Homeschooling with Excellence No. 9

Time for Yourself

Homeschooling can take up a lot of your time. And since you work so hard and spend so much time helping your children learn, we thought we'd give you some of the best ideas we've heard from our customers about how they take time for themselves. As one mother put it, "My guess is that most of us rarely get out! It's a real challenge!"

If you feel like you never get a minute to yourself and are dying for a break, then this email is for you. We hope these ideas help you find some time for yourself.

How do you make time for yourself?

  • I go to a Ladies Bible Study once a week, and try to get out alone to run errands.

  • I have found that I NEED to find time to sit and be quiet. I try to take a break twice a day. It makes a huge difference in my patience and sanity level. I also find a lot of renewal by attending homeschool conventions. They are great for reminding me of the big picture and my long term goals. It helps me get past the day-to-day survival mentality.

  • I go to our library and enjoy the peace and quiet there. They have homeschooling magazines and I can read them cover to cover without the interruptions.

  • I try to build in breaks for myself daily, then twice monthly. My devotional time before the kids wake up is good time alone for thinking. I cherish my nap time while the kids are sleeping too!

  • I've found that one thing that really refreshes me is to do scrap booking, so this fall I've set aside two Saturday evenings a month to do that.

  • I take long showers and walk the neighborhood with a friend early in the morning.

  • My husband plays basketball for exercise every Saturday morning and takes the children with him. I get to sleep in and have an uninterrupted quiet time.

  • I exercise during the children's swimming lessons or sports class. I also go grocery shopping or used-book shopping while they are at Awana. I try to make the most of these opportunities. Even going to a support group meeting to chat with like-minded mothers is helpful.

  • My husband and I try to get away for a least one night, preferably two every year to focus on our marriage and relax.

  • This year my in-laws are taking the children to spend time with Great-Grandma so we'll be five nights without children! (I won't know what to do with myself!)

  • I get up two hours before the kids do. Then in the afternoon, they are required to go to their rooms for at least 1.5-2 hours so I can cycle down. My kids are 10, 9, 8, 6, and 5. It took a while to train them to do this, but it was well worth it.

  • Water aerobics two nights a week (the exercise feels so good!).

  • I would leave really early on Saturday mornings (at least 3 out of 4 Saturdays) — around 5:45 AM — and head off to the local McDonald's. There is a little table in the corner and I would take my CD player and read my bible, pray, work on the study I was working on, write, pray, and I even cried sometimes. It was such a refreshing time!! And at that time on Saturday mornings the only people there are the retired, grandfatherly types... and they never bothered me!

  • Usually around 7:30 or 7:45 in the morning I put one of my praise CDs in and walk... sometimes 2, sometimes 4 miles! It is so awesome!

  • I go to the library for 1.5 hours while my daughter is in dance. Ah, uninterrupted reading time! If, by chance, I have to take my son to hockey practice, then I have 2.5 hours to shop or browse the stores of my choice in a more urban area.

  • About every three months or so, I spend a Thursday shopping and lunching with a group of lady friends. We all sew, so we visit fabric stores or other places of interest and then eat lunch out.

  • On Tuesday and Thursday evenings I teach childbirth and breast feeding classes at our local hospital, which is something I love doing so it doesn't seem like work. I can't believe they pay me to do it!

  • On Sunday afternoons I have "nap time," which is a couple of hours when I go into my room and read or sleep.

  • To you moms of younger kids, it does get better!!

  • I have a homeschool support group that I attend at least once every two months, sometimes once a month.

  • My husband takes the kids to his mother's house a couple Saturdays a month.

  • My mom tries to give me a break once a month.

  • Sometimes I trade kids with a friend. I watch their children one week, they watch mine the next.

  • Our church takes the kids about 8 times a year for a parents night out. They have games at the church for the kids from 6-9 PM.

  • The church on Wednesday night serves dinner and has activities for the children from 7-8 PM. I go in the library and do lesson plans. A couple other homeschool moms hang out with me. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we get things done. It's a great source of support.

  • MOPS meets 14 times a year. I eat, pray, and socialize. Not to mention the fun topics and crafts.

  • I make the kids have a quiet time, play by themselves, or take a nap time, for 1-2 hours, 4 days a week.

  • Yoga three times a week, nails and pedicure every two weeks, massage at least two times a month and I take classes at the college. Anything I'm interested in. Pottery, glass blowing, photography etc... I take "me" time very seriously! This is essential for me to maintain a sense of self!

  • I go to a weekly Bible study, and have done that for the past five years of homeschooling. I started when my littlest was a newborn and took her with me until she was crawling. Then I had to put her in her room. It was hard as I'm an attached parent, but I don't regret one second of it. It feeds me to have some time once a week for myself. It makes me a better parent and teacher.

  • We meet a half dozen other families at the park and picnic afterwards. Then we go home and have a minimum school day; math, reading, and history.

  • Community Chorale... I get to be someone totally "other" every Thursday evening. It's 2.5 hours of intense singing, and is pretty challenging.

  • I visit the online Sonlight community at night when the kids are in bed.

  • My husband takes the children outside to play or to the park.

  • I go to the bathroom and take a bubble bath with music (so I can't hear the dear children pounding on the door), read a real book, finish a chapter or two, and just BREATHE!!!

  • Date night is very important to me. I usually try to get a sitter at least one Saturday a month, preferably twice a month.

  • I try to get up before the kids a couple times a week so that I can exercise, have some quiet time to myself and a chance to get a jump start on the daily chores. My day goes SO much better when I do this.

  • In the summer I hire a teenage sitter for a couple of hours and go do some things. I love running errands by myself. It is a real treat to shop for myself, by myself. And I would try to get a Starbucks latte for a special treat for me.

  • I just keep telling myself, it is going to get better as the children get older.

  • My husband is going to watch the kids for four days while I spend a weekend with my sister-in-law.

  • Going to NC to meet 3 ladies I've "known" for four years from the Sonlight online community! Next month I'm flying to NC to meet some Sonlight old-timers.

  • Isn't it exciting to be able to get away and do grown-up events? I love my kids, but my identity is so much more than just "Mom."

  • I take a 1-2 hour nap with my 12-month-old son from about 2-4 in the afternoon... that's it.

  • Once a week I grocery shop, usually alone, sometimes with only one child (which feels like a break).

  • If my husband takes the kids out to the pool for play, I stay inside to do dishes or computer. And late at night I get online to read news or emails.

  • I will take 15-minute breaks to garden, take care of the pool or feed the cat/get mail, etc.

  • I have trained my children to entertain themselves while I shower and that can be very refreshing in itself.

  • I enjoy my couple hours at the hairdresser.

  • After lunch, we have a 1-hour quiet time. I nap, and the children can play quietly. They're allowed (educational) computer games, but no TV and no outside. Then, back to the afternoon.

  • It really pays (as far as reducing stress) to minimize the optional activities.