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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to School: Lunch making station

Over the course of the next three weeks, I will be doing a back to school series, mostly geared at families sending their previously homeschooled children to brick and mortar school but may be helpful to homeschoolers as well.  BTW, two of my kids start August 14 and the other three August 18.

Having 5 children in school, I will be making a lot of lunches.  Even last year with 4 in school, I felt overwhelmed, with the need to somehow streamline lunch making.  I scoured the internet and of course there are tons of ideas to help.  I am amazed at the number of creative people out there so I will be including lots of links to give you an idea of the many ways to do this.

I began with wanting to have an area to keep everything together that is needed for lunch making instead of running back and forth from cabinet to drawers to fridge, etc.  I had a small area in my kitchen that is mostly a gathering place for clutter that I cleared off and made available as my lunch station.
Here is a view of it.
I have a silverware tray to hold plastic, reusable spoons, forks, and knives (bought cheap at IKEA).  In the front I have my homemade reusable lunch baggies and disposable ones for the messy things.  Next to that, I have a magazine holder with my press n wrap, foil, waxed paper, and large plastic bags.  Right next to this, in a drawer I keep my reusable containers for fruit, sandwiches, yogurt, etc.
And although I have yet to set it up, I am going to put a plastic three drawer set under the empty desk area for snack items, drinks, etc.  Check these two out for the wonderful ideas.  Lunch creation station and
Another idea I am going to implement is a refrigerator box with lunch items so that the older kids can easily find what they need.  
Here are a few more lunch box making stations:

Do you have a way to organize your lunch box items and food?  If so, please share links in the comments.  


Monday, July 21, 2014

Who is in control?

I have mentioned before that I am a recovering control nut and have suffered through some depression.  I wanted to share something I wrote about this issue but never blogged about it. 



When did I think I became the author of my family’s life?  Why did I think I could write the script with a happily ever after ending?  In my little mind, I had the whole manuscript laid out before they were even all born.  Down to the year they would be born?!?

I like predictability.  I enjoy a bit of suspense and action from time to time, but by and large, I like consistency and safety.  Part of that is because I have always been a fearful, anxious person.  I don’t trust enough.  So, I want to compose the story so I know what will happen and won’t have to face the uncertainty.  I don’t want to have to look in the mirror and think You messed that up.  Like a rejection letter from an editor, I take on the burden and think I am no good, don’t mother well, etc. if my children choose differently than my preconceived idea of a story. 

The God who planned and created the universe has this all under control and can write a much better script than I can.  But sometimes we don’t always like every story, and I find that I don’t like how he writes mine quite often.  Because I don’t like the sad, painful points.  I like my happily ever after to run through the whole story. 

How can I learn to let Him be the author of my life story?  Like so many other areas, it is a matter of trust, of slow finger-prying-off-the-wheel-letting go.  I need to remember that He has the big picture in mind, and I can’t see into the future and definitely I can’t read ahead in the story.  Can I hold on and look forward to how it is played out, waiting for each thrilling chapter in the book of life?  Can I savor the joy, the pain, the loss, the good, as one all-encompassing, beautiful story ?  Isn’t a new story, one we have never encountered more exciting than one where we know the ending?  The God who created the universe and keeps it all in balance is the best author with the best selling stories. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Feeling trapped into homeschooling

Realistically, for some of you, brick and mortar school may not be an option even though you long for it.  I know because I was there about 7 years ago.  Too many school aged children made private school not an option (I had 6 in school then) and where we lived at the time the public schools were not an option.  So, for several years I trudged through homeschooling, thinking I would bog down and never make it.  I felt trapped, like a caged animal at times, and I often resented homeschooling.  I begged and pleaded God for an answer because I knew this was not a good situation for me or my children.
But what if God doesn't change things or answer your prayer the way you want?  How can you manage to continue homeschooling when you never want to open another teacher's manual again? I hope I can share a few tips and anyone else that has some sage advice, please leave them in the comments.



