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The Pauses That Refresh

Kathryn L. Stout, B.S.Ed., M.Ed.
Published: July 2000
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Burn out is a common complaint among homeschooling parents, even among those just starting out. Here are a few tips to help prevent—or at least bounce back from—feeling tired and overwhelmed.

First, pause 30-60 minutes every day: schedule personal time for reading the Bible and praying. (This is in addition to family devotions.) During this time, include prayer about priorities. Ask for insights about what can be managed differently, if anything. When my children were young, they spent that time in their rooms listening to Bible stories or songs on tape while quietly looking at books. Now that they are grown, they schedule an hour per day for their own prayer time, despite very busy lives.

Next, pause for an exercise break—doing housework doesn't count. Schedule at least 20 minutes of exercise each day, even if it's only a slow walk because you are too tired to do more. This, I discovered, is necessary for maintaining much needed physical stamina.

And, finally, pause to reflect. What are the reasons for feeling stressed or overwhelmed? There may be adjustments that can be made. Here are a few categories to consider:

As a final note, I do believe that I was able to avoid a great deal of stress simply by teaching with the methods described in my books. This allowed me to feel the assurance of accomplishing required standards without piles of paper work or meeting someone else's deadlines. I was able to have my children work together more frequently, and maintain a love of learning that resulted in a pleasant, rather than strained, atmosphere. Raising and training our children is hard work, certainly, but we were meant to enjoy the process.

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