I'm often asked if I ever feel like sending the children all off to school.
Honestly, I don't, but there ARE days when I feel the need for some peace
and quiet and time alone!
It's not always easy having our children home all day long every day and
it's normal for us to feel like we need some time to ourselves. One thing I've
observed over the years is that some homeschool parents feel guilty about
needing time apart. We talk about child-led homeschooling, always being
available to help our children when they need help, recognizing our children's
unique needs, etc. Well, I also believe in parents and children having a mutual
respect for one another! Parents have needs too!
Sure, we're giving up some of our own interests during these years for the
sake of homeschooling our children, I don't mind that. But even I need time to
think and recharge without having to meet the children's needs all the time
and I LOVE being with my children!
There is nothing wrong with sending your children off to another part of
the house so that you can have some time to do something. (We're talking about
children old enough to play or work on their own here, not those little ones
that need constant supervision lest they swallow something strange, get into
trouble, etc.) There is also nothing wrong with taking a break from school
when YOU need it. Someone said that we had what always sounded like "THE
PERFECT HOMESCHOOL", that's not true, we just know when we need to take a
day off to recharge!
Allow me to describe a recent scene in our home:
It was a Monday afternoon, I was SO tired and REALLY needed my nap. I had
spent the morning doing many things with my youngest two--reading aloud,
covering phonics, helping them get set up for some art with fabric crayons and
supplies, etc. Not to mention the laundry, housework, and phone calls (I
usually don't answer in the mornings but there were unusual circumstances).
So here I was, at 2:00 (MY naptime!), cuddled up with my younger two and
practically lulled to sleep after listening to both of them read aloud. I told
them to run along and get an educational video or library books and lie down
and rest in the den so I could take a nap. Some of the older children were
there so they could keep an eye on them -- our whole family is used to having
a quiet time or naps in the afternoon.
My little boy reaches over and pulls out his paper and pencil and says,
"But Mom, I want to learn!" What a beautiful opportunity! He
WANTS to LEARN! How could I miss this chance to pour more into his brain at
this point? But I did...because there are times I CAN skip a nap and manage,
but this time I knew I would be a BETTER mom and teacher if I could
just have some time to rest before going on through the rest of the day. I
assured him we could do more later that day or the next day or he could find
something to do quietly on his own.
This is just one example that describes how I homeschool for the long
haul! By the time my youngest finishes homeschooling , I will have devoted
a large portion of my life to homeschooling and I just can't afford to
"burn out". I think families need to respect one anothers' needs for
quiet, personal time, too.
My husband also recognizes I need this time and tries to protect me from
doing too much without regard to my own needs. I realize this term "my
own needs" is greatly misused in our society, but we all DO need time to
come apart and rest and recharge so we can be even better equipped for
That doesn't mean that I give into resentment if I can't have time apart.
(And when we had babies, often my time apart included nursing, rocking, and
changing diapers!) God is always able to give us ALL the grace we need for
times like this!
Nor does it mean that we become selfish or lazy and only do what we feel
like doing all the time! But we have to make sure we're following His plans
and not taking on more than what He desires, too. I know at times I have taken
on more than I could handle just because the opportunity was there. I learned
from those mistakes! *HE* didn't ask me to do those things, I just decided
they'd be worthwhile. I have learned to count the cost and seek Him FIRST
before deciding how much to do.
When I share about our homeschooling experiences, I want it to be an
encouragement. I don't want anyone to think that we haven't had our struggles
and challenges along the way, but IT DOES GET EASIER the longer you do it!
Trust me! It's as though the homeschooling aspect has now been *absorbed* into
our family's lifestyle so that it's not as much of an effort--it comes
naturally. It's all just one part of our whole discipling of the children
and preparing them to follow the Lord and fulfill the ministry that He has for
each one of them. These are peaceful days of homeschooling in our home,
and I wish the same for all of you!
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I
am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mat.11:28-29
A Dozen Ways for Moms to Recharge
- Pray and Abide in Jesus (John 15)
- Read and Study your Bible. Kay Arthur's Precept Bible Studies are
- Read uplifting and encouraging books while enjoying a cup of hot
tea or cocoa! (Even if it's just a few pages at a time, I rarely am able
to read huge amounts without having to stop to do something else!)
- Take a hot bubble bath with a waterproof magazine!
- Put beautiful, uplifting music on and just close your eyes and
listen. Or put on lively music and dance!
- Exercise! Aerobics video tapes or exercise bikes or take walks if
you have someone to watch the younger children!
- Enjoy a favorite hobby or craft. I love crocheting-- a great
stress-reducer for me is to pray and crochet! (Choose a hobby that's
easy to pick up and do just when you have a few spare minutes.)
- Pop some popcorn and watch a good old fashioned movie on video.
- Call (or email!) another busy homeschool mom and share briefly then
pray for one another. When we take time to encourage and minister to
others, we build ourselves up, too!
- Keep regular naptimes and bedtimes! Even older children can be
expected to be quiet in the afternoons for an hour or so.
- May sure YOU'RE getting enough sleep and eating well--it can make
all the difference in the world!
- Keep a journal and write down not only your struggles, but your
answers to prayer, too. What an encouragement to look back over the
journal and see His faithfulness at all times. Even when we don't see or
understand what He's doing in our lives, He's still moving and we can
trust Him to work everything out.
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit
publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the
copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the
publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high
school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their
homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information,
please join us on the Christian
Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
[ Please don't forget to include your email address within the body of
your message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient
email addresses! ]
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."