everyday homeschooling blog


Sep 4, 2013

Homeschooling Survival - taking time to cleanse the palate

Tracy Klicka MacKillop

I've been doing a LOT of writing for work lately. I don’t mind writing articles, and appeal letters, and thank you notes, and blog entries…really, but sometimes my head needs a break, especially when all the writing is piled on top of the homeschooling. As I sat thinking about this today I realized...I needed a palate cleanser for my BRAIN!

For those of you who are scratching their heads--Palate cleanser? What's a pa-late cleanser? Isn't that what a dishwasher is for?--here's a little education, taken from a foodie website after doing a Google search:

Why do we need a palate cleanser? - Many of the foods we eat leave lasting residues or chemicals in the mouth. People often refer to after taste, but sometimes you may not recognize that there is flavor leftover. Whether you notice it or not, these chemicals may continue to stimulate your taste buds and tweak your sense of taste. They will disrupt the way any new item tastes. A cleanser clears the mouth in preparation for something new. It resets our sense of taste so we are able to taste the true flavors of the next bite.

Yep, after reading that definition, I knew I most definitely needed this for my overworked brain!

So I decided to take a break from my writing projects and do some art. While mango-lime cream sounds yummy and is said to be an great palate cleanser for the taste buds, I have found that doing art is an excellent palate cleanser for my brain.

Thinking about the palate cleanser for the brain idea, I became aware of how our children need this, too. In our homeschooling day, how often do we help our children to “cleanse their palate” before moving to the next subject? I know I’ve been tempted to keep up with our daily schedule (because I’ve packed it so full!), and have just expected my young children to instantly switch gears from vocabulary to math, or from science to literature.

Sometimes our children, especially as they get older, just need to take some time to pause, reflect on what they’ve been learning. It may well benefit them to have opportunity to do some journaling, or  think about questions that might be bumping around in their brain, like when you just taught them about the Israelites wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years, when it should have taken them a couple months at the most to cross the desert. I still can’t figure that one out!

Other times, your child might need to burn some extra energy before starting another subject. My son, Jesse, at age 9 could only make his brain do so much math in one sitting before he needed to start throwing a ball or jumping around pretending to be a sword fighter.

Finally, your kids might need a palate cleanser for their brain when a subject is hard for them. They have “chemicals left over in their mouth” which need to be cleared out before they’ll be emotionally ready to tackle the next area of study.

Cleansing their palate may look different for each child, but the effect is still the same…resetting their sense of “taste” so they are “ready to taste the true flavors of the next bite.”

By the way, moms, we need this too. Even a cup of peppermint tea and a quick read in a devotional book can do wonders to clear our “palate” so our taste buds are refreshed for the next thing on our TO DO list. For me today, it was sitting down for about an hour to do a quick watercolor sketch. One simple hour translated into a heap of refreshment for me--thank You, Lord! Now on to the next thing!

Try making a list of things you and your children can do when you need to clear and reset your taste buds during your homeschooling day…I can assure you, the therapeutic value will be worth it!

Enjoy the journey...there's no place like home,