One of the most rewarding parts of homeschooling is when I receive questions about it from curious moms. If I had a nickel for each time I was asked about it this past year alone, I would probably be… well, not rich but at least able to buy myself a new outfit. I have been fortunate that most of them came from a place of genuine curiosity, from other mamas who have thought about dipping their toe in the home education pool.
The most recent question I received was: are there days that you feel like you need a break? Now, this may seem like a rather silly question at face value, but I really believe this person might actually think I love to spend 24-7 with my children. And there really are some women out there who begin homeschooling initially because they truly enjoy being with their kids all the time.
Do I have days when I feel like I need a break? I can answer that with an emphatic yes! And all the homeschooling moms said, “Amen”. 🙂
Yesterday was one such day in fact, where I felt that I might actually lose my mind. Thank goodness for the hubs coming to my rescue, and whisking us away to a restaurant so I didn’t need to worry about cooking dinner (which hadn’t yet been started at 5:45). It wasn’t a vacation in the Bahamas, but it was just enough of a break where I could regroup and then regain my motivation to tackle that mountain of laundry before bedtime.
Even Jesus needed breaks from time to time during His earthly ministry. After pouring into people’s lives day in and day out, He withdrew to pray and be renewed.
We cannot give what we don’t have. Even if we can’t get away from the house by ourselves, we should at least be able to sneak away to the bathroom for a few minutes or put on a movie for the kids (yes I said it) so we can recharge by praying, calling a friend, or reading a magazine.
There was a time not so long ago, however, when I felt like I needed a break all the time. The thought of spending practically all of my waking hours with my children was overwhelming. 3 1/2 years ago, I was the mom selling her husband on the idea of sending our just turned four-year-old to preschool because I felt I desperately needed many breaks. It had been a difficult year adjusting to having two children. I spent most of my days feeling completely at my wits end, dealing with a very needy infant who refused to nap during the day and suffered from chronic acid reflux, and a toddler who reacted badly to getting the short end of his mother’s attention.
Even on good days, it was difficult to find enjoyment from simply being with both my children. I was also at a complete loss as to how to bridge that growing gap between myself and my son, who I struggled to relate to.
The surprising byproduct of homeschooling is that it pushed me to be intentional about creating quality time with my kids. Our mornings weren’t rushed trying to get my son off to school and then running to a play group with my daughter. Homeschooling made me slow down and really focus on both of my children. And the more time we spent together, the more I genuinely enjoyed it and them too!
I’ve been able to step back into my son’s world, so to speak, and connect with him on his level. Together, we have wrestled through decoding words, studied scripture, traveled back in time to ancient lands, visited fascinating places around the globe, and created some pretty cool projects. I would have missed out on so many memories if he had been away at school all day.
While it is sometimes not super fun spending 24/7 with my children, I do get a pretty sweet trade off. It’s amazing to listen to my son read the Bible during our morning devotions, and devour a stack of library books in the afternoon. It doesn’t get much better than seeing him help his little sister write her numbers or the two of them play together in between subjects, either. All the discussing, observing, creating, and designing that takes place here on a daily basis would be missed.
This is what I keep coming back to on those days when I get anxious that the housework and laundry is piling up, or when I miss being able to go shopping with only my daughter in tow. A cleaner house and more me time stacked against priceless memories with my children seems awfully dull in comparison. Our kids are only this young and impressionable for a relatively short amount of time, and we are privileged as their moms to make the kind of impact on them during it that only we can.