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When You Just Want to Cry

If there’s one thing I can tell you for sure, there are days when homeschooling makes me want to cry. There are also days completely unrelated to homeschooling that make me want to cry. Parenting is tough. (Can I get an amen?)

backyard hammock-2

Some days there is a whole lot of back and forth between the kids. And by back and forth, I mean of the “not kind” variety. They are quick to get offended, but equally as fast to dish it out when the mood strikes. (Before I pick on the kids too much, that also happens in adult life too.)

Some days there are bright shining moments of laughter and camaraderie between the kids. Hours are spent together without one unkind word. The moments we all long for as parents.

backyard hammock

Today was a gorgeous day outside – almost 80 degrees and a much needed break from all the yuck and snow we literally had falling last week. The kids all headed to the backyard and set up their hammocks. Laurianna brought out her guitar and while I was sitting on the back porch, the sounds of all four kids singing together began to float through the air.

I’m sitting on our deck crying (happy tears). The kids have all their hammocks set up in the backyard, Laurianna has her guitar, and together they are singing and worshipping. You all. THIS. Yes, we did math and reading today, but ultimately this is what makes my heart the happiest. There are days when they fight. Or love fiercely and deeply. They are passionate kids and so full of life. But these – these moments are the ones that last and will be remembered, not only in my momma heart, but for years to come.

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Wednesday, 9 March 2016

(feed readers can watch the video clip here)

I sat on my deck crying. Happy tears.

You all. THIS.

While we did all of our schoolwork today, crossed the various subjects off our list, and it all looks good on paper, THIS is what makes my heart the happiest and means more than what any test or piece of paper can say.

I love what Lindsey said on Facebook when I shared the above video with you all:

“The most important and life long lessons don’t come from pencil and paper.”

There are days when the kids fight. Or love each other fiercely and deeply. They are passionate kids and so full of life.

But these – these moments are the ones that last and will be remembered, not only in my momma heart, but for years to come.

What is the Ideal Homeschool Day?

the ideal homeschool day quote

We were supposed to have school today, and even though we did some school, there is always a part of my brain that thinks if THIS much isn’t done, or if we end before THIS time, we didn’t really do school. Not all my boxes were checked off and pages completed in the correct sequence. (gasp!)

Am I the only one that wrestles with this?

Ironically, as I was listening to a podcast this morning, they were talking about this very thing. What I do know is the kids had a lot of fun today, my hubby was off work, learning was involved in various forms throughout our day – and that’s ok.

All that to say, this last week has been a humdinger of mental overload. Between my mom having surgery again last week to check out another suspicious mass (it wasn’t cancerous – thank you, Lord!) to an abundance of close family members having some major health issues and a hospitalization, my brain truly wants to not work hard at all. There has been a whole heap of unpleasantness happening and frankly it feels overwhelming during many moments of the day.

Let’s face it – all the overwhelming stuff, it isn’t in my plans (and I’d really it rather not be, if we’re being honest). This isn’t how I envisioned our life, our homeschool time to be. Sometimes that is more unsettling to me than others.

There are the moments that I need to remind myself that it is OK to step back, recoup, and relax for my sanity – and my family’s. One portion of Teaching from Rest really resonated with me and I wanted to share it so you all can get a peek into my thoughts too:

“’The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.’(C.S. Lewis)

We are … meant to recognize every facet of our day as coming from the hand of God. It all passes through His fingers first, and He uses it to make sure that we lean hard on Him.

Surrender your idea of what the ideal homeschool day is supposed to look like and take on, with both hands, the day that it is.”

– Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest

In the days, weeks, and months to come there will be ample opportunities to lean hard and surrender (I know I can count on that). And I will. I must.

This goes far beyond just our homeschool days as well, although they are definitely intertwined. Here’s to letting go of my ‘ideal’ and recognizing each day for what it is.

