Finding Alone Time While Homeschooling

I've been pondering the ways, over the years, that I've found "alone time" while in the midst of homeschooling my three kids. I get energy when I am alone, so finding alone moments is essential to my daily mental health. It hasn't always been easy to find alone time while homeschooling, but I've found ways to get that necessary time. Ways I've found alone time has varied as my child have aged. 

It hasn't always been easy to find alone time while homeschooling, but I've found ways to get that necessary time.

Last year I had the unique opportunity to send two of my three children to school. To be honest, I wanted to homeschool them, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Now I have my youngest (age 8) with me again. My oldest (age 16) is home too, but he doesn't need my attention. Ten years ago, when my oldest was elementary aged and we were beginning homeschool, my others were babies. I sometimes had the guilty thought: if I were not homeschooling, my son would be in school for hours every day. I could feel free every day, all week long!

I'll tell you, don't feel bad about craving alone time. You aren't wishing away your child. We all must fill our own tank before we can nurture our kids. Last year's alone time felt surprisingly lonely. This year, I don't feel quite as busy as I did when I had babies and toddlers; back then, at times it felt like the house would never be quiet and I'd never alone time!

Maybe you are in that situation now. Here are some things I've done over the years that help me get alone time when I truly need it.

Quiet Time

Throughout my parenthood, we've had quiet time. My kids would go to their rooms for quiet time each day. When they were very young, this was during nap time. My older children (like my now eight-year-old daughter) use the time to read, play quietly in his room, or listen to audiobooks. See my post about how library audiobooks helped me when my second child stopped napping.

Quiet time is a difficult habit to develop. It meant that sometimes school was not finished in one day. It meant that we sometimes said no to activities. Of course, sometimes activities meant that the traditional alone time was also missed! But, in general, encouraging our children to learn to love being alone is essential, even for those kids with seemingly boundless energy. It's okay for those energetic kids to learn to understand your own need for quiet time.

Friend Swap

Many times, I've arranged to do childcare swaps with a friend. During summer break, I can ask many friends. During the school year, it worked best to ask my fellow homeschool friends so they would have kids at home with my kids. The friend will watch my kids sometimes and I'll watch hers sometimes. It works well because then we will both get a break, and our kids love playing together.

At one point, I invited a young woman to come to our home in the afternoons as a mother's helper. I paid her for each hour she was there, so it was not a free option. But, her presence meant that I could help my older child or get that alone time that needed so much.


One of the reasons I signed up for Co-op my first year was that I worried about my need for "me time" each week. I still greatly enjoy having time with friends at co-ops, and as in past years, I'm in multiple co-ops during the week! It is a welcome break from the routine, and while it is not necessarily quiet, co-op gives me a chance to communicate with others, share homeschooling ups and downs, and reflect on our week at home.

This year I am again teaching classes at the local co-op. Again, this seems like it takes away from the "alone time" need that I have. In some ways it does, but it also gives a welcome break from my own children and let's me help others, all the while letting other teachers work with my kids. When my kids were very little, volunteering in a co-op was likewise a wonderful respite from the regular chaos.


When my kids were little, my husband worked late, often not arriving home until after 8 or later, when the kids were asleep. At an early hour, I expected my kids to be in bed, even if not asleep. If my husband is not around, I stayed sane just knowing I will get a break when the kids are asleep!

Ever since COVID, my husband has been working from home. He understands my need to get away or just remain alone to re-energize. Also, now my kids are much older, they understand the need to rest. They often enjoy reading in bed with flashlights after I've tucked them in. (My oldest stays up late without any flashlights!). We do stay up much later, but it's interesting how each child's needs balance with my own need to get alone time: stay up later, but less exhausting physical stress during the day. (Of course these older kids provide plenty of OTHER stress...)

It hasn't always been easy to find alone time while homeschooling, but I've found ways to get that necessary time.


