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Tips for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom

Tips for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom

The homeschool year hasn’t even started for our family yet and last week there was a moment when all I wanted to do was sit down on the floor and have a really good cry. Ambitions were high for the summer months, and essentially nothing on my list was accomplished (according to what my brain and unwritten expectations were). Just so you know, I envisioned having co-op syllabuses completed in June and a huge chunk of my planning done that month as well. I thought I’d have it ALL done and just kick back and relax the rest of the summer. 

Sometimes those unwritten expectations can really wreak havoc on a person – and mind you, I’m a top contender in that department. 

But life intervened and between swim team duties and some wonderful family interruptions, summer didn’t go according to plan. And that’s all a good thing. I don’t want to get so wrapped up in my expectations that I miss the life to live right in front of me.

However, when walking into the school room last week to get started on organizing for the new year, it felt like a blanket of heaviness was draped over my shoulders. Piles of curriculum pulled off the shelf to relocate or sell were all over the place – even after baskets of books had been taken out. Stacks of supplies the kids had brought up to the school room for me – and then dumped somewhere random – stared at me. Our room is a huge blessing, but left alone where we don’t see it everyday left it at a point where it was just plain overwhelming. 

homeschool room before

I shared a picture on Facebook last week of the overwhelm I was feeling, and many of you chimed in or emailed me sharing your current state, which told me one thing: we are NOT alone in our feelings of being overwhelmed. Sadly, many of us sit and hold it in, adding to the mountain of feelings. 

Whether or not you have a week or more (or less) to get ready for the upcoming year, here are a few tips for when you feel overwhelmed as a homeschool mom. 

Tips for When You Feel Overwhelmed as a Homeschool Mom

Take a deep breath. I’d love to say that I didn’t tear up, but that would be a lie. I cried a little – and that’s ok! I needed a chance to stop for a moment, and getting that overwhelmed feeling out. After that, I sat back, stared down my nemesis, and took a deep breath. That moment of calming was enough to help me focus on the task ahead and realize it could be done. 

Jump in and DO IT. While the list of things needing to be done would definitely take more than an afternoon, I jumped right in to work on what was in front of me, clearing the visible clutter since much of my overwhelm comes from the visual aspect of messes. You know what your own triggers are – tackle those first so you can relax a little. I grabbed a large trash bag, moved piles to the hallway for things to be taken out of the school room, shelved books, vacuumed, dusted, and focused on the giant task in front of me. I set an internal goal (remember how I said I’m good at those??) to get it cleaned up in an hour (call me crazy). 

Plot your attack and stay focused. Because I have trouble remembering things at time (I’m over 40 and a mom of four. Have mercy, please.), I took a small notebook with me to jot down things that came to mind as I was working. Print off planners for the girls. Plan out the first month of lit lessons for our co-op classes. Double check all curriculum for the year. Find all the US History books on our shelves. Organize science supplies.

The list may keep growing, but rather than getting distracted by little things along the way, stay focused on the task in front of you. My list was my mental dumping ground for what needed to be worked on later that day or in the upcoming week. When finished with the initial cleaning, I went over the list and prioritized what needed to be done. Some of the items were able to be checked off quickly (making me feel accomplished and more motivated!), and the rest – well, they’ll get done too – in time. 

Putting it down on paper puts it into perspective for you as well. Looking at it in black and white helps you see what really needs to be accomplished, or saved until later. While finishing off the baseboards in our school room is something that needs to be done, it doesn’t need to be finished before the school year starts. (grins)

Phone a friend. There is power in numbers, so don’t push aside the benefit of friends. My initial panic also involved chatting with a friend on the phone and commiserating our mutual chaos. We made a plan to sit down together in the upcoming week – me to help her with one of her daunting tasks (anything is more fun with a friend!), and she is going to work with me on one of my projects. Together is always more enjoyable! 

Friends also have the added benefit of talking you down from your proverbial ledges and giving you a nudge (or shove) in the direction you need to be headed. I have two local friends who are fabulous at holding me accountable on tasks and helping me stay focused. 

Let go of what doesn’t need to be done. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things you feel you should be doing. Earlier this year I shared 10 things to eliminate from your homeschool and in addition to those ten things, I would also encourage you to not overdo it. Don’t overwhelm yourself (or your kids) with subject areas that you don’t really need to work on solely because it appears it’s the right thing to do. From outside activities to 15 subjects per child, you can get yourself on the fast track to a certifiable mess. Limit and eliminate the extra stuff – and don’t look back. 

