Homeschool Burnout | 5 Things to Consider

Homeschool Burnout? 5 Things to Remember

Welcome to March—home of the spring month!

For me, the month of March is a lot like Wednesdays; if you can survive it, the end of your journey will be here before you know it. 

It’s that time of year when many of us are just about halfway through the second semester of homeschooling. January and February came and went, and April and May will soon follow suit. With that said, some of us are feeling the middle-of-the-semester blues—also known as homeschool burnout.

The discussion of homeschool burnout is alive and brewing all over homeschool communities. And for good reason—it can wear a sistah down! I’m talking about dreading the day so much that you don’t want to leave your bed in the morning, neglecting homeschool responsibilities because you’re overwhelmed, and having an intense desire to enroll your kids in public school—any school—as long as it doesn’t take place in your house!

I’m here to tell you, it’s okay.

Just breathe.

Homeschool is a calling. And like most callings, there will good days and bad ones. We’ve got a tough job! But these trials are supposed to help us grow in character, perseverance, and faith. They are not meant to break us.

Here are five things to remember when you’re experiencing the infamous “homeschool burnout.”

1.    With God all things are possible. 

Challenging, yes—but still possible. The truth is, homeschooling our children is not supposed to be easy. We’re taking on the full responsibility of our children’s education. That’s a big deal! But know that with Christ we can overcome these challenges and persevere. I want you to say this aloud right now:

“With Christ’s help, I can successfully homeschool my child/ren.”

Write down that declaration and put it in a place in your home where you’ll always see it.

Verses to study:

>    Mathew 19:26—With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

>    Philippians 4:13—I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

>    Mathew 6:33—But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

2.    Teaching God’s word should be the first priority. 

It’s in the word of God, so don’t shoot the messenger.

Let’s look at the bigger picture:

One day our children will be adults. It’d be a shame to realize only then that we’d been so focused on academics and social opportunities that we’ve put God’s word on the backburner. Teaching God’s word to our children goes beyond memorizing verses. It’s an intentional training! Meaning, we are to help our children apply those verses to their everyday lives.

Sometimes, our burnout is God’s way of telling us to slow down, drop the extra-curricular activities, close the textbooks, and intentionally teach our children how to live a holy life the best way we know how.

Verses to study:

>    Proverbs 22:6—Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

>   Ephesians 6:4—Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

> Deuteronomy 11:19—Teach my word to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

3.    You need God’s help. 

Listen, we are trying to carry a weight that it takes multiple teachers, staff, and administration to carry. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we’re sinking! But if we are truly called to homeschool, God will make provisions for us. The only requirement? Submitting to God and trusting Him to help us.

Verses to study:

>    Psalm 121:1-2—Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

>    Mathew 11:28—Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

>    Psalm 146:5—Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

4.    There’s a season for everything. 

Homeschool for every family looks different. Some of us will have seasons of public school—or even perhaps seasons of other types of schooling. You may be called to homeschool for one year or eighteen years. Whatever God’s plan is for your family, remember to enjoy your season of homeschool while it’s still here.

Verses to study:

>    Ecclesiastes 3:1—There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

>    Jeremiah 8:7—Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons.

>    Titus 1:3—Now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me.

5.    God gives us everything we need to homeschool. 

How many times have we asked God to give us more patience? Wisdom? Faith? Money?

In this crazy homeschool life, we have everything we need: love, faith, patience, knowledge, wisdom, resources, and more! All of these components grow not by asking God for MORE, but by asking God to help us steward the measure He’s already given us. These virtues don’t magically fall out of the sky. We have to WORK to mature in these areas. They are like muscles—the more we train, the stronger we’ll be.

Verses to study:

>    2 Peter 1:3—His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

>    Philippians 4:19—And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

>    Matthew 6:8—For your father knows what you need before you ask Him.


 

If you are experiencing burnout, I pray that God gives you rest. If you have any tips on how to address/avoid burnout, please leave your comment down below for your fellow homeschool mom/parent!

Be sure to read my other post on burnout: Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Are You Showing Up for Your Homeschool

Are You Showing Up for Your Homeschool?

Chances are you’re thinking about your kids’ future and what you need to do to prepare them for it.

College.

Career.

Business.

Funds.

Talents.

Whatever your goal is for your children, it may weigh heavy on you daily. So much so that you forget to show up for the moments. You know, those little moments that make up your homeschool journey?

The truth is, this isn’t just a homeschool thing. This is a mom thing. A parent thing. It’s natural to want the best for our children and to do whatever it takes to secure their future. That’s why we invest so much time, money, and prayers into our homeschool, isn’t it?

But, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a secure future. Even children raised by the best parents can become adults who completely defy everything their parents worked hard to achieve for their sake. Home education. Private school education. College tuition savings. Children are their own person and have free will just as we do. Sometimes, they can—and will—use that free will to make poor choices, just as we can expect them to use that same free will to make good choices.

I think deep down we know this, which is why we fail to show up for those little moments. We’re too busy desperately searching for clues—proof—that what we’re doing will be worth it in the end. Which is why we lose it when our child still hasn’t grasped long-division or those tricky grammar rules. Good academic performance gives us the instant gratification of feeling like our sacrifice isn’t in vain. We praise our children and we praise ourselves for a job well done. We are convinced that these moments somehow foreshadow our children’s future and our success as their parents.

However, when our children don’t meet our expectations and/or fail to demonstrate that love for learning we all want to foster, their future somehow flashes before our eyes. Suddenly, we fear they may not get admitted into college, build a successful career, or become that groundbreaking businessman or woman.

And then our own future flashes before our eyes. We imagine the judgmental glances from our peers, the whispers behind our backs, the “I told you homeschool was a bad idea” phrases from disapproving family members. We bring that false future into our present life and lose our ever-loving minds over something that hasn’t happened yet—and probably never will.

So, we bring on the punishment, the guilt-trips, the threats, the bribes. Whatever it takes to improve their performance! Silent tears soak through our pillowcases at night, and we’re tempted to give up.

Maybe it’s a sign,” we say, “A sign we aren’t qualified to homeschool.”

And because we fear this false future we’ve created for our children, some of us give up. The rest of us continue to teach from fear rather than from a place of peace, love, and understanding. In our own twisted minds, we believe that somehow, if we teach from fear, we’re in control. So, we allow fear to keep us from showing up for our homeschool. Instead, we show up for a false future and the idea that it is somehow greater than the journey itself.

