Rest and Energy Matters

Young african woman lying on grass sleeping

I was surrounded by passionate home educators all week-end. Listening to their concerns, I realized how much home educators need to heed the call to rest. Here’s why:

  1. You’re on 24/7.
  2. You live at your workplace.
  3. You live in dual roles (parent/teacher).
  4. You have a deep spiritual calling.

I then did some reading from Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation and was particularly interested in an article entitled “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time” by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy in a book called On Managing Yourself (2010). They highlighted four areas of life where you need to manage your energy, as opposed to your time.

The four areas are: body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In the body section, they discuss “ultradian rhythms” and the need for intermittent recovery through breaks after each 90- to 120-minute ultradian rhythm cycle. In each cycle, you experience high energy and focus and then fall into a trough of low energy, requiring recovery. In the emotions section, they discuss defusing negative emotions, cultivating positive emotions, and expressing appreciation. In the mind section, they emphasize the need to fully focus on one thing at a time, avoiding interruptions, and completing tasks, before moving on to the next project. (There goes multi-tasking . . .) When they discuss the spirit, they refer to placing your energy into tasks and projects that align with your sense of purpose and values (now that’s homeschooling!).

As you reflect on the importance of your calling as a home educator, and the dedicated spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual energy required to do the job well, prayerfully reflect on these questions with the Lord:

  • Lord, how am I keeping my life balanced (e.g., nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, rest in general, personal needs, intellectual and spiritual growth, emotional/social growth) and where do I need to pay increased attention to how I allocate my energy?
  • Lord, what unique opportunities have You placed before me where I can find rest in the midst of my busy home educator schedule (e.g., retreat house, home group, quiet time, coordinating with friends who are homeschooling, infusing breaks and fun, honoring the Sabbath)?
  • Lord, am I following Jesus’ example (Matthew 14:23; Luke 9:18) to retreat from the crowds for quiet reflection, prayer, and communion with You? Am I listening to Your Spirit, or am I constantly on the go . . . depleting my energy rather than restoring my spiritual energy through a posture of prayer and internal peace?

Lord, give me the grace to not be on 24/7 but to have the discipline to keep my life balanced, regularly retreating for prayer and communion with You so that I might be restored, rested, and inspired by your Spirit towards ever-increasing spiritual riches in the homeschool journey. Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University

The Young Entomologist


For a number of years I taught writing classes to homeschooling children. I loved teaching this class. I’ll never forget one particular young man (let’s call him Charlie) and his keen interest in insects. When I asked him to write a story, he would create insect characters. When I asked him to write a poem, it would be about an insect. When I asked him to write a report, he would choose an insect to study. Charlie was completely enthralled with insects. Read more

Fresh Starts: A New Year’s Blog Post

Pen on open notebook and coffee cup

As we enter into the new year, I am thinking about fresh starts. For example, I love that I can start a new calendar, set and reach a new set of goals, begin a new journal, work on new habits in health and exercise, read some new books, or explore a new hobby. Fresh starts are like clean slates … and most people like fresh starts … they find it … well … refreshing! Read more

With God, All Things are Possible


I am slowly going through a book called Journey with Jesus by Larry Warner as part of my daily quiet time. Larry basically took the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and aligned them to the Protestant context. A particular meditation on Luke 1:37-38 recently moved me deeply. This was the scene where the angel, Gabriel, had been sent by God to Mary, announcing that she was to conceive a son by the Holy Spirit and that He would be the Son of the Most High. Mary asked, “How can these things be?” And the angel replied, “With God all things are possible.” Read more

Anxious Grasping


Have you ever found yourself anxious about whether or not you would be successful as a home educator? Have you ever found yourself stressing and ruminating as you struggle with one child and his or her grasp of a particular subject or character trait? What if this? What if that?

You are not alone. We all want success for our children, and we all take daily steps to ensure proper training for the children for whom we are responsible, whether they be our biological children, foster care children, friends’ or neighbors’ children, or nieces and nephews. Read more

Deeper Thinking

scubaConsider this, some scuba divers won’t go deeper than twenty or thirty feet; others, however, are willing to take the deep dives and explore hidden treasures. Teachers and home educators are the same way. How do you get your students to think for themselves, rather than to simply absorb someone else’s thinking? It begins with modeling true curiosity, asking the deeper questions, and habituating the students to explore their own questions. Read more

Accelerator Pedal

SUVThere have been a number of times in my driving career where an accident was avoided by pulling my foot off the accelerator pedal or, conversely, by pushing down hard and fast on the accelerator pedal. Had I not taken immediate action, these situations would have ended in fender benders, side swipes, or head on collisions with dire consequences. Read more

Don’t Do It Alone


The Vandewalles have been homeschooling their six children since 1999 and are about to graduate their third student. Until last year, most of their homeschooling was done at home without the benefit of outside classes;  like so many families, they were busy with activities and the daily demands of life. Academically, they tended to focus more on their high school students in order to prepare them for college.

Robyn Vandewalle shares, “A couple of years ago, we realized that our younger students, now entering middle school, had skated by with less academic attention than would be ideal. Read more

5 Things Paul’s Comments on the Law Teach Us About Parenting

paul_blogPaul’s discussion of the Old Testament law in Romans and Galatians connects well with a practical life concern: How do we effectively parent our children? In particular, one question parents regularly face has to do with what part rules play in raising children. Since Paul actually uses the raising of children as an analogy to explain the role of the law (Galatians 3:24-26; 4:1-7; Romans 8:14-17), perhaps we should turn the analogy on its head and ask if there is anything we can learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law.

What can we learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law? Five things: Read more

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