Rest-ling with Myself

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

 Have you ever been cruising a long in life and thinking everything was fine and dandy, but then something just gets in your way and makes you re-evaluate the scenery? Well, I have. Maybe I'm turning 40 this year and having a mid-life crisis, or maybe I just needed to stop and think of where I was heading with this whole circus we call homeschool. But things they are a changin'.

A few months back a friend sent me the link to the Amongst Lovely Things blog. It happened to be one of her posts on Teaching from Rest. I think I took one look at her profile pic and thought, "What does a mom of 3 beautiful corn silk haired girls have to say to this mom of 2 very rowdy stinky boys about rest?" Two dainty girls = 1 rowdy boy for the record. Well, it turns out she had a whole lot to say. Actually, she has SIX kids, and so she probably knows a whole lot more about needing rest than I ever could, so I gave her book a chance. I had dismissed the thought at first - Rest - is it really possible for a homeschooler?

We had been doing really well, or so I thought. I actually enjoyed our studies last year. We had a lot of fun, but when I started really thinking about it there were things I wanted to add or subtract. There were maybe goals we hadn't met, but I wasn't giving myself permission to re-adjust. I had gotten so comfortable doing what I was doing that I had stopped really asking what was important. The greatest thing of importance was this: relationships. Relationships first to God and then to one another. I was feeling like we were doing so much good that little good was coming of it. Sure, we had great fun and still learned a whole lot, but I was starting to see how isolated my oldest had to be to accomplish all that he had to do each day. So not how I envisioned things. Yes, independence is good and should be built each year, but maybe not necessarily as much for a 12 year old as he had last year.

Sooo...that's when I gave this little book a chance. I had skimmed through Teaching from Rest and happened upon a few paragraphs that made me throw all my plans out the window (enter mid-life crisis.) I loved her thoughts about being who you are. What makes me tick as a homeschooler will make someone else crazy, but isn't that the beauty of God's creation? There are mountains & valleys and oceans & streams. All are so different, but all are so lovely too. If you hate projects and art, for goodness' sake I release you from them. Woman be loosed lol! If you are a dork about office supplies like me then let's go to the local Staples Back to School extravaganza together! But first can we stop for coffee? Double-tall, Iced, Soy latte with one raw sugar, please and thank you very much! We are all created in his image, but we are all so different too. Please don't come to my blog and leave being anyone but who you are, or ever feel the burden to be like me. I'm just as flawed as the rest of everyone else just in case you didn't already know it. I would love to see moms be able to appreciate those differences in one another. We are all on the same team when it all comes right down to it right?

I also loved her thoughts on simplifying: "Who says you need to do math, writing, literature, science, history, foreign language, religion, vocabulary, handwriting, art, music, and poetry all year long? Here's a little secret: you don't. And chances are, if you are trying to do all those subjects, you very likely aren't doing a very good job of them."

Ouch.

Oh, yes. I know this one well. That's how I was felling - like we were doing it all, but none of it very well. This thought was very freeing to me. You mean I don't have to do that stuff all year long, and could possibly cover it even better than if I had? What about trying to have a more relaxed poetry study that is around the table together just for fun? My kids adored it when we did poetry tea time rather than reading poetry for "school."  Reading it to enjoy it together was so much better. Nope that never got checked off a list, but it was far more meaningful that way. When we ate food from different countries or visited international stores wasn't that far better than reading about cultures in a book that we marked on our schedule? Yes, of course it was. And those things weren't even planned. GASP. Having less on the schedule leaves room for those memorable experiences. I want more of that. Don't you?

I'm still sort of digesting all of this. There were far more thoughts I haven't yet let sink in, but mostly I'm just taking a little time to breathe and really ask again - Why am I doing this in the first place? I'm kind of quick to listen, but slow to change. But, if you see me changing things around here it's because I'm starting to listen more to who I am and who my kids are when planning our year, listening first of course to the one who made us all. It will have nothing to do with anything I had done before not being good - I just need to approach school with a more open heart and free spirit maybe. You will still see me planning. That's just who I am (remember we are being who we are), but maybe I'll not be so hard on myself in the future. I hope you will do the same for you.

20 comments:

  1. Tara, thank you! I've been 'rest-ling' with a lot myself. I love HOD, but I can't help but wonder if it's the best fit. It's not what I pictured when I first pictured homeschooling. It seems with 3 guides going, we never connect, if that makes sense. Everyone is in their own spot doing their own work, and the older they get, the longer they stay in their spot. I'm getting a little disheartened, but unsure what my next step should be. I'm out of time to breathe and have to come up with a plan soon! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your heart, and your organizational skills! You are very much appreciated!!!

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    1. I'm putting a new plan together, but this late in the game I want to just be hanging out at the pool :) We'll see if I can pull that rabbit out of the hat before school starts!

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  2. Oh wow, same here!! I have slowly gone from HOD (which is great, but maybe not for us right now) to Biblioplan to Beautiful Feet. I noticed the more I went to a simple schedule and literature based, the happier we became. We'll see. Work in progress. I hope you'll share your new plan when it's figure out : )

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    1. I have looked at BP and BF for future years. Both of those are great choices! Glad you've found something that works well for your family

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  3. Have you considered allinonehomeschool.com? We used it my older daughter's eighth grade year (I wanted a relaxed, together-learning year before she went off to high school). It's Christian, free, and preplanned. We changed out the math, but that's it.
    Lee, the author, believes in a short and effective school day with family and individual interests after the schoolday is done. The science and history explore the same topics on different levels so your family is not so disconnected.
    This year, at the same site, you can also find a link to her new Genesis plan. It's a family learning plan that centers around the Bible. Lee's planning skills are stellar, and we all enjoyed that year with more freedom and time to explore.
    My older daughter is in accelerated and honors classes in high, so taking a year to enjoy allinone was apparently not a problem academically...I mean, it didn't slow her down.
    We're back to HOD with my younger this year.

