What is White Space?
White space is simply empty (or white) space on the calendar, times you do not have plans and commitments. This includes times you do not plan to be ‘doing school,’ going out, having appointments, etc. White space in my homeschool is trying to have more time for school than I have plans to fill it.
Why Do I Need White Space in my Homeschool and Home?
As homeschool parents, it is easy to fill up every available space on the calendar. We plan out coursework for all the subjects, co-ops or activities, field trips, science projects, and more. We often have our days and weeks so crammed full of suitable activities that we have no time or space for life’s unexpected needs or events. We also may not have time to relax and enjoy life.
One day, I was listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast, and Sarah Mackenzie said, “The sky is only the limit if you are an airplane. You’re not. You’re a human person,”
We have to remember that we (and our children) cannot do everything, and it is not a good idea to fill up every bit of space on the calendar.
We need white space on our general calendar and white space specifically for our homeschool. For example, if I plan to dedicate 8am-12pm each day to school, I might only plan out Monday through Thursday.
That leaves Friday for the projects that took longer, extra help needed, diving into something they are interested in, or taking advantage of that field trip opportunity that pops up.
How Do I Get White Space?
You might be thinking that having white space sounds terrific, but you have no idea how to fit that into your schedule.
Start by evaluating your priorities what things are most important to your family. Next, take a good look at the calendar and see how the things on the calendar line up with your priorities.
Always remember that unexpected things are going to happen. Someone will get sick, the dishwasher is going to break, a friend will need help, or maybe a relative will come to town unexpectedly.
When those things happen, the white space helps you to be able to manage that without having to let go of your other commitments.
Once you have looked at the calendar and your priorities, start brainstorming what you might be able to let go or change. It might be as simple as figuring out that you can combine errands to a specific day in order to have another day home. It might be that the children are involved in many extra activities, and you limited those.
Evaluate, Modify, and Eliminate
Other options might include teaching fewer subjects, combining courses, or using a loop schedule to free up time during the school day.
Sometimes it is as simple as planning ahead and using a crockpot or instant pot meals to reduce the time needed in the kitchen.
It can seem daunting, and the challenge is more complicated during certain seasons of life. However, adding white space into your days will take the stress off you and your children. It will allow you the flexibility to handle the unexpected and to take advantage of surprise opportunities.
Give yourself permission to say no to activities even when you do not have something else scheduled.
Extra Resources to Help Create White Space in Your Homeschool
Simplifying the Urgent to Focus on the Important
Letting Go of Good Things (or Why I Sold Our Latin Curriculum)
Which Planner is the Best One?
Meal Planning: A Step Towards Sanity
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