What is a false future? It’s where the what-ifs live. What if my kid doesn’t learn enough? What if my kid doesn’t get into college? What if my kid resents me? I think you catch my drift. We think up the worst-case scenarios and live our lives trying to stop them from happening. But the big question is: are we doing what we do for the what-ifs or for the journey? If the answer is yes, we are failing to show up for the beauty that is homeschool.

You may be reading this post and think, this isn’t me. Congratulations, you’ve probably already mastered showing up for your homeschool. But if you’re reading this and it resonates with you, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start showing up!

So, how does one show up for their homeschool?

 

1. Relinquish control.

This was the very first step I had to take when I made a conscious effort to show up for my homeschool; recognize and accept that I’m not in control—but God is! Author and blogger, Sarah Mackenzie, would call this concept teaching from rest. That is, trusting that God’s got your children’s education and future in His hands—even when you’re a wreck! Even when they’re a wreck! In that, we can guide our children’s education from a loving and trusting place, rather than from anxiety.

 

2. Change your audience.

The revolutionary question I had to ask myself was:

Who am I trying to impress? God or man?

I like how Mackenzie put it: “Whose ‘well done’ are you working for?” Although she posed this question in her book, Teaching from Rest, this wasn’t the first time this inquiry resonated with me. In fact, this question surfaced several times throughout my homeschool journey. Each time, it humbled me and reminded me that the only opinion that matters is God’s. My children don’t have to be little prodigies. And I certainly don’t have to be Mary Poppins.

 

3. Embrace failure.

Fear of failure will rob us of teachable moments that can enhance our homeschool journey. Failure isn’t a bad thing. In fact, any successful person will tell you they’ve learned more from their failures than their successes. Failure is a teacher, not a conqueror. When we embrace this truth, we’re more likely to discern what went wrong and how we can improve something, rather than become defeated by setbacks. Even more, we’re more likely to make braver decisions that lead to greater successes because we’re not afraid to fail.

 

4. Redefine success.

If success is defined by high test scores and perfectly written papers, we’re all in for a huge disappointment. It’s not wrong to want your child to perform well, however, you cannot control how they perform. But do you know what you can control? How you perform. Therefore, let success be determined by how well we demonstrate our love for our children. Did we teach them from a place of patience? Kindness? Gentleness? Joy? Goodness? Peace? Even when things don’t go as expected? Remember, love never fails. It always leads to success! Therefore, there’s a greater chance our children will develop a love for learning if we teach them from a place of love.

 

5. Reflect often.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I reflect on our past homeschool years, I can’t help but realize how quickly time passes. My boys are no longer the toddler and Kindergartner I started homeschooling nearly four years ago. It makes me happy for the times I showed up and lived in the moment, but sad for the times I didn’t. I don’t view this sadness as a negative thing, but a humble reminder to embrace the moment and show up for my homeschool each and every day.

Read any blog post with the title, “What I Would Do Differently in My Homeschool,” and these veterans will tell you in so many words, they’d embrace the moment and not be so anxious about tomorrow. May we take heed to their words and do our best to show up even for the smallest moments in our homeschool journey.


Well, that’s all I have for now.

Until next time, friends…

 

 

 

 

 

How To Make Friends In Adulthood and Keep Them

How I Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood

So, you’re all grown up now. Perhaps you relocated to a different state. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your childhood friends. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom struggling to meet other moms. Whatever the case, building new friendships in adulthood can be a daunting challenge.

I’ve experienced all the above; I moved to a new state, I outgrew most of my friends, and I was a stay-at-home mom struggling to make connections with other moms. To ice that cake, I’m also an introvert and I homeschool my children—which made it even more challenging to find people I could relate to.

As a woman in her thirties, I’ve made many friends in my adulthood, but lacked the quality friendships I desired.

Quality Friends Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Let me differentiate the two. With a casual friend, we might go out to coffee and catch up every now and then, but neither of us is committed to taking the relationship to the next level.

And that’s okay!

Everyone needs friendships like these. I call them seasonal friends.

A quality friendship, however, is a friendship where both parties are committed to realizing the potential of their relationship. It goes beyond the coffee dates and birthday party invites. There’s more transparency, a stronger connection, and most importantly—mutual edification.

I’ve discovered finding a good friend is a lot like finding a mate. In fact, my friends and I jokingly referred to our new friendship phase as “dating.”

Here, I don’t just want to talk about things I’ve learned that helped me make friends as an adult, but also things I’ve found to help sustain those friendships. Of course, I’m coming from the point of view of a homeschool mom, but you’ll find these tips can apply to you regardless of your walk in life.

As a disclaimer, I don’t have a ton of close friends. In fact, there are only two people on this earth I can call a close friend. But please be assured that one good friend is all you need. After all, quality friendships take time, love, and dedication to blossom. So, let’s get to it, shall we?


15 Ways to Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood


1. Enjoy your singleness.

If your goal is to make quality friends in 2019, don’t just sit around your house and hope for it. Instead, take that hope to the next level. That means doing the things you love—by yourself.

You must start living!

Enjoy Your Own Company Meme, Quote, Inspiration

You don’t need a BFF to go to the movie theater and watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see. You don’t need a BFF to go eat lunch at your favorite restaurant. And you certainly don’t need a BFF to travel or take advantage of wonderful social opportunities. You never know; you might run into your future BFF at the movie theater, coffee shop, or airport.

Just enjoy your own company!

Yes, I’ve dined alone, traveled solo, and showed up to social events with just me, myself, and I. I made meaningful connections, became confident in conversing with strangers, and even met my BFF!

Fellowship is important, but learning to be content with being by ourselves is also necessary for our personal growth and development. It is where we learn the art of balance.

 

2. Practice wholeness.

I’ve learned that no one should complete me. I should be whole all by myself. In fact, when we rely on people to fill our inner void, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Why? Because people are imperfect beings.

So, how do I practice wholeness?

  • By being intentional about improving my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • By maintaining a connection with God through prayer, meditation, and worship.
  • By allowing God to help me regulate my emotions and express them in a healthy manner.
  • By taking my thoughts captive to filter out the negativity.
  • Lastly, by developing healthier eating habits and staying active.

When I actively pursue the path of wholeness, I not only increase my chances of being an edifying friend to others, but also building quality friendships that last.