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  4. Thank you so much for the suggestion <3 I have taken a look at All In One, and I have friends who love it! It sounds like a really great option. I so appreciate their generosity in offering that for free for homeschool families. I have let my son clicked through some of the games a while back, and he did like that about it. I do already have a little plan I'm hammering out for this year. It's coming along, and hopefully it will give us a little more breathing room this year :)

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  5. I'm praying that you find that peaceful solution. While I love HOD, I do think it pushes too much independence too soon (my opinion), but I tend to go against the grain in some ways. It's a balancing act. The beauty of it all comes from learning just how to do that TOGETHER.

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    1. Thank you for the prayers <3 I could definitely use more wisdom than I have on my own.

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  6. "Who says you need to do math, writing, literature, science, history, foreign language, religion, vocabulary, handwriting, art, music, and poetry all year long? Here's a little secret: you don't. And chances are, if you are trying to do all those subjects, you very likely aren't doing a very good job of them."

    This is a very interesting point. I've struggled with this too! But then I remember school... and even compared to that... we never did all these, ever. Let alone at once... us Homeschool Mamas just need to breathe deep! Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I could have added more things to the list she made too. All good and wonderful things, but it was squeezing out some of what I like to call the ice cream of homeschool :) Deep, deep breath!

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  7. After reading your post, I've placed an order for Genesis Curriculum. I LOVE HOD, but we only made it through about half a year last year, and I was concerned about the isolation for my child, as were you. It's from the creator of All-in-0ne, which was fun, but isn't a good fit for us this year. GC varies from 145-180 days, depending on the projects you do (or don't do). This will give us time for field trips and explorations (and a few days of Netflix-documentary school in our pajamas). More importantly, it's intended to do together, which works well for me this year. I don't know much about it, but I'm giving it a go anyway ($65 seemed reasonable for everything I'm getting). I'll let you know how it goes, and I'm super excited to hear what you have going on this year! Your organizational skills inspire me!

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    1. I really like that it sounds like you will have some wiggle room. I'm going to shoot for 32 weeks of a full schedule and leave a few weeks of room at the end of the year for catch up and to remember spring mush brain that always seems to hit around April. I think I'm closer to narrowing down our choices and have promised myself to not look at one more single thing!

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  8. Thank you for having the courage to follow the Lord's lead on this, and to share these thoughts here. I learn so much from you all the time. (Confession: I have read this post more than once to let it all sink in.) Grateful for your friendship + wisdom!

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  9. I know I've read a few of your posts more than once too, so the appreciation and affection is mutual <3

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  10. Thanks for this! I need the reminder. I'm close to going solo. lol. I've got to work up the courage.
    I LOVE to buy curriculum, I even like to do some of it myself. haha. But my kids don't really like to do anything, but read or watch TV. I Look forward to seeing what your doing. God bless!

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  11. I enjoyed reading this post. I needed to hear this, especially since we are starting back with homeschool on Monday! We are using Heart of Dakota for my youngest 4 and a mix of things for my 7th grader. It's our first time using HOD, so I'm a little nervous. I have heard many good things, some negative things about it. It seems like it will be a good fit for us. I am not adding anything to it, except extra Bible studies. Anyway, thanks for helping me to keep things in perspective and remember we don't have to do everything!

    www.myfullhandsandheart.blogspot.com

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    1. We so enjoyed our years in HOD. Such a well thought out program :) I'm learning to give myself permission to add a little more of myself and to enjoy the freedom of letting go what doesn't help reach the goals for our kids and family.

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  12. This is a wonderfully freeing post!!! I appreciate your candor, and the post speaks peace and grace. I've seen moms ask questions about a struggle with something in HOD, and a question of "Did you do everything in each box?" Honestly, those were the comments that scared me the most. I felt ashamed and scared because I skipped an 8-sentence narration one week because the girls had written a well-thought out, extremely long story for their spelling (AAS). No, it wasn't a summary or trying to grasp main ideas or flavors of a history selection, but it certainly counted as writing. Anyway, thank you for this. :)

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  13. I know exactly how you feel <3 I think we grow in confidence each year as homeschool moms. Eventually we know what we can skip and give ourselves permission to do so. I am just finally learning this myself. It sounds like you were already doing that, and now maybe you're learning there is nothing at all to feel guilty about. You are doing a good work. You know how to do it just the way that is right for your family. Trust in that :)

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  14. I am so grateful for This post. Thank you for sharing your heart! While I am entering my first year of HOD with four different guides and four children, this is the encouragement I needed to use the curriculum to meet my families needs instead allowing the curriculum to "run our days"! I am truly excited about HOD and looking forward to our year, knowing full well that some may thrive and others may struggle. Praise God for His GRACE... and that HIS Mercies are new every morning! God be with you in and you embrace teaching... living... from a place of REST!

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