Guard Your Homeschool: Protecting Your Goals by Setting Boundaries
You are at home doing what you do, homeschooling your kids. Can you watch the neighbor’s kids for a couple hours every day until she gets home from work? Could you help out with your grandparents more? Could you teach a couple of extra classes at co-op tomorrow? When can you bring a meal to a friend who is a new mom? It’s nice to be helpful, right? But how are you going to get anything done after taking care of so many other needs? Let’s take a look at boundaries and homeschooling.
Just Sitting at Home
If you are getting asked to do a lot of extras for family or friends, they may have some misguided ideas about what homeschooling is really about. They may think you and the kids are just sitting at home only doing a couple hours of schoolwork here and there and have mostly free time. Maybe others envision you just at home and don’t consider all the things you are doing every day within your home. It might be time to explain the flow of your day and all of the demands that encompass you without ever stepping out the front door.
What are your goals for homeschooling? If you don’t have any set goals for educating your kids then it may not phase you to be on-call for your friends and family. However, I know that I have to be very careful to schedule my own errands and extra activities for after our regular homeschool work is completed each day or we will fall behind in only a matter of a couple of weeks. Do you always want to be meeting everyone else’s needs or meeting the educational goals for your kids? Afterall we are not just at home. We are at home and educating.
Emergencies and Balance
Yes, there is the occasional emergency that arises and teaching your kids how to handle those issues can be invaluable. With emergencies comes a need for balance and being in touch with the needs of your children and spouse. Recently my mother was in the hospital and I was spending time driving back and forth visiting her. It was necessary for me to be spending time at the hospital but once the initial crisis settled down, I realized I needed to connect with my own family, meet the needs at home, and get us back into balance.
If you are a people-pleaser setting boundaries is challenging across the board. You have to keep ever before you the truth of homeschooling: YOU are the one responsible for the education of your children. They have to take priority over pleasing other people. Someone else can care for your neighbor’s kids. Yes, you can make a lovely meal for a friend and drive across town to deliver it. Or maybe you could send her a gift card for her favorite takeout place. Maybe there is a way to bless others without feeling the obligation to make them happy all the time.
It’s ok to help others. But it’s also important to keep your goals and ideals for homeschooling as priorities. Don’t feel guilty. Be intentional with your helpfulness and enjoy how good it feels to maintain healthy boundaries as you homeschool.
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.