Pray. This just goes without saying, but remember to keep yourself grounded in God’s word, letting Him know your fears, frustrations, and dreams. 

Get rest and lots of it. It’s hard work being a mom and adding on the responsibility of being your child’s teacher ups the stress even more. You need to rest. And beyond rest, you need to sleep. Don’t burn the candle at both ends and hope to catch up on the weekend, or whenever. Get the rest now. Go to bed on time and strive for the rest your body needs to keep going. Take care of yourself as much as you care for those children of yours, otherwise you can put yourself out of commission quickly. Ask me how I know. 

Aside from your body responding better, sleep will also give you more clarity of thought. Tasks that seemed incredibly overwhelming the day before might be put into perspective or a different approach may come to mind. Know when to slow down, stop, and put your feet up for your own sanity (and your family’s)!

homeschool room after

While there are still many tasks ahead in the upcoming week, my perspective has completely shifted from feeling overwhelmed as I’ve taken a step back and plotted out what needs to be done. And that hour time limit I set for myself? It did wonders to ease my mind. It’s amazing what you can get done when you stop and focus on what’s in front of you. 

This won’t be the only time during the year that those feelings of overwhelm will creep up. Throughout the year, they resurface in different areas, but in those moments, pause and take a deep breath. You CAN get through this. 

Are you struggling with feeling overwhelmed? What tips can you offer to other homeschool moms in the trenches with you? 

 Tips for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom from Homeschool Creations


 


Another post you may enjoy….Why Your Homeschool Needs a Rest Time.

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What the Summer Has Looked Like… Homeschool and Life Happenings

Pretty much, this has been my view much of the summer…

or this…

Let me be honest and tell you that I feel as if I have ZERO done for our upcoming school year. Being poolside weekly for meets and managing our summer swim team has taken up pretty much most of the summer (and I’m thankful we get to be a part of our kids’ passions). 

It’s been so much that I almost forgot to file our end of the year paperwork letting the county know that our kids finished up their year and they are doing fine academically. YIKES! But that was mailed yesterday and now I’m breathing a little easier. 

But next week with no swim team means zeroing in on any missing curriculum pieces, placing orders, printing like a mad-woman, and at least feeling like some prep is underway. Including cleaning out the schoolroom (which hasn’t been done since we wrapped up school in May). 

Hopefully this is helping you feel that you aren’t any more behind than others – or at least me! (grins) 

These summer updates feel like they have been pitiful, but truthfully, it’s life at the moment. We are enjoying our time off. Hanging out together. Camping. Spending time with friends (and away from online) – and I am loving that for sure. But my brain and sanity are ready to step back into the routine that our school year offers. 

How has your summer been going? 

 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings.

What I’m Reading (and the Kids too)

December is here. Chilly temps have really settled in, and books are becoming my most favorite thing – especially by the light of the Christmas tree. Admittedly, those non-fiction books are a little harder to pick up and dig into (it’s much easier to get lost in another world where I don’t have to focus on anything), but I am making progress.

The one thing I really need to focus on this month is decidedly making time to read for my growth – not just for fun. The last few weeks have been crazy with family visiting and traveling, so focusing on a more serious topic has been harder to do. Hence – the fiction. :) I will also admit that the last little bit I have been sidetracked by the Hallmark channel (we subscribed to Sling TV for the month so we could get all the holiday movies!!), and that may have put a damper on my reading.

My GoodReads app is helping me track the books that I’m reading. Only two books on my original reading list for 2017 remain, and one of them is already halfway finished. I’m definitely looking forward to our Christmas break and hoping to finish both of them prior to that so I can just relax and read all the FUN books that are still on my shelf.

To help me toward my goal of finishing those two books, I’m setting an alarm for every afternoon at 2pm so I can sit down and read for at least 15 minutes.  Here are the books on my pile to read this month: 


The Kids are Reading…


  • Laurianna – lots of assigned reading for her college classes
  • McKenna – Heart of Darkness
  • Zachary – Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
  • Kaleb – Boxcar Children book #3
  • Family read-aloud – Gregor the Overlander series

What I Finished in November

Here’s a peek at what I finished in the month of November – just fiction and working through some non-fiction too. 

