I love homeschooling and count myself blessed to have this calling on my life, but there’s no denying that homeschooling puts significant demands on me and my time. And, due to its very nature, homeschool can be all-consuming for me and my family — if I let it. After seven years of being a home educator, I’ve learned the best way to end my homeschool day is to make the most of my time “off.”
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If I’m not careful, I’ll spend my nights planning for the weeks ahead, reading curriculum reviews (in the middle of the year when I’m not purchasing curriculum, mind you), or talking Hubby’s ears off about homeschool ideas I plan to implement six months down the road.
There’s a time and place for all of those things, but that’s not how I need to end a homeschool day. Instead, the end of my homeschool day should center around relationships and renewal. When I’m sure the remnants of our homeschool day are squared away, we have time to be together without lesson plans or hidden expectations for learning experiences. This opens the door for me to simply love my people and that’s the very best way to end a homeschool day.
Ultimately, I’ve learned three things are needed in order to end a homeschool day in the best way possible:
The Best Way to End a Homeschool Day
1. Be Mom … Not Homeschool Mom
Homeschool moms are notorious for turning everything into learning experiences. From grocery store trips to yardwork, all of life is learning. While I believe that we’re always learning, there needs to be time each day where my kids just get to be kids hanging out with mom. My kids can smell a “learning experience” from a mile a way and will call me out on it in a heartbeat. That’s why homeschool mom can’t be on duty 24/7.
The best way to end a homeschool day is to let homeschool mom have the night off and let mom have some time with the family. My kids need to know that I want to be with them outside of our homeschool time together. If I can’t be theirs once we’ve finished our school day, am I all that different from a public or private school teacher?
Being mom is the best way to end a homeschool day. Homeschool mom and mom are often one and the same, but mom snuggles up to watch movies on the couch. Mom plays a mean game of Yahtzee. Mom listens to summaries of the latest episodes of Star Wars Rebels. Mom paints toenails. What homeschool mom does is important, for sure, but being mom matters the most.
2. Be a Wife
Though it’s never included in my planner and doesn’t take place while we’re actually schooling, time alone with my husband is the best way to end a homeschool day. It comes well after the curriculum is put away and the schoolroom is cleared, but it’s crucial on many levels.
Having time with Hubby at the end of each day gives me the to catch up with him and encourage him. It gives him the chance to do those things for me as well. It gives us the chance to have fun and keep the spark in our marriage. It gives us the chance to dream together and connect. We need that time each day to open up Songs in the Key of Solomon, pray together, and watch a few episodes of The Office on Netflix.
Our kids need to see this modeled, but all of this isn’t for their benefit alone. Making this time for my husband each day lets him know he’s cherished, respected, and appreciated. It gives me the chance to do more than just say these things. It gives me a chance to live out these things rather than just assume he knows all of it.
It’s the best way to end a homeschool day because it gives me a chance to be his and his alone. All day long I’m leading, teaching, resourcing, planning ahead, cleaning, keeping up with housework (well, sort of), and working. Our nightly time together gives me a chance to be cherished, appreciated, and prayed for. Believe me, I don’t take this for granted one second, but I can’t think of a better way to end a homeschool day than to have my husband praying for me, my kids, and our upcoming school day. This time we have together each night blesses me beyond belief.
3. Mom Time
There’s still plenty to be done around our house once the school day is over, but I’ve learned over the years to let some of it go undone. Between the school day and taking care of our home, the to-do list never ends. All of the pouring out that happens throughout the homeschool day and after can quickly take a toll on my spirit. The pouring out happens by default, but being filled back up is a discipline.
The best way to end a homeschool day is to take some time for me. I remember reading Lisa Whelchel’s Taking Care of the Me in Mommy before we started our homeschool journey and I worked full time. I learned the value of “me time” then, but I understand the need for it even more after seven years of home education.
“Me time” isn’t glamorous or complicated. Sometimes it’s a chapter in a book, some DIY art, or a bubble bath. Sometimes my “me time” is actually me folding laundry and watching Dancing with the Stars alone. Regardless of what form it comes in, filling up and nourishing my soul through nightly “me time” is the best way to end a homeschool day. After all, I can’t pour out what I don’t have.
What’s your favorite way to end a homeschool day?
Want more ideas for a peaceful evening? Stop by iHomeschool Network and check out the How to Have a Peaceful Evening linkup.