Homeschooling to many of us does not mean being home all the time. We are striving to meet the social and academic needs of our kids in a multitude of ways and places. We are on the go. Finding time to get fit does not always present itself. Since we know it’s important to feel good and strong and model healthy behavior, I am offering a few ways to exercise during times not normally slated for fitness.
While driving – Do pelvic tilts. Squeeze those glutes and keep your posture straight. Do them for as long as you can hold it and as often as you can. It helps with core strength and posture.
When running errands – Park far and run. These little bursts will add cardio blasts to your day.
While knitting, reading or other sitting down activities – Sit on a yoga ball. You will find that you are perpetually moving and while this is happening your core is also keeping you in balance.
While going up the stairs – Take two at a time, for the whole day. When done repeatedly this will strengthen the legs.
While waiting at games, practices, classes etc. – Stand up. It burns more calories than sitting. For a little stretching exercise you can raise up to tip toes repeatedly or walk around as much as possible.
These methods are not going to prepare us for the ironman competition, but they will increase our strength and overall fitness when practiced regularly. When we can’t chunk away time for exercise, we can at least use these methods and simply feel better.
Since we have so much time to spend with our homeschooled kids, modeling behavior can become a powerful way to teach. Our children learn many valuable lessons by watching our behavior. Here are a few ways to model positive behavior for our kids:
1. Work hard and feel good about the results. When I created my first blog and website at age 47 I was seriously handicapped in a technological way. But my kids watched as I put in the hard work, got through many moments of frustration and confusion, and stuck with it to the end. I was very happy to be able to say ‘I set up my own blog’. It was a perfect opportunity for my kids to see how hard (and not always fun) work can pay off.
2. Put fun in your day. Meeting the kids’ needs takes a huge amount of time and energy. I try to find time every day to do something I enjoy – usually a walk or a fitness video. The time I carve out can be a real “day changer”, putting a smile back on my face no matter how challenging the day has been thus far. I don’t want the kids to see homeshcooling or parenting as drudgery. I’m hoping that by seeing me enjoy myself during the days they will understand that whatever path you choose, it’s possible and important to have some fun.
3. Handle mistakes gracefully. I don’t know why it is so hard to admit mistakes, but for some people it can be very difficult. I feel that the more my kids see me make mistakes and recover from them, the more they will learn that it’s a natural process. And it’s not like making mistakes is something you have to pencil in to your day. Mistakes happen and your kids see how you react and what you do about it. Above all, they will see that mistakes are often opportunities for learning. So sure, go ahead and stomp your foot or hang your head for a moment, but then start looking for a solution.
We’re around our kids probably more than anybody else so it makes sense to reflect upon the ways our behavior can affect our homeschooled kids. By using the techniques listed above we can show our kids how to work for desired results, how to put joy in our day and how to find ways to deal with failure. Remember, they are watching us – learning!
I’m sure we’re all pining for a weekend spa treatment near some sandy, sunny beach. The reality for most of us homeschoolers is that vacations without kids are rare. But there are ways to take care of ourselves that really feel good, cost nothing and can be done practically anytime. You may have a mini-spa-treatment you do at home already. Below I’ve listed a few that have helped lift my spirits and make things new again.
- Pop in a movie and take a nap. I’m sure there are varying degrees of television viewing going on amongst homeschoolers. Here there is no tv. We have a pc and Netflix. So once in a while I ask the kids if they want a ‘bonus’ movie, and surprisingly no one EVER says “NO, Mom, oh God, not THAT”. They get busy agreeing on something to watch and I get a blanket and make myself comfy on the sunporch couch. Pure luxury.
- Give your feet a treatment. I find this especially lovely once the kids have gone to bed. Get a bin of some kind, soak your feet in hot water for a while. When it cools off, wash them with a washcloth and dry them off. Then clip those nails and get some oil (I prefer Shea Butter), even adding a little splash of pure essential oil and massage your tootsies. I swear, after doing all this, you will thank yourself.
- Try Earthing. You may have already seen or read about Earthing but it basically means touching the earth and benefiting from this electrical connection. You can spend lots of money buying earthing shoes or bedding or you can go barefoot as much as possible outside. In cold climates touching a tree for 15 minutes every day can have a profound effect.
- Try a Youtube fitness video. There are lots of free videos out there to try. You can enjoy a high energy workout with some smiling faces without having to go anywhere or pay anything. Here’s one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emn4yVD5xa0
- Babysitting Trade. If you are homeschooling, chances are you know other homeschoolers. Arranging a babysitting trade can work wonders. You babysit one night while your friends go out and then it’s reciprocated. It doesn’t have to be an expensive night out. A hike, a swim, a picnic or whatever. Take this chance to do what you love and make yourself feel good.
Got an idea for a mini-spa-treatment? Please leave a comment.
This may be one of the best parts about homeschooling – you get to homeschool yourself. Most of us went to school and are now trying to homeschool our kids in a way that meets their needs. Which is completely unlike our school experience. But how can we create a vibrant homeschool environment without reverting to workbooks, packed schedules, tests and the inevitable ‘talking head’ since this is the way we learned?
One way is to homeschool yourself. What’s most interesting to you? What have you always wanted to find out about? Are you getting National Geographic magazines for your kids, or is it YOU that really likes to read them? Spending your spare time watching Vi Hart videos at Khan’s Academy? Good for you! Your kids will see how this works: Discover an interest and delve right in.
So, if you always wanted to master Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (or as I call it, “Moonshine Sonata”), here’s your chance to model for your kids how to truly enjoy learning by studying what you want, when you want. This is especially important for those of us who’ve had kids attend some school. Since school involves a different set of expectations, it will be easier for kids to transition to homeschooling when a role model is home busy building their first robot or researching wild mushrooms.
There’s another upside to homeschooling yourself. I’ve found that an enriching learning program, completely thought up and carried out by yourself, makes you FEEL good. And we all know that a parent or caregiver who is meeting their own needs will find it easier and more enjoyable to meet the needs of their kids.