Self-care isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment. What rejuvenates one mom may not rejuvenate another, so we offer the following tips to start you thinking and hopefully planning how you are going to take care of yourself.
Dear Homeschool Mom,
Are you taking care of yourself?
I gently asked that question recently to a struggling mom. We had talked about the educational things – math strategies, etc. – but as we talked I could hear the weariness and discouragement in her voice. And when I asked the question, her words were choked: “No,” she answered through the tears. She was not taking care of herself, and she was not in good shape. This mama was in desperate need of taking some “Me Time.”
I write this blog for her and many like her (maybe including you) who have resolved to keep going and not come up for air until everyone has graduated. Responsible, committed, hard-working moms like yourself may need to apply the advice heard on passenger flights: “If the cabin loses pressure and the oxygen masks deploy, put your own on before assisting others.” The idea is, “You can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself.”
Self-Care Tips for Homeschool Moms
Take naps at the same time as your children and let everything else just wait. Wait?? Yes. It will wait. A fun idea to make your nap even more treat-like is to change your pillowcase and spray a bit of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil onto your pillow.
Or how about this? Schedule a quiet time for you and your children every day with audio stories. Tell them they don’t need to sleep, but they do have to rest for an hour while everyone listens to audio stories. Often you will find that while listening they drift off to sleep, which both extends your time and refreshes them. Make this hour your quiet time, also. Shut off your phone and answering machine, close the curtains, and spend this time in whatever way refreshes you.
Take simple small steps towards health that you find realistic and enjoyable. Start the day with five minutes of stretches and jumping jacks, or turn on some music and walk, march, or jog in place. Integrate physical activities you enjoy into time spent with your children. This summer our family learned the new sport of pickleball. So fun!
Take a hot bath. Add flower petals, Epsom salt, or bubble bath. Turn on your favorite mellow music. Light some candles. Stay in the tub so long you wrinkle and raisin.
Give yourself a mani or pedi. Add a few drops of essential oil and body wash to a pretty bowl of warm water and soak your extremities while you watch a favorite episode of something or listen to a podcast.
Be kind to yourself. Many of us have learned to bully ourselves. When you notice you are bullying yourself, take a step back and ask, “If my best friend or my spouse or my child were in this same situation, how would I treat them?” Now, treat yourself with that same kindness.
Take the pressure off. Take an inventory of what you are expecting of yourself – your parenting responsibilities and goals, your responsibilities in running your household, your relationship commitments, your personal goals. If you are expecting too much, then it is time to take the pressure off. Are there goals you can put on hold? Expectations you can simply drop? Responsibilities you can outsource? Tasks you could do in an easier way?
Perhaps these few thoughts can help or maybe trigger your own on how to care for yourself. The important thing is to do it. Realize that taking care of yourself is essential to your well-being and the happy functioning of your family. So start today. Take those first steps. Come up for air.
Howdy, partners! Partners? Yes, we want to partner with you to assist in any way we can with your homeschooling adventure. One way we do this is by reading a lot of homeschool blogs and sharing the best with you.
5 Recent Homeschool Blog Posts
We know you have some “wild west” days in your homeschooling, so here’s a “round-up” of some of our favorites to help you start to “tie up” any situations you find yourself in these days.
5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Write
When it comes to writing, do your students avoid it with a passion? Does this drive you to despair? Read the this blog post and we think your despair may well turn to inspiration.
A Few Tips to Homeschooling a Wide Age Range
Do you need some ideas on how you can face the challenge of homeschooling a wide age/grade range of students? This helpful blog post may be just for you!
Homeschooling 101: Homeschool Burnout
Having some serious homeschool burnout? It happens to the best of us! What can you do? The key is to learn how to overcome it. Check out this homeschool blog post for encouragements in overcoming it.
Five Ways to Help Your Kids Love Read Alouds
Are your kids less than thrilled when you announce, “It’s reading time”? And you’ve heard from some very successful, veteran homeschoolers that reading aloud has been the single most important learning activity they have done! This blog post gives some doable ways to help your kids love read-alouds.
THE Best vs. YOUR Best
Do you beat yourself up because you feel you are constantly missing the mark in being the ideal teacher and in having the ideal homeschool? This final blog post favorite will pour into your life a lot of great wisdom regarding your dilemma.
I hope you have been encouraged and helped as you have read through the blogs and have been able to glean from them something you need for your individual homeschooling situation. Blessings on your journey!
Establish your routines, modify them according to your unique family’s needs, and enjoy less agonizing over homeschool organization.
So, you are not a born organizer? Organizationally challenged, even? Are you feeling overwhelmed just by daily life? And now, to add to that, you plan to be a homeschooler? Maybe you already homeschool, or even have been for a long time, and you know you need help! If any of this describes you, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to start with the basics. Take a deep breath and read on for some “Basic Training.”
