How a Cupcake {among other things} Pulled Me From the Homeschool Abyss

Last week something just wasn't right in our house.  

It seemed that everyone I was in a funk, which definitely trickled into our homeschool.  We had one really good day (a field trip), but other than that I was very discouraged all week. 

I had to step away from blog reading for several days - simply because it was upsetting to me.   I was starting to doubt our increasingly interest led learning style... there have been so many "curriculum" posts out there lately that it makes my head spin.   I wanted to shout:  

"Don't you get it?   Read to your kids!  Foster their interests!  Make learning exciting and real to them!!  No one curriculum will do that for you!"

It's hard, though, when lots of people are talking about CURRICULUM for next year, or this shiny new CURRICULUM they are reviewing.  I have to remind myself that LESS is MORE and not to fall into the curriculum trap!   

(Ok -- I just stepped off the soapbox.)

Add to this the fact that everything in my house felt disorganized.   No one was "getting" the big things we had been working on all week.  I (being very selfish) felt unappreciated.   I was basically holding a pity party for myself all week, but no one else wanted to attend.   

Have you ever done that?

I had thoughts of enrolling the children in a local Classical school (one day a week - but still "school" in my opinion) and even went so far as to contact the director and get more information.   

In my head it boiled down to my children needing more STRUCTURE and more ACCOUNTABILITY.    .... or so I thought.

It's amazing how a little organization, a lot of prayer,  some encouraging texts and calls from other homeschool moms, an uplifting homeschool mom book club meeting, and a couple of days of nothing helped clear my head and give me some much needed perspective.   It is so true that God's promises are new each morning.  Why, though, is it so hard for me to remember that? 

Saturday my husband took Miss B with him to work (he never works on Saturdays, but they are having a huge software rollout next week and needed to prepare).   She helped watch some of the other little ones that had  come with their parents for the day.   Meanwhile, I had a very quiet day at home with GMan.... spent the morning cleaning (and making plans for our Disney surprise trip in just a few weeks!!) and then met friends for lunch and ran errands with my sweet boy.

A huge cupcake will always make me feel better!!  We have a Gigi's Cupcakes here... I had resisted the urge to go, but finally gave in. 

 {Coconut Macaroon - oh.yum}

Sunday I declared a NOTHING day -- and while I did accomplish more cleaning and organizing, it was relaxed and productive.   We had a dinner of meatloaf, carrots, and crescent rolls (my family loves this meal) in the dining room and ended the day with the first few chapters of  The Railway Children.   (I know I've said this before, but I think a good read-aloud cures a lot of ills. Did you see this great blog post by Sally Clarkson about reading aloud?  Go read it... now! )

I knew everyone needed to be in bed early because we had to be up and out by 7:30 a.m. Monday morning.   The dog had a grooming appointment, followed by a doctor's appointment for me.   After lunch GMan's Lego class met in Midtown Atlanta (about an hour from our house) from 1-4, and Miss B and I would go to IKEA to get some much needed Expedit shelves for our family room.  

It turns out Monday was just the day we all needed.   It was one of those magical days that reaffirmed  WHY WE HOMESCHOOL in the first place.

Being at the doctor at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but I'm thankful for my two bookworms who read the entire time.

After the doctor, groomers, and a few errands we had enough time to come home and do math and spelling, plus roller skate for a bit.  

In the van on the drive into town we listen to a fabulous audio science book!!   I would HIGHLY recommend this book if you want to laugh and just learn some really interesting (and gross) stuff!    This book was given to us by my sister-in-law who is a public school science teacher.   She thought we would enjoy it... I would never have bought this on my own, but I'm telling you - it's informative and funny!   Your boys will really like it, too.

We laughed the entire drive there.... and back!

Once downtown Miss B and I dropped G off at his Lego class (which he LOVES) and headed to IKEA.  First order - LUNCH!!  I couldn't get her to try the Swedish Meatballs, but mine were great!

After finishing at IKEA we still had an hour before GMan was done with his class.   We parked and started walking to the building where his class was going on - but instead I decided to take a detour.    I have always seen the First Church of Christ - Scientist when I am in Atlanta.   I have wondered about it, but have never gone in.

We changed that today.   We visited the Reading Room and met a very nice woman who told us all about her religion and invited us into the reading room.    I must say that while we do not agree with many of their beliefs, we do share some similarities.   

It is important for my children to know that there is more to the world than being a Lutheran in suburban Atlanta!   Yes, I hope they adopt the faith they are raised in, but I want them to have an awareness of other beliefs.  

We perused the reading room and learned a little about Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.    

When the woman guiding us through the reading room walked us out she told my daughter how lucky she was to be homeschooled.   She looked her right in the eyes and said, 

You are so lucky to have a mom who wants to spend so much time with you.  I hope you know how lucky you are.

I could have HUGGED THIS WOMAN!!    How did she know my daughter and I had been struggling last week?  How did she know this is just what we BOTH needed to hear?  

As we left to pick up G we stopped for frozen yogurt.  While sharing it, my daughter asked me if she'd been extra good and what she had done to deserve such a fun day?    I told her she deserved it just because I loved her - and because every now and then we just need to break out of the mold and do something different.  

When we got to Camp MODA, GMan was having a great time (as usual).  He had made a Lego WeDo airplane this week.    He had time to "free build" and play Lego games with his friends.   He was in heaven.  

By the time we got home from downtown it was nearly 5:00 - just enough time to feed everyone and send my husband and G off to baseball practice.   

That left enough for me to.... BUILD THE SHELVES FROM IKEA!    I got two Expedits done in an hour.  Woo hoo!    

Now some of the homeschool clutter is under control in the family room.   Yes, we have a schoolroom, but you know how that goes.... we school all over the house!  We especially love to be downstairs by the fireplace and with a nice view of the bird feeders on the back deck.  

The baskets contain all of our card and board games (that get used frequently).    Can you tell that we love notebooking?  The far shelf contains science, history, 50 states, and writing notebooks.    I have another large bookshelf in the music room that houses our classics, and the shelves in the schoolroom hold all the other books.

I have a serious addiction to books!  

 I know it's just 2 shelving units, but it sure gave me some peace of mind!    My husband and I sat downstairs when the kids went to bed and just enjoyed the organization and QUIET.


Homeschool isn't always a bed of roses.  Some days it is the LAST THING I WANT TO BE DOING.   But I always know that it is what I SHOULD BE DOING.    The best things in this life aren't easy.  We were never promised easy though, were we?   

I'm thankful for those magical days that make the hard ones fade into the distance!

How is your homeschooling going right now?   Are you in the late winter slump?  I'd love to know...