Homeschool Mom Truths

10 Wake-up Calls That Rudely Awakened This Homeschool Mom

I wrote this post in 2016 when I was new to blogging and homeschool. After rereading it and making a few revisions, I wanted to share it on this particular platform because I believe it’s important to write about homeschool from all angles—and not just from the Instagram-perfect lens. 

True, homeschool is pretty awesome. But I think every homeschool parent has an expectations-versus-reality type of moment. You know, when you kind of feel betrayed because all those social media influencers made homeschooling seem like a Mary Poppins sequel, but then you discover it’s no walk in the park? Well, perhaps it is a walk in Jurassic Park, hehe.

Funny Homeschool Meme

I’m here for you.

Today, I’m going to share ten wakeup calls that I’ve experienced as a new homeschool mom. Now that I’m nearing the end of my fourth year, I must say it was pretty interesting to revisit this topic. At first, I feared this post was too negative. However, I’ve come to realize there’s nothing negative about seeing things for what they are. And there’s certainly nothing negative about personal growth and sharing that growth with others.

So, here it is:


10 Wake-up Calls That Rudely Awakened This Homeschool Mom


1.    Expectation—My kids will perform three grade-levels ahead. 

Wake-up Call—I’m feeding my ego. 

I admit to being easily impressed by homeschool families who managed to do incredible things. When I read stories about teens who earned early college enrollment or admission to Ivy League schools, I wanted that to be my boys in the future. The problem with this frame of thinking was it changed the environment of our homeschool. We went from having fun to doing drills, and I became obsessed with keeping my boys ahead academically.

I’m all for preparing my kids for the absolute best, but something had to give. Everyone was frustrated! I had to ask myself a valid question; who am I really doing this for? The difficult truth was it wasn’t entirely for my boys. Compliments like, “they’re so smart for their age,” really fed my ego. I had to humble myself and make some changes to their curriculum that were more developmentally appropriate.

 

2.    Expectation—My kids are smarter because they’re homeschooled. 

Wake-up Call—My kids are not superior.

Can I be real? It took me a while to let go of the notion that my kids are academically superior just because they’re homeschooled (Don’t condemn me. It’s flawed thinking that has since been corrected). Unfortunately, though, some homeschool parents haven’t gotten the memo, as academic superiority seems to be a primary topic of conversation in many homeschool groups and forums.

 

But who cares? I understand the desire for our children to excel, but why is it necessary to compare their intelligence to that of another human being? These days, I teach my boys the only person they need to be better than is the person they were yesterday. That doesn’t mean I don’t challenge them or encourage them to work diligently. It just means I’m not setting them up to adopt a practice that is notorious for being the “thief of joy”—comparison.

 

3.    Expectation—Academics come first.

Wake-up Call—My kids have needs outside academics. 

There are many life skills and principles my boys need to learn that, in my eyes, are just as important to master as academics. Things like riding a bike without training wheels, tying their own shoes, coordination, discipline, and so much more. My husband and I had to become just as intentional about teaching these things as we are about teaching core subjects. And where we fall short, we’ve learned the relief that comes with investing in an instructor who can help our children master the skills and principles we value.

 

4.    Expectation—All Homeschool groups are welcoming.

Wake-up Call—Finding the right homeschool group is challenging. 

Before we started homeschooling, I pictured other homeschool parents embracing me and my children with open arms. I pictured being a part of a community dedicated to giving our children a phenomenal education and awesome social opportunities. I pictured how easy it would be to connect and build friendships with people who were on the same journey.

Sadly, this hasn’t been the case.

I can’t emphasize enough how challenging it was—and still is—to find a homeschool group where I feel like we truly belong. If it’s not one thing that sets us apart, it’s another. Not only are we one of the few black homeschool families in our community, but we are also not native to Middle Georgia. The great news is, after a few years, I’ve made at least two solid connections with other moms and the outlook is promising.

 

5.    Expectation—I will shrug off the naysayers.

Wake-up Call—My skin isn’t as tough as I think. 

I’m proud of my decision to homeschool, but there are moments when my confidence waivers. Those are the moments I allow the voices of other people to get inside my ear; voices that tell me my curriculum isn’t good enough, that homeschool is for weirdos, or that black people should never homeschool. I got knocked down so many times and continue to get knocked down. Developing tough skin is a process, but it’s happening. Each day I get a little tougher.

