You can’t pour from an empty cup – An Introvert’s guide to homeschooling
We live in a world designed for and by extroverts. Extroverts have the qualities that people admire the most these days; they’re outgoing, dynamic, love to talk and share ideas, they are the life of the party. Yet, for almost a half of us, this is not our reality. As introverts, we crave alone time, we crave time to think in peace, we are the most alive when we are alone or with 1 or 2 people. As a homeschooling mom, we hear the saying ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ a lot. But what does it mean? How can you as an introvert fill your cup, when you always have kids in your space?
I am an introvert, for the most part I am happy in my own home. I love hanging out with my friends on occasion, but I’m perfectly happy chatting on the phone and texting as a way to keep in touch. As a mom with special needs kids, I spend many hours a week at a appointments. Some weeks I feel like I spend more time with my kids’ therapists than with friends. As an introvert this is hard and definitely not natural for me.
As a homeschooling mom of 5 kids, alone time at home definitely does not happen often, unless I make it happen. Sometimes, as I sit amidst the chaos that is our home, I dream of spending a whole day alone, in a hotel, doing whatever makes me happy. While, it’s fun to dream about, but I wouldn’t be happy long, I would totally miss my kids after a couple of hours.
I’ve set up our day to accommodate our family
Our homeschooling day is set up to accommodate our family of introverts. While we have several ambiverts in the family, the majority of us are happiest by ourselves. We do not all sit around our table happily doing our school work. It just does not work for us, someone is always annoyed with another person.
My oldest son works in the living room and my oldest daughter works at the kitchen table or in her room. My middle son, works by himself, in a quiet corner of the school room, unless he is working with me on something. The youngest two kids work with me at the big table in the school room, one on each side of the table of course. The only time we are all together is for our bible time and that’s a stretch for some of the kids.
I only help one child at a time. I start with the youngest kids and work my way up to the older kids. This allows the younger kids to be done sooner and gives the older kids a chance to learn to work on their own. My oldest 2 don’t need a lot of help from me anymore, other than to read their dictation sentences or talk about a writing assignment. Teaching my kids to work on their own has really helped with my stress levels, you can read about some other ways I deal with stress here.
But what if your kids are younger and you need them to all stay in one room for school? What can you do to keep your sanity throughout the day then?
An Introvert’s Guide to Homeschooling
- A reading or rest time in the afternoon works well to give you a little space for a while. Enjoy at book or take a nap, whatever is going to help you make it through the day.
- Send everyone to bed early. My kids all go to bed between 8 and 9 in the evening. For my younger kids this is their bedtime and for the older kids, this is their time to read or listen to music for a while before they go to sleep. I get time at the end of the day to regroup and recharge and I get to spend some uninterrupted time with my husband.
- Work on your favorite crafting project or perhaps, find a new one to try. Pinterest has thousands of tutorials on any crafting project you could ever think of. Personally, I like the crafts that can be completed in 1-2 hours as that’s usually all the time I have. I’m awful at picking up where I left off on another day.
- Exercise is perfect for a little pick me up. Whether it’s the gym before the kids wake up, a brisk walk in the fresh air or yoga, exercise is a wonderful way to get a little alone time and recharge.
- I like to multi-task while I do some of the day’s most mundane chores like laundry, dishes, and making dinner. It’s the perfect time to listen to music or an audiobook or even a podcast. It makes me feel like I am doing something for myself throughout the day.
- Nothing is more relaxing than a lovely bubble bath. A couple days a week, my wonderful husband puts the kids to bed while I take a bath. It’s a perfect way to end the day. It doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to do the whole bedtime routine for the evening, either.
- My ultimate, just for me, no kids or husbands allowed, alone time is taking a class online. I am a sucker for any free online class, I love them! All those, ‘free sign-up for my newsletter and get a free class’ posts on Facebook and Instagram; I can’t pass them up. I take any and all that interest me. Some of my favorites have been on parenting, blogging, homeschooling, and using Canva. I do pay for online classes too. There are so many online classes out there these days, by fantastic knowledgeable people on a vast number of subjects. I am a person that loves to learn new things and I love knowing that I am teaching my kids that knowledge is only a click away.
What about you? Are you an introvert? What do you do when you need a break? What do you do when you feel like you need some peace?