Accept The Unexpected

ImageOur lives and actions are based on our intentions. As humans we are no where near perfection. When we intend to do good and things do not go according to plan, as they often don’t, its all right. No matter what or how big the problem, there will always be a solution. This has been a hard learned lesson for me, which has come from experience and with the very limited wisdom of my years. We must accept that everything is truly out of our hands and the only thing within our control is our intentions. For example, when intending to cross a road, despite careful calculations, anything may get in our way, such as a car or a sprained ankle.

Having said this, I was taken off guard when on our first day back to our homeschooling, the kids and I were taken ill. We ended up spending the majority of the day in bed or watching movies. I’m sure many parents can agree that one of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of helplessness a parent feels towards their child going through any type of suffering. It’s the unexpected reality of life which we need to accept, do what we can to overcome and move forward. We will need to begin our schooling in a couple of days, once the kids and I have recovered enough. I may try to schedule in some easy fun crafts to lift their spirits, but nothing too mentally strenuous.

I’m sure now that the holidays are over and the cold sets in, many people are re-evaluating the past year and searching for ways to make 2014 amazing for them. As for me, I am working towards living a life I love and am proud of, so that when I am asked, ‘What would I change in my life if I were to die tomorrow?’ I am able to truthfully and sincerely reply, ‘Absolutely nothing!’

“It is more Important to be of pure intention than of perfect action.”

Ilyas Kassam

New Year, New Changes and Challenges

I have had the opportunity during the past couple weeks to spend some quality time with family, both close and distant. We seldom meet all together as we are a very large family. On one night alone, I ended up making dinner for 28 people! Yet, despite the stress and very hectic atmosphere it is something I always look forward to. It is a chance to sit down and see how everyone is really doing.

I managed to spend some time reflecting on ‘life’ with my family. I don’t know if it is just me but I am usually reminded of my childhood whenever I am surrounded by the family I grew up with. I find it amazing to compare our youthful dreams for the future and our adult reality. Despite having grown up together under similar circumstances, each of my family members have turned out very different and unique.

Fortunately as I am a homeschooling mother my days are very packed and very busy so I do not have much time for the world outside of my house. However, I have noticed that many of my family are struggling with the daily pressures of the working ‘outside’ world. My sister was just telling me that although she has the illusion of a successful life, a good job, a loyal boyfriend and a comfortable home, she doesn’t feel happy and successful, rather is filled with unease and regret. She has been asking for advice on how to change her life into one she can be proud of. I know this is not unique to her and that many people feel this same way. I’m sure it’s also due to the pressure of the new year resolutions bringing along with them judgement and expectations.

I was very stumped by this talk and was really at a loss for words. I have seen the signs recently of my sisters increased unhappiness and despite my sporadic advice I have been feeling very guilty and helpless. Nevertheless, I find it very difficult to help certain people as the only ‘life’ advice I have for anyone involves God and not everyone believes in Him. I don’t like to impose my beliefs on anyone and have always struggled to find that balance between inviting others to the Truth and preaching. Therefore I am at a loss as to how I can help people feel proud about their life choices. All I know is that I have the opportunity now to help my sister before she gets in a more desperate state. I myself have felt such desolation at one point in my life that I was filled with such hopelessness and I don’t want my sister to experience that. Regardless, I am grateful for that point in my life because it led me to finding meaning and purpose in life through God.

Please let me know what you all think about this. I would be very grateful for any advice.

“The world is 3 days: As for yesterday, it has vanished along with all that was in it. As for tomorrow, you may never see it. As for today, it is yours, so work on it.”
Hasan Al-Basri

Homeschool – Fourth Week of December Overview

cookingThis week has been a very relaxed week. We did manage to complete a few of our Weather Unit and Fractions worksheets at the beginning of the week. However, I have used the rest of the week to work on our character building, etiquette and decorum as we were around many relatives. We have been blessed with a very large extended family and therefore we have very loud and busy get togethers which require everyone on their best behavior.

I did manage to get the kids to bake their own cake for the party. They constantly ask me to be able to bake as a group with their own ingredients, which would mean four times the cake mix. Therefore, with the impending large family party I was finally able to allow them this. We used all the cake batter to create cupcakes, a giant cupcake and cake pops. They were all a hit and gave them a sense of confidence and pride in their accomplishments. We have had a great holiday week but next week will be our wrap up week, where we complete our Weather and Fractions Unit. Hopefully.

This has had to be a short overview of the week as we are still visiting family members and I currently do not have the luxury of time or personal space in order to write a more thorough overview.

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”  

C.S. Lewis

Gratitude and The Most Uplifting Blogger Award

ImageI would like to take some time today to show my gratitude for a number of things and kill two birds with one stone by showing my appreciation to http://jcmorrows.wordpress.com for nominating me for The Most Uplifting Blogger Award. I am very humbled that anyone could feel uplifted by my blog. Just like many others, I am a very busy mother striving to do right by my kids and responsibilities, whilst worrying that I’m doing everything wrong. I began blogging in order to find someone to uplift and inspire my daily life. I wasn’t disappointed as I have been moved, inspired, intrigued and uplifted by many other bloggers!

