Friday, January 11, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal: Week 2, 2013

In my life this week…

I have been focusing on three words that I wrote on the bottom of my January calendar page after much thought and prayer:  Nourish.  Rest.  Rejoice.

When I remember to make these my guide for decision-making, life seems to go so much better.  Nourishing my own body and soul, as well as my children's and my husband's.  Resting my body and my brain (something that does not come naturally to me!)  Consciously finding reasons -- and even creating reasons -- to rejoice!  Yes, life runs more smoothly when I focus on these things and there is far more peace and happiness in my home as a result.

Wednesday and Thursday were perfect examples of this.  Wednesday, I woke with with headache, neck ache and other sundry "yuck" symptoms.  Instead of taking these as a sign to focus on nourishment and rest, I pushed through the morning.  It started okay, but quickly disintegrated into "one of those mornings", filled with frustrations and hurdles.  Phones rang at the same time, a guy from the town water department came knocking at the door about a random thing he needed to do in my disastrous basement, the kids began fighting and crying, I realized I'd double-booked some commitments, the toilet stopped working correctly, homeschooling proved more a chore than a joy...  Our home was anything but a place of rejoicing.

Enter Thursday.  I woke without the head and neck ache, but was tired from staying out late at a homeschool support night.  Instead of pushing through, I decided to let the kids and I rest in how the day unfolded and to focus on love and rejoicing while it did.  The day turned out beautifully!  

"I like that!" Nina said when she saw the camera monitor after Jack took a photo of me in our lean-to.  She wanted me to include it here.
The kids and I had fun with some homeschool games and activities I conjured up.  We took a long midday break for a picnic in the woods in a lean-to we had built on another day and then walked over to a playground.  I stole a few winks at nap time with Jack.  We ate healthy foods...

Nourish.  Rest.  Rejoice.  By letting these words that came to me through thought and prayer guide me through the day, I allowed the day to be what it could be:  beautiful!  By the time I got home from work, snuggled in to get the kids to sleep and sent Mike off to Adoration, I had so many things in my mind to offer thanksgiving and praise for.  I am still riding the high of it this morning.

In our homeschool this week…

There was both doubt and delight.

On Tuesday afternoon, I let doubt about my homeschool  creep in. "I'm not doing enough."  "The kids aren't meeting standards well enough."  "I need a better physical homeschool set up."  "Why haven't I finished creating Assessment binders and systems?"  "I would like to be more like (insert homeschool friends names here.)"...  Yep, I was in a mental tailspin about the way we homeschool and found myself inundating my husband's work email with self-accusations, ideas for improvement and things to be put on our "when we have time to discuss" list. 

Thankfully, the doubt fest lasted less than 24 hours, and the rest of the homeschool week was positive:

Monday, we broke from our regular homeschool rhythms in order to prepare our home for guests.  The kids were so excited at the prospect of hosting two homeschool friend-families the following day that they were willing to put in extra tidy times to prepare for their playdate.  I, of course, capitalized on their willingness, and so, in an effort to make out home presentable, while still enjoying part of the day and getting in lessons, we rotated between 15 minute intervals of Family Work/Practical Life Skills time, academic lesson time with delight-directed free time between "pegs" of meal times, snack times, read aloud time and cuddle time.  It worked well.

Tuesday morning, we did a quick morning circle, enjoyed a some quick Math and Language lessons, made a GFCF Chocolate cake to share and anxiously awaited our friends' arrival.  The kids were so excited to have seven homeschool buddies come to the house and the playdate went well, minus a few minor social skills issues on Luke's part.  Yep, at times, Luke was less than gracious to some friends while hyper-focusing on playing with others and when many of our friends converged on Luke and Jack's room at one time, I had to go in to help Luke get over "everyone touching my stuff" at the same time.  Those moments aside, the playdate was great, and we'll  definitely be looking to host more gatherings at our home.

Wednesday was a wash in many ways, although we did get in Core Four studies and some classical music studies.  Plus, when the kids were not fighting during free time, they enjoyed both educational and "just fun" games and activities during "delight-directed" free times.

A bright moment on an otherwise dark Wednesday morning was when Nina elected to practice her "retell the story" skills by "reading" I'd Be Your Princess to Jack.

Thursday found us practicing tally marks with Tumble, reviewing alphabet sounds and getting exercise with ABC cards, playing card games while studying sight words, reading lots and enjoying warm winter weather, among other things.  It seems the children also did science experiments with Daddy while I was at work.  I noticed the remains of their experiment with soap pieces and water to "make it like milk" on the counter this morning.

