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

 

 

Container Garden Vegetables ~ Grow With Your Kids

Gardening has been a wonderful learning opportunity for our kids and is a family project we all enjoy doing together. Our gardening project of choice:  Container Garden Vegetables.  We are gearing up for spring by starting our seeds indoors, as we do every year.  It’s a great opportunity for science learning (how do seeds grow?), reading practice (seed packets, books about gardening) and handwriting (marking which seeds are in which containers). We have some container garden ideas to share with you. It’s so easy and fun to garden this way, and it’s less work than a regular garden plot, too.

container garden vegetables

Choosing Seeds

First, we let the kids choose the seeds they want to plant for our container garden vegetables and I set up a seed learning area for them to plant, care for, and explore the seeds and soil. If you want to do organic container gardening,  organic seeds can be found at most garden centers and big box stores as well. We keep our seedlings indoors until there is no chance of frost (about May 1st where we live).  organic container gardening

Preparing Soil

We live in Virginia where the hard clay soil requires years of conditioning, to yield the ideal soil for growing vegetables. Raised beds are quite popular. We built those at our last house. For our current house, we put in a small plot directly into the ground in addition to patio and deck containers.  After two years of working the soil in the plot, we decided our efforts were best spent on the bounty of herbs and vegetables that were flourishing in our containers. Also, to get to our plot, we had to go down a flight of deck stairs from the main level and around the side of our house, making watering the garden an easily forgotten, if not dreaded, chore in the hot summer.  Watering the deck containers, on the other hand, was easy and fun. The kids loved to take turns caring for the plants there, and my husband, whose passion is cooking, enjoyed stepping out to the deck from our kitchen to cut some fresh herbs or pick some fresh tomatoes or peppers from the containers while he was cooking. We used a basic gardening soil mix from our local gardening center to fill our containers. Make sure the containers have adequate drainage. If not, drill holes in the bottom of the pots before filling with soil, or add a bottom layer of pea gravel or other small stones. Transplant the seedlings to the containers. container garden vegetables So what can you grow in containers? Well, almost everything, really, but here are the container garden vegetables, and a few other things, that we’ve had success with.

10 Things You Can Grow in a Container Garden

  1. Carrots – my kids’ favorite!
  2. Strawberries – You want these in a container anyway, because they tend to overtake other plants.
  3. Mint – another plant that should be contained, otherwise it takes over and you will be up to your ears in mint.
  4. Any and all herbs: Basil, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill.
  5. Tomatoes – We’ve grown all varieties successfully in containers but especially love grape and cherry tomatoes in our container garden. Add a small trellis or cage to support them as they grow.
  6. Lettuce – This is a favorite with the kids because it grows quick and early and can be replanted again throughout the growing season.
  7. Radishes – Since they are small and compact, they can grow in smaller, more shallow containers.
  8. Peppers – All varieties of hot peppers are small plants that grow well in containers (jalapenos, habaneros, banana, cayenne) and we’ve also successfully grown bell peppers here as well.
  9. Cucumbers, melons and squash. If you have your containers on a patio where the vines of these plants can travel to the ground, where the fruit will develop, you can grow them in containers, too. 
  10. Flowers! We love to mix flowers into our vegetable and herb plant containers. It makes the deck look even more colorful. Plant low growing flowers like petunias, which will cascade down the sides of the container and cover some of the exposed soil. 

container garden vegetables

My little Love Bug as a toddler, helping his Aunt Francine with her container gardening.

Thank you to our sponsor, HALLS®, for sponsoring this post. Disclosure.

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vegetables you can grow in a container garden

I was compensated for this post by HALLS via BlogHer network.  

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Water Beads and Shaving Cream Pretend Play

“Cake batter” (shaving cream)…

shaving cream pretend play for preschoolers

Plus some “sprinkles” (water beads)…

add water beads to shaving cream

And a spoon for mixing and spreading…

spreading shaving cream over water beads

And you have some wonderful, quiet, sensory fun.

Cost: about $4, but only because my 4-year-old grabbed the shaving cream can and emptied the entire contents onto the tray.

I thought, “Cool. That’s some rockin’ fine motor skills, being able to operate a spray can of shaving cream.”  Nice job, little guy.

For more information about where to find water beads and ways to use them, see our Water Bead Science post.

waterbeadscience

Water beads should not be ingested. Please supervise children and pets closely when playing with water beads. 

For more preschool fun and learning, follow our Preschool pin board on Pinterest.

We’ve also been playing with snow….indoors over at Kiwi Crate’s The Studio.
indoor snow play

How to Make a Daisy Chain

Do you remember making daisy chains when you were a child? Oh, the endless pretending possibilities of a pretty flower crown on a long summer day. Here’s a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a daisy chain with your child.  

How to Make a Daisy Chain

Isn’t this just another reason why summer is so awesome?

How to Make a Daisy Chain

  1. Pick daisies with stems 1 to 3 inches long. The longer the stem, the more space between each flower on the crown; the shorter the stem, the closer together the flowers will be on the crown.
  2. Make a slit in the stem of a daisy, just below the flower.
  3. Weave another stem through the slit.
  4. Keep doing this until you have a long chain of daisies woven together.
  5. Tie the two ends together to make a circle or crown.

 

It’s fun to decorate your dog with daisies, too. Even if she then tries to eat them.