Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

Why do I need to Rest?

My day is full!  I homeschool, write, keep financial records for the family business, cook, clean, pay bills, drive to doctor’s appointments,  buy groceries, find overdue library books….

You get the picture. 

Does my life looks a lot like yours?

This past weekend, I determined to slow down and rest.  While I was partially successful, I also needed to meet two deadlines.  I’ve never felt better submitting an article!  Yesterday, I actually hung out with my hubby without worrying about work. 

That’s really the desire of my heart.  I long to just relax and be in the moment.  If it’s time to write, sit down and write my heart out.  If my children ask for story time, read and cuddle like there’s no tomorrow.  If hubby’s home, sit with him and cherish the time together.  In addition to the health benefits of rest (weight loss, reduction in risk of developing ulcers, more positive mental outlook), my family needs me to rest and just be with them.  

As soon as I’m finished writing this post, I’m off to scrapbook.  This creative outlet rejuvenates my spirit and makes me feel happy and fulfilled.  Not only will I be crossing an item off my “to-do” list, but I need this break as a new work week starts.

What enjoyable activities do you enjoy?  What makes you feel smiley inside?

May you enjoy your day and all the activities it brings!

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Shift to Thrift

I’m privileged to serve as a guest blogger.  One of my recent tips is included in the following link.  Because I’m always looking for ways to save a quick buck, I’d love to hear your ideas on your favorite ways to save money!

 http://www.pocketgreens.com/shift-to-thrift-to-save-money/

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Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you for Future.Flying.Saucers for nominating me for this award!  As a new blogger, I am honored to accept it and excited to share it with others. 

I started this blog as an outlet for educational ideas.  While I am hesistant to write too much personal stuff, I appreciate the opportunity to share the lessons I have learned and gain new ideas from other bloggers.

Quite honestly, it is so easy to feel disconnected from other people.  The busyness of life–homeschooling, working a nearly full-time job from home, keeping house, cooking meals and helping with the family business–keeps me isolated.  While I take care of my family, I sometimes feel pretty dry emotionally.  Blogging helps me connect with other moms and dads who love their children.  This community makes me a better mom and person, and I am grateful for the Versatile Blogger Award that celebrates community!

In receiving this award, I get to share a link to the blogger who gave me the award, write 7 things about myself that others may not know and then nominate another 15-20 blogs for the award.  Here we go!

1.  I love coffee!  I recently read a blog, and her coffeemaker had a name.  I think that’s a great idea in honor of my faithful friend!

2.  During college, I studied in Israel, Jordan and Egypt.  The memories, friends and experiences I made during that semester continue to make me smile.  

3.  I grew up on a dairy farm.  I paid for my first car and the majority of my college education with income from my 4-H and FFA projects. 

4.  My husband and I have been married 11 years.  He’s the handsomest man I know.

5.  When I want to relax, I read, play guitar or scrapbook.

6.  I’ve wanted a tattoo for years, and I have the perfect design.  My goal is to actually get the design from paper onto my skin by the time I’m 40. 

7.  My spiritual gifts are teaching and exhortation.  (That’s why I can’t bear the thought of sending my children to school:  I want to teach them and learn along with them!)

Now, for my nominees, in no particular order.

http://granolacatholic.blogspot.com/ 

An interesting variety of posts can be found on this blog, and I enjoy peeking into the life of a mom with teenagers (my little ones are still in early elementary school). 

http://wordsofpowwer.wordpress.com/

I firmly believe that the words we say influences the people around us–either in a positive or negative way.  This blog title alone reminds me to watch my words, and the posts educate and encourage me to keep guarding my childrens’ educational experiences.   

http://homeschoolingmiddleeast.wordpress.com/

Penny’s commitment to homeschooling and her honest assessment of her journey encourage me.  When I read her post, I find myself cheering for her to succeed!

http://coachcrystalspadawan.wordpress.com/

By no means am I a fitness nut, but this blog motivates me to think before I eat and to get up and move.  Thank you for inspiring my entire family to be active!

http://workingtobeworthy.blogspot.com/

I love the title–it sums my internal struggle!  And Liana shares practical tips without adding guilt.  Thank you!

http://www.mombyexample.com/

Several years ago, I met Bonnie at a local fitness center.  She encouraged me and inspired me, and I love her honesty, wisdom and perspective. 

http://simplicity4life.wordpress.com/

Craig brings valuable insight into every post, and I appreciate the reminders he shares.

http://topicalteaching.com/

With every blog post, Michael shares current events that affect education and families.  I appreciate reading about relevant news that sometimes flies under the media radar but is very important for every family.