Today, so far, we've had a morning of Practical Life, informal lessons and play.  We will be hitting focused Core Four time soon.

Indeed, we all continue to learn and grow, through brief periods of doubt and greater times of delight.  Homeschool life is good.

Helpful homeschooling tips to share…

  • Start with what interests the kids and use what you already have.  The kids became super-interested in boxed games again during our annual New Year's Eve festivities with families.  So, this week, I capitalized on their game-interest by using Tumble, Snakes And Ladders, Topple and other games in new ways to practice addition, subtraction, tally marks, counting and other math skills while also getting some fine motor and auditory input in.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Outside of the people and things I've already mentioned, we took advantage of the warmer winter weather as a part of our continued commitment to keeping the Sabbath by heading to a place called Powder Point Bridge to walk by the ocean.  There, God's handiwork was oh so apparent in the colors of the sea and sky as the day came to a close.  Just gorgeous!

Just imagine pinks and purples over Mike and Jack's head.  Our camera washed the beautiful colors that were in the sky out.

My favorite thing this week was…

our midday break yesterday.  As I wrote on my personal FB page, "LOVING today's warm, sunny skies. After lessons this morning and before reading and rest time, we had a winter picnic in a lean-to the kids built in the woods and then a shirt playtime at the playground through the woods. Being outside is such a salve -- restorative and joy-filled."

Not the best picture, but it was the best moment of the week in my book!

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

"Seeing Tucker!"  Luke said when I asked him.  Tucker is Luke's favorite homeschool buddy right now and was one of the kids that came to our house the other day.  Luke talks about Tucker every day and has even begun practicing his handwriting sometimes by exchanging posted letters with this friend.

One of Luke's letters to Tucker, after he saw Tucker in "The Nutcracker."

"Seeing Cami," Nina chimed in, of course, when Luke said, "seeing Tucker," because Cami is one of Tucker's sister.  She also said, "going into the woods and having a picnic."  Ah, like mother, like daughter.

"Seeing Stuey," said Jack, for obvious reasons.  The littlest one in our family adores one of the youngest ones in our homeschool-friends family.  Jack also liked "payin pay-dough."  Yes, he is still enjoying playing with the yellow glitter playdough we made for Epiphany. 

Things I’m working on…

...some of the same things as last week:  circle time plans, blog drafts, home organization, healthy eating, balanced living, daily five reading time, Morning Basket retreat time, etc.  More than that, though, I am working on mindset -- keeping priorities in focus, trusting baby steps and focusing on nourishment, rest and rejoicing.

Sometimes it is the simple, spontaneous moments that make life so easy to appreciate.  I had to snap this picture as a reminder of that.  While I did some chores, Nina pulled out a puzzle and, then, Luke, came over to help her with it.  How delighted was I to find them working so cooperatively!  Then, they invited Jack and I to join and, thus, began a fun, informal lesson in careers, letter sounds, matching and imagination.

I’m cooking…

...less as we eat more raw foods, but still more than the average American mom does, I think.  In order to maintain our food goals, which includes keeping the kids' GFCF, so-much-else-free diets, making meal and snack components from scratch is a necessity.   

I’m grateful for…

...small successes and increments of progress.  When I let the Power of Pause to do its thing, life stops being something to push through and becomes something to truly relish.

On Monday, Grampy popped by unexpectedly, which afforded Luke a chance to play a quick game of checkers with him.  I love when impromptu pauses like this enrich our days.
I’m praying for…
  • healing for injured children.  I heard about Prayers for Fulton while carpooloing to a homeschool support group and have been holding Fulton and other injured children in my heart.
  • my grandnephew, a premie, who is going home for the first time soon.
and a host of other intentions.  Please join me in praise and petition.

A photo to share... 

Nina was upset that we took down the Christmas tree this week, but brightened up when I made her a tinsel garland ball to play with.
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This post is being shared at Homeschool Mother's Journal.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouraging post. I love the 3 words -- Nourish, Rest, Rejoice. I need to remember those myself. Blessings to you and your family.

Karen said...

so familiar with the doubts - for me, usually when I am saying: I wish I were more like Martianne!

you are wonderful mom, teacher, and friend.

see you soon

Martianne said...

Right back at ya with the blessings, living my portion, and, Karen, thank you. You and I look at each other in the same ways. :)


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