Organization

Saving Your Sanity with “Planned Overs,” by Cheryl

Image courtesy of freeimages.com

My mom always made a roast that was twice what our family needed for one meal. A day or two later, we had vegetable beef soup. Rather than leftovers, she called it “Planned Overs.” I have started doing the same thing with a lot of our meals. It has made lunch and dinner on busy nights much less stressful.

Planned overs can be as complicated as planning to turn a roast into soup, or as easy as just making twice as much food as you need for any meal. In reality, either one is very easy. Here are a few of my favorite “planned overs.”

Crock Pot Chicken into Chicken Soup

This is our easiest and most cost effective set of meals. DAY ONE: I cook a whole chicken in the crock pot. I season it different every time but with my meal for the next day in mind. For our family of five, I purchase a 6-8 pound chicken. One shopping trip left me with only 5 pound chickens; I purchased two and cooked them together. It took them a little longer to cook through but left me with enough chicken for three good meals.

When we are done, I clean the chicken bones. The remaining chicken meat is placed in the refrigerator. The bones, skin, and giblets are returned to the crock pot. The pot is filled with water and left on low over night. We wake up to an amazing smell filling our house!

After I cool and strain the broth, I use it for soup that day or freeze it for soup later – sometimes I have enough to do both! What do we eat for DAY TWO? Chicken enchilada soup or chicken and dumplings. Either leaves us with dinner the first night and lunch for the week. Pick your favorite chicken soup and toss everything in the crock pot with your broth, let it simmer until dinner. YUM!

If I don’t make soup, I mix up some chicken salad. This is my second meal of choice when we have plans for a zoo trip or a picnic with friends.

Taco Night

One pound of ground beef makes enough taco meat for dinner for our family with lunch leftovers for one. Instead of cooking one pound, I make two. We all eat tacos for dinner, then we can enjoy tacos or taco salads for lunch the next day. Sometimes the leftovers last us for two lunches!

Chili in the Crock Pot

When we make chili, I brown my beef and then dump everything into the crock pot. This is another meal that I double. Chili and taco salads from the left overs provide us with lunches for a few days.

Spaghetti

I make my own sauce when I make spaghetti. If I want spaghetti to feed us all for a few meals, I need more than one pound of meat but two is too much. My solution is to fill it with veggies. I brown a pound of ground beef. While that cooks, I chop an onion, a handful of mushrooms, a bell pepper, and a jar of artichoke hearts. I toss that in with a large can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, a small tomato sauce, and a small tomato paste seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and a selection of Italian herbs. The last time I made this recipe we had dinner for five people, lunch for 3 one day, lunch for 2 another day, and lunch for 1 the last day.

When I make roast, pulled pork, or brisket I always cook more than our family will need for one meal. Having leftovers for lunch has truly simplified our mid-day meals. Sometimes it means that I am reheating four different items for lunch, but we have healthier options than Ramen, mac ‘n cheese, and frozen pizza; and more variety than sandwiches. It has also proven to be very nice for our food budget.

Other ideas: Make too much grilled chicken – wraps, chicken salad, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, or chicken on a green salad. Leftover roast – add some frozen veggies and make soup. Cook a pork roast and only eat half – shred and add BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches.

I usually make two of these meals a week. That practically guarantees delicious lunches all week. In between we make smaller meals but almost always have a little leftover. To make “planned overs” work, you have to know the eating habits of your family. You also need to evaluate the staples you keep at home and how much space you have.

  • How much will your family eat at one sitting?
  • If you make extra of your main dish – what can you do with it the next day for dinner?
  • How much room do you have in your refrigerator or freezer?

What “planned overs” does your family eat? Let us know in the comments!

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

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Pezze e Piselli

November Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

Hopefully by this time of the year, everyone has settled into a routine, and schooling is just chugging along with some beautiful moments of grace tucked into every day. I’ve challenged myself to actively look for the beauty and grace in our every day, instead of having to have it smack me over the head, and I have to say, it’s working. Flannery O’Conner wrote about those every day graces that we pass over, completely blinded to their brilliance because our glass is so dark, but if we look, if we seek it out, we can find it, and I can say it softens my day when I dwell upon it.

