Couch Days: The Remedy for Homeschool Stress

an open book sits on a gray couch draped with a pink blanket

I have a confession: Sometimes my children are crazy. I love them dearly; my life wouldn’t be worth living without them, but every once in awhile— probably when the moon is full—they lose their minds. The chaos that ensues may involve but is not limited to whining about schoolwork, putting off chores, and yelling at and/or hitting each other. While I'm being transparent, I should probably confess that sometimes I am a little crazy, too. My chaos usually involves frustration that the house is a mess, exhaustion from too many activities, and last minute work assignments that take my attention from homeschool.

For me at least, it’s all too easy to dwell on those crazy days. It is easier to notice the bad than the good, and one bad day can sour a homeschooling experience more than a dozen good ones can sweeten it.

So what do we do when all of our thoughts are negative?

What do we do when our home is so chaotic that we just want to hide under the covers and cry?

Couch Days: The Remedy for Homeschool StressOver the years I’ve come to realize that the answer usually isn’t to give up and send the kids to public school. The answer is, take a deep breath and find some peace. My family’s favorite way to take a deep breath? It's couch day.

In our first year of homeschooling, my boys and I began this tradition. Once every few months, when we’re particularly tired or life has gotten stressful, one of us will declare that we need a couch day. As the name implies, this is a day devoted to nothing but the couch. We read books, watch television, and maybe sneak in a video game or two.

Couch day began on one cold morning, when, after a long week of teaching lessons and driving the kids to various activities, I just wanted to do nothing but cuddle up under a quilt on the couch. So that’s what we did!

When my children were smaller, couch day was all about togetherness. We spent the morning all under the same blanket, reading from a stack of picture books, and watching educational cartoons. Having that time with my young children reminded me of what I loved about homeschooling and being able to spend this time with them. Now they are older at ages nine and eleven and getting a little big for us to all spend the day together on our couch.

Until the time that I can buy a larger couch, we’ve changed the structure just a little bit. Normally, we still begin couch day together. My younger son will cuddle up against me, and my older son will sit on the other end of the couch while I read a novel to them. We read together until my voice gives out. Then I give them time to read their own books alone. At this point they usually move away from our beloved couch and find their own solo, comfy spots in the house. We generally come back together after lunch to read a bit more on our novel or another book the boys are interested in. After this extended time of reading, we make popcorn and watch a family movie.

Life gets so busy sometimes, and it only seems to get busier as my children get older. I love the times one of us announces, “I could really use a couch day,” and we have the opportunity to sit and enjoy our time together.

When we look back on our homeschooling experience, I have no doubt that these are the days my children will remember and love, and I appreciate how homeschooling can give us the freedom to take advantage of this time.

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Stephanie BlackAbout the Author

Stephanie Black is a writer and homeschool mama of two boys in Indianapolis, IN. Along with her husband and feisty rescue dog, they enjoy hiking, road tripping, and loudly singing 90s rock music.