How to Make Time for Yourself in a Homeschool Day

Maybe it’s because I’ve surrounded myself with women who are living similar lifestyles, but it feels like today’s homeschool moms are juggling more than ever before. Learn how to make time for yourself in a homeschool day.

I’m meeting more and more women who are juggling the responsibilities of homeschooling plus managing their homes (sometimes with more help from their spouse, sometimes not) plus some form of work, whether that be full-time work outside the home or working from home in some capacity.

Fewer homeschool moms are assuming the exclusive stay-at-home-mom role.

How to Make Time for Yourself in a Homeschool Day

But even if you aren’t working, just homeschooling and managing a home can be a full-time job in and of itself, and we’re doing it with far less help and support than mothers used to have a hundred years ago.

Juggling all of those responsibilities, all of those roles makes self-care even more important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You need to prioritize yourself because no one else is going to.

Without time for yourself to do whatever fills you up, you are at high risk for homeschool mom burnout, something no one wants.

One of the things I am most passionate about is making the homeschool lifestyle sustainable for everyone involved – the primary homeschool parent and the kids. I want to help you find that extra time you probably don’t think you have right now.

Here are the top three ways I’ve made time for myself. Without these things, I would surely have quit homeschooling by now, six years in.

Top Three Ways to Reclaim Time for Yourself in Your Homeschool Days

1. Choose 1-3 Subjects to Prioritize and Get Creative with the Rest

Hear me out: I’m not saying to ignore more than half the subjects. I’m honestly not sure how you could ignore entire subjects because all subjects come up naturally in life (can you tell I’m a relaxed homeschooler?).

What I am saying is to let whatever subjects are not the priority fall in the margins or blend into and overlap with your priority subjects.

Say, for instance, that your priorities are “the three R’s” – reading, writing, and arithmetic. This is a pretty common approach for those with big families or moms who work from home – or even outside of the home – while homeschooling.

You decide to read aloud every day as part of your language arts focus (side note: if you need a list of chapter books, start with this list of top read-aloud chapter books according to homeschool moms).

Do you know how many subjects are covered in novels when you read aloud? Pretty much every subject under the sun.

When we read aloud in our homeschool, we hit science and history at least a few times a week. We hit grammar and reading comprehension too.

Do we cover it in any kind of linear fashion? Not really.

A major event like World War I will come up, and we’ll ask questions and Google the answers or watch a short Youtube video. We follow our curiosity, and when it’s satisfied, we stop and come back to the read-aloud.

Am I worried that I’m not covering those subjects with any kind of concrete plan? Not at all.

At the moment, all of my kids are in elementary and early middle school. For those of my kids who aren’t as interested in history or science or any other subject I don’t currently prioritize, I know that they will hit everything in a more linear fashion when they take those courses in high school. They will be relearning everything they already learned, just with more depth and analysis at the higher levels.

As long as they are learning to love learning, I’m satisfied.

And because we cover those topics conversationally or through other things like science kits, documentaries, movies, field trips, independent work, and more, I can say with confidence to our homeschool evaluator that we learned history and science and social studies this year.

2. Create a Stop Doing List

When people look at me in awe or call me superwoman after I say I have five kids and work from home while homeschooling, I laugh a little (definitely internally, sometimes out loud).

I’m pretty sure they think I “do it all”.

My true secret? I very intentionally don’t do it all. I decide on purpose not to do things.

Because the reality is IF you are homeschooling and have multiple kids and do something else as well, you simply can’t do it all yourself. Not and stay sane and healthy.

You either need to let things go or hire someone to do things for you. It’s that simple.

A few things I’ve let go of over the years:

  • making the bed
  • making fancy dinners
  • folding kids’ laundry
  • cleaning on a schedule

Figure out what you value most. What do you truly care about in your home? Pick your top three, and let go of the rest.

The stop-doing list is to make sure you actually let go, to remind yourself that you are not doing these things right now, not in this season. Write them down, and keep them somewhere you see regularly to remind yourself.

Loosen Your Grip on Screen-time Limits

Maybe I’m imagining this, but screen-time limits seem to be a bit stricter in the homeschool community compared to parents who send their kids to school, yet our kids are home all day – ALL DAY LONG.

I find this more than a little ironic.

Our kids are home all day, every day. With us. For this introverted homeschool mama, that is a LOT of kid time. It’s a LOT of people time.

For a long time, I tried just about every kind of screen time limit. And by the end of the day, I was exhausted OR I felt guilty about how much my kids had been using a screen.

It didn’t really matter if it had been “educational” or “non-educational” screen time (spoiler alert: kids are always learning, so it’s all educational). I still felt guilty.

Finally, I knew I couldn’t keep going like this. I was headed towards burn-out fast, I couldn’t get anything done work-wise and my kids were still bugging me all day about when they were going to have screen time.

I decided to try no screen time limits. Other than bedtime cut-offs, we don’t limit screens anymore.

And I’ll leave it at this: for me, it was life-changing. The benefits far outweigh any drawbacks for our family.

If you’re serious about making time for yourself, you need to find that time somewhere. You could shell out money for babysitting, or you could let your kids use screens more than they currently do.

By the way, they learn SO much more than you think they do from every kind of screen (even things like My Little Pony – really). It’s truly incredible!

They learn all kinds of things. You get time for yourself. It’s a win-win.

You don’t need to do unlimited screen time (but if you do, check out this guide first), but consider relaxing whatever limits you currently have in place to find that extra time for yourself. Your kids won’t become addicts; their brains won’t melt. Promise.

If You Don’t Make Time for Yourself, Who Will?

No one else is going to step in a schedule you some time to do whatever you want to do. Ok, maybe on Mother’s Day or your birthday, but not regularly.

And regular time to yourself, apart from your family? It’s not optional – it’s essential.

I’m going to say it again because it’s just that important – do NOT let anyone tell you self-care or time to do what refreshes you is optional, or that you can fill yourself up by giving to others. It’s just not true.

Let go of unrealistic homeschool expectations – your homeschool doesn’t need to look like those pretty Instagram accounts. It can be less than what you dreamed it would be.

Your home doesn’t need to look like a Better Homes and Garden cover. It can be good enough.

Let go of unrealistic parenting expectations that were created by parenting “experts” so far removed from your actual home and the parenting process, it’s not even funny.

Your kids don’t need a perfect parent who follows all the latest eating and sleeping and screen time guidelines (which, if we’ve learned anything from the reversal on the long-standing advice from the AAP about when to feed your baby peanut butter, it’s flawed at best). They need a happy parent who stays connected to them – that’s it.

Make time for yourself. Prevent homeschool mom burnout.

You are worth it, and your kids are, too.

June Doran

About the author

June loves deep discussions about homeschooling, parenting, and minimalism. When she’s not homeschooling, decluttering, or blogging, she loves to enjoy perfect silence while sipping a hot cup of coffee and thinking uninterrupted thoughts—which, of course, with four kids ages eight and under doesn’t happen very often!

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