How do I find time for family history while homeschooling these kiddos?
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. How do you do it? How do you homeschool? Well, the answer is a topic for another day and possibly another forum. This initial puzzled analytical investigation of my daily life is regularly followed up with a second. How do you find time to do family history and scrapbooking while being so busy?
If I were my beloved and blunt red-headed friend from the New England area, I’d just say, “I Just Do It!” The challenge is in front of me, and I just do what needs to be done. However, does family history really need to be done?
Umm… you’re on a family history centered blog. What do you think I’m going to say?
Let’s face it. You do not have to be a homeschooling mother of five before you fall into the busy category. Modern life can be as busy as we make it. If you work full time and have any children or additional responsibilities after you clock out, you are busy.
It’s also likely that the last thing you want to do after 8 hours of screen time for work is sitting in front of a personal computer or tablet and do the ‘work’ of family history. You could also have a lot of major life events taking place: hospital visits, numerous doctors' appointments with long hours in the waiting room, newborns or multiple young children, or a full-time service mission (just to name a few).
Despite all the time-consuming demands, I have found five ways to claim more time for family history and genealogy activities.
On my day of rest
Everyone needs downtime. Working 7 days a week, all year long leaves no time for replenishing the inner drive that is required to continue working. I take one day off per week for family and church. That day is Sunday. That doesn’t mean that every hour of that day has to be devoted to sitting in church and entertaining my kids.
Heck… that wouldn’t be a break for a homeschooling momma, now would it?
On my day of rest, I will set aside an hour or two and work on scrapbooking or family history-related activities. I may volunteer as an indexer. I may work on the family offline blog that feeds our printed blog book. I may climb my family tree and get lost in the branches. There is a great variety of things I could do, so I do them on this day.
Meanwhile, the kiddos are watching a family movie, looking at their scrapbooks or the family blog books, reading books from the library, or just being quiet. We give each other space so we can enjoy each other during game time and other relaxing activities.
Watch Little TV
For someone whose family was an early adopter of cable, this one is hard. My father couldn’t be bothered on Friday night because he faithfully watched Dallas. J.R.
Ewing was his absolute favorite character and the show couldn’t be missed during a time before VHS or DVRs. He and his mother would watch shows before and after Dallas as well. On Dallas night, a minimum of three hours was spent in front of the tube. Three hours that could have been better spent doing other things.
I’ve heard there are lots of must-see shows these days but in my mind, every hour of television watching is an hour that could be spent doing something, anything else. That’s not to say I don’t watch an episode of a show here or there. But, if I’m behind on a series, it’s no big deal to me.
By not having my life dictated by the television, I have more time for my family and for my personal hobbies. One of which is family history!
Make Freezer Meals
Apparently my family and I like to eat in order to maintain a healthy body. Something like three meals a day makes us happy. Gesh! (Please know this is sarcasm).
Seriously, we have to eat. To eat, we have to prepare our meals or have someone else prepare them. Food preparation takes time if you want to be moderately healthy. Yet, there is a way to improve the efficiency of meal preparation. What is it? Freezer Meals.
Mary Beth and Mimi introduced me to Freezer Cooking through the earlier edition of the “Once-A-Month Cooking” book. It transformed my life! During my teenage and early adult years, I had an eating disorder. I learned that the less time I spend in the kitchen the healthier I am both physically and mentally.
The idea of preparing a freezer full of dinners on one day a month, then thawing them out to heat up the day I served the meal was a game-changer. My husband and I have used their method, with many of our own recipes, for over 10 years.
The benefit of this method is that I have so much more time every other day in the month because I’m not spending a minimum of 30 minutes preparing dinner each night. Less time cooking means more time for family and family history!
Let’s set the record straight in my homeschooling structure. If you were to walk into the Lee Academy during a typical school day, you’ll find 5 desks (four matching and one different as Cinco, the youngest, isn’t tall enough for a desk yet). You would find each child has a task list for each day of the week thanks to HomeSchoolSkedTrack.
Uno and Dos rarely have a lesson where I teach them. They have textbooks and go to it. When their work is done, they’re done. Tres is mostly an independent learner with an occasion lesson as needed. Quatro has half independent work and half lessons with mom. Cinco is still learning to read and write and thus all of his work is with mom.
On a good day, when everyone is cooperating and I’m caught up on grading their work, I will teach the two youngest, assist in answering questions and providing correct with the three oldest, and grade their work as they complete it.
We take a break at lunch and then have family reading time. Once that’s done, this blogger has ‘me’ time! At least three times a week, that’s when I do family history, blog about family history, and work on the scrapbooks.
Man, it pays to have these kids become independent learners. It’s good for them and great for momma. While I’m engrossed in storytelling and ancestor hunting, they’re reading, playing, or learning the things they want to learn.
Even when things are less than ideal, I will have about 30 minutes each day to work on family history and memory keeping. This stems from the home school lifestyle and from the kind of homeschooling I do.
This tip is certainly home school-specific, but surely you can find applications in your own life.
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Make it a Priority
I personally believe that you make time for the things that matter to you. After my father’s death, I knew I needed to be more engaged in family history. Prior to his death, I had only dabbled in family history and scrapbooking. A friend had introduced me to simple scrapbooking based on templates and I was hooked. This eventually leads to my Power Scrapbooking System.
With genealogy starting to offer more records and research possibilities online, my involvement accelerated. I have met distant cousins, received photos from the 1850s, and crashed through the Dague brick wall! Capturing and preserving family history has also helped me declutter my house!
When you make something a priority, you use the first three tips (and possibly the fourth) and know what to do with your extra time. There is time for a busy momma to do family history.
Perhaps there are more ways than I find more time for family history that is not readily coming to mind. My life is busy, but there is time for the things that matter most.