Is Homeschooling Hard: Time
I am with my boys all day, every day. With the exception of the few scheduled activities they participate in that are led by a coach or instructor and the time they are hanging with their dad before and after he is at work, I am the one that tends to their needs all day long. All. Day. Long. Can I have a snack? Can I have help with this? Can I have help with that? Why? How? What does this say? What does this mean? Will you play with me? Have you seen my...(fill in the blank with one of the gazillion toys they posses)? There's no more toilet paper in the bathroom. I'm hungry again. I spilled my water. Max did this. Isaac won't stop that.
All that could happen in thirty minutes.... My brain is often smoking before we even think about starting the day's activity or adventure. Somedays we get on each other's nerves. Somedays we are cranky and take it out on one another. Somedays we need a little space-a little absence to make the heart grow fonder. This is, at the very least, mentally exhausting.
The Silver Lining: Time...Together
I am with my boys all day, every day. Because of that I don't feel guilty about taking time to read a book, peruse social media or sleep in on a Sunday morning. Taking time for myself doesn't feel like I'm taking time away from my boys. More importantly, we are spending the most important, most formative years of their lives together. On an episode of the podcast 101 Homeschool Ideas, host Brian Ricks makes the statement that by the time children leave the nest they will have spent 80% of all the time they will spend with their parents . EIGHTY. PERCENT. Our children will be children for only a fraction of the time that they are our adult children with their own adult schedules and adult lives and adult relationships and adult problems. My two bundles of energy are taxing on the mind, body and soul, but they are my babies and I appreciate every moment with them.
Take time for yourself. Period. And, yes. I realize this is easier said than done but you don't have to go on a week-long, kid-free vacation to recharge. (Of course if you can swing it, then by all means don't let me tell you not to!) Instead, find a moment everyday to take a deep breath and be alone in your own brain with your own thoughts. I am the night owl of the family and tend to spend the evenings after everyone has gone to bed reading or working on whatever project I've decided to tackle. Because I hate being rushed out of bed every morning, I set an alarm so that I can can have a few minutes to myself in the mornings also. Most of the time I just lie there wrapping my head around the day's plans, but at least my thoughts are uninterrupted. Usually, when we are home during the days, the boys spend 30 minutes to an hour in their room resting, reading or listening to an audio book so that we can experience the space we need to appreciate each other's presence throughout the rest of the day.
Yes, homeschooling is hard. Really hard. Harder still on the worst of days. The best boxed curriculum combined with the advice and support gleaned from homeschooling blogs and books and Facebook groups won't change that. It is not for the faint of heart. It will take discipline and determination, planning and preparation. Somedays the flexibility you normally covet will make your days feel like a train wreck of scheduling nightmares. You may feel isolated from your peers, perhaps even from your friends and family. You will get frustrated. You will yell. You will cry. Possibly a lot. But, as hard as it is, as tough as the days are, the one thing I am certain of is that I enjoy my time with my boys. This mama is going to take as much of her eighty percent as she can get.