Robert Frost once said, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” When we homeschool it is our desire to give our children our very best. If we work 24 hours each day 7 days a week watching our children without a break we will get burned out and begin to resent the very homeschool we cherish. Frankly, our children learn best when we are patient with them and at our best. So we must find a way to take a break at least once a week.
For many of us, taking a break is almost inconceivable. There is almost no way we can truly imagine even a brief respite. During my first year of homeschooling, my life was overwhelming so much so, that I just wanted to be isolated and alone in a noise-free zone. I craved my own personal time. A time when I could go to a doctor’s appointment alone, or even the bathroom alone (seriously). I didn’t have balance under my roof and I was unhappy, my children even knew how I felt. Thankfully, I was able to assess my situation and turn it around.
How did I change my situation? I found ways to take a break. Some people can keep going like the Energizer Bunny and avoid having issues, but the majority of us, need to find some time alone to think and be grateful. There isn’t a problem when you feel like you need to take a break from your children or your typical homeschool day. Remember one of the benefits of homeschool is that it allows you to have greater flexibility over your child’s learning atmosphere. Also remember that it is because of our love for our children that we need to take care of our own needs as well.
7 Ways You Can Take a Productive Homeschool Break:
1 Ask family members or friends for help.
If you have a spouse, grandparents, or extended family you trust, ask them to watch your children for at least for 2 hours. Asking them to commit to an entire day, at first can sound scary to someone who doesn’t normally watch your children, so start small with your request. I recommend a minimum of 2 hours because you need time to breath in your own air and often when we are alone we do things around the house without taking care of our own needs like we initially planned. The two hours can give you an hour to yourself and an hour to get some other household things done as well.
On Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, my husband is on kid duty. He watches them, feeds them, and cares for them without me hovering over him. Moms and dads we must trust each other and let our kids bond with their other parent too.
If grandparents or extended family are watching your kids, it is easy for them to take the kids to the park or a museum where they are not required to provide all the fun themselves, activities will already be available.
2 Take turns with friends.
Make friends with another family in your area. Once a week take turns and watching each others children. It is important that you pre-plan age appropriate activities to keep the kids occupied during the entire time they are with you. Remember, coloring and crafts can always be filler activities while you are transitioning.
3 Hire a sitter.
There are agencies nationwide that have prescreened sitters. The agencies pay for background checks to help give you assurance. You may also be able to find a sitter at your church who works with children. Most churches require that anyone working with children complete a background check. They may also be able to barter with you, if you cannot pay monetarily, but are willing to provide another service in return. For instance, you may be a talented cook. In exchange for the sitting you could cook them meals or desserts. Even if cooking is not your thing, you may be great at other skills that could be desirable, just be creative and discuss it beforehand.
4 Join a community program.
There are several programs that may exist through your local parks and recreation centers or neighborhood churches. Some options are as follows:
Awana Clubs – These programs or religious based and designed for different age groups. The programs start at Puggles (for 2 and 3 year olds) and go through middle school.
Library Classes – Different areas have different programs available so you need to visit your local library’s website or call to find out which independent activities are offered.
Community Sports – When you child joins a local sports team they are enjoying activities with their peers. Consider soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, golf, gymnastics, etc.
Foreign language, art, and music classes can also give you a brief respite.
Local co-ops may have drop-off homeschool classes.
5 Schedule a homeschool break.
If school is becoming too difficult, it could mean that you need to take a break, just like public schools take a week-long spring break. The best part about homeschooling is that you don’t have to wait until spring, you can take a break when it is most needed.
6 Plan a field trip or an educational movie day.
Whenever you feel like you are emotionally drained, taking time away from home can be helpful. You may not always be able to take a break without your kids at your side. Most regions have an educational facility that you can allow your kids to visit. For instance, museums always come to mind first, but there are other places too such as recycling plant, newspaper printing facility, the zoo, amusement parks, farms, horse ranches, aquariums, botanical gardens, historic local buildings, city hall, local national parks, skyzone, streetcar tours, etc. Just call ahead to make sure the business is available and it’s a good time when you decide to go. Don’t forget to ask about special or low cost homeschool programs too.
7 Implement quiet times.
Sometimes we can’t wait to take a break away from home. There will be times when a break is needed and you need to relax immediately. When these times come, you need to help your children learn how to occupy themselves during quiet time. For me, we have 20 minutes of quiet time scheduled everyday. Of course this concept works better for older children, but even with younger you can try it, but adjust the time according to match their attention span.
Some quiet time activities are: reading, app or game playing, outside free-time play, go for a walk or bike ride.
Busy bags are great for younger children who will need to be kept active. Just place various activities in the bag that children can play with on their own.
What do you do to take a break or recharge during your homeschool week? Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share it with others on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Thank you in advance!
— Cleverly Changing (@Cleverlychangin) December 18, 2015
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