Finding Balance in Life with a Pie Chart

From Our House to Yours

Finding Balance in Life with a Pie Chart

Emmett and I have been working on pie charts in HOD‘s Singapore Math 6B. Half a pie is 50%, a quarter is 25%, one-tenth is 10%, and so on. I began to think about what my life would look like in a pie chart of time. What if I made a pie chart with how I usually spend 24 hours each day? How much of the pie chart would be devoted to homeschooling? Time with God? Health? Entertainment? Errands? Cooking? Cleaning? Sleeping? Work? Media usage? Appointments? Time with my husband? Or, what if I made a pie chart of a month? Of a year? What if each of my sons made a pie chart of their time? A pie chart is an interesting way to think about how we spend our time, isn’t it? I would think our pie charts would reveal whether our life is in balance or not.

Balance in life is important, but it will naturally vary based on our stage of life.

We all know it is good to strive for balance in life. Isn’t it odd how we can easily look at others’ usage of time and see where we think their pie charts are off? She’s on FB way too much! He’s a workaholic. She’s always at the gym! All she does is homeschool! He’s way too into sports. She never spends time with her husband. He should make more time for God. All they do is run from one activity to the next! She’s always shopping. He’s always eating out. These are snap judgments that may or may not be right, especially considering we might be in a different stage of life than the person we are judging. However, I will say, one thing is certain; it is easier to see where other people’s balance is off than to see where our own balance is off.

Each person’s pie chart will vary based on their stage of life and God-given purposes.

God made each of us His own unique creation, with different gifts and purposes. Because of this, our pie charts will be balanced in their own unique ways. Rather than spending time judging other people’s use of time, our time would be better spent considering how we spend our days. The comparing game is never a good one. Either we fall short or come out ahead, and neither leaves us with a good feeling. Instead of looking at others, we should take a look at ourselves. Not in a negative way, but more in a reflective way. Is there something I’m giving way too much time to that I shouldn’t? Or, is there something I’m not giving any time to that I should? What’s out of balance in my life in an unhealthy way, and how can I try to fix it?

To have a healthy life, some things should be on everyone’s pie chart!

No matter what stage of life we are in or what our purpose or goals in life are, certain things really do need to make it on everyone’s pie chart. For example, time with God, somehow, really needs to be represented. Maintaining relationships (with our parents, children, husband, etc.) should show up too. What it takes to stay healthy (food, water, exercise, sleep, etc.) really should make an appearance! Time to homeschool must be present (if we are homeschooling). House upkeep, errands, appointments – alas, must put in an appearance too. This week, I’m taking a good long look at the balance in my pie chart! I’m going to start just be being very mindful of how exactly I’m spending my time. But then, I’m going to look for what is clearly out of balance and make some changes! Want to join me?!? Let’s get balanced together!

In Christ,

Julie

 

Add Margin to Your Day to Receive New Mercy

A Heart of Dakota Life

Add Margin to Receive New Mercy 

Lamentations 3:22-24: It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.

Does your homeschool day have margin? If something doesn’t go just right, does your routine or schedule allow for that? Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in having a plan for my homeschooling. Especially once I began homeschooling more than one child, a plan was simply a necessity.  However, my earlier homeschool schedules lacked margin. I found out the hard way, a schedule lacking margin lacks mercy. And if there is one thing we all need, it is mercy!

Add Margin to Receive New Mercy When Something Unexpected Happens

Have you ever spilled an entire cup of coffee all over your Heart of Dakota guide? Or have you ever had a contractor stop by with about a million questions about how you want to renovate your bathroom? Has your husband ever called for a model number he needs off your broken dishwasher? Have you ever had a child throw up in the middle of your homeschool day? Life is full of unexpected surprises – every day. In fact, it is the rarer thing to have a day with no surprises at all. By adding margin to your homeschool routine or schedule, you are planning for the unexpected. So when the unexpected happens, you are ready!  You have the margin to receive mercy in the event of an unexpected surprise.