 

3. Build your confidence.

Practicing wholeness naturally increases my self-confidence, making me more attractive to quality people. Other methods I use to help build my confidence are:

  • Praying before attending events. I ask God for confidence and the courage to be myself. I also pray for the people attending the event. I pray that God gives them confidence, peace of mind, and the ability to make meaningful connections.
  • Remembering names. I try to remember the names of the people I want to build a connection with. Addressing people by their name is a small act that makes a huge impact on potential friends. If you belong to a club or group that has a social media account, don’t feel creepy about studying the faces in profile pictures to memorize their names. I’ve done it!
  • Practice small talk. Small talk isn’t my favorite. I like deep conversations. However, I’ve found that most people gravitate toward small talk, and I should become good at it if I want to make connections. And, to be honest, small talk isn’t that bad once you identify your motive. In my case, that motive is to get to know people better. Simple questions like, “Are you from this area?,” “How many years have you been living here?,” “How old are your children?” (if they have any), and “How is your week going so far?” have given me much success in opening the door to conversation.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself. Memes, Quotes, Inspiration

One thing’s for certain; when our confidence levels are high, not only are we more likely to engage in conversation, but we’re less likely to resort to “advertising” ourselves in an attempt to gain friendship. You know? When we try to sound as interesting as possible, but it just comes off as braggadocious? You can never go wrong with asking the questions and allowing a person to tell you about themselves. Most people love talking about themselves!

 

4. Join something. Anything!

Well, maybe not anything. Make sure it’s something you have a genuine interest for. Join a book club, a mom group, an art club, or volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.

Now, this is where I lose some people.

I know joining a group can seem intimidating. But making quality friends will require getting out of your comfort zone.

I’ve learned I’m never going to meet anyone if I don’t attend the fieldtrips, playdates, and classes hosted by my homeschool group or co-op. I’m not talking about an occasional thing, but actively attending most of the events and raising a hand to volunteer. This practice ensured I saw the same faces regularly, which provided more opportunities to develop quality relationships.

There was a time when I didn’t attend events because I felt “too awkward.” I was always off somewhere by myself and it seemed everyone else was hitting it off, except me. If this is you, please stay in the game! Don’t let these experiences keep you home. Push through the tough, awkward moments.

The more I became comfortable with being uncomfortable, the greater my confidence grew. Eventually, those awkward moments passed, and I found myself getting to know new people.

 

5. Don’t always trust your first impression.

Sometimes first impressions are accurate, but they can also be wrong. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ve unfairly written people off based on first impressions. But, one day, a thought came to mind in the case of negative perceptions:

Instead of being so committed to being “right” about someone, start hoping that you’re wrong. 

Negative Perceptions About People. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

After all, perception is simply an interpretation, and your interpretation of a person could be wrong. Love always assumes the best of others.

Here’s the thing; speaking from a mom point of view, I’ve learned I was going to see moms at their worst. Not only do most of the moms in my homeschool group have multiple children, but many of them work side businesses, babysit and homeschool other people’s children, and are active foster parents and volunteers. Sometimes, these moms get frustrated and lose their ever-loving mind. So, extending grace toward others is definitely a prerequisite to building friendships in my case.

I admit, I’ve ended up building connections with people I wasn’t too fond of at first. I’ve made sweeping generalizations about their character and God humbled me by showing me I was wrong. I simply judged them based on a moment. These days, I pay more attention to patterns rather than “moments.” Studying a person’s patterns will always offer a more accurate character assessment.

 

6. Ask for them digits.

Am I telling my age with that phrase? Who remembers when we used to say this in the ‘90s? What I mean is, don’t forget to ask your potential friend to exchange phone numbers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit it off with someone and left an event with absolutely no way to contact them.

It sucks.

I remember when I met one of my dearest friends at a homeschool event. We were chatting it up and hitting it off, but neither of us thought to exchange numbers. At the tail-end of our conversation, her husband actually interjected and suggested we exchanged contact info to keep in touch. We’re such good friends now, but every now and then I think of how we would’ve just left that event with no way of keeping in touch.

I know it may seem awkward in this day and age, but requesting contact info is a bold step worth taking—and a great habit to develop. It shows that you find a person interesting and want the opportunity to get to know them more. A great first impression, if you ask me.

 

7. Be authentic—flaws and all.

The first thing most of us are tempted to do when first meeting someone is to make ourselves look as polished, intelligent, and interesting as humanly possible. After all, we’re advertising ourselves to potential friends. However, in my experience, I’ve found the best way to connect with someone is to be authentic—to allow people to see my imperfections.

So, rather than pretend, I admit to people right away that I’m nervous and apologize for my awkwardness. This usually breaks the ice and even evokes a few confessions of their own. I’ve made more connections this way than I ever made rambling on about my life-story and accomplishments.

I get it. We want to put on our best face to impress people. But putting on a good front will only result in your appearing pretentious and untrustworthy. Even more? We’re tempted to judge people for not being as good at “faking it” as we are. Just be real and free yourself from the fear of judgment. Otherwise, you’ll have to put on this persona every time you’re around this person—which is tiring!

I’ve learned to accept my flaws, which gave me the ability to accept the character flaws of others. It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary for building and maintaining quality friendships.

Accept Your Own Flaws. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

 

8. Stay true to yourself.

This may sound similar to my last point, but I want to emphasize the importance of being yourself. Can I say it louder for the people in the back? Furthermore, this point speaks more on maintaining a friendship, while my last point speaks more on first impressions.

Sometimes when we get into new relationships, we tend to slowly mold ourselves into what we think the other person wants. Let me tell you, friendships like this are draining and almost never last because that act is difficult to keep up with.

For instance, I’m what many consider a girly girl. I like to paint my nails, wear makeup, dress up, and say “awe.”  But when I used to “date” potential friends, I’d forgo any evidence of who I truly was. I thought my love for playing dress up would be a complete turn-off. I feared they’d see me as vain and shallow, and I knew I was so much more than what I chose to wear for the day. Those friendships didn’t work out. But you know what did work out? The friendships where I remained true to myself.

 

9. Redefine “friendship.”

In grade school, and maybe even college, friendship meant hanging out with your bestie every single day and doing everything together. Perhaps you’ve even spent hours talking on the phone. At least I know I did.

As a thirty-something-year-old married woman with small children, having this type of relationship with another human being is just impossible. I had to redefine the way I’ve known friendship and let go of those expectations formed in my adolescence.

For me, redefining friendship meant knowing most of our encounters will involve facilitating playdates, exceeding small talk, texting more than calling, seeing each other’s homes in less than stellar conditions, and having each other’s back in the case of an emergency.

It also meant establishing boundaries.

I love my friends, but I don’t want to desire their company over that of my own husband and children. But that’s what often happens when we don’t define friendship and put it in its place.

 

10. Have a disagreement.

Not on purpose. What I truly mean is to allow yourself to have a disagreement. Do not fear a differing of opinion. In fact, disagreements make for healthy relationships. You won’t always agree with each other. And if you suddenly find yourself disagreeing that doesn’t mean the friendship won’t work out.