Following those small graces, I’ve also tried to actively slow down enough to enter into them. It’s so much easier than I’ve made it out to be in my head. On Facebook, there’s been talk of Hygge as we settle into winter, and my feed this week has been filled with Hygge’s cousin, the Norwegian Koselig. (And for some fun, a video. We’re now calling Headbandz “Card Head” at my house. You’ll understand when you watch the video.) One thing that really struck me in this article on The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter ,  was the idea of creating a habit of getting outside every day, no matter the weather. It’s a long-standing European habit that you can hear echoed in Charlotte Mason’s writings, and in other writings of Europeans (Mansfield Park comes to mind). After a tough day of homeschooling (Middleschoolers. Following directions. ‘Nuff said.), I took the article’s advice, leashed my dog and went on a long walk in the cold November drizzle. It was an instant mood change. I arrived back at house with a cleared head and a happy heart. Apparently I needed to just kick myself outside. I have to warn you though, getting out the door is the hardest part of this new routine? Have you made getting outside into a daily habit? What works for you?

One thing that is pushing up like a wall against my every day grace hunt is the avalanche of holiday preparations. But I’ve made some purposeful changes to battle that, which is crafts and Advent. I realized that sometimes I need to make room for the grace. I can say “HERE, and no more.” With Thanksgiving coming, and the holidays after that, we’ve been collecting pinecones and crafting supplies. My kids make place cards for every holiday, and even when it’s just us, it seems to elevate the day into something special. Make some place cards, set the table, light a candle–instant wonder. You can make them as simple as gluing on some leaves or letting the kids draw pumpkins on them. We’ve used watercolors, crayons, and acorns to decorate them.

In following that idea of making these hectic upcoming months easier (and all of homeschooling easier), Vera shared her family’s menu-making plan. We use this system in our house, and it really reduces dinnertime stress. Another rule that I adopted from a friend was to make sure I had dinner going by 10am. Staring into the fridge at 5pm with starving kids behind you is anxiety-inducing. And always have a back up in the freezer. Not a frozen chicken backup, but, say a bag of frozen sauce with meatballs. Something that you can defrost in a half hour while the water for the macaroni boils. Do you have any tips for feeding your people that make your life easier? Vera will be following this article up with another, so keep a watch for it!

Also on the Sandbox Facebook page this article titled “This 1897 Text Gives 3 Clues Why Today’s Students Can’t Write” really gained traction, and it reminded me of the saying, “Garbage In; Garbage Out.” I’m so happy for having read my children all of those bedtime stories, with long, winding clauses and beautiful language. If you haven’t read to your children–including your older children–I encourage you to break out the tea pot, the coffee pot, and a book. As my children got older, we moved our Morning Basket reading time to an afternoon Tea Time, and it’s my teenagers who make sure it happens every day. They love it as much as I do. If you read aloud to your children, how do you deal with wiggling toddlers or scoffing teenagers?

Speaking of books – we just have to know, what have you been reading together? Or for your own enrichment? I’m going to be writing a book report on The Awakening of Miss Prim to share in the upcoming weeks.

And don’t forget to like us and follow us on facebook! 

How We Make it Work

Fun and Games, by Lynne

I thought I was being all clever in my plan to teach United States geography to my kids. I was going to have them label the states they recognized on a blank map before we even started our curriculum. Then I was going to have them repeat the exercise at the end of the year to see how many more they remembered. Well, the joke was on me. Both of them labeled each and every state correctly and even labeled several of the state capitals. I was shocked and stunned! “How did you know all of this?”, I asked. “We learned it from Stack the States (Android here) and Clever Dragons.”

Games? Games, you say? This wasn’t in the Classical Education Handbook! Wait. There is no Classical Education Handbook. That was just in my fantasy world.

So, you can learn stuff from games. Interesting.

Okay, I’ll stop being silly now. We’ve been including games in our homeschool since we started five years ago. Games are a really fun way of getting back on track when you’ve lost your groove or they can be a nice way to break up a challenging day.

My kids play some educational games on the computer, and I’m quite surprised and pleased about how much they learn and retain from these games. But our favorite way to learn with games is to include them in real life within our school day.

We have used games in almost every subject. Some games I purchased purposely to use for school, like Main Idea Bingo.