First off, I would start off with some of my suggestions for burnout.  These give you some ideas of things you can do to help you physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.  Burnout is very real and needs to be tended.
Second, I would somehow find a way to lighten the teaching load especially if you have middle school or high school age children.  At this age, most of them need some sort of accountability person of some sort, and it gives you someone to put the flack on!  This can be done by joining co-op classes, using a correspondence school (I used one that had teacher assistance/video classes for the students), tutoring in a difficult subject, or even a relative like a grandparent or dad step in with that difficult child or difficult subject that is stressing you out.
Third, if you have one (or more) children that causes a lot of stress for you because of bad attitude or whatever, have dad check in on them to discuss their behavior.  Have him come up with some consequences and rewards for behavior.
Fourth, stay plugged in to a real life support group or at least a person or two.  Some homeschooling moms get really lonely, and if you happen to be suffering from depression (maybe because of homeschooling when you don't want to) you will need someone to call on when you really struggle.
And last, quit reading homeschooling message boards and blogs about homeschooling if they drag you down. I know for me I would look at those lovely blogs with all of the neat things these moms were doing, and it would make me feel bad. Yes, I got caught in the comparison trap which is easy to do especially if you are not wanting to do what you are doing and you feel bad about the job you are doing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How we afford private school on one income

I thought I might share how my family is able to send our five children to private school with just my husband's income.  I thought we never could afford such a thing as my husband is a public school teacher/coach, but once I started researching it, I decided it might just be possible.  As an aside note, my youngest is going into 4th grade and my oldest at home is going to be a senior.  This probably would not have been possible when we had seven at home and many young ones.  So, here is how we do it.



1. Scholarships.  Our children attend a Catholic school and several scholarships are available.  We receive one through the diocese and the church itself.  Although I have not pursued these, there are other scholarships available to those looking for help to fund private school.  This page links many different types of scholarships.

2. Multi-child discount. Many private schools offer significant discounts after the second or third child.  We have three children in a K-8 school and with my discount and scholarship, we are paying what equals the amount if we had just one child attending there so basically a three for one deal.

3. Grandparents. I know this is not a possibility for everyone, but we are fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents willing and able to assist financially.  Together they pay about 1/4 of the cost that we have after scholarships and discounts.

4. Used uniforms. I take full advantage of used uniforms.  Some people are even willing just to give you their outgrown uniforms. This is another area that relatives have helped us out with as well from time to time.

5. The children.  No, we aren't into child labor, but we do expect the children to help pay for the extras of school (which come with public school as well).  They save their money for after sports meals, little gifts for parties (including birthday parties they are invited to), and more.  We also have a big jar we all throw our change into each week and about once a month I cash it in.  This is used to pay for field trips, teacher gifts, once in a while lunch at school etc.

6. Pack a lunch. This is an easy way to save money.  Lunches at school are expensive. We do allow them to purchase lunch at school once a month from our change jar.

7. Tax refund. Since we have a large family and a modest income, we usually receive a nice tax refund each year.  This always goes towards school.  What we get back pays for about 1/4 of our part of the cost.

8. Other work. Since my husband is a teacher, he has the summers off.  He takes this opportunity to make some extra money doing some sort of work.  This work usually pays for another 1/4 of the fee.  I know this is not available to most people, but maybe there is the possibility of mom working part-time on weekends or dad taking a second job on the weekends.  I have a friend whose husband has the opportunity to take on extra work once in a while.
Eventually, I may need to go to work to help pay for work, but right now I am staying home to rest and refresh after so many years of homeschooling.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pros and cons of private school

Since some people are in a time of discernment regarding schooling options, I thought it might be an optimum time to discuss different schooling options.  I am beginning with private school because that is the one we have chosen for our children for now, and thus the one I have the most experience with (besides homeschooling).  This fall, I will no longer be homeschooling any children; we decided to send our youngest child (who is dyslexic) to the private school as well mostly because she was lonely.



Pros

1. Small class size.  This is really important to me because my children are quite shy so I figured going from homeschool to school would be easier to manage if the classes were smaller.  Some people may have this benefit with public schools if they live in a small community.

2. Smaller number of schools.  For my big family, this is important.  I have 5 children with them in 2 different schools.  If they were in public schools, we would have a third school thrown in.

3. Religious aspect.  One reason we had homeschooled was because we wanted to focus on religion and prayer.  Since this is a religious private school, they pray several times a day and have religion as a subject.

