Kid Free Time - Is it Possible?
© Beverley Paine
The following question recently came up on the Homeschool Australia FAQ group.
I have to say it WAS nice to have the house to myself for about an hour (once I got back from grocery shopping and general errands). No kids or husband... Will I ever get this scenario if I homeschool?
You will need to make time and arrange your life so that you will. It is hard for some of us, especially those with children with special learning or care needs. For most of us though it just takes self-discipline and a committment to our own personal health.
I set up our environment so I could work at my hobby (writing) with the children playing or working nearby. A couple of my friends habitually got up early every morning - one to work on her writing and the other to go running. Some other friends set up playdates for their children - a kind of mutual babysitting service, like an informal cooperative. Another friend's husband took over care of the kids after dinner and she was able to spend a couple of hours uninterrupted on whatever she wanted every night.
Most of us include the children in the daily chores and this frees up time to have more fun. But the trick is NEVER TAKE ON TOO MUCH! Keep your enthusiasm at a sensible level. Your children don't have to be directed all day long. An hour here and there is usually enough. Any more than this and you'll stop being mum, you'll end up playing teacher/entertainer!
Is it just a typical motherhood guilt trip thing to feel bad about enjoying time alone?
Yes and No. Since childhood we've been bombarded with the message via parents, schools, friends and especially all types of media that being alone means there's something wrong with you. Spend too much time enjoying being alone and you're classified as pyschologically withdrawn, or shy, or in need of social stimulation or reprogramming of some sort! The best people are the most popular, the most busy, chatty people... It's easy to feel bad about anything the way we've all been brought up. Motherhood is chock-a-block full of guilt triggers. Combat them with affirmations. Pretend you are your child - what would you say to him/her if he said "I feel bad about enjoying time alone?". Mother yourself and all will be well!
I can't see any "me-time" in a hs future - but is the "me-time" concept just silly or is it really necessary?
"Me" time is always necessary and we'll take it one way or another. Much better to spend me time doing something me likes. It's all too easy to lock oneself in the bathroom with the scrubbing brush where you know no one is going to bug you, or spend an afternoon on the bed, totally wiped, but all alone... Doesn't often happen though. Homeschooling kids know mum's there, ready to look enthused at whatever bug, drawing, whatever they bounce through the door with. It's what we do. Who we are.
I spent lots of time when the children were young lost in depression. This made the moments together all the more special. It's probably why I chose to have them around when I did my 'things', writing and gardening. But even so I made sure that my needs were met: I organised our life so that Robin would look after the kids when I wanted to do a class, or a course. Living in the country meant friends and family weren't handy to babysit and that did restrict our activities a bit, but it suited us. Life is about compromise, making the best out of what we have.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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