Teaching full time—and parenting full time—is going to take a lot of you.
For all of Calvert’s parent teachers, we know how hard you work each day to ensure your student is learning. We also recognize that many wear multiple hats including teacher, parent, and chief financial officer. Sometimes it does not stop there.
One of the benefits of homeschooling, however, is that because school days and lessons are flexible, there can be time for parents to find ways to relax and reduce stress.
Here are some helpful tips on how homeschooling parents can relax and reduce stress.
It may sound cliché or expensive, but a massage could be exactly what your body needs every so often. When your body has prolonged periods with stress, it can lead to higher blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, and other problems. In short, you become a less healthy, less happy, you. A massage will help relax your muscles. Your body will produce more endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which will help you feel better and allow your mind to reset. While a full hour-long or more massage with a specialist can be expensive, there are providers that offer less expensive packages. You also could look for Groupons or promotional deals, or escape to a nearby mall and get a quick and affordable massage there.
Homeschooling parents are often encouraging their kids to be creative as part of their learning. Why not tap into the same positive energy that comes from creation to help reduce stress? It might be a good idea to have a dedicated space for you to unleash your own creativity. For some parent teachers that could be a craft room, a room to paint, or a space to go to write and think. But creating also does not have to be confined to the home. You don’t need an expensive camera to take up photography. Many people take excellent pictures using basic cameras or their mobile phone. Another option is to join a group. No one said that dedicating time for your creative pursuits should be done in isolation. They key step is to make the time for yourself.
As parent teachers, we sometimes get into a groove and jump from lesson to lesson to keep the momentum going. But that also can drain you and your student. Therefore, adding in some transition time in between lessons may be a helpful way to give you and your student time to relax, and help to reduce stress. You may find that some days you need less time than others, but just knowing a transition is coming could be a welcomed relief.
Most of us do not have time to consistently go to the gym. However, exercise, which is a great way to reduce stress, can take many forms. If your homeschooler is younger, a simple trip to the playground – pushing swings and walking around – could be helpful. Going to an indoor bounce place is fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. If you have been, you will be surprised at how much energy you spend bouncing around. Some Calvert families go roller skating. Others mix in science lessons with a nature hike.
Meditation, mindfulness activities or breathing exercises all have been shown to reduce stress. Though not for everyone, there are simple books you can read or audio guides to download that tell you how to meditate or use deep breathing to reduce stress.
Last, but not least…
Every homeschooling parent started off wondering if they could really be a full-time parent and teacher. And every homeschooling parent made the decision after research and getting a good support network in place. If you feel stressed out, ask for help. Maybe you have been spending a lot of time managing your family’s finances? Or a particular lesson has been more complex? Whatever the reason, you asked for help before you started homeschooling, no reason to stop asking for help now. A way to get help would be to have your child taught by a different homeschool parent in the area for a week. In turn, you offer to teach that person’s child for a week. If a week is too much, many parents at Calvert will alternate teaching on Friday. This gives you a day to yourself, which you can use to relax, or take care of other important tasks.