Coping with "Dry Periods"

A question for those longtime homeschoolers out there.... Do you ever have periods of time when you just feel tired of homeschooling, yet all you can see in your future is homeschooling?  What I'm feeling is deeper than 'am I doing enough'.  I KNOW that at the moment I'm not 'doing enough' because I'm doing almost nothing that can be called school. (But even then I can see that my children are  continuing to learn.)  I know that in the long term, my children will learn even if all I do is love them and provide a caring environment.
Even if this is a temporary dry period, I'm still feeling trapped.  For our family, I can't even consider not homeschooling.  For one thing, none of the children want to quit homeschooling.  For another, my educational philosophy is just too far removed from classroom school.  To be honest, I don't think my family suspects my feelings in this area.
There are days that even though I love my children with all my heart, and I wouldn't choose any other life than to spend the time at home with them, I am also resentful of them at some level because of their demands on my time.
I do think this is something that will resolve itself in time.  I'm just curious to know if I'm alone in these feelings or if any of you have ever struggled with them also.


This is me. I can see myself as the world's oldest homeschooling mother - attending conventions wearing my AARP membership card around my neck, Depends and, of course, the required denim jumper.  It just isn't a pretty picture.  This is our 12th year of homeschooling.  Andy is 6.  You can do the math.
I sometimes wonder if he is being shortchanged.  I really don't want to do the field trips or the park days or mom's night out.  These things don't excite me the way they once did.
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LOL!  Actually I just got my AARP card, but not ready for Depends just yet!  I'm afraid that after 14 years, I'm not interested in field trips anymore either, tho' I still do the Mom's nights out.  (I'll do almost anything to get out with grown-ups, except go to another Tupperware party! >g<)
What I really think is this:  education is an introduction to life.  Whatever you, yourself, enjoy doing and feel like doing at this point in your life will probably be educational for the kids if you can find some way to include them in it.  Reading, gardening, fixing-up-the-house, art , crafts, martial arts, cooking, dancing, whatever.  Sometimes we all need a break.  And you probably wouldn't take a break and just SIT there (not for more than a day, anyhow ;-)  So whatever you feel like doing......
The college one of my kids goes to takes the whole month of January for "Interim".  They spend the whole month studying something of interest to them, whether it fits into their normal course of study or not.  So take an Interim, do something you enjoy, and don't feel a bit guilty about it.  The math & language arts & all the rest will still be there when you get back to them, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find progress made in areas you weren't even thinking about.
We have a wide span of ages in our family, too.  After a while I sent the teenagers off on group activities without me.  There was always some adult along I could ask to keep an eye on them, and I didn't want to drag my little 'un along on a ski trip (or go myself, truth be's COLD out there on the slopes! ;-)
I wonder anyway if kids really need all the "enrichment" activities that parents of our generation dream up.  I don't remember much of field trips, etc., from my own childhood....mostly we kids just played, without adult involvement unless someone got hurt.  We had a good time.  The only thing I really wish I had was a youth group in my teen years.  My church didn't have one and that would have been really neat.
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YES, I have felt this way and expect that I will feel it again.  This is not an easy thing we have committed our lives to.  And many times it is thankless.  We are not understood by most non-homeschoolers.  Our lives constantly go against the flow of the world...not only because we are Christians, but even among Christians.  And sometimes, it's just downright hard to be with your kids all the time.  I am like you in my commitment to homeschool, for much the same reasons.  It would really take a clear word from God to change it.
If you can, try to do some things for yourself...extra alone time with dh, or find something you can do just by yourself.  (I have a friend who took a pottery course at a local college.  It gave her 24 hour access to the pottery lab...a little pricey...but great for her.  Another friend took stained glass making and woodworking...made all her Christmas gifts).  I know it is tough to find things that are cheap when you are struggling on one I am currently considering what I can do to get away on a shoestring.  Even an hour alone in a bookstore is a treat for me.  It can help to have some life apart from the kids...even if it is only once in awhile.  But regularly is even better.  If you couldn't tell, this is an area where I need to take my own advice.  Hang in there my friend....and truly...make some time for need it and deserve it!
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I am trying to do this too.  I am going out to lunch with friends several times a week lately.  I just need to.  It is getting expensive and I need to do something else, but I just love "doing lunch".
I also do not enjoy homeschooling the way I used to either.  Probably because my girls are in school, and Josh is so independent that the only thing we do together is church.  Jordan is home, but the NACD program takes up most of our time and he is off with friends when he is done.  Homeschooling is not I am trying to find things that I do enjoy.  So far eating is the only thing I can think of.....
I need to get a life...and I need to go take an aerobic walk....seriously...I have my walking duds on and I was going to go take it an hour ago...but here I sit at the computer...LOL...I am truly an addict...
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I will admit to feeling this way from time to time.  When I consider the immensity of the responsibility of educating our children, I can easily get overwhelmed.  Usually, it's because I'm trying to do it in my own power and ability.  But God called our family to this life, and it *will* be accomplished, not because of anything I can do in my own power, but by His infinite power.  I need to remember to walk in the Spirit, not according to the flesh.  Maybe you could use this "scheduled" time out from school to spend extra time with the Lord, just seeking His strength and peace.
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I understand just what you are saying.  I have been homeschooling for 11 years now.  I feel this way sometimes.  (Ok, ok... I feel this way often, like last week when two of my friends wanted me to go to Costa Rica with them for a few days.  I wanted to go so bad.  It's been a long winter... but I had to stay home with my little ones.  First I was mad, but then I ended up feeling thankful that I was able to stay with them and not have to work everyday. I get burnt out sometimes and even think of putting them in private school.  This usually happens when I get stressed and haven't taken any time for me or my own interests.
Then there are the times I see my neighbors leaving to go play tennis or golf then I see their merry maids pulling up in the driveway and well, life's just not fair <g>  But then my boys will do something sweet, or my teen daughters will say something that lets me know I'm appreciated, and I'm back to feeling very thankful that God allows me to stay right here with them.
BTW I was listening to New Life (Christian counseling radio ministry) they were talking about happiness.  They said it's very important to find the one thing that you love to do and DO IT once a week.  I love to garden, sew, and jet ski so I'm looking for ways I can do some of these things.  But it's very hard to find someone to watch my boys in the day; everyone is either working or at school .
Debbie in Nebraska
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I get out at least once a month to do something I think is fun - a downtown Seattle walk, hiking or skiing, movie with the girls, bike ride with Ben, tennis with anyone, and now that the weather is getting back into shape (remember we had 97-100 days of rain?)  Well, now I am feeling like getting out there and enjoying the outside again!
I also sit and quilt and of course this dang computer takes an awful lot of time!  I like to read books too and mostly read them out loud to whoever will listen!  I love children and have my SS class and quiz teem at church to gobble up volunteer time!  And of course helping the kids learn things - got to remember though that mine are a bit older and more self-directed at this point.  When all 8 were less than 16 years old, most of my time was not my own to decide what to do with.  Meals, laundry, schooling, church work, left little to even think about.  Now, I have to really be careful not to "waste" the time God has given to me to do His work.  What does He want me to do today?????
Also, one of the very best things I do for myself is take a day of prayer each month to be alone with God - no kids, no husband, no friends, no computer!!!!  This is a very special time and helps me stay connected to my Creator!
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