Too often homeschoolers fall into the trap I did with Sarah, letting the curriculum dictate our teaching. Curriculum needs to be what it was designed to be: a helpful tool, not a demanding taskmaster. The book isn't the boss, you are! I forgot and let the curricula dictate our stress level this summer. And it wasn't good for my daughter--or me.

I have a friend whose son is a gifted competitive hockey goalie. He's also perfectionist, strong in academics, and dedicated to earning rank in Boy Scouts. Recently, he struggled with being tired all the time. His mom and the doctors couldn't find a reason for his symptoms. My friend canceled Boy Scout camp, packed away the schoolbooks, and put a moratorium on even talking about hockey. The family focused on renewal. They rode go-carts, rented movies, and played laser tag. After three day of complete rest from responsibilities, their son awoke and said, "wow, Mom. I feel like myself for the first time in weeks!"

As homeschooling moms we need to take into account our children's need for refreshment and times of play. Renewal doesn't have to be as big as my camping trip in the mountains, but it does need to be recognized as a priority in our life and in the lives of our children. Let go of an expectation or two and take time to play!

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A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.