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Learning By Grace is the online homeschooling leader. Partnering successfully with families for almost ten years, we reach Christian homeschool families in all 50 states and 20 countries. Founded by veteran homeschooling parents of 8 children, we understand your needs and meet them, because we've been there.

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Homeschool Fatigue

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 27 April 2010 16:07


-by Mimi Rothschild

We’re not talking here about homeschool burnout. We’re talking about the homeschool parent who’s happily homeschooling but just, well, tired.

It’s hard to join in with your kids on learning adventures when you’re exhausted. And with babies, kids’ activities, staying up late to get a little couple time after the kids go to bed, and getting up early to fit household chores in before schooling starts, lots of us are sleep deprived.

What can we do about it?

  • · Get more sleep. This is the best plan, if it’s possible. And maybe it is. Keep track of how you spend your time for a few days and see whether you really need to stay up as late as you do, or to get up as early as you do. One mom told us that she stays up late to see particular TV programs. With TV and video recorders, not to mention the option of watching many of your favorite shows online, this just isn’t necessary any more. Another mom said she gets up to make coffee for her husband, who’s on an early shift at a factory. Maybe it’s time for her to lovingly suggest to her husband that they get a coffeepot with a timer and let her sleep for another half hour. Most of us need our eight hours of sleep, and it’s worth scheduling those eight hours.
  • · Sleep better. For some, it’s not hard to get eight hours in bed, but that doesn’t mean eight hours of sleep. If worry keeps you awake, your best defense is prayer. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety,” says the psalmist in Psalms 4:8. The psalms have a lot to say about worry: remember that you can “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” Psalms 55:22 . And, if you don’t feel quite that optimistic, there’s always Matthew 6:34: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It’s hard to sleep if anxiety or even excitement fills your mind, but prayer, or counting your blessings, can calm you enough to sleep, if you let it.
  • · Nap. If you can’t get to bed earlier or stay up later, or your sleep is disturbed by a nursing baby, you may be able to find time during the day for a nap. Research suggests that the best way to take a nap and end up refreshed rather than groggy is to start with a cup of coffee. Odd as that sounds, the caffeine kicks in after ten or fifteen minutes, so subjects in the studies woke up and felt alert. Between 1:00 and 3:00 pm is the best time to take a nap, since that’s the natural low-energy time of the day. Many of us respond to that natural energy dip by having a sugary snack, or a combination of sugar and caffeine, such as a cola drink, or coffee and a candy bar. This can give you an immediate boost, but you’re likely to feel more tired later, as sweets cause a quick rise and fall in blood sugar. Try the caffeine nap instead. A nap longer than 30 minutes can backfire, though, and leave you feeling more tired than before.
  • · Eliminate possible health problems. If you get eight hours of sleep, but you still feel tired much of the time, there may be underlying health issues. Anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression can all lead to physical tiredness. Your family doctor can eliminate these possibilities for you – and if it turns out that you are in fact anemic or suffering from another health issue, your doctor can suggests treatments.
  • · Take care of yourself. Doctors say that most common fatigue comes not from serious health problems, but from lifestyle issues. Get enough sleep, exercise daily, eat right – enough protein and complex carbs like whole grains and fresh produce, little processed food or high fat and sugar foods – and you’re likely to feel much more energetic. With our busy lives, it’s hard to make taking care of ourselves a priority. This can be particularly true for moms. We have a tendency to take care of everyone else and ignore ourselves, but the gain in energy can make the effort worthwhile.

Finally, write out an encouraging verse to read over in those times when you do feel tired:

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.

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