 

6.    Expectation—Homeschoolers are a Kum ba yah community.

Wake-up Call—The community is divided. 

Should I choose the Charlotte Mason or self-directed learning method? A five-hundred dollar curriculum or a DIY curriculum? Everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks their method is best. Parents who choose to DIY are criticized for not investing in their children’s education. Parents who practice self-directed learning are criticized for not taking their children’s education seriously.

There’s a war going on in some of these social media comment sections, and frankly, it’s appalling. I thought the homeschool community was full of unity and love, but I’ve discovered it can be just as divided as the rest of the world when our egos enter into the mix. Thankfully, I finally stumbled upon some great communities where none of this drama takes place.

 

7.    Expectation—We’ll do all our learning in the homeschool room. 

Wake-up Call—Homeschool is better outside the home. 

That’s right! Our classroom gets very little use these days. The more we get out, go on field trips, and engage in extracurricular activities, the better the homeschool experience is for the entire family.

Of course there are times when classroom work is necessary, but no one wants to be in the house all day, every day. I learned it’s really important to, at the very least, schedule my boys to have outdoor time every single day (weather permitted). I’d venture to say that planning field trips and outings should take just a much effort as researching what curriculum we’ll use for the year.

 

8.    Expectation—I don’t have to worry about socialization.

Wake-up Call—Socialization should not be disregarded. 

I know this is a touchy subject for some. I’ve heard, and often made the same argument, that by definition, fellowshipping with family members counts as socialization. While this may be true (socializing is socializing), I will venture to say that for MY kids, they need a bit more. Here’s why:

  • First, my kids need a break from each other! Enrolling them in separate extracurricular classes and activities gives them that much-needed break.
  • Second, my kids love hanging out with other kids. Yes, having a full-blown conversation with the cashier at the local grocery store counts as socialization, but my children crave to be with other children!
  • Third, my kids need exposure to people who are different from them. I’ve seen what it looks like when children are only surrounded by their own kind and it’s not a pretty picture. We’ll leave it there.

 

9.    Expectation—I will never use assessments on my children. 

Wake-up Call—Assessments are not the Devil. 

Some homeschool methods feel strongly against any type of assessment. While I agree that assessments don’t always accurately measure knowledge, I personally like to know where my child stands in each subject so that I can see which areas need work. In other words; the assessments are for me, not the child. They are the red flags that alert me if I need to slow down, speed up, hire a tutor, change the curriculum, or keep up the good work.

Of the three types of assessments, I primarily (though not exclusively) use the formative version because it’s the most flexible. Examples of formative assessments we use in our homeschool are interactive discussions and oral/written quizzes. This type of assessment has worked for my boys because it is more lax, allows for immediate feedback, and has improved their knowledge retention and overall academic performance.

 

10. Expectation—All homeschool kids are just as awesome as statistics suggest. 

Wake-up Call—All homeschool kids aren’t poster children. 

Like public school, some homeschoolers fall through the cracks. The problem is, there’s no way to actually determine that percentage because these kids are either invisible or are eventually enrolled in public school (which would then count them as a public school student when measuring statistics). In other words, homeschool doesn’t guarantee success.

I know, I know—it’s touchy.

The reality is, while there are some homeschool teens successfully attending college at the age of sixteen, homeschool is no guarantee that your child will be college-ready any more than the public school can make that same guarantee. At the end of the day,  it’ll all boil down to commitment.


 

Before I end this post, I just want to note that this post isn’t meant to discourage newbie homeschoolers. Rather, I hope that you’re able to form a more realistic picture of homeschool. The important thing to note here is that it’s okay to try new methods and do things YOUR way—even if it goes against popular opinion.

I’d be interested to know how your views of homeschool have changed over the years. Let me know in the comments below!

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!

 

 

Looking for some FREE resources for your little one? Check out Nike Anderson’s Classroom and follow me there to be the first to know when I upload a new freebie!

Nike Anderson's Classroom Free & Affordable Educational Resources

 

 

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!

 

Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

12 Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

Hi! I’m Nike. If you’re new to this blog, my family is entering our fourth year of homeschool this year. I can hardly believe it!

My husband and I live in Middle Georgia where we homeschool our two boys, ages 5 and 8. They are entering kindergarten and third grade this upcoming school year.

I love blog posts where homeschool moms keep it real. I know that, for most of us, we enjoy homeschooling our children and want to highlight the many positives of being a homeschool family. However, not sharing the unglamorous side can be crippling for new families who may think they’re the only ones experiencing tough moments.

