Put Fun on the Schedule—for YOU!
You’ve got to love homeschooling parents. They love what they do—this second shot at education, this all-day-long pursuit of good stories, in-depth investigation, and honing children’s talents.
They are also a hyper-responsible bunch. Tell homeschoolers that they must log 180 hours for math and, by golly, they’ll start tallying on the blackboard, right down to the quarter hour. Suggest that grammar ought to be covered every year and they’ll research programs to purchase while giving up meat for a month to pay for them.
All this commitment and devotion can lead to the disappearing act many parents perform equally well. While they are becoming (in the eyes and minds of their friends) “homeschoolers,” their children simply see devotion, passion, and care directed toward them. In other words, kids don’t know that a homeschooling parent’s primary hobby, career, and joy is homeschooling. It appears to them that all of this is done on their behalf, not for the nurturing of a parent’s identity, ego, or talents.
Which brings me to the point of this entry. Of course we love to homeschool or we wouldn’t do it. Still, education of our children is intended to lead somewhere. What life are you leading that is the exciting, expanded, enticing life of an adult that your children will look forward to attaining purely based on observing your varied and stimulating experiences? When your kids see you, do they see someone who has found their groove, who has outlets, hobbies, and interests of their own?
In other words, are YOU having any fun?
Last night I spent the evening with a local chapter of our homeschooling network. I shared about getting out of the mid-winter blues, about the power of taking time for yourself, of living your own learning journey in front of your kids. I also mentioned, because it seemed like a good idea at the time, that parents deserve to have a little fun of their own. Then I put out a tray of interesting objects: a blue candle, a floral teacup, a ball of rubber bands, an eraser, a paint brush, a fossil, a salt shaker, knitting, a chocolate bar, and red nail polish.
I asked the moms at the meeting to freewrite about the night’s conversation in light of the objects they selected. The hostess wrote such a wonderful piece, I asked her if I could share it with you. She chose the red nail polish and I think gets to the heart of what I was hoping to convey last night:
Red nail polish—my favorite!
I keep thinking I will paint my nails red, but then I never do! I don’t sit down and take time to do the thing I really want to do. So true on so many fronts. I fill myself up with “have to’s” and “need to’s.” Oh I try to snatch a little guilty pleasure here and there, but only in snippets and never truly satisfying.
Nothing so obvious as sitting down, putting on glasses, taking the time to color within the lines – and fix it as necessary. And red is so obvious that if I did, it would be a bold admission of time deliberately spent on something that makes me happy.
So what other guilty pleasures do I keep putting off? It’s not that I think they’re wrong, but I just don’t ever let myself get around to them. (Debbie Yurchak)