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taking care of mama

12 Jan

Starting 2012, I had a list of resolutions, or “intentions” as I like to call them. Doesn’t seem so weighty then. ūüôā As I reflected over them, I saw a common theme amongst many items; items like “make time to create weekly,” “go to bed early, wake early,” “go to yoga 2 times a week,” etc. The common theme was that I am craving caring for myself. As I get carried away, from the moment I awake, to the demands of mom, wife, housekeeper, educator – I forget to make time or priority to care for me.

However, if I don’t care for my needs:

  • physical
  • spiritual
  • emotional
  • intellectually

then I can’t possibly be caring for the needs of others in the best way possible. BUT, I find it SO hard to take care of me! Why? Before I had kids, I thought nothing of reading a book in the middle of the day or going to the gym. Confession: I like my family and being with them. I feel guilty at doing my own thing while everyone is together. But I NEED to be okay with it. I NEED to be okay with my husband taking the kids to the park while I have quiet time at home. I NEED to be okay with going to Starbucks a few hours on Saturday to do planning while he has the kids at home. I NEED to be okay with letting go of tidying up for the night so I can go to bed early. Once I actually break away and do it, I feel more relaxed and¬†rejuvenated. I know I respond better to those around me and show my family my best, when I’ve given some of “me’ to me.

Some ways I plan on being more proactive in this area for the year are: planning a girls weekend away to refresh and relax, spend a few hours each weekend away from the house – planning for the week ahead, and creating time in my week to sew, create, craft, read, for yoga, and homemaking. The first thing was to decide it was a necessity for me and the second thing was to get my husband’s support.

Mama’s we don’t have to do it all ourselves. Go out, take a break, slow down, and take care of yourself. You’ll feel better for it and your family will appreciate it.

learning in the everyday

5 Jan

Often I find myself falling into a trap that has me thinking that the only successful days I have in homeschooling are ones that have a clear, organized, subject-filled plan in place. I’m okay following a day like that about 3 times a week. However the other days I am itching to get out of the house, explore the world around, run errands, and meet up with friends. When I fall into that trap, on those days I think about how the kids aren’t learning, I’m slacking in schooling, or they’ll never get x, y, z. I forget one of the main reasons we homeschool our children is so that they will see that learning happens all around – at any place or time. When I stop and reflect on that I remember that –

the brothers playing legos together this morning in a peaceful manner were working on social skills and math concepts in using the legos

free play led to the boys drawing maps of a friend’s home and yard, complete with a plan for spying on chickens

putting together the pieces of an animal habitat led to research about triops, crustaceans, and the observation of a roly poly

uninterrupted time inspired quiet reading of new library books

openly available art supplies inspired artwork, drawings in sketch pads, and chalk drawings

Sometimes I need to remember my own thoughts about learning happening all around — those lessons could be the richest ones that my children learn. Sure a plan is great, curriculum is a wonderful help, and I still feel the pressures to meet standards and “get it all in,” but I can step back and see that just daily living is not done in vain when I make myself available for the littles, provide resources and opportunities, and encourage them to explore.

sticky fun with littles

24 Jun

I came across this great idea to have fun with little hands. You simply tape contact paper to a window or door surface in the corners. I then provided a selection of things to stick to the paper. You can use feathers, sequins, toothpicks, googly eyes, scraps of ribbon or fabric, wooden pieces and shapes, and even pieces of paper. Harper had a great time and loved sticking the things to it. My 5 year-old wanted to do his own and even enjoyed it. He was able to use the items to make actual objects with the things – like a house, airplane, 3-eyed monster. Such cheap, easy fun!!

looking back on the year…

7 Jun

A little over a year ago we stepped out in faith and made a family decision to homeschool our children. For many reasons, some of which are discussed HERE, we prayed about it and made the decision we felt was best for our family. Now a year later, we are looking back and evaluating how it went and how we all feel about the school year.

We’re celebrating the school year for the hard work that everyone put into the year. The boys did far better than I thought they would – sure we had a few days with rotten attitudes and testing of boundaries, but for the most part, they did great and just took our school time as what we did. We were able to make new friends, go on many day trips and fun activities, and spend time at home – more than we really had before.

I love that I was able to be present in the every day discipling of the boys. As we encountered a deficient relationship skill or a sin issue, we dealt with it from a Christian standpoint. The boys learned scripture verses and we applied them to the every day living. I’d like to see their relationship develop even deeper these next few years as they mature some and as we work on the concept of “family” a bit more. It was such a blessing though to lay so many foundational bricks.

Nothing compares to the joy of seeing your children learn something at the teaching from your hands and mouth. One of my sons really started reading this year. A late bloomer in a few academic areas, his teacher from last year was concerned he’d be lost in the school system if he was to go on to public school. We were able to see him start reading, and to start understanding the connection between letters and words. And not only start reading, but to have confidence in doing so because he has nothing to compare it to and hasn’t felt defeated in any way.

I think we have bonded as a family this year as we have all found a bit more of the purpose for which God created us. I have never been more comfortable in a role and just wanting to grow in it as I have this year as a mother, wife, and housekeeper. God has continually reminded me that this season is for raising my children and aiming them towards Him. However, He is always teaching me. The boys are the only ones learning around here! I love the lessons I’m learning as a result of homeschooling them.

Next year, I have decided to take a position at Arrows Academy teaching K4-K5. The great thing is that I will still be able to school our family! The boys will also have the best of both worlds with someone else, a Christian teacher, guiding them and saying the same things we are and speaking into their lives. They’ll have a classroom of friends to interact with, and I get to use my gifts and talents even more!