Relax.

Disagreements are bound to happen the more time you spend with someone. This is especially true in new relationships because boundaries are still being drawn and are bound to be overstepped a time or two. How people handle disagreements is very telling of their true personality, so pay attention!

How People Handle Disagreements. Quotes, Memes, and Inspiration

What’s great about these types of hiccups in a friendship is that we can let our guard down (or run!) once we’ve seen what’s on the other side of that smile.

 

11. Take it easy.

Having a new friend can be exciting, but please take it easy at the beginning of the relationship. Don’t expect this person to be your everything. Like you, they have a life to live. It’s not realistic to expect them to meet you for lattes every day and go shopping every weekend. I know you want to get to know them, but you cannot microwave a friendship. It will take time and dedication to build companionship, transparency, and trust.

My biggest mistake was revealing too much about myself too soon in order to move the friendship along. I soon learned that being transparent while maintaining my mystery is an art. If you hang out every day and reveal every detail of your life within the first few weeks of the friendship, what is there to look forward to in the years to come?

 

12. Make your motives plain.

Most people will lose sleep trying to decipher the motives of others. Make it easy for your new pal and tell them straight away what your intentions are. It’s okay to have motives, but you should let the other person in on them. If your motive is to become good friends, express that to them. Let them know you’ve been on the hunt for quality friendships and you’re in the “dating” phase.

During the new phase of one of my friendships, I let my friend know that I’m making more of an effort to reach out to people to form friendships. Lucky for me, she was in that phase of her life, too. So, it worked out for both of us. No guessing. No losing sleep. Just being upfront right at the beginning by saying, “Hey, I think we’re a match!”

As another example, I once told a friend of mine that I wanted to make sure my children built friendships with people who didn’t look like them. That was my motive. I wanted more diverse friendships for myself and my children. She also happens to be an outstanding homeschool mom and human being that I can learn from. That is why I chose to build a relationship with her and that’s okay.

And as fate would have it, our motives were pretty similar. We connected for the sake of our children, but it turned out that we actually liked each other as people. Go figure!

So, don’t be afraid to say: “Hey, our children seem to be hitting it off, would you mind if we connected more?” or “Wow, your children seem to be thriving, would you mind connecting more? I’d love to learn about your approach to child-rearing.” If your motives are pure, sharing them should never be an issue.

 

13. Get uncomfortable.

We tend to gravitate toward people we feel comfortable with—people who are like us. But lately, I’ve been challenged to get uncomfortable. That is, build connections with people unlike myself. I’m not merely talking about physical appearance, but also personality, culture, and lifestyle-wise.

Step Outside the Box Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Why is building a relationship with people different from you important? Because it edifies you.

I’m so amazed at how much I’ve learned through my unlikely friendships—how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve connected with people that couldn’t be any more different, but we’ve discovered our core values are the same.

Connecting with people we’re comfortable with is great, but I encourage you to also connect with people you can learn from. If you’re having difficulty managing your homeschool, connect with someone who does it well. If you’re trying to improve your financial stewardship, connect with someone who is excellent at it. If you want to explore outside your culture, connect with someone who has a rich culture.

These relationships may not always feel the most “comfortable” at first, but they will certainly enrich your life.

 

14. Pay attention to how they treat others.

This one may help you dodge a bullet.

Do they gossip about people often?

You might be next.

Do they put all the blame for the failure of their past friendships on other people and take zero responsibility?

You might be next.

Do they ditch their current friends to hang out with you?

You might be next.

Notice a pattern here? How a person treats their friends is a foreshadow of where your relationship is going with them. Take heed.

 

15. Become the friend you desire.

Have you ever been in one of those frustrated, one-sided relationships where you’re the only one committed to “making time?” There’s no longevity in those types of friendships. Not only have I been that friend who never made time, but I’ve also been on the receiving end.

We’re all “busy.” That’s why maintaining our commitment to making time for others shows we value their friendship.  There must be some sort of sacrifice and it must be reciprocal. I’m not talking about putting off important things, but rather putting off things that “can wait” to grab coffee with that friend or attend that playdate.

Become the Friend You Desire. Meme, Quotes, Inspiration

Everyone has heard the adage: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” This, in my opinion, is the surefire way to grow in consideration, compassion, and humility toward others. If you want a good friend, you must first be one. If you expect others to accept your flaws, you must do the same for them. Extend grace where grace is needed.


 

The key word here is “maintenance.” Most of us are good at making connections but are terrible at putting in the work to maintain those connections. With that being said, these are practices I must work at regularly. They are also practices I know work! Even if you have great friendships, we all need a reminder now and then to make more of an effort to strengthen our bond with others.

If you’re in the same boat I was in, take courage. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years and it took me a while to learn these things. It’s only been the past three years that I could finally call someone a friend. What I found essential is to remember to change my mindset. When I had this notion that there were no good people out there, I was making a rather haughty assumption that I was the only good human being left on the planet.

Which wasn’t true.

Yes, there were people out there who used, backstabbed, and abandoned me. But, going through the fire refined me and increased my discernment to recognize when I was face-to-face with a genuine person. It also taught me that I was no angel, either, and could use a few lessons on being a good friend myself.

Well, I hope this post was helpful. At the end of the day, that’s all I’m aiming to do. Feel free to share your wealth of knowledge about how you’ve made and maintained friendships in your adult years.

Until next time, friends…

SAHM? How to Not Be Miserable.

10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Welcome to the New Year!

Okay, so being a stay-at-home mom is no joke. Can we all raise our hand and agree?

I know, I know—we chose this lot in life. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get challenging. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it.

So, here I am acknowledging it.

Miserable is a harsh word, but it makes for a great title. I am not miserable. But I do acknowledge that some stay-at-home moms are—and that I, too, have experienced those challenging moments.

I’m not talking about clinical depression or any mental disorder that requires medical attention. I’m talking about feelings of unhappiness, discomfort, and/or inadequacy.

Perhaps I can be of some help. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years to two boys, ages 5 and 9. On top of that, I also homeschool, run a business, volunteer, the list goes on.

I’ve experienced a season where I hardly saw my husband due to his job, where I had to care for a newborn and a toddler while battling the baby blues, where I didn’t live close to family or friends, and where I felt isolated, anxious, and alone. And that is just naming a few!

I may not understand exactly what you’re going through, but I have an idea. Won’t you stick around and read what I’ve learned during those seasons?

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an old faithful reader of my blog, I know that at least one of these points will speak to you.

Note: I don’t mean to assume you’re a Believer, I can only write from my personal perspective. If you’re not a Believer and want to be, please refer to the bottom of this post.