But the regular old games you have stacked on your shelf can be just as educational. Boggle, Scrabble, and Bananagrams are great for spelling. Games like Chess, Settlers of Catan, Risk, and Rush Hour help develop your strategy skills. Zoom, Yahtzee, and Monopoly are all good for reinforcing math skills. These math dice were so simple, and yet they were one of the things my kids enjoyed playing the most. We have several of these Professor Noggin’s games for history and science. I could go on and on listing games for various skill development and building a general knowledge base.

Playing with the math dice

Professor Noggin’s Ancient Civilizations game

You don’t have to buy games to use them in your homeschool. We have made several games related to things we’ve been learning about in school.

We have made memory games like the one in the above photo that came from the Colonial America History Pockets book, I believe. We made another memory game for our Ancients study where the kids had to match up the Greek god name with its Roman god equivalent. When we were learning about action verbs, the kids invented an Angry Birds-inspired game called Angry Verbs, and they glued action verbs onto foam balls which they then threw at some stacked up boxes.

Angry Verbs

I made a few Pinterest-inspired games for them too, such as Scrabble Eggs. I put some scrabble tiles in plastic chicken eggs, and they had to make as many words as possible from the letters. Definitely check out Pinterest for game ideas.

Whatever you do, make time for some fun and laughter in your homeschool. It doesn’t have to be all serious all the time. Even with your high schoolers. Sure, they have a lot of work to do, but a family game of Apples to Apples or Pandemic will be sure to improve the spirits.

Don’t worry about games being educational all the time either. Sometimes it’s just nice to have fun.

Education is a Life

When Reality Sinks In, by Apryl

This article originally ran in November 2013, but we like it so much we wanted to share it again.

A little over six years ago, I brought three little girls home to educate.  We were leaving a school system that I felt was failing them and heading into grand dreams of our new homeschooling adventure.  I had two third graders and a sixth grader, all of whom were bright, pleasant children.  This was going to be so much fun, and I had it all planned out.  There would be a lot of arts and crafts that tied in seamlessly with history and science.  Math would be hands on and exciting.  We would read great literature, study the Bible thoroughly, and write beautiful prose.  With all of this one-on-one attention, the girls would sail ahead of their public school peers.  It was going to be awesome.

Then reality set in.

We discovered how much the girls were just skating through public school without actually learning much.  My A/B Honor Roll sixth grader couldn’t do fifth grade math.  One of my third graders knew how to multiply, while the other had never even done it.  We had some catching up to do.

They were also used to being the best in their class, and never having to work hard at anything in school.  Suddenly the work was harder, and their classmates were just as smart as they were.  It was a blow to their egos, and it unsettled their self-esteem.

My beautifully planned-out curriculum was not going well, either.  I had chosen the Weaver Curriculum for its dedication to learning through the Bible, multi-grade flexibility, and for all of the hands-on work it offered.  Little did I know that the prep work required to implement this was going to wear me out and my older child didn’t really appreciate doing the same work as her baby sisters.

There were tears, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  From the kids, too.

So, two months into it, we threw in the towel on Weaver.  Reality had hit and it looked nothing like my pipe dreams.  I looked closely at the girls’ learning styles and their gaps. We ended up going with Sonlight because it was literature rich and Christian based.  It also gave us the flexibility to customize the work to fit the needs of the child.

Over the years, I found that being flexible is what worked best with my children.  There is no one curriculum that will fit the entire spectrum of their needs.  While boxed curriculum is a great starting point, eventually it was crucial for us to break out of the box and fill our needs with bits and pieces from other sources.  I also had to let go of my own ideas of what was fun or interesting.  For example, my kids never embraced the whole notebooking thing like I hoped they would.  I had to accept that, and be willing to drop that from our plans.

Eventually we outgrew Sonlight, but it had held my hand through a few years of learning to plan lessons and to make sure all the basics were covered.  Now, in their high school years, I am able to pick and choose freely among the myriad of curriculum choices to make sure each child’s needs are met with the minimum amount of angst.

But in the end, that is the beauty of homeschooling.  We aren’t marching to the same deadlines and rules to which the school system must conform.  Our kids reap the benefits of a truly customized education.

