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 30, 2014

31 day writing challenge: New Blog

Just a quick announcement on this next to last day of the writing challenge. I have officially moved the blog over to my new site, Rest for the weary homeschool mom.   I am still doing a lot of work on it, but that is where the main content is. Please bookmark this page and pass it along.  See you over there!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 day writing challenge: School mom stuff

I think I am finally a full-fledged school mom.  This past week, I have done several volunteer jobs at my children's school.  Tonight was the Fall festival, and it was such a different experience.  I was a bit overwhelmed because of the number of children, but overall it was a lot of fun.  I am used to a smaller homeschool gathering of 8-10 families, but now we attend a school with 350 kids.  I still feel a bit out of place since most of these families have been at this school together for many years.  I am sure I will begin to feel more comfortable the more time I spend helping out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Poll on homeschooling burnout

I finally learned how to do a poll.  My question to you readers is have or did you experience burnout.  Please scroll to the bottom of the page to cast your vote.  This will help me in my latest project (besides moving the blog and publishing my ebook) which is an ebook/workbook on recognizing burnout and telling it apart from depression and helps for burnout.  I hope for it to be ready for the new year, when burnout typically peaks. 
Public domain

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Guest post

Today I am guest posting over at Allison's blog,  Our Small Hours. This is my official first guest post other than blog carnivals.

I am writing about my journey through homeschool burnout.  Please come on over and join me there!

Homeschool Burnout

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 day writing challenge: parent teacher conferences

I didn't plan this one; It was scheduled for me.  It is that time of the year at my children's school. I had parent teacher conferences for my children. All of them finished their first 9 weeks with amazing grades.  Most of them are adapting socially as well.  For those of you moms concerned if your children will do well academically, I am sure they will.  This was always one of my biggest fears; That we weren't doing enough to keep up with schools.  It is hard when you have no one to compare yourself to, and all of the responsibility falls on our shoulders.  But it is true what statistics say about homeschoolers.  They tend to thrive especially academically if and when they go to school. I have spent the last 9 weeks praying for academic success for my dyslexic child and another child that really feels stupid.  God has been so generous in answering those prayers.  I want my children to gain confidence, and this helps so much.  My second prayer has been for them to make good friends.  That one has been a bit harder especially for my middle school children, but it is happening.

Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Blog change

I missed posting yesterday.  I have been busy looking into converting this blog over to a new one.  It is a lot of work, but I think I am going to take the plunge.  I want to do this before I launch my ebook. So, this is my new for yesterday and today, working on moving the blog over.  Hopefully the process won't take forever!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 day writing challenge: 3 adult children and 3 teens

The day nearly got away from me before I realized I hadn't done something new.  I was busily preparing a cake for my son who turned 18.  So, although I didn't do anything new or learn something new, I have hit a first.  I now have 3 adult children and 3 teenagers (this son being in both of those categories, and 2 tweens.    Now you know why I'm a bit crazy :)

He still loves chocolate cake!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Giving up Facebook

Lately, I have been feeling a lot of stress. Many things are going on in my life, and it has left my soul feeling less than peaceful.  One thing I noticed is how I felt after reading Facebook.  There is a lot of drama on there plus people like to post news stories, and lately there has been nothing in the news but fear.  So, my "new" for today was to give up facebook, except when my daughter sends me a message letting me know she put up pictures of my granddaughter.  That is the only thing I am enjoying on it. I am hoping this switch will bring me some needed relief.
Has anyone ever given up Facebook long term and if so, how did it impact you?

"f" Logo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Lunch with friends

For most of my married life, I have had children at home because of being a stay-at-home-mom and homeschooling.  I did have play dates with friends and their children, and it was a great way to connect for that much needed adult conversation.  I haven't had friends over for anything (without my kids) so I decided to have my friends over for lunch.  I served tuna sandwiches, cucumber salad, and fresh blackberries.  For dessert, I made petits fours.  Although I have made those before, I had only done it once, and now I remember why.  They are a lot of work but super tasty. It was such a fun, relaxing time for us, and we were able to catch up with each other.  One of these friends still homeschools, and the other has put her children in the same school as some of mine.  I will be doing this again!