So, without further ado, on with the blog:

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.)



10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

 

 

1. Know Your Purpose.

Knowing your purpose is directly linked to knowing who you are. When you know who you are and what you’re doing here, you increase your sense of self-worth and wellbeing. This is essential because some negative opinions about stay-at-home moms can really hurt. But when we know who we are, and understand our purpose, those unsolicited opinions roll off our backs easier.

You are not “just a mom.”

You are not “lazy.”

You are not “outdated.”

You heard the call and you answered!

Many stay-at-home moms are called to this particular ministry to inspire people only THEY can inspire. And yes, I said “ministry.” In whatever we do, whether it’s working a corporate job or being a stay-at-home-mom, our primary focus should be to glorify God, love others, and spread the good news wherever we are.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart

There are stay-at-home moms in your city that don’t know Christ or who’ve fallen away from the faith—women only YOU can reach. This is why we shouldn’t only associate with people “like us.” I’ve made some of the best connections with people I’d never expect to have anything in common with.

So, stay on course and realize this lifestyle you chose has more significance than you think.

Your children are the future and they need YOU.

The stay-at-home mom community needs YOU.

And God is working through YOU!

 

2. Know it’s Supposed to be Challenging.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be ready to quit at the first sign of adversity. If it’s truly a calling then, as with all callings, you can expect to face challenges. Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to edify, improve character, and increase faith. Therefore, expect:

Frustration.

Tears.

Guilt.

The desire to quit.

Feeling like it’s not worth the trouble.

When these things happen, it can be tough. But remember, we aren’t operating in our own strength, but God’s. When we expect challenges, we eliminate making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

When we expect challenges... Quote, Meme, Inspiration

Even more? When we expect challenges, our first inclination will not be to get “sad” when they appear, but to armor up and fight!

 

3. Establish Your Village.

We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No truer words have ever been spoken. We weren’t meant to take on the responsibility of childrearing on our own. It’s not healthy for us or our children. Children need to be exposed to varying personalities, perspectives, and environments to help them become well-rounded adults.

We need companionship and support to help edify us.

It wasn’t always this way but, these days, I’m fortunate enough to have the support of my family, friends, and community. But if you don’t live close to family or friends, sign your kids up for local classes and activities. The public library is a great place to start if you want to know what resources and events your city has to offer. They usually have pamphlets at their front desk, or you can ask a knowledgable librarian. Many events I’ve attended were not advertised online so a Google search may not be your best bet.

And dare I say, join a mom group?

I know, I know. It’s HARD!

You tried, and it didn’t work.

Or, you simply just don’t want to do it.

But hear me out, you will never find the perfect group of women. You, yourself, are not perfect. There will always be some women in that group you can’t stand the sight of. But I promise you, if you stick with it, you can establish healthy friendships. But, you must be determined.

Most women give up too easily. I, myself, gave up easily at one point. But by God’s grace, I was able to connect with other women. And if this introverted, socially awkward black woman can make friends in a 99% white support group in the Confederate South, you can do it, too.

 

3. Create an Income Stream.

Contributing to the household income can be a satisfying feeling. But you don’t have to leave your home to do it. Today, streaming additional income from home has never been more attainable. All you need is a skill you’ve honed and a computer with internet access.

Proverbs 18:16 reminds us that our gift will make room for us!

A mans gift. Proverbs 18:16

I know plenty of moms who’ve put their gifts to use to earn income. They have virtual shops where they sell one-of-a-kind crochet designs. They host webinars that help people manage their finances. They write ebooks and author resources. The possibilities are endless!

I, myself, create educational resources for teachers and parents around the globe, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Earning money is just a bonus!

 

4. Make a Difference.

Some of the happiest moms I know are those who serve others. Ever hear the adage “the quickest way to get over your own problems is to help someone else with theirs?” Research shows making a positive difference in the lives of others increases our sense of self-worth and combats anxiety and depression.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and attest to that. One of the reasons I continue to blog and create resources is because of the emails, DMs, and comments I receive from people who’ve felt I’ve positively impacted their lives in some way. Reading the words “thank you” and “this is just what I needed” never gets old for me!

Getting involved in your community is another way to make a difference. Find a cause you’re passionate about and go for it! That’s where it’s helpful to be a part of a mom group or club. When you belong to a community, it’s easier to be presented with opportunities to serve.

And I want to note that, above all else, you’re making a positive impact on the lives of your children when you serve your family. After all, your family should be your first ministry.

 

5. Step into Your Role.

You are the manager of your home. Yet, many moms stray from the true definition of “manager.”

But what does a manager do?

The purpose of a manager is to set goals, decide what needs to be done to achieve those goals, and delegate responsibilities to ensure those goals are met. You were not meant to do everything alone.

I’ll repeat it louder for the ones in the back:

YOU were not meant to do everything ALONE! 

Don’t you dare do all the housework if you have children of age who are capable of doing chores.

Don’t you dare not consider asking your husband to contribute to keeping the house in order.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Perhaps you have an infant or a husband that’s deployed. Perhaps your village is non-existent. But if you can help it, never do everything by yourself. Even children as young as three-years-old can pick up after themselves and wipe down a table using a non-toxic cleaning spray.

And there’s no shame in hiring help if you can afford to. Hire someone to do your lawn care, shampoo your carpets, or deep clean your bathrooms every week. I’m not ballin’ like that at the moment, but if you are, go for it! We must stop shaming moms who hire help and we must stop making overworked, worn-out moms the face of motherhood.

 

6. Count Your Wins.

Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.

Consider this verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Whatever is true...Philippians 4:8

Let’s emphasize, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” You can’t be doing it all wrong. There has got to be something you’re excellent at and is deserving of praise.

When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8:37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

 

7. Stop Comparing.

Whether you think you’re better or worse than the next mom, comparison is a joy stealer! I know it’s tempting, but please resist the urge.

Most people talk about comparing yourself to others in the form of feeling “less than.” I want to talk about the other type of comparison. It’s easy to see why feeling inferior to another mom isn’t healthy, but I would venture to say that feeling superior to other moms isn’t healthy either.

Consider this:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).

We must remember not to mistake arrogance with confidence. Arrogant moms tend to have a revolving door of friends because they depend on putting others down to feel better about themselves. But confidence doesn’t depend on the inferiority of other people.

Don’t be that mom!

I love this verse:

Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of (Galatians 6:4). 

It’s easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. What has really helped me to stop comparing myself to others was to live out Galatians 6:4 and focus on my own endeavors. Do you see why I recommended seeking volunteer opportunities and establishing healthy hobbies and friendships? You’ve got to be so busy enjoying an edifying life that you don’t have time to reflect on what the next mom is doing.