Some people hope to avoid all media for their kids, but that has never been reasonable to me. I sometimes like to wind down with a video or game on my phone. Sometimes, when kids were little, I did resort to putting on an educational show and saying "enjoy." I cannot help my kids if I am too burned out to do so. Sometimes the 20 minutes of quiet while the kids zoned out in front of a video or a game on the tablet is just what I needed to recharge.

There are, I am certain, many more ways that homeschooling parents can recharge in the midst of the busy life that is homeschool. These are just some I've been remembering.

What are some ways that you get alone time while in the midst of homeschooling?

It hasn't always been easy to find alone time while homeschooling, but I've found ways to get that necessary time.
Like this post? Save it for later!

Related Articles:

  • What a great post! I am sure this speaks to many….

    My husband and my daughter are introverts and my son and I are not. It has been difficult at times to recognize that each of us has different needs and those needs cannot always be met, but they must be respected. My husband comes home from work having dealt with people and demands all day long. At first, I would get so hurt and angry when he would come home and the kids and I would rush up to him wanting to spend time with him and have him snap at us in anger. It took time to realize that things went much better when he had some quiet time right after work to detox from his day. He wasn’t just being rude and it wasn’t that he didn’t care. He was overwhelmed and needed space desperately, but didn’t know how to articulate that.

    Now, with a middle school aged daughter who is also an introvert and just started homeschooling for 6th grade last year, I realized that we would have to find a new balance at home for the kids and I, too. For my daughter, I give her several breaks throughout the day to go outside to swing and listen to music or go to her room. It is hard on her to be home all day with a very verbal extroverted younger brother and a very verbal mother and it is hard on the younger brother when his father and his sister don’t want him around. And it is hard on me trying to help them support each other’s needs.

    My son frequently takes it as a personal rejection, not a simple need for space, when they get grouchy and leave the room or ask him to be quiet for a little while, but I have been trying to preemptively step in before situations turn negative instead of reacting to the aftermath like I used to and it is helping.

    Slowly, since we began our homeschooling journey last year, we have begun to get into a better rhythm and respect each other’s needs more. When the kids were in a brick and mortar school we were so exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed all the time that there was no time to analyze each other’s needs and be supportive. Now, finally, we have that time to step back, examine what is and isn’t working, and try to help each other out.

    I, too, need balance. I need communication with adults on a regular basis and time to read my own books and pursue my own interests, not just the kids’ or my husband’s. The kids are both dyslexic and need a lot of help with reading and writing but because they are so intelligent, being dependent on me is horribly frustrating for them. It also takes up a ton of my time. Even though I am an extrovert in some ways, I also need quiet and separation. Finding that balance can be challenging.

    What was great was being able to talk to my kids about meeting our needs. My son now respects (most of the time) that when Laura is outside on the swing or in her room, she is not to be bothered. My daughter now is more receptive to giving her brother some guaranteed sister time, where he gets to tell her his thoughts and show her some of the things he is interested in and listens while she shares her own interests. And both kids know that I need at least one hour each day to work on my own stuff. Once we are done with school stuff and we’ve hung out together for a while, playing a game or reading or talking, then I tell them I will be taking my break (usually in my office) and I let them either watch an approved TV program, or work on an art project or listen to an audio book, etc. It doesn’t always work, but we are trying. There are times when I think we can’t handle this and I wonder what it would be like to have an empty house again just a few hours a day….

    I know, though, that I never want to go back to a series of virtual strangers rushing my kids through surface content with no depth for 8 or 9 hours a day, teaching them how to feel frustrated and helpless and fearful of learning then sending them home demoralized and exhausted to spend another 2-3 hours trying to get through homework. Even with some really kind, caring teachers, and some interesting classes, school was a nightmare for us. The path we are on now may not be perfect, but I know in my heart it is the path we were meant to be on. Every time I see my 13 year old smile at me with love or my 9 year old reach over to kiss my cheek even though we may be in the middle of our daily learning experience, I know we are doing the right thing and if we just keep working at it, balance will come for all of us.

    Thanks again for a great post. I wish you and your family all the best.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Sign up to get Hands-On Learning Ideas in your inbox!

    Success message!
    Warning message!
    Error message!