Apryl–Born and raised in Tennessee, Apryl is a southern girl at heart.  She lives out in the country with her husband and her three daughters. She is an artist, photographer and a homeschooler.  After having an unfulfilling public school education herself, and struggling to find peace with the education her girls were receiving in the public school system, she made the choice to homeschool.  When they began their homeschool journey, the girls were in the third and sixth grades.  Now she is happily coaching three teenaged daughters through their high school years.  You can visit her blog at Almost a Farm Girl

Organization

Menu Planning for the Homeschooling Family — Including Recipes to Inspire You! by Vera

Dinner time. Ugh! Why do these people need to eat every day? The plague of mothers everywhere – what’s for dinner? In my house, the solution has been a six-week rotating  menu.  My family sometimes gets tired of certain foods, so six weeks keeps things from getting old.

To begin, I made a list of every meal we regularly ate. I had my husband and kids help me think of things, including meals we hadn’t had in a while. I also included new dishes we wanted to try.

Next, I sorted all those meals. We’re meat and potatoes people, so I organized by type of meat – chicken, beef, pork, fish, other. I tried to spread things out so we weren’t eating three pork meals in a row. We enjoy having “Taco Tuesday,” but I wanted to switch that up, so I have beef tacos, chicken tacos, chicken fajitas, beef enchiladas, pork carnitas, and tortilla soup. I gradually filled in meals in pencil on a spreadsheet, then moved things around as needed. I have a few repeats but not many. There are three scheduled days that don’t really change: Friday is pizza night, Saturday is my hubby BBQing, and Sunday is leftover pizza from Friday. So I really only had to come up with 24 meals – four days each week.

Now that I have this menu set up, a little planning at the beginning of the week makes dinner time easy – shop for the whole week, keeping in mind any meals on the list that can be made in bulk and frozen. I no longer have to think, “What will I make for dinner tonight?” It’s all planned out, and I can run on autopilot.

Download some of Vera’s family’s favorites:

Pork Carnitas

Chicken Spaghetti

Baked Salmon

Cover Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

Vera is a Christian homeschooling mom to 3 boys and a baby girl, and her past life included a degree in Electrical Engineering and a job as a software developer prior to having kids. She started homeschooling January 2010, halfway through her oldest son’s first grade year. She lives in Alabama and has a small farm of horses and goats, aka nature’s lawnmowers. Her days involve wrangling boys, vacuuming German Shepherd hair, sewing, knitting, and computer programming.

Art

Student Spotlight: Pontillism Duck, by Louisa

pointilism duck

By Louisa, age 9


Genevieveis a former public and private school teacher who has five children and has been homeschooling for the past thirteen years. In her free time she provides slave labor to Dancing Dog Dairy, making goat milk soap and handspun yarn, which can be seen on Our Facebook Page and at Dancing Dog Dairy .

Math

Starting With Fractions, by Angela Berkeley

FRACTIONS!  They are among the Great Shoals of homeschooling.  Kids learn them.  Kids forget them.  Kids expect parents to know them thoroughly enough to help with them quickly and casually.  Kids don’t always understand them very well.  Adults don’t necessarily know, understand, or remember them well enough for facile use, let alone facile teaching of them.

One of the best ways to begin teaching about fractions is through casual, everyday exposure.

I like to start with measuring cups, with dollars, quarters, and dimes, and with rulers with wholes, halves, quarters, and eighths marked.  I think it’s helpful and instructive to give kids exposure to this and talk with them about the conclusions that could be drawn from these examples in an informal way – before their math curriculum starts teaching fractions.  For instance, in cooking it’s easy to start playing with adding or subtracting partial cups to make up whole cups.  In measurements it is easy to point out that 3/8 is in between 1/4 and 1/2.  In counting money, it is easy to group pennies into piles of ten, and point out that that is the same value as one dime.  This gives some concreteness to fractions that is very helpful in everyday life.

It also gives me something to picture when I’m thinking about a fraction problem.  If I can picture two 1/4 cup measures of rice adding up to one 1/2 cup measure, that enables me to remember the equation 1/4 + 1/4 = 1/2.  If I reflect on that equation I notice that 1/2 is bigger than 1/4.  From this I can extrapolate that a single piece with a larger denominator (bottom number) means a SMALLER amount than a single piece with a smaller denominator.  In other words, 1/2 > 1/4.  This is counter-intuitive to most kids and many adults, thus giving kids experience with measuring devices before introducing fractions very much is helpful to them.

So I encourage you to cook and measure and pay for things with your children and while doing so, to work information about fractions into your conversations with them.  This is a great way to make it easier for them to learn about fractions formally later on.