Therefore, here are my seven nominees for the Most Uplifting Bloggers. I look forward each and every day to reading their posts and am never disappointed.

http://africatoamerica.org/

http://cristianmihai.net/

http://culturemonk.com/

http://ivyleaguehomeschooling.com/

http://homeschoolpaleo.com/

http://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com/

http://amyallenfitness.wordpress.com/

Thank You, for uplifting my days and many others.

It is impossible for me to ever list the things I am grateful for in life as they are innumerate. Just the brain that God has given me which allows me to not only understand but feel gratitude, I could never be thankful enough for. Therefore this is a very very short list of things that I am currently very thankful for:

I am thankful that God has chosen and allowed me to recognize, worship and love Him

I am thankful that God is giving me a chance to succeed in life, just by breathing

I am thankful for the family and loved ones God has entrusted with me

I am thankful for the good health, warm bed and dry shelter my family and I have during this very cold and rainy night

I am thankful for the abundant provisions God has provided for my family and myself

I am thankful for the love and mercy that God has put between the hearts of my family and myself as well as many of us human beings

And finally, I am thankful for the bloggers who share their struggles through life, encouraging others to strengthen their spines and realise that they are not going through life’s struggles alone.

I would also like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation and thank anyone who actually reads what I write. I have so much on my plate, I never thought I would have time to write blogs but I have enjoyed writing immensely. I have always journalled as a young girl and loved scribbling notes here and there and I am grateful that I have found this blogging community which has given me an outlet for my musings. As a result it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have had more time to just relax and lie back with the kids than when I was too preoccupied attempting to sift, prioritize and think through the colossal amount of thoughts in my head. Where I once believed blogging to be an added burden to my day, It has become a great relief. I highly recommend it! Keep up the blogging!

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 
Alphonse Karr

Homeschool – Third Week of December Overview!

ImageThis week has been a pretty busy week. We have still been working on our Weather Unit. We managed to complete learning about clouds and the water cycle this week. I even somehow managed to get the kids to complete an evaluation sheet whilst doing their experiment and they didn’t seem to realize they were writing so much! We have been continuing our work on fractions. I was hoping to move on to multiplying and dividing fractions next week, but I still need to work some more with the girls on the least common denominator. I will need a few more days on this to make sure they fully understand adding and subtracting different denominators and mixed fractions. At the end of each of these units I will be giving them a test so that I know what their strengths are and where they need to improve. We have also been doing daily multiplication and division flashcards which has improved their speed a tremendous amount. I used to use flashcards on a daily basis when they were younger for addition, subtraction and reading. I cannot remember why I stopped this, it worked great back then. I think I may have got sidetracked with other work I wanted him to accomplish that I just left this out. Nevertheless, I do highly recommend, regardless of age to use flashcards, especially for Math.

ImageI have also added a ‘word wall’ to my ‘classroom’. It has helped to strengthen the kids confidence in writing as well as spelling skills. I’ve spoken before about my sons writing abilities. In the past he has been struggling with his creative writing and has had a hatred for writing anything. He has been very good with orally answering questions and explaining them but has never liked to put them down on paper. These past couple weeks has been great. I bought him a leather bound journalling book (which he thought was pretty cool) and he has been regularly using it. I have also added a whiteboard on top of each of the kids’ desks in their rooms and this has also aided him to find pleasure in daily writing. I am very pleased with his progress and have bought the ‘Complete Writer: Writing with Skill’ books by Susan Wise Bauer as we have been doing her Story of the World book series. I love her writing and various accompaniments and teacher aids with each lesson, which makes it a delight to teach and enjoy alongside your children. I’m looking forward to beginning this Writing with Skill curriculum to help increase my son’s new found love of writing, in the new year. I have always hesitated on this considering it was a struggle to get him to write two sentences. However, I feel like the time is now right to begin this and hopefully he will enjoy it and it will be of benefit to him. I will review the book in future, when I have a chance.

We have also been continuing our Story of the World notebooking pages. I read the stories to the children and we take notes along the way. I sometimes allow the kids to read it aloud but for some reason, they don’t listen very well to each other and as a result they don’t understand what was read. Therefore, when I read it, they will take notes then at the end of the chapter they will write in their own words what they learnt about that chapter and attach the relevant lapbooking printables to their notbooking page. I have noticed that we haven’t done much on Geography this month and therefore I need to really focus and incorporate it more into our work for next month.

ImageWe have also tried to soak up as much sunshine as possible before the snow sets in. It felt good to stretch our legs after being cooped up at home for the past couple of really cold weeks. It was chilly but warmer than the last few days and yet the park was still pretty much deserted. I love to let the kids roam where I can relax, and even spend some time playing catch with my boy! Our outings usually end either with the kids feeling mellow, grateful and content the rest of the day or with some added burst of crazy wild energy. Today we experienced the latter. I usually like to finish off some of the work I had planned during the week but we didn’t get around to completing, on the weekend. However, even though we may have a couple things we need to add on for tomorrow, we have finished the majority of our weeks work, so I was happy to let them relax and play together today. 

