Four jumpers, two culottes jumpers, two vests, two baby outfits, one skirt, putting ruffles on ten baby outfits turning them from pant sets to dresses, plus keeping current on mending projects. That is the list I came up with as I thought back over my sewing the past eight months. “How do you find time to sew?” you ask. I’d love to share my time management key that will help busy homeschooling moms.
Time Management by the Half Hour
This special key is “a half hour a day.” I have planned in my day a half hour of sewing every afternoon during the week. It takes time to get the project out and to put it away so sewing time is only twenty to twenty-five minutes a day. Over the course of a year, just a little bit each day adds up to–four jumpers, two culottes jumpers, two vests . . .
You might think, why bother for such a few minutes to actually sew each day? For me the slow, steady progress and accomplishment is better than not getting any sewing done at all. If I did not have this time set aside for sewing, I would not get around to it. Other, more urgent things would easily fill this time space. Therefore, if you call at 1:30 p.m., Sarah will answer the phone and tell you I am busy. You will know I am in doing my sewing.
Homeschooling Time Management
If you call at 3:30 p.m., Sarah will also tell you I am busy. You might ask, “Now what is she doing since school is over for the day?” Once more I will share the key to my treasure. I had a desire in my heart, for a couple of years, to have reading time with my little children. Between homeschooling, household chores, meals, babies, and toddlers there always seemed to be something to keep me from sitting down and reading to my precious children. This time the special key is fifteen minutes a day.
I scheduled a fifteen-minute reading period for Joseph and John. The next year I added another one for John and Anna, when Anna was old enough. Finally, two years later I included a separate one for Jesse. This adds up to forty-five minutes of my afternoon. Because it started with only fifteen minutes, added on a little each year, and is planned and set aside just like our morning school time, it happens every day. It is cherished time, looked forward to by both the children and by me, special close time. It is time where I am doing what I have said is my priority rather than being driven by the urgent.
Last year John, my then kindergartner, came to me begging to learn to read so he could read his Bible. With a new baby, I had not planned to teach him to read until first grade, but how could a mommy turn down such a request? Though I wanted to fulfill his desire, I could not come up with even a half-hour block of time to work with him. I prayed about it and discussed it with Steve. Then the Lord showed me I had some fifteen-minute time segments throughout my day that I could devote to phonics with John. As we got started, I found four of these times. That was probably better for his attention span than a solid hour would have been!
Homeschooling and Individual Child Time
I will give you one more key to my treasure. This key is a half hour once or twice a week. Again, I had a yearning in my heart to have one-on-one time with my little children. However, as usual, the weeks would fly by with the normal routine and no individual time with a child. Then the Lord showed me that even if I could not spend individual playtime with each child every day, I could do it once or twice a week. So we started preschool two times a week. Each little one takes a turn, individually, to spend time with Mom. Are they unhappy that it doesn’t happen every day? No, they look forward to their preschool day. As they grow older, preschool time no longer fits the age so the title changes to fun school. I spend this time with one child where he gets to pick an activity to do with Mommy from a list of fun educational choices.
Priorities and Homeschooling
What is the treasure that I have been giving you my keys to? The treasure is time spent on the priorities God has led me to have. The Lord has given us each the same number of hours in our day and responsibilities that we must fulfill during this time. We can always be driven by the urgent, or we can take control of our days. We can set aside time for not only the responsibilities, but also those God-given heart desires.
These are examples from my life. Time management makes the difference for me as a homeschooling mom. What about you? What project have you put off now that you are homeschooling because there isn’t time to finish? What have you wanted to do with your children but are always too busy for? Seek the Lord to see if He would have you spend any of your time in these areas. If He directs, try my time management ideas for homeschool moms by planning fifteen minutes or thirty minutes each day at a set time and make those things happen. See how even a little bit, day after day, can net satisfying results at the end of a month or year. Try the key to time management for homeschool mom, which the Lord has given to me. Perhaps it will be a key to time management for you too.