About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sixteen Sanity Savers for Moms: Free pdf

I've been writing up a storm this week so I have already finished the free mini book I mentioned earlier in the week.  Check out the side bar on the right to subscribe to receive your free pdf.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

31 days-- a writing challenge

31 days is a writing challenge where bloggers pick one topic and write everyday for the month of October.  I have intended to do this for 3 years, but life keeps getting in the way.  This year, I am going to do it.  So, if you blog, consider joining in.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I will let you know what my topic will be very soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recycling: Homeschooling myths

I am working on a free mini ebook I will be offering in the coming weeks in addition to my longer ebook.  Enjoy this recycled post about homeschooling myths

Homeschooling myths
I found an interesting series of blog posts about the myths of homeschooling.  (part 4 is here; it didn't work for me in the first link.) This is not what one might expect, though.  It is about myths that homeschoolers are perpetuating about how great homeschooling is.  (while hiding the hard, bad stuff)  I don't agree with everything stated here (the author is pro-homeschooling and Christian, but it might not seem like it because he is quite blunt), but I am glad someone is speaking about the hard parts of homeschooling instead of painting it as a cure all to all of societies ills.  Some homeschoolers set homeschooling up as an idol and don't want any of the bad to leak out.  Pride can run deep, and I think we need to acknowledge the difficulties that this choice brings (along with all of the good) instead of covering it up and pretending problems don't exist. And I think it is time that people quit thinking they are somehow better parents because they homeschool or that it is the only good choice.  Below are several other links to posts about people who have left homeschooling.  Some are about how they were treated negatively by other homeschoolers because they left homeschooling behind.

homeschooling burnout

I lost the homeschool battle

Why we're dropping out of homeschool

homeschooling guru sends her kids to public school

Why I do not homeschool

Now, just so I make this known, I am pro-homeschooling, if that  is working for everyone involved, including mom.  However, now I believe that other choices can work just as well and each family must discern where God is leading them.  I am no longer the homeschooling nazi police.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recycling posts: Comparing

Since I merged my other two blogs to this one, I thought I might recycle some posts that might pertain to this blog.  I will try to post at least one recycled post a week.  This post is similar to Mixing causes.

Comparing


One particular point in my post on depression is about comparing, and I want to delve into it more deeply. Many women mercilessly compare themselves to others, seeing if they meet up to their ideal.  But if we stop and think about our ideal wife, mother, trad. Catholic, or whatever title you want to call it, can we see how unrealistic it really is?  Here is one example (and there may be many others depending on your ideal, but this is a common one I have noticed).  I mean who has a great figure (because she exercises 5x a week), raises most of her food (organically of course), homeschools her 6 children (while writing her own hands-on "real" curriculum) with 2 nurslings, hangs out her wash (don't forget there are cloth diapers blowin in the wind!), keeps her house looking like Better Homes and Gardens, attends daily Mass (only the TLM which is in boonville), sews matching outfits, keeps up with her perfect blog, and runs a home business on the side.  This doesn't even take into account the wonderful virtues she has perfected like patience (she never yells or scolds), denies herself constantly (goes with little sleep, plays with her children any time she an, dotes on her husband constantly).  Heck, even June Cleaver couldn't match up to that.
Most of us at one time or another have tried to do many of these things (or other forms of ideal) and felt that we didn't measure up to this ridiculous yardstick.   We need to cut ourselves some slack and realize we don't all have to be alike, we aren't perfect, and our reality will never match up with our ideal...and that is ok. We are human not superwoman.  God does not call all to be the same cookie-cutter moms.  Dr. Mary K. Clark sums it up nicely in her (July 2006) Seton newsletter. "Each of us is made in the image of God, so each of us reflects some small part of the infinite goodness of God. Since everyone is unique, and everyone is called to serve God, we must say that there are an infinite number of ways that God is to be served. The task of each person in life is to find that way of serving God to which he is called."  We are made in God's image and likeness not June Cleaver, Suzie homemaker, or St. Do-it-all.  Become who you are!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mixing causes for the perfect recipe


 

What began as a simple recipe for parenting, quickly turned into a complex formula that the most talented chef couldn’t produce.  First, I started with an innocent baby and mixed in attachment parenting.  Next, I creamed in gentle discipline methods to create a peaceful child.  Like a pro, I blended in natural medicine while avoiding vaccines, organic food free of preservatives, and I tossed the TV aside.  Like a proficient pastry cook, I whipped up homeschooling with all of my other ingredients , planning all of my lessons like an expert. Add a huge helping of a large family free of any family planning, sure to make the perfect confection! Next, the guidelines suggested a dash of modesty (meaning skirts/dresses only for girls) pureed with courtship instead of dating.  Lastly, I put it in the get-it-right oven and slow baked the duration of motherhood for a flawless family! 

