Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No, Never Alone

Most any home school mom is going to tell you that one of the hardest things about home schooling is being with your kids 24/7. No break. All day, every day. For.the.rest.of.your.life.

Some days it feels that way, doesn't it?

This week's home school topic covers how to find alone time in the midst of home schooling. A pertinent and practical subject.

I don't know that I am an introvert, per say, but I definitely need rest and quiet for my soul to thrive. When I don't get down time, I start to go crazy. Really. Almost certifiable.
hanging spoons on your nose...not crazy-its talent!
if not crazy, just way too happy about Barefoot Moscato=)
I am currently reading Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She has a wonderful and affirming chapter on being alone. She says that people look on us as selfish, eccentric, or rude, when we insist on time alone. But, we need time alone to feed our souls. As woman and mothers, we give and give and give. We need time alone to receive.

Knowing this about myself, I schedule into my day, two to three periods of time that are my time. Every day. Morning, afternoon, and evening.

Here's how it looks...

I get up before my family probably 99% of the time. I shared a few weeks ago that I generally get up at 4:30 M-W-F, and 5:48 on T-TH. The 4:30 time is for swimming, the 5:48 time is for running. I used to get up by myself, but now Mr. Hippie gets up with me, even to swim. While running, and during our pre-run coffee break, we get a lot of talking in. But on swimming days, even though we are together, and even sharing the same lane, by nature, swimming is kind of an alone activity.

So, I swim, and I think, and I pray. I free-style and flip turn, and contemplate issues, plans and concerns in my life. Oh, and I think about swimming faster than Mr. Hippie, which is still a possibility. But, he is getting better.

After our swim, or run, we get home, and hang together, but Mr. Hippie is usually doing his own thing by 7:00 or sooner. Which means I get to do my own thing too. I read my Bible. In the quiet. I don't wake my kids up. Not until 7:45. This quiet time is more important to me right now, than them getting up bright and early.

I rarely use this time to shower. I do shower before coming home from the pool. But, otherwise, I figure I can shower any time. The stillness of the morning is a precious commodity.
this is my quiet seat, my nook, my special corner of the house...

Every afternoon since my kids were small, we have had a quiet time. It runs approximately from 1-3 every afternoon. I refer to it as QT, and it is a sacrosanct time in the Barefoot Hippie household. The kids are in their respective beds, reading or (theoretically) playing quietly. And this is my time. In the past I have used it for reading or napping.

Generally, these days I use my qt for writing. I get my cup of tea, and my water bottle, and sit down in my rocking chair with the laptop. Depending on what I am writing, I may write for an hour, or more. I don't read blogs, or emails, or talk on the phone. Not until I am done writing.

If the kids wander down, (LC has a penchant for doing this lately) they get sent back up to their rooms until 3:00.

The quiet is good for all of us. I love being able to focus on my writing. But, it is also good for the kids to learn the value of quiet, and of not having to be entertained all the time. Down time is good for them too.

We have a fairly strict 8:00 bed time. Again, the kids are allowed to read until 8:45, but then it is time for bed. This chunk of alone time is not really alone. It is time with Mr. Hippie. Sometimes we are talking. Sometimes he is folding origami, and I am reading. We are together, which is very important. But we also allow the other to pursue their own interests.

I am trying to conscientiously use this time to feed my soul. For the most part, I don't define most of my internet time as soul feeding time. A lot of it is simply frittering away. Perusing FB, twitter and Pinterest for something to do. I am going to work very hard at using this time in pursuits that fill my mind and my heart. Spend time reading good books. Talk to Mr. Hippie. Those kinds of things.

I am sure you have heard about the moms who just wish they could go to the bathroom in peace. Maybe you are one of those moms. I have to say, this has never been a problem for me. Frankly, I think this hyper awareness of kid safety is a bit over blown. Btw, in case you are wondering, I will not knowingly do anything to endanger my child. Ever.

That being said, there is also no reason why my baby can't be in a pack'n'play, or a bouncy seat for the 5 minutes (or less) it takes me to go to the bathroom. Or the 30 minutes (or less) it takes me to get showered and primped every morning. They will survive. They are safe. I can hear them. They can do with the down time too.

If you allow your child to barge in on you in the bathroom all the time, they are going to run with that. My kids know it is not acceptable. Further more, they know if all hell breaks loose while I'm in the bathroom/shower, there will be consequences.

Day Off:
Like all moms, I truly enjoy a run out to the grocery store, mall or coffee shop without my kids. But it doesn't happen that often. More often than not, I have at least one to two kids in tow with me, everywhere. Even my weekly bff time involves all of our combined kids.

A seed has been germinating for a while. I never thought it was really a possibility. But since I read Anne Bogel's Work Shift, and watched her recent podcast about her day off, I have been praying about what a day off from home schooling could look like for me, a home schooling mom.

How could I efficiently use a day off? How could a day off work for me? How could it feed my soul?

I would use my day off for things that are very hard to do surrounded by four kids. Things like studying, and paperwork for our business, and planning for retreats, and writing my blog posts. If I had a concentrated chunk of time, at least 4-5 hours, I could get a whole lot done. I am thinking that I would also try to use one hour of that time to do something creative-beyond writing.

So, this is what I am praying for. I am praying for a girl who is old enough to drive, and who is willing to work for a modest but fair rate, to come help me. A girl who could supervise school work, and correct papers; who would feed my kids lunch and maybe start dinner; who would maybe do a load of laundry or dust the living room.

We'll see...

I will keep enjoying the times I have with my kids. All day, every day. It truly does fly by. And I will gratefully use the minutes and hours of alone time I already have, to cultivate my personal soul.

How do you balance home schooling and alone time? Or even just being a mom, and alone time?

For more ideas on this subject of juggling alone time and home schooling, check out these wonderful ladies' thoughts and tips.