Balance is a homeschool buzzword. You’ve surely heard it many times. The implication is that, with a little creativity and prioritizing, you’ll step into the center of your own life’s Venn Diagram, finally finding peace.
It’s a beautiful concept, but to be honest, I’m not sure it actually exists. The idea of finding the precise symmetry point in the spectrum of needs and obligations is alluring, to be sure. Who doesn’t want to be all things, to all people… and still have energy left over to carve out time to refill your own tank? But can you possibly find that perfect place of balance? And, if you can, does that mean you should?
The Song (Never) Remains the Same
If balance is your goal, you’re in for a tense ride.
Why? Because achieving balance implies that you find a spot and stay there. Think of how much effort it takes to find the precise point of leverage to keep a fork balanced on the tip of your finger. Move just a little to the left, and it falls. To the right… and the same effect.
To maintain balance, you have to remain perfectly still—and so does the load you’re carrying. How is that possible in the life of a homeschooling mother?
Balance the housework and school?
- The minute you’ve got it figured out, soccer season rolls around. Then, not only do you have less time in your evenings, but your laundry has just doubled.
- Child number one can manage Readers alone now? Great! Time to teach child number two the ropes of phonics.
To borrow a metaphor, the homeschooling mom is a mouse and guess what? The cheese is always on the move.
Finding Freedom From Guilt
I've found freedom from the stress of chasing balance by instead stepping into a homeschooling vision of seasons. Some seasons will find you needing to focus more on home projects or a new baby—meaning there’s less attention given towards formal academics. Rather than feeling the weight of not being able to bear it all in equal parts, seeing the time as one where the bulk of energy is spent in one place for a time sets you free from worrying or feeling less than.
And when you emerge from a season of intense learning to find that you need to invest in an elderly loved one with failing health, you can rest that God’s purpose for this season is not balance, either… but moving into a new phase where He has ordained a different curriculum for you all to learn from.
Embracing Your Season
So if balance isn’t the end all be all, how do you go about finding joy in this ebb and flow of a seasonal life? The answer is to shift your perspective. See homeschooling as a long-term lifestyle, rather than a project to be managed minute-by-minute.
Instead of seeking balance, seek to embrace the season you are in!
If you’re pursuing balance, you’ve taken stock of the to-do list and doled out bits of your attention in an effort to keep the scales from swinging too far in either direction. When you strive for balance, happiness is only possible at the fulcrum:
- when the boxes are checked
- when skills are mastered
- when progress is demonstrated
When you’re allowing for seasons, you’re letting the larger needs rise to the top, allowing them to be addressed as deeply and for as long as needed before they fully resolve. Your joy isn’t in filling the role of “doer,” but in understanding that you’re right where you’re supposed to be—an instrument of God’s provision in this time, in this place.
Maybe the math isn’t getting done, but the heart issue is being attended to. Maybe the house is a wreck, but you’re head over heels in love with your husband and can’t wait for your next in-home date night.
It’s an overall paradigm shift, but one that can help a homeschooling mother release voices of internal condemnation ("Why can’t you manage all of this?!") and grab hold of the peace that I believe God desires for all of His children.
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