So, to all the moms (and dads) experiencing any of the following, you’re not alone. Here are my twelve confessions.

1. It’s challenging.

Contrary to what people, who haven’t a clue about homeschool, think, homeschooling is not an easy job. When done properly, it takes a great deal of time, research, knowledge, preparation, discipline, patience, coordination, and proficiency. Whether purchasing a curriculum or making your own, the work that goes into ensuring your children are well educated is extensive. Some bad eggs may give homeschool a bad name, but for the rest of us, we put in that work!

2. It’s uncertain.

Truthfully, I believe there’s a season for everything. I don’t know when our homeschool season will end. Whether it ends after high school or next year, only the good Lord knows. Anything can happen. My kids may want to try out traditional school. Homeschool may be outlawed (Lord forbid!). Or, it may just stop working for us. All I know for certain is, at the moment, we’re enjoying this time and hope it lasts as long as God allows it to.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. It’s lonely.

I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend other homeschool moms who invite our family out for parties and playdates, but at its core, homeschool is lonely. That’s because at the end of the day, it’s just me, my kids, and their curriculum. Being the primary teacher in my children’s life means that sometimes I’ll feel isolated and overwhelmed. And while the truth is I’m not alone and this is the plight of every homeschool parent, it sure doesn’t feel that way during those tough moments.

4. I get unmotivated.

I don’t jump out of bed every morning and greet the day like Mary Poppins. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I dread the monotony that homeschool routines can often fall into. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I haven’t slept well. Sometimes I doubt myself. There are many motivation killers that can throw me off course at times. But I’ve learned that perseverance is what you do long after your motivation has left you.


5. I don’t know everything.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn. In fact, my boys are becoming smarter than me by the day. They’ve become experts on topics they’re passionate about and the beautiful thing is they’ve also become my teacher in that regard. As a homeschool mom, I’ve realized one of the best things I can do for my children is not to teach them everything, but to connect them to the resources they need to teach themselves.

6. We have tough days.

Most days are great, but some days my boys just won’t cooperate. Sometimes there are tantrums. Sometimes there’s defiance. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Yes, crying, yelling, and everything in between can be heard on any given day. We aren’t perfect homeschoolers.

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you we're not the perfect homeschool.

7. Unschooling myself is hard.

Since I was trained by the good ol’ public school system, I constantly have to unschool myself so that I can open up more to the reality that we don’t have to sit in a classroom doing schoolwork every morning. There are other ways to learn. In fact, children are learning even when we’re not actively teaching them. Still, it takes time to accept that my children can learn even when I’m not standing at the whiteboard lecturing.

8. I don’t hate public school.

I am a product of public school. So is my husband. So are my friends. We all turned out just fine. I went to an excellent college, earned a degree, and even earned a professional degree. I’ve had some of the most amazing teachers and some not so good ones. I don’t hate the public school system. I thank it, because it was an option when my family couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I didn’t take my education for granted. I used it to my advantage, making sure I excelled so that I’d be a great candidate for college. Whether my boys are homeschooled, go to public or private school, I’d make sure that they excel, too.

9. The house gets messy.

You can imagine the mess that accumulates when a family spends most of their time at home. Hey, we live here! In fact, the only time our home is spotless is when we have guests, and everyone panics to “get the house together.” Yes, we have chores and cleaning schedules, but somehow at the end of the day, it seems like every single item we own is covering the tables and floors.

I cleaned my house today... memes, inspiration, quotes

10. I’m glad I didn’t buy a curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling three years ago, I used every free resource I could find for my then kindergartner. He learned to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic without a boxed curriculum. You can find the list of resources I used, here. Holding off on purchasing a curriculum offered more time to study how my son learns, which helped me choose a curriculum that best fit his learning style. Even better? The money we saved that year was put toward extracurricular activities and family trips!

11. My schedules are for show.

I have what I like to call my “ideal schedule” and then there’s reality. That reality becomes our routine. The difference? When I schedule things, it puts our family on a timeclock and makes everyone stressed. When I establish a routine, it invites spontaneity and allows the day to flow organically. Believe it or not, we used to have an alarm that sounded when it was time to move on to the next lesson, eat, have recess, etc. It wasn’t fun for any of us.

