Monday, January 26, 2015

Three things I learned during our first 100 days of homeschooling

I can not even begin to explain how excited I am to have our first 100 days of homeschool behind us! When we first started in August it seemed like it would take forever, lol. We've had many ups and downs, but honestly I would say it has been an amazing experience. I've definitely learned so much over the first 100 days of homeschooling. 


There will be bad days and that is ok... When we first began homeschooling this year I expected the first few weeks to be rough, but they weren't. I mean I struggled with getting my day organized, buth the kids were model students. They were fantastic and eager. I was beyond thrilled. I thought I had really prepped them well and was doing a banner job. Then everything changed. The truth was homeschool began to feel Sure we play more games and have a less crazy day, but there are worksheets to do and new lessons to learn. I was met with attitudes and meltdowns. I wasn't prepared for the change of events. I walked out of the room crying not sure what to do. Then I had to remember it is ok. What we don't get done today we will get done tomorrow. It's ok to pack up the books and head to the park, or send them outside to run around. We are not bound to the classroom. We took unscheduled trips to the library, walks around the neighborhood, and started craft projects. When the moods shifted, I gently reminded them we need to finish up classwork. You know what? It got done...eventually. We still have off days or off moments in our day and I need to remind myself to be flexible. It is ok.

Make time for Momma... I would not consider myself overly social. Last year when my son was in 1st grade and my daughter at preschool, I spent a great deal of time at home. I did the drop offs and pick ups, I did a weekly Bible study, and ran one day a week with two girlfriends otherwise I was at home. When we started homeschooling I was all in. I made no time for myself to get away. I went to the hobby store--the little ones were with me. The grocery store, we went together. My break was on Sundays when I dropped them off and ran to my adult study. Then our church announced the mid-week study and this year they'd be able to care for homeschoolers. My husband pushed me to sign-up. The thought stressed me. We were already doing karate on Monday mornings and I found this really put me behind. The last thing I wanted to do was add a Wednesday morning away from home. He felt like it would be good for me and the kids. I gave in. Oh what a blessing my Wednesday morning group was. I sat and talked to grown-ups. I hadn't realized how much I missed them! The experience for C had been fantastic, too. The church had it set-up that homeschoolers would work on their own for an hour. This helped him with learning to be independent, plus if he finished with the worksheets I brought he would read. He fell in love with reading. After church, after being social, I found I was recharged. I was more energetic and felt more like myself. This allowed me to be better for them.

I can't do it all... there it is. The one thing I really hate to admit. I can't do it all. Homeschooling takes a good part of my day. When we are done with homeschooling I try to get things done around the house or sometimes I just want to do nothing. I haven't figured out how to get all the shopping, cleaning, laundry, schooling, playing, phone calls, bills paid...all of it done. I get a lot of it done. Not done as well as I would like it or in the time I would like it. My husband has been doing more, I've had to do more in the evenings (I used to get it all done during the day), I've had to learn to deal with some things just not getting done. Maybe someday I will post how I've learned to get it done. I know I could plan better. Plan all my meals, plan a cleaning and laundry schedule...but for now I'm still figuring out how to get all the schooling done because school is my number one focus. That is ok. I am learning to be ok with that. I mean it's not like my house is going to be on the next episode of Hoarders (and I do recommend watching it--you will feel much better about the condition of your own home). :) This is simply the season my family is in and honestly I'm loving it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.

My thoughts...there is a reason Jane Green has published so many books, she is fantastic. Saving Grace is an I can't put this book down kinda novel! I really liked Grace. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of her relationship to Ted...I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see where it would lead. Then we meet the new assistant and I never trusted her, but Grace really wasn't a fool--but then the story just explodes in a way I really wasn't expecting. Wow. I mean wow. I was really proud of the leaps Grace went through and how wonderfully Green pulled everything together. Nothing felt rushed, Grace always seemed true to who she was. I would love to mention another character who I totally loved, but that would be a spoiler! I will also mention Green brings about a discussion of medication in this novel that should be a discussion we should be having in our society.

I believe the books description really gives you a good idea of what the novel is about, so I am really just letting you know this was a great read. I highly recommend Saving Grace.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner

Three people, each crying out for help.There’s Karen, about to lose her father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care, and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they’re brought together at Moreland’s Clinic.Here, behind closed doors, they reveal their deepest secrets, confront and console one another, and share plenty of laughs. But how will they cope when a new crisis strikes? From the international bestselling author, Sarah Rayner, Another Night, Another Day is the emotional story of a group of strangers who come together to heal, creating lifelong friendships along the way.

My thoughts...In some ways, this is a difficult book to review. The storyline is dealing with depression, not a story to get all excited about. Another Night, Another Day is a very well written character driven story following the lives of three individuals fighting very real demons in their lives. They find themselves in a clinic facing the truth of the lives they've been fighting. I found myself particularly drawn to Karen. I could relate to her grief process and some of her feelings and questions about her grief. Having lost my own dad two years ago, I found myself feeling as if I had no right to really grieve him since I had grieved so hard for my mom and because I knew it was coming. Another Night, Another Day brought out some of my own emotional baggage. Rayner really touched on a subject rarely talked about, but one we should...The story really opened my own eyes to the emotional toll others are going through around me that I have really never thought  about. I found the novel very eye opening. I walked away with a better understanding--I mean, wouldn't it be nice if you could have someone to talk to and to help us process our emotions before they get to be too much? Instead, we have a stigma attached to going off and talking to someone or taking a medication to help us when we have emotional overload. We view needing help as weak and yet walking though your emotional pain is extremely brave and far better for us then putting it off.

While reading Another Night, Another Day I really was rooting for all the characters. Wanting them to find their footing again. I cheered for them and I cried with them.

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