Tag Archive | parenting

My Heart, Mind and Habits

Regrettably, I have taken a long break from blogging recently, as I have been preoccupied with some personal issues and have been forced to concentrate on that. I am not and have never been very good at multi tasking. I can easily become consumed with a certain task and my brain cannot switch to anything else until that task is resolved. It is not a nice quality because sometimes it can take a few weeks to resolve, as with this past issue. I have still been fortunate enough to accomplish a few things this month, however have neglected quite a few of my goals. Unfortunately, I have been forced to compromise my kids and my own daily structure and I am working towards getting this up and running again.

I find it extremely difficult to split my attention and concentration on my children and other people. Whenever I am speaking to my children, I usually slip into some type of acting mode, either the ‘stern’ mom or the ‘affectionate’ mom. I cannot seem to speak with them the way I would to people who have known me as a child or during my ‘pre-kids’ days. Unfortunately, I even feel uncomfortable sorting out issues with my children in front of others because of how my actions may be judged. It seems that when I am reprimanding them, I am seen as being too harsh to my children and when I am praising them I am either too soft or showing off. I know in my heart that I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, but I cannot seem to stop the worry in my mind, maybe someone can share their own experiences or advice?

I need to incorporate a good amount of ‘me’ time into my schedule this week. By ‘me’ time, I mean a good quantity of alone time at night when the kids are asleep, in which I can reflect on myself and my life. I’m feeling slightly lost at the moment, like everything is up in the air, which I think is due to the fact that I have been concentrating on these ‘issues’ for quite some time and neglecting myself in the process. I need to sit down and reflect upon where my life is leading now and the person and parent I am now, and think about the life I want and the type of person or parent I want to be and create for myself the goals needed to get there. I need to purify my heart and mind and be clear about the goals I have in life as well as purifying my intentions. I need to renew my focus and create structure for myself and my kids. Its time I built new habits for myself and my children and be diligent in their practice.

“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.”

Swami Sivananda

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Homeschool – Third Week Of January Overview

This week we learnt the interesting fact, that Barack Obama is Calvert Homeschool alumni. We’ve spent the week stepping away from our classical learning to have a somewhat ‘motivational’ learning week. We began our Solar System unit in science and managed a trip to the Natural History Museum’s Earth Hall, which I have previously wrote about. We continued learning and exercising our ‘mental’ math through flash cards, concentrating on multiplication for the younger students and division for my eldest.

We have begun learning about verbs, but have restricted this to oral work. I have given them a break from writing this week, in order to strengthen their listening and conversational skills. It has helped me to concentrate on and notice certain colloquial and grammatical mistakes in their speech, which I usually ignore or have gotten used to. For example, my 1st grader has been using the words ‘me’ and ‘I’ incorrectly. My 3rd grader has had a slight stutter for quite a while, however it seems to be getting worse and have been researching methods to correct or support her. I would love to hear from anyone with experience of this or any advice.

I’ve been trying to detox the kids off technology, as there has been quite a few fights over games during our school break. During our scheduled school weeks we have no technology but are rewarded with time for each of the kids to play on Sunday. We’ve been spending time as a family, enjoying life and playing many family board games. It’s hard to keep up with kids today, as it seems they need a lot more attention with all the many varieties of technology and games available.

I have been tweaking my master schedule for the children and myself, including schooling as well as chores. I have wanted to have a set routine according to time, which I haven’t been able to accomplish. I would like to have at least my wake up, bed time, breakfast, lunch and dinner to be at a set time everyday. Therefore, I can work the rest of my very flexible study schedule around it. We must always just do the best we can and be immensely grateful for the opportunity.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Aristotle

Homeschool – Second Week Of January Overview

ImageI have had an incredibly busy last few weeks. We have been getting back into the hang of things with our homeschooling this week. It has been a very rocky start back after the holidays. Even though this is quite common with many children, especially seeing as my kids have been without a set routine for the past month or so, it isn’t any less frustrating.

