My Biggest Fear about Homeschooling & What I Intend to Do About It

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School
Photo credit: Elizabeth Albert

This past week I made the executive decision not to send our oldest daughter to preschool or another Mother’s Day Out program. Instead, I conceded to something I’ve been (and still am) reluctant to do: homeschool her.

My biggest fear about homeschooling isn’t that I’m not qualified (I used to teach) or that my kids won’t be socialized (Not a concern). It isn’t that we can’t afford it (Homeschooling is much cheaper than preschool) or that I’ll be overwhelmed (I will be).  

No, my biggest fear is that I will never have another minute all to myself ever again. 

Selfish.

I know.

I love my kids. But I also look forward to the peace and quiet that I have those two days a week when the older two are away, when it’s just me and the baby, to piddle, mop floors, go shopping, read a book, and simply exist without noise.

And yet I know that to homeschool is to give my child the academic support she needs, the guidance she craves, and the one-on-one shepherding I’m called to administer.

More importantly, I believe God is leading me to homeschool even as I’m railing against it.

Children Walking on Trail
Photo credit: vastateparksstaff

Because I know right now I’m going to need some downtime if I’m going to homeschool, here are 10 steps I’m taking to succeed.

1. Take baby steps. If I’m going to do this, I need to start out small. I’ve tried to work with my oldest with the toddler at home, and it’s just too stressful for me: busy bags, work boxes or not. That means keeping my toddler in Mother’s Day Out two days a week. Eventually, I hope to homeschool all three kids, but for now I need to take it slow.

2. Enlist help. I’m blessed to have wonderful parents and in-laws who are always willing to help out at a moment’s notice. I need to let them, especially when I need a break or just to run to the grocery store without three kids in tow.

3. Plan downtime during the day. Del from Devote & Seek mentioned on Facebook that she plans downtime each day by taking breaks and not dragging out the school day longer than necessary. That sounds like good advice to me. I’m thinking that we will have some morning quiet time after lessons and before lunch for both of us to relax and unwind, and the rest of the day will be spent reading and playing.

4. Have fun! I have to remember my daughter is only 4, not 14. She doesn’t need hours of drills and worksheets; she needs short, fun, hands-on activities that engage and inspire her to want to learn and plenty of good books to read.

5. Seek my husband’s help. When I inevitably get frustrated, I will need to let my husband know before I blow up so he can lend a hand or give me an “escape.” Fortunately for me, he’s pretty adept at juggling three kids while Mama’s away.

6. Go to the gym. Our gym has excellent child care, so I can work out (or take a shower, nap, read a book) while the kids are supervised and playing. For days when I need a breather, the gym will be the place we go.

7. Institute daily quiet time/nap time & blanket time/room time. Our girls still nap in the afternoons, so that’s a good 2 hour chunk of time when I can unwind, drink a cup of tea, and relax in quiet. But even on days when no one sleeps, we will still have quiet time because we all need it! We also have blanket time most afternoons where the girls sit quietly on their blankets and play while I cook, clean, or whatever. Soon, I plan to transition from blanket to room time with the older girls.

8. Get a babysitter. This may never happen because (1) I have great family and (2) I’m cheap, but knowing that I have the option is key to my sanity.

9. Go outside. I’ve found that being stuck inside these 4 walls all day can really enervate me. By taking a few minutes to play outside gives the kids and me fresh air to breathe and space to run. Some days we may just need to take a trip outdoors.

10. Pray!  I have already started to pray for my heart towards my children: for gentleness and compassion, for patience and mercy in dealing with them as we embark on the homeschooling endeavor. I also pray that God will show me if this is no longer the path He wants me to take and what He wants me to do instead.

I believe that if God wills for something to happen, He will make a way. Of course that will inevitably involve some serious refining in me, so I’m praying earnestly now that He will gently ease me into my new situation.

What about you? How do you find downtime as a homeschooling or non-homeschooling Mom? Any tips for me?

