Monthly review and Goals

Time to check in. I can barely remember what happened in February.  We were busy with basketball games and our weekly Classical Conversations homeschool classes.  I was able to stay focused on my goal of kindness by thinking of the kind people I admire.

I was able to enjoy something, however simple, every day.  Continuing a simple schedule and decreased spending has continued to help with that, along with making the time to notice nature more.

I was able to delay my needs (till the end of the day, etc.) to give my children the attention they deserved, most of the time. Continuing to sleep well, eat better,  along with paying attention to nature, slowing down, and setting aside some time to destress has helped.  I spent some time researching homeschooling and college.

I was able to mostly keep God in the center of my days.  Having some time to reflect helped. Long days also had me seeking his help.  I borrowed a Bible Study ebook and read it only for a few days.

I dug out some of the paperwork for our taxes.  I continued to spend time researching saving/making money along with  researching investing.  I was able to save more than usual, by continuing to make do even more with the clothes I already had, and decreasing eating out and convenience foods with fairly simple and healthier homemade meals. Continuing to read how others saved, helped.

Habits helped.  When I would be tempted, the habits of eating healthy, going to sleep early, doing chores at certain times, going to the gym with the kids, because “it’s good for us”, would push me forward most of the time.

Should I have decluttered more?  Finished our taxes already?  Have our summer school plans set already?  That would have been nice.  But then I think our quality of life would have suffered.

What about our March plans?  It looks like I am ready for and badly need a planner, so that’s in my list.   March should be easier as there is a short break in basketball and the seventh grader no longer has weekly presentations.  I plan on working with the second grader more with basketball (he is not progressing as well as I want him to).

I would like to prepare for the start of basketball practices again and the end of school year busyness that happens in April.  I need to research school plans for our summer and the following year.  Eighth grade is a critical year.

I would like to plan for the rest of the year.  I would like to find a Bible Study book that I am drawn to.

How was your February?  What are your plans for March?

 

 

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Our Homeschool Day and Homeschool Decisions

Our homeschool day consists of the second grader doing Singapore Math 2b most times in the morning and The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading most times after lunch.  He also does Classical Conversations one morning a week.  We don’t do more with the Classical Conversation topics either.

He is allowed to spend the rest of his day reading books and comics, building and playing with his Legos and looking up educational things on the computer.  He sometimes plays with the keyboard.

The seventh grader is in Challenge A in Classical Conversations and he pretty much does his own thing.  I haven’t even checked on his Saxon Math yet.  He needs me to check his oral Latin Translation and his oral  Catechism answers, so I do that.  I use to help with his writing assignments but he hasn’t asked for help lately.  He reads action books in his free time during the day.

We are also at the gym a couple late mornings a week to practice basketball for exercise, and they have basketball recreational games twice a week after school.   We are in another homeschool group, though we don’t participate much because of time.  Both kids have Sunday School/Youth Group on Sundays.

I know I should do much more with both kids.  There are other things to cover that are important to me.  But I also want to keep things simple at the same time.

It wasn’t always like this.  I used to do more with the now 7th grader, before we did Classical Conversations.  I was really into homeschooling.  The interest/excitement has definitely decreased the last few years. It is time for a major reevaluation, both for homeschooling and for the kind of parent I want to be.

For some reason I don’t feel like I fit the homeschool mold.  I never felt that way before. I question if my 7th grader might enjoy being with his peers daily.  It feels wierd that it is just the three of us most days, though I know there are more pros for us to homeschool.  I’ve never felt or thought this way before.

I’ve been trying to do some research, but haven’t found a vision of how I want things to be or how to address these concerns of mine.   I just need a new perspective and some changes. I am sure solutions will come, if I keep at it.

Have you ever felt like homeschooling wasn’t you?  How did you deal with it?

 

 

A Simple Valentine’s Day

Our simple Valentine’s Day celebration consisted of a favorite dinner at home and inexpensive but pretty flowers. We did allow ourselves extra cookies and drinks that we normally try to limit.  We are planning to eat out to celebrate when we aren’t so busy so we can enjoy it more.

The 2nd grader exchanged valentine’s at their Classical Conversatios homeschool class.  We just gave out candy, though I wanted to make a simple heart to go with it.  (He ended up wanting to work on his weekly class presentation more than usual this week, so we spent our time on that instead of the cards.)

We didn’t do crafts or baking even though I wanted to.  We did use the occasion to give my 7th grader a lesson on planning affordable dates  even though he won’t have to think of it for a long time.  I stressed the importance of coming up with things they both would enjoy.

How was your Valentine’s day?

 

Simple Family Life

In our Classical Conversations’s homeschool group they do family presentations, where they share about their family.

When they do these presentations, I usually think, wow, why aren’t we doing those things.  There are so many activities we could be doing.

Since we’ve always signed up late, we haven’t done any family presentations.  But it has been on my mind.  I have also read of creating a family shield, which also sounds good. In addition to creating unity, taking the time to reflect on your family’s characteristics can lead to appreciation, contentment and gratitude.  It can make it clearer what is missing and what kind of family we want to become.

While I haven’t taken the time to write one up, I have some ideas.

