It is Spring, that time when so much can happen! Some homeschools are coming to an end. Others are taking a break before continuing to a new season of homeschooling. And there are those who are continuing with their daily intake of learning from whatever comes their way.
Many homeschool parents are also assessing the growth that has happened since beginning this year of homeschooling.
Testing may be happening. Portfolios are being assembled and poured over. Home educators are reflecting and assessing what has been gained this year, and what areas may need to be revisited next time.
The search for the “right” curriculum has begun as well.
Just watch your e-mail, as alerts come in for sales and bundles. One year doesn’t even end before we feel compelled to plan for the next. We’re looking at topics and skills, while considering our children’s interests. What will provide that spark in our studies?
But where is the break for the homeschooling parent in all of this?
There are many wonderful things about homeschooling. I love it, and I think that it is absolutely the right thing for my kids. However, one of the challenges of being a homeschool parent is that we sometimes forget to stop and come up for air. Honestly, this is true of parents who don’t homeschool as well.
We’re busy making sure the kids are getting everything they need. We make sure they get to their extra-curriculars, whether it be co-op meetings, sporting practice, art classes, or what have you, we get them there! There are curriculum descriptions to be combed through, researching the ones we feel will be the best fit for their learning styles and academic growth. We provide experiences that help them see the world in new ways and introduce new bodies of interest.
And as parents, we also ensure they eat healthy, exercise, instill lessons of good character, and guide them as they grow.
If there are pets, even if they are technically your child’s, you probably have a hand in their care as well. The maintenance of the house, the bills, repairs are all your responsibility too.
We all know it.
Parenting is a whole lot of hands on work!
Honestly, parenting is a lot of mental and emotional work as well.
Throw in undertaking the responsibility for their education, regardless of your chosen method, and you have quite a lot to manage.
So, here’s my question.
What do you do for vacation time?
How do you make sure that you take care of yourself in the process of taking care of so many others?
I’m not referring to the fifteen-minute bath you take while reading up on a new educational philosophy. I certainly am not including the week off from academics that you planned so that you could clean out the basement.
And all of that curriculum planning that you may be scheduling to do while watching the kids jump into the pool? That doesn’t count either.
When we homeschool, we take it seriously, as we should. But it shouldn’t be to the detriment of our own health. Professional educators do not work 24 hours, seven days a week for 365 days each year. They can’t. They would burn out. They would become ill.
With that same consideration, there has to be times when you put the curriculum, the ideology, the planned education to the side. There has to be time for you to not do everything at the same time. It’s not an indulgence, it’s a necessity. Taking time to enjoy your family is important. Reading a book that’s just for you is valuable. Even catching up on your favorite show has value.
Your family needs you to be a whole person, and so do you.
If you’re worn thread bare, you know no one gains. Patience becomes limited. Joy is a little harder to come by. And can it be long before stress settles in and starts making you physically ill?
Part of educating our children is being a role model. We don’t want our children to grow into adults who neglect their own health and well-being. So, let them see you now, engaged in healthy relaxation. If you need to, create a schedule to ensure that you get the free time necessary to recharge body, mind, and spirit.
Vacation doesn’t need to be an expensive getaway to a tropical island, as nice as that might be.
However, it does mean taking a break from the daily chores and finding time to do something enjoyable. Do something you can get absorbed in to take your mind off of that never ending to do list. These breaks will make doing the everyday and hard stuff at least a little easier. You’ll have some reserves to pull from when needed.
Still, finding time away from the kids is not always doable. But it is possible to have unstructured time together enjoying each other’s company.
Include your family and remove that extra concern of how to find alone time.
Here are examples of some quick and easy activities.
- play a game
- watch a movie
- go for a walk around the block
- listen to an audio book
- find images in the passing clouds
- play catch
Just don’t try to plan it out. Don’t look to make it a perfect moment. Simply enjoy it!
What ways do you find to recharge as a parent?