(This is an excerpt from the July 2019 edition of Homeschool Huddle—a paid online membership community for homeschool moms.)
Congratulations, you’ve decided to homeschool! Yay! But then it dawns on you…you have now added another layer of responsibility to your life, and it’s a major one: your child’s (or children’s) education. Homeschooling in itself already has so many moving parts. And that’s what you’re adding into the mix of your life that includes other concerns such as managing your household and home, work or business or ministry. Or you may already be in the homeschooling trenches, and are discovering that some other things are not being given the attention they used to have. How might you even balance it all?
Women, especially moms, are known to be great jugglers in the figurative sense. We’re praised for being able to manage so many things at the same time. But if we were to peel back into our core, many of us might feel frustration, stress, overwhelm, and even burnout. Can I get an “Amen”?
I can relate because to this day, those feelings still surface. I am still a work-in-progress. (And well, we all are.) But the good news is, you and I are all “in-progress,” moving forward, step by step, improving a little at a time. So is there a way to balance it all? Is there even such a thing? This whole thing about life balance seems so elusive…
What does it mean, anyway?
The dictionary (Merriam-Webster) gives these definitions for “balance”:
- physical equilibrium
- stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis
- mental and emotional steadiness
And as a verb, a couple of definitions are:
- to bring into harmony or proportion
- to equal or equalize in weight, number, or proportion
When you look at most of these definitions, what’s implied is that both or all sides have equal weight. Now think of yourself as, say, riding a bike or trying to balance on a beam—don’t you naturally find yourself compensating for your weight, moving left and right to be able to manage yourself, adjusting and course-correcting as you go?
This is the idea that author Michael Hyatt writes about in his article entitled, “What No One Ever Told You About Work-Life Balance.” He mentioned how he brought his mentoring group to a ropes course. “When we were balanced, it never really felt like we were. Our legs constantly moved and wobbled, and we strained to grip each other and the nearest tree,” he said. “But we stayed on that line a long time: making little corrections, adjusting our weight, and trying to stay upright. It didn’t feel like balance, but it was.”
Meanwhile, some people would rather use the term “life integration,” because why separate work and life, when work (or in our case, homeschooling) is part of life!
It’s normal to feel unbalanced. Our lives are hardly ever linear. There are so many layers and aspects, that the weaving in and out, and overlapping of things are inevitable. We might not be aware of it, but many times, we are already accustomed to making small adjustments here and there. Now, when we feel something is really out of whack in our lives, then we might already be in crisis mode. This is what we want to avoid. And so taking two of the definitions of balance—that of “mental and emotional steadiness” and “to bring into harmony”—is important.
Why do we want balance?
We long for balance because we want less stress in our lives. Less stress means better health and more happiness. It’s impossible to have a problem-free life or a challenge-free homeschool (we do live in a flawed world). But we can have the grace of balance, that which comes with the “peace that passes all understanding” that the Bible speaks of, as well as a deep joy from the Lord.
Here are 4 things we can do to balance homeschooling and our other responsibilities:
- Pray. Seek God’s will in your current situation. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT). This type of prayer asks for God’s wisdom and guidance: “Lord, what is Your message in all this? What do You want me to do?” Being one with God’s heart allows us to receive a sense of peace and balance.
- Prioritize. When you identify your priorities, you will have a better grasp of what’s more important to you. Then it will be easier to decide what will take precious space in your calendar. With this, you can also plan better and make a schedule according to your priorities.
- Set boundaries. Setting boundaries will help you be true to your priorities, and not let other things encroach upon them. They will also help you say no to what might not be beneficial to you now, so you can fully say yes to what aligns with your priorities.
- Recognize that there is a time for everything. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT). And to qualify “everything,” I refer to “everything that God wants in your life now.” It’s not about cramming all the learning resources and all the extra-curricular activities that might leave both you and your child exhausted; rather, it’s about keeping with the natural rhythms of activity and rest, of productivity and recreation.
In conclusion, balance will look differently for each one, depending on your respective callings, and how God made you. And there will be seasons when you’ve decided that a certain area may need greater focus than others. The most important thing is to seek God, and He will guide you to what works best for you and your family.
Dear Lord, thank You that You have ordered everything to its own time. I lift up to You my situation right now. You know all my concerns and all my tasks—in homeschooling and other areas. Please grant me wisdom that I may align everything to Your will, and that I may keep in pace with Your Holy Spirit. Show me what I must say no to in this season, that I may say yes to all that You want for me now. Grant me the grace of balance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- What are your priorities now? Are they reflected in your schedule, or are other things swallowing up time that ought to be devoted to them?
- What adjustments can you make to reflect your priorities?
- What boundaries can you set to manage your energy more wisely?
This August 2019, our main topic is on “Planning Your Homeschool Day.” Want to join the membership? You can go for monthly, 3 months, or the 5-month payment option till August 16 (you get to save on the last one plus receive a bonus). More details here.
Here’s what some mommies said about Homeschool Huddle:
“A source of encouragement.”
“It has given me some sort of security blanket, that I can turn to this group if ever I will feel down or discouraged.”
“[It helps] me discern if I can homeschool my twins in the future.”
“The talk for this month about how to balance homeschooling has been really a great reminder/help.”
For questions, email me at email@example.com, or message me at my FB page, Homeschoolified.