Friday, April 29, 2016

Working and Homeschooling ~ Week 6 ~ Time Off! What's That?

Working and homeschooling, time off

When both parents work, time off is a rarity. Even more rare is having time off together. So how do we handle the lack of time off? We make the most of every opportunity!

When one parent works full time and one works part time, the part-time parent almost always gets to run the errands for the fmaily: groceries, car maintenance, kids to the dentist, etc. It also often falls to that parent to be the main overseer of the children's education. That doesn't mean you do it all, but you do most of it. That is the tradeoff. Accept it and get yourself a planner to keep track of everything!

I have worked three, four, and sometimes even five days (or nights) a week while Kurt has always worked full-time (or more) while we have been homeschooling. Sometimes we plan several weeks in advance to be able to take time off ( an extra day or two) and sometimes it just happens because of my work flow. Days off for me usually mean errands, doing extra schoolwork (like working on the more difficult math concepts, or doing a Biology lab) or both! Very rare is the day when I have a day really, truly off that isn't Sunday, like maybe once every other month. On those days I sleep in. Some of the time I use to write blog posts and schedule them to post in the future. Some of the time I use to help the girls deep-clean the house. Sometimes, I read a book!

During the seasons when I've only worked three days a week, we've been able to take a lot more field trips. These are low or no-cost trips, where we pack a picnic lunch, leave home with a full tank of gas, and return home before supper. When I've worked more days, we've sometimes sent the girls off on a field trip with friends and their bag lunches . True, understanding friends are a wonderful blessing for a working and homeschooling Mama! They fill in the gaps, encourage you, and love on your children as an extension of their own!

If you are in a family where both parents work, you need to wrap your mind around the idea that your family life will not look like everyone else's. One reason is time constraint, the other reason is economic. If you need to work to help pay the bills, your children are probably not going to play organized sports, take dance classes, nor are you going to be picking up a coffee (or dinner) at a drive thru! Fear not, your children will not miss out on life or fail to mature because you couldn't give them everything material that their friends have. When children see their parents working hard, and giving up personal free time and activities to provide for the family as a whole, they learn valuable lessons at an earlier age. They learn budgeting, they learn the value of a dollar, and they learn to cherish the time they do have with the family together!

Use your spare time of to make the rest of your life easier. Get a planner and put in the non-negotiable dates. Plan your children's schoolwork, but loosely, knowing that a snag can and will come up during each month. Maybe your child still struggles with arithmetic~ you'll need to set time aside each day to have someone work with them on that, whether it is you, or an older sibling. Make family plans to divide and conquer the housework. It can be a little bit every day, or a whole-family Saturday morning affair.

Remember to pray often, for your spouse, your children, your co-workers, and yourself. If you have an understanding boss, consider yourself doubly blessed! Remember to pray for them too!

Today I'm taking a day off, to attend our state's homeschool convention. It's a weird position to be in, since we only have one student to plan for next school year. I've pulled bits and pieces of time out of the past month to sit down, look at our master course plan for Arlene, and plan for the convention. Arlene and I have looked over the descriptions of the speakers, and Emily has picked ones she wants to listen to as well. Since Emily is a senior, she said she just wants to attend to listen, browse the used books, and maybe encourage others. 

As crazy as my schedule sometimes seems, I know the Lord has blessed us beyond our understanding through this journey. The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places, and for that, I'm extra thankful!

Come back next week when we'll talk about frugal field trips, and why they are SO very necessary for working families!

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