Have you heard someone say (maybe it was you), “I could never homeschool! We’d go crazy being home all day together!”
I was a stay at home mom before I was a homeschooling mom, so I did have a trial run of how to manage our days before we threw schoolwork in the mix, but I have to admit that, yes, there’s some adjusting that happens when you choose to stay home.
So, how do I handle being home all day with my kids when I’m not a patient mom?
Breaks are different from routines
Winter break is a short break in everyone’s routine, and summer break is just a free for all (including homeschoolers), or overly scheduled with activities.
Either way, comparing a break in routine to an established routine is absolutely different. Kids are not used to being home all day. They may get antsy to find something stimulating, or they veg out. Both are annoying to most parents.
On the other hand, when you know you’ll be home with your kids for the foreseeable future, you build in routines for everyone, a lot like how you try to build routines during summer break, too. You might have an established park day with friends, a library story time, or nature center visits worked into your routine. You’ll also build in days to be home and keep the house running functionally.
We have a routine of outings and at-home days. The mix is what makes it work.
I don’t eat lunch with my kids
I learned this early on, when I had a 9 year old at home; the age when they think they are hilarious and make noises every.single.minute. They also act like they are constantly on some whacky TV show and it’s absolutely draining for those around them. I recall saying often, “I’m not in the mood for The Kira Show right now.” I needed a break back then, and now with a young kids at home: 6, 3, and 1, I need breaks from their noises, too.
It isn’t every day, but it’s no surprise to the kids when I eat lunch, then I make their lunch and I’ll go to another room while they are eating. This affords me about 45 minutes of alone time (hopefully) and helps me be ready for our lessons in the afternoon.
I take lots of 5 minute breaks
After breakfast while the kids are cleaning up, after lessons, while dinner is in the oven, after everything is cleaned up after dinner – I take a lot of little breathers. My husband helps out with the parenting when he’s home, but I’m still the first one the kids come to, and I just need a few minutes throughout the day to decompress.
Honestly, it took the kids a little while to get that when I said I needed a 5 minute break, that didn’t mean it was time for them to jump on my bed while I lay down. But now it’s a routine, and they get it. It just takes time for them to learn.
I have hobbies
Anything from taking online classes, knitting, reading, or quilting, I have things that I can do to retreat from the world for a little bit because let’s be real, checking Facebook isn’t all that relaxing. Knitting is nice because I can do it while I’m talking to the kids, taking them on a playdate, or waiting for them at one of their activities. Online classes are a way to enrich myself while also getting time away to focus on making this dusty brain of mine work.