That is the golden question isn’t it? How do you create healthy boundaries in your homeschool? What even are healthy boundaries? This is something that I have been considering a lot lately. I think part of the reason is due to outside commitments that have come up recently. Commitments that aren’t bad, but were not in my yearly plan. And unfortunately, when I don’t follow my yearly plan things can get a bit messy.
What do you mean Create Healthy Boundaries?
Let’s start here, shall we. What exactly does it mean to create healthy boundaries in your homeschool? First, you need to acknowledge that homeschooling takes time, and because of that, you ought to treat those hours you are homeschooling like a job.
Have you ever had this experience? You start your homeschool day, but then a friend calls you and you answer. Or someone stops by? Perhaps someone needs an errand run, and since you are “home all day” it makes sense that you are the one to do it. Now, if you were at an office working, would people stop by your office, or ask you to run out and do an errand, or call your work phone? Highly unlikely.
This means that the first step in creating healthy boundaries in your homeschool is to protect your time.
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Where does your time go?
Several years ago, I went through an entire process on time inventories and figuring out where I was spending my time. I didn’t want the urgent emergencies to rule my day, but of course with a toddler running around and homeschooling a couple of elementary-aged kiddos, that is exactly what my life felt like. It took me a long time to understand I was constantly shifting my focus, and never able to dedicate time to one particular project. I was a multi-tasking queen.
But, was I?
Well, the answer was absolutely no. Multi-tasking, while it sounds good, is not a realistic way to live your life. If you are constantly trying to do multiple things at the same time, you are not putting in the time needed for each individual task. It becomes a huge time waster because you aren’t singularly focused on one task. You are trying to balance too many things.
One caveat here – listening to audiobooks or podcasts while folding laundry, or cleaning your home is multi-tasking that I can get behind!
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Create Healthy Boundaries with Time-Blocking
This may seem a bit strange, but creating blocks of time where you do particular tasks can actually be quite freeing. It does not have to be super rigid. But, when you write out when you are going to be doing certain things throughout the day, it allows your body to not constantly thing about all the things. Why? Because you have already given space and time for that particular thing.
Now, of course there are still little emergencies that come up, but for the most part, you have planned the time out, so you can continue to work on whatever projects you need to without thinking about it. And reducing the mental load, or decision fatigue, is so important.
One of the best things I ever did when I started to create healthy boundaries was to create a homeschooling time block in my day.
During this time block, I don’t do anything else. I’m not answering the phone, not getting on email, not looking at social media, not trying to do chores. This is time when I am completely invested in homeschooling my kids. That can look like me sitting at the table while they work on math, or reading aloud, or doing any number of tasks related to homeschooling my kids. They see me solely focused on homeschooling during that block of time, and it means that they are more efficient, because they see me there. If they have questions, they don’t have to interrupt me doing something else, or find me on the phone or computer. They don’t hear me say “hold on” unless I am working with another kid.
How do I protect that time in order to create healthy boundaries?
I say no, a lot. No to answering the phone. I saw no to notifications, I say no to people knocking on my door. Does that seem rude? I wouldn’t qualify it as rude. I would instead say you are protecting your boundaries. My job is educating my kids. The decision that I make throughout the day impact that. So, while it may seem rude to say no to someone, or not answer the phone, it isn’t.
In order to implement and protect this time, I sit down and do a daily plan every day. I do this daily because things happen and I need to adjust my time blocks from time-to-time. Just because you create healthy boundaries does not mean that they are a rigid part of your life with zero flexibility.
I also create a yes and no list every year. These are the things that I am deciding ahead of time to say yes and no to. Read – less decision fatigue. Then, if someone asks me, I already know my answer. Where I am willing to bend and where I need to stay firm. It can take a bit of trial and error. What are the right things to include? I consider this list twice each year. The first is as I prepare for a new calendar year. The second is when I consider a new homeschool year.
What about Actual Emergencies?
Of course there are times that an actual emergency comes up. In that case, obviously boundaries are not the priority. But, in the general day-to-day, boundaries are the name of the game.
If you do not have boundaries set in place at the moment, it will seem hard to get them in place. This is because it is a new system that people are unsure of – including you! Again, there will be trial and error. You will have to have an elevator pitch ready on why you aren’t answering the phone, or why you don’t want to run out for something mid-day. And it will take a while for people to start respecting those boundaries, because it is new for them as well.
There will be growing pains, but you will be able to get through it. And I guarantee you will feel better on the other end.
How do boundaries Cultivate Simplicity?
When you create healthy boundaries in your homeschool, you begin to thrive. You are no longer frazzled because you are trying to bounce between too many tasks. Instead, your life starts to slow down, and you can recognize the rhythm of your days.
Remember, it takes time to create healthy boundaries. And not everyone will be on board at first, but stand firm. You need to make the decisions about what is best for you and your individual family before you start to worry about what is happening outside of your family.
The Bottom Line
When you create healthy boundaries in your homeschool, your homeschool will thrive. Your kids will understand what to expect when you start a homeschool day. They will feel the value you are placing on their education by being present, and not allowing little interruptions throughout the day.
It will also make you a happier, healthier mama. You have created goal posts and understand where you say yes, and where you say no. The guilt can be hard at first, but once you understand how beneficial it is to keep these boundaries in tact for your homeschool, the guilt will be replaced by joy.