This whole week, I’ll be sharing tips and reflections from our personal homeschooling journey of 10 years. My oldest will be starting 9th grade this year! Many of you may be way more experienced than me and some of you are just starting. Even in year 10, we are still tweaking and learning every day! I hope that you will find something inspiring and tangible that will make your homeschooling/remote learning year, just a little bit better.
We’ve all heard the safety instructions on an airplane, first put on our own oxygen masks, before helping others. We can’t help, teach, or be there for anyone else, if we are not first taking care of ourselves. I need this reminder every summer. Every July, I get deep into planning, goal setting, and starting the year with high hopes of righting everything that went wrong the previous year. Homeschooling is hard work. Distance learning is hard work. All of it is hard and all of us can burn out fast! It’s important to ask ourselves: How am I getting recharged? What fills my cup so that I can serve others? What are my boundaries? When do I have time to just think?
For me, I try to find some “me” time in the early morning. I’m not a morning person. I don’t pop out of bed, I’m not perky. But I do look forward to the quiet hours between 5-7am. It’s just me and I can be still, pray, read, set intentions for the day and collect my thoughts. Sometimes I walk with a friend or even clean up from the day before. (No guilt in leaving a messy kitchen at the end of the day!) Whatever helps my sanity by tackling a couple of tasks alone and in silence. And honestly, if I need it, it’s sleeping in. This also helps me set boundaries with my blogging time. By 8am I want to be fully available to the kids and our home. It also helps me to reign in my work and endless hours of scrolling that we are all susceptible to! Of course, none of this is a perfect science.
I also “try” to get another hour or 30 minutes near the end of our school day. I use this time to rest and regroup for the 2nd half of the day. I can think about what we’re doing for dinner, afternoon activities and what chores need to be done before the kids break for the day and enjoy their own free time. It’s hard to reign them back in once they start their free time!
Lastly, I look at each month, and see if there is at least 1-2 things I can write down that is self care. Whatever that looks like to you… a few hours to read, a massage, scheduled time with friends, a movie, walk quiet night at Target. Whatever it is, write it down. Even if things change and you don’t get to it, it can be moved and rescheduled, but it’s concrete, it’s seen and it’s important. Just like any other appointment.
Teaching from Rest is a great resource. I’ve read it multiple times and it resets my expectations every single time. In the midst of planning, preparing, purchasing, arranging, cleaning, organizing… all our tasks, take a moment to make sure our own cups are being filled. It’s important. Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to stay fueled in order to finish it strong.