school, getaways {sneaking in the topic of working out} and birthdays

We're 3 weeks into school and I'm already feeling like I'm 3 weeks behind in everything.

This is when that question "how do you home school kids, raise a baby and take care of you home?!"
starts to haunt me.
Because I wish I could smile and tell those ladies that I do it all effortlessly and it actually runs smoothly.
Somedays do... most do not.

We have many days where we sit next to a huge pile of clean laundry while we read.
Dinner gets frantically made at 5pm and Mommy curses herself for not sticking with a good meal planning regime.
The kids are usually allowed to play some Minecraft simply because Mommy needs 30-60 minutes to pick up the craziness around the house, to collect her mental awareness, maybe chat with Daddy in peace on the phone, and spend some alone time with Miles.
I rarely ever talk on the phone with friends. If I call you, please feel honored... because it is an honor. You must be special if you get anything beyond a text. And I would apologize, but you all say the same to me, so we're in this together.
I will say though, its not always chaos. Its really not. Sometimes I think we stay-at-home (especially home schooling) moms almost brag about the chaos in our lives, as if its a good thing.
Total chaos all the time isn't good. We know that.
I'm happy to say God brings a lot of peaceful, quiet moments. We have a Yo-Yo-Ma Pandora station on our TV just for those times of our day. When the kids hear that music start, they know its time to have a quiet house. We either read, do puzzles, play legos or color... but whatever we do, during those moments its quiet.
Now that we're settled in our new home and life has a normal pace set to it, I'm happy to see the normalcy and peace flowing back into our lives. It feels good.
So when you hear that I have 4 kids and homeschool and am a tutor for a private, Christian co-op, please don't decide I'm super woman and keep it all in order and perfect all the time.
I don't.
And I know many, many women who knock my socks off with their organization and ability to seemingly do it all and do it all better than I do.

I will say this is the first year that the kids and I are truly loving school. A lot of it is the grades we're in. 3rd grade is a total blast! I feel like school gets more fun the older the kids get. Probably because I remember learning and doing the things Ethan is doing. I get a kick out of learning it all over again and its amazing how much sense everything makes when you're 33 :)

One thing I love about homeschooling is how different it looks, family to family. I seriously love that part of it. I like that one family does it one way; uses a certain set of books, organizes their home and schedule a certain way and does field trips in their own way, while another family can do it all totally different.
I think that's truly the beauty in home schooling and for us, its one of the main reasons we do it. To be able to tailor schooling to each child's personality, strengths and weaknesses.
Where home schooling gets tricky and often becomes burdensome, is when you actually try to copy someone else's method and when it doesn't work for you, you freak out.
All that means is, what worked for that family/child, didn't work for your family/child.
I'm homeschooling 3 kids now. All 3 are totally different. I look at how they've each learned how to read.
Ethan and I sat down together, went over basic reading rules. Talked about letter sounds, sight words, etc... began reading like crazy and within and week, he had it down. He now reads at a 5th grade reading level and he's in the 3rd grade.
Rachel and I have been doing all the same things, but she lacks the confidence and is afraid to mess up and get a word wrong. So she shys away from reading. She's always asking us to read to her. She knows the words, but takes a long time saying them out loud because she's checking each individual letter, making sure she doesn't get anything wrong.
 So we read a lot more. We make a big deal when she picks up a book and starts reading. A lot of clapping goes on and cheering :)
Kara is just now learning, but I can tell she's going to follow in Ethan's footsteps, with maybe a little hesitation like Rachel.

We're into our 3rd week of Classical Conversations and already we all love it. I'm sold and seeing good fruit come out of it. Its helped me with teaching my kids at home. I feel like I'm a more involved, prepared teacher and they actually look forward to learning with way more anticipation than before.
It takes a lot more structure and time, but I think those things are good when you're talking about your family's education ;-)

Enough school talk. 

I got invited to Whatever Craft weekend!! Do you guys know that is? I've followed Meg's blog for years and signed up for her lottery over a year ago. They emailed me last month and I couldn't have been more thrilled! I can't wait to go spend a weekend with these ladies {all of whom I consider to be 'famous'}.

Miles' head has healed up really well! So many of you ask, which is so nice of you and I feel like I need to make a public {blog} announcement. He has been cleared by the neurologist and is back to his very active, very crazy self. He doesn't climb nearly as much as he used to and I like to tell myself its because he learned his lesson... even though I have no idea if that's true.

I'm going to start working out regularly again.
No I'm not.
Yes I am.
We'll see.

^^just showing you why I still haven't gotten back into a routine with that...

And lastly... someone in our house is turning 5 next week! There's a countdown happening and I'm afraid with every passing day, the ideas for birthday fun are growing. I'm gonna need to up my game, that's for sure.

5 {comments}:

Melissa Joy said...

Oh Stef, you just helped encourage me this Monday morning as I look into my own week of homemaking, homeschooling, and seeking to glorify God through the work of my hands. Thank you. I may just read the first few paragraphs of this every morning this week.
God bless you and your precious family, especially as Kara's birthday comes! What fun. :)

Melissa Joy said...

Oh, and by the way... SO THRILLED that you get to go to Whatever Craft Weekend!! I've drooled over that for years too. Can't wait to see your ruffle apron, and the fun stuff you create. What joys! (and a wee twinge of jealousy I'm trying to stuff... haha!)

Amy G said...

Yay! Soo excited for you to go to Craft Weekend. I love Meg's blog...how fun!!

Stef said...

Melissa, you should totally enter your name and they email you if/when they pick you!
I'll be sure to do a post for you and Amy ;-)

Amy G said...

Yes! Please do a post...can't wait to read all about it from someone I know in real life:)


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