So, all in all I have LOVED this year. I think the boys have liked it well and I’m excited about what next year will hold.

frustration

10 May

After spending last week sick with Bronchitis, I reached about Thursday morning and had met an all new level of frustration in my life. I was in the shower, crying out to God, with a heart not settled, and a mind unsatisfied. I realized that I was in a place that I felt I was losing control over so many areas and I hated the helpless feeling I was feeling. (Okay, so do I really have any “control” anyways?)

  • I was frustrated by the lack of cleanliness of my home – laundry not caught up. Laundry never caught up! Toys strewn across the floor of most rooms. Surfaces and corners that could use a good scrubbing. Argh!
  • I was frustrated by my attitude I had lately with my¬†children. Rather than getting patient and calm mommy, they were getting impatient, irritable, short mommy. Didn’t like that. I found myself saying no so often throughout the day without any reason why my answer was no to them. I made mountains out of mole hills and forgot to pick and choose my battles. Ick.
  • As if those two areas weren’t enough to be frustrated about, I was frustrated with my attitude towards my husband. Indifference, irritability, and selfishness were traits I was exhibiting rather than love, concern, and patience.
  • I was frustrated by my body. Sure I’m pre-3-baby-pregnancy weight minus a pound or two more, but how fit am I? My clothes are tighter and things have definitely moved around. How does that happen?! I don’t like what I see in the mirror, but I also don’t do anything about it. I’m a relatively healthy eater, but I can never seem to find time or energy in my day to exercise. At one point I was working out 4 days a week and felt and looked great. But that was a season ago, one less kid, and a few less responsibilities. Ugh.

As I looked further, I realized that at the heart of everything I was frustrated with were my lack of time with God and my lack of time in His word. As I’ve thought on that a few days, I’ve come to realize that when I feel the most frustrated in my life, it’s because I’ve lost sight of my priorities, gotten disorganized, and aren’t living in His grace. This is both refreshing and overwhelming. Refreshing because okay, that sounds like a plan. We can work through this with a plan! But overwhelming at the same time because where do I start at getting back on track? What things are most important? How do I reconcile the important ones with the ones that gotta-get-done?

(1) I need to realize I can’t get it all done. And that’s OKAY. Some days some things will take priority and some days it will be others.

(2) Prioritize. Make lists. To-dos. Get organized. I work so much better this way. I need to purge some things in my life that take time away from the things I need to be doing. But at the same time I need to balancing work with fun and rest.

(3) Stay¬†focused¬†on God’s word and scripture. A sure way to encourage me and remind me daily of His power to get it done.

Finding a balance can be so difficult. Usually the times are simply seasons and we must adjust and transition to the next but, do you ever feel this way friends? What things have you found helpful in not becoming frustrated?

thankful for a new day!

16 Mar

I wanted to post a “Corners of My Home” post today, but it was all cloudy and rainy yesterday – not a good day for pictures. So hopefully I’ll get those taken today to post for tomorrow! It’s my favorite room of the house right now that I want to show you guys. So it’s a goodie!

Love that smile even when it's driving me nuts!

Most days of homeschooling are great! We get a lot done, have mucho fun, go places, play outside, learn together, and laugh and smile. Well, yesterday was NOT one of those days. And you know what? That’s okay! Everyone has an “off” day now and then. I think my “off” day and my kids’ “off” days just collided. ūüôā We battled, fought, pulled teeth, and growled. A mason jar of marbles shattered. The wall got written on with marker. None of my chores or housekeeping got done. But it’s over and today is a new day. Thank goodness!

God is shaping him into the boy and one day, man, He has planned.

I love the feeling that a new day brings. I used to wake up and lay in bed thinking about the negative things that were in my mind from the night before, dreading moments before they even happened. But you know what? I slowly realized that each new day is a gift to us. It is grace. It is a chance to show others grace and to act in a different way. It’s a second chance! So now, I try to see each day as a new start. It’s like a fresh canvas and we can choose how to paint it with our actions and attitudes.

Her new sentence "No Momma!" and today she started asking "Why?" to everything!

Try remembering that when you wake in the morning!

(If you think of it, pray that today is better for us! That can’t hurt!)

how to make a free compost bin & involve kids

3 Mar

I’m trying to compost again this year. Tried last year. Failed. Maggots. Fungus. Yuck. BUT…. something is drawing me back to trying it. We have a little garden and I would LOVE to use the compost from our compost pile rather than spend the $14.98 I did yesterday for compost. Also, I figured that if things like fruit peels, veggie rinds, and eggshells decompose and break back down to earth, why not? It’s not helping anything to have them sit in a plastic garbage bag in a landfill somewhere being preserved rather than going to dirt. Well, I asked dear hubby to build me a compost bin. The littles were excited to jump in and use power tools and involved their neighbor friends too!

1. We found pallets at a local plumbing shop that was throwing them away. They were more than happy to let us have them.

2. Some of the pallets had split boards on them. Since we had more than 3 pallets, which was all we needed, he used some good boards from the pallets we weren’t using and hammered them to the places we needed them.

3. Standing the pallet on end, another pallet was screwed to it, creating a right angle corner.

4. Once again, repaired any broken boards.

5. The third pallet was stood on end and lined up next to the back pallet. Once again, it was screwed together. We needed to put a few smaller pieces of wood on the inside to joist it together and help have places to put the screws.

6. After it was finished and standing, we inserted a few pieces of wood spanning from corner to corner just to support the structure a bit more. From beginning to end it was finished in about an hour, with the help of 5 kids!