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Homeschooling without neglecting yourself
From eNews, February 19, 2004
In spring 1999, an estimated 850,000 students nationwide ages 5-17 were being homeschooled, according to the U.S. Department of Education. If you're a parent of one of these children and find yourself occasionally exhausted, University of Minnesota developmental psychologist Martha Erickson has some tips to buy you downtime during those homeschooling years.
- If you know other homeschool families, work out a weekly exchange with them. If your spouse shares your commitment to homeschooling, arrange for him or her to teach a couple of lessons each week in the evening or on weekends while you take some time for yourself. You could also arrange for your spouse to take on more household tasks, or, if financially feasible, hire someone to clean for a few hours each week.
- If you have family members or close friends who are invested in your child's education, ask them if they could regularly take your child on a special outing or introduce him or her to a new skill or hobby. In return, you and your child could make them a casserole or dessert during homeschool time. (Cooking provides great opportunities to practice reading, measuring, fractions, temperature, and time concepts.)
- If you know other homeschool families, work out a weekly exchange with them. Or maybe there's an interesting after-school program in sports or the arts that could complement your child's homeschooling. Even hiring a neighborhood teenager to come to the house once or twice a week for educational games or storytime could give you that much-needed break.
- If you can't find the support and respite you need to sustain you in your effort, it may be time to consider or reconsider enrolling your child in school. You can still be an active partner in your child's education by volunteering in the classroom and supporting the teachers' efforts.