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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ideas for the winter blues: February

Recently, I posted some ideas for January to help you with the winter blues.  Today I am sharing a month's worth of ideas for February, leaving plenty of time to gather supplies and make plans.  Add some fun into your day.  You will be surprised how the little things can lift everyone's spirit. 

Week 1:  For the kids:  Make chain hearts.  Here are a variety of ideas for different ages and craft levels.  I love the felt ones.  We are trying them this year. 


For Mom:  Read a book, totally unrelated to parenting, motherhood, homeschooling, self-help, or the like.  Read something just because, just for fun. 

Week 2:  For the kids:  Plan and have a Valentine's day party.  Nothing spells fun more than a party, but do keep it simple so as not to get stressed.  Make some heart cut out cookies to decorate, make homemade Valentine cards, and play a few games. 



For Mom:  Go out with your husband for Valentine's Day.  If money or a babysitter is an issue, plan a date at home after the children are in bed. 

Week 3:  For the Kids:  Have a family movie day after school.  Let everyone vote on what to watch.  Make popcorn and Kool-Aid and everyone sit together including mom.  Don't let yourself use this as a time to work.  Enjoy and discuss the movie with your children.

For Mom:  Hire out the children to do some of your chores this week so you can work on a hobby.  If they are too young or money is tight, let a chore go for the day so you can carve out time for yourself or use computer time or movies as "pay" instead of money.

Week 4:  For the Kids:  Take a nature walk.  Explore from 3 different perspectives (unless there are not enough people)  Have each person do an activity from a different perspective.  One person gathers items and explains them, one takes pictures of what they see and explains, and one person draws and writes about what they saw.  We did this last year, and it was a hit.  Hopefully, the weather will be warming up enough by this time to do this activity. 

For Mom:  Do something new with your hair or makeup.  Get a haircut or try a new way to put it up.  Buy some new makeup and watch you tube on how to apply it.  Small things like this really make you feel good. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Common misunderstandings about children going to school


 

For a good part of my homeschooling career, I held strongly to certain ideas.  As a new homeschooling mom, I read plenty to prepare myself for this incredible journey I was embarking upon.  I read (and believed) many of the negative things written about public and private schools.  Now, years later, with my experiences and having children in school, I have learned that many of these misconceptions are simply not true.  Some may be true for certain people but not for all. This is one in a series of posts on misconceptions about school so feel free to share others in the comments. 

 


1.  You as a parent know and love your child better than anyone else; therefore, you are the best teacher they can have.  While it is true that you know and love your child better than anyone else, you may not be their best teacher.  You may overlook things because you are with them so often that those things may seem normal to you.  Unless you have done research, you may have nothing to compare them to.  If you are like some homeschoolers (and I was this way), you may take a better late than early approach, and could possibly overlook a learning disability because you assume it is developmental.  This happened with me with my second child.  I assumed his learning and behavior differences were just him being a bit slower to develop instead of a true problem. 

 

2. If kids go to school, they will be peer influenced instead of parent influenced. While this may be true for some children, statistics show that involved parents have the biggest influences on their children whether they are homeschooled or go to school elsewhere. 

 

 

3.  Having children at home can protect them from teasing and feeling dumb.  When I first began homeschooling, this was a big reason for me to keep my children home.  I remember being teased and feeling dumb because I was slow to learn to read and had freckles.  Sadly, as time went on, I found I could not save my children from this.  Siblings and home school friends teased as much as other children and even if their friends didn’t make them feel dumb, they made themselves out to be dumb if they couldn’t pick up on something like reading easily.

 

4.  School doesn’t allow time for closeness of family life.  Life is busy in this day and age.  As stated earlier, involved parents are key.  A family who makes a point to be close can and will.  I used to think my children would be open with me and share a lot of things with me because we spent so much time together.  What I found is that they still kept things from me and didn’t always want to share everything. 

5. This point follows along the same lines and number 4.  I thought children who went to school would not form strong bonds with their siblings.  There IS something to be said for children who home school. They are able to watch siblings grow up.  They do get to enjoy more of that time of babyhood than kids who go to school.  But that doesn’t mean that siblings who go to school can’t and won’t develop special relationships with their siblings.  My children fight much less now that they have some time apart.  Absence does really make the heart grow fonder. 

 

Next week, I will share with you more misconceptions some homeschoolers have about brick and mortar school. 

 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Update on kids in school

So, we are almost 3 weeks into the new school semester for my two that started school after homeschooling.  I thought I would post a little update. 



They are both enjoying it so far, and I am relishing the quiet, rest, and relaxation.  It is so peaceful not to fight with them over doing their school work or else.  They both are motivated to do their homework (they fear getting in trouble at school), and they have been good about getting out their uniforms the night before. 

