Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time for the homeschooling mommy and daddy

Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick-Start 
Guide to Legally Homeschool in 2 Weeks

Guest Post by Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau

Few people in the world are as busy as homeschooling parents. Between schooling and lesson plans, outside lessons and activities, scheduling and record-keeping, not to mention staying up-to-date with teaching materials and homeschooling methodologies, the days sometimes never seem to end. Add to this larger-than-average families spending longer-than-usual amounts of time at home and it is easy to see why homeschooling parents face constant activity and virtually no down-time – pretty much ever.

While it’s par for the course (and most families wouldn’t have it any other way) homeschooling schedules leave little precious time for moms and dads to spend together. As the first several years of homeschooling blur by, and the next several years are met with greater challenges as children grow and work levels deepen, best laid plans to make time for mom and dad are often pushed aside.

It isn’t that homeschooling parents don’t want time together, it’s just that it never seems, well… possible. Not without giving up something important for the kids, that is.

And therein is the problem.

Though the duties and responsibilities of homeschooling parents are serious and their importance cannot be overstated, putting attention on the marriage is important, too. Placing a greater emphasis on homeschooling and less on the marriage may begin to cause strain, resentment, and in some cases even be quite disastrous over time.

So how can busy homeschooling parents carve out time for themselves when there seems to be little time for a shower or a hot meal, let alone a night out?

The solution is one of changing priorities. And while it may seem counter-productive at first, it is actually quite the opposite. Just canceling one class or postponing a single play-date can easily clear an afternoon or evening calendar. Ask family or friends to watch the kids, and suddenly an uninterrupted 2-3 hour time block becomes a reality. In the long run, the occasional missed activity has little bearing on ultimate homeschooling success for the children. On the other hand, it can go a long way toward maintaining the health of a marriage, which ultimately trickles back down into the family and the children anyway.

Even smaller chunks of time alone with a spouse will do. A simple cup of coffee shared during a 15-minute break or an after-dinner stroll around the yard once the children are tucked in are better than nothing at all. Once parents begin to get in to the mindset of finding extra time for one another, it becomes easier to spot opportunities like these. Plus, because time is so limited, both parties will begin to plan time together more creatively and enjoy those moments even more.
Somewhere down the road, when the children are grown and formal homeschooling has finally ended, moms and dads will be glad they invested this meaningful time with one another. The constant nurturing of the relationship during the busiest years will guarantee many future years of happiness once mom and dad finally have time off for themselves!

Marie-Claire Moreau, Ed.D.
Author, homeschooler, teacher, mom
Suddenly Homeschooling (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2011)
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Time for the homeschooling mommy and daddy

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