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.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Back to school

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Can you believe it is already back to school time? School supplies have been in stores around here for a couple of weeks now.  Many of you may be anticipating beginning your homeschool while others may be meeting brick and mortar school for the first time this fall with some trepidation.  Whatever the case may be, their are many preparations for getting ready for this time honored childhood ritual.  As a child, I loved starting back to school.  I enjoyed shopping for school supplies and new clothes.  The smell of new crayons brings back many fond memories.
I thought it might be helpful to remind you of posts from last summer on school preparations.
Creative school lunches
Backpack station
Clothing organization
Lunch making station
Organizing the large homeschooling family
Last year was such a big change for us, with all 5 children going to school, that I literally scrambled to get all of the above things accomplished to have a good transition into school.  This year I would like to do some special things before school starts to celebrate the end of summer and a new beginning of another year in school.  Maybe you would like to try some too.

Back to school rituals

1.First day of school photos

This is one thing I was really good about when I homeschooled all of my children.  On our first  of school, I took their picture with their favorite book.  Now that they are in school, I do the same thing except they are in school uniform.

2. School supplies

Let the kids go shopping with you for school supplies.  Splurge a bit and let them get some fancy pens, binders, or folders to make it their own.

3. Scrapbook

A couple of weeks before school starts, make a mini scrapbook of your summer.  My children did this, and we had a blast.

4. A special time for each child

When I was homeschooling, a week or so before school started, I took each child out individually for ice cream or some other treat and went over the coming year’s expectations.  This year I am going to take each child out for a treat and share memories from their first school year and our summer together.
What special things do you do with your children at the beginning of a new school year?

Being a stay-st-home-mom after homeschooling part 1: The change

Being a stay at home mom after homeschooling, removes the role of educator from mom.  Many mothers must enter the workforce while others will have little ones still at home. But what about the mom with all school age children?
This can be a difficult change, especially if you have been homeschooling a long time.  Homeschooling may be your identity and once shed, you may feel empty or unsure how to proceed.  Failure and guilt may plaque you as well.  (but that’s for another post)
When I placed all of my children in school, I was thrilled to be alone because I had been so burnt out.  I had an abundance of time to nourish my depleted body and soul.  I frittered away days in the eyes of the world.  I kept up the basics of the household and enjoyed the quiet that my introverted self missed for so many years.  For awhile this was fine, but after some time, my addicted-to-productivity-personality took up residence and sent fun packing.  I felt as useless as a 5th wheel because my very important job as main educator shiftedBeing just a mom didn’t seem important enough.
Writing a domestic rule of life along with a list of goals proved helpful.  With these in hand, I had direction instead of aimlessly wandering through the days unsure of what to do.
Filling the void of homeschooling poses difficulties.  If you are staying home utilize time to discover what you love.  Now is the time to investigate new hobbies, volunteer opportunities, or further your education.  Regain yourself outside of curriculum catalogs, lapbooks, and reading lessons.  Revitalize your vibrant personality and share it with your family.  It my feel scary or selfish to focus so much on yourself, but it will help you become a better wife and mother.
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Cons of homeschooling

Are there cons to homeschooling?
This is a hard post to write because I once was unabashedly pro-homeschooling and didn’t really believe there were cons to homeschooling.    Now, I am still for it in the right circumstances,  but I am not an over-the-top-everyone-needs-to-homeschool-to-be-a-good-parent any longer.  Many of you may be churning around the school choice decision in your mind, so I wanted to offer a few cons that I have discovered personally or through friends through my many years of homeschooling.  These aren’t normally verbalized because to do so would mean that it is not the perfect form of education and many in the movement would not want to admit that.  But I want to share these homeschooling cons for consideration so that people can make an informed choice.

1.  Financial.

Most families give up a second income to homeschool.  It is very difficult to have both parents work and     homeschool, although not impossible.   Many families who homeschool make a lot of sacrifices financially to live on one income. This is good to a point (being thrifty is a virtue IMHO), but it can be problematic as the years go on because some accumulate debt, others go without some things that really are needed (like regular dental care), most can’t save a lot for the future, and others can’t get loans for homes and cars.

2. Learning disabilities.

For many children with learning disabilities, homeschooling can be ideal.  I am homeschooling my dyslexic daughter for that very reason.  However, if you homeschool from the beginning, you may not be able to catch learning disabilities as quick if you are not well versed with them.  Also, the homeschool community tends to tout a better late than early approach so many moms don’t begin to worry or question problems until much later than the schools would.  I have personal experience with this because my oldest son was diagnosed with several learning disabilities at age 10.  I was a firm believer in letting children develop when they were ready and took the aforementioned approach with learning to read. Had I been knowledgeable about learning disabilities or he had been in school, this may have been caught sooner.

3. Lazy, unmotivated students.

Some kids just do not work well for mom.  Many of them tend to be lazy and unmotivated without that outside accountability.  I found this to be especially true as they reach the middle school years and my boys were also more like that although that may not be typical.  I think it is due more to personality.  My lazy children work so much better for their teachers at school.

4. Parent-child relationship.

This ties in with the one above.  Many times if you have a lazy child, you will be on them a lot, nagging them to get their work done.  Often they will complain that the work is dumb or boring.  This can lead to a lot of tension between mom and child because it wears mom down. I know with one child of mine in particular, I was not willing to sacrifice our relationship any longer because of homeschooling.  Now that she is out of the house for her education, the tension between us has reduced.