When my perfect family cake fell flat, I searched through the directions to see if I had left something out or skipped a step.  No, I had missed nothing the experts claimed to add, but I took a step back and examined my creation.  What I saw was not a pretty site.  Instead of a seamless family, I observed messiness and a crispy fried mommy who was trying to generate the perfect method for the perfect family set on a shiny platter for all the world to see. 

My not so perfect family 

What happened?  Why couldn’t I mix up a batch of excellent kids?  What seems to have been a relatively easy task back when I was growing up now seems to need a 4 year culinary degree.  Why is this so common among homeschooling families?  Many of them become wrapped up in these other causes almost in a cult-like manner.  We desire to make a difference in our child’s lives and thus in the world.  We want to see a better change, and like what life used to be when families were healthy.  But looking back at those families, there is not a whole lot of commonality other than mom is at home and more people were church goers.  Moms didn’t homeschool, they just took their child to the doctor when sick, they didn’t evaluate everything they ate, they dressed their children in whatever they found at the store, they let them play outside for hours on end, but they were always present to their children in the background not on center stage running the show like a circus master taming wild beasts.  They did things for themselves without their children and for themselves.  Their identity was not wrapped up in their children and in the type of lifestyle they had.  They didn’t have a lifestyle.  They just lived life according to moral principles.  And guess what?  They loved their children, but they didn’t control everything for them.

We all want a better world for our children, and it is true that our world is declining morally in a fast way. All of these causes are good in and of themselves, but to think everything is a conspiracy theory makes us paranoid of some very good things.  Most doctors have their patient’s health in mind, children can be educated in many ways and still love their families and turn out well.  Kids with mainstream recreation interests can be wholesome.  The main differences I see in those that follow the ways of the world are what Jesus said.  You are in the world but not of the world.  We can live in this world and enjoy certain things, but we aren’t of the world because we are living for something beyond this world—heaven and that does mean living in a different way than. God doesn’t give us too many details on how to do this.  He tells us to follow His commandments, but He doesn’t give detailed lists on other things like dressing, eating, discipline, and schooling methods.  We can become to legalistic in our thinking if we limit ourselves to these cause or think our bowl must contain them all.  We can begin to believe that our cookbook is the only road to holiness and heaven.  Thus, guilt creeps into to a mother’s mind if she doesn’t follow the plan.

If you are trying to cook the impossible recipe of motherhood, close the cookbook, take off the perfect mom chef hat, and look to the Master Cook.  He will guide your family and create what is meant to be your family recipe.  It may look different for all of us.

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Allowing difficulties to strengthen kids

When I began homeschooling, I had a lofty goal of shielding my children from experiencing difficulties.  I remember as a child being quite shy and being teased in school for numerous things like being in the lowest reading group, because I had freckles, and because I was little.  These were hard for a little shy girl to handle therefore, I did not want my children to go through these challenges.  Homeschooling did to an extent protect them from some things, but one thing I did not expect was that at times they thought they were stupid.  Being in the lowest reading group in school was very humiliating for me, and I wanted my children to never feel that pain.  When certain skills did not come easily to my children, they felt stupid and let us all know it through their tears and screams.  I also noticed that my children with a more sensitive personality seemed to have a harder time with these types of ordeals.  My more laid back children tended to act a bit frustrated displaying some moans or complaints but were able to quickly get past the laboriousness of the task at hand.  Next time around, the easy going children seemed to forget the previous happening and the then current one did not conjure up memories of the last episode.  But watch out for those reactive children!  Out come the words I dreaded I'm stupid.  I can't do this!  As the years wore on, and I had more children begin to school at home, I finally woke up and smelt the coffee!  This was a personality trait, and I couldn't do much about how they viewed certain situations and how they dealt with them.  They had to learn to wade the waters of frustration in their own way so they could begin to navigate those events which happen to everyone.




