Hey homeschool friends! Are you back at it? Set up and rolling smoothly? Or are you slowly dragging your school books and planners back into the New Year? Either way, congrats....you made it through 2018 and new adventures are on the horizon! I don't know if I have ever been so excited for a New Year! I'll be honest, 2018 was tough, but what a better time to think back on the struggles and challenges of a year and consider what you have to be grateful for, what you have learned and how to move forward with gumption!
I just LOVE the flexibility that homeschool brings! We had a wonderful holiday with family and I learned to ride a snowmobile. So. Much. Fun!
We returned home and I quickly realized how some of our Christmas gifts rolled right into "new curriculum". As we moved into the new year, we took a few visits to urgent care for colds and we just were not on top of our game. I was feeling a little behind when I realized that the 3D printer that my husband and daughter were buildi...
Have you taken the obligatory first day of the year photo yet (I have not)? Is your curriculum ready and in order? Signed up for all the STEM activities? This time of year surely has homeschool families across the country excited about a new year, but also busy making sure everything is set and ready to go. With this can come stress, so let's take a moment to put things into perspective. Do you have the basics, "the meat" of your program ready? Start with that. Over the past 7 years of homeschooling my children, I have found that keeping things simple and streamlined can keep you grounded in this homeschool journey of ours. It's so easy to get caught up in the "maybe I can add this" mode, that we can get sidetracked and spread ourselves (and our children) thin!
5 Tips to "Keeping it Simple"
1 - List your subjects and stick to it. Try to keep it under 20!! Seriously, if you can limit yourself to the most important 5 or 6, you can focus on providing a more solid education...
Let's talk Kindness. We all know what it is, but do we know how to apply it, how to USE it? At first thought, you may be thinking "Absolutely!". Think harder.
Life is a roller coaster and we have lots of life skills, like kindness, that help us deal with the ups and downs. During the good times kindness is easy to use, like a spoon smoothly flowing through the liquid of a nice cup of tea. It's easy! Try to use that same spoon, with the same amount of effort, when stirring dough! Not so easy anymore. What we need to know is that with a little mindfulness and and some extra effort, we can accomplish the task at hand, we can accomplish kindness. And the more we do it, the more natural it will become.
In life, we will experience easy days and difficult days, but we need to know how to use the life skill of kindness during the difficult days. Why? Because that is when it might not come so natural and that is when it is most critical.
How do you check in on your family wellness? I talk to my students all the time about checking in on their own wellness, but what about the family as a whole? As with our own personal wellness, family wellness takes a little effort and a little practice. It's not rocket science, but it takes a little mindfulness.
During this time of year, I am usually busy evaluating how the school year has gone so far and what we might be committing to next year. I am already looking at curriculum and any ideas for new creative classes that my daughter might be interested in. The gymnastics season is wrapping up in a few weeks & we are planning our summer. We just found out we will be staying put for another year, which also means a list of new things to accomplish in the home this year. If this sounds anything like you at all, it's likely you get caught up in the hustle and forget to do a real check in on your family wellness.
Be mindful of family wellness this week and make the choice...
What is your tradition? Church with family, the Easter Bunny, Fish on Fridays, an Easter egg hunt? Do you have one? If not, it's time to make one or bring one back. It is not too late, traditions all start somewhere!
Traditions are the handing down of customs from one generation to the next.
I realized that, although it may take a little work, carrying out traditions is a wonderful gift to give your children. It's something they can remember their family by and share with their own family one day!
As a child, I grew up in a home in which Slovak tradition was introduced. It is now something that I will continue in my house, especially because it is unique and not every child gets to engage in such a fun opportunity! Yes, we still enjoy the typical American Easter fun, but we get more! Why not? It allows for so much positive wellness!
Our Easter will consist of painting Easter eggs, fasting, fish on Friday, late night mass on Saturday, feasting, and ev...
It's Winter.....I mean Spring break in Virginia! The snow is falling and the plows are out. Maybe in your area you are enjoying some sunny spring weather! Regardless of whether you are experience snow, hail or sunshine, this is the time of year to take a little breather.
Around this time of year, homeschool families tend to start thinking about testing, wrapping up any last minute planning or even researching plans for fall (I'm guilty!). This is exactly why it's time for a break. Before we jump in head over heels, let's step back and take a breather. It's not just good for us as homeschool parents, but it's good for our kids! It teaches them that taking a breather is just as much a part of the journey as everything else in our homeschool world!
Our breather does not need to be elaborate, but focused on something that brings more wellness into our lives. I am planning a "spring break" trip to the OBX with dear friends. The best part is that these friends appreciate a rel...
Kidneys the size of footballs? Yep! That was me, before major surgery to remove them. Polycystic Kidney Disease is a struggle that can lead to dialysis, transplant and so much more, depending on each patient's unique journey. For me, it began with a craniotomy to repair a brain aneurysm, then transplant, then double nephrectomy, followed immediately by an emergency volvulus (and I'm skipping the "small" stuff). This disease is truly a punch in the face. However, if you want to fight it, you must put on your PKD Warrior armor and do so. For me, this comes in the form of positive psychology and wellness. Believe it or not, on the most difficult of days, there is still always something to be grateful for. For me, this generally presents itself in the form of amazing doctors, a wonderful husband, loving children and a bunch of other people that still warm my heart daily by what they did then and still do now.
This week was a full one, with windstorms, gymnastics meets, a closedarmy fort, medical appointments and a motorcycle accident that was quite the life lesson for many. I won't go over all of the details, but will focus on events that created wellness lessons.
Spending time with family and friends is always something to be encouraged, whether I am working with my students or in our own homeschool. We can easily get caught up in the grind and forget to add time with a friend to our calendar. Keep in mind, this does not just benefit us. Our friends and family need it just as much as we do, and sometimes more! This past weekend, we headed down to the Shamrock Invitational gymnastics meet in Virginia Beach. We didn't need to be there until late Saturday evening, but we had friends that would be competing all weekend. Friends from our own gym and friends from other gyms. So instead of focusing solely on our own events, we got up ea...
We had a fairly uneventful week! Which means more time to be mindful of wellness and get rested up after the flu. After our recent re-evaluation of our 36 week schedule, we have a nice, new, refreshing schedule that we are enjoying! Keep in mind, this doesn't mean we made it easier or less academic, we just made it more enjoyable. It's nice to know we have the freedom to choose to learn in a manner that uniquely works for us. As I write this, my daughter is putting together the full draft of her comic book. She used Canva to create the outline this morning. Super fun and creative! Last night we added a little Home Economics lesson. I made chicken paprikas (substituting the dumplings with cauliflower rice and the sour cream with coconut milk) and my daughter made homemade creamy chicken soup for lunches for the week! This not only teaches great life skills, healthy eating habits and independence, but how to cook ahead for better time management during the week, and...
I am literally writing this a second time because the airport wifi just knocked me out of the system and my entire blogpost did not save! As I teach my students in "The Gratitude Project" we must focus on what is working, not on what is not working. So, I will focus on the fact that I have a laptop, I have wifi (sorta) and I am sipping my favorite coffee. I am also waiting to fly to Florida where I will be able to help out other family members, something not everyone can just pick up and go do. Today, I am thankful for a work from home career that is mobile!
Activities, Planning and Positive Thinking
The National Archive in Washington DC was the highlight of the week. We attended a military promotion ceremony that was conducted right in front of the Constitution and The Declaration of Independence. This was an easy one to mix into the homeschool academic curriculum, especially when you throw in checking out The Magna Carta and a wonderful display educating people on America's...