Start with a Daily Routine
No, not a rigid, detailed schedule that will drive you to tears and set you up for failure. Rather, think this way: what has to get done in your house in a typical week? What can’t afford to be dropped – Meals? Bedtimes? Basic housekeeping? Make sure you are covering at least these basics by planning a regular, daily routine.
Morning start-up time, mealtimes, and bedtimes make a great framework for a routine. Then plug everything else in around those times. Some families divide their day by general broad zones: morning routine, school routine, afternoon routine, and evening routine.
Viewing sample homeschooling routines/schedules is a good way to come up with ideas for your own. Here is just one of many links that may be helpful.
Once you’ve determined your routine, write it up. Get it all off your mind and on paper. For many visual people, anything that is out of sight is out of mind so make sure to have the routine in a couple places for each member of the family to see.
Have a Spot for School Stuff
One of the biggest hindrances to a smooth school day is wasting time looking for schoolbooks and supplies. The trick? Have a specific spot for school stuff. Here is a link with some ideas that can help organize an unorganized learner and benefit a disorganized mom.
Have a Housework Routine
Do you need a weekly chore schedule and some help figuring out how to get and keep a house clean? Home Ec 101 teaches us it’s just a matter of dividing the chores into manageable chunks. Each day has one major chore and a minor chore to keep the routine simple. This link will help you. Effort spent teaching young children to do small chores will pay off as they develop the skills to be a bigger help later. Invest the time.
Try organizing kids’ chores with Kanban. What is Kanban? It’s a system for organizing kids’ chores with sticky notes. A typical Kanban board (you can use any kind of board) has room for the sticky notes to be removed and then stuck into place AFTER the chore has been accomplished. Since sticky notes are so easy to stick and re-stick, you can change it around and tweak it if you need to. So much fun! Some examples can be found here and here.
Have a Meal Routine
Meal planning can be simplified with a menu rotation. Plan out 10 to 20 complete menus, including family favorites, and then rotate them, serving a different one every day. It limits variety, but there are no surprises, and prep will go more quickly because you’re doing what’s familiar. Make your freezer your friend: make and freeze several batches at once to reduce overall kitchen time. The 30 Day Gourmet is one of the best freezer cooking books. For variety, you may want to try out a new recipe once or twice a month. Do you have leftovers? Try using them up each Sunday after church. You won’t have to cook, and you won’t be wasting food.
How you put your basic training to work is up to you.
How many of us watched Mr. Demme explain math in a way we could finally understand by using his whiteboard and those large magnetic blocks? We had our own math “light bulb moments” didn’t we? It really was Math-U-See!
We wished we had been taught the Math-U-See way when we were in school. We knew we wanted that vital math understanding for our children, so the decision was made: we needed to order Math-U-See! As we proceeded to figure out our order, questions came up. Some of those questions were regarding those amazing magnetic blocks that Mr. Demme used.
Let’s address some of those questions about the magnetic blocks in this blog. Here we go!
Are the Magnetic Blocks the Ones We Get When We Order From Demme Learning?
No, not unless you specifically request them by calling customer service at 888-854-6284 M-F 8:30am-6pm Eastern Time. Otherwise, when you order manipulative blocks you will receive the Integer Block Kit.
What are the Differences Between the Magnetic and the Integer Block Kit?
The Teacher Magnetic Blocks are larger. For example, the 100 block in the magnetic set is 10″x 10″ compared to 5”x5” in the Integer Block Kit. Magnetic blocks are perfect for the larger classroom where you are teaching numerous children. Then all can see the blocks as the math concepts are explained. The Integer Block Kit is perfect for building the math concepts on a desk or table.
The magnetic set contains fewer blocks. The magnetic set consists of 40 pieces of colorful, base-10 magnetic blocks compared to 133 pieces in the Integer Block Kit.
When Would I Want to Purchase the Teacher Magnetic Manipulative Block Set instead of the Integer Block Kit?/strong>
In addition to the large classroom settings mentioned above, the magnetic blocks are great for students with learning difficulties. Using a magnetic whiteboard and the Magnetic Blocks for math problems allows students to use gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills. Many parents report that having their students work out math problems on a whiteboard has helped them whether or not they have a learning challenge.
Any There Any Cons to the Magnetic Blocks?
The standard blocks are hollow when you invert them, which helps students see being “in the hole” when working with subtraction or negative numbers. This is not possible with the magnetic blocks, which are solid on the back to accommodate the magnetic strips.
Lastly, because of the size and weight, the standard blocks are more portable.
We have touched on only a few questions and answers regarding the Teacher Magnetic Block Set. You may have more questions and/or answers to share, so feel free to comment. Being a life-long learner means we have opportunities every day to learn from one another!