Over our homeschooling years I was often asked “when do you have time for yourself”. Truthfully, for me, “me time” was only an issue when I had sought the solitude of the bathroom and there would be a knock on the door followed by the inevitable question “Mom, can you (fill in the blank here with just about anything they could do for themselves but suddenly became completely helpless when the door is closed)?”. I would then attempt to guard this “me time” with my secret weapon, “Go ask your Father”.
Now that all the kids have graduated, you would think that I had all the time in the world. No more lessons to prepare. No scoring and correcting work. No scouring over curriculum sites and catalogs looking for just the right program to fit my student’s needs. No more school. I confess that I did think that I would have this big void of time to fill. Boy, was I wrong! I hadn’t realized that over the course of the last few years, as my daughter became more and more independent in her learning, I had already filled up any extra time I might have had with other things.
And you know what? I now wish there had been less “me time” and more “us time” during our homeschooling days
Some of the most valuable lessons that were learned were those we discovered during this “us time”. I wish we had followed more “rabbit trails” and not stressed so much over if we had covered enough instruction from the book for the day. We should have made more time for outside adventures and not so much seat work. We should have taken more trips to the parks to explore nature, made more excursions to shop together to understand the ins and outs of bargain hunting, seized more opportunities to fish with my Dad and visit with my Mom to value the experiences of other generations, spent more time talking about whatever came to mind instead of making everything an educational moment, and so many otherwise taken-for-granted activities. While we did do all of these things on occasion, there should have been more. Those moments provided life lessons that schoolbooks can’t come close to covering. They taught the value of family, communication, observation, and life skills to navigate the everyday of life after school.
The benefits of the “us time” totally outweighs a lifetime of overrated “me time”.