My mind has been swirling in and around the idea of homeschooling for awhile. I’ve mentioned in a couple of past posts. Honestly, the idea of homeschooling intrigued me but the reality of it terrified me. I use the word “terrified” a lot in talking about change and it is a strong word but it is very true for me when it comes to change — change, initially, terrifies me. If I can get past that feeling, I’m usually ready to dive head first into it. That has always been the case with my life. Changes involving my kids’ lives, however, brings on an entirely heightened sense of terror.
I’ve been a realist for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a girl, I had a solid understanding that all actions cause reactions; that all decisions have consequences. If negative reactions or consequences came about because of a decision I had made, I could deal with it. In terms of making a decision about homeschooling Makenzie and RJ, I made it more complicated (probably) than it needed to be.
What if I screwed them up? What if they fell behind? How could I teach them myself? What if I don’t have enough patience. The truth is, I’ve taught them the most important things so far and they are just fine. I taught them to walk, run, talk, eat on their own; I’ve taught them to be kind and tell the truth and appreciate what they have and the world around them. I taught them the ABC’s and 123’s.
Parents are their children’s first teachers. It’s not that far of a stretch that they continue to teach them as they get older. I get that now.
I am living a life that would allow for me to spend all of my waking hours with my kids. I see that as a blessing. I also worry about the current state of public schooling and, while we can afford private school by making some adjustments to our lifestyle, I would much rather spend that money on travel and experiences.
I have been trolling the inters-of-net for the best ways to homeschool and one thing is clear: there is no best way. Here is what I know: We are living on more acres than we need. We are surrounded by nature and my children are drawn into it. We should be outside. We should be using our hands. We are going to be getting dirty.
Here’s what else I know: Makenzie and RJ are still young. At this age, learning through exploration and playing make a lot of sense.
I have set some goals. Things I want to tackle for sure:
- Everyone can recognize numbers and count to 100
- Everyone can recognize all the letters in the alphabet and write them
That’s pretty much it for now and they are almost there already. Sometimes they can get it right, sometimes they can’t. I would guess that variables like, hunger, tiredness, distractions, etc. effect how well they perform these goals. I’m not going to stress about it.
Lots of homeschooling mamas have told me to spend this time reading and snuggling. I plan to do a lot of that. Both M+RJ enjoy stories from books or daddy’s imagination or ones that they make up.
I think this will be what our homeschool looks like until August when the “regular” school year starts. Then I may add some other goals. I may not. Luckily, I have very curious kids and curious kids learn quickly simply because they enjoy it.
This is the first time I’m speaking publicly about my journey through anxiety. Not because I’ve been embarrassed (and, for the record, no one should be) but because I haven’t really “struggled” through it in a long time. It’s always there and I make a conscious effort to temper my emotions and push through. The only thing stronger than my anxiety is the sheer willpower I have.
I want to say upfront that I have an amazing support system. Mental health issues are an issue in my family and, being the progressives that we are, came to an understanding and acceptance of this long before I came along. If I’m feeling all the feels, I call my mom. I call my aunt. I group text with my best friends who have also dealt with these issues. A solid support system can make all the difference and I acknowledge that.
Back to the point of this post, sometimes I suffer through it. Sometimes I suffer through it and it effects my productivity and my level of engagement with my kids and husband and that makes me feel guilty; the guilt can be severe and then I suffer through moments of depression. It’s a rabbit hole.
When I go through this cycle, I think of the NyQuil commercial, “Moms Don’t Get Sick Days.” It always lightens my mood a little bit. I mean, the commercials in that campaign are just funny and I don’t care what anyone says. And the thing is, it’s true. Parents don’t get sick days. There are little people who need you no matter what you are going through, right?
I am going to be talking a lot more about self-care this year because I have really neglected myself since having kids. It’s common and, for me, the most natural thing. It has been a serious effort to feel ok with doing something that only directly benefits me.
My mental health is a major part of my self-care focus and I want to share some of the things I do/use to care for my mental health.
Practice Open Communication
Talking about how I feel and having someone acknowledge those feelings does wonders. Like I mentioned before, I have been blessed with a support system that gets in on a personal level or empathizes with me on a genuine level.
If you don’t have that, there are other ways. I’ve used Talkspace before and really enjoyed talking to a professional on my own terms without having to set an appointment. (this is not an ad)
With kids in the house, quiet time may seem impossible but it’s not–you just have to realize your moments and take advantage of it. Wake up a little earlier in the morning when the house is still asleep or sit still instead of doing laundry when they are down for naps.
I’m a busy-body so sitting still, in silence, and focusing on calming my mind is hard for me. It’s something that takes time to practice and settle in to. Do it! Taking time to calm my mind leaves me in a better space to handle all of the craziness motherhood and life throw at me.
I absolutely love ariel yoga. Although I could probably handle advancing in the practice, I always take the beginners course because I go to relax, not to challenge myself.
The focused breathing, stretching and ambiance of these classes is great for my mental. At the end of these classes, floating savasana (which really means you lay inside the silk and let your body and mind sink into the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the air) puts me over the top. I always leave feeling emotionally and mentally lighter.
Sara is an essential oil that helps with hard emotional times. Essential oils have been around for a looooong time–way before they became trendy and there is a reason for that: they work.
I choose to let them work for me. I dilute the sara oil into a salve that I rub into my hands. The smell is so soothing and calms me in a way that is really hard to explain but it’s real and I recommend it.
Early Morning Routine
Finding an early morning routine helps start my day in a calm manner. I wake up a littler earlier than everyone and make my coffee and sit at the kitchen table and relax.
It’s that simple.
Until next time.