When you think of your homeschooling life, is “joy” the first word that comes to mind? No? Me, neither. Being a mom isn’t easy, period, regardless of whether one homeschools or not, but homeschooling certainly adds another dimension to the complexity of life. There are seemingly always too many balls that need to be juggled and not enough of mom to go around.
Laura Dominick offers a solution to this common homeschooling mom problem of too much to do and too little time in A Plan for Joy in the Home: A Workbook on Organizing Your Day for Homeschooling Moms. Her goal is to help you bring joy to your homeschool life and to create a “bright and cheerful home” by being organized with your time. Many of us experience stress from trying to do it all. Not having a plan just adds to that stress. She encourages us to tackle five areas of our lives: prayer time, chore time, school time, meal time, and family/personal time.
Dominick wisely places prayer time first in the list of priorities. “If you do not fill up your tank with grace and peace, you will have nothing to give to anyone else.” God must come first. Unfortunately, I think her suggestion of dedicating 2 ½ hours to prayer each day might scare many readers away. While she offers practical suggestions on how to fit that much prayer into one’s life and is correct that God can never be outdone in generosity, I think that there are seasons of life when that much formal prayer may simply not be possible. Moms definitely need formal prayer, however, and one can certainly benefit from fitting in as many of Dominick’s suggestions as you can. We are, of course, called to offer our whole day to God as a way of praying without ceasing.
The rest of the chapters include practical solutions for managing both your own and your children’s time. In the afterward to the most recent edition, Dominick acknowledges that her own homeschooling life has changed in the six years since she wrote the book and that managing the time of teens offers a whole new set of challenges because moms are often not in control of that schedule at all. Instead, one is forced to work around it and accommodate it.
A Plan for Joy is a book meant to be used which includes many worksheets to fill out. There are many Catholic homeschoolers who would love and benefit from this book. Those naturally inclined to plan will no doubt find a few ideas that they hadn’t thought of and may appreciate the prepared worksheets. Those who most struggle with planning and organization might find it a bit overwhelming, but could get the most help from it. While they might not want to organize every aspect of life, getting a better handle on where their time goes and how to make better use of it will very likely reduce stress and, as promised, add joy to their homeschooling lives.
As the start of a new school year is fast approaching, spending some time with A Plan for Joy can help bring a positive start to the homeschooling life experience.
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