http://www.breathinggrace.com/

I met Raine through a freelance writing forum, and I appreciate her humility.   

http://www.waterstreetministries.org/Blog.aspx

While not an individual, the Mission was instrumental in my life.  They gave me my first post-college job, and my husband and I met there.  I’m grateful for the grace lessons I learned from my Mission co-workers, lessons I try to teach my children.  

http://natashafackler.blogspot.jp

My high school class President recently relocated to Japan, and she chronicles her experiences.  I appreciate living vicariously in this beautiful country as I read her blog.

http://jazzyallergyrecipes.blogspot.com/

A homeschooling mom writes amazing recipes accompanied by mouth-watering recipes, and I love her dedication to her children.

http://www.learningonlineblog.com/

So much inspiration, so little time!  Thanks, Susan, for providing insight for those of us who use an online school. 

 

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Wisdom from a Stroke Victim

The other week, I wrote an article about The Brain Extravaganza in Indiana.  Organized by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the summer-long event is designed to draw attention to the brain’s functions and beauty.  Curious to know more about the neuroanatomist who felt herself suffer a stroke, I borrowed her book from the library.  A Stroke of Insight touched me intellectually, emotionally, professionally and personally.

Of particular interest to me as a teacher was her list at the end of the book.  She lists 40 things she needed the most as she relearned how to read, walk and talk.  As I read, I thought about my precious students at home and how many of the items on Dr. Bolte Taylor’s stroke recovery list apply to my children.  I will share my favorites here.  

4.  Be as patient with me the 20th time you each me something as you were the first.

6.  Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me. 

9.  Touch me appropriately and connect with me.

16.  Trust me that I am trying–just not with your skill level or on your schedule.

22.  Cheer me on.

28. Celebrate all my little successes.

37.  Love me for who I am today.

As I parent and teach my children today, I will remember these tips.  If my children could express their feelings and needs, I think these phrases are what they would request.   I’m sure Dr. Bolte Taylor did not write them with home schoolers in mind, but I am grateful for her stroke of insight.

http://mystrokeofinsight.com/

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Is Waiting Necessary?

When I’m busy writing for my paying job, I sometimes ask my children to wait.  In many cases, I finish typing the sentence or thought that was on my mind, save the document then comply with their request.  Other times, I am so absorbed in an interesting  assignment or meeting the deadline that I forget what my child wanted.  In many cases, they either move on to something else or get whatever they needed themselves.  While I try not to make ignoring them a habit, it happens.  

My husband totally disagrees with my philosophy to ask the children to wait.  If they want something, he thinks they should get it right away.  Admittedly, they usually do want something to eat or drink.  Other times, one might want to get online while the other asks for help assembling a toy.  Their requests are not unreasonable, and I stay home so they can do school and be taken care of…by me.  Yet, my work is also a priority. 

This week, he and I had a rather heated discussion about this topic.   I’m not sure we will ever totally agree, but after our discussion,  I found myself worrying that I am being too selfish by asking them to wait.  Maybe my husband is right and I should immediately stop whatever I’m doing so I can help them right away. 

My more practical side jumped in with arguments of why waiting is good.  By asking them to respect my project, they learn to value others.  Waiting at home prepares them for the hours they must wait in life…waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting on the telephone for customer service to answer the call, waiting to save money to buy something they want but do not need.   With these arguments, I think asking them to wait is actually helpful and a valuable life skill.  “Just let me finish typing this thought” is a phrase my students at home will be hearing more often this week!

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A Vacation from the Kids

Have you ever wished that your kids would just disappear for a few minutes…instead of fighting with each other during play time, pounding on the bathroom door when you’re trying to take care of business or avoiding school work by sharpening the pencils, picking up toys and asking for snacks? 

Especially for the stay-at-home parent, taking a break from your kids is a necessity for mental health and wellbeing.  Every parent needs an occasional break from the busyness of life.  We need time to pursue adult conversations, activities and toy-free space.  Time off from parenthood makes us better parents with more patience, peace and joy. 

Kids also benefit from breaks from their parents.  They spend time with other caring adults who love them, and the kids get to have fun and maybe be spoiled.  

I, for one, need occasional breaks from my lovely children.  While I love them to pieces, I miss luxuries like time alone with my husband, a quiet house and being able to sleep in.  I would NOT trade my children and return to a child-free life, but I love when my parents offer to take their grandchildren for a few days. 

This past weekend, we all enjoyed a mini vacation.  My parents spent four days with the lights of their lives, I slept in, my husband watched his favorite show from start to finish without interruption and my children enjoyed time playing at Pappy and Grammy’s house.  We are home now, refreshed and ready to start a new school and work week.