At the beginning of the week I gave a small review quiz of the previous months work and they did not score a satisfactory enough mark for me. So we have taken this week to really review and revive their school routines in the process. I have also begun the Writing With Skills curriculum by Susan Bauer this week with my son. Its a bit sad that the eldest child is the one we all experiment on and practice our parenting skills with. I’m hoping if I like this writing curriculum then I shall incorporate it with my younger daughters. So far it is very good as it reminds me of the very basic skills, which I don’t think I have taught my son. I love the fact that it shows how other writers organize their work and gives practical tips on how to organize and summarize your own writing. It even includes extra tidbits that slip my mind when teaching my son about writing, such as superscripts and footnotes.

We have completed and reviewed our weather, air and water unit from last month and our nouns work. Therefore, I am happy now with their progress to begin our Solar Systems unit next week as well as learning about verbs. We are still going to be continuing our fractions work this week, as the multiplication and division of fractions has taken quite a few more lessons than I had planned. I have been reviewing different teaching methods in order to make this easier and will try a few more approaches to this next week.

I have been having a slight problem with my disciplining technique recently. I have said before that I have needed to update my techniques quite a lot as the kids have gotten used to them and end up arguing and disobeying them. Therefore, I really want to stick this one out but am at a loss as to how to approach this new development. I am currently disciplining by rewarding good behavior and ‘correcting / punishing’ bad behavior. This has been working great for a while with the kids eager to earn points and receive their rewards. However, recently they have become great negotiators. They have been asking me what the punishment is and deciding that its worth taking. As well as negotiating their rewards, saying they will obey as long as they get … I have not yet lost my temper which I am very pleased about and want to keep that way, but it ends up turning into a serious (and sometimes long) negotiation. Where I am convincing them that there is no choice in the matter you either complete what I have asked, whether schooling or chores, and as a result you will receive a reward. They are in turn attempting to convince me that the reward isn’t worthy of the task and I should therefore increase their rewards.

I am astounded by this. I honestly don’t understand what the difference was between my parenting and my parents’ parenting, however I would NEVER even consider talking back to them let alone negotiating rules. I don’t know how to overcome this current hiccup in their behavior. However, I do want to nip this in the bud before it gets worse. This technique has been working so far so I need to try to find a way to keep this reward and punishment system but perhaps include harsher punishments and sweeter rewards. This requires more studying and researching. I will need to go back and read more of Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson this week.

Please feel free to share your disciplining techniques and what has worked for you.

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” 

Sigmund Freud

Homeschool – First Week of January Overview

We have been ill this week but managed to get better by the weekend. Once our sicknesses were over we did a very well needed spring clean of the house and managed to organize all the places I always put to the bottom of my list of priorities. Therefore, we got rid of the germs and have prepared for the next weeks homeschooling. I have received the ‘Writing With Skill’ books by Susan Wise Bauer and have been preparing the lessons I need to add in our schedule this week. My kids are looking forward to beginning their schooling again, I’m sure kids secretly or in this case openly crave structure. They have been quite difficult when there is no structure and they are all free to do their own thing. This is usually when we need to expect the fights, screaming and tears. I managed to do a little shopping and get a few items I’ve been wanting to get for the house during the January sales. Its better late than never, right?

My eldest has Saturday school which gives him a chance to get the social benefits of interacting with other kids his age as well as learning through a school environment. He was very excited about his first day back after the holidays and has enjoyed himself there.

January’s homeschooling theme for us will be about the Solar System. This will be our new unit in Science and therefore we will begin learning and crafting to decorate our classroom for this theme. The kids have enjoyed school a lot more now that we have more of a visual classroom than a living room and are all around happier with homeschooling. Therefore, I am more motivated about teaching them and being innovative and creative to keep up their enthusiasm. Nobody said parenting or homeschooling is easy but its such an amazing experience which I can not even put into words. So, I am looking forward to going on this January journey of learning and teaching. I am just hoping that they appreciate this as they grow into well rounded individuals and I successfully fulfil my duties towards them as a mother!

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 

Rumi

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

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