Survival Guide to School Shut-Down Part 3

Before I jump into sharing our homeschool routine, I gave it a lot of thought and I decided that it would be far more helpful to encourage the moms out there navigating all this for the first time. THIS IS NOT EASY. If you found a site, or blogger, or person that says homeschooling is easy UNFOLLOW them. They are a LIAR. The struggle is real. There’s so so so much out there that you could do. It’s overwhelming. Thankfully most of our teachers are working super hard to get us some guidance so you don’t have to create the wheel (or copy somone else’s).

There’s a reason we switched from homeschooling full-time to our current hybrid charter. Coming up with a syllabus/lesson plan, implementing said plan, managing your kids, and home life is a lot to take on.

It’s a LOT.

So here’s my advice: take baby steps.

It seems like most of us fall into one of two groups. The overachiever that plans every fifteen minutes of the day or the avoider that feels too overwhelmed to start a routine.

Neither is wrong. We’re all built so differently and we all respond to stressful situations and cope differently. You might be somewhere in between – keep reading you’ll get a lot out of this too. I personally bounce between both depending on the situation. OR I avoid and then overplan ;-P

To the overachiever I caution you to pace yourself. For most of us it’s looking like at least 3 weeks of this situation. You might have a really great start and then burn out. The thing about homeschooling is that it isn’t traditional brick and mortor schooling. Take the pressure off. A full day of school at home isn’t necessary to keep your kids learning and growing. Keeping their brains busy with creative play is a great opportunity this sitation is providing us. Keeping structure is fantastic. If you’ve taken on too much pair it back. Instead of giving 3 worksheets on the same subject see where you kiddo is being challenged and focus their time and energy on that primarily. Review what they know and challenge them with the next thing. You don’t need to do busy work – Hallelujah! This is an awesome opporunity to close some learning gaps and even get them ahead.

Just think if your child’s teacher had the ability to work one on one with your child they wouldn’t waste time or energy going over things they already know. In class they have to go the pace of the majority of the kids. They try to help the ones struggling and they try to challenge the advanced, but they can’t devote all their time to either. While they’re home we get to do that! It’s exciting (not easy).

It’s a juggling act. For example: My oldest last year was asking questions that showed us she was ready for multiplication and division. She hadn’t memorized simple addition equations though. It bugged me to move on when she couldn’t quickly aswer 6+7. So instead of holding her back we introducted multiplication slowly and did drills to help her memorize simple math equations simultaneously.

To the avoider take a deep breathe. You’re going to survive. It’s going to be okay. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed and paralized. You don’t have to do all the things. You don’t have to be a Pinterest Mom. Not doing all that stuff the overachievers are doing doesn’t make you a bad mom. But your avoiding stress is probably stressing you out. Structure probably isn’t something you seek out or like being imposed on you. But your kids running a muck and/or not learning doesn’t feel great either. Take it easy and just start small. Baby steps my friend. Switch that binge watching to Magic School Bus or some other educational program. When the show is over talk to your kids about what they learned. For big kids have them write down a summary. For littles have them draw a picture. Super easy and you’ll feel amazing.

The next day do it again! Then you might try googling the same subject for a worksheet or easy project related to the topic they learned. Don’t go all over the place. Just put one foot in front of the other. They learned about the states of matter? Cool make some apple sauce and review them together. Tell yourself something is better than nothing and you don’t have to be an expert to try. This is just my opinion – but the avoiders/ type B’s/ go with the flow peeps seem to be the pretty artsy and creative ones. Let your creative instincts take over. Whatever you do don’t compare. Find what works for you and build on it. You’ll make some pretty awesome memories and see your kids through a whole new lens as you watch them learn and explore.

Now, I recognize the curiousity is there to see what we do. We follow this structure, but it isn’t rigid. We might spend more time on lessons back to back and end early or we might do most of our lessons in the afternoon. The imporant thing is figuring out what system works best for you and your kids. Break it down to as simple a subject a day if you’re just starting. Or as simple as 10-30 minutes (depending on child’s attention span) per subject.

  • Reading/Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

These are strange times. I never saw myself sharing any of my experience in homeschooling so publicly. In the past it’s been a subject I converse with many about in DM’s. But with everthing going on right now it was something I felt could help more people if I wrote it out and made some graphics… so here we are. I hope it helps!

Love,

Ginny

Survival Guide to School Shut-Down Part 1

It’s going to be okay! You’ve got this Mama!

When I was homeschooling full-time I had so many families reach out to me about how to get started.  I’m no expert, but what experience I do have I hope helps ease some of the stress.  

If you follow me on Instagram you know I had a whole post ready and my site glitched and deleted it. So I’m attempting this again, but it will have to be in parts. I’ll start ya off with just three tips.  They are “simple”, but please don’t confuse that with EASY. I repeat mommin’ is hard any way you go about it so don’t be hard on yourself k?

As and Introvert I find it super challenging to be home with my kids all day without a break so I COMPLETELY understand the ease of switching that TV on and getting some quiet.  Or maybe you have big kids that can spend hours on end on a game system.  I’m not saying not to let them play a game or watch a show. What I’m suggesting is you use that veg time stategifcally.  

For example, if you know you need some early morning quiet (like me – no talkie until mommy has her coffee) then plan on having them veg while you get your bearings for the day.  Or maybe you’re trying to work from home and you know you have to make some calls in the afternoon. Save the veg time for when you really need it.  They’re less likely to bug you – I mean ask you – about all the random stuff if they know they just get one or two shows or that one movie for the day as opposed to 4.   

More to come on that in Part 2.  We use electronics for educational purposes too so I’d love to share with you some of the things we do for Art, Science, Math and Reading. 

