What is “Margin Time?”

By Matthew Lewis on February 24, 2018

Our last email newsletter focused on “margin time.” After it went out, we received some email informing us we'd assumed too much; it seems we should have taken time to explain what exactly “margin time” is before we got into why it's so important!

If you haven't heard the term before, we'd suggest you get and read the book “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives,” by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. In it, he defines “margin” very powerfully:

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

From our years of working in the homeschool community, we are convinced that a lack of margin is one of the major paradoxes in far too many homeschool families. For most of us, whether we know the term or not, “margin” is one of our motivations for homeschooling in the first place—then it is one of the first things to go as we get into this wonderful, but easy-to-make-hectic lifestyle.

It would be beyond the scope of this blog post to get into a detailed look at how to obtain some margin in our lives, but we encourage everyone to at least try to make margin as much a part of the daily and weekly schedule as math or spelling. Margin time is when so many “magical moments” happen. It's when we tend to really meet with God, connect with our family, and refresh our minds and spirits.

Far from being selfish or irresponsible, margin is actually a necessary component to life, meaning a lack of it, for too long, will eventually catch up to us. It's much better to maintain it as consistently as possible—and it's so very rewarding, too!