Add Margin to Receive New Mercy When Correcting School Work

Do you have time planned to correct your children’s school work? When you look at Carrie’s suggested time allotments for each box of plans, do you add time to correct work? Even “I” independent boxes of plans require our attention as homeschool moms. By adding margin for correcting school work by making it a part of your overall plan for your day, you avoid having a pile up of correcting. So when your children finish their work, you are ready! You have the margin to receive mercy in the task of correcting your children’s work.

Add Margin to Receive New Mercy When You Have Appointments, Activities, or Errands

Do you have margin planned in your week for doctor appointments? How about margin for activities you plan to attend? Or how about margin for something you didn’t plan to attend but now want to? By adding margin for appointments, errands, and activities, you avoid getting behind in your schooling. So when your child has a cavity to be filled, your sister calls you for a play date with her kids, or you have to get groceries because there is nothing for dinner, you are ready!  You have the margin to receive mercy in the time it takes for appointments, errands, and activities.

So how do you plan for margin, so you can receive new mercy each day?

To plan margin when something unexpected happens, I add some cushion of time. So, for example, I might have my ‘teacher-directed’ block of time include ‘semi-independent’ work too. That way, I have extra time to walk away and deal with the unexpected. To plan margin when correcting school work, I add extra time throughout the day. By starting my teaching time by quickly correcting what’s already been completed, I plan margin for correcting. To plan margin for appointments, I set aside one afternoon each week. So, every Wed. afternoon, I know that is the day I will make appointments. Likewise, I plan for Saturdays to be my errand day. Every other Tuesday, I plan to have our children get together with my sister’s children. Finally, I plan for at least 2-3 weeks off each year for anything unplanned! Try planning for margin to receive new mercies this school year!  I think you may like it!

In Christ,
Julie

To use time is a duty

A Charlotte Mason Moment: 

“It is a bad thing to think that time is our own to do what we like with. We are all employed; we all have duties, and a certain share of our time must be given to those duties. It is astonishing how much time there is in a day, and how many things we can get in if we have a mind. It is also astonishing how a day, a week, or a year may slip through our fingers, and nothing done. We say we have done no harm, that we have not meant to do wrong. We have simply let ourselves drift. Boys or girls will drift through life at school, men or women through life in the world, effecting nothing, because they have not taken hold. They fail in examinations, in their professions, in the duty of providing for a family, in the duty of serving their town or their country, not because they are without brains, nor because they are vicious, but because they do not see that to use time is a duty.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 4, Book 1, p. 173)

Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students

Teaching Tip

Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students.

Do you have any students in the guides from Creation to Christ on up?  If so, it is very helpful to schedule a 30-45 min. mid-morning checkpoint to meet individually with your student.

What do you do during the mid-morning meeting?

During this mid-morning meeting, I go over any work that the student has completed.  We fix and correct the work as we go over it.  I ask any questions noted in the corresponding boxes in the guide. I also have my student read aloud any written narrations or give any oral narrations scheduled for that day.  After we go over each completed box, I check it off in the guide and read aloud the key idea.

How do you close the mid-morning meeting?

At the end of the meeting, I do one of the ‘T’ boxes (such as Biblical worldview, composer study, art appreciation, devotional Bible study, composition, grammar, poetry, etc.) These ‘T’ box titles vary from guide to guide. For high school students, I go over ‘S’ boxes instead, as often there are not many ‘T’ boxes.  I end the meeting by quickly pointing out the unchecked boxes that are left to complete.  I clarify and give any guidance on those boxes, so my student understands what is left to be done.

What is the purpose of having checkpoints? 

The mid-morning checkpoint helps keep me on top of my student’s day.  It helps ensure my child does not fall far behind.  Later, while my boys are eating lunch, I check any work completed since the mid-morning checkpoint.  The checkpoint after lunch shows me whether my child has completed all needed work.  It also points out whether I need to briefly meet with my student after lunch to make additional corrections.  Then, I can have the child put any checked worked and corresponding materials away.

Try a mid-morning checkpoint with your student. 

If you don’t have checkpoints in your day for your older students, you may want to consider adding these in to your day!  Try it and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie