As homeschool families, we strive to raise well-rounded children. We set goals and create a solid schedule, then put achievable plans into place to achieve our goals and see the day-to-day activities falls into place. We keep our lives well organized, and everything—and everyone—has a place. Yet sometimes we forget that well-rounded is not synonymous with healthy. In fact, in our effort to get every duck in a nice little row so we can be a well-rounded family with well-rounded children, we may miss the healthy target all together!
Even when we schedule, plan, and organize well, the implementation of our plans is an additional critical part of being a healthy family. Here are a few ways to ensure that we as homeschoolers nourish the health and wellness of our families, even while we tackle each day and aim for the well-roundedness target.
Make a Plan
Health does not happen spontaneously, especially in our current social climate of full schedules, quick meals, and multi-directional pulls. In order to be healthy as individuals and as families, we have to plan for it.
Some families are geared toward laying out a school year plan, organizing chore schedules, making menu plans, and keeping up with a family calendar. Others find greater success in making notes as they go, taking time each day to jot down what succeeded and what failed so they can approach the next day more effectively. Whichever camp you fall into, having an overarching idea of how you’re going to approach the school year, meals, the calendar, and life in general helps you stay on track.
Be Healthy Together
As homeschool families, we do so much together. But, somehow, we still segregate certain aspects of our lives. Have you ever noticed how many times Mom is the only one on a “diet”? Or certain members of the family squeeze in exercise on their own whenever they can find time? Or we challenge one family member to work on a specific area of physical or mental growth without participation from the rest of the family?
Obviously, there are times when we have to pull apart and take care of things separately. But, as a general rule, health and wellness can—and should—be tackled together as actively as the daily family meal!
If dietary needs are required for one family member, find ways to work that into the overall family meal plan, even if there are a few things that still need to be individualized. Take the same approach with physical needs, and find ways to creatively exercise through play, brisk family walks, or even a 5K training plan. Whatever the need, often the whole family is healthier if they work together to meet the needs of one.
Consider the Whole Field
Our society is very caught up in individual aspects of health. One says running is the ideal health-builder, while another says remove gluten from your diet. Some push for “gut health” while others argue for organic everything.
Because all of these individual recommendations have merit, it can seem overwhelming to know what really is best for the health of our families. That’s why we have to back up and look at the bigger picture.
Think of it as a baseball field with its infield and outfield positions. If a team is strong in one position but ignores the rest, success will be minimal. Our health is the same way. Running is great, but if running benefits the “left field” of your exercise routine yet harms the “pitching mound” of your family interactions, it might be a good idea to consider a different left field option. Evaluate what fits the whole playing field, both for each individual member of the family and for the family as a whole.
Lay off the Stress
Parents, I have bad news for you. That well-rounded target we are aiming for could possible be the cause of a great deal of stress, both for us and for our children. As you lay out your schedule, plan a new school year, and fill in all of the extras, keep the health of your family in the forefront of your mind. This is critical for when it comes time to implement your plan and tackle each new day.
Does your plan allow for regular physical activity? Can you keep up with healthy eating based on your regular, weekly schedule? Is there room for margin when extra demands on your time and energy crop up? Or do your school plan and extracurricular activities already have you maxed out?
No room for margin raises the stress levels for yourself and your children, and we all know the impact that stress can have on health! Reduce stress by keeping margin for adjustment in your routine.
Above all, remember that health is not just about eating well and exercising. Instead, it encompasses every aspect of life. So step back, take a look, and enjoy finding ways to approach health like you do everything else—together!