One of my biggest homeschooling challenges is staying focused during our school time.
Ideally, my children will be up by 7:15 a.m., and we’ll all see my husband off at 7:30. Then they’ll begin their before-breakfast chores. By 8:00, everyone will be dressed and ready to eat breakfast. While they’re eating, we’ll read through a chapter in the Bible, then we’ll move on into other subjects from there. We’ll work at our school work as long as we need to, but it shouldn’t take more than a few hours for everyone to finish with all their academics. That is, if I just stay focused.
But I usually don’t. The phone rings, and with Caller ID I can see who it is. If it’s a number I recognize, I feel compelled to pick it up – after all, it might be an emergency. It’s usually not an urgent call after all, but before I know it, ten to fifteen minutes have slipped by. Okay, re-group, get back to work. Regrouping takes about ten minutes more, because while I was on the phone the children disappeared into their rooms or outside to play. Nearly thirty minutes later, we’re going again.
Then one of the children needs something printed off the computer so he can continue with an assignment. I run to my husband’s study upstairs and print it off. Hmm, I think, while I’m here, I might as well check my email – just for a minute. I delete the announcements I’m not going to read and open the others. There are a few that need replies. If I don’t answer right away, the emails will get pushed down the page and lost, so I take a few more minutes to finish up before I head down again. Ten more minutes have passed, and the children have once again scattered.
Now we’re even further behind schedule. We muddle through most of the schoolwork, but the momentum that we started with was lost a long time ago. And all because I let myself get distracted.
But one of the nice things about homeschooling is that every day represents a new beginning and a fresh start. We may be a little behind in a subject, but there’s no big rush – we can work into the summer if we need to. So tomorrow, I’ll turn off the ringer to the phone and lock the study door. And most likely, something else will disrupt our school day, but at least I’ll be more focused as we work through it.