You’ve just settled down into a good rhythm for the day, and the inevitable happens: the phone rings, the baby cries, or someone knocks on the door. Interruptions! They may be a natural part of life, but they can be annoying, especially when you are trying to get through that all-important lesson on fractions!
How To Plan for Interruptions
Interruptions are a funny thing. You know they’re coming because they always do, yet they are still unexpected. After all, if you expected the interruptions, then you’d either plan for them or try to find a way to eliminate them, right?
While we can’t specifically work interruptions into our plans or completely eliminate interruptions, there is actually a way to structure your planning so that you limit them, prepare for them, and minimize their impact on your day.
Are you ready to learn the secret?
Protect Your Time
While homeschooling can be flexible, try to set aside a certain time during the day for uninterrupted school work. Inform family and friends of this ahead of time, and ask them not to call you or stop by during those hours.
Not everyone will respond well to this, and that can be challenging. But setting boundaries is essential for homeschool success in many areas, not just related to interruptions. So don’t be afraid to stick to your boundaries!
Turn It Off
At the beginning of school time, turn off your phone ringer and shut down Facebook. You can call or text people back during your next break.
If certain people, like your spouse or an older child, need to be able to reach you during the school day, consider using the Do Not Disturb feature that comes on many phones these days. Set those few people as “favorites” so that only their calls or texts notify you.
Hang a Sign
Hang a “School in Session” sign on the door during school hours. When neighborhood friends knock on the door, let them know that your children will be ready to play when the sign is gone.
Having a set play time will help, too! If you have other homeschoolers in the neighborhood, consider coordinating with their parents for “recess” time or coordinating break times.
If you have a baby or young child, keep independent work on hand to give to your older children. Teach them how to easily switch from a parent-directed activity to an independent one when baby needs attention.
Remember that this is only a season, and soon your baby will be old enough to join in.
Learn to say no. Some people equate homeschooling with staying at home doing nothing and will ask you to babysit, run the MOPS group, or participate in any number of other activities.
As mentioned before, stick to those firm boundaries that you create around your homeschooling schedule, and remember that it is more than okay to say no to things that regularly challenge those boundaries.
Even while working to protect boundaries and maintain structure in your school day, week, month, semester, and year, remember that a rigid adherence to schedule can often be more harmful than helpful.
Maintain the health and sanity of your whole family by paying more attention to the rhythm of your routine than to your schedule. That means that sometimes you can and should just go ahead and say yes to those interruptions!
Interruptions are an inevitable part of life, and therefore an inevitable part of homeschooling. But by removing as many distractions as you can and learning to flow within the rhythm of your family’s needs, you will find that interruptions become much less of a problem than you might once have thought!
Different personalities handle interruptions differently. Take our Planner Personality Quiz to discover other aspects of your planner personality and resources for making the most of how you are wired.