While everyone else is busy planning next year’s school and curriculum, guess what I’m doing? Not a thing! That’s right! I’ve seen all the buzz on Pinterest and on Twitter, harkening everyone back to planning and buying and every once in a while I feel a twinge of guilt because I haven’t done any of it yet. I used to start planning my school year well before the current one ended. Then we’d test and then I would be all about the catalogues, getting my orders done, reading every book and article I could find, talking nonstop about next year to my friends and freaking out. But I guess because I’ve had burnout a time or two, I’ve learned to take some time off.
I hate the crash and burn. I don’t like the road rash it leaves, because it’s really hard to heal and sometimes it never goes away. Let me put it another way. Homeschooling is a job. Homeschooling becomes a way of life; it becomes your life and just like anything else, it can bog you down. Without even realizing it, you can lose your joy. You can lose your focus. You can forget who you are. Sometimes, it creeps up really slowly over time and you may find yourself getting really snippy with the kids or you start dragging your feet grading those papers. Other times it hit you like a truck and you don’t want to homeschool anymore, you’re screaming at the kids that you’re sending them to public school. You’re crying to your friends and saying stuff like, “How could you have talked me into this?” “I’m ready to quit!”. So what do you do? After all, don’t you need to get ready for the up-coming school year?
Yes, you do, but first, take an inventory. Are you burned out? Nope! Then great! But you still need to take some time to keep the burnout craziness away. Are you slightly burned out or a wreck? Then take a few weeks to most of the summer vacation off. Does that seem extreme? Sometimes, extreme times call for extreme measures. Think about it, public, private and college professors all get summers off for a reason. One reason, is because most schools aren’t year-round but even those teachers get time off. But the second reason is that they need a break! You have to recharge yourself. You have to give your brain some time to focus on other things that are important to you, your family, God and some time for fun things. You’ve heard the saying that you must feed and take care of yourself if you plan on taking care of others. It’s not selfish, so put that thought out of your head! It’s a necessity!
So take some time for yourself, away from the how-to homeschool books, the catalogues, the vendors, the kids and from homeschooling in general. My friend and I were talking this morning that we both have been taking a non-homeschool summer. Neither of us have really mentioned very much about homeschool so far this summer. It’s been great! Have I felt a twinge of guilt for not ordering anything yet? Of course, but I already know what I’m getting, at least for the most part, so if I need to order something then I will, otherwise I push those thought right out of my mind and know that I’m doing something that will make me a better teacher and mom for this year. I mean, I have taken a few minutes here and there to work on lining up a few things for next year, like Em’s voice lessons. But my main focus is taking my own vacation. I haven’t been blogging about homeschooling or reading a lot of homeschool blogs. I haven’t read tons of articles on Pinterest about homeschooling; although if I do run across one, I’ll pin it and read it later when I start back to planning. My friends and I have talked about it occasionally, but not daily. I think we all need a breaks. I just jot things down about school that I want to remember for later.
If I’m not planning, then what have I been doing, you may ask? Today, I caught up on my DVR’d TV shows and painted my nails hot pink and got everyone slushies from Sonic! Not much I know, but today was my day to sit around and do nothing and it was great! And I really liked the blue-raspberry slushie. I’ve relished it and even relegated some of the errand running to my hubby! I’ve also picked up a fun book to read over the summer, I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (she wrote the Shopaholic series). Don’t worry, if I need to read some homeschool books, I can read then prior to my planning week or at least I won’t read it every day so that way I still get some time off if it’s one that will take some time to get through. (Yes, it really only takes me about a week to plan, but I’ve been at this for a while.) I’ve also been working on changing my eating habits and my family. I’ve also been painting and doing some other projects that I’ve been putting off. Hopefully we’ll get to take a vacation, but for right now we’re staycationing. In other words, I’m running the kids to their friends’ houses and their events, but making sure to take time for myself. I must say I already feel better and I’m looking forward to this school year.
I know that a lot of you have really young children and you may need to send the kids to a friend’s house for the day, or take some time while they’re away at camp because it can be more difficult to do at this stage of life. But try to find the time to do something that’s just for you. When was the last time you went shopping with a friend without the kids or hubby? When was the last time you bought a new polish and actually used it? Whether you take a day, a week, or more, you will thank yourself for it. You’ll have a fresher perspective about homeschooling by taking a little time away from it. Remember, when you’re taking your homeschool vacation, you can’t talk shop! Just like taking a vacation from a job; there is no difference. You wouldn’t want your hubby talking about his job or reading things about his job while you’re all on vacation would you? Then you take some time and do the same.
There’s still time to accomplish this over this summer! Like I said, you could take a day, a week or more, even just one day each week until homeschool planning time, and make it about yourself. You will be better for it. You’ll be mentally, physically and spiritually better for it! Take it from me, a mom that’s been homeschooling for, well, more years than I want to count! You’ll thank yourself! So, let me know how you’re spending your time this summer!