 

8. Monitor Your Self-Talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself.

Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns.

Why is this important?

Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others—including our own children!

So watch phrases like:

I’m not good enough.

Nobody likes me. 

I’m failing at motherhood.

My kids aren’t like those kids.

Remember when I said you are what you think? Whatever you meditate on becomes your reality. Of course, we must be real with ourselves if we need to improve in certain areas, but constantly putting ourselves down isn’t doing us any favors.

You are what you think. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

9. Practice Self-Care.

I’m going to repeat this airline cliché:

Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others.

Self-care means different things to different people. For me, it means ensuring I’m pouring enough into myself so that I have plenty left over to pour into others.

Can I be real? I went an entire week without practicing the self-care habits I normally do. I was a complete mess! There are many excuses women use as to why we can’t put themselves first. But the reality is, we make time for what’s important. The question is:

Why don’t we consider ourselves important enough to make time for? 

Exercise.

Quiet time.

Fellowship.

Hobbies.

These things are not luxuries. They’ve been proven time and again to improve our quality of life. They are necessary. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn just to ensure they have time to exercise, meditate, and work on their hobbies. It’s that important to them. I, myself, know that I’m a better person when I practice self-care.

I know it’s difficult to develop these habits, but all you need is to take one step at a time. Can you commit to seven minutes a day of physical activity? Ten minutes a day to do something you enjoy? One day a month to meet with a friend? Wake up just ten minutes earlier to pray and meditate?

It all starts small! You can increase over time.

Here’s a seven-minute workout routine I like to do when I don’t have much time. Here’s my favorite twenty-minute HIIT workout at the moment.

 

10. Appreciate Your Season.

I can say this, and still, most of us will not feel the truth of this statement until after the fact—savor the moment.

If you don’t stop and smell the roses in the spring, you’ll regret it and long for them in the winter.

Life is full of seasons. As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve gone through many of them.

When I was a nursing mom, I desperately wanted my body back. When I was a new mom, I desperately wanted my baby to sleep through the night.  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I remember talking with a fellow homeschool mom at the local skating rink. After exchanging a few comical mom stories, she stared into the distance and said:

“If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.”

Wow! I absolutely loved every word she said! You will NEVER regret spending more time with your children. How fortunate are we that we get to spend even more time with our children than the average American mom?


I want to sign off by saying, your feelings are valid! This post is not meant to guilt-trip or condemn, but to offer a bit of advice that has helped me over the years.

Of course, I am not an expert. I don’t know everything. All I know is that being a stay-at-home mom is taxing. But what greater purpose to labor for than for the wellbeing of our family!

Until next time, friend…



Want to change your life and become a Believer of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Say this prayer with faith and conviction, and then find a fellow Believer who can point you in the right direction.

Sinners Prayer for Salvation.

Did you just give your life to Christ? Email me and tell me about it!

 

 

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Your Greatest Enemy in 2019

Your Greatest Enemy in 2019

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you enjoyed some quality time with family and friends. Our family joined some friends last night and brought in the New Year with games, laughter, love, and encouragement. We made it to midnight! But we had our fair share of incoherent sentences and slurred words. No alcohol was involved, haha.

Today, I wanted to remind you of what you already know in hope that your New Year starts off on the right path. I wanted to remind you to stand firm against your greatest enemy.

What is our greatest enemy in 2019?

Forgetfulness.

This year, I wanted to bring in 2019 with one goal—to remember. But this concept didn’t just come to mind one day. It kept ringing in my ear for months; this notion that if I want to accomplish anything in life, I must remember to remember.

Sounds weird, right?

However, I looked through scripture for some clarity and discovered there’s a profound emphasis on remembering and a stern admonishment against forgetfulness.

In the New Year, I’m aiming to leave behind the following habits. Will you join me?


Habits to Leave Behind in 2019

 

 

1. Forgetting to set the right goals.

Losing weight and starting a business are great goals. But how many of us take the time to set the right goals? Setting the right goals will help us accomplish anything our heart desires.

And what are the right goals?

Let’s start with “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).

Seek the Kingdom of God

And here are a few others!

“Above all else, let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives…” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands… Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

“So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).

 

2. Forgetting to write down your goals.

So many people make declarations, but few of us take the time to actually write them down. What difference does it make?

We will forget them!

Documenting our goals on paper is the first step to achieving them. It makes them official and holds us accountable to them.

After Israel defeated the Amalekites, the Lord instructed Moses:

“Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).

This verse serves as a reminder that documenting things in writing ensures it is never forgotten. So, let’s take it a step further and hang those goals up somewhere where we’ll be sure to see them every single day and as often as possible.

 

3. Forgetting your commitment.

Life gets busy. So much so that sometimes we’re so busy doing life that our goals get pushed to the sidelines. One week of taking time off from pursuing a goal can catastrophically turn into one month. The next thing we know, the next year is vastly approaching and we’re wondering where those twelve months went!

We’ve forgotten our goals.

We’ve abandoned our commitment.

But, what does commitment look like? In Deuteronomy 6:7, when God made the call to Israel for wholehearted commitment to his commands, he said this:

“Repeat them again and again…”

“Talk about them often…”

“Put them everywhere that you’ll be reminded of them…”

Although he was talking about his commands, we can take these strategies for practicing commitment and apply them to our goals.

The bottom line: when something is truly important to us, we do everything in our power to commit to it.

 

4. Forgetting the future.

We have a bad habit of looking at the past and allowing it to dictate our direction. Let’s forget the past but remember the future because that’s where we’re headed. The future is where our goals are realized. Where our success is.

Consider this verse when Paul tells us about pressing on toward his goal:

“But I focus on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:12).

Forget the Past

Proverbs 4:25 also stresses the importance of looking forward:

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

Why do these verses suggest looking forward and not to the past? Because when we live in the past, we tend to forget the future.

How bright it is!

How exciting it is!

How fruitful it is!

Remember, faith is not the substance of what we can see, but what we cannot see and what we’ve yet to see. Looking to the future strengthens our faith and focus. Looking to the past keeps us bound by it.

 

5. Forgetting to count your wins.

Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.

Consider this verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8: 37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

 

6. Forgetting what you learned from your losses.

Mistakes really suck, but they drive us closer to our goals. They are invaluable teachers. They tell us what works and what doesn’t work.

In every mistake, every loss, every failure, there is something to be learned. We must make it a priority to learn the lesson so that we won’t repeat the mistake. When we learn the lesson, we become more effective, resilient, and wise because of it.

