I just love seeing pictures and reading updates on your family. I really look up to women like you who have big families. We have four right now and that is considered big here. My oldest two, both boys, attend school in grades 4 and 2. My 3 year old son is going three days a week to a Montessori preschool and I have the baby at home. After my oldest son’s first year of school I looked into homeschooling. I knew it was something I needed to consider. He did well in school but there were just so many conflicting ideas that we didn’t necessarily agree with. We never did decide to homeschool, however, it is always on my mind and heart. I guess what I’m asking is what kind of structure do you have to your days? At this time I’m all over the place with my home keeping and I fear that would be the case if we chose to teach the children from home.
A Mom in Canada
Thank you for your kind words. I love seeing your sweet little ones on Facebook and seeing how your family is doing, as well.
This is a great question and a big one. Here are some thoughts on keeping a balance between keeping up with the housework and teaching school. For us, our days now are very full and our time is pretty scheduled out each day, because I am working with and overseeing so many different ages and stages. I have older ones now who can help carry a bigger share of the housework and cooking.
When the kids were all younger, we kept less of a tight schedule. We did chores first thing in the morning, then school time, then other various activities (additional school work if needed, other chores, free time or extra-curricular activities) in the afternoon.
It’s important to keep your expectations realistic. Your homekeeping will likely have to take a lower priority than you would probably prefer. It’s worth it in the long run, but it is definitely a sacrifice. It’s a very real and legitimate sacrifice to have to live every day in a home that isn’t as tidy as you would like. This has been my situation for years, and God has taught me so much through this journey. I’m quite a bit more relaxed about the house than I used to be. I’ve learned to let go of having to control everything. But I will say that there are ways to keep up with the true necessities.
As necessities, I would list food first, clean dishes second, and clean clothes third. Anything after that is a bonus! As your children grow, they can be trained more and more to help out and contribute to the household chores. Even now they can certainly help with clearing the table, taking out trash, putting laundry away, playing with the younger ones while you do housework, etc.
Schooling at home can keep you from running out of the house constantly or having to do homework with the kids in the evenings, so you may find that your time is used more efficiently. School itself may not take as long as you would expect, either. When you are overwhelmed and frustrated with the housework being behind, then it’s best to cut out the “extras” in school and just stick to the basics in school so you can have time for some other things.
Kids (especially younger kids) really don’t need hours and hours of education every day. They need a solid foundation in the basics (math and language arts) at the younger ages, with other things worked in as time allows. The academic needs of the child gradually increase as the years go on. When they reach the upper grades, they need all the solid core subjects (available in so many formats today!—I hope to blog about one option, soon), and their individual interests will likely fill in all the rest.
There are some curriculums and companies that want to sell you an excessive amount of materials for just one grade. I recommend avoiding that and paring down to a manageable, basic amount of quality materials. Also, there are so many great options now for schooling from home that can take the workload off of you, and you can act more as an overseer. You don’t have to physically teach every single thing.
With a willing heart and a desire to home educate, you can find solutions to each challenge. And often what works will change from year to year. I pray that God will lead you as you consider the best route for your family to take in the education of your children. I hope that helps answer your question. Let me know if I need to clarify anything.