Let’s face it, even if you love homeschooling, it can still be stressful. Just like the rest of life. In fact, I think the reason why so many meticulously designed homeschool schedules fall apart so quickly is that they fail to account for one crucial and unavoidable homeschool ingredient. Humans.
Our goal with schedules often starts with a list. We want to cram everything on that list into the space of a day. The list is often heavily academic. In other words, we forget to put the rest of life on the list. When academic accomplishment overshadows other human needs, humans fall apart…whether they be big or small humans.
It might be that mom has failed to account for some of the human needs of her children. Or that she has forgotten to take into account her own human needs. A successful homeschool schedule nourishes the whole person. Part of that care is building in stress relieving activities into every day life.
Stress relief should not be saved or hoarded for ‘stressful times’. In fact, teaching our kids the ability to cope with stress on a daily basis is a crucial life skill. This is best done by example, not curriculum or preaching.
What’s more, stressed out kids can’t learn.
Did you know that when your or kids are stressed their brain flips a switch and keeps information from traveling up to the areas where complex thought takes place? You see, their brain, in its wisdom, wants them to solve the problem that is causing stress, not waste their energy on complex thinking. It wants them to decide whether to run or fight, and is saving their energy so they can effectively implement one of those options.
Our brain needs certain things to learn, and one of those things is a happy, relaxed, state of mind. This is the state of mind where curiosity, learning, and complex thinking, thrive.
Before we get to the handy list you can use to sprinkle stress-relief into your home school schedule it is important to remember that if your schedule is already packed to the brim, you can’t just add another thing. You might have to cross something off that world-record crushing academic list. Don’t worry, 5 fewer minutes of math won’t ruin your kids chance of becoming a high earning computer programmer. But not knowing how to calm down and create a state of mind that allows them to funnel all their energy into the complex thinking part of their brain? That is a deal-breaker for any mind-heavy career.
Stress relief is not an optional extra. It is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and therefore, of your homeschool.
Here is a list of stress relieving activities that you can work into your homeschool day.
- A puzzle (age appropriate, and more fun if it is a social activity). This can look like a big puzzle that older kids can work on during breaks, or a small puzzle that little kids can solve in-between academic subjects.
- Story time, relaxing together and listening to a story takes us away from our immediate struggles and into a world of wonder.
- Journaling, this can depend on the age of your kids, if they aren’t writing fluently enough to express their thoughts, than this may just be a technique for mom to use at the end of the day.
- Doodling, not actual art/drawing practice, just playing with paper and pens/markers/crayons or whatever.
- Coloring. (Coloring while listening to a story is a nice double-edged stress reliever.)
- For little ones, peeling stickers off their sheet and putting them on a piece of paper. Also, sticker books. There are even sticker mosiac art books now that are fun for older kids or adults.
- Chores. Yes, I said it. Now, a chore might not equal stress-relief to a child who is still learning the skill, but for everyone else, it counts. Doing a chore works a lot like going for a walk, as long as a bad attitude is not getting in the way. While doing the physical work the mind wonders, the physical movement brings calm, and the outward result of bringing order where they was chaos helps both children and adults gain a sense of control.
- Going outside. You might pair this with going for a walk, making a double strength destresser. But even if you don’t go for a walk, just sitting on your porch with a coffee, or standing for 2 minutes oustide your door, nature is soothing. Sending kids outside used to be a go-to time-out strategy for parents. There is seldom a better place for kids to bring their minds and bodies under control and regain master learn how to be the master of their emotions.
- Moving. Even if you can’t go outside and there are no chores that need to be done. (Ha, ha. I know that’s impossible.) Getting your muscles moving and your heartbeat up releases a healthy dose of calming, happy, brain-building endorphins.
- Music, one of the easiest ways is to just make sure you listen to music every day. Better yet, dance to the music, another way to double up the destressing powers.
Stress relief is not hard.
I hope this list helps you understand that you don’t need to learn any new skills to include stress relief in your homeschool days.
As far as adding these to your schedule, try to get at least three into your daily schedule and if you can squeeze a few more in on a weekly basis go for it. You may even find that by adding these things into your schedule your kids are more relaxed and start to get their academic work done more quickly. Giving you the option to add in a spontaneous dance party.