Our family consists of…both kids participating in recreational basketball, a husband that loves watching sports, a mom and a tween that are bookworms,  kids that love video games big time, and also love utube and Netflix,  Star Wars and Disney Parks/Universal Studio fans (mostly), a curious kid that loves Legos , a tween that enjoys technology and big words, kids that enjoy riddles,comics, and beating me badly in basketball.

We all enjoy eating out inexpensively or cooking on  the weekends, though our taste in food varies. We enjoy seeing our out of state families and friends once a year, and we have enjoyed science museums on our past trips.  Although my  husband enjoys rock concerts, we haven’t because of the kids.

Pretty boring and basic, I know.  But that’s who we are.  We could do more, do different things, but would it be better for us? Some of it would, some of it wouldn’t.  I would really like more time on good literature with the 2nd grader.  I would like the 7th grader to spend more time on being creative.  The 2nd grader might enjoy theater and piano lessons, but he doesn’t want to give up basketball and I don’t want him to be that busy.

I would like exposing them to different activities and interests but they are not interested, though some of the activities are beyond my husband’s and my knowledge (like hunting). Some of them we don’t do because we have allergies.  And some of them, like computer camps, do not seem worth the expense with our budget, so we will have to get creative with that.

Have you reflected on your family’s activities and characteristics?  Have you found doing it helpful in planning and increasing contentment and gratitude?

 

 

Ways We Saved

These past few weeks I..

Read parts of finance ebooks from the library.

Worked a little on taxes, bills and paperwork.

Decluttered some books and organized toys.

Only bought $6 youth shorts (Sam’s Club) and didn’t buy any other clothes or homeschool books, just used what we had.

Packed snacks instead of using the vending machines.

Added sides and variety to dinner to decrease eating out more.

Researched simplified homeschooling online.

Some joys were…

Eating simple comfort foods like soups, muffins and hot tea.

Appreciating my family’s presence and their company.

Enjoyed the company of the moms at our homeschool group.

It helped to to eat better, sleep more and stop to enjoy nature from our backyard.  Reading some blogs on frugal living helped inspire me, along with the finance books.   I organized toys and decluttered books so I could have some order and not feel so weighed down.

Having some routine, reviewing the day, and asking myself if this is how I want to be, helped.  And stopping the negative thoughts and replacing them with  “it’s not so bad” or gratitude helped.  Once we say no to things, gratitude comes easier.  And if it’s his will, I think asking God for help, helps a lot.

How are you doing with your saving? What simple joys have left you feeling satisfied?

Motherhood

Motherhood is constant.  It doesn’t stop when you need a break.  And while we are not always in control we do have influence.  Do we react with denial/inattention during those times we badly need a break?  I know I do.

Sometimes it works, and inattention at the moment was the best, but most times it is not ideal.

Do I really need a break, or do I just need to stop my negative thoughts and just do what I know I should be doing?  Do I  do my best to take care of myself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, cutting back on the unnecessary, and getting support, so I can react well?  I know, it’s easier said than done, but we can give it our best.

I am realizing just how big a responsibility motherhood is.  But I am realizing it comes with joys just as big, if we’re paying attention.

What has helped you the most in managing the constant demands of motherhood?

 

Faith First

I admit it.  It hasn’t been easy to keep my faith first.  It’s lately stayed in the background.

Saving money to be a good steward was easy.  Simplifying my wardrobe and home decor to be a good steward was fairly easy.  Home decor was planned to create an environment that would make it easier to draw closer to God.

But then it became harder.  I spent too much time on a putting together a  pleasing  wardrobe.  And then there is the joy I get from my wardrobe.

I guess it’s just one of the many things I need to work on.  So while I do find joy on things like that, I will make a point to find joy in God instead.   Concerning my wardrobe, I will aim only to be neat and presentable (which I was not ready for until now).

As I work towards my goals, I need to remember they should not be my goals first.  I should seek his goals first.

That doesn’t mean I don’t research and plan and work hard.  It means I pray about it, listen and read the Bible first, then do what I can.  And what I can’t do reasonably, I leave to God.

What areas do you struggle with when you reconcile your faith to your goals?

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Joys

Yesterday I made time to slow down and enjoy…

A simple favorite meal…

A slow song in my head….

The excitement of and a discussion with my youngest child….

I plan on making time, enjoying, savoring and being grateful for three simple joys of mine everyday, to live out a “well-lived” life. 

Simple joys are different for everyone, so it’s necessary to figure what brings the most joy to ourselves. They can even be something like wearing a favorite bracelet or greatly admiring something you saw. They are the  good simple things, when everything in front of us is bad.  

What simple things mean/matter the most to you? What simple things do you greatly and deeply enjoy? 

A Life Well-Lived

It varies for everyone and it may also vary throughout one’s life.

In the past it has meant enjoying family and friends, traveling, having a good job,  purchasing a house,  serving others,and numerous other things.

But lately my goals have been for security and  that requires sacrifice. For me, gratitude seems the answer to fill that gap.  Gratitude can give me a life well-lived.  Gratitude allows me joy in my family, in the kindness of friends, in a tasty meal, in  a piece of art or music.  They differ for everyone, but they are the little things we easily overlook every day. If we don’t overlook them, take time to enjoy them,anđ are grateful for them, then I think my  life will have been well-lived.

What about you? How are you living life well, while aiming for your goals?