Since I inadvertently discovered that I am the longest running- homeschooling mom in our homeschool (or at least among the members of our group that showed up for the family dinner dance last weekend!) I've been trying to figure out what I've done over the past two decades that has kept us going as a family, and me individually as a person! These are my top 5!
1. You know that bible verse that goes, "Train up a Child in the Way he should go, and when he gets old he will not depart from it?" I think that goes for housework too. From an early age, I tried to get my kids to start taking care of their own stuff AND help with the family stuff. The best part of that is that as they became more and more responsible for their stuff, my responsibilities became much lighter! The payoff came in having adult children that know how to care for their own apartments, cook nutritious meals and can do their own laundry without ruining it! The additional bonus is that the kids who are still at home can prepare meals and clean up after themselves with very little help from me! Which is great because I can pursue other things - like blogging!
2. Working out. When the kids were really little, I used to haul them all to Jazzercise a couple of times a week where they stayed with the babysitter and I got to exercise and dance for an hour. We did that for about 13 years until my older kids were too busy and I needed to find a different way to exercise that didn't cost so much. That's when I took up walking and/or exercise videos in my basement. Just MOVING once a day has saved my mental health, but has I have gotten older I also think it has helped me keep my mobility, flexibility, and strength. In the summer I walk while the kids are at cross country practice. In the winter, I workout in my basement before the family gets up - it's not the funnest thing to do, but once I get going, I'm glad I did.
3. Learning new things. I think the one thing that scares homeschoolers from teaching high school is the fear of learning new things. It can be tough, but I think it's important to be willing to learn new things. I wanted to understand more about Logic, so I volunteered to teach it this semester at our homeschool co-op. Last year, I proofread all of Noah's World History papers and sat in on his lectures. I've also had to upgrade my computer systems and learn new skills from Google Docs to the latest version of Word. These types of things keep my homeschooling life interesting! and it gives a good example to the children about the importance of lifelong learning.
4. Prayer time - not always easy to carve out of the day when there are meals to get, lessons to teach, and a house to run. It used to be easy for me to sit and nurse a baby and pray while the baby was nursing and napping. I think the only way to really give it justice now is to simply get up a little earlier and just do it. I also have little check-ins with the Lord during the day, to say thanks for small blessings, or to ask for help. If I can get prayer time in first, and then exercise, all before the family gets up, then I'm having a good day.
5. So along those lines, it's important to get enough sleep. I would love to stay up late and watch movies or play on the internet. Having little babies to nurse at night was a good excuse to do either or both of those things!! But since those days are over, it's time to embrace this time of life and try to get at least a solid seven hours in - so most nights that's bedtime at 10 p.m. for me!!