Taking Care of Me: Finding Balance in Life & Homeschool

As a homeschool mom, it is easy to lose sight of our own needs for the sake of our children and our spouse. Neglecting our needs, however, can damage our confidence, our relationships, and ultimately our enjoyment of life.

Sometimes we forget that if we don’t look after our body and our needs, we won’t be able to help our minds feel nourished, and our souls feel strong. It is important to take care of ourselves as individuals to ensure a happier and healthier life, as well as helping us to be more a part of the community in which we are a part.

Finding Balance in Life & Homeschool

I’ve written a few times in the past about how we have worked as a family to simplify our life and find balance. Today I would like to share a few of the things I do just for me and how I incorporate these into our homeschool lifestyle.

takingcareofmeMy Intellectual Self

Natural history and nature studies has always been a passion for me. As an undergraduate, the majority of my credits were in ecology and natural sciences. When I learned of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program, I knew immediately that I wanted to seek certification.

The Mission of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program is to develop a statewide corps of knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated volunteers who enrich their communities and enhance public awareness of Oregon’s natural resources through conservation education, scientific inquiry, and stewardship activities.

Since January, I have been immersed in the online course material which provides a basic overview of Oregon’s natural history and the management of its natural resources. While some of the material is review, I have been thoroughly enjoying the assignments as well as connecting with the other participants.

In June, I will begin the regional course requirement which are in-person coures taught within an ecologically distinct region of Oregon. I have selected the Oregon Coast but I am considering adding additional eco-regions in the future.

The final required component for certification is to volunteer 40 hours for a natural resources oriented group or project. Volunteer projects can include education and outreach, citizen science, land stewardship, and/or program support. I am very excited and look forward to collaborating with resource specialists again and developing educational programs for local students.

Finding Balance

What I love best about the online course material is that I have been able to include the kids. I read aloud my weekly readings and then assign them a modification of the tasks I am expected to complete. They are thereby learning college level material alongside me.

findingbalanceMy Physical Self

When the kids were younger and we first began homeschooling, running was a major part of my life. I was marathon training six days a week – running, swimming, and cross-training. It was challenging and fun.

With each successive half or full marathon that I completed, I set a new time goal. My aim was to qualify for Boston and I was just ten minutes shy of achieving that goal. Then a debilitating injury set me back. Planters fasciitis.

Though I recovered a few years ago and have tried to return to training a few times but I have never been able to stick with it as I did when the kids were toddlers. They each have their own activities and interests and there are more demands on my time. I’ve come to realize that I have been making excuses though.

Now that we have returned home and the climate is less restrictive, I have recently begun to focus and rebuild my mileage once again. Presently, I am averaging about 22 miles per week. I’d love to run another marathon again but to be honest, my goal presently is just physical fitness and enjoyment.

Finding Balance

During the week, I generally run while the kids are at swim team. On the weekends, the family will often accompany me – sometimes on their bikes. It makes for a great family outing and keeps me motivated.

Other Things I Do

Read something fictional

I love to refresh my mind by taking a break in the evening and escaping to another world. Reading fictional stories stimulates the right side of the brain, sparking creative thought. That stimulation helps make my day go a little smoother. I think differently, approach problems in abstract ways, and feel rejuvenated.

At our Family 5 Share Meeting each month, we each take a moment to share a book we have read in the past month and how it impacted us or what we learned. It has been a great way to connect and see that learning is a life long process.

Keep a journal

I actually have several journals, though I don’t write in each one daily. Most are bullet-form so I can jot down things I did, people I met, or how I felt. It’s been a great outlet to help me be present, remember the little moments and sort out challenges in both my personal and professional life.

I’ve always encouraged the kids to keep a journal and we’ve played around with a variety of journaling approaches over the years. My husband has begun to journal as well.

A good night’s sleep

The scientific benefits of sleep are innumerable. To perform at my best, it is critical that I get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. More sleep equates to more happiness, better health, and improved decision-making. Not to mention that it detoxes the brain.

BalancingVisit the sites of other iHomeschool Network bloggers as we explore Balancing Your Life & Homeschool. 

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