Life Lessons from an 8 Year Old

Life lessons from an 8 year old - Homeschool Creations

Our 8 year old has been running around the house with his left arm in a cast. This same boy was immediately concerned about how breaking his arm would affect his swimming. (Side note: I am NOT a parent that would push him to participate and say he has to swim – it was all boy wonder asking!).

His main concern immediately after breaking his arm:  Could he still swim, even if he had a cast on?

The doctor was able to set us up with a waterproof cast and made sure he could bend his elbow, and aside from a little initial discomfort that was relieved by filing his cast, he was good to go. Over the past two weeks he has been attending practices, working hard, but a little discouraged since he has been at the back of the line. Swimming with a cast apparently isn’t easy. (Who knew?)

This past weekend we had another swim meet where he was given permission to compete – and the boy was THRILLED. Even more so when he placed first in all three of his events, taking time OFF his freestyle and getting his best time ever!!!

Yeah – there may have been some hollering over that one!!

And you know, it’s been at the front of my mind all week. How often do we get easily discouraged in a situation and think we’re stuck, can’t change, can’t do any better – and stop putting effort into something because the odds look like they are stacked against us?

I know I’m not alone in this one! Whether getting frustrated in an area of homeschooling, a part of parenting, pushing aside projects that are just too overwhelming because it isn’t one of my ‘strengths’ – well, it can be all too common in life to stop pushing and just give up.

What would happen if we still, despite our circumstances, choose to look at a situation in a different light? Push through the hurt and the obstacles in an attempt to overcome? Do even better than we imagined? Sometimes putting out the effort is hard, but we have to take that first step in order to get moving in the right direction.

How much would things change?

Funny how a simple little cast can shed light and expose areas in my own heart that needed a little prodding. All thanks to the arm of an 8 year old.

Is there an area of your life that you feel like you’ve given up or are discouraged? Can I give you an little encouragement today – keep trying. Take that first step – and know that I’m cheering you along (and myself too!).

When Your Child Hates Writing – Tip for a Reluctant Writer

A few weeks ago on Facebook, I shared this writing tip from Kim Kautzer of WriteShop and apparently it struck a cord with many of you, as it did me.

reluctant writer tip


Don’t be afraid to be your child’s scribe. Writing is more about the ideas than about who writes them down. – Kim Kautzer, WriteShop

Both of our boys have a strong dislike for anything that involves them physically writing. The moment a piece of paper comes out, the whining starts and my frustration begins to mount.

For quite some time I personally struggled with this – because weren’t they SUPPOSED to be writing so many sentences and journaling gobs a day? Other moms were sharing their first graders daily journaling, which far surpassed my third grader’s attempts.

I put my kid in a box and expected him to do it just like everyone else did, and it caused months and months of frustrations for both of us. Inside that boy there were creative ideas ready to pour out, but I was squelching it by expecting him to fit into a certain mold and do it a specific way.

(You’d think that I would know better. I didn’t).

Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in all that is around us, what we believe our kids should be doing, and ignore what really needs to be done. Or sometimes we’re scared to talk about our struggles, afraid of what others might think of us or our child.

Last year, in what seemed like a moment of caving (because again – keeping up with what the ‘expectations’ are), I asked him if he could just tell me his story and I would write it for him.

And the words poured out.

Writing as quickly as I could, he dictated and I became that boy’s scribe. The frustration began to leave both of us, even though there were moments that I still struggled with my decision. He began to flourish and look at writing differently. The writing process became easier, and we fell into a good pattern of dictation and copying. Sometimes I would have him finish a sentence or two, but for the most part he talked while I wrote.

Fast forward to this year – he’s a week shy of age 10, and there is a new child in front of me. He suddenly doesn’t mind writing on his own and has even started typing his own stories on the computer. Just last week I found two full typed pages of stories that he wrote (non school related!!) sitting on his desk. My heart may have done a happy dance.

While our youngest (age 8) is still in the same writing dilemma at the moment, he’ll have a little bit more of a jump on his brother because I’m not going to push the writing issue, but rather scribe for him as well. When I’ve done that already this year, the words begin to flow quickly and there is a noticeable change in attitude (for both of us!).

