Making Time to be Alone

We all need time alone. We need time to think, to dream, and to create….without relentless interruptions from our children.

Finding time to be alone is especially difficult for those of us who homeschool, because we’re with our children so much. But we aren’t superhuman, no matter what outsiders may think. We need to be refreshed. The hard part is figuring out how to do that.

It sure gets easier once your children are older. I recently found that one of the quickest ways to find myself alone is to put on my DVD, Josh Groban’s “Live at the Greek” (or, as my husband calls it, “Live at the Geek.”) You should see my loved ones scatter when it comes on! Another surefire road to solitude is my collection of Doris Day movies. The opening credits of “That Touch of Mink” send my kids flying out of the room as if it were on fire.

Still, it wasn’t always so easy to find myself alone. There was a time when I was outnumbered 4 to 1, and I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door with some real or imagined emergency. Back then, I truly believed I would never be alone again. If only I had bought those Doris Day videos sooner…..

My point here is that you must carve out some regular time alone for yourself to prevent homeschool burnout, a very real occurrence that you’ll want to avoid. Some homeschool moms feel guilty for wanting time to themselves. Don’t! Even Jesus took time to be alone and pray….it’s important to regroup when you need to.

Working moms have time alone while commuting and on their lunch breaks. Most stay-at-home moms experience time alone once they send their children off to school, which these days can be as early as age two. But those of us who homeschool are never alone, it seems, especially during the early years of raising our families. (I love sleep, but I actually enjoyed waking up for middle-of-the-night feedings of my third and fourth babies because the house was quiet and no one was talking to me!)

Believe it or not, there will come a time when you can be alone for minutes, even hours, at a time, on a regular basis! But if that’s far down the road for you, don’t wait that long. Try to schedule some time for yourself now, when you really need it. Snag your husband, a close friend or Grandma to keep track of the kids, and set a date for your time alone.

You can start small, by going for a walk alone. Doing the grocery shopping is much easier and quicker if you do it by yourself. Find a Ladies’ Bible study that keeps its meetings brief. (I joined my church’s hour-long evening class when my youngest was six months old—what a blessing! I ended up attending that class every week for 14 years.)

As your family becomes accustomed to Mom’s little breaks, stay out a little longer. Take an exercise class, or a crafts class. It’s a nice break to be the student instead of the teacher. Find another mom and go out for coffee and chat. The time will fly!

Whatever you do, try to enjoy yourself. Don’t feel guilty if there were tears when you left the house. They may cry, but the kids need a break from you, too. Besides, they’ll appreciate you more when you come back.

(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling (Book 1): Beginnings, available HERE.)

When Grandparents Don’t Understand

You’re all pumped up about homeschooling, you love seeing your kids learn new things, and you love having the time to learn together. Yet there’s a fly in your ointment—your parents or your in-laws are opposed to what you’re doing.

This hurts. You want them to be happy for your family, to appreciate what you’re doing, and you certainly don’t want them to make trouble for you. Maybe it would help to look at the situation from their point of view.

I’m not saying they’re right…I’m just suggesting you put yourself in their place for a few minutes. Chances are good they’re in their 50s or 60s. That means they started going to school in the 1950s or 1960s. Their memories of school took place in a much different era. Teachers’ biggest concerns back then were kids chewing gum in class and running in the hallways, not bringing guns to class and ducking gang members in the hallways. Many of today’s grandparents picture school as the experience they remember, not the one that exists now.

Your parents or in-laws may also view your choice to homeschool your kids as a criticism of the way you or your spouse were educated. They probably chose to live in an area where there was a decent school, and they believe you got a good education. But to them, your choice of homeschooling may feel like a rejection of your education, and they’re taking it personally.

 Another possibility is that they truly believe the only place a child can learn to read, write and do math is in school. They became parents during an era when so-called experts, like Dr. Benjamin Spock, were almost worshipped as parenting gods. What people like Dr. Spock said was practically gospel to some people back then. Your parents or in-laws may view teachers as experts, but they still see you as their child (or the person their child married). They may like you, but that doesn’t mean they think you have the expertise to teach your kids.

There may be other, more personal, reasons your parents or in-laws would object to you homeschooling your kids; only you would know if that’s the case. But the fact remains that it hurts if they don’t support your decision. That discord may simmer under the surface, or it could result in outright hostility.

In most cases, the solution to this problem is time. As your children grow up to become happy, independent and smart young people, their grandparents will see that they’re doing fine. You can help this along by inviting them to your support group’s Project Night or science fair, sharing your children’s test scores with them, and involving them in field trips as well as projects you work on at home. Remove the mystery of homeschooling so they can see that it really is just a loving and involved family life. People fear what they don’t know; help your parents or in-laws to understand homeschooling, and show them the fruit it bears in your children’s lives so they can understand exactly why you would make such a choice.

(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings, my new eBook available only at for the Kindle. Learn how to use the free Kindle app on your pc HERE.)

Happy Anniversary to the Homeschool Lounge!

Visit The Homeschool Lounge

Today is the 4th anniversary of The Homeschool Lounge, an online community that offers friendship and support to homeschooling moms.

If you haven’t visited this community yet, you’re in for a treat. Homeschooling is a challenging lifestyle that’s much easier to manage if you don’t go it alone. And you don’t have to when you hang out at The Homeschool Lounge.

In honor of this milestone, I’m offering my new book, Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings, free today.

Congratulations and many more anniversaries to The Homeschool Lounge!

Book link

Free Kindle apps if you need one

Download instructions

Wanted: Homeschool Reviewers

It’s been a lovely week spent battling strep throat, but I’m back online for a few hours before I stumble back to my sickbed  :0

Right now I’m looking for a few homeschoolers who’d be interested in reviewing my new book, Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings. Please email me at cardamompublishers at sbcglobal dot net by 2/14/12, and I’ll get you a review copy. Thanks!

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings

Hot off the press, it’s Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings, almost  200-pages’ worth of my best homeschooling articles and essays collected especially for new homeschoolers as well as those who are thinking about joining the rapidly growing ranks of homeschooling parents.

This is the first of four eBooks in the Stages of Homeschooling series. The rest are:

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3)

Stages of Homeschooling: The Empty Nest (Book 4)

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings is available only through Amazon as a Kindle book. It’s $4.99, or free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries: just download “Kindle for Your PC” (it’s free; step-by-step instructions are right here.)

Want more info? Here you go:

Are you thinking about homeschooling your child, or have you just recently begun homeschooling?

Are you looking for practical information from someone who’s lived the homeschooling life?

Do you need evidence (for yourself or for relatives and friends) of why you shouldn’t send your child to public school?

Are you looking for homeschool encouragement?

If you answered “yes” to even one of those questions, then Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings is for you. Having spent 25 years homeschooling her four children (including one with special needs), writer Barbara Frank wants to encourage and inform those who are just beginning the homeschool journey.

This book is divided into seven sections:

  •  “Why Choose Homeschooling?” (Great reasons to homeschool your children)
  • “What’s Wrong with Public Schools?” (Why today’s public schools make homeschooling more attractive than ever)
  • “Advice for New Homeschoolers” (Homeschool how-to’s and suggestions)
  • “Surviving the Early Years” (Teaching your preschoolers)
  •  “Becoming a Homeschooling Parent” (Taking on your new role)
  • “Handling Doubts, Fears and Hurdles” (Because the prospect of homeschooling can be daunting, especially at the beginning)
  • “Nobody Told Me” (Barbara shares some unexpected benefits of homeschooling)

This book will show you that homeschooling is a great choice for your family.