Petits fours

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

31 day writing challenge: You Tube video

I am not very tech smart, but I have been wanting to make you tube videos. This month was a perfect opportunity.  Below are two videos I made, both songs by my 2 oldest at home.  My father's birthday is Friday so I had them replay these songs.   Amazing Grace is played by my son at my father's funeral last year.  Both my son and daughter did On Eagle's Wings together in the hospital when my dad was taken off his ventilator.  It made him calm down, and he looked so peaceful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Day writing challenge: Play in the rain

I am seeking more joy, magic, and fun in my life.  Life is serious enough so being lighthearted is sorely needed.  It has finally been raining a bit here, and it is still warm so when I had the chance, I ran outside and played in the rain.  I haven't done this since I was a kid, but I have fond memories of doing this.  Now I remember why.  It made me laugh and enjoy one of God's simple gifts.  I think this could be very therapeutic to those weary of life's burdens or those suffering from depression. If you are feeling down, play in the rain.  You will be glad you did.

Monday, October 13, 2014

31 day writing challenge: tennis

My husband is a tennis coach which means he is an excellent tennis player.  When we were dating in college, he taught me to play while playing left handed.  I was no match for him even with him playing lefty.  We played off and on, just hitting the ball to each other, for fun over the years.  As more children came, we played less and less.  I hadn't hit a tennis ball in a year and a half and have never played a real game.  I decided it was time.  I took my high school sophomore (who plays on her school tennis team) to the courts and had her teach me how to keep score.  We played a real game, and I was slammed, but it was fun learning and was a great bonding time with my daughter.  I hope to find a friend more on  my level to play with, but now I know how to keep score!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Tech free day

I decided to see what life was like without the computer (other than putting up a post for the series), texting, talking on the phone, and my kindle fire.  I had a very quiet day, and it was rather peaceful.  But it had a bit of sadness to it because it is the 3 month anniversary of my miscarriage.  With the quiet, it was harder to distract myself from the sadness but maybe that isn't such a bad thing.  I think I will try this one more often especially when I need to center myself.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 day writing challenge: State park

One interest I share with my husband is the great outdoors.  We love to hike, fish, picnic, etc.  Since he had the day off, we decided to venture to a state park we had never been too.  While it was nothing to write home about, I am glad we went.  We hiked and had a picnic.  It was nice to have time to reconnect, which is so important for busy families.  Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 day writing challenge: Homecoming garter mum

I'm not sure why my teens are notorious for waiting til the last minute for everything, but they are.  My 10th grader informed me last night that she needed me to make a garter mum for her date for homecoming.  Since I never had made one, I thought this would be a perfect first.  It was actually quite easy and fun.  It helps that I like to make crafts.  Here is my finished product.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

31 day writing challenge: A domestic rule of life

The last 8 weeks have flown by.  What have I done?  Have I accomplished anything?  I have rested a lot and had a lot of fun doing crafts, baking, decorating for fall, reading, playing Skip Bo on my Kindle Fire, and writing.  But many days I felt were just wasted, sitting in front of the computer, because I didn’t know what to do.  Often, I found myself needing to scramble to get dressed and ready to go right before it was time to pick up the children.  Basically, I have been undisciplined with my time, and maybe there was a purpose in that, what I needed, so to speak.  However, I have had a nagging feeling for the last week that I need more.  I could easily see myself fritter away the year reading blogs and crafting.  Neither is bad, but I want more of a schedule.  After visiting with my counselor and praying, I feel called to write a rule of life, in the same fashion monks at monasteries use.  Of course, I am not a contemplative, but I want to schedule my day to accomplish things all the while praying and resting in the midst of it.

 I read A Mother’sRule of Life years ago and was impressed.  I never really came up with much of a plan, though.  However, with more free time now and feelings of loss over homeschooling, I feel a need for something.  So, here is my Domestic Rule of Life for myself.  (The first part is the Rule and then the schedule follows) 

(St. Benedict writing his Rule, from Wikipedia, Public Domain)