Can I encourage you to think outside the box if you have a child who is struggling with writing (or any other area for that matter)? Let go of the expectations that you feel in that area and look at it a little differently. Do not let yourself get stuck in a comparison of what someone else’s child is doing that yours is not. (Trust me on this).

Yes, there are times that we may need to be concerned with our child’s learning progress, but sometimes a little creativity or bending of the rules may make a huge difference – and turn into a learning experience for both of you!

A Few More Helps for Moms

If you have a child any age that is struggling with writing, here are a few blog posts that I would HIGHLY recommend you take a few minutes to read:

Are YOU struggling with a reluctant writer? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Paperwork and Tea Time

Just when I think that I’ve managed to get into a good routine with our school year, we start a new year and there are all sorts of fun, new things to throw into the mix. While our oldest {7th grade} is working a bit more independently in her schoolwork, an added benefit to me {oh, that is SO tongue in cheek} is keeping up with all of the paperwork and correcting. The older the kids get, the paperwork seems to grow exponentially in some areas.

grading papers

I so love paperwork. {Please, note the sarcasm.}

This school year has managed to absorb even more of my overall time {more planning, grading, reviewing…}, but it’s all a good thing. Really, truly. There are days that I feel a little bit overwhelmed. Sometimes a few more than I would care to admit.

Slowing Down and Focusing

One thing that I’ve started to do with the girls this year is have a weekly tea time. They each have their own special time with me – one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The main intent was to review schoolwork, talk about assignments, and make sure we were on the same page with things, but it has really been such an added blessing to our week.

tea cup

While we do get all the paperwork covered, it has been a time where we can chat, share things that have come up during the course of the week, and just enjoy being together. Essentially, it’s a time to be intentionally focused 1:1 on the child in front of me and connect with the heart inside.

One thing I’m learning through all of it is to just slow down. It’s a season where I am having to put a few things aside in order to focus on what is important and needs my immediate attention.

And that’s a good thing.

But don’t think those little boys running around the house want nothing to do with mom. Now they are wondering when their tea hot chocolate days are going to start.

I really wouldn’t have it any other way.


Do you have focused 1:1 time with your kids? How do you carve special time to share with your children?

10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson – a new ebook

There’s a new ebook available from Sally Clarkson – 10 Gifts of Wisdom. I’m currently reading one of her other books, Mission of Motherhood, and highly recommend anything by her. (Yes, I love her that much). She truly is a HUGE encouragement to mothers everywhere – homeschooling or not.


10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson

Her new book, 10 Gifts of Wisdom is now available on Kindle and  TODAY ONLY is just 99 cents!! It is in ebook format only at this point and will be $4.95 after the sale ends.

Here’s a little more about the book {via the publisher’s Amazon blurb}

Every parent wants their child to grow into a gracious and competent adult. Gratitude, perseverance, generosity; these are just a few of the social and spiritual skills children need to gain before they leave home. Yet few parents today have a clear vision for how to cultivate those traits in their children. What does it look like to form character? How can a mother train her child’s heart to be excellent and good? The 10 Gifts of Wisdom answers those questions.

In these pages you will be inspired, instructed, and empowered to give your children the foundations they need in order to build a life of strength and meaning. This book presents ten gifts of character and wisdom that every parent can give their child before they leave home. A hands-on guide to character formation, is crammed with practical suggestions, personal stories, and encouragement for moms in the thick of child training. But this is also a book of vision, offering moms the inspiration and comfort they need as they seek to form children with excellent characters, strong minds, and loving hearts.

Discipleship and Discipline for the Desperate Mom

And in case you missed it earlier, Sally Clarkson is also the one that teamed up with Sarah Mae to teach a four-part Discipleship and Discipline course. Their course was live-recorded, so if you missed their initial webinar, you can still take part in this fabulous class. You can re-watch segments of the program at any time! Find out more about that here.

Enjoy and be encouraged!