What’s the best thing you can do to help your homeschool succeed this year? There’s a secret technique you may be missing.
Plan ahead? You know about that.
Pray? If ever you pray, it’s when you take on a challenge like homeschooling an exceptional child. You already know to pray for wisdom, patience, godly character, health, for your children especially, and for yourself.
Find support? You knew that if you’ve been reading this blog or talking to any homeschoolers.
What do many homeschoolers overlook?
“Wait? What are those?” one mom quipped when I asked her what she did to get time away as she homeschooled a child with special needs.
Whether it’s an occasional few minutes curled up with a magazine and a cup of tea in the afternoon or that rare treat, a weekend get-away with spouse or a group of friends, you need a break.
Have you planned one? It’s the least likely thing to happen without planning—even less likely than my remembering to vacuum.
In August, I had a few days at the beach for the first time in a decade. Reading, swimming, resting, and catching up with a dear friend—it was so refreshing. By the last day, we were finally rested enough to get up in time to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic.
One couple developed a simple plan they called “sanity breaks.” With their son’s autism, both parents couldn’t get away. But they saved up so the wife could spend a night in an inexpensive hotel nearby with a good book, but far from lesson plans and laundry. On her husband’s sanity breaks, he pitched a tent in a nearby state park and enjoyed his night of peace and quiet.
Cheaper and simpler breaks are powerful, too.
Have a friend over for lunch.
Play a sport you enjoy or take an exercise class. My friend Pam joined a softball team while homeschooling her sons with learning disabilities, and loved the camaraderie. Exercise involves different parts of your brain, as well as giving you a mental break from the norm. Many scientists have studied how exercise benefits the brain, and it seems to help in a number of ways: improving memory, developing the brown (“good”) fat cells, improving neuroplasticity (your brain’s ability to rewire itself), and preventing certain neurological disorders.
Plus, as my dad used to say, “It feels so good when you stop.”
Can’t exercise today? Even calling a friend or taking a walk and stopping to notice the flowers can give you a break. When your little one points out a pretty leaf, a weird bug, stop and look. What patterns and beauty can you see? Even a wilted, plucked-up dandelion shows not only your toddler’s love, but also the design of our Creator. Watching the ripples spread as your kids splash, on the shore or on the sidewalk, you can see pattern and beauty—if you look.
Ready for a break?
What can you do to give yourself a little break? Homeschooling—especially with a child with special needs—is a long road. It’s a road worth walking, and you’ve got to look for ways to strengthen yourself for the long journey.
What will you do to help yourself remember to take breaks?