Refill and Recharge
Now that you have had a few months to devote your heart and soul to homeschooling, it is probably a good time to check in on you. How are you doing, really? Have you found a groove for daily tasks and activities? Are your kids getting used to the new routine? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should congratulate yourself. Chances are you have overcome some of the biggest hurdles that you will encounter on your homeschooling journey. But here’s the most important question: spiritually, have you been taking time to recharge?
As homeschool parents, we spend much of our time filling up others, but we cannot forget that our cup must be full before we can pour from it. What you do to fill your cup is up to you. When my homeschool journey was at its loudest and craziest, for me it meant setting my alarm for an hour earlier than the kids, which gave me time to sip coffee and spend some time in solitude before we had to enter the daily grind. For others, your cup may be filled best by spending one evening a month with true friends where nobody is talking about curriculum or learning targets. Experiment with different forms of self-care to see what revives you. As long as you come away feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another day of breathing life into your children, you are doing the right thing. It’s important that you find what you truly enjoy doing and take intentional time to do it.
Remember to make time for adult conversation that is unrelated to homeschooling. It is tempting to dive headfirst into frantic homeschool obsession; after all, there is so much information out there that it would take years of conferences and classes to learn it all. It might feel like you need to spend every waking hour researching the best method for understanding Shakespeare. You need not feel that way! Doing research on how your children learn best is a valuable pursuit, but you also need to save yourself space to spend time with the people who matter most to you.
Whether it be your significant other, your best friend, or a spiritual mentor, time spent with people who love you and build you up will pay dividends in your pursuit of a whole, joyful home education. Allot at least an hour a week where you can brew some coffee and have a snack together, even if it is a pack of your kid’s fruit snacks stolen from the pantry, and designate time to spend with someone you love beyond their connection to homeschooling. This is a great way to recharge. You also never know how much that other person desperately needs you to help them recharge as well. Take care of each other!
If you have read this so far and realize that you need a mental recharge, you may also be at risk of spiritual atrophy. If you aren’t caring for your physical body and mind, your spiritual health may have moved to the back burner a long time ago. Or perhaps, you spend time every day in prayer with your children, but then there is no time for a connection with God by yourself. Beware of the desire to trade your own personal devotion time for the family table talk. These tender moments with our children are precious and valuable, but it cannot replace connecting with the Lord in the quiet moments of your day. When your patience is wearing thin, take some time to reconnect with God. As Christians, our relationship with Jesus grows when we take that time to talk to Him.
Remember, you’re important, too. Your kids’ education is a priority, but taking care of yourself is critical. When you allow yourself time to replenish your energy stores, the mundane or difficult parts of homeschooling will not become easier. However, it is our prayer for you that you will begin to see the beauty in the mundane and the joy in the challenges. Every day that you wake up and give to God, he will turn around and pay you back in the spiritual strength you need to thrive each day. Even on days when you feel you are barely surviving, especially on those days, give yourself the grace to refill and recharge, physically, mentally, and spiritually.