A brisk walk will help.Parents’ Review Magazine
I was having trouble getting last week off the ground. It started with a Super Bowl inflicted lack of preparation. On Monday morning, the spreadsheets weren’t printed, and neither was anything else. No copy work. No grammar worksheets. Nada.
And then Tuesday came around, and it was just plain overbooked and crazy.
So when Q-Age-Eight came to me on Wednesday morning — and I was so groggy from my ignoring Lesson 1 in favor of Lesson 2 ahem — and reminded me that I had said we could do school at the park if the weather was nice, I hesitated before I said we’d do it.
Part of me just wanted to stay at home.
Turns out I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
In January, I made a New Year’s resolution to do lessons outside once per week during fair weather. Last week was our first week of consistently fair weather and therefore my first opportunity to follow through. I’m glad there was a little girl nagging me, or it might not have happened.
The children all have backpacks, so each child could carry their own supplies. Phonics binder, math binders, clipboards, books — all of it went into a backpack and into the car (along with a collection of scooters and other things with wheels). E-Age-Twelve was smart and finished his Latin before it was time to leave. While I was finishing up my own packing and inspection, my two youngest ones were assigned to fill up a sports bottle with water for each of us.
I will admit that this sort of undertaking is much easier when everyone is big enough to pack their own stuff and help get ready in general. (When I had littles, heading out to the backyard was about all I could handle.)
After a couple hours sitting in the sun, I perked up. In fact, it was the best I’d felt so far that week, and I didn’t realize how sluggish I’d been feeling until the feeling was gone. Everyone was happier for a change of scene, and my extroverts were on a high from meeting new people on the playground.
We didn’t do anything fancy, not even a nature walk. We just went to a plain old city park and did our lessons in the sunshine and played on toys during our breaks.
And you know what? It was fun. It was refreshing. The whole day went well after that.
Sometimes preventing homeschool burnout is that simple, especially if we build times like this into our weeks instead of waiting until we’ve already reached our limit.
Winter often means we are cooped up inside. Even here, where the weather is mild.
To return to our fire analogy, which I am destined to overextend before this series is over, going outside served as kindling for me that day. I just had a general malaise I needed to shake off. It was no one’s fault in particular. It just happens sometimes.
And that is the power of kindling, really. It’s just a bit of something really flammable with the goal of getting the fire going.
The thing with going outside is that we often leave our troubles behind for a while. At the park, the phone doesn’t ring and my email doesn’t ding and the laundry doesn’t buzz and the chores don’t beckon. (Word to the wise: if you have a cell phone, turn it off at the park unless there is a good reason to keep it on. You will thank me.)
Having all the burdens off my back for a couple hours was remarkably refreshing. A little sunshine and laughter made the world seem brighter. It not only got my day going, but the momentum continued for the rest of the week.
If you’re struggling inside and you happen to glance out the window and notice the day is a fair one, might I suggest going outside? A short walk might help if a morning at the park isn’t feasible. A little refreshment goes a long way sometimes.
Want to think more about homeschool burnout? Try this episode from Scholé Sisters:
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