Homeschooling provides ample time with your children. This is a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my kids and finding ourselves lost deep into whatever project or topic we stumble upon during our school day. However, there comes a time when a mom just needs a few hours to herself – whether to unwind for a bit, scurry around to get amazing amounts of things done, do a some shopping, or simply sit in her car and read.
But, finding predictable, safe and affordable childcare can be super tough when you’re away from all grandparents, aunts and uncles or on a tight budget because you live on one income. However, my friends and I have created a little winner of an idea for us crazy homeschoolers. You ready?
It’s called The Great Kid Swap.
It all began when my new-to-homeschooling-friend was sitting in my toddler’s bedroom floor and sharing her frustrations with me while the kids ran circles around us and the train table. She was bothered that she wasn’t experiencing the camaraderie among other homeschool parents she expected. Basically, she was disappointed in “the village” that promised to help her. In an effort to help her get some time to do the things she needed to accomplish, we came up with this crazy idea. Swapping kids.
Together, we thought about how many kids would be a realistically controllable number in our small, New England homes. Next, we brainstormed through our mutual friends and found one other mom that we felt was like-minded. Lastly, we figured out which day of the week worked the best for everyone and decided upon our rotation schedule.
So, here is our break down of how it worked and what we loosely agreed upon.
- Kid Swap happens once a week, on Tuesday afternoons from noon until 3pm.
- Drop off moms agree to drop off and pick up promptly.
- Host mom prepares a simple lunch (super basic, here…. PBJ’s, apple slices, cheese, etc.)
- Kids play until moms return.
- Drop off moms get 3 hours to do whatever they want.
Our Kid Swap provided a bit more than we expected. In addition to giving moms a little breathing time during the week, the kids developed some great friendships in the process. We all experienced the occasional spat or needed reminders on including others in the game, but for the most part, everyone got along. For our three families, Kid Swap also acted as an anchor, forc us to accomplish our schoolwork effectively on Kid Swap day.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.