“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).

When we make mistakes this year, let’s not beat ourselves up. Instead, let’s ask, “What did I learn?” I highly suggest writing down what you’ve learned so that you never forget it.

Learning from Mistakes Quotes

 

7. Forgetting how weak you are.

Put no confidence in the flesh. If you’re on a weight loss journey and you know you’ll eat every bag of chips in your pantry before the weekend is through, it’s time to stop bringing chips into the house. If you’re on a journey to become more productive and you know you spend hours on your phone scrolling through social media every day, it’s time to get an old-school flip phone.

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

Why shouldn’t we put confidence in the flesh? Because “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

Our flesh wants what’s comfortable.

Achieving goals and reaching new heights is uncomfortable, so naturally your flesh will fight against it. The commitment required to achieve a goal hurts. The hard work, discipline, setbacks, etc. can really take a toll on us. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves. Let’s eliminate all distractions, temptations, and detours and keep our eyes on the prize!

 

8. Forgetting how capable you are.

Honestly, you can do it. Whatever it is. With God’s help, you’re more than capable of doing the seemingly impossible. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).

Also, consider:

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Yes, we have everything we need. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure most of you have heard of the story of the woman and the jar of oil in 2 Kings, chapter four.

To paraphrase:

The woman’s husband died, left a debt behind, and now the debt collectors wanted to take her two sons and make them servants. This woman cried out to the prophet Elisha in fear, hoping he could help her, and he responded, “What do you have in your house?”

The woman replied that she had nothing except a jar of oil. The prophet then instructed her to use what she had. To go and collect empty jars from her neighbors, fill the jars with oil, sell them, and pay the debt collectors what she owed them. The woman did just that and experienced the miracle of multiplication as that one jar of oil was able to fill numerous empty jars to the brim.

She was able to pay her debt, keep her two sons, and live on the rest of the earnings.

The moral? Whatever little you think you have, use it! Whether it’s talent, resources, discipline, or passion—utilize it and watch it multiply and bring your goals to fruition.

 

9. Forgetting not to please people.

People-pleasing is a trap so many of us fall into. It’s easy to do in the age of social media where we’re sharing more of our highlight reels than ever before. For this reason, I know that some of us set goals to impress others, win their approval, or one-up them. But we must ask ourselves, how impressed is God by us?

Consider Paul’s words:

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10).

Quotes on not impressing people

Here’s the thing, it’s not the goal—it’s the intention of our hearts. Our goals should never be selfish but should be of benefit to others.

If you’re starting a business, what charities or causes will you support with your newfound wealth? Or will you simply live an ostentatious lifestyle?

If you’re buying a new car, who will you bless with your old car? How many people will you offer to give rides in that new car? Or will you simply boast about your new purchase on social media?

If you’re losing weight, will you share your journey with others so that they, too, can experience weight loss? Or will you simply show off your new body to your overweight friends and secretly love being thinner than them?

The best goals are those that give back to the community. Let’s leave selfish motives behind in 2019.

 

10. Forgetting that God is in control.

Everything is working out for your good. Even if you can’t see it at the time. No matter how many goals we set or plans we make, sometimes God takes us on a seemingly different path. If we try to fight it, we’ll just end up further away from our goals than we need to be.

Consider this:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Our goals are not for us, they are to achieve a kingdom purpose—to benefit the next generations to come. It may seem like it’s just weight loss, but you are setting the tone for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., to live a healthier lifestyle.

Therefore, that fad diet may not be working for you because God wants to introduce you to a lifestyle change that is healthy and worth imitating by those who are watching you. This concept applies to any goal we make.

Things may not happen how we want them to, but we can rest in the comfort that God is in control and knows best.

Let’s take God out of the box in 2019 and let him help us achieve our goals HIS way!

Until next time, friends…

Merry Christmas Black Family

A Christmas Note For You

Merry Christmas, friends!

I hope this greeting finds you full of health, joy, and prosperity. I just want to hop on this blog quickly to wish you well. And since it’d be awkward to write a two-sentence post, I’ll share what we’ve been up to.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a relaxing day with our family. I was able to just be because I’d already completed my Christmas shopping before December and did most of my wrapping this weekend. I also organized and got rid of a ton of stuff via donation.

Family Christmas 2018

It was a great day here in Middle Georgia. It was an unusually warm winter day. All we needed was a light jacket and a smile. The sun was blindingly beautiful and very much welcomed after a couple days of gloomy weather. My boys took full advantage and rode their bikes up and down the street with their friend next door.

Later, we had a gift card to Chick-fil-a so it only made sense to bypass cooking and have a tasty drive-through dinner at our favorite fast food joint. Their spicy chicken deluxe sandwich is my fav! I love how our local Chick-fil-a decorates during this time of year. The giant cone tree filled with sparkling lights. The bedazzled manicured bushes. The fairy-light trimmings adorning the building. It’s so fun and festive!

FYI: My meal didn’t survive the drive home.

That night, we let the boys open one gift. When I was a child, my mother always allowed us to open one present on Christmas Eve, so we kept up this tradition with our children. The boys ended up opening their gifts to each other. I love to take my boys on individual shopping trips to pick out gifts for one another. It encourages them to be thoughtful and strengthens their bond.

Since my little-one loves stuffed animals, his brother got him a plush horse. It walks. It’s loud. It’s annoying. But little brother LOVED it. Although judging from the disapproving look on my husband’s face, I think Munchie will have a mysterious disappearance soon. And, yes, Munchie is the horse’s name.

For older brother, my little-one picked out a Perler bead kit. My eldest son had asked for this kit (and many other things!) during one of our shopping trips to Hobby Lobby. But it was NOT on the list, so I said no. No worries, though, little bro had his big brother’s back and gifted him the kit full of thousands of beads that’ll probably end up in the vacuum. Big brother loved it and the entire family had an impromptu crafting session.

4BF00C95-49A0-4FB3-9368-B9381A6763F4.jpeg

During our crafting session, I asked the boys what they thought Christmas was all about. We’ve had this conversation last Christmas, but I was curious as to what they’ve extracted from it. I love hearing things from a child’s perspective. My eldest son said it best, “It’s about celebrating Christ being born and saving us from our sins.” Oh, how this celebration should take place every single day of our lives!

After watching Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas on Netflix and sipping some hot cocoa, the boys were fast asleep. Soon, the presents rolled out of the closet and made their way underneath the Christmas tree. Join me on Instagram to get a glimpse of my Christmas Eve winddown on Instastory.

When it’s all said and done, I’m truly thankful for the life God has given me.

