Homeschooling Moms: 5 Ways to Take Care of Ourselves Right Now

This post is graciously sponsored by Brave Writer. Disclosure.

It’s often the last thing on the to-do list: Ourselves.  Moms have a million things to do to take care of our families and our homes and our jobs and our many commitments. Add homeschooling to that and you can almost understand why well-meaning friends and strangers say, “I don’t know how you do it.” 

Homeschooling Moms: 5 Ways to Take Care of Ourselves Right Now

Here are 5 Ways to Care for Yourself as a Homeschoolng Mom

  1. Find Your Tribe.  Whether it’s a couple of other homeschool moms, a whole group, on-line or in person, find people who get you and get your family and your style of homeschooling. Run stuff by them: your curriculum plans, your struggles, your triumphant moments. Lean on them as needed.
  2. Seek Out Mentors.  This is different from your tribe.  Your tribe is in the trenches with you. Mentors have gone before you and have the advantage of hindsight to share with us. You can find them in real life, or by reading blogs or forums on the internet. They are there and they are wise.  Soak it in.
  3. Find the quiet.  What quiet?, you ask. I know. My house is loud, too. Find a time of day when everyone is asleep that is also the time that you are most likely to be able to be awake. Stay up really late or get up really early. I’m a morning person so guess what time it is when I am writing this? It’s 6:20 a.m.  I have coffee and it’s quiet here.   
  4. Let It Go. Sorry for the Frozen reference and now you have that song in your head. Again. But, picture this instead. You carefully plan and prepare learning activities for your children. Perhaps they even looked up at you with big eyes and said, “Mommy, can we learn about SPACE next?”
    And so you stayed up late cutting out cute planet printables and gathering supplies for an asteroid experiment and planning a themed snack to eat while you read the library books you reserved and checked out on the subject.  You are pretty darn proud of yourself for being so organized.
    And then the next day, they hate it. They refuse to do the printables, reject the snack and fuss and whine, “Whhhyyyy do we have to read this book? It’s so  boooooring.”  
    You’ve invested so much time and effort and you think, This is what we are going to do today, darn it. Don’t. Let it go.  Go outside and tromp around in the woods instead. Go visit Grandma and let them eat too many cookies. Build giant forts or Lego towers. And then look for the learning that did happen. I promise it is there. It’s just not the learning you planned for that day. It is the physics of the Lego tower, the family history lesson of Grandma’s stories, the science of bugs and plants in the woods.
  5. Restore your faith in homeschooling just a little bit each day. I’ve been reading Julie Bogart’s new book, A Gracious Space: Daily reflections to sustain your homeschooling commitment.  If you follow Julie’s Brave Writer page on Facebook you are familiar with the gems she shares that encourage homeschooling moms. I reshare them on the Creekside Learning Facebook page often. The book takes all that wonderful wisdom and presents it in 50 essays, designed to be read one per day. It’s like a homeschooling mentor mom has come into my kitchen and handed me a warm cup of coffee and this wonderful little daily dose of encouragement to start my day.  Here’s an excerpt from the book:

    It’s so easy to feel behind, or like you aren’t doing enough. In fact, when our kids are good at their schoolwork and get finished quickly…we might be tempted to undervalue the effort…Pay attention to the things that are working, to the peace you feel, to the smiles on your kids’ faces, to the well being of your family.Value what you are doing well. Celebrate it! Trust that ease in your day is a sign that you are on the right path.

 More About the Book

A Gracious Space is a beautiful collection of 50 essays designed to be read one per day and “intended to help you sustain your brave homeschooling commitment. Restore your faith in yourself, your hard work, and your children. Take a little time each day to remember why you do what you do.”  Deep breath. Don’t we all just need that?

This is the Fall Edition (first in a series). It comes in PDF, iBooks, and Kindle formats and you can order it right from the Brave Writer site. It’s $9.95. 

Gracious Space Fall

Win a Copy of the Book

Julie Bogart has generously offerred to give away 5 copies of her book to Creekside Learning readers. 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Julie Bogart | Author of A Gracious Space

Julie Bogart | Author of A Gracious Space

 Julie Bogart and I are collaborating on Pinterest to gather more resources that support homeschooling parents. Follow along:   Follow Julie Kirkwood, Creekside Learning’s board Support for Homeschool Parents on Pinterest.

From A Gracious Space: Daily Reflections to Sustain Your Homeschooling Commitment, by Julie Bogart

 

 

Instead of Asking Kids What Grade They’re In, Ask This

It never fails. Out in public, when my kids meet new adults, the grown-ups ask the same question:  What grade are you in? Sometimes it’s preceded with How old are you? and often it is followed by some variation of a school related question:  Are you glad to be off of school for the summer?  or Why aren’t you in school today? Is school out today?, depending on the season. But it is almost always about school.

