Monday, January 3, 2011

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First!!

As a homeschooler of 13 years and counting, I know that January can be a tough month to "keep on keeping on." We're tired from the holidays and summer break seems a long way away. Perhaps we feel like it's been a long year already and there is discouragement in how much we have left to do. Or maybe it's the reality of winter. Whatever the cause January can be a tough month to stay motivated and motivate the kids.

I was thinking about a battle plan for the month of January and I remembered the advice I get every time I get on an airplane. "To care for a young child during a crash, put your own oxygen mask on first and then put the child's oxygen mask on." It sounds selfish but really you can't take care of your child if your not breathing. ;)

I think getting through a tough time period (whether homeschooling in January or otherwise) calls for the same survival skill. Put your own oxygen mask on first and then help the others put their on...

Here's my little homeschool survival guide (my "oxygen mask"):

~I will pay attention to my spiritual health by spending time with God as a first priority (reading the Bible, praying, repenting when sin is revealed, worshipping, praying throughout the day as needs come to mind and not waiting). "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

~I will pay attention to my physical health by making healthy food choices, getting on the treadmill (and actually turning it on, lol!), trying to get some fresh air (does walking from the car to the mall entrance count?), and committing myself to getting the amount of sleep that I need. I am going to try to keep my flesh healthy knowing that "the flesh is weak!"

~I will make time to be refreshed by making time to have a date with my husband, a fun family activity, a good book, some knitting or other hobbies. "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17

~I will make time to refresh others by spending time with friends, church family, spending time in ministry, helping others, etc. Being selfish is a huge burnout waiting to happen. "A generous person prospers. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

~I will reach out for help and prayer from trusted friends when I know I am drowning. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatian 6:2 "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

Then I will help my children to do the same as their survival plan (putting the oxygen mask on THEM).

Beyond that, understanding it is a difficult month, planning as much enjoyable learning as possible, trying to be as patient as you (I) can possibly be, and knowing when to take a break can be invaluable. Homeschooling is a long term commitment which makes it a marathon not a sprint. If you (I) are (am) always in sprint mode, burnout is just around the corner!! If you (I) want to stay in it for the long haul, you (I) have to understand that one bad day or one bad week or even one bad month does not define years of learning and growing.
Ready? Let's DO IT!! This year, let's not only SURVIVE January...let's THRIVE!!!


  1. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for your visit. I am so with you on this post. I have been running so hard for 2 years without my mask and I am all out of oxygen. That is why I am not sitting any goals this year except extreme self care. thank you for the reminder.

  2. Elizabeth, I noticed your goals on your blog. They are very inspiring!! :) Karen :)


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