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, 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.