Praying God’s blessings on you,

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Comments

  1. Sounds like you have a lot of good ideas in place. If you are getting some downtime now I’m sure you’ll be able to add it in while you are schooling. As you said she’s 4 and school is mostly play at that age so you will not need hours of quiet time to work with her. It will slowly become a normal lifestyle for you! It is important for mommas to not burn out so do not feel bad for taking time for yourself. It is the good and bad? thing about homeschooling, our kids are always with us:)

    • You’re right, Jennifer. Right now my older two are at a mother’s day out twice a week, so I have several hours of downtime, just me and el bebe, so I’m just hesitant to change that up. But I know she needs more and I really want to teach her, so I’m trying to figure out how that’s going to look in the future. I’m a planner 🙂

  2. It sounds like you have very reasonable expectations. I love the options you’ve come up with to help set aside time for yourself. My children are older and I don’t homeschool, but I know anything that takes away the “alone time” I need will certainly lead to disaster. Great job being pro-active on an issue I think many homeschooling parents don’t address until they’re too frazzled by it to think clearly!

    • Well, I know myself. I’m an introvert and I don’t play well with others, even my kids. So, I have to get my self mentally prepared for the changes ahead. Many HS moms may not worry about not having downtime or alone time but I do, and it will be disastrous for me if I don’t get it. Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Prayer is the atomic bomb of all the weapons we have been given.
    As long as that is on your list, you’ll be just fine. 🙂

  4. When I had more littles than big children, I scheduled the important subjects that took my focus (such as phonics) to coincide with nap time. We had 4 babes 5 and under for several years as new babies came along every 17-24 months. I also have a school box of quiet time activities for littles that comes out only during school hours. Congratulations on taking on this responsibility in spite of your fear!

  5. I have had those same thoughts about homeschooling, but I know that God will provide all that I need if I just trust in Him.

  6. These baby steps sound like a great plan. I homeschool and we have dedicated Quiet Time/Nap time in the afternoon for about two hours. Sometimes I am finishing up school with the oldest at the beginning, but I make sure to take at least an hour to sit and be quiet myself. I don’t usually use this time for chores because I can work those in around the other things going on in the day. I also don’t usually plan more than one outing a week. I also have a special box for each of my younger children that have fun things they can do by themselves and we only get it out when they need something extra to do.

    • Suanna, you have some great advice in your comment. I think it will be hard for me to stay home but limiting our outings each week is important. Also, I like the idea of the special box for kids. I need to set up something like that. Thanks for your suggestions!

  7. Great plan! I’m an introvert and need to plan that space into my days in order to stay sane, so I totally understand. I think you’re children will benefit from that space and quiet too – for themselves as well as the result of a centered mama! Blessings on you as you start this exciting time!

  8. I get to have an hour in the afternoon every day that is my time to read, check emails, write, or take a nap. It is our school Quiet Reading Hour. If they are too young to read by themselves they can take a nap or play quietly in their room without interrupting me. This is essential. It took some training and they don’t always want to but I need this. It isn’t much but it is mine. 🙂 I also go to a book club once a month and the Hubs watches the kiddos so I can be there for three hours alone without kids visiting with other moms. Good stuff. 🙂

  9. Keri….bless you, I loved reading this! And, I totally relate. Homeschooling is such a joy, but it can be very taxing. I love this quote, “The Nurturer must retreat to the well, or the well runs dry for everyone.” Just think in months and seasons right now…..
    xo
    Morgan

  10. Great advice!
    I have been only homeschooling for this past school year…and I too have been battling with the same thing: I used to have ALL day long to putter while my children were ALL in full-time school! I was completing school from home mind you, but I found an hour here and there to spend on MY activities…I still make afternoons in this home a time when we have some independent work time (they enjoy reading or playing quietly) while I catch up on blogs, emails, house work, or my quiet time.
    Where there’s a calling, He’ll make a way:)

    PS I did a few blogs about making the transition to homeschooling; see them on my site under “Exploring Homeschool?” if you’re interested
    http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com

  11. Anonymous says:

    Your kids will not always be this little — Smile. Your kids will not always be this little — Frown. You are very blessed to never miss a moment with them. But soon they will learn to entertain themselves and leave you those moments of peace. When they get too old for naptime, you can institute “quiet time” in it’s place. Slowly, you will get those quiet moments back and will find that those moments are so much more precious to you! Hugs, hang in there! Blessings, Shannon

  12. Awesome list. This is a concern for me too (although my baby is just 5 months we are already trying to sort though information and decide our schooling option). I deal with this on just a regular basis now that I am a mom period! I am an introvert so having a baby on me at all times is exhausting.
    I would love to know how you start homeschooling and what resources you use
    Have a great day!