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Homeschooling – Making Priorities

Homeschooling – there is so much to do and so little time! That is often how we feel. But since Time cannot be managed or altered, we need to think how we can prioritize our lives. So, how do we prioritize? What is essential in our lives? What do we consider most important and how do we prioritize these things?

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An illustration which helps one to think of priorities is one of rocks, pebbles, sand and water. Picture filling a bucket with large rocks. You may put in 4-8 rocks and the bucket would seem full. Is it really full? No, not really – we can fit smaller pebbles between the large rocks, filling up the spaces. Is the bucket full now? No, not really – we can fit sand between the pebbles and large rocks, in the same way that dessert seems to slide into the gaps after a large and filling meal. Is the bucket full now – with rocks, pebbles and sand? No, not really – for we can still pour quite a good amount of water over the rocks, pebbles and sand.

What does this illustrate as far as our time goes? Does it mean that we should structure our days into tiny segments- 15 minute time slots so we can achieve a huge amount in our day? No, this isn’t the purpose of the illustration. Filling up our day with 15 minute time slots will bring us to a place of burnout. Scheduling each minute will ultimately leave us disappointed and frustrated with the reality of a messy, interrupted life. How do we cope with the inevitable interruptions if each minute is accounted for, even before the day begins?

The illustration is a reminder that if we clutter our days with the water, sand and pebbles, the large rocks will never fit in! What are the large rocks? Really, they are the precious gemstones. They are the important things in our lives. If we begin by filling up our days with the time-consuming and unnecessary distractions, we will never fit in the significant, life-changing tasks/duties/relationships that our lives should be characterized by.

So, what are the gemstones in your life? What is important to you? Here we are once again grappling with the goals you have – where are you headed and what is significant to you?

At a recent conference, I was challenged to prioritize my life according to roles. I had never thought of that before. The roles I have as a Christian, wife, mother, teacher, friend and so on, should determine my priorities in my life and these should play an important part in how I prioritize my life and days. I have considered three of my roles below.

Firstly, I am a child of God and therefore one of my large gemstones should be time set aside in communion with my Father, Creator, Saviour and Lord. We all know, and I am acutely aware of the shameful truth that if this time is not scheduled in my day and given priority, the sandy cares of life will smother my day and the most important rock of my life will not fit in the bucket anymore.

Secondly, I see my role as a wife. Is it not true as homeschoolers that our husbands can often feel short-changed in the whole process of homeschooling? Here, too I am guilty of spending an enormous amount of my time being devoted to programs, schedules, book orders and so on, working hard on what we see to be important, but at the same time – leaving out our spouse and forgetting what God has called us to do and be in that regard. How do we make our husbands a priority? By giving them quality time. Schedule in some special time together – it may be an outing, a walk around the block, or dinner together after the children are in bed. Whatever it may look like, or however fancy or commonplace it may seem, there needs to be intentional time set aside for relationship building and time-out with your husbands. Your children will be blessed by seeing their mum and dad enjoying a strong, vibrant, fun-loving relationship together. So, set aside time to make it happen!

Thirdly, I have the role to be a mother to my children. Even though I spend all day with my children, it does not necessarily mean that I am connecting with each of my children in their time of need. For some children that may mean a gentle, warm smile. Others may need time together – going for a walk, flying a kite, baking a cake…. spending special time. For other children, kind words of recognition or a thoughtful card would touch their hearts. Each of our children have different needs and one of our roles as mother is to communicate our love and acceptance. Also, as a mother, I want to teach and instruct my children. We want to encourage them to persevere in their difficulties and develop their areas of strength. We want them to grow more and more into the image of Jesus Christ and be the unique person which He has created them to be. What a wonderful blessing it is to walk beside our child, encouraging them and watching the work of God in them.

As we contemplate the enormous task of homeschooling and the limitations of a 24 hour day, we need to differentiate the “significant” from the “ordinary.” If we do not deliberately make time for the “significant”, our days and weeks and years will be filled up with the “ordinary.” I’m not against schedules or day planners – not at all! What is important – is what you put in them! It isn’t difficult to work out that our relationships – eternal and personal, are the gemstones in our bucket, so therefore the schedules and plans we make should reflect our priorities.

Homeschooling should be synonymous with relationship-building, since we share our lives so closely with our family members. But, the danger can overtake us so easily and we can fill our days with the sand and grit of the ordinary. Our challenge is not to forget the real gems in our lives and prize them close to our hearts.

Written by Marianne from http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/index.html

Are you looking for a Guide to help you uniquely design-your-own home school to suit your family’s goals, and develop your own individual approach that reflects these goals and complements your lifestyle and needs. Go to http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/Homeschooling-Guide.html

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