September 2016

Time to catch you all up to speed. After spending the last 2o years of my life as a stay at home, homeschooling mama. We had to make some changes. I currently am homeschooling a junior in high school and a 4 year old. My other two precious beauties are in school. 5th and 3rd grade. 

This was probably one of the hardest decisions to make in my life at this point. I never  thought i would see myself putting my children in school. 

However, due to some hard circumstances big daddy and i decided this would be the best thing for them. 
We did not take this decision lightly and for the past two years i have tried to work full time and homeschool.  i truly give credit to those who can do it. i was not one of those people. i have tried and tried. And all it really did was make me an angry mom. My goal is to not be an angry mom. but a mom that my kids wants to be around. 

A tid bit of our year so far.

I'm currently only full time homeschooling a 7th grader, 4 grader and 1st grader.

My choices this year for school were based on a decision that quickly changed pattern but I had already gotten my books for the year.

My dad was living within close proximity of me and he had received some not so good health news.

For the first time in about 15 yeaars I left my Charlotte Mason/ Lap books behind to purchase a "school in a box" curriculum.

My thought was that my dad would need my help around the house and to possible be driven to doctors appointments etc.

So I entered into a new season of homeschooling thinking this would be great for us. Less prep time, more time with Grandpa but still getting school done. My older ones are independent learners.

About two month into the school year my dad moved away.
So now I was basically stuck with school in a box!

it's ok, it's been a very different road this year but I think my kids are handling it well and maybe a little appreciative of the schooling.

My 7th grader is using Life PACS

My 4th and 1st grader are using and Amish school curriculum.

I have to tell you the Amish School is fun!

The beauty of homeschooling is that you can change and adapt to each season of your life. Sometimes you may need a more structured curriculum or a less structured one. For me it always depends on my kids and where they are at academically , and where we are in life.

As a mom of six children my life is constantly changing.

and that is ok.

God has blessed me no matter what.

Homeschool Burnout
So anyone who tells you they haven't at some point in their homeschool life experienced homeschool burnout is lying to you!!
(remember all about keeping it real here)
They are! And they should be ashamed! wink, wink.
There comes a time, for me probably at least once a year, usually in the winter.. when I experience a homeschool slump.
We are usually coming off very busy holiday season. From the middle of  November through December. We school differently. 
We break from our normal routine, and we do a lot of copy work.. and a lot of service.  And service projects. 
Typically we do the Amanda Bennett unit study.. and fill our days with serving others. We rake leaves, bake cookies, help neighbors in whatever way we can. We also focus a lot on what scripture say about helping others and learning about how our country came to founded on religious freedoms. I do the same unit study every year.  This never gets old to my kids. Each year they come out with something new they have learned.
In our homeschool in general we focus a lot on service and continually look for ways to serve. 
However, once the holidays come to a stop and it's time to start up our regular routine, a few weeks after we get that slumpy, drudgery, boring, blah winter ick!
That's really the best way to describe it. You just feel blah. Your kids are either blah with you. Or pinging off the walls hyper and outta control.
Winter seems to be the hardest for us because we are forced indoors for a big period of the day. We are very outdoorsy people. We school outdoors as soon as the weather is about 50*. :)  We will take all our stuff and sit outside weather under a pile of blankets in the early spring and late fall. Or by the pool with our feet dangling in the water, under a shady tree in the heat, or just full on in the sunshine!
So when winter blahs hit, how do I combat it? ...
First we try to get out everyday it's above 32* for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes if it's colder we'll still venture out in the heat of the day.. in other words when the sun is at it's highest point and will give us the most warmth. Dress appropriately of course.  We go out in snow, we venture out in light drizzles..that's what rain boots and umbrellas are for!! :)
Secondly, if we can't get outdoors we change the pace of our homeschool day. There is a local park that has an indoor fire place in it. The park rangers will have it going during cold winter day. Sometime we pack up our books, pack a lunch and go there. It's wonderful! It's warm and cozy, we do school on large picnic tables and we can then walk the park, play on the swing sets etc. if we want to . We will go to the mall just to walk around and get some running in for little ones. Yes, during the day when the mall is not crowded I let my kids run it. Shoot me! It burns energy, as long as they aren't screaming I'm ok with it.
Third, if they are having trouble focusing we stop, play a game, watch a movie, find a unit study or fun filler work to do. Sometimes you just need to take a break from the mundane and do something different and fun. We will have a dance party, a tea party, an airsoft war, a card game.. whatever we can to switch it up a bit.
If homeschool burnout is having a particular effect on me, you know what I'm talking about ladies, the I stink as a teacher, the bus is looking real good right now, I've screwed up my kids, holy cow what was I thinking??? mindset creeps in..  I declare some me time.
That means easy school work for them or an educational video, movie etc. .. and either a nice hot bath with essential oils for me. Tea/Coffee with a friend. Uninterrupted mommy computer time,(I achieve this by having quiet time, kids to their rooms with books, coloring books, a nook , game etc. set a timer they don't come out until timer goes off)  Lunch out with a friend, or the harried phone call to another homeschool mom to remind me~ WHY~ am I  doing this again?!
Homeschool burnout is very real. Very relatable by any homeschool mom. And not something we should be afraid or ashamed to admit.
While you may think Susie Homeschooler mom with 10 kids, has the perfect routine, the perfect children, the perfect husband.. Susie is thinking that about you! 
We are all in this homeschooling journey together, that means eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Abeka, Unit study, unschooling, moms are all feeling the same pressure. Instead of worrying about who uses what curriculums. Surround yourself with other moms who are supportive of homeschooling in general. To each his own.. The main goal is normally the same common goal among all homeschooling moms .. to teach our children about Christ and to do the best with them we can possibly do.
I have 16 years of this homeschooling journey under my belt and another 16 or more to go!
Join me on this adventure. I promise you are not messing up your kids. You will survive, and it's much easier said then done!