My Domestic Rule of Life

My job first and foremost is to be a wife and mother.  This is the vocation I have been called to live.  At this particular juncture of my life, I feel God wants me home, caring for my children and husband while the children attend Catholic school.  That may change in the future, but for now, I am to be a homemaker exclusively. 
I am going to be using the 5 P’s from A Mother’s Rule of Life:  prayer, partner, person, parent, and provider.  All of these must be included in my day.  Obviously prayer is my time with God including Mass, adoration, confession, Bible and other spiritual reading, the rosary.  Partner time is the time I nurture my marriage.  After God, marriage is the most important thing.  Person means taking care of me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  This one is very important to me because I have neglected it for so long. The provider means I care for the house, provide meals, and tend the laundry.  The parent role is that of being a mom to my children, teaching them about God and tending to their emotional needs.  Taking care of the prayer and person needs should really help improve all of the other areas. 
Beside the hours of 6-7 AM and 3-10 PM when I am managing the children and their school activities, I have 8 hours of my day alone.  In prayer, I feel God is calling me to live a hidden life as Mary did.  I also feel like God has been calling me to rest and be  kind to myself, not requiring things that He does not call me to.  I will have a schedule similar to monks in a monastery. This will give me a feeling of accomplishment while attending to all of my duties along with restoring my soul.  I also hope to pray without ceasing as I go about my duties, praising God for the blessings of each thing.  I am also going to have interior silence daily as I walk. 
I will humbly attempt to fulfill my duties faithfully without seeking the need for attention or praise from anyone.  God sees all things done, and His glory is all that matters.  My job, while hidden and unappreciated to the world, is one of the most important duties in our times.  I am humbly learning contentment with my state in life. 
Each Sunday, I will meet with my husband to see what I accomplished during the week.  He will act as my accountability partner like a superior in a monastery. 

I will have a basic schedule, with things that change daily, so it is more of a loose schedule to follow.

6-6:30: rise and read the Bible and pray.  Child 1 up.
6:30-7 unload dishes and get lunches packed.
7-7:40 Children leave. Go for walk.
7:45 shower, dress, fix self
8:00 breakfast and read on computer
8:30 write
9:30 changeable (study for doula certification, garden, bills, crafts, etc.)
10:30 changeable
11:30 clean kitchen and eat lunch
12:00 read and nap
1:30 changeable (grocery store, volunteer work, laundry, clean house)
3:00 pick up children

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 day writing Challenge: crochet continued

I am continuing to practice new stitches.  My hands seem like two left feet; I can't seem to hold it well!  I thought I would leave you with a poem dealing with sewing in general with another meaning.

crochet cap

Sewn in Love

My soul unravels along the seam of life's journey.  
Darned by the master Tailor.
Stitches of my brokeness ripped from the fabric of my quilt.
Tangled and frayed, I try to follow;
letting myself be snipped of fear, shame, and pride.
My control is shredded,
and I realize my soul's utter nakedness.
Clothe me, O Lord, with You.
Hem the doubt, darn the judgment.
Gather Love in my heart.
Knit me with mercy. 
Goodbye old garment.
I am sew(n) in Love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 day challenge: crochet

I love to knit and taught myself by watching videos on the internet.  I have always wanted to try crocheting as well so this was the perfect time.  I found an easy tutorial video on you tube and watched and tried.  Since this is not a quick thing to learn, I am working on it tomorrow as well but will have a more detailed post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 day writing challenge: 3 mile walk

The weather was beautiful and the sun was calling.  I begged asked my husband if he would accompany me on a walk, which we do frequently, especially on weekends.  But today I wanted to walk further than I ever have and a different route.  We walked 3 miles, and I felt so invigorated when we were done, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  I may make that part of my exercise plan.  I have been walking about a mile a day, but 3 may be doable.  I leave you with a picture of my sweet father.  He passed away one year ago today.  I miss him so much.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of discovery writing challenge: Dancing by the campfire

I convinced my husband to build a fire after the kids were in bed so we could dance under the stars by the fire.  It was so romantic.  Money is tight right now so I am having to find cheap, simple, new things to do.  I do have a few adventures that will cost money, but I am relishing these simple ones that are so fine while being economical.  If you have never danced by a fire under the stars, give it a try.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

31 day challenge: Magic tricks

Today, I learned a few magic tricks.  My children, like most, are enchanted with magic tricks.  I learned a few on the internet, dressed up, and had a magic show for them.  So simple yet so much laughter and fun.  Children know instinctively how to live life to the fullest, to see the magic of the moment.  Somewhere along the road of life, most adults lose that sense.  I hope to reclaim some of that magic.

Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Day writing challenge: Chocolate pie

I love to cook and bake, but it has not been something I have done consistently the last few years due to the stress and depression in my life.  Now that I am not homeschooling, I am trying to make more homemade meals and baked goods for my family.  So, this month I will be trying out a few new recipes. 

I have always wanted to make a chocolate pie because I have a household full of chocolate lovers.  Not sure how that happened since I don’t like the stuff.  I know, poor me.  But, anyways, my mom made a chocolate pie each October for my dad’s birthday because it was his favorite pie.  She only made one then because she said they were a lot of work.  I never helped her but was always intrigued since she said it was difficult and it always turned out lovely.  Since my dad passed away October 6, 2013 and his birthday is coming up, I decided to make one.  I think he would have been proud.  It turned out amazingly well and it was devoured quite quickly by my crew so I know it was a hit.  Making this pie really hit home to me how much cooking is an art---just another form of expressing yourself. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Day writing challenge: 1. Discovery: The Ocean

Nature often beckons us on a path of healing. 

For some odd reason, the beach has been calling me for some time now. I kept putting off that pestering thought because, after all, I hate the beach.  The salt water, the sticky sand that feels like it won’t wash off, the sand that comes home with you… But the waves kept whispering for me to come… and…play.  Like picturesque mountains, the water, the sound, the feel, the taste, the rhythm, nurtures people. 

I know on a surface level, I need so much rest and re- creation to fill my love giving vessel brim full again. So yesterday, I heeded the call of the waves, and I went to the beach. Yes, I have been before but it’s been a long time and never alone. 3 hours away from home.  This is so unlike me.  I am a chicken, and did I mention, I HATE THE BEACH?!  But I went and so glad I did.  In the simplicity of walking on the beach, and in the silliness of riding on the waves, my eyes were opened to something missing in myself for a long time—wonder and amusement.  How can we carry the heavy burden of life if we don’t stop and lighten the load with a sense of enjoyment in the simple things of life?  Enjoying life’s pleasures that God provides gives us the strength to carry the crosses in life.  So, here is to discovering wonder and enjoyment once again in old and new things!

Anyone (besides my IRL friends) know where I was?  The ship gives it away...if you've been there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October writing challenge: 31 Days of Discovery

Today I begin the 31 day challenge of writing about the same topic.  Wanting to do this for several years, I finally gave myself a much needed kick in the pants.  Most years, I have used the excuse of being busy with homeschooling.  Now that I am not, I have no valid reason.  I have a teensy bit of commitment fear, ehem, that means I am a bit lazy.  But I see a lot of value in doing this, and I have found the perfect topic for me.  It may not impress anyone, but that is not the point. 

Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to 31 days of Discovery.  Discovery of what, you may ask.  Actually, I am not sure…yet.  I chose this because this is my year of rest, and my year of rediscovering who I am and what I like to do.  After 19 years of homeschooling, with depression being my constant companion, I don’t know what I like anymore, and I have no idea really where to start.  So, my hopes are that this will jumpstart me into the realm of new ideas and new discoveries about myself.  I encourage you to try the same if you are feeling lost like you don’t know what the woman in the mirror likes to do anymore.  I am basing my idea on a book I read back in the spring called I Dare Me by Lu Ann Cahn.  Ms. Cahn found herself in a rut and wanted a way to recharge her life.  She had become bored with life and felt like a boring person.  To get herself out of this slump, she tried one new thing each day for a year.  I am not quite that ambitious so I am trying to do something new every day for 31 days in October and blog my thoughts and feelings about it along with sharing a picture from that activity.    Some of these things I have done before (but it has been a long time) and others I have not.  I know I will NOT be eating a scorpion like the author of the book did!  Feel free to try some new things this month and leave any comments about them.  

The Ocean

Chocolate Pie

Magic tricks

Dancing by the campfire

3 Mile walk


Crochet continued

My domestic rule of life

Homecoming garter mum

State park

Tech free day


Play in the rain

You Tube video

Lunch with friends

3 adult children

This introvert is fried

Blog change

Parent teacher conferences

Guest Post


School mom

Online class



New blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Recycled post: Preventing rebellion

This post is about how people think homeschooling can prevent rebellion, especially in teens.  It is actually 2 linked articles.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Homeschool will prevent teen rebellion

I found two very interesting articles about this.  It is really promoted among the homeschool crowd that homeschooling your teens will eliminate teen rebellion.  Ha!  There are no guarantees.

