I won’t lie. It’s happened to me.
In fact, I’m in the midst of it as I write this. Our car, that we had owned for almost ten years, gave up the ghost last week. Since we’re frugal and don’t want to buy a car on credit, we are waiting to sell some investments to be able to pay cash for one. The result being that I can’t get out of the house.
I’m not good at this sort of thing. If you tell me I cannot leave the house, you might as well tell me that I’m not allowed to have fun of any kind. Getting out the house, even on errands, has achieved a new kind of attraction lately, especially after having children.
This week has made me think much about being stuck at home with kids. It can be lonely, even boring, especially if one or more of the children are still young enough to be in diapers.
So what do you do when it gets like this?
When the memory of every room is etched into your skull, when you think all you’re doing is walking around like a zombie looking at the same smudges on the walls, hearing the same fights among the children, doing the same lessons with them? What do you do when the end of the school year is so close you can almost taste it, and yet so far.
Here are some practical suggestions, based on what I’ve been doing.
I can’t promise they will work, but they might lift your mood and get you out of your long-days-and-short-years perspective on motherhood and homeschooling.
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill – make aioli, anyone? Truffles? How about canning? How about dancing? Or singing? Or learning to read music? Just because you’re stuck at home does not mean that you are limited in your learning. Check out YouTube, Pinterest, check out Udemy and take an online course on anything from programming to yoga, marketing to guitar, photography to cake decorating. Take the time to experience the world as your children do – with wonder. The internet can do that for you.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language changes your brain. Besides, it’s just plain fun. Check out Duolingo. It’s a free app. I’m currently learning Spanish. And the children are picking up a few words, too!
Just taking a walk makes you feel more refreshed and gets you out of the house. If you want more workout inspiration, there’s Netflix, YouTube, Pinterest. If all else fails, the roads are always open. Just be sure to be safe and wear reflective gear.
Explore a New Podcast
Have an interest in something no one else shares, especially the little ones? Search millions of podcasts and learn something new or add to your body of knowledge. I have bluetooth wireless headphones which I can wear and work while listening to whatever I want from my smartphone across the room. I bought them thinking I might hear music, but listening to a podcast is much more fun.
Read / Listen to a Book
I love reading, but I don’t always get the kind of peace and quiet that lets me sink into the characters. The library currently FREE carries e-books which can be downloaded and read. It also carries audio books. Check them out! If you are a Prime member, Amazon now gives you Prime reading – a few tens of thousands of books to read for free on your Kindle! As the old cliche goes, books give us someplace to go when we can’t get anywhere.
Dream / Plan
Speaking of places to go, the longing to get out when lonely can make planning and dreaming much more fun. I use the time to ask questions about where I really want to go. This week, for instance, I’m planning a few homeschool seminars to attend this summer and dreaming about camping. I’m also using the time to review our insurance plans – a good exercise in saving money.
Catch up on Record Keeping
Record keeping, especially if you are unschooling, can be a bit of a chore. I keep a monthly blog for our school. (It started as a daily blog.) I like to keep track of books read, projects engaged in, field trips taken, and I also like to keep end of the year report cards, just to get an idea of how much the children have progressed.
I often get lazy when it comes to taking pictures. I don’t usually pull out our Canon that takes better pictures unless there’s a special occasion or I’m bored. The days when I can’t do anything else are the days of making photo memories with the children. I take some of my best pictures then. Taking pictures also changes my perspective, pun intended. The living room looks bigger, the ceilings taller. Life isn’t so boring after all.
Invite Friends Over
Just because I’m stuck at home doesn’t mean my friends are, too! Having a playdate is a great way to get energized by some company and get out of the doldrums. The children get to play and make some friends or see old ones again.
Watch a Good Horror Flick
I know, it’s silly. But a good horror flick makes me appreciate my humdrum, boring life a little more. It’s a little bit like the Greek tragedy that was supposed to bring out a cathartic reaction. Don’t underestimate the power of a good horror flick. Just make sure the kids don’t watch it if it’s going to scare them.
And there you are. 10 things to do when homeschooling gets to be just too much and you want to quit. I’ve been inspired in writing this and now I’m off to learn some Spanish on Duolingo.