In the beginning..........................

How we started:

About 15 years ago, my precious first born was three years old. And I was already getting worried about school. Big Daddy and I hadn't bought a home yet. I DID NOT want to be putting her in schools and pulling her out each year. We looked into private and it was completely unaffordable for us.

At the church we were attending, I met up with someone I went to High School with. I shared with her about "school" and she introduced me to homeschooling.

Dh and I went to our first conference that year. We decided that we would home school for kindergarten only. It was test to see if I could do it, and if she liked it.

So many questions: How would she socialize? What curriculum would I use? What if I didn't do a good job? What if I mess this up? What if she hates it? All the typical What ifs, that come with beginning a homeschool adventure.

We met many people who said it was a "calling" .. they felt "led by the holy spirit" .
We at this point in our lives weren't even saved yet. So we kinda were like Ok weirdo's.  ( just keep it real peeps)

We began the in September of 99. She would turn 5 that November.  I was excited.

I bought a very "traditional" school curriculum. ABeka. I liked (at that time) how it had everything literally spelled out for you. It told you what to say. That was good. I needed that. My self confidence was just building on this adventure of homeschooling.

 Meeting really awesome Christian influences, that eventually lead to me being saved.

Our first year had many ups and downs. I was schooling my oldest, had a two year old and gave birth to my third child that same year.

We were busy! We had been renting a historic home and the home owners sold, we were leaving this beautiful neighborhood in a very nice area and had no place to go.
Seriously no place to go.

We wound up having to go live with my Grandfather for 6 months.. So beginning my homeschool adventure, moved my whole family in with Grandpa. Newly saved in the Lord. And three precious babies to care for.

At the end of our first year, my five year old was reading, doing everything she should be academically. And we were living life as a Christian family!!!!

My husband got saved shortly after I did. :) (that's another blog post)

My husband and I just knew at the end of that year, Yup.. this is what we were doing.. FOREVER!!!

I call homeschooling an adventure because it is!

Each child you have is so different from the other one. They each have different learning styles. Your job is to figure out how best to educate them, and get them to use God's gifts accordingly.
From the beginning we taught our children to have an entrepreneurial spirit.
One of our main goals was they that wouldn't necessarily have to work for someone else.

We are seeing the fruits of that labor. Our oldest daughter and first homeschool graduate.  Has a successful photography business. She also was top of her class in vocational school for her certificate.

After years of criticisms, critics, demeaning, disparaging, disapproving, sarcastic, (you get my drift here) remarks..

My oldest daughter has grown to be a successful adult. She adapted perfectly to life. I have no regrets.

Now only 5 more to go. I am already seeing the fruits in the others.

Don't let anyone tell you, you can't succeed at something. That you can't handle it. And don't think that about yourself.
God entrusted these little perfect souls to you. You as mom and dad want what's best for them not what the world says is best.

Two Scripture Verses that help me through my difficult days, ( because yes there will be very difficult days)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut. 6

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

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