 

  • Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason
  • Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden – HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!
  • five books in the Jacobite chronicles by Julia Brannon (there were some parts I had to skip). Otherwise a good series, but the parts I skipped seemed like they were token “add in” scenes that honestly could have been modified or left out completely. 

That’s it for this month – what is on YOUR reading list??

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy-thanksgiving-from-our-family-to-yoursThe next few days are promising to be full of food and family (and fun). Lots of cooking will be happening in the house (I’ve already made some amazing cranberry orange scones and that’s just the tip of the baking).

We’re taking a few days off to celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of family and also Kaleb’s birthday, which is Friday. The boy has already asked for a special pumpkin pie ice cream cake. 

Friday I’ll be sharing some Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials and am planning to finish up the remainder of my shopping from a nice cozy bed if possible. After that, it’s on to decorating for Christmas and curling up to watch sappy Christmas movies. 

For those of you in the States – have a GREAT Thanksgiving! If you aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, hope you and your family enjoy the next bit and we will talk to you soon. :) 

Homeschool and Life Happenings – The One with ALL THE EMOTIONS

When I say the week was full of emotions, it was a literal roller coaster in so many ways. We started off the week meeting with an advisor from the local community college to register Laurianna for two classes this fall. 

YOU ALL. 

I’m happy. I’m scared. I’m not sure what to feel. (Granted the tuition and book bill may snap me back to reality rather quickly). MY BABY is taking college classes. Lord, please help me! 

Laurianna is registered for a human anatomy class and lab (this will fulfill her remaining science credit for high school) and also an English class. The first shock came in seeing the RIDICULOUS amount bookstores charge for textbooks. Good grief! Fortunately Amazon offered the book brand spankin’ new at about 25% of the cost the bookstore did. We could have rented the book as well for $20, but decided to get her the text to keep since it’s one she will likely refer to quite a bit with a nursing major. 

So classes are registered for, we still have a tuition bill to pay (and are hoping we can dip into the state college savings plan we’ve had going on for her). She is a junior in high school this year and we are trying to get her into classes that will go along with classes she needs for her major at the colleges she will apply to. 

But can we return to the textbook rental for a moment?? Why did no one have this when we were in college?? Crazy to think that a book they wanted $340 at the bookstore can be rented for $20. YOU CAN RENT TEXTBOOKS FROM AMAZON. If it wasn’t my favorite place to shop before, it has now officially become my #1 love. 

That also meant we dipped into our budget a little more and bought Laurianna a smaller laptop (this one had GREAT reviews) along with all of her remaining texts. I’ll be sharing a post next week with her class schedule and our plans for the rest of the year. 

The kids and I may have taken advantage of the free ice cream our orthodontist offered all week. Every summer she has a local ice cream company set up their trailer in her parking lot and all patients can stop by for free ice cream. So we did. For breakfast one morning, a pre-lunch snack a second day, and a mid-afternoon snack on yet another. With two kids braces paid for and one on the way, I am determined our kids can enjoy it whenever.  I may have obtained mom of the day status the morning we had it for breakfast. I justify it by the fact that I had a mix of Java Chip (morning coffee), coconut nut (fruit and nuts are always good for you, right), and then a side of waffle cone “toast”. It works. No judging. :) 

I’ve also been busy printing our Student Planners for the upcoming year and took them to Staples for binding. This year we also have several other e-workbooks that need to be printed for the kids (Visual Latin, WriteShop, etc…), so I am trying out a website a friend referred (thanks, Mo!) – The Homeschool Printing Company (if you send them an email with a request for a quote and mention I referred you, you’ll get 10% off your first order!! Woot! And their prices are AMAZING!).

I still need to finish printing my new Homeschool Planner. I promise I will be sharing it soon, but there have been some major issues with my website that I am trying to get fixed (thanks to those of you that are emailing and letting me know what files are being impacted!). (p.s. hang tight – there may be a special offer coming soon where you can get it free!!) 

Last Saturday we officially ended our summer swim season with a day of swimming against the other five teams in our league. All the kids did amazing. Kaleb ended up placing first in all of his individual events, and the other kiddos all placed in the top of their events as well (woohoo!). A great end to the season and much fun!