  Images courtesy of Freeimages.com

Angela Berkeley–Although Angela Berkeley wanted to homeschool her daughter, she was unable to find others to partner with in this endeavor and felt that it was unfair to homeschool an only child; so she enrolled her in kindergarten. However, because the family was facing a mid-semester cross-country move during their daughter’s first grade year, she pulled her out to homeschool until they settled into their new home. This went so well, and her daughter liked it so much, that they ended up homeschooling through 8th grade.  Using an eclectic classical style, this was an extremely successful process, producing a confident, personable, and academically well-prepared entrant into a local high school.

Biomes, Science

World Biomes #9: Wetlands, by Cheryl

Wet lands are areas of land  covered by water for at least a portion of each year. In our study we looked at marshes, swamps, fens, and bogs as well as lakes and pools. Wetlands can be fresh or salt water. They are home to some fun animals!

The axolotl is one of our favorite animals from this group of biomes. The kids first learned about axolotl at VBS this year. Then we found one at our zoo! Then we found it in our wetland studies! I love when our studies and activities come together by accident.

I managed to find quite a few books on this topic – more than we could read! I brought a pile of books home from the library, some from the friends sale and some from the library shelves. In the end, we read the books I checked out and put the others on our shelves to read later.

About Habitats: Wetlands by Catherine Sill is full of beautiful pictures and snippets of information. I think that her books make great introductions to the habitats. They grab the attention of my kids and give just enough information to get us going.

Wetlands by Galadriel Watson (we had been on a Lord of the Rings kick in our house – how could we NOT read this book!) It also contains great information on wetlands!

Horrible Habitats: Marshes and Pools by Sharon Katz Cooper had information on “gross” animals! We had fun with this one!

Biomes Atlases: Wetlands by Richard Beatty, again I love the maps and pictures in this series!

Habitats: Wetlands by Ewan McLeish had some great animal information!

Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Ponds by Richard Beatty was very detailed. This book would be ideal for an older student doing this study.

Looking Closely Around the Pond by Frank Serafini is from another series we have used for several biomes. It is a fun change to look at the pictures and try to guess what it is. We actually did very well on this book, at least one of us (not always me) guessed every picture correctly! We have become more familiar with many animals and plants over the past year, it made the puzzles easier to figure out.

Lakes: World’s Top Ten by Neil Morris is a great resource for information on specific lakes. We did not read this one. I put it on the shelf and will mix it into our geography studies over the next couple of years. It would fit with this study, but since we own the book, I decided to save it because we just had too many books to choose from!

Wetland Animals

Wetlands are quite varied. We came across many animals that we had already studied. They may not all be found in the same type of wetland. Here are some of our favorites: beavers, salamanders, frogs, alligators, crocodiles, hippopotamus, capybara, flamingo, fish, box turtle, mallard ducks, fish, mosquitoes, leeches, flatworms, dragon fly, and the axolotl.

Wetland Plants

Our favorite tree was the mangrove. They are beautiful and provide great shelter for many animals! For some fun extra reading, look for The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry. I am always excited when I find a fictional story that gives great information. My kids recall more from these living books than from an encyclopedia-type book. Both have their places in a study like this.

Other plants we looked at include: sphagnum moss, Venus fly trap, pitcher plant, lily pad, algae, cattail, cranberry, and rice.

Vocabulary

Bog, fen, marsh, and swamps are four specific types of wetlands that we studied. Delta, glaciers, and peat were some new terms we came across in our study. We were able to tie this into our history and Greek studies as we talked about the Nile Delta – how it related to our ancient history studies and how the name came from the shape and its resemblance of the Greek letter Delta. Have I mentioned before how I love when our studies overlap so nicely!

Fun Facts

Wetlands can be salt or freshwater.

Look at our lapbook pieces for all the differences we found between alligators and crocodiles!

Lapbook

I have been making lapbooks for two years of classes now. I did a Map Skills class and a year’s worth of biome book sections. I started to get bored with the same shapes over and over. I tried some new things for this lapbook. When we printed them and put them together, they did not turn out as I had anticipated. Sometimes that happens. Have fun with them anyway!

