Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5 Ways I Plan to Enjoy the Homeschool Year

This coming school year, I will have three kids in my official homeschool. All of them will need my help and undivided attention in just about every subject.

Factor that in with the fact that I have a four year old little boy who is obsessed with all things loud, and a two year old who sees it as his main mission in life to destroy everything in sight.

And of course, I still have a house to keep semi clean, laundry to do, and meals to make.

Oh, and still be a loving wife and mama.

Somebody hold me.

Now, to be fair, I realize that I am being a tad over dramatic(just a tad!)

But I will still admit that the thought of homeschooling this year has been seriously intimidating me. 

Because, these last few years I have come to realize something very profound. hard!

That's not to say I regret our decision to homeschool, or that I'm doubting where God has led our family in this area. Just because something is hard, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, right?

Coming to the realization that this is going to require a lot of hard work on my part, is actually a good thing. And it's caused me to evaluate some ways that I can try to enjoy this coming school year.

1. As much as I can, I will pick a curriculum that excites me. Last year I made the mistake of ordering school books based more on other people's recommendation than on my own teaching style. I'm not a super organized person, so any curriculum that has a bunch of tiny pieces that goes along with it is not going to work very well for our family. I am also not a very crafty mama, so buying books with a heavy emphasis on crafts isn't going to work well for me either.

I decided to evaluate what I actually enjoy doing with my kids and ordered curriculum based on those preferences.

2. I will stick with the curriculum. Confession time: I am a curriculum junkie. I'm constantly second guessing my decisions, and comparing what I'm doing with what my friends/mentors/strangers on the internet are doing with their kids.

Last year we did a program called classical conversations(I also tutored for it.) I also found an older edition of Adventures in My Father's World for a really low price so I bought that to go along with our CC. The problem with doing that(for me at least) was that I was constantly stressing myself out trying to keep up with both schedules. This year I'm going to try and keep things as simple as I can. This year, unless one of my children is really struggling and legitimately needs me to try something different, I'm vowing to stick with what I decided on at the beginning of the year.

3. I will continue to institute daily quiet times. My kids have had to take naps(or rest times when they grew out of naps) their entire lives, and it has been an awesome blessing for all of us. Sometimes I feel guilty that we do this, but honestly, we all benefit from a little alone time each day.

4. I will remember that this is a privilege.  A few years ago, I had a conversation with another homeschool mom that has always stuck with me. We were discussing all the issues that go along with homeschooling when she said,"Really, I think I need to just put a suitcase by the front door to remind myself that one day my kids will grow up and won't live here with me forever. Ten years from now, it's not going to matter if they learned a certain math concept in a day or if it took them an entire year. The thing that matters most is their heart, and letting them see that you're always going to be there for them.

Spending all day with my kids and being able to give them a Christian education is a blessing. This season of life isn't going to last forever, but I will always have a relationship with my kids. I want to remember to embrace this time in my life.

Not only that, but I have a supportive husband who helps with school when he can, and takes the kids frequently so I can plan(or just so I can have some alone time.)

5. I will make time to refresh my soul. Some days my kids wake up before my alarm and by the time nap time arrives I hardly have any space in my brain to study scripture. Sometimes I let these facts of life excuse me from spending time in the Word. Truthfully, on those days, I might not be able to spend as much time as I'd like reading and praying, but I can certainly get creative in making it work. My kids can be taught to have their own quiet times while I have mine.

And on those days when I really need to dig a little deeper into something(and drink my coffee in peace) I can give myself grace to turn on Netflix for a few minutes while I retreat back to my room(the kids will survive!)

Ultimately though, I can't do any of this without remembering to rely on the Lord's strength. As I have prayed and thought about this coming school year, this verse keeps coming to mind:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

That's my plan for trying to enjoy the upcoming school year. I'll let you know in a few months how it's working out. :)

What are some ways that help you enjoy homeschooling?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

14 days of Dinner Inspiration

Does anyone else ever feel like dinner time sneaks up on you? Or as if you’re just making the same things over and over again?
Recently, I’ve been feeling as though I’m in a cooking rut, so to speak. And while I have a pinterest board full of recipe ideas, most of them, when I start to really look at the recipes, sound a little too time intensive for my season of life.
With school getting ready to start, I’ve found that it’s extremely helpful to have a simple menu plan that can last me for two weeks...
Read the rest over at Raising Homemakers!

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