Whether you are a homeschool family or a public/private school family, it is time for everything to be DONE!!! Summer has been long in coming this year because of the colder temperatures and the blessings of rain from the sky! But the thermometer is inching up, the flowers are beginning to bloom and the garden is showing a little green.
If you are like me, you enter into some sort of ‘life coma’ for about a week. It is a cross between depression, exhaustion, and a virus. My life coma involves me just wanting to stay in bed. I am facing the disappointments of the year. I didn’t get to finding a Spanish Curriculum for my daughter. I was a total failure in a particular class I taught. My house is an absolute wreck. We still haven’t found my husband’s shorts that I misplaced last fall. The bearded dragon hasn’t had a clean cage in….well, I don’t remember. The beautiful kitchen redo from last summer…well, let’s just say I need to do some touch-ups and get rid of dust. My bedroom is a cross between a pig-pen and storage facility. I could go on in focusing on all these negative things about my life. And, for about a week, I will focus on them and just sit around doing nothing.
But at some point I start singing “The sun will come out tomorrow…” from Annie or “Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a Happy Face” from Bye Bye Birdie (yes, down deep, I do believe that life is a musical). And, at that point, I begin to face the mountain that surrounds me and I get to work. I need to clean up, dust off, re-boot and relax. By the time September rolls around, I will be ready to do it all over again. I will be fresh and hopefully in a good mental place to serve my students and co-workers well.
After doing this for 20 years (yes, can you believe it???) and 8 years in a pretty intense co-op, I am now ‘seasoned.’ That is the nice term for being old, but I’m OK with that because being ‘old’ has its benefits. Pretty soon, I will qualify for the AARP discounts and I will take all the discounts I can get. So, here is what I suggest to all my fellow homeschool moms who are needing to have some R
If you can, experience the ‘life coma’ but don’t let it drag on too long. I generally tell everyone I am taking the week off…no music lessons, no tutoring, no nothing except what is absolutely necessary. If you know me, you know I am not terribly attached to my phone, but I do turn it off and I limit time on the computer to e-mail. There are even days I skip checking. I AM ON VACATION (even if I am just at home). When my kids were little, we would just sit on the couch and watch movies, or I would sleep and they would watch. I have hired mama’s helpers in the past to watch them so that I could sleep or just be alone to read and meditate. I have even done ‘swaps’ with friends (I take all the kids one day a week and she takes them the next week). I even try to do REALLY easy meals, prepared food from the grocery store, or fix meals ahead so that I can really pretend to be on vacation.
But you have to come out of the ‘life coma’ and that happens the second week. Each summer, before I jump into anything, I plan out what I want to accomplish. I may have a room I want to paint or just give a deep clean. My kids rooms usually need some help from mom, so those go on the list. Drawers and under beds get a good look! Goodwill becomes our best friend and a regular stream of bags and boxes are taken by there several times a week. With a small house and a big family, this is absolutely necessary so that you don’t have to go on the Hoarders show on TV.
But this isn’t all that needs to happen. My soul and brain need to be refreshed, so for the last couple summers, I have been purposeful in having a reading and study plan. Several summers ago, I did my own ‘thesis’ so that I could experience what students in our 12th grade experience. Last summer, I was in a Catholic/Protestant book club that studied what various authors said about Predestination. I have also been in book clubs for Atlas Shrugged, Wuthering Heights and other wonderful novels. This summer, I plan to do an intensive study of Charles Dickens, a favorite author and one that I teach in my 8th grade. In addition, I write and I will be blogging and also beginning a book (if you know me, you know that I want to write a book). This book will chronicle my journey with my son, Seth and how we walked along the winding path of dyslexia and learning difficulty. I have learned so much that I want to share before I forget it all. I will also be writing some things for our co-op and can’t wait to get the fingers limbered up and do one of the things I love most…putting words to paper.
Moms…homeschooling is HARD…even the most seasoned of us are tired at the end of the year. You are with your children all day, every day. That’s OK…we signed on for that for a number of reasons. But it is OK to acknowledge that you need a break from the school day routine. If you hope to homeschool your children long term, then you will need to make sure that there are breaks for you and breaks for them. A healthy mom (mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically) is the first thing on the job description for a homeschooling mom, so sit down with your husband, with a friend or a trusted counselor and map out some time this summer to refresh. Your whole family will thank you.
Final advice…make your plan this week! Then you are ready to go when that final school dismissal takes place. And, by the way, you won’t be able to reach me the first week after school…I will be on VACATION!