12. It’s rewarding.

This is such a cliché, but it’s true. I love learning more about my children, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferred method of learning, how they tend to deal with frustration. I love seeing and being a part of their progression. I love spending the day with them. They are my little buddies!


 

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s worth mentioning that even though some negative moments are highlighted here, the positive moments definitely hold more weight.

I want to hear from you: What are your homeschool confessions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

50 Random Facts About Nike Anderson

50 Fact about Me | Nike Anderson

I want to take the time to welcome all of my new readers! To shake things up a bit, I figured I’d share a few random facts about myself so that everyone can get to know me better!

Most of you know the basic facts:

  1. My name is Nike, pronounced nee-kay.
  2. I’m half Nigerian, half American.
  3. I have two boys, ages 4 and 8.
  4. I’ve been married for ten years.
  5. I’m a homeschool mom.
  6. I’m an M.Ed who makes educational resources.

Nike Anderson Family Picture

Now, it’s time to share some “not-so-basic” fun facts about the woman sitting behind the computer screen. Some of these may surprise you. To keep things neutral, I Googled “100 questions to ask people.” Google hit me with this VERY random list of questions. I’ll share fifty of them today! Here goes:

1. Where do you consider “home” to be?

Definitely Rhode Island, where I was born and raised. However, I’ve been a Georgian for nearly eleven years now.

 

2. Do you believe in ghosts?

No.

 

3. Are you religious?

No. I’m one of those “cooky” people that find the term restrictive. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, died for our sins, and defeated death by rising three days later. I don’t live my life by laws, but by faith.

 

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I would love to visit Egypt.

 

5. If you could have dinner with any of the presidents, who would you choose? Why?

Since this is just for fun, I’ll say I would’ve loved to have dinner with JFK if I were living during his presidency. Why? Because he seemed to be a fountain of wisdom.  My favorite quote from him? The one from the 1961 address to the United Nations, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

 

6. What is your dream job?

I always wanted to be a New York Times best-selling author.

 

7. Who is your role model? Why?

My role model is my mom. She has so many characteristics I aspire to. She’s beautiful, intelligent, loyal, strong, talented, humble, encouraging, and generous.

 

8. Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?

Coke.

 

9. Do you prefer Cheetos or Doritos?

Doritos.

 

10. Do you eat breakfast in the morning?

Yes. One of my favorite meals is a spinach omelet…with cheese, of course.

 

11. When you go to the beach, do you sunbathe or swim more?

I prefer to get into the water. No sunbathing, here. I’ve got loads of melanin, haha. 😊

 

12. Have you ever ridden a city bus before?

All the time. When I was a teenager, I rode the city bus all over Providence. In fact, I took the city bus every day to get to school.

 

13. Have you ever traveled outside of the country? If so, where?

Yes. I’ve visited 5 countries—England, France, Spain, Nigeria, and the Netherland’s. Some of the cities I visited were London, Bath, Stratford Upon Avon, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Amsterdam, and Lagos.

 

14. If you got arrested, what do you think it would be for?

I don’t like imagining these types of situations.

 

15. What is your favorite childhood memory?

I remember my mother helping me get ready for a play that I starred in when I was in elementary school. While doing my hair and makeup, we had some good laughs. When everything was all said and done, she told me I looked beautiful. It was the first time I considered that it might possibly be true—that I was beautiful.

 

16. What was your favorite song two years ago? What is it now?

Hmmmm. Two years ago, I loved the song “Victor’s Crown” by Darlene Zschech. Anytime I got a moment alone, I would bellow this song out in the car. These days, my favorite song is “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture.

 

17. What teacher have you had that’s made the biggest impact on your life? How?

Shout out to Ms. Latessa, my former elementary school teacher. She planted the seed for my love of writing. She was the first person to tell me I was a great writer.

 

18. Are you a cat person or a dog person?

If I had to choose, I’d say I’m more of a dog person. Truthfully, I LOVE both!

 

19. What is a quote from any movie that you know off the top of your head?

“If you want to be somebody. If you want to go somewhere. You’d better wake up and pay attention,” from Sister Act II.

 

20. What are you most afraid of?

I try not to meditate on my fears.

 

21. If superheroes were real, who would you want to protect your city?

Black Panther. He has access to the strongest metal in the world.

 

22. What is the silliest reason you’ve ever cried?

Someone forgot to wash my son’s face. He was three at the time, I just had a new baby, and I accused my family (who was helping us) of neglecting him while I was asleep. I blame it on the hormones. I did apologize to them, though.

