Note from Jen — I’m so excited to have this guest post from Adriana, a fellow crew member at the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I hadn’t realized it when I scheduled this, but the timing is perfect since Mother’s Day is this weekend. Enjoy!
Most people who find out my husband and I homeschool our children react positively. Others, not so much. Take, for instance, the other day, when this lady kept telling me about the sacrifices she has made for her children.
She said things like, “Until they are 18, you build all these memories… That is all you have once they are grown… You know how it is…” and she pointed to my children. She gave me the impression that she adored children in general, not just her own.
When I told her I homeschooled mine, she blurted, “Oh? How do you cope with THAT???” A complete change of tone and attitude. You could hear it in her voice: the panic that one must spend all day with one’s children. I told her that I could not imagine sending them off somewhere for more than seven hours a day, in the name of education. We did not have time to elaborate.
While such incidents amuse me, I do recognize that what we do as homeschooling moms requires super powers like patience and perseverance. Lest you think I am some kind of Wonder Mom, please know that I am not. I do have my moments when I question if I have what it takes to raise my children in a homeschooling context.
But what does it take? Perseverance and a few ways to keep yourself sane. Here are my favorite five:
1. Read. I have always liked nonfiction books, but last year I decided to go crazy. I joined a Book Club at my local library. We read some nonfiction books, but most of them are fiction. It puts me in a context of being with people whose children are all grown – there is no talk about naps or discipline or how to make little people enjoy vegetables. It reminds me homeschooling and mothering elementary age children are only for a season in this life. Other seasons will follow. It puts things into perspective. Plus, I learn and grow from the interaction. I get immersed in other people’s point of view and learn to stretch my own. Oh, and did I mention we read good books?
2. Blog. OK, so this is a way to also go insane fast. Try this at your own risk, and only if you enjoy writing. I hope you hear me smile while I write that. Blogging about homeschooling is a passion and a joy for me. But I know homeschooling moms can be passionate about things outside homeschooling, like gardening, cooking, fashion, or photography and they blog about that. It takes them away from their daily homeschooling grind, and it puts them in touch with people whom they might not meet otherwise.
3. Ski. This one is not an absolute. The idea is to find something that you, as a family, can do for fun. Having fun together changes the pace and the relationship. The family who plays together, stays together. Ideally, it would be something physical, outdoors, to add the benefits of fresh air, sunshine and exercise. In a pinch, even a picnic will do. When the weather is bad, board games indoors count as fun. Just don’t turn on a TV. You want time to interact, exchange ideas, and learn about the person your child is becoming. You want a conversation.
4. Knit. I learned to knit as a child, from my mom, who has knitted all her life. For some reason, last October I decided to start knitting again. Maybe because I know how important handicrafts are in a child’s education. Also, because it relaxes me and it is a lot of fun. I keep my present knitting project in a tote bag which comes with me everywhere I go. I never know when I have to wait 15 minutes for something. The other day, at the mechanic’s, I waited for two hours. (Don’t ask.) I finished the back of my son’s vest and started the front. If you don’t know how to knit, you can certainly learn from local workshops or YouTube videos. Or, maybe, you want to pick up crocheting or sewing or painting. Whatever works.
5. Walk. I saved the best for last. This one is a biggie. Walking helps you mentally, not just physically. Talk to your doctor first about a walking routine, of course, but most people in good health are able to take a 30-minute stroll around their neighborhood or in a park. The relaxation that comes from walking in fresh air beats any fancy gym’s atmosphere. Some people like to check emails or listen to music or audiobooks while they walk. I do that sometimes, too, though never with earbuds, for safety reasons. Most days, I listen to nature sounds and observe the clouds, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the birds and an occasional squirrel. Nature heals whatever ails you and that’s no snake oil.
The above are just a few ways I have found to stay sane while spending my days with my children in the context of a homeschooling lifestyle. It’s my list. You can take a few minutes and think about what relaxes you. What do you enjoy doing? Then find a sitter and schedule this activity into your days and weeks. You will be glad you did.
Adriana Zoder is a polyglot, a newspaper columnist, an author, a homeschooling mom of two, and a book lover. She blogs at http://www.HomeschoolWays.com, where you can get her FREE ebook, 21 Days to Jumpstart Your Homeschool. Her other books are available through Amazon in Kindle and paperback form.