Most homeschoolers you speak to will agree that one of the lovely things about it is having the whole family together much of the time. While other families look forward to children going back to school after spring breaks and summer vacations, homeschoolers relish the thought of keeping the children home forever!
On the other hand, it can sometimes feel very crowded at home. Often it’s a bit too noisy, just a little too busy, or just too “close” for even the most close-knit family members. Although homeschooling promotes cooperation, sensitivity, patience and many other positive character traits among family members, there are times when people can just get on each other’s nerves. Not everyone will admit this, but it’s true for any family, not just homeschoolers.
This is perfectly normal, and there is an easy way out of the chaos that can help anyone grab moments of peace throughout the day.
Declaring “Me Time” or “Personal Space” is a good way to deflect those feelings of overwhelming closeness when all you really need is a little break from the activity. Choose a phrase that your family likes and use it when mom, dad, or any of the children seem to need a moment to themselves. Then, act on it by allowing the family member to retreat to his or her room, outside, on the computer, or anywhere nearby for a few minutes. Establish a rule that, barring anything serious, this is uninterrupted time for that person. You can even use a timer if you like.
There is nothing abnormal about needing to be alone with one’s thoughts, or having a couple of minutes of quiet to calm the mind or rest the body periodically throughout the day. Naturally, this is more difficult when there are babies and toddlers around, but try to carve out a couple of minutes for yourself when needed, and help younger children – and even teens – recognize their need for some “alone time” daily, too.