Homeschooling will prevent teen rebellion

Homeschooled kids and rebellion

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.


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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homeschooling to school change

Most of us don't like change; we are creatures of habit and like our comfy spots.  Some changes are inevitable, and we can do nothing about them like birth, death, children growing up and moving out, illness, and more.  Other changes we know are for the best, and we freely choose them, but they are painful none the less.

If you have homeschooled any length of time, sending your children to school can be a painful and difficult transition for children as well as for parents.  I have found that this change has been much harder on me or maybe just more visible.  Children tend to adapt well to change.  They still have that flexibility that comes with youth. As we age, no matter how many changes we face, it takes longer to stretch us and limber us up to where it doesn't hurt as much.

So what kinds of difficulties can you expect from this change from homeschooling to school?  I thought I would share in two posts what kinds of changes we have experienced:  The ones for mom and the ones for the children.

Since moms are nurturers, we feel deeply.  We jealously guard our children and everything about them.  I think that is why this change is so much harder for us.  We invest a tremendous amount of energy on our families.  The changes mentioned below are a few of the more common ones I have heard of before.  Please share in the comments if you have experienced something different.

1.  Guilt:  I felt like I had cheated my child by sending them to school.  I took away their free time, their time with me and siblings, and put them in an harder environment.  What I realized is that they really still have the first few items but less of it, and the hard environment can strengthen them.

2. Failure:  Along with guilt, I felt/feel a sense of failure.  I feel like I have given up, that I couldn't hack the work, and I should have homeschooled no matter what.  I realized, though, that giving them a happy mom is really the best thing I can give them, and I am not a quitter.  I have just chosen a different way to educate them.

3. Friends:  Most of my friends are homeschoolers.  My family has been involved in the homeschooling world for 19 years.  We no longer have that commonality with them.  Inevitably, I won't/don't see them as much, but I can make new friends with parents at school, through my volunteer work, and at church.  Plus, the real close friendships I will make a point to keep.

4. Loss of my role:  This has been a biggy for me.  Now that I am not homeschooling, what am I?  Just a mom doesn't seem enough at times.  I am filled with a lot of time to fill, and that scares me a bit.  Shifting from teacher role to just mom role is an adjustment.  

So, my cheap advice is to embrace the change, realize it may be painful, and give it time--plenty of it.  Some moms aren't as flexible as they used to be.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Year of Rest: School has started

All of my little cheeps went off to school Monday morning, and I was left all alone with just myself and my thoughts.  Four days in and everyone seems fine.  What have I done?  Mostly wasted a lot of time on the frivolous.  Yes, I've tended my duties, but I have done a lot of reading, writing, crafts, resting, and playing Skipbo on my kindle fire.  I feel rather guilty for indulging in frivolity, but it has been so long since I have done that, I am trying to be easy on myself.

I decided it might be a good idea to journal what I do each day and record my thoughts and feelings about this monumental  change. I think it will help me when that uninvited friend doubt intrudes my thoughts.  It will serve as a reminder of why I am doing this and that it is indeed God's will.   I'm calling it 'my year of rest' because that is what I am doing.  I am being the wife and mother of my family and in those other times, I am resting and restoring my body and soul. I am excited about this path God is leading me on and no doubt you will be hearing a lot from me as I walk this road.

I hope if you are on this same journey as I am that you will stop by often and share your joys and struggles.  My prayer for all of us is to be the mother's God created us to be wherever our children attend school.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to school: Backpack station

I know having a large family, organization is the key to sanity and not being swallowed up in stuff.  With all of the shoes, books, and uniforms we have for school, I needed some form of system in place to manage it because I become grumpy when junk is everywhere.  Last year, the four in school would come home and just drop their backpacks on the living room floor, kick their shoes off there, and drop their uniforms where ever they changed.  I knew I couldn't live in that chaos.  So, I searched my friend google.  Like my posts on a lunch box station and managing school clothes, I did not come up with this original idea.  I took it and modified it for our family's use.
Just inside the door, I set up 2 IKEA tables in a small nook that isn't too visible.  I had my husband hang three large hooks for my 3 biggest kids' backpacks.  I have the tables just under the backpacks, supporting the weight because my kids' bags weigh a lot!  My 2 youngest slip theirs under the tables.  Then I had him mount 4 smaller hooks above the others for their PE bags.  My youngest does not change yet for PE thus only 4 hooks.  I am also having the younger ones slip their shoes under the table as well.
As far as clothing, as soon as we get home they are to change and take the uniforms including PE clothes and put them on the washer.  I decided I wanted to teach them responsibility so I will not nag them to put their clothes in there.  If they don't have clean clothes because they forgot, they will wear dirty ones. I know I will have to be vigilant about training teaching them to put things away.

