What’s it like to have the kids home 24/7? Do homeschool parents ever dream of getting a day off, too?
Of course we do. I’d be lying if I said that homeschool moms and dads never think about what it must be like to load the kids onto a yellow bus and go home to sip coffee while it’s actually still hot. Or take an uninterrupted shower. Or eat a breakfast actually prepared for us, instead of dining on scraps left on a child’s plate. It isn’t something we brag about, but we’re human. It’s natural for us to need a break from time to time.
Just think about it. When was the last time you got out by yourself? Got to watch a television program from beginning to end? Were able to catch up with an old friend?
Is it wrong to wish for such things every now and then?
The truth is, perpetual motion is exhausting — both mentally and physically. The responsibility of raising little people can seem enormous at times. Homeschool parents don’t get breaks from the constant action happening in and around the home. And they never get a break from being solely behind every educational decision made on behalf of the kids, either.
Do we mind? Of course not. Actually, we like it. It’s a choice we gladly make for the sake of our children, and for the future of the entire family. As a matter of fact, when we hear people talking about sending kids to school, it can even be hard for us to understand why anyone would want their children gone when it’s such a joy and a privilege having them around.
But homeschooling doesn’t come without a price. And that price is the occasional feeling of too much togetherness. When nobody ever leaves, things can feel a little bit too close. Moms tend to feel it most, but dads may experience it, too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming of a day off every now and again. If anything, the only thing wrong with dreaming about it is never doing it. Every parent — homeschooling or not – needs time off once in a while.
There are many ways that homeschool parents can get a little time to themselves. It just takes a little planning, that’s all. I’ve heard all of the excuses — in fact, I have used many of them myself. But in the end, there is a solution to every single one of them. So there is really no good reason not to get a little vacation from the family every so often.
Occasional breaks may be achieved by asking older children to supervise younger ones for 15-30 minutes while mom retreats to her room with a cup of tea. Even a friend or neighbor may be asked to sit with the children briefly while mom takes a bike ride or goes for a short walk. Longer breaks can be scheduled by asking grandparents to oversee the home and family while parents head out for dinner and a movie. Some homeschool moms and dads even organize exchanges where one watches the other’s children for a day, and the other family returns the favor the next time around.
Regular down time for the entire family can be achieved by scheduling an hour each day for everyone to retreat to their rooms for napping or some other quiet activity. This break from the day can give everyone the time they need away from the activity, and allow moms or dads the feeling of having the house to themselves for just a little while. Oftentimes, this 60-minute break is all that is needed to finish out the day with great joy and satisfaction.
As wonderful as it is being together, there is nothing wrong with parents needing a little time to themselves, too. See if these ideas may work in your home, and please use the COMMENT area to share others that have worked for you!