Can Parents Find Any Free Time While Homeschooling?
Once I heard a potential homeschool mom say that she thought homeschooling would benefit her children, but she didn’t see how she could handle the lack of down time. I think this is a valid point to consider, if you are thinking about homeschooling. Parents need time to recharge, or they aren’t going to be good parents, and homeschooling doesn’t leave much free time.
Before a family makes the plunge to homeschool, it’s a good idea for both partners to be clear about their responsibilities and how might they help each other get some down time. If one parent works outside the home, can that parent plan to take the children one day a week to let the other parent have a day off? Can the parent who stays home with the kids make sure the working parent gets some alone time, too, so that their downtime from work isn’t drained by family obligations? Or, is there a way for both parents to work part-time, sharing homeschooling duties? If it’s possible to have these conversations before you begin to homeschool, that will be a big help, but remember — it’ll always be a process because as children grow, so do their needs.
If you’re thinking about homeschooling but you’re reluctant to give up your free time, I’d like to remind you that every day, you are changing with your family whether you realize it or not. Being a parent is all about adapting to your family’s needs, and it may not be as bad as you think it’ll be. What I once thought I couldn’t live without, I find myself living without now, and I’m mostly doing it for my kids, but I’m also doing it for me -- this is the lifestyle that I wanted for my family. When I remember that, the sacrifices don’t seem bad at all.
Looking back at my journey of going from a single 30-something introvert to a married woman with a talkative husband, and then to becoming a mom of two boys, and then becoming a homeschooling mom, I have realized that my abilities to withstand constant company and background noise, the monotony of daily chores, and the lack of free time has improved. How can it not, when I do it out of love? It’s as if this ability to withstand stress is a muscle, and daily life is my workout. With each passing day, that muscle grows stronger.
But this isn’t to say that I don’t require “me time,” and I’ve learned how to wiggle it into my day. I get up a little earlier than my family, the boys play alone in the afternoon so that I can do work, and then in the evening, I read quietly for a few minutes before bed. Some days this feels like plenty of down time, and other days, I feel like it isn’t enough. I try to remember that my kids won’t always be here, and in the larger picture, I’m so glad that I have this time with them.