Instead of asking kids what grade they're in, ask these questions instead.

I have one kid who smoothly fields these questions, one who is too little to be asked (much) and one who freezes. Every. Time.  My daughter does not want to be in a grade. Grades are for kids who go to public school. This isn’t something I taught, her, it’s just how she feels. We’ve tried discussing possible responses to this question but when it happens, she looks at me to explain, yet again, to another stranger who asks, “What grade are you in?”

I know they mean well. This person, out of kindness, is trying to engage with my child. These questions are automatic. It’s just what people say. There is no harm being done here. I know this. But I can’t help thinking, Is there another way to connect?

Isn’t it interesting that kids don’t ask this of other kids at nearly the same rate as adults? Here’s what kids say: 

Hey, do you play Minecraft? 

What’s your name?

Lets go on the swings.

Wanna play freeze tag?

Maybe adults could say those things or, in case they really don’t want to play freeze tag, here are some other ideas. 

Instead of asking, “What grade are you in?” how about these questions instead:

What’s something you are really good at?

Do you have super powers?  No? Well, if you could have a super power, what would it be?

What’s the best part of your day today so far?

What do you like better: the mountains or the beach?

Do you like horses/motorcycles/Legos?

Who is the silliest person you know?

What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?

Do you like to play with dolls/video games/cars/etc.?  What’s your favorite?

In memory of my Uncle Fred:  How’s the wife and kids? 

What is the strangest sound you could possibly make?

Say, have you ever met the President of the United States/Olaf the Snowman/any minions?

Do you have any pets?

What’s your favorite animal/color/etc.?

I’m taking a survey. I think kids should get to stay up as late as they want and parents should have to go to bed early. What’s your opinion?

What would you add to this list? What other ways can we engage with kids in fun, interesting, and playful ways?

50 Ideas for an Organized Homeschool

It’s that time of year:  Time to get ready for fall homeschooling. Even if you don’t start your homeschool year in the fall, many of the kids activities get going at this time of year and it’s the best time to buy school supplies on the cheap.  Here are 50 great ideas for an organized homeschool:   books, curriculum, paper, supplies, homeschool rooms and learning spaces–we’ve got it all covered!

How to organize your homeschool:  50 Ideas

 

Organize Your Homeschool Room and the Places Where You Learn

Organize Your School Supplies 

[Read more...]

Homeschool Kindergarten Science

Getting ready for homeschool kindergarten?  Here are some great, hands-on resources for homeschool kindergarten science. 

 Big List of Homeschool Kindergarten Science activities, experiments and areas of study.

Force, Motion, and Energy

[Read more...]

From Homeschool to Public School

Big changes are happening for the Creekside Family this fall.  Firefly, our 10-year-old, will be returning to public school for his 5th grade year, after 4 years at home.  This is not something that was even on our radar a few months ago.  But, after lots of family discussion and investigation into what a return to school might look like, we came to this decision.  

Most importantly, the reason we are going down this path is that it is the right thing for this particular child, at this particular time. That is, after all, why we went down this wonderful homeschooling path to begin with. That is why only one of our children is going to public school right now. That is why, odd as it may seem, I still consider this a part of Firefly’s homeschooling journey.

Will he go on to 6th grade in public school? I don’t know. Will he ever return home for his schooling again?  I don’t know that either. We will make that decision year by year, as we have done every year of his academic life. We will do what works for him and for our family. 

Firefly is happy. He is looking forward to going to school. We are doing many things to prepare him for this big change.  And, we are adjusting ourselves. We will all miss him. There are two younger siblings who have never known homeschooling without their big brother. There is the school’s schedule and time clock that we will all now work with and around. 

Creekside Learning will not change. I will still be writing about learning ideas and activities for preschoolers through elementary ages. My focus has always been to create a place where families and teachers can find resources and get inspired by hands-on learning, regardless of whether their kids/students go to school at home or in brick building. And that will continue. 

There is so much more I could write here, but it feels like such a personal part of our family’s story right now. Perhaps I will write more in the future. For now, I wanted the eyes who so graciously read my blog to know that we are, at this point in time, an academically blended family.  

We feel so very fortunate to have supportive friends and family surrounding us, a neighborhood school that is welcoming us and the experience to know that if our new schooling situation isn’t the right fit, we always have choices. 

 

From Homeschool to Public School | Creekside Learning

Firefly at age 5, our first homeschooling year.