Overall, I feel like this has been another good homeschooling week. Where we even managed a lesson and some yarn ‘weaving sun’ crafts for the winter solstice. The kids have been on a whole very happy this week and that is, after all what I am truly grateful for. So double thumbs up this week!

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
Albert Einstein

Discipline and Parenting

ImageI always look forward to when I am able to relax with my cup of tea, in a quiet and clean house at the end of the day, especially days like today where the children have completed their work joyfully. It is especially pleasing, seeing as it doesn’t happen very often. We’ve been wrapping up our nouns, fractions and weather units this week and will just be working on putting everything together over the weekend. The kids have been working well in order to earn their rewards, which is 15 mins at the end of the day on either the computer or the ipad. They haven’t regularly earned this in the past, however somehow they have managed 4 days in a row!  

I am currently studying a TEFL course which ends in February. I’m starting to feel the beginning tingling of pressure and have been working on it this week to try and alleviate that stress before it starts. I hate to leave things to last minute but there are many more priorities for us as mothers. I can’t help but marvel at my ‘pre-parenthood’ days, where I cannot remember what I did with my time or even full days.

There has been the odd argument or two, usually involving someone making funny faces at another. I am still working on finding the best disciplining technique, I currently aim to go the ‘praise publicly and discipline privately’ way. Yet, I do have a problem with my own self-discipline sometimes and resort to raising my voice, usually whenever there is the possibility of injury. This is because I have these weird flashes of a ‘final destination’ type accident. Am I the only one? I hate the disciplining technique of withholding certain things, whether toys or electronics, from one child and not the others. I have always wanted to be a fair mother regardless, as I was the middle child and had what my siblings referred to as the ‘middle child syndrome’. I have always felt that I was treated unfairly as a child, even though looking back, that was not the case. Somehow, a child’s mind can perceive things in astonishing ways. It seems like a battle sometimes, trying to prove your intentions to your child in a given situation so as not to have it misconstrued. Nevertheless, I find it incredibly hard to discipline any other way. I cannot reward or correct collectively as that too would be unfair to one or the rest.

I know that as new parents we usually want for our children better than we had for ourselves. However, as I go along this parenting journey I have been through about 20 different disciplining techniques in 10 years and still need to update them when my kids get too used to them that they are ignored. I have realised that everyone of us are just trying to do our best while utilizing what we are blessed with, including our parents. Nobody is perfect. I remember I heard someone say once that you should never say ‘you tried’ with a child as your time isn’t over yet and you still need to constantly be trying.

Please share your disciplining techniques and how they work (or don’t) for you.

“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows
with the ability to say no to oneself.” 

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Organizing and Serenity

I’ve been busy the past few days organizing and de-cluttering my house. I have somehow managed to clear out the dreaded hall cupboard. I was quite happy though to find a box filled with past years homeschooling records and work and I managed to sort them out according to the corresponding years and file them all away quite nicely. It has always been there at the back of my mind’s to do list, and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders to be up to date with the past years’ school records and we haven’t even reached the end of this year’s first semester. Yes! I know now I just need to file the work and keep up to date with the records as we go along.

The kids have been well-behaved recently with lots of smiley faces and less fights. I have seriously noticed that the reason for this is the added effort I have been putting in to their schooling and daily activities. I haven’t always believed that the more you put in, the more you get out. However, I have seen the fruits of my endeavours really paying off. So even though I may be suffering a little from lack of sleep, it’ll all be worth it in the end. It won’t be long until my kids no longer need me and leave me to have all the sleep I need and some.

It is so strange to imagine a time in the future where I will be free to do what I want. It’s a catch-22 situation though, where I will be happy to be able to sleep and socialize more but will be heartbreaking and distressing that my kids are out on their own.  In my youth, I rebelled just like many other teenagers and gave my parents quite a bit of stress and worry and I remember my mother constantly telling me, ‘what goes around, comes around’. I always thought that was just part of the ‘speech’ whenever I did something wrong. Unfortunately, I now understand that more than ever. I can see when I speak with my eldest, that he is so similar to when I was a kid. Even during the middle of giving a lecture about his behaviour, I have flashbacks to when I was in his position and my mother or father would say the exact things to me.

I am constantly contemplating my parenting methods, and I am currently happy with them. However, there really should be classes or awareness courses about parenting and important life decisions (such as household and financial management). I don’t know if they run in other countries, but here in London, there isn’t much for that. Everyone assumes that its basic common knowledge. They are all so afraid to form an opinion on parenting that they don’t want to discuss it for fear of offending or upsetting a parents’ current styles. I think they should at least create classes for self-control and self-discipline as these are the basis to a person’s character. These are just my late night ‘lack of sleep’ musings. Self-control and discipline shall be for another day.

‘Organize, don’t agonize.’

Nancy Pelosi