**This article is part of an ongoing series of posts taken from my book “How do I Get it all Done …and Still Have Time to Enjoy it? “
Some of the tips I share here are from the perspective of home schooling. If you don’t home school, that’s OK, they are easily applicable to your situation.
Decide what your time (and your children’s time) is worth:
I feel so strongly about the value of my time, that I honor my child’s time to the same degree. If my children aren’t really working, or learning, then I want them to be really playing or resting.
That means no busy work.
No finishing a workbook just because the pages are there. It means (for us) no memorizing sight words. And it means that we’re careful about “hands on learning”. Yes, I said it. Some hands on learning is just busy work in disguise.
I have a test that I use to determine if we are going to do a project. If we’re doing it because it’s fun, then it has to be something my child would do in her own free time. If she wouldn’t, then its not that fun. If we’re doing it for the learning value, then it has to either teach something, reinforce something, or give them a way to experience what they’ve been learning. Some hands on projects really do none of the above, and so we skip them in favor of a good book.
Remember that your child needs time to rest, time to dream, and time to play.
So much of their learning and growing happens during these times. Don’t over schedule your children. On the other hand, don’t frustrate them by giving them too much free time and no direction on how to use it.
When you honor your child’s time as highly as your own, you’ll be pleased to see how they choose to use it. There will be less time spent arguing over unnecessary school work, and more time spent developing their gifts, their talents, and their purpose.
Use the concept of readiness to your advantage:
How many hours per week do you agonize over trying to drill a particular concept (phonics, using the potty, algebra) into the head of a child who just isn’t ready? Would you consider putting that concept away for a while and allowing the child to focus on learning something he is ready for?
Children, and adults for that matter, learn exponentially faster when they are ready for any given concept.
Why not put the math away for a while and learn how to make a bed. That way, when the child is ready, he will learn math in much less time (and with far fewer tears!). And in the mean time, he has learned to make his bed, which will save you even more time! Teach what they are ready for and you will be more relaxed and get more done.
Be aware of “seasons”
Similar to the concept of readiness is the concept of seasons. This is kind of the grown up version of doing things at the most appropriate time.
We have a tendency to think that if God calls us to do something, then we start now (or yesterday) and never stop.
If at some point I needed to be involve in this ministry or that, then the opposite must be true, that it would be bad for me to discontinue. If a Christian woman is supposed to be doing “X” then I need to be doing it now, and keep doing it until I die. Even just a quick look at the following passage will reveal something to the contrary.
Ecclesiastes 3 says; There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to
refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
God has designed seasons into our lives. We are not meant to do all things at all times. Are you trying to squeeze in a good thing out of season? Ask God what season you are in. Where does he want your focus right now? You might be in a season of great involvement in the community and your church, or you may be in a season of needing to be quiet at home, just you and your family, or you and God.
We go through many seasons, and what we do during one may be very different from what we do in another. I’m not advocating that you ever stop going to church or withdraw yourself from the fellowship of your christian family. We were designed to work together as one body. ( I Corinthians 12:12) This is just a guideline to help you offer yourself some grace. If you are feeling pressure from an outside source (you don’t believe it’s God prompting you) then allow yourself to live in the season you’re in, and to wholeheartedly pursue only those thing that God has set out for you to do. There may come a time for some of the things you’re feeling pressured to do, or the time has perhaps already been fulfilled.
Just a quick warning; this idea of seasons works both ways. You may find yourself in a season of rest, for whatever reason. Maybe grief, or health issues, or just a time of allowing God to nurture you. This too is a season. When God has done his healing work in you, be mindful of moving on to the next season. Don’t get stuck in a place longer than God wants you there. Either way, whether it’s taking on something new, or letting go of something old, watch for his leading, and answer to his call, not a call of guilt.
I hope you’re enjoying these tips so far. Come back for more next week. Oh, and be sure to “like” my Facebook page in the box on your right, I’ll post any new articles there so you’ll be sure to stay connected.
Enjoy your week!