5 Essentials for the Special Needs Homeschooling Mom
Our homeschool is full of books, games, and resources that we use daily during lessons and to supplement the girls’ learning. But more important than any of that in having a successful homeschool are the people in our family! I am often told (and I know it’s true) that I’m much better at taking care of my husband and children than I am at taking care of myself. When I let self-care slide, our family and homeschool don’t operate as smoothly. Over the years, I have discovered that some things in my life are non-negotiable if I’m going to be the mother and wife my family needs. In my house, the essentials for the special needs homeschooling mom include:
- Sleep. For a long time, I shorted myself on sleep, staying up late to complete everything I felt *must* be done for the next day to go well. This was not a good plan. I have paid for those decisions over and over with health issues and attitude problems. In my case, a tired mom is not a happy mom. I am learning that eight hours a night is just about right for my body to function optimally. I have to leave tasks undone sometimes to get to bed early enough for that to happen, but it’s worth it. (My family is good enough to help me “catch up” the next day.)
- Caffeine. I would love to tell you that eight hours is enough, but there are days that I need a little caffeine boost anyway—and there are nights that the eight hours just doesn’t happen. The caffeine mostly comes in the form of iced or hot tea or a diet soft drink. (I know. Those things are terrible for you. I’m trying to quit!)
- Good books. I really need the chance to unwind every day with a good book. Sometimes these are Christian living or books about homeschooling, but often it’s a biography, memoir, or Christian fiction.
- Quiet time (Bible reading and prayer). This should actually be the first thing on this list. It’s critical for me to spend time in Bible reading and prayer as soon as I get up in the morning, preferably before my kids wake up. If I don’t do this first thing in the day, it gets pushed later and later in the day until I’m doing it right before bed or not at all. My day doesn’t go as well when I don’t set the right mindset from the start and take time to realize that I’m not in this alone.
- Creative outlets. It took me a while to realize that this is important for me. The opportunity to be creative ministers to something deep in me and helps me to continue to develop and grow as a person, apart from my duties as a parent or spouse. Creativity takes different forms for me in different seasons. Sometimes it’s writing. Other times it’s working on crochet projects or knitting. Occasionally I’ll get out a coloring book and crayon and relax with them for a while. For me, creative activities don’t have to be a daily thing, but I need to do them at least a couple of times a week to help me relieve stress and focus on something different and challenging.
Bonus: Exercise. I handle stress and life’s daily challenges better when my body is strong (and I’ve experienced the stress relief that comes with a good exercise session). It is hard to get into a routine when I haven’t exercised in a while, but once I make myself start, I find that I crave the opportunity to move every day! Even a few minutes a day, or just several times a week, can make a big difference.
What’s on your list of essentials?
To find out what other homeschools can’t do without, visit iHomeschool Network’s link-up “Things My Homeschool Couldn’t Do Without.”