 

23. If you could be a character on any show, what show would you choose? Why?

And here’s where I admit that I don’t watch TV. Back in the day, it would’ve been The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

 

24. You’re stuck on an island with no way off and no one knows you’re there, what three items do you have with you?

Again, I don’t like imagining up negative hypothetical situations.

 

25. What is the name of one song you know all the words to?

One song most people would probably be shocked I know (and love!) is “You’re the One That I Want,” from Grease.

 

26. Are you a sore loser?

No. You can always learn from failure.

 

27. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

Closed.

 

28. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?

You already know I’m not going to answer this.

 

29. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Water on the floor. I hate touching it with my unsuspecting bare feet.

 

30. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?

Wouldn’t you like to know, haha. 😊

 

31. Would you ever strip or pose nude for a photo in a magazine? For a movie?

No.

 

32. What has been your best Halloween costume thus far?

When I was a little girl, my mom made me the most beautiful Belle costume. Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie at the time.

 

33. Are you stubborn?

Yes. I’m working on it, though.

 

34. Do you sing in the shower? In the car?

Totally. I sing in both! Just ask the driver in the car next to me at the stop light.

 

35. Do you take vitamins daily?

Daily, no. Regularly, yes.

 

36. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?

Yes. On my wedding day (and on everyone else’s wedding day). I also have kids who do adorable things, so happy tears are a regular thing for me.

 

37. Can you swim without plugging your nose?

Yes.

 

38. Have you ever won a contest?

Yes. A very nerdy one when I was a kid. I had to belt-out facts about the history of Thanksgiving in front of the entire school on a stage full of contenders. I knew EVERY single fact, lol.

 

39. Do you want kids? How many?

Yes, I want kids. I already have two beautiful, fun-loving boys.

 

40. Are you missing anyone right now?

Yes. My Rhode Island family and my five siblings. If you’re reading this, call me.

 

41. Do you smile at strangers as you walk by them?

I’m going to say no. Unless I make eye contact with them.

 

42. Do you think your life will change drastically before 2020?

I hope so. The only thing constant is change.

 

43. How do you react when people talk badly about you?

I honestly don’t know when people talk badly about me, which is a good thing because what they think about me is none of my business.

 

44. Where did you get the shirt you are currently wearing?

I’m wearing a tunic and I got it from Goodwill for fifty cents.

 

45. What has been your favorite gift you’ve been given?

I can’t speak on favorites, but a memorable one was from my college friend. She gave me an inexpensive clutch bag with laminated inserts where she wrote out a ton of our favorite memories together. I still have it to this day and read through it sometimes.

 

46. If you had to delete one year out of your life completely, which would you choose?

I wouldn’t delete any of it. Everything, good and bad, made me the woman I am today. So cliche, right? But it’s true.

 

47. What is your favorite thing about school?

Grade school is a distant memory for me, but my favorite thing about school was homework. I loved worksheets!

 

48. Is there something that happened in your past that you hate talking about?

No. I’m transparent about my past. It is my testimony that helps bring hope to others.

 

49. Who was the last person you were on the phone with?

My mom.

 

50. Do you get jealous easily?

Yes. But I don’t stay jealous for long. I’ve learned strategies to conquer the green-eyed monster whenever it threatens to steal my joy. Perhaps I’ll write a future post about it.

(EDIT: Read 12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy)


 

That concludes my list. Did any of these surprise you? Can you relate to any of my answers? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments!

Homeschool of Shame

Homeschool of Shame | 8 Things I No Longer Do

There are many wonderful things we do at our homeschool that I’m always eager to share. Now, it’s time to share what we don’t do that many moms think we probably should. Up until very recently, I used to do ALL these things as religiously as possible. These days, I’m becoming more aware of what works best for my family. That means doing away with some practices I’ve forced on our family for so long.

I’m not suggesting you stop doing the things I’m about to mention. My hope for this post is to inspire homeschool parents to get rid of what’s not working and do what suits their family instead. Here are eight things I no longer do now that I’m in my third year of homeschool.

 

1. Wake up before my kids:

That’s right. I no longer make it a priority to wake up before my kids. That’s not to say some days (like today) I don’t, but these days I refuse to punish myself for not living up to the unsaid expectations of stay-at-home moms. I’m a night owl by nature and often forced myself to turn-in early to awaken before sunrise. Not only is it extremely difficult to fall asleep before midnight, but late nights are often when I’m most productive. My body would rather work until 2am and awaken at eight in the morning than go to sleep at 11pm and awaken at five in the morning to get work done. I’m learning to accept it.

