Hitting The Wall
By Shirley Minster © 2012
Hitting The Wall. This runners’ well-known phrase means the person has depleted his energy and cannot go one … more … step. His energy level is sapped and he must stop. From what I understand, it happens for some very basic reasons. First, the runner does not pace himself. Instead, he runs too quickly at first rather than pacing himself. Second, he does not hydrate along the route and sweating causes his heart to not pump well. If he drinks the glucose liquids and eats the glucose-laden foods that are provided by the helpers along his route, his body will be replenished. Third, his brain and other muscles tire from this strenuous workout. That’s why eating carbohydrates is helpful. In other words, it is all in how the runner prepares for his run and what he chooses to do while he is running the course. A well-run race may not mean that he wins the race, but at least he will not hit the wall.
There are many similarities for homeschooling parents. First, pacing is important, especially for the parents who are just beginning the journey of homeschooling their children. Take it one day at a time and if your day falls short of your expectations, realize that there are other days ahead. Do not try to cram more lessons and activities into one day just because the teacher’s book lists everything that should be done. This will cause much weariness and frustration for both you and your students. Figure out what pace is best for you and your children. Some days you will be running uphill laboriously and other days you will be running on a smooth path. There will be days that others may pass you, but in the end your children will cross the finish line victoriously.
Second, take time to ‘hydrate’ and discover what you need to keep going strong. Accept the refreshments that others will provide to you along the homeschool journey. If another homeschooling parent suggests taking a fieldtrip together or working on a science project with your family, consider taking advantage of that. Share the load, learn from one another, and enjoy fellowship with other adults.
Third, accept that your brain will tire from the workout you are giving it every day. Not only are you homeschooling, but you are also running a household and raising children as well. Plan these essential nutrients of food, rest, and recreation into your day. Are you eating well or are you choosing less than healthy foods and eating hurried meals? That could account for your frustration and weariness. How about rest? Are you not sleeping well at night? Are you not taking a break to rest your brain during the day? One cannot survive long on weak batteries - they must be recharged.
Hitting the wall makes you so gosh-darn tired. You know you need a change, but sometimes you are so tired that you cannot figure out what kind of a change is needed and how to make it happen without upsetting everyone else. You end up feeling helpless. You may even feel guilty that you want to escape it all.
You may even be bored. Dare I admit that not every day will be filled with thrilling joy and brilliant lesson plans? Well, it is true for every single teacher. I am not suggesting that you stop homeschooling, but I am suggesting that you may have stopped doing things that are fun for you. Men and women need creativity in their lives. When was the last time you did something that brings joy to your heart? Perhaps knitting, painting, wallpapering, gardening, singing, composing music, decorating a cake, or another creative activity is waiting to be done. My guess is you have put your own interests on the shelf for a long time because you have been so busy serving others. That is a commendable, but battery-draining lifestyle.
Assess your situation if you are feeling drained. See if you need to make some changes. Not only will you be rejuvenated, but you will be demonstrating to your children how they should live, too. These are life lessons for the family.
About the author: Shirley Minster is founder of Home Education & Family Services, a full-time service organization offering a wide variety of helps and resources for homeschooling families, and Royal Academy, a unique alternative to traditional schools that is based upon the model of parental involvement in the education of their children. Shirley has worked in the field of education and with homeschooling families located throughout the world for over 25 years.
Visit her organization's website: http://www.homeeducator.com/HEFS