Four Types of Wetlands, Alligator or Crocodile, Favorite Animals, Fresh or Saltwater

Bonus! We found two more biomes not listed on our map! Next time: Chaparrals and Caves!

 

cheryl

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Homeschool Wisdom

One Key to Preventing Burnout: Know Thyself, by Briana

The holiday creep has started. Santa is in the mall ringing his bell, and radio stations are playing Christmas carols. The pressure is on, and through all of this you still have a house full of kids who are expecting to eat, wear clean clothes, be somewhat educated, and for mom to hand-make everything, pipe Duchess Potatoes …and you are supposed to do this with with style and ease. Perhaps in kitten heels. At least that’s what society tells you. And it’s not even Thanksgiving as I write this.

The pressure is hard enough as it is, but for some reason, to a homeschooler, it can be utterly excruciating, even to the point of ruining your holiday and leaving you in a hot pile of burnout. I started planning out my next few weeks and almost had an anxiety attack at all of the concerts, recitals, pot-lucks, and cocktail parties I have to go to. Yes, have to. These are my kids, they are important to me, they have been working hard and I will go and clap. I will meet my neighbors, who are throwing a party for the noobs in the neighborhood, because I want to invest that time into knowing the people I live next to. On top of all of that, I have two kid birthdays before Christmas.

I’m an INFJ.  Now, those of you who know what that is will see precisely where I am going with this.

See that “I” as in the first part of INFJ? That stands for introvert. I am extremely introverted. I have to psyche myself up into walking out my door on a good day, let alone a day where I have to make lots of small talk with strangers and actually wear kitten heels. I have one obligation outside of my house this year, and even though it is only one hour a week, it still greatly weighs on me and takes some preparation on my part.

What that also means is that in these next few months, if I don’t want to land in January (where I have four more kids’ birthdays) cursing the day I was born, I am going to have to seriously look at my obligations, and prioritize. See, being an introvert also means that my own people, this fruit basket of my own loins, are extremely draining to me. I am with them all day, almost every day, and with very little time to myself. They all talk, which I love, but even talking with people you love is draining. They make noises I’m not fond of. There are instruments that are loudly practiced, dogs running around, a parrot who is sassy, and I cannot go lock myself in a room because this, all of this, is my responsibility. As it is, most of my free time is spent in prepping for the next day’s lessons, cooking, and cleaning or taking care of the animals. (Yes, my kids do chores, a lot of them. We are a horde.)  So I mean draining not in a bad way, or a regretful way, but in a way that I need to prepare and take account for if I’m not going to be all cranky and sullen teaching them each and every day.  They don’t deserve to have a sullen and cranky teacher and mother. I signed up for them; they didn’t sign up for me. With some self-discipline I can prevent any foul moods that can occur because of too much pressure that I’m putting on myself, or letting others put on me. Meaning, I need to know myself. I need to make sure I’m always on full so I can pour out.

I’m also a Highly Sensitive Person. Go ahead and take the test. I got 23/27. Now, I don’t tell you this stuff so we can all wear spechul snowflayke crowns. I wish I knew this stuff about myself before. I would have saved myself a lot of anger, resentment and tears if someone would have told me that I (should not have gotten a cockatoo when I had three toddlers, an infant, and two dogs) need to adapt my surroundings and my priorities so that I can give the very best of myself to those who are most important to me. And let’s be honest, it seems that everything is pulling on you out in the world.

It’s not selfish to work your life so that you can be the best at what you have to do. I mean, if I had a career outside the home, wouldn’t it be expected that I be the best I could be and fix my environment in a way that made me the most productive for that job? Why is it that when we are homeschool moms, curating our environment sounds like some sort of luxury for the spoiled? We all need systems that work for us, and homeschooling moms need that just as much as anyone else. I need it if they all want me to be sane.

It’s not selfish to find out who you are, and to make your environment and expectations reflect that. It’s a kindness to the people you are raising and those who love you and live with you. It’s a first step in being the best version of yourself so that you have the best of you to give, not the dried out leftovers.

img_6170

So make it work for you. Write down what is most important to you in these next few months. Even if it is making stockings, or concerts, or baking cookies, block it in. The important stuff doesn’t happen on its own. If you’re like me, the day after you have something outside of the house, you’ll need three days inside the house to work yourself back to normal. Block that in. Save your Yes for the most important things.

 

Briana1  

Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.