We ended the week with Laurianna starting the final leg of her drivers ed with behind the wheel training. Seven hours from now she will be an official licensed driver! We also had a visit with yet another specialist on Thursday, and a girl that really was having a super rough day. There’s a point as a mom when you want to just have a good cry, but can’t do it around your child because you don’t want to discourage her any further. The sum-up of it: essentially no official diagnosis from the geneticist, another referral to the pediatric neurologist, and some intensive PT. And we wait still again. 

Our classroom as a whole is coming together (finally). The last of our missing curriculum has been ordered and downloaded (thank goodness Compass Classroom has a lovely sale happening to help me out!). Tomorrow I’m pulling together all of the books and making sure everything is in the classroom, will finish printing my planner, and start the planning. Start date goal is August 14th! 

I’ll end this with a song that I’ve been listening to on repeat this week (along with King of My Heart). It’s just something I’ve needed in my heart so very, very much, especially in light of all the stuff happening with Laurianna. While I can’t put this all into in-depth and flowery terms, the basic is this: it’s been tough, but NONE of this is taking God by surprise. Even when it’s hard and we don’t understand we will keep pressing into Him – not away. One thing I know for sure is that He loves my girl so deeply and will never fail her – or us. 

Homeschool Life and Happenings – I’m Not Ready for School

This week a lot of things are starting to wrap up and time is beginning to open up a bit. That’s a great thing, but on the other hand, it made me realize how close we are to the end of our summer and OH MY GOODNESS – a new school year. 

 

Midweek I shared a video peek at the current state of my homeschool planning and our homeschool room. In short, other than having the bulk of our curriculum ordered, I have a bit fat zero done on my end. Next week will involve a lot of printing, sorting, and nitty-gritty to make sure we have all we need to get started mid-August. If you’re interested, you can hop over to Facebook for a look at my rambling and maybe a cute dog who is a little nutso. 

Sidenote – I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed in my planning (or lack thereof) and the state of our schoolroom. The fact that we had a paper wasp infestation in the ceiling of the schoolroom hasn’t helped. There are dead wasps everywhere. 

The BIG news of our week: Laurianna took placement tests for our local community college so she can take a few classes this year. I’ll be sharing our plans for her in the next week or two, but this was a big deal for both of us. Honestly, I was scared to death.

First – she’s my baby!! How we are at the point of her taking college classes is beyond me. Second – these tests count! While I know she “knows” the stuff, there is a part of me that was nervous about how she would test and how the test would reflect her knowledge. I’m sure you all understand that. She passed both the math and English tests with flying colors (YAY!!) and we meet with a placement advisor in about a week to line up her classes for the fall. 

Life related – our Bichon mix dog, Addie, got her first haircut from me this week. I love our groomer, but I have a) a hard time paying more for a dog’s haircut than I do for my own and b) driving close to 1/2 hour away to have her groomed. I decided it couldn’t be too bad to cut her hair myself (incidentally, I cut our kids’ hair and if I can do that, who honestly cares if my dog’s hair is perfect??).

YouTube had a video (or three) that made me feel comfortable enough, so we ordered a grooming kit off Amazon and got to work. I still have to tweak a few things, but she is definitely much happier with less hair. It’s great having a hypoallergenic dog, but haircuts are a wee bit of a pain. I suppose that’s the tradeoff in not having to sweep/vacuum her hair off everything, right? 

In random news, it’s signs like the above (and my children noticing the glaring punctuation errors) that make my day. Be sure to try the ONE NEW STRAWBERRY. By the way, they have mango salad too. Don’t get the old strawberries though….

After one late night, I went to wake up the boys for morning practice and had to take a picture. They both were so cute and sleeping in exactly the same position. Our kids don’t normally sleep in, but summer night swim practices and late meets sometimes help them stay in bed past the 7am hour. :) 

With our swim season wrapping up, the week has held some reflection for me on the past 6-8 weeks. Our kids have had a blast with their friends – and making new friends – and that has been so much fun to see. This last meet I had a chance to finally be poolside and really watch all of our kids swim – and about cheered myself voiceless as they bettered their times. It was a GREAT meet. :)

Rick and I also celebrated our 19th anniversary this past week as well. We haven’t done anything exciting like going out to dinner (we may have been standing in monsoon rain and hail and stayed up late helping reschedule a swim meet – ah, wedded bliss!). We figured we’ve made it 19 years and the actual date we celebrate together doesn’t matter as much, right? 

That’s it in a nutshell for us – how was YOUR week?