Discovering Daily Rhythms vs Daily Schedules

Lately, we’ve really hit our stride with homeschooling. Actually, I feel like I’ve hit my stride a bit more as a mom in general, too. That is not to say things are easier or that the kids have stopped being kids or that I’ve suddenly stumbled upon the secret to making motherhood a snap. Really, it’s all boiled down to two things: perspective, and finding a good fit for my own personal brand of motherhood.

I’ve been in this whole momming gig for almost seven years now and I’ve been homeschooling for a little over a year. I can honestly say I’ve never felt “good” at either one. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed it, I’ve just always felt this tension between all the things I thought/wanted and all the things that were actually happening.

You are given a lot of advice as a mom. I’m starting to realize that good advice is only good advice if its good for you.

Case in point: scheduling. Continue reading “Discovering Daily Rhythms vs Daily Schedules”

I Gave Up Folding My Boys’ Laundry

I haven’t folded my boys’ laundry for a month now, and it. has. been. GLORIOUS.

My boys are ages 6 and 4, and they create a massive amount of laundry. Between their love of throwing “mud bombs” (help me, Jesus), spilling 3/4 of everything they eat on their shirt/pants/shoes, and the fact that getting to the potty on time is hard because “I’d rather be playing,” all I do outside of all the other things I do, is LAUNDRY. Continue reading “I Gave Up Folding My Boys’ Laundry”

A Good Place To Be

We are in week two of officially homeschooling our oldest as a first grader. It has been….so many things. SO. MANY. THINGS.

On one hand, it is a ton of work. More than even last year’s test run with the final months of kindergarten could have prepared me for. This isn’t a test run, it’s the real deal and boy am I feeling the difference between “Hey let’s just see how it goes!” and “Ok we are doing this, people!” Continue reading “A Good Place To Be”

Five Things

1. My friends Clint and Harley have started a podcast, The Rthm, where they discuss all things music. They both are passionate about music and have great taste. Give them a listen! You won’t regret it. Listen to them each week on SoundCloud, here.

2. So…the Oscars…how crazy was that? I’m curious, who has watched some of the films that were either nominated or won? I’m waaaay out of the current film loop. Let me know if there is anything I missed that deserves a watch.

3. Oliver got out of bed the other night. Theo and Beatrice were sleeping and Mike was working so I took the opportunity to snuggle with him on the sofa. This kid. He is so cuddly. And ornery. And so, so sweet. I just started talking to him as he settled into the crook of my arms, and at one point I said, “You are such a good boy.” Without missing a beat he said, “You are such a good goil, mommy.” (Goil = girl, pronounced like the goyle in gargoyle, lol). I die.

4. Homeschooling continues to be an ever evolving experiment full of both fun and failure (which is to be expected). I was talking to a wise momma who successfully home schooled her now three adult children and was sharing my struggles of maintaining a schedule with sick kids. She smiled and kindly reminded me that part of the freedom of homeschooling is that I get to be flexible. “Take a break,” she said. “Pick it back up when everyone is feeling better.”

Her words were such an important reminder to me. Duh! Yes! I have the freedom to do what I need to do here. That is why we are homeschooling!

It’s kind of like the saying: If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

It’s so easy to get in a routine and just put our nose to the grind and go, never stopping to question if perhaps we aren’t contributing to some of the hard things in our life. Some things are out of our control, absolutely. But SO many other things are completely within our ability to change or chuck out all together. Change may not be easy, but if what you are doing isn’t working for you, the work it would require to change IS SO WORTH IT.

We have more freedom to make those tweaks to our life than we tend to admit. Probably because using that freedom and maintaing that freedom takes work and/or sacrifice. All this to say, sometimes the pressure you are feeling is coming from no one but yourself. At least, I find that to be the case 90% of the time. So cut yourself some slack and just go do what you need to do to make your situation better.

5. I finished the book, Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine, last night. It was such a fun read (but terrible to read late at night – it made me so hungry!). I loved learning the historical and cultural stories that surrounded these eight flavors. I think it’s important to take the time every now and then to pause and think beyond the act of consumption. Things come from somewhere. They are produced by someone. And they are a part of our society for some reason. I love learning the story behind the things.

It seemed incredibly profound to me that America’s eight flavors – the ones we consume in mass and inform our culinary story – are incredibly ethnic. As I’ve been reading this book and sharing a few notable tidbits with people, they always inevitable ask what the eight flavors are. Their next response is usually along the lines of, “But those aren’t American, they are Asian/Spanish/Italian, etc.”

But really, aren’t we all those things? What is America, if not a land of many people, from vastly different lands, with a family heritage as diverse as our eating habits? Sarah Lohman says it best in her chapter on Siriracha, one of my favorite stories (and flavors) of the eight:

The story of Siriracha is a quintessentially American story. Our food is a mash-up of people and influences from all over the plant.

I don’t want to ruin the story in case you pick up this book, but the Siriracha story is incredibly inspiring, touching, and timely. We live in a land where people have come when their own land was no longer safe or prosperous, and they come to contribute. This is most evident in our beautifully blended, multi cultural, “American” cuisine. It’s vast. It’s vibrant. And it’s delicious.

Just some food for thought for your Friday. Continue reading “Five Things”

On Enjoying The Journey

A common question these days is, “So, how is homeschooling?”

I get the sense that people half expect me to regret my decision. That they wouldn’t be surprised one bit if I broke down in tears and said I hated it. That I couldn’t take one more day of it. And truthfully, that is kind of what I expected to happen. I really didn’t think this would work.

No one is more surprised than me that this is actually pretty awesome.

I want to be frank with you. If homeschooling wasn’t working, I would admit it. I’m not here to sugar coat anything. If you’ve been reading my blog for two days or two years, hopefully one thing you’ve come to expect is my honesty. So trust me when I say, I’m digging this whole homeschooling-unschooling experience.

Homeschooling is hard. It’s requiring a ton of work. And yes, I’m not getting much of a break from the kids.

But.

Guys, I’m having so much fun.  Continue reading “On Enjoying The Journey”

Life Lately: Homeschooling

We’ve settled into our new rhythm. Life lately is completely different, but also, completely wonderful. It’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it. I’m not saying things have gone off without a hitch; we’ve had our share of hard days already. But even with the hard days and the hard work, this still feels good. This feels right.

I say “feels,” but really, it’s not just a feeling. I know it in my heart.

This is right.

This is right for Theo. It’s right for our family. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes, this is right for me. For me! Who would have thought? Not me, that’s for sure. I never wanted to homeschool my kids. I was completely against the idea as a kid right up until, oh, about three weeks before we decided to do it ourselves.

I didn’t see the point, that is, until suddenly I did.

I’m happy we are on this path. I’m grateful for that final push that sent me soaring off the edge and into the unknown. And I’m confident that, even though this won’t be easy, it will be worth it.

We’ve already seen such a positive change in Theo, and he has surprised us in about a million and one ways that we never saw coming. If you read my earlier posts than you know that our decision to homeschool was largely rooted in the all encompassing vision that we have for our family. The other side of it, though, was that we knew public school wasn’t the best place for Theodore. I don’t plan on sharing any of those particulars on the blog. That isn’t my story to tell, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to share it publicly. If you are struggling with your kiddo in public education, though, I welcome you to reach out to me. Leave me a comment, email me, or message me on Instagram. I LOVE connecting with others and using my own personal story to encourage you in yours.  Continue reading “Life Lately: Homeschooling”

How We Are Homeschooling Our Kindergartner

We now have a few days under our belt with homeschooling and it has gone well, but trust me, I know this is going to be hard. I know there are unimagined, unforeseen challenges up the road. I know there will be days that make me want to pull my hair out. But please, let me have my joy.

And trust me, there is no other way to explain the feeling I’m feeling, than to call it joy.