While most marriage specialists suggest parents invest in a regular date night, this advice might not work for you.  Babysitters like overnight hotel stays can be expensive.  Maybe you do not live near family or friends who willingly watch your children.  I even have a friend who’s husband does not want to be away from their children for longer than a few hours. 

When I recently polled other moms about their date night activities, I heard several creative options for carving mini kid-free vacations.  One drops her children off at AWANA on Wednesday night at church then rushes home to spend an hour alone with her husband.  Another swaps kids with a neighbor for a few hours once a month.  A third mom sends the kids to bed early then cuddles with her hubby.  A teacher wakes up early and enjoys coffee in bed with her hubby before work.

However it works for you, take time to be alone with your husband regularly.  You and your children benefit from your healthy, happy marriage, and everyone returns to normal, family life with renewed energy and vigor.  You won’t find me arguing with that!

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What Makes a Student Successful?

Unschooling makes sense to me, but I worry too much about giving my children a well-rounded education.  If I let them spend their day only doing what they wanted to do, my daughter would write and draw all day while my son rides or fixes his bikes outside.

 Now there is nothing wrong with play.  That’s how kids learn!  But my children need more than limitless free time.  They need to learn how to read even though phonics is not easy.  They need to learn to write even though handwriting is challenging. 

 The definition of “student” is a person formally engaged in learning or a person who studies, investigates or examines thoughtfully.  When I started this blog, I named it “Students at Home”.  As a homeschooling family, we do more than focus on formal book learning.  We study, investigate and examine.  We explore, ask questions, hypothesize and engage in learning, whether we are at the grocery store, taking a walk or finishing math worksheets. 

 Even more than I want my children to learn math, reading, language arts, history, science, music and art, I want them to learn to wonder, question and THINK.  Instead of accepting, what they read, I want them to be free to question.  And I want them to have fun.  Learning is so much easier and productive when we are having fun!

 With their ability to question, reason and think, my children will find more than success in school.  They will find success in their personal lives.  They will be able to say no to bullies or to friends who pressure them to do something they do not want to do.  They will be innovative on the job and able to think on their feet as self-starters.  They will lead rather than follow in their families, church and civic groups.

 In my mind, these traits mean a lot more than straight A’s in school.

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Momma Blew It

Consolidating errands makes me happy.  Whenever possible, I try to visit the bank, library and grocery store in one trip instead of driving into town every day.  Granted, we only live 10 minutes from “town”, but I hate the thought of wasting gas or time, and because everything is right there, it makes sense to do it all in one day.  This strategy also helps us get more schoolwork done and save money because we’re not driving around everyday.

Yesterday, I planned to take my son to his first Occupational Therapy session, visit the Mall where I scheduled my children’s annual photo, drop books off at the library, pick up milk…the list kept getting longer and longer.  My children excitedly took their baths, picked out fancy clothes and even submitted to a nail and ear cleaning in anticipation of picture day.  

I piled our library bag, water bottles, snacks and other necessities near the door, and I hung  their clothes nearby.  Before we walked to the car, I asked my children to grab a few items and I brought the last bags to the car.  Thirty minutes later as we walked into the therapy appointment, I said, “Oh crap.  I forgot your clothes!”  My daughter said, “Mom, you said a swear word, but that’s okay because I do too sometimes when I’m mad.”  My son replied, “Mom, you blew it.”

The first time he said it, I laughed.  I’ve never heard him talk like that, and I don’t usually say that to anyone.  I’m more gracious and don’t usually verbally point out when someone makes a mistake.  My son is more aggressive verbally, and after the fifth time of telling me I blew it, I asked him to forgive me and forget it.  I assured him that this would not be the last time I mess up something that is important to him.

We rescheduled the picture for next week after his therapy, and I assigned my son to be in charge on ensuring the clothes get into the car this time.  It’s hard being the one who has to remember everything.  

–Pay bills on time (I write the amount due on a calendar that I keep in a folder with the bills, stamps, pen and envelopes.  Every week, I check the calendar and pay the bills that are due that week…at least I pay the ones I remembered to write down.)   

–Rotate meals.  (My family eats pretty much everything I make, but they like a variety of meat, potato and vegetables.)

–Make sure everyone brushes teeth, combs hair, finishes chores and changes their underwear every day.  (We post a chart, but I still have to enforce it.)

I’m not complaining about my job.  I’m just saying it takes a lot of remembering.  I better start doing the newspaper’s daily crossword puzzle or Sudoku to exercise my brain more or I’m going to hear a lot more of “Mom, you blew it.”   

 

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