Friends are such blessings. They help us smile when times are tough. They give good advice when we need guidance. They know exactly when we need a fun break or when we need silence to buckle down on a task.
But sometimes things do not go that smoothly
At some point in your homeschool journey there has been or will be a friend that makes homeschooling difficult. There will be a friend that likes that we homeschool because they think that that means we can go out in the middle of the day and have fun with them. There will be a friend who thinks that because we homeschool, that means we can talk on the phone all day or stalk facebook with them.
These friends may feel hurt when we say no
I personally have a hard time saying “no.” I feel guilty. I worry that I am being unreasonable and I try to bend over backwards to get it all done and make everyone happy. This of course is impossible. We need to be able to say “no.” Saying “no” to our friends is even more difficult but we need to be able to set boundaries with them to.
Setting boundaries does not mean we do not like our friends
If saying “no” is difficult for me, setting boundaries is next to impossible. I know I am not alone in this but sometimes it seems everyone else has figured out how to set boundaries before I have.
The past few years I have really learned how boundaries are actually beneficial to all involved. We set boundaries out of love and we set them to really help us better dedicate time to what is important. There is a time for homeschool and there is a time for hanging out with friends. Both are important! Where would we be without our friends after all?
How do we lovingly set boundaries?
Talk openly with your friend
Deciding to set new ground rules with your friends is difficult for not only us but for your friends as well. If we suddenly stop talking during the day and do not explain why to our friends, they will become hurt and then defensive. This is not what we want to happen. Sit down for coffee or tea (on a non-homeschool day of course) and have a long talk with your friend. Make sure they understand that homeschooling is your passion and your priority.
Explain that in order to properly continue homeschooling you need to reevaluate your own time management. Let them know what times during the day you plan to be dedicated to school work and so will not be looking at or responding to anyone on your phone. Then let them talk and ask questions too.
Do not become defensive yourself
As your friend asks questions or even sometimes during the day while you are trying to establish the new boundaries, you may become frustrated. This is fine, change is not easy. What we need to do is make sure we ourselves do not becomes defensive in our frustration. We need to stay calm, think our words and actions through, and be empathetic that the change is difficult for your friend as well. Also, when your friend is asking questions, be understanding that sometimes the words can come out wrong. They are trying to gather information so they understand better where you are coming from and what the expectations are but we are all humans.
My husband constantly tells me that there are two ways I can take a question he is about to ask, take the way that is not going to make me angry because he cannot think of a better way to ask.
Stick to your new rules
Once the new schedule is explained and all questions answered, stick to the new ground rules. If in the first week you answer your phone during the day every day, this will only confuse not only your friends, but yourself as well. You must stick to your plans for your sanity, for the good of your kiddos, and to keep from confusing friends and family. It can be extremely difficult to do this. You are not only asking your friend to change their habits but you are also changing your habits and setting an example to your kids. Despite the difficulty, stick to it. Persevere.
You can do this
Telling our friends that you will no longer be talking to them during school time is not easy but it is necessary. Whatever the reason your friend is trying to contact you, outside of an emergency it can wait till after the lessons are done and you can dedicate the proper attention to your friend. I have had to do this a time or two and honestly, our friendships have gotten stronger if anything. Take heart, know that you are doing the right thing, and set the boundaries.
Homeschooling fun first, friend fun later
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is home schooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have down time, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.