Having Theo home and becoming so intentional about how we are spending our days together has really changed me. This feels right. Jesus talked a lot about knowing things by their fruit in the NT, and the good fruit that has come out of just a few days of being home together has been confirmation to my head and my heart that we are on the right track.

We still have a lot to figure out, and as with all things in motherhood, I know that as soon as we “nail down” one thing, another issue will pop up. Motherhood is a constant exercise in humility. But that is also why there is so much room for growth! As I mentioned last week, I’m celebrating the fact that I’m in over my head and that I feel so far outside of my comfort zone. I’m celebrating that I don’t know everything.

Why?

Because this has been and will continue to be a gigantic leap of faith. We are asking God to do something great, and trusting that where our abilities falter, his begin. It is not faith if we have it all figured out. And it is not faith if we try to do it all on our own.

I can’t, and I don’t want to. And that admission leaves me feeling so incredibly free.

I believe I can fly….I believe I can touch the sky….take it away, Whitney!

Anyways, I thought you might be interested to read some of our goals and plans for homeschooling the remainder of the year. I’ll try to answer some of the questions that you’ve thrown my way on social media, but keep them coming! I love the idea that we are all in this together, bouncing ideas off of one another and inspiring each other with new and fresh ideas.

So here’s the deal.

My motto right now is to maintain a structured but simple schedule. This means no to-do lists of 10 items, I’ll never accomplish that. This means I can’t fill my day with a bunch of errands, that will just make me grumpy and frazzled. This means only having one defined goal for Theo each day, with a schedule that takes into consideration the two little ones. This means a lot of planning meals, errands, and blog posts in advance. This means freeing up the schedule, but sticking to a schedule.

Our goals for Theo are broad, with the intent of first instilling in him a love and interest in learning, playing, and reading. I’m a huge believer that learning must first and foremost be built on a strong foundation of reading. For the remainder of this year, if we do nothing more than focus on reading, enjoying reading, and talking about what we are reading then I will consider our time together a success.  Continue reading “How We Are Homeschooling Our Kindergartner”

Thursday Things I Love: Salads In a Jar, Little Boys Who Do Yoga, & New Rooms

Hey readers. It’s Thursday. Which means tomorrow is Friday. When means soon, it’s the weekend! That’s the great thing about life. There is always something to look forward to. 😉

This has been a big week for us. Mike went back to school after a nice Christmas break, but our oldest son, Theodore, did not return to kindergarten. We are excited to embark on this great big adventure that is homeschooling/unschooling and the many ways it will change us and facilitate the the larger plans that we have for our collective life together as a family.

But for now, we start small.

Next week I plan on sharing with you some of our homeschooling goals and give you a look at our daily schedule. It’s all a work in progress, but it helps me to “process out loud,” so  you are on the receiving end of all that – for better or worse – depending on how you look at it :-). Wednesday was our first day of intentionally doing school at home, and it was everything I expected times a million – fun, exhausting, a little nutty, and ultimately, kind of like slipping back into an old workout routine; difficult, but also familiar.

All this to say, it just feels right, and that feels good.

Here are a few simple things I’ve loved from this week: Continue reading “Thursday Things I Love: Salads In a Jar, Little Boys Who Do Yoga, & New Rooms”

The Homeschool Post

Part II

I never, in a million years, would have thought I’d find myself on this side of homeschooling. And this, I know, makes me somewhat of a cliché. I know lots of women out there who swore they’d never homeschool, yet for one reason or another, find themselves doing that very thing.

****long exaggerated sigh****

I’ve always said children have a way of making you eat your words.

If you read yesterdays’s post, then you know that we’ve made the decision to homeschool. Shortly after writing my post about the meaning of my new tattoo, I mentioned that changes were coming for our family and many of you were too curious to wait ;-). As I’ve had conversations with friends and family, I’ve found a way to frame our decision to pull our oldest son out of school in every context possible without admitting to homeschooling.

Homeschooling. We are homeschooling.

There, I said it. Continue reading “The Homeschool Post”