Here are a few similar ideas of backpack stations that I found on the web. There are many more out there.
Back to school with a backpack station  (this one has links to other backpack stations)
DIY chalkboard backpack station
Simple ideas for family organization
Built in mudroom for backpack station

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to school: Clothing organization

School clothing can be a big deal for families especially for those that require uniforms.  Most private schools use them and more and more public schools are beginning to or have standardized dress. 
My big problem came in how to organize all of the school clothing. I knew if I let my children keep them in their dressers with their regular clothes, they would have a mess on their hands each morning while they dug for outfits like buried treasure. Of course, after they were shuttled off to school, I would be left with the remnants strewn across the floor.   I came up with a nice solution for the clothing issue which could also be used if you have standardized dress as well.  In addition, this can be modified for children with no dress code but who have a difficult time deciding on clothing or for quick and easy access in the mornings.  (More on that later).  I bought one of these lovely 4 drawer items from IKEA.  Actually, I bought 2 because I have 5 in school.  The top ones are for their school clothes that don’t need to be hung.  These include school socks, ties, undershirts, sweat suits, and PE uniforms. Basically, anything that doesn’t need to be hung goes in these.  I labeled them so they can quickly grab the items they need to dress and/or pack their PE bags. 

 This is located in my laundry room so that I can fold them and put them right in the dryer.  As well, I have a hanging rack in this room so right out of the dryer I can hang pants, skirts, and shirts. I have a section for each child so in the mornings they can just grab a uniform and dress.    This method has really streamlined our clothing issue. 

I found too, that my children tend to lose clothes during PE changing so I label them.   I found that the iron on labels I got at the local store didn't stay on and the pen faded. I tried label making tape and it didn't work well either.  Good ole sharpie seems best.
What about those who don’t have uniforms like most public schools?  Here is a neat idea I came across while looking for ideas on how to solve my monstrous laundry problem.  Why not try out an idea like this (scroll to middle of page), using hanging clothes storage or even something like I use from IKEA to label with the days of the week and fill them on the weekend with a week’s worth of clothing. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to School: Homework

One of the many areas of out- of- the- home- schooling that may be unfamiliar is homework.  As homeschoolers, all school work is homework to us.  In reality, homework is different from homeschooling.  This was something I learned just from experiencing it and you may too. 
As homeschooling moms, we were/are a very big part of the education of our children.  Now that they are in school (or possibly going) we have to learn to be cheerleaders, encouraging from the sidelines, instead of being the coach, the one calling all of the shots.  Homework is meant to be a skill to teach concepts but also to teach organization and responsibility.  Too often we see that homework has become a family affair whereas when we were children, homework was a child’s activity with very little parent involvement with the exception of the parent checking up on the child’s grades once in a while. 
As a new-to-school-parent, I hovered too much when my children first went to school because I had been so used to being in the center of their education.  I quickly learned to stand back so they could learn those valuable skills listed above.  I have seen many homeschoolers who put their children in school get flustered over homework because they were too involved.  They said it took way too much of their time.  At first this is true because your child will need a bit of guidance on how to do homework.  But after they have been taught, we need to step back and allow them to succeed on their own. 

I found Ending the Homework Hassle and Fail Safe Formula for Helping Your Child Succeed in School  by John Rosemond to be extremely helpful.  In this book, he lays out a plan to teach our children to take on the responsibility of homework.  He discusses setting aside a place for homework, preferably in their room, giving them a deadline when it must be done but not when to start how to motivate, and more.  I like this book so much because he is so down to earth and encouraging.  He really points out how different parents are raising children in our present age and how much the typical parent hovers and its effects vs. how most of us were raised.