Dear Good Advice Articles,
I mostly ignore you these days.
It’s not easy. You’re everywhere. Books, magazines, blogs, even memes on Facebook. And your advice isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that it doesn’t apply to my life.
See, my life is a little different. I’m a homeschooler.
Parenting Article: Drop whatever you’re doing and spend quality time with your children.
Hurry up, seize what limited time you’ve got, you don’t have all day!
Sorry to disagree, but…I do have all day. That’s a perk of homeschooling. I can take the time to play a board game with my seven-year-old; sit down next to my fifteen-year-old and admire her drawing; invite my ten-year-old to juice lemons for supper’s pasta dish; play a phone game with my thirteen-year-old looking on. Quality time with children is available most days, if we are intentional about taking it.
The flip side is, ironically enough, we spend all day with our children. So I don’t have to feel guilty for telling them that I have to cook supper, write a blog post, or just be by myself for half an hour. Some days we don’t fit in much quality time, but other days we connect easily.
So just simmer down, Parenting Article. In the ebb and flow of homeschooling life, it averages out.
Organizational Tips: Put in a little work every day and get your house clean!
People live in my house—all day long. At any hour of the day, people are using dishes, leaving books on the couch, dropping toys on the floor, and expanding creativity by gathering up all pillows and blankets and making huge landing pads for jumping off the (book-covered) couch. For someone like me, that means that the house is never really all the way clean.
We do most of our real cleaning before we have people over. And even then we cheat by hiding stuff in closets or covering up piles with blankets.
So I appreciate your point of view, Organizational Tips, but I don’t think you really understand mine.
Financial Advice: Trim your budget by cutting back on snacks and convenience foods!
Did I mention that most of us are home all day? I need to have enough food for five people every day of the week. I spend as much on snacks and lunches as I do on suppers. I’ve had to institute a Kitchen-Closed policy for different times of the day just to limit access to snacks. I even label my own lunch ingredients to keep the ravening hoards at bay.
So yeah, thanks, Financial Advice; please come back when you understand what my grocery bill entails.
Family Life Hack: Eat meals together at least twice a week. Make it a priority.
Well, okay then. We eat family meals nearly every night. I have time to plan for meals and spend time cooking them. I consider this part of the homeschooling benefits package.
Our meals usually last about twenty minutes. Darren quizzes the kids on their assignments and chores, or we discuss a couple of things that happened during the day. Some meals consist of kids complaining about the food, and Mom angrily remarking that at least her husband appreciates her efforts. (I don’t recommend the last one, but it happens.) Then all the kids ask to be excused, and Darren reads the paper while I go sit on the sofa for a few minutes before the evening tasks call us.
It’s not usually a time of deep conversation and team-building. But it’s a regular family ritual, connecting as a family over food.
Thanks for the suggestion, Family Life Hack! I’m so ahead of you.
So, yes, Good Advice Articles, what you suspect is true. I’ve been screening your calls and not answering your texts. Please believe me when I say it’s not personal. It’s just that I’m trying to balance homeschooling, parenting, marriage, writing, and enough sleep, so I’m cutting out the things that don’t actually improve my life.
And you don’t. But it’s not you, it’s me. My life is just a little different, because I’m a homeschooler.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.