My 5th grade son is having a bit of trouble getting his papers organized, and he has lost a few things which have been a bit frustrating for him, but he is learning important skills in those very frustrations. 

They have already had so many fun opportunities that I could not provide them at home like a science fair and talent show so far. Upcoming fieldtrips and parties are on the list of things to come that they are looking forward to. 

In the coming weeks, I will be posting a series on common misunderstandings that homeschoolers have about school.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to email me.  (see sidebar)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homeschooling pride

It's that time of year---we homeschoolers have seen it before:  winter blues, February crankies, wanna-be spring fever beating down our door...
I have been like a zapped power outage for a long time, unable to function well and do the job I thought I was meant to do.  After much prayer and introspection over the last few years, I realized I was no longer carrying the yolk I was meant to.  My burden was anything but light and easy. Slowly the Lord has shown me something very ugly about myself that I have been very reluctant to uncover--This has been about my pride.  My I’m-going-to-do-this-even-if-it-kills-me-pride.  My I’m-going-to-do-this-no-matter-what-pride. This-is-the-superior-choice-pride.

Oh, I was never that bold to say those things or even consciously think them, but the attitude was there trying to micromanage and creating a family idol image.

Surely I am not the only one who has suffered with this; after all, pride is the root of all evil. Here are a few questions to ask yourself and keep your pride in check.  Really ponder these because on the surface may seem not to apply but once you probe deeply, you may unearth a fossil of pride.

1. Is homeschooling about me?  Ultimately, homeschooling needs to be about what is best for the family.  It should not be something to stroke mom (or dads) ego or a measuring stick for our holiness.

2. Do I trust God to protect my children?  This was a doozy for me.  I have a difficult time trusting and coupled with my control freak nature, I stared this one in the face and reluctantly admitted that when it got down to it, I didn’t trust Him with my children.

3. Do I think I am in control of how my children turn out?  As a young mother, I thought homeschooling was some kind of insurance policy for holy kids but come to find out, the salesman ripped me off.

4. Do I think it is a sin if families choose other educational choices for their children?  I never would have admitted this one to myself, but I did tout a superior attitude about homeschooling and felt it was the only viable option for Christian families. 


 
Have you found pride to be a problem for you?  Share your thoughts on homeschooling pride. 
 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Introvert moms and homeschooling

There is a lot of talk of introverts who home school. If you are not sure if you are, try taking this online quiz. It really helps to know you.
I happen to be one of them and feel like if I would have known this about myself, I would have done more to nurture and guard time for being alone. I really think all of the busyness fed my depression to where it grew out of control. Studies indicate that introverts are more prone to depression. Now that I realize this, I guard my time like a sheepdog watching over his sheep.
Harley's Fans 12  Dog guarding sheep


  So, what can we do to nourish the need for quiet, alone time yet do the things we are called to do?

1. Set aside time for being alone daily even when you have babies. As an introvert, needing quiet and time alone to unwind, think, and just be is so vital. If we don’t get this, we are zapped. You may have to get creative to come up with ways to do so, but make it happen---everyday.

2. Stay home more. This can be hard if you have a lot of children and are homeschooling them. Balancing their need to be out and socialize with your need to be at home with little activity can be tricky. Try swapping with other families so maybe you could just drop off a few children and go back home.

3. Spend time with your spouse. Many introverts crave personal time with just one person. Who better than the one you are married to?

4. Let the guilt go. In the past, I felt a lot of guilt for using things like movies and outside time so that I could have time to do things for myself. Not anymore. I now realize how important it is to stay connected to myself and what I like to do. Use what you need to carve out that time.

5. Don’t do what you aren’t meant to do. If you find that the things above aren’t enough to fuel your introversion, it is ok to put your children in school. As I have grown to discover who I am and how I work, I realized that introversion fed my depression, and I didn’t do enough in the past to take care of my needs. This led to complete burnout for me, and I believe will take a lot of time alone for healing. That may not be the case for everyone. If you are just starting out or have been at it for awhile, trying the above things and more may be enough to nourish your personality and continue to home school. Only you know that.


  What ways do you foster your introversion and home school (or not)?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

depression and the homeschool mom


 

Like snow enveloping the yard during a blizzard, so too can depression fill your mind and soul before you realize how treacherous it can be.  Actually my depression was more of a slow, steady flurry instead of a wild blizzard.  Little wisps of sadness snuck in and took up residence to where it became a familiar friend instead of the foe that it really is.  It can be so sneaky that it can mask as tiredness, busyness, weight gain or others.  For me, I thought I was just a busy, tired mother of a lot of children, which was true, but it was more than that.