Super child

When I began considering sending my children to a brick and mortar school, those old feelings crept in like a sneaky brother playing a trick on you.  It took a lot for me to remind myself that each person is different and will not handle things in the same way.  I knew my experience might not be my child's thus I couldn't project feelings and situations they may go through.  My wise sister also spoke words that still echo in my ears and ones I have known all along--that struggles make you stronger.  Did I want to try to protect my children from getting stronger?  Isn't that what we want for our children, to be able to handle whatever may come without crumbling to the floor?  So, now that my children are in school and dealing with things they never have had at home, I am there to walk them through it mostly by listening and hugging.  I have learned to be a sounding board for them although a few try to use me like an emotional punching bag, and I do have to draw a line sometimes when they get too worked up.  But my children know they can always come home to mom's awaiting arms for a reassuring hug and for words of affirmation in their abilities.

Since the children have been in school now for three weeks, these issues have sneaked up on us.  My dyslexic child is having to learn  the routines of being in a classroom as well as the academics.  She is beginning to experience frustrations, and she is one of my tender children as well as being shy.  Tears have flowed freely some nights, and it has taken all of my mama bear strength not to march up to that school and pull her out.  It is so hard to see our children flounder, but I am somehow holding back that intense urge and loving her through it and being her cheerleader.  Already this approach is helping.  She will have an episode one night, and then come home the next day beaming with a good grade she received on something she had been struggling to do days before.  I have another child who is dramatic and sensitive but not shy. She is learning to put a muffle on when she encounters tough situations instead of unleashing her fury at school.  Instead, she is so kind to save it for me (hence the feeling of being a punching bag), but therein comes another teachable moment; you can't take your feelings out on others.  This will take time for my hormonal drama queen daughter, but I am sure she can do it.

So all of you sensitive mama bears out there remember  to let your children do some mental, academic, and emotional weight lifting in life to become strong people.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homeschool to school: changes for the kids

Last week, I discussed how sending children to school can be a change for moms.  Change is also inevitable for the children as well.  However, children seem to be more adaptable than parents.  With a little bit of knowledge, though, we can help them navigate these new waters.  Of course, I don't have all of the answers; These are just the changes we have experienced. I am sure there are many others as well.

1.  The learning environment:  This has been a big challenge for most of my children.  Being homeschooled, they were rather "free range" in that they didn't have to ask permission to use the bathroom or raise their hand to ask a question.  They could take a break if they needed one or get something to eat.  A classroom does not run this way.  They have had to learn to wait their turn, ask permission, write assignments in their planner, bring home what they need to for homework, and remember to turn things in on time.  All of these things can be good things to experience because they will use them at other times in their lives, but it has been a challenge for some of my more easily distracted or forgetful children.

2. Accountability:  Along with the learning environment, my children are learning accountability for themselves.  Like I said above, they have to turn in their homework on time, study for tests, and meet all of the deadlines required.  This is one thing I love about them being in school.  They are no longer just accountable to me.  There is an outside force that they don't want to want to get in trouble with, and I am not seen as the bad guy.

3.  Testing:  As homeschoolers, we did not do many tests and some of my children had never even taken  standardized tests so they had to become familiar with the formatting and how to study for them.  This has been a bit of a challenge for my one child that has a bit of performance anxiety.  I am trying to stress the importance of studying but not to the point of tears.  I have explained that tests are not always an indicator of how smart you are.  There are other factors like not reading the directions that can determine how well you do.

4. Noise:   My children had only a little bit of trouble with this one.  Being in this large family makes for plenty of noise and activity.  However, for some children it is an interruption and bothersome to them and may take some getting used to it. Again, I don't think that is a bad thing, but it may be stressful for some sensitive souls or those in a small family or only child.



5. Socialization:  This is the thing that homeschoolers fear (because of criticism) and scoff at as well.  Although most homeschoolers are well socialized, I believe they are socialized in a different way meaning they know how to interact with a variety of ages.  They also tend to be well behaved.  However, there are some small nuances they may not be familiar with.  For example, one of my children didn't understand why the others weren't talking to her and including her. She never encountered that among homeschooling children.  Previously, she had just been able to jump into an activity with homeschooled children, and she was immediately able to be included.  At school, most of the children have been slower to warm up to her.  This same child has found out that young teen girls tend to be very cliquish.  She also discovered that it is not cool to talk to siblings at school or friends in younger grades.  Again, homeschoolers are better at including children of all ages. I make sure to reinforce the need to keep friendships of all ages including siblings.
 My children have also learned a lot of team work and dealing with less than pleasant students and teachers.  Quite often there are group projects which force them to participate.  This has been helpful for my shy children.

Please feel free to discuss any other changes your children have faced in going to school after being homeschooled.