Contributor amida blogs at Journey into Unschooling. She could definitely use a cheat day today.
Let’s face it, homeschooling is hard work: you’re with the kids 24/7, with the responsibility of their entire educational experience and academic success, not to mention their emotional and physical needs — and if you’re real lucky, the state of your house — resting on your shoulders — every single day.
That’s a big load for anybody and, without proper breaks, could quickly lead to burnout.
That’s why, like any successful diet plan, it is so important to have built-in cheat days, when you can veer off the regularly scheduled programming and give yourself and your brood permission to take it easy.
Photo by With Associates
Spending time with the kids isn’t a jail sentence and you shouldn’t feel bad for not doing school every day.
Hey, we all have days when there are loads of dishes to clear and laundry to wash and errands to run. You know, that big offender of scheduling conflict — your life?
Besides, a break from the norm beats boredom, increases motivation and recharges the soul. You heard it here. It’s been proven that you lose more weight and are more likely to turn the ugly D word into a lifestyle when you allow yourself that piece of cake once a week.
You’re less likely to feel deprived and in turn, you’re more motivated to stay on track the rest of the time. If you feel you always have to “do school” without any breaks, you might very quickly come to dread it.
At my house, we have days where we do straight up school work and get a ton of things done. Then we take a day off and do nothing. It’s all about balance.
Like all things homeschool, there are no hard and fast rules. For some families, such as those on a 4-day-a-week schedule, a cheat day may just mean one day set aside to play catch up.
For others, it could be a designated time for field trips, playdates, or errands.
And of course, it could be like my all time favorite — a total (in social media speak) #noexcusesnecessary #justfeellikeit #sorrynotsorry #playallday off day.
The key to success is control. Just like you shouldn’t eat an entire cake every week and expect to fit into those same jeans, you wouldn’t play hooky every day and expect your kids learn their times tables.
Again, it’s about balance.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski
This is not to say you have to actually schedule a physical day into the calendar. Take them as you please if that’s what floats your boat. Don’t beat yourself up for it.
Some days I take a break but have the kids continue work on their own on easy stuff like copywork or reading and of course, educational videos.
Remember, cheat days are a necessity for your physical and mental well-being. When Mom (or Dad) is happy, the kids are happy. And happy makes for a better homeschool experience.
It’s more than just a day to pencil in. It’s a lifestyle.
So when you’re feeling the burn and just need to STOP and not look at another word problem, do what the good doctor says: Take two (days off) and call me in the morning.
How do you spend your cheat days?