Things can get pretty crazy around our house, which is no surprise since having five people at home for the majority of most days is enough to bring out the crazy in anybody.
You see, we are a “home-centered” family. Our kids are homeschooled, my wife is a stay-at-home/part-time work-at-home mom, and I am a work-at-home dad. To add to the challenges, our house isn’t that big. So imagine summer break all the time, except the kids still have school work and you still have work-work.
It’s not easy, but we make it work.
One of the biggest challenges is making sure our kids get the social interaction they need. While many think that homeschooling families lack socialization opportunities, that’s not the case for us. In fact, they’re almost too plentiful. But fitting them all into our schedule takes a lot of sacrifice.
Here is a snapshot of our social life: Homeschooling co-ops, Awana clubs, track clubs, basketball clubs, baseball teams, football teams, play dates, field trips, choir rehearsals, ministry events, cultural activities, and more … all in different locations. Because these extracurriculars are all run by different organizations (instead of through school), there’s no central hub where these events can take place. Instead, we get in the car and go, keeping track of our busy calendar on phones and computers.
We spend a lot of time on the move, but we spend more time inside the house – all together. Five people in one space, doing school work, housework, and the work that pays the bills. This is where it gets really interesting, trying to navigate our shared space without driving each other up the wall.
Our kitchen table has become the heartbeat of our family. Just about everything flows from there: homeschool happens, bills get paid, work gets done, tough talks take place, and of course, we eat together.
Occasionally someone needs to break free and find their own space to work. My refuge is a small, windowless office off the garage. For the kids, it’s their bedrooms. For my wife, it is out of the house!
Because of our lifestyle, there are times that work has to be done at odd hours, or in the car, or at the library, or at the doctor’s office. But at the end of the day, we’ve found it doesn’t matter where – what’s important is just that we get it done.
Here are some more things we’ve learned, things that can help any family with a busy life or hectic schedule:
1. Have one place where everybody comes together.
As mentioned above, that is our kitchen table. It’s good to have a central gathering place that can serve as your home base. It’s a command post, the place where problems are solved, questions are posed, instructions are given, and you find whatever you need to help you take the next step.
2. Create individual spaces where everybody can be alone.
If not for my windowless office, I’d probably be forced to rent office space or buy a lot of coffee at Starbucks. My kids come into my office frequently but I can close and lock the door if needed. I can tell them that I’m off limits for a certain period of time and they can do the same in their rooms. Making it all work sometimes requires one or all people to get away, even if you still share an adjoining wall.
3. Have a calling or purpose bigger than the challenges.
My wife and I believe we’ve been called to this homeschooling lifestyle. I’ve prayed for a career that doesn’t force me to leave my family every day for “X” hours, 5 days per week. We got what we hoped for, and it’s not easy but we know there are great things ahead of us. That’s what gets us through; it’s our “why.”
And when you have a big enough why, you can make any situation work.
Read more from Jackie on his blog, JackieBledsoe.com. As a thank you for reading this post and for being of friend of Babble, Jackie is giving you a FREE gift, his highly anticipated “Date Night in a Box: 12 Plug-and-Play Ideas to Connect this Weekend!”
photo credit: Jackie & Stephana BledsoeMore On