And then I had this guilty thought: if I were not homeschooling, my son would be in school for hours every day. I could feel like that every day, all week long!
I felt bad the moment I had that thought. Was I wishing away my son? Don’t I love homeschooling?
The fact is that as an introvert, I get energy from being alone. Being around my two kids all day long gets very tiresome. And while I do love homeschooling, it is truly a labor of love. Here are some things I’ve found that help me get alone time when I truly need it.
My kids go to their rooms for quiet time each day. Strawberry still takes a nap, but Raisin uses the time to read (he loves reading checked out library books on the tablet) or play quietly in his room. I enjoy the break. I don’t always get things done as I hope to, but it’s nice to take a breath by myself and appreciate that alone time.
I’ve arranged to do swaps with a friend over the summer: she 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. With the school year beginning, it will be a little more difficult to find the times when we can get together after school hours, but we’ll still make it work out.
One of the reasons I signed up for Co-op last year was that I needed some “me” time each week. I haven’t begun co-op yet this year but I know that little bit of time each week that I have will be a welcome break from the routine. It will be me and Strawberry enjoying each other!
My husband works late, often not arriving home until after 8 or later, when the kids are asleep. At seven, I expect my kids to be in bed, even if not asleep. If my husband is not around, I stay sane just knowing I will get a break when the kids are asleep! If he is around, he understands my need to get away or just remain alone to re-energize.
Bear with me, here. Trust me when I say that I rarely resort to putting on an educational show and saying “enjoy,” but sometimes, it’s a necessary evil, I think. I cannot help my kids if I am too burned out to do so. Sometimes the 20 minutes of quiet while the kids zone out in front of a video or a game on the tablet is just what I need 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.
What are some ways that you get alone time while in the midst of homeschooling?
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.
Thanks for sharing your story, JC. Introverts and extroverts alike definitely need that quiet ‘me’ time!
Sometimes we all need a gentle reminder of that. Thanks again for that gentle nudge…