling or cleaning at the same time as you is incredibly motivating. Try it sometime!
Give Yourself Points for Staying on Track
Too often you focus only on your failures. You didn’t make your weight goal this month. You answered the phone when you knew you shouldn’t. You got a late start on school because you got wrapped up in Facebook.
And you never give yourself credit for staying on track.
Try creating a point system and track the times you do stay on track. You can keep a tally on the refrigerator or fill up a jar with jelly beans. Personally, I like to fill up a jar with jelly beans!
When the jar is full or when you hit your tally goal, reward yourself. Curl up with a good book, purchase those shoes you want, or take the kids to the local amusement park. You can even celebrate by having a movie and pizza party instead of your regular homeschool routine.
Celebrate the times you maintain your scheduling boundaries, and you’ll be encouraged to stay on track more often!
Just remember that the best ways to maintain scheduling boundaries are to remove distractions, find an accountability partner, treat your scheduled time like an appointment, and reward yourself for doing it right.
What is your favorite tip for maintaining your scheduling boundaries?