Upside to being home vs. school = More Recess!  Yay!  Kids are full of energy and creative juices.  If you’re doing educational stuff and hit a wall make sure you take breaks to be active.  If you aren’t doing educational stuff and you’re doing more vegging than learning (no judgement here) don’t forget that their need to exhert energy might bite ya in the butt when you least expect… Like bedtime.  Aint nobody want kids having a burst of energy when they’re ready to wind down.  Am I right?

Weather permitting get outside. Avoid parks with play structures – those are petridishes on the regular – but even more so now. Take a walk.  Ride your bikes.  Kick a ball. Fly a kite. Or one of my personal favorites is to send them out back and say, “I’ll let you know when you can come in.” I sound terrible, but at least I don’t lock the door.  I find the less toys they have outside the more imaginative their play.  I’ll share more of our schedule later, but I usually do this right before lunchtime so they get some energy out and then  I call them in to eat. 

If you’re literally stuck inside you could even put on a great playlist (I like Can’t Stop The Feeling station on Pandora) and have a dance party! I hit an energy low just before dinner so even if the kids don’t join me I put on some jams and get my blood pumping again.  YouTube also has a ton of easy exercise videos you can follow along with. A quick 5-15 minutes can make all the difference.  

Raise your hand if you’ve ever planned a craft to do with your kids or super fun outting and it totally blew up in your face. This is percisely why I consider myself more of an Amazon Prime mom than a Pinterest Mom.  I have come to expect the unexpected.  The kid I thought would be totally interested throws a fit. The paint gets everywhere. The glitter spills. The baby  doesn’t stay asleep.  It’s parenthood. It’s a beast.  So this tip is all about riding that wave if the kids are playing nicely. If they are totally enaged in a lesson and want to learn more GO WITH IT.  But girlfriend, when you see the signs that things are going south ABANDON SHIP. Don’t guilt yourself into something that will completely zap your energy physically or emotionally.  

Say you’re doing a craft and it goes haywire, have that next thing in mind so you can hit pause and either circle back or just do something else.  There’s gonna be a lot of pressure to do all the Pinteresty things.  But keep in mind you don’t have to follow a rigid schedule.  Be flexible.  Plan your day as guide, but don’t feel like you failed if things don’t go as planned.  

When all else fails blow bubbles.  Not  even kidding. Kids love it and it helps Mama to breathe deep when stress is high.

Hope these tips help. Let me know if you have any suggestions or resources for your fellow mamas out there in the comments.  And don’t forget to subscribe so you can get Part 2 right to your inbox.  

You got this mama. It’s gonna be okay.

Love, 

Ginny

 

Purdy & Thirty Cake Smash Photoshoot

Purdy & Thirty Cake Smash Photoshoot

For years I’ve seen smash cake photos of cute babies turning one.  I’ve always wanted to do them with my kids but with planning their parties it just never got done. Then I came across some adult smash cake pics and I was so very amused!  I made a mental note that it would be fun some day. Well I was coming up on 30 and I just wasn’t interested in planning a party or even a dinner with friends. My husband had been at a clinical site out of town and only home on weekends. I was low on energy, time, and creativity. But I knew if I didn’t do something memorable for my 30th I would look back and be disappointed. It’s usally kind of a busy chaotic week because my birthday comes shortly after Independence Day. Hubby happened to have a two week break in school before leaving OUT OF STATE for his next clinical site.  So when I would think about my birthday and what I wanted to do I keep thinking about doing a smash cake photoshoot and wanted to do something fun with my family that would be out of the norm. It took a little convincing, but my husband came around to the idea of taking me, all three kids, and our beloved babysitter wake boarding and tubing on the lake. Wake boarding is right up there with horsebackriding as my two favorite things!

The photoshoot was further outside of my norm than wake boarding. You have to understand I have been buckled down focused on raising these littles and doing my best to not just survive this CRNA program but thrive through it.  It has been incredibly challenging.  I haven’t always had time for me.  Little luxuries like going to grocery store alone.  Or taking an evening trip Target to stroll the isles when the kids are in bed and hubby is home relaxing had not been options.  My reserve energies were maxed out.  My social energies were critically low.  So goal number one while hubby was on break was just to relax and do nothing.  And after that, you know, once boredom starts to kick in, I knew what I need in life is something fun to spark enjoyment of life!  So even though the idea of doing a shoot for myself – not my kids- was embarrassing I decided to do it and not over think it!

Turning 30 has had a strange affect on me. I feel as though I needed to prove my maturity in my twenties and was careful to be appear childish from the outside – likely because I felt like a teenager half the time. Super weird to have three kids and feel like a kid half the time, just sayin’. But through a lot of counseling, to be honest, and time with Jesus, I have gained a lot more confidence. Rounding the corner to 30 was not depressing or scary to me I was actually really excited to have my age stand for my maturity and not feel like I had to prove myself anymore. I know that isn’t everyone’s experience.

A lot of my people say turning 30 made them feel old. But for me it was the opposite. At 28 I wondered if I would feel like I would match my age by 30.  Now it’s here and I don’t feel like I do exactly, but the difference is I’ve stopped caring. It’s so freeing! So that is why I felt like I could dress like a kid, wear on a crown, throw some confetti and eat my own little cake!

I hadn’t had photos taken of just me since senior pictures so when the time came I was a bit nervous. My sister in law did my hair and I loved it (and the awesome chalkboard pictured)!  I ran out of time do do my makeup super awesome, but that’s the beauty of Maskcara, it’s super quick and easy. It just felt a little vulnerable to be the only subject in the photos. Feeling afraid and doing it anyways has been the theme of the year 2017 in my journey to becoming fearless. So if you’re hesitating to do a shoot like this for yourself I highly recommend it! It’ll be good for you xoxo!

P.S. My hubby secretly planned a surprise birthday party for me that was really awesome!!!