Saturday, June 7, 2014
Balance. When all the different parts of your life are spread out evenly, you have balance. A well-balanced life is an ideal, but how to accomplish it?
This might seem completely obvious to others, but it is suddenly occurring to me that balance cannot be accomplished by trying to do Everything Excellently All The Time. For the longest time, that has been my goal, and my preferred method for reaching it was to seek Efficiency. The key was to figure out ways to get more done in less time.
This hasn't worked for me. In fact, it's been pretty unhealthy for me.
What is the alternative? One alternative way to approach life is to seek to do The right thing for this time, recognizing that being effective is different from being efficient. What is the right thing to do on this day? What is the right balance among the different calls on my time and energy?
As part of the effort to find the right balance in our life, I separated out the different parts of the kids' schooling and looked at the flow of my work week. On my day off we are doing the vast bulk of their "serious" academic work. On the days I do long office hours, they are doing a bare minimum and it's mostly stuff they can do independently. We have one mixed sort of day - more than the minimum of work and often lessons to attend as well. And then there is Friday.
I love the fun parts of homeschooling: the art, the nature study, the field trips. But those things take a lot of time, energy, and frequently generate a mess. What is the right time for these projects? How can I make sure I give the kids that time, but also be realistic with myself? My answer right now is to save it for Friday.
On Friday we don't have any of the bookwork scheduled, and instead we either take a field trip, or do a messy art project, or take a day hike or long bicycle trail ride.
So far, this is lovely. It feels like it the right balance, and the kids know that they have Friday to look forward to as they work hard on their other goals all week long. I am still able to do the shopping and prep that I need to do for work around the field trips, so that feels effective.
I can't do art every day. That would be a mess and run me ragged! But once a week - that I can do.
Effective, balanced, just enough.