 Stay-at-home moms, and homeschooling moms in particular can be prone to depression because of the sheer amount of energy and work it takes to accomplish this task.  If it isn’t recognized and managed, it can do a lot of harm.  Depression is a liar and can make mothers believe things that simply aren’t true about themselves.  For me, depression told me that I was doing a horrible job as a mother and led me down the searching for the best way trail and straight to the comparison trap.

So, how can mothers tell if they are depressed or just worn out?  The first thing I always recommend is to get a check up with your doctor as it is not always easy to identify depression on your own.  But here are a few things you can ask yourself that I found were true for me. 
 

 

1.        Lack of motivation.  This was a big one for me.  I took this symptom as being tired.  I just didn’t want to get out of bed each morning and face another day.  But I did.  It was sheer grace that kept me going, but I thought I was just tired.


2.       Difficulty making decisions and concentrating.  Oh, this was another biggy for me.  Again, I blamed it on being tired.  I had the worst time helping my children with higher math problems, not because I couldn’t do them but because I had a hard time focusing on the problem at hand.  Decision making became unbearable to me because I was constantly worried whether I was doing a good job.  I was locked in the fear that I would make the wrong choice so I waffled.  A lot.

3.       Low self-esteem.  Like I said earlier, depression lies to us.  It will magnify your short comings, making you believe there are problems when there are none.  Moms are usually their own worst critic, but moms suffering with depression can be brutal on themselves.

4.       Feeling hopeless and helpless. This one goes with the previous one.  Usually we are critical of ourselves which leaves us feeling hopeless.

5.       Changes in eating or sleeping habits.  This was hard for me to distinguish because I was always waking with a nursing infant, and I ate on the run.


If any of these ring a bell or you just suspect you might be depressed, get help.  Depression is manageable and doesn’t have to knock you off your feet until you can no longer function.  Do it for your family and yourself.  You deserve it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Real refreshment retreat

As tired, busy moms, we need to take time to refresh and renew.  I found an idea that I thought I would share with my bloggy friends in case you can manage to attend.  It is the Real Refreshment retreat.  Check it out.

Happy New Year - Last chance to register for only $99.00!  This special price for Homeschool Moms will only last until January 10, 2014 – so don't delay!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ideas for the homeschool winter blues

Winter is the season of homeschool burnout.  Many people have a hard time getting back to school after the Christmas holidays and are facing several more months  indoors with restless children.  Over the next few months, I am going to share a few ideas to help give your homeschool a lift and mom's mood as well. 
I have planned two special activities per week for the month so as not to overwhelm you, one for the children and one just for mom.

January

Week 1: For the Kids:   We are beginning our back to school with an Epiphany party.  For those of you who are Christian, this is the feast of the Three kings on January 6.  I like to begin our day with reading a book about the Three Kings.  For older children, reading right from the Bible is a good idea.  Since I have a younger child, I like to use a picture book.  My favorites are Old Befana and The Story of the Three Wise Kings both by Tomie de Paola.  We also make a Crown cake (I use a pound cake recipe), and we make crowns for the children to wear.  We also give our children 3 gifts that they share as a group:  a book, a game, and a movie to represent 3 gifts given to baby Jesus. 
For Mom:  take a hot bath, with hot tea (or other beverage of choice).  Maybe even your dh will give you a massage when you are done.

Week 2: For Kids:   January is a snowy month in most places.  Living in the south, however, my children rarely see snow.  Therefore, we like to do snowcrafts.  Besides the traditional cutting paper snowflakes, I like to make snowflakes with puffy paints.  You will need white puffy paints (we like the glittery kind), waxed paper, and a snowflake pattern.  Place the pattern under the waxed paper.  Using the paint, fill in the snowflake and let dry.  When dry, peel from the waxed paper and hang on the window. 
For Mom:  Buy something new for yourself.  Even if you are on a tight budget, go to a thrift store and pick up something that will be new for you.  Something as simple as a new scarf or jewelry can really pick up your spirits. 



Week 3:  For Kids:  Bake yeast bread into shapes like snowmen or bears.  Most kids love to cook and kneading bread can be very therapeutic.  Nothing smells quite so homey as yeast bread.  Try this recipe.
For Mom:  Find a way to exercise this week, even if it is just running up and down the stairs.  It will make you feel so much better.

Week 4:  For Kids:  Nature scavenger hunt.  This may be a bit tricky if you live where there is a lot of snow, but I still think it would be worth getting outside for a short time.  Give the children a list of objects to find such as a rock, a pinecone, an acorn, a leaf, a feather, a shell, a stick shaped like an object, other nut or seed, something colorful, a flower, a piece of bark, and an insect.  Give them a set time and see who can get the most items. 
For Mom:  Treat yourself to using paper plates, napkins, and flatware for the week and spend that time you would have done dishes, doing something you love. 

Look for more ideas for the coming months.  This post is linked up at The Homeschool Post.
Blog and Tell 2014 @hsbapost