By Beverly S. Krueger, senior editor Eclectic Homeschool Online
Don't make every moment an educational moment. I know, I know...life is learning and learning is life...but if you're not careful you'll find yourself detailing how electric circuits work every time you turn on a light switch. After delivering a short lecture on the history of oats in Scottish cuisine, you may find your children face down in the their morning oatmeal. Let educational moments unfold before you rather than seizing every moment and making it educational.
Do greet your husband with a welcoming smile and kiss when he comes home from a hard day of work. This is especially important if you have scorched the roof of the microwave during a science experiment or found your toddler experimenting with glue on his father's favorite book.
Do plan time to take care of yourself --body, soul and spirit. There's nothing like spending an hour soaking in a hot bathtub, candles glowing warmly and the tub lined with Hershey’s kisses. Word of warning: don't use floating candles with the light turned off. The last and only time I did this, I ended up in the pitch dark when the candle doused because I made to many waves.
Don't wear yourself out trying to be everything to everybody. Delegate tasks to your children, and don't take them back up when they don't perform them as well as you do. You don't want your children wondering if you spit out pellets just because you've taken to sounding like a screech owl.
Do keep a sense of humor. You could go on a rampage when your first grader decides to use permanent marker to create his own body art the night you've planned to take everyone out for your anniversary dinner. You could. But trust me, everyone you meet is probably going to be highly amused, so you might as well laugh along with them. I'll never forget the time I saw a father discover his two young sons wallowing in a huge mud hole they had created along the side of their home. He ran straight into his home and, by the look on his face, I was sure he was off to get some instrument of torture to beat these two hooligans. It was evident they thought so, too. Back he came dashing out... with a camera. Of course, he did get them in the end when he hosed them off.
Don't worry about keeping your house totally clean and neat. You live in it 24 hours a day and so do your children. Life will go on if your baseboards don't get dusted once a week.
Don't require your children to finish every thing or every book they start. Do you finish a really boring book? Perseverance is a noble virtue to instill in your children, but so is recognizing when you're wasting your time.
Do enjoy your children as they learn. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hassles of daily living. Set aside 15 minutes to just play or read with your kids. They'll remember that time all their lives. I still remember the look on my oldest son's face when he was seven-years-old and we sat down to read together. It wasn't just the look on his face. His whole body communicated delight at spending time with mom, one on one.
Do share your burdens, your joys, your daily struggles and daily successes with other homeschool moms. Support is a beautiful thing.
Beverly Krueger is Senior Editor of the Eclectic Homeschool Online and EHO Lite. She also blogs regularly at HS Blog.