Living the balanced life + Homeschooling = Oxymoron??? Lots of juggling. Lots of interruptions. Lots of squirmishes. Too busy, they say. (Hard to argue.) Not a lot of hours in the day unaccounted for. (Most definitely true.) A generous share of time devoted to kid’s struggles, complaints, arguments, ‘discussions’. A generous share of time devoted to math, writing, languages, current affairs and history, geography and science, spelling and grammar. Aspirations to get out of sweat pants and t-shirts before an afternoon trip to extracurriculars, but first, shift laundry from washer to dryer again, and LOOK more dishes. Aspirations for balance is a challenge.Balance between activity and rest. Balance between focus and interruption. Balance between my needs and my children’s needs. Balance between noise and quiet. Balance between tackling the present activity or planning for the next day. What principles helps us work toward balance in our homeschools? 1. Purposefully include mama.Include the stuff that mama likes to do that is separate from the kids. Also include the stuff you discover you’re interested in when you’re learning with the kids. You are on a lifelong learning journey too. So keep your world interesting. The longer you homeschool, the more you identify your own curiosities and interests. Pursue yours as well as your kids’ interests. For me, that includes… Time in the morning. Kiss the kids in the kitchen, ask them about their dreams. Then steal away for a cup of coffee, the sun blasting down on you, inspirational reading and a prayer, meditation and yoga on the mat. Time during morning circle. Snippets of classical music history, or renaissance art history, or Shakespeare sonnets, or something you also want to learn that is a lovely thing to start your day. Time after lunch is cleaned up. A cup of tea and five minutes to peruse Pinterest for the next season of decorating or crafts, studying garden design, cooking, home décor, clever quotes, and crafts that you’ll likely never do. Time for physical activity. A walk with the dog, jump on the elliptical, throw a baseball, kick a soccer ball, dance to Spotify playlist. Time for daily connections. Plan a coffee visit, text a friend, chat with the husband. Be open to new people in your daily routine. Time for writing. An hour after lunch we read on the couch with a cup of tea and a cookie. I’ll write then. Time for reading. In the evening, after the kitchen is cleaned up, with a candle lit and my stack of fiction books that take me away to another world. Okay, so I like to include many snippets of reading and writing time in my day. If you could fit in a few fifteen minute snippets, what would you like to do?2. Purposefully include activities with them. Teach them to cook dinner. They love creative exploration. And you, mama, like free time. Start with scrubbing veggies, move to knife skills and a few years later, you might not have to cook dinner. Teach them to clean. Once a week, everyone can help in the house cleaning. Everyone will be enjoy the results. Maybe not when they’re three, but they’ll grow accustomed to clean and organized and include it in their own spaces too. (Think long term plan.) Teach them how to deal with sibling conflicts. So. Much. Time. consumed when trying to manage every sibling conflict. Teach them tools. Let them come to you if they really don’t know how to deal with something. Lower mama standards. Lowering my standards goes against my grain like boiled vegetables on a kids’ plate. (Must. Eat. My. Veggies. or Must. Not. Expect. Perfection.) But when you see the fruit of this effort, happiness, peace, happiness, peace, happiness, more peace, it’s hard not to buy into the benefit. Impassionately up the standards. “No, you really cannot insult your sister without consequence.” or “No you really can’t leave your clean laundry in the same basket as your dirty laundry.” or “You really need to be ready to get out the door at a certain time if we are going somewhere.” (Oh wait, that one’s for me). Be present with them every day. Give them lots of attention in ways that mean something to them ie: listening to their plans to create instructions for a new game or let them show you their recent DIY bedroom crafts together. 3.Insist on the non-negotiable. Assume your kids need to listen to you. Expect they won’t listen to you sometimes. And have a respectful contingency plan. Let go of an emotional reaction to their ‘not listening’ ways. They’ll come to understand they need to abide by you faster when you don’t mix your frustrations with their frustrations. Assume that their needs are as important as yours. Assume that your needs are as important as your kids’ needs. These are some ways I ensure balance in my day-to-day. What would you add?