4. Academic excellence.  Not all private schools are known for this, but the one we use is.  It also uses a Classical approach to academics which we really like.

5. Tight knit school community. Again, this is possible with a public school, but because this school is small, the parents and families get to know each other.

6. Other opportunities.  This also is not exclusive to private schools, but it is a plus for sure.  Things like sports, music, clubs, art, and science labs.

7. Uniforms.  This has been helpful to us because it has simplified their wardrobe.

Cons

1. Expensive.  Since public school is free most private schools will be a bigger expense.  (I will be doing a post soon on how to make it manageable.

2. Vaccinations.  Where I live, you can get an exemption from vaccines for public school but not for private school.

3. Travel.  Most private schools aren't just down the street.  We drive 20 minutes each way to school.

4. Service hours.  A lot of private schools require this of parents.  For someone like me, it isn't a big deal because I do not work outside of the home.

These are the pros and cons off the top of my head.  If you have others, please share in the comments.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Social and academic

The reasons people quit homeschooling  vary from family to family.  As I mentioned previously in this series, some of the reasons include burnout, special needs, finances, and improving the parent/child relationship. The last areas I want to discuss are the social and academic reasons families make this choice.  These can apply to families with many ages differences, but I have personally found these reasons increase as the children get older.

1.  Academic opportunities:  As I just stated, this reason applies more as kids enter the middle and high school years.  Many parents don't feel qualified to teach upper level math, sciences, foreign languages, and specialized classes.  Many of them do not have coops available to meet this need.  This reason factored in when we were deciding to send my son to high school. He now says having a teacher that knows the material well is one of the benefits of going to school.  (me trying to teach him Latin didn't go over very well.)

2.  Extra-curricular:  By the teen years, many children want to be involved in sports, band, and other activities that may be hard to come by for the homeschooling parent.  There is a lot to be said for these type of programs for developing character.  

3.  Loneliness:  By the teen years, most kids crave social interaction.  Some find themselves being lonely due to location (living rurally or in an area with few homeschoolers), and because of the fact that many children go to this school at this age.  For my family, we found our children became increasingly lonely as they grew.  We lived in the middle of nowhere, and even though we traveled to be with homeschool friends once a week, by this age, it wasn't enough to fill their social desire.  

4.  Shy children:  Some parents decide to send their children to school because one or more of them is shy and in need of more opportunities to become better socialized. Although school will not change a trait like shyness, it does force them to confront situations they would not meet at home and learn to deal with them.  I have one child in particular that is very shy, and it has forced her to become more comfortable in situations because she has to interact.  At home and when we were out and about, she was content to keep quiet.  

I am sure there are other reasons why people quit homeschooling and send their children to school.  Do you have other reasons you have made this decision?  If so, please share in the comments.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Financial reasons

Although I am more familiar and experienced with the first three reasons I listed as to why people quit homeschooling ( burnout, special needs, and improved relationships), I am not experienced with the financial reason, other than reading and talking to a few people.  So, if you are or have sent children to school for this reason, please chime in.

We all know how difficult it can be living on one income and recently many have felt the affects of the economic crunch in the last few years.  Many people have experienced the impact personally through job losses which has forced some people to have mom reenter the work force.  Some moms are able to work part-time and continue to homeschool (and some creative ones can work full-time and homeschool), but the majority of families are not able to do this due to the stress.  From my reading, I have discovered that a lot of the moms are truly sad that homeschooling will come to an end. They feel forced into the work world when they would rather be homeschooling.  Some people putting their children into school for the other reasons may feel this, but their reasons are more emotionally driven and may be relieved by sending children to school.  Both feel a sense of loss, though and may need time to grieve.  Luckily, this situation may change and allow for homeschooling again for some families.

Money                     

I have also run across a few people who have decided to quit homeschooling because the mom wants to go back to work. It may partially be financially driven, but some women want to work.  Possibly they have found that homeschooling does not meet their needs or the stress is too great for them.  Like all of the other reasons, I don't think it is our place to judge their motives.

In a few situations, homeschool moms have been faced with divorce or death of a spouse and must return to work to support their family.  Divorced moms may face resistance from an ex that causes them to put the children in school.  All of these families need our compassion, support, and prayers.