Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful Cloth

When the kIds were little, we used to make turkeys and write all the things we were thankful for on the feathers. The kids refuse to do that now that they are so huge, so we are going to have a thankful cloth. I saw this idea in the Focus on the Family magazine. You take a Thanksgiving Tablecoth and each person writes what they are thankful for each Thanksgiving and you have a written record of God's yearly blessings and providence.

I am actually going to run out now and buy one!

P.s. Kohl's has Thanksgiving Tablecloths on sale!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Balance part 2

Balance in Homeschool

One of the best things about homeschooling is that you can tailor each child's education to that particular child. One of the worst things about homeschooling is that you have to know or at least take a pretty good guess about what individual child needs. The shocking thing is that I don't always get it right the first time. This thought haunts me at night and keeps me searching message boards, reading yet another book and buying even more curricula looking for just the right one. I will admit that a good 70% of my time is either spent actually homeschooling, reading about homeschooling, talking about homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling. This might qualify as an obsession.

The first several months of the school year is spent just trying everything out, the next in evaluating how everything is working, by January I have changed several things and then it is time to start thinking about the next year.

I always start the year overly ambitious and add on too many things, by mid September I am taking things off the kids schedule. As I spoke about in Balance part 1, I have been trying to add in some balance to my life and I have had to take a seriously look at some of our academic choices so that both the kids and I can achieve a little more balance. The first thing I had to do was take a long hard look at where Caileigh and Collin are. They are only 10 and in the current pattern they would graduate very early. I had to take a serious look at how much I would have to push in the next couple of years to be able to have them ready for high school and after a struggle with my pride I talked to Scott about giving them an extra year in middle school. Scott sees things so much more calmly. I thought I was sharing some earth shattering news and he just said, "that seems like a good idea, that way they can off to college at 18. They would finish the history cycle like you want before high school wouldn't they?". I replied, "yes", and the conversation was over with a "Good thinking, honey". I stopped pushing the twins quite so hard and school has gone smoother and I am at a lot more peace with that decision.

I have had to think about Connor's schooling as well. I have had to think about where we want him academically and what we actually need to do to accomplish that. I have had to balance the academic workload to the extra-curricular activities that we deem important: piano, karate, and Bible Bowl. I also need to give the poor boy time to read a fun book, to play with his brother and sister and to hang out with his friends. Life cannot be academics alone. ( I know, those of you who know me well are asking yourselves if I am feeling okay..)

For me, balance requires me to stop pushing so hard but for others balance might be pushing a little harder. When I worked at a Focus on the Family, Dr Dobson always said, "Be a student of your spouse and your children.". I find this to be so true, when I become a student of my kids I become more cognizant of what they need, not what I want. I learn to balance academics with outside life and give all of us a little down time. I schedule a fun activity at least once a day and I make sure I play with them.

I am working hard at being what God wants me to be and to be the wife, mom, teacher and friend that He desires me to be. Apparently, that means that I have to be more balanced and not as driven. It is hard for me but I do have to admit that home has been a more peaceful, fun place to be.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Balance part 1

Sometimes, it is hard to find balance.  Balance between the have -to and want- to.  Balance between being a Mom and a Homeschool Mom.  Balance between being a Mom and a Wife.  Balance between work and play.  This year, I have found that I am not so great at balance.

This year has felt like a year of all work and no play.  There are some key areas that I have found lacking in my life.  Areas that I have let go and they have cost me.  God has been really dealing with me heart in the matter of balance and showing me areas in which my pride and my lack of balance is wrong and is costing me.

The first area that God has shown me that I have been seriously lacking balance has been in my marriage.  Everything is mostly fine but this year has the one of the first years that I have not felt that deep connection to my husband and it has been my fault.  I was so focused on making sure everything else was running on all cylinders that I let my husband fall from my top priority list.  I even forgot my Anniversary this year until Scott reminded me and it was my 15th!  ( I know, I know, so horrible!) As the end of September rolled around, I realized just how big of a problem this could potentially be.  At first, I blamed my husband, cause that is so much easier than taking the blame myself.  Then God grabbed me by my collar and kept me up all night.  In order to finally go to sleep, I promised that I would try the "Love Dare".  I knew we had it in the house and it would be a tangible way of putting my husband first in my time.  It was amazing just how quickly my marriage and my attitude changed after putting my husband first.  I think there is a Bible verse about that somewhere....

I remembered all that advice I give to young Mom and new homeschoolers about taking time to date your spouse and I made time.  They haven't been big dates but little ones to go get ice cream or go dream big about where we want to be or even just have a quick dinner at Wahoo's.  We have had a great time and have re-connected in those quiet minutes.

Balance is hard to find but I am going to strive to attain it.   Next, balance in homeschooling...