Maintaining Balance in your Family’s Schedule

JMJ 30  *It is hard to admit, sometimes, that you already have too much on your plate.  It is important to recognize this,  for the welfare of your family, and for inner peace in your life.  Before jumping into a new activity, it is important to ask yourself a few questions.

Ring the School Bell 30/180 days

Melissa and Sarah received an invitation today to join the American Heritage Girls Club,  a relatively new organization similar to the girl scouts, along with a list of their good friends. So enticing and wholesome, and good healthy fun.  Sabrina was part of the Girl Scouts in elementary school, and I know it is a commitment, which involves a lot of side projects and outings.

Before responding “Oh yes!” to the invitation, which my girls wanted to do, I pondered the idea for a few days, while asking myself these few questions:

  1. Do my daughters have enough social opportunities in their schedules right now?
  2. Do they have opportunities to develop leadership in their current activities, as they could learn in the girls’ club?
  3. Do they have opportunities for charitable as well as spiritual development in their current commitments?
  4. Is there room for this in our weekly schedule, or would it create additional stress for everyone?
  5. Would I be signing up for this just because everyone else is?

After reflection and prayer, I ultimately I said no, as much as I wanted to say yes. I have learned over the years that once I begin a fun activity with my children, it is very difficult to quit, as unpractical as it may be to stay.

The one reason that I said no, is it is just too much on my plate for this year.  Looking back, I am relieved to say it was the right decision.  I will reevaluate next year.  After all, the club isn’t going anywhere.  It is difficult not to join the bandwagon every time a new opportunity comes up. In a large city such as  Los Angeles, and being connected with so many other homeschool families, there are limitless things available that can enhance the kids’ curriculum and studies.

But it is important to just say no sometimes, as much as you may want to say yes, to everything good and fun and healthy. Over time, I have learned to reflect and take a hard look at my present commitments before impulsively saying yes.  Frequently, I still catch myself overcommitting, but I have to say I have improved in this area.

I have learned first-hand the consequences of an overpacked schedule: Stressed out family members (especially me), loss of a sense of calm and balance, homemade meals take a nose-dive, the house screams for attention as orderliness is thrown out the window, less appreciation for the current activity as you are always thinking of what you will do next,  and reduced time for reflection.  And sadly,  an overpacked schedule stifles creativity and imagination because there is simply no time for it.  Despite all of this it is still hard to say no.

I loved the article below by Joshua Becker, a speaker and writer on the simple life, which expands on the above.

How to Slow Down Your Family’s Schedule

Termini Girl Homemade Scarecrow for the 2009 Barn Dance

Other tidbits and observations from today, day 30/180, of the school year…

They are here. They are there.  They are everywhere, those post-its, in my dreams, and in my life, invading every room of the house.  What would I do without those little sticky notes to myself?  Probably lose my mind.

I count post-its as one of the greatest inventions of all time, an exaggeration to be sure, but they do make life a bit easier.  “Put it on a post-it” is my frequent response to the demands of my children.  If it’s on a post-it, I am more likely to see it, and then the job is more likely taken care of.  The old adage “out of sight, and out of mind” changes to “in my sight, and on my mind”.

As I write this, I have post-its to remind my husband to fix the bathroom door (it’s closed so tight, I had to be rescued by Sarah the other day), tighten the swing bolts outdoors before the Halloween party (now there’s an important one), hoist up the seasonal decorations, sanitize a cat mess, plan spooky and fun games for the upcoming Halloween party, develop Sabrina’s high school transcript, plant the new Plumeria stalks which we acquired at the fair, among numerous other to-dos.  I also have post-its strewn all over my desk with ideas for this very journal.

Just so you know, it is a little crazier than most years, and usually there aren’t  quite so many post-its strewn all over the place!

     Sabrina gave three private lessons this afternoon, and Cerina, one of the girls, stayed behind to shoot marbles with Melissa for a while.  Sarah wowed me as she showed me how to solve systems of equations in Algebra 2.  Her attention to detail and diligent work in math is visibly paying off.  I usually get in her way of learning algebra concepts now, and it looks like I won’t need to tutor her as much in this area.  Hurray!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette


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