We were having breakfast one Monday morning and I announced to the girls that I would be going to work that week. Their faces had a look of shock and uncertainty. I could tell they were trying to figure out what this meant and how it would affect them.
I told them that I could no longer work just in the mornings before they got up. I was not getting enough sleep and needed to find a different solution where I didn’t have to wake up so early. I didn’t want to forgo sleep just to pursue my passions because then I was too tired the rest of the day. I also didn’t want to be working most afternoons because I wanted to spend time with them too.
I explained that in addition to working an hour before breakfast, I would also be spending one full day each week “working.” I would eat breakfast and lunch with them, but otherwise they needed to pretend I was not home. If they truly needed something I was available, but I expected them to take care of themselves and complete their school work and chores independently. (I had intentionally revised our school schedule so that the school work assigned on my “work day” would be appropriate for them to complete independently.)
There are days this doesn’t work out quite as planned, such as when I expected a smooth work day our first day back at school for the year—what was I thinking?? But in general this has been a blessing for our whole family. I gained a day of dedicated work time where I could focus on a project and the rest of our days were free for taking care of tasks related to running the house, running errands, spending time with friends, or just hanging out at home playing a game. And the girls gained a new level of independence and responsibility. We had already turned over many responsibilities to them, but this required them to step it up to a whole new level.
Suggestions For Implementing A Work Day
Are you ready to institute a “work day” (or even just a few hours)? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you determine if this would be a good fit for your family right now.
- How old are your children? Are they safe playing independently? If not, you could begin training them to play quietly on a blanket next to you for short periods of time.
- Do you have a place you can work on your project? Do you need to be in a separate room so you can focus or can you work next to them while they complete their lessons?
- Are your children able to care for themselves such as preparing a simple breakfast or lunch? If not, what skills could you work on in the coming months to equip them to care for themselves?
- Are your children able to work from a list to accomplish their school work and chores? Are you able to trust them to complete their list without being distracted? If not, consider investing time training them to work from a list.
- Do your children get along and look out for each other? If not, what steps could you take to create an atmosphere and expectation that they will help watch out for each other and know when to come get your help and when to work it out on their own?
Regain Control Of Your Homeschool
Use this simple strategy to deal with difficult homeschool days.
- Stop feeling overwhelmed and behind on lessons.
- Get back on track and gain control of your homeschool days.
- Learn how to avoid that drowning sensation in the future.
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