When making plans to homeschool, homeschool parents generally focus on identifying their children's learning styles, choosing an appropriate curriculum, and planning daily schedules to include academic studies, household chores, extracurricular activities and family time.
It can all be a bit overwhelming at times, causing parents to wonder if the homeschool choice is going to be as great as it seemed when they first made the decision to remove their children from the cookie cutter school system. Wasn't homeschool supposed to be the ideal solution to rushing to catch the school bus, sitting in class all day with little individual attention, then coming home to homework, practices, lessons, church, bath time and bed, with no family time or relaxation? What happened to the extra time each child would have to let his imagination soar in a carefree childish way, thus enabling him to be a creative entrepreneur, not conforming to peer pressure and stringent academic and social demands?
Some parents and students seem to thrive in the homeschool environment with little or no struggles, while others feel they have accomplished nothing more than to recreate the classroom at the kitchen table. For those of us who struggle more, it might be because we view our children with tunnel vision. We seem to forget there was ever another part of ourselves before homeschool, seeing only our children as the light at the end of the tunnel. We believe we must sacrifice to make them into model homeschool graduates, at which time we will celebrate our family's success as we show the world it could be done. But, even as we become the teacher and student, what happens to the parent and child? We must be careful not to put our children under a microscope, applying pressure to both them and us to achieve an unhealthy, unattainable, idealistic goal of perfectionism.
Although our children should be a top priority, focusing so intensely on our children can cause us to lose focus of ourselves. This can lead to neglecting our health, our appearance, hobbies, interests and spiritual well being. In order to really be the best parent/teacher we can be, we need to take care of ourselves. Neglecting oneself can lead to burnout. Our children need to see us modeling genuine enthusiasm for life that can't be found in a textbook. As a parent nourishes his/her mind, spirit and body with good things, what flows out of us will enrich our children more than any textbook. Our minds will be less stagnant, more creative and flowing with ideas to improve the home and homeschool experience for the whole family. We will be better equipped to help our children strive for excellence.
So, as you plan the day, plan to spend time with God, groom yourself into an attractive person, and make sure that you, and everyone else in the family, has time to do something he/she enjoys!