 

2. Morning devotionals:

Nope. I typically do my devotionals at night and my declarations in the morning. It just feels right. I like to do my declarations as soon as I open my eyes. This includes thanking God and declaring some truth over my life according to scripture. Declarations are not just a morning thing, they are something I speak whenever I start to fall into negative thinking. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s becoming more of a habit with each day. Here are some examples:

I. Negative thought: Replaying failures in your mind.

Declarations: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). I will focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

II. Negative thought: Comparing yourself to others.

Declarations: I will examine only myself and be proud of my own accomplishments without comparing myself to others (Gal. 6:4-5). I refuse to let envy destroy me, but I choose to have a peaceful heart that gives me life (1 Cor. 3:3).

III. Negative thought: Feeling angry or frustrated.

Declarations: Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

IV. Negative thought: Worry and fear.

Declarations: I refuse to worry about my life. I know that God will provide everything I need (Mat. 6:25-34). God did not give me the spirit of fear but His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

 

3. Read about homeschool:

I noticed the more I read about homeschool, the more I compared myself to those seemingly perfect veterans. I stopped making a habit of this. I guard myself by limiting my exposure to any triggers. When I find myself falling back into the negative thought-pattern of comparison, I arm myself with some of the declarations I mentioned in my second point. I’d like to remind you that your homeschool is unique to your family. You don’t have to do it like everyone else!

 

4. Mimic the traditional classroom:

My teaching method once very much mirrored that of the traditional classroom because that’s all I knew. These days, we learn side-by-side wherever we are comfortable. That can be the couch, dining room table, the library, or outdoors. We LOVE our classroom setup, but we aren’t bound by it. Truthfully, we get tired of being in there by the third quarter.

 

5. Plan enrichment activities:

I’m sorry for those of you who followed me for the awesome enrichment activities. I simply don’t plan them much because I don’t have to. These days, most enrichment activities we do are those our curriculum suggests. If I happen to think of something extra fun, I’ll execute that idea. Other than that, I simply can’t be bothered. I now have several side projects that consume the bulk of the free time I once administered to being crafty. In the end, I realized I was only creating more unnecessary work for myself.

 

6. Follow the curriculum verbatim:

I’m more interested in staying true to our homeschool vision than applying ineffective aspects of a curriculum. I’ve seen some moms suffer through a curriculum for the sake of completion. Not at our house. If it doesn’t work, I don’t force it. I recently had to do away with the entire third quarter of my son’s reading curriculum because they assigned reading he simply couldn’t relate to. Forcing him to understand medieval language became counter-productive. Instead, I assigned reading he could enjoy and required him to write summaries of the assigned chapters. Yes, there’ll be some things in his curriculum he MUST do, but I decided the originally assigned reading was not one of them.

 

7. Get dressed every day:

If we don’t have plans for the day, we don’t accumulate laundry. That’s that. I figured it was more important to be resourceful than picture-perfect. So yea, you may have noticed on Instagram that my kids are sometimes wearing pajamas or “house clothes” in the afternoon. I know there are tons of articles that make compelling cases for getting dressed even if you don’t go anywhere. However, I’m at a place in my life where, if I want to be super productive, my pajamas sure aren’t going to stop me. More importantly, my boys don’t seem any less productive than before. This is not to be confused with self-care, which they are most certainly required to do every day.

 

8. Uphold the perfect homeschool image:

I was trapped by expectations. Not so much on this blog (where I share my not-so-perfect moments), but in my daily life where other homeschool moms gave me a smug look if I mentioned using a free curriculum, not participating in expensive extra-curricular classes, or not vigorously training my then toddler how to read Shakespeare or multiply fractions (slight exaggeration, here). This blog felt like the ONLY place where I could speak freely about homeschooling on a narrow budget and in a way that works for ME. These days, I endure smug looks for the sake of releasing another homeschool parent from the bondage of other people’s expectations.


 

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Kudos to all the homeschool parents that do all of the things I mentioned and it works for YOU. This post is no way saying that these practices aren’t valuable. They just no longer serve our family. Let us know in the comments some things you’ve done away with in your homeschool. See you next week!