5. Socialization problems.

This is the most common con that homeschool opponents put forth to homeschoolers. After homeschooling 7 children for 20 years, I believe that homeschooling is not always the best socially for SOME children.  Both of my adult children whom were homeschooled completely through high school, thought that they were at a disadvantage socially.  I think if you homeschool your children, you need to take personalities into account and make sure you have plenty of opportunities for getting your children involved with friends especially when they are teens.
I am sure there are other cons of homeschooling, but these are the ones I have noticed the most.  Feel free to share any cons you have encountered through homeschooling.

Fear and decision making

celeste faceMy sweet granddaughter.

I have been thinking about fear a lot lately.  Fear is a powerful enemy with the ability to steer decisions unless we make the conscious effort to control it.  When making a change from homeschooling to brick and mortar school, we moms can be afraid.  Our minds can conjure up a lot of scenarios that may never happen.  We need to make sure we are making these decisions with a calm and peace of soul.  Be at peace, dear friend with the decision God leads you to.  Here are a few posts that discuss this issue of fear.

Who is in Control?
Letting go of fear
Verses from Isaiah
My job vs. God’s job
What am I afraid of?

Update and making a school decision

Sorry that my little blog has been sorely neglected.  I have been doing some part time work in the spring and now this summer, I will be working close to full time so you may not see much of me. Also, my son just graduated high school so we have been busy with that.  Given those facts, my newest ebook is on hold for now.  I will try to post archived posts on making a school choice, and hopefully write a couple on the subject this summer.  My first ebook is still a good go to for seeing how I decided and the struggles I encountered.  Until I get those up, here is a new article on some ideas about making this choice.

Making a decision on school can seem overwhelming in the day and age when there are an abundance of options.  What was once an easy option for parents of days gone by has become a research infested frenzy on the part of parents.
Have we made this process so much harder than it has to be?  Many good people come from all school settings.  Research confirms that what happens at home is the biggest determining factor of school success.  As homeschool parents, we will be involved in our children’s education no matter where it occurs.  I think what used to be an easy process can become that way again.
Coming from an age of intensive parenting, we are now seeing a shift to more free range or 70’s parenting.  Our kids can and will manage if we give them the responsibility, and I believe this can extend to school choice as well.
Kids can do well in most academic settings if we care, and they apply themselves.  They have a good chance of carrying on our values if we live those said values and pass them on at home.
Deciding to send them to a school can be a leap of faith.  Trust in them to choose well and work hard, trust God to direct their path and protect them even if that may involve some painful learning situations, and trust someone else to teach and care for them while they are away from you.
To help ease the transition of handing over the educational reins, it helps to become involved by volunteering and attending school functions.  Also, getting to know other parents and the teachers can ease worries.

Creative school lunches

When my children were homeschooled, they were used to eating leftovers or something we could make.  Now that most of them are in school, they take their lunch to school.  They miss leftovers or cooked lunches so I have been on the hunt for creative lunches for a while.  My oldest, in high school, can take leftovers and heat them in a microwave that they provide in the lunch room, but the others were growing tired of sandwiches.  Here are a few things I wanted to share in case anyone else is tired of the sandwich rut.

  1. Tacos:  I found a great way to keep tacos warm. Pour almost boiling water in a thermos and let it sit while you prepare lunch.  Heat meat, beans, or eggs (depending on the type you are making) to a high temp.  Wrap them in a warm tortilla and wrap the taco in foil.  Keep in the oven while preparing the others.  When they are done, dump water out of the thermos and dry quickly.  Put foil wrapped taco in thermos and quickly close the lid.  Do not include cheese, 1lettuce, tomatoes, or any other cold ingredients.  Put those in a separate container.
  2. Hot dogs or hamburger:  The same can be done for a hot dog or hamburger as above.
  3. Tortilla wraps:  We have been adding lunch meat, along with either a cheese stick pulled apart in half or a slice of cheese, wrapped in the tortilla.  If you have children who like veggies, add some lettuce and tomato as well.  I freeze the meat and cheese kind and pop them in the lunch boxes in the morning.
  4. Homemade lunchables:  My 11 year old son came up with this.  He cut lunch meat and cheese into squares and packed crackers.  He has really enjoyed this, and I am sure it is healthier and know it is cheaper.
  5. Homemade pizza: If your children don’t mind cold pizza, you can make your own pizza (or even make frozen pizza) and pack it.  Again, I freeze it after cooking it so they don’t need a cold pack.
  6. Boiled eggs and yogurt: Lately, I have been sending my children with a boiled egg (or two) along with a bowl of yogurt or a frozen tube of it.  It is a good mix of protein and is a nice change from sandwiches.

Tis the season…to be thinking about school options

Spring is the season in which homeschoolers tend to begin thinking about the coming school year.  Moms comb through curriculum catalogs, scour internet message boards to find the latest and greatest ideas for their new homeschool year.  For many, this planning is a means of helping them pull through burnout or a respite after making it through that burnout.  But for some, they don’t make it through the burnout, and spring, with its beautiful weather did not blow in new enthusiasm or sprout fresh solutions to the problems that still hold them trapped in the never ending winter doldrums.  Is this you, mom? You know you might need a change for your family, but maybe the what if’s in your mind’s eye are piling up like laundry in a large family.  Making changes for our families can be very scary especially if you have believed for a long time that homeschooling is THE best or only option.  I know because I was there.  It was agonizing making the choice to send my children to school.  I had a hard time finding support and stories of other moms who had made that change.  I needed to know what to expect. That is why I am writing a new ebook on deciding to send them to school.  This book will be a less personal narrative than my first ebook, Letting Them Go…to SchoolIt will explain fears you may have, benefits to school that you may not have realized, and some ideas on how to go about making the decision.  Included will be questions for you to reflect on as you are making the decision.  Look for it in the coming weeks.