I want to end this post by saying this Christmas, please take the time to pick up the phone and call someone who could use it right now. Some people have a difficult time during the holidays. I, myself, have a friend who’s entire family literally just fell apart after her husband walked out on them. Today will be tough for her and her children.

And if you’re the one going through the holiday blues right now. Take heart. I empathize with you. I know there’s very little I can say to ease your pain. But just know that nothing lasts forever. Your pain won’t last forever. May you experience comfort during your season of grief, sadness, depression—or whatever you’re going through. May your suffering not be in vain. May you smile for the first time in days. Weeks. Months. May you make it through this difficult time stronger and more resilient.

Peace be with you, my friend.

Until next time…

0980FD6E-802A-42F3-A315-58A5FE41E486.jpeg

 

 

 

Big Homeschool Mistake

Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Free Yourself

Here’s my account of our third homeschool year. As of date, we’re approaching the second semester of our fourth year as a homeschool family. I wrote these sentiments months ago when I was in the thick of my feelings and a light bulb went off. Today, I’m finally posting what has been lying dormant in my Word documents since April 2018.

I share these real mom moments in hope that it can help free some of you from the unnecessary burden you’ve placed on yourself to raise the perfect homeschool prodigy. For some of us, this burden stems from the need to prove to outsiders that our children are meeting the mark. Don’t allow yourself to enter into the New Year still burdened and carrying the weight of everyone else’s expectations for your child.

Feeling Inadequate

I was one of those anxious moms, so to speak. I just sort of lived with it and attributed it to the stresses of homeschool. After all, stress is normal.

Or should it be?

I didn’t jump out of bed eager to start the day. I found myself tired even after a full night’s rest. I was constantly worried about my children’s progress. If they were on target with their peers—if they measured up.

If I measured up as a home educator.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I teeter-tottered with the idea of “traditional school,” thinking to myself perhaps my boys would be better off. After all, who was I to think that I could supply all their educational needs? This was the weight of other people’s words that I carried for a long time.

Abandoning My Homeschool Room

This year, I’ve noticed we’ve been gravitating toward a more relaxed learning environment. The whiteboard in our classroom has not met the stroke of an Expo marker in months. Our workbox drawers have not been pulled open in months. My boys have not sat at their desks in months. I have not stood at the top of the class teaching lessons in months. In fact, I kept telling my husband, “One day we’re going to go back into that classroom and actually use it.”

One day.

I felt guilty. Like I’ve somehow failed as a homeschool teacher. I feared my boys would never learn how to sit still in the classroom. I feared they’d never learn how to raise their hand and wait to be called on to speak. And even though they were still learning, I feared I wasn’t teaching enough.

Doing enough.

Yet, I was exhausted—burned all the way out. Some of the exhaustion stemmed from the war going on in my thoughts.

Mental exhaustion.

Some of the exhaustion stemmed from doing the absolute most.

Physical exhaustion.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I grew tired of force-feeding information to my children. Things that held very little value to them. Things they’d learn just enough to ace a test and then forget the next month. It all felt counterproductive. We weren’t having fun anymore. They went from “YAY, school!!!!!” to “Oh no! It’s a school day?”

They Hated School

I could laugh every time I think about my second-grader “spacing out” while I’m teaching him a new concept. His little eyes just glazed over with a blank stare. His default nod to convince me he’s paying attention. His sigh of relief when I’m finished explaining everything (I tend to be long-winded, haha).

Laughter escapes me whenever I think of my preschooler actually running from me whenever I pulled out his reading curriculum. All the excuses he’d make, like, “I’ve got to draw some pictures, first.” He was the one who initiated his reading journey, yet I sucked ALL the fun out of it by using a traditional teaching approach unsuitable for his learning style. The daily battles to get him to “do his school work” put a strain on our relationship. I’d say things like, “You’re the one who wanted to learn to read.” Yea, I’m sure this is a great way to ensure he shares his interests with me in the future.

My “Aha” Moment

A few months ago, I shared Three Things It Takes to Homeschool. But there was a piece missing; something only revealed to me very recently, after watching a video by Shelly Sangrey.

In that video, Shelly, a homeschool veteran, said something like this, “If you’re still holding onto the standards of public education, you’re missing out on the freedom homeschool has to offer.” The freedom of not being bound by age, grade-levels, and “what your child should know” propaganda. The freedom of not being bound by one teaching method that caters to one learning style. The freedom of not being bound by a classroom. Chairs. Desks. Whiteboards. These things work for some people. But for our family, they just don’t.

Homeschool quotes by Shelly Sangrey

So, if I were to add a fourth point to the post Three Things It Takes to Homeschool, I’d say unschool yourself.

That was my mistake. I was still bound by traditional education and all the stress that came with it. The emphasis on performance and looking good on paper over quality learning.

Unschooling Myself 

I’ve realized that, while we’re concluding our third year of homeschool, I’ve never officially “unschooled” myself. Each time I tried to break away from the traditional model of education, I found myself being lured back in, fixating on grade-levels, assessments, and teacher’s manuals. Why? Because that’s all I knew, and that structure worked for me as an “A” student growing up.

But it doesn’t work for my boys.

What is unschooling exactly? This quote by the late George Bernard Shaw sums it up nicely:

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

Child in Pursuit of Knowledge by George Bernard Shaw

Slowly, my new motto became, “if education isn’t organic, I want no part of it.” Each of my children have subjects they gravitate to. They burst at the seams with questions about all kinds of things, and I miss teaching moments because I’m busy trying to get them to remember the difference between mass and matter.

My boys retained more information about random questions they’ve asked during fifteen-minute car rides than information they’ve studied for two to three weeks. They don’t mind spending an hour listening to me read a book about architecture because that’s what they’re into. But it’s a struggle getting them to follow along on a book about medieval history.

Revisiting the Root of Education

I get it. There are just some things that children should know and learning won’t always be “fun.” But the heart of education comes from the Latin word “educare” which means “to draw out” and “lead”—yet, I spent more time putting information “into” my children rather than encouraging them to discover learning for themselves.

And, truthfully, children don’t need help learning. They’re natural learners. But they do need guidance; someone to help them develop their ideas and concepts, answer pressing questions, provide the right resources, and demonstrate the lifestyle of learning.

So, instead of “doing school” or “going to school,” we’ve made a point to ask God how to help our children learn to live intentionally with vision and purpose. If we do this, they’ll always seek the knowledge they need to pursue that calling. In that, we can help them develop the habit of “being in pursuit of knowledge.”

Until next time, friends…

Tag, You’re It!

What would you say was your biggest homeschool mistake? Write a comment below!