I’m so excited that Deana asked me to guest blog here at The Frugal Homeschooling Mom. As a mom of two grown children I can honestly say that I admire anyone who stays home and homeschools. It isn’t something that I did and although some parents did homeschool “back in the day” it is much more common now than it was when my children were in school. While I’m not familiar with homeschooling I am familiar with the sacrifices it takes to keep a family on the straight and narrow.
We did it all. AWANA, children’s choirs at church, baseball, (Summer, Fall and traveling) basketball, (school, rec league, traveling, Middle School, High School, College and Overseas) Football, Track, Gymnastics, Book Publishing, piano and voice. My husband was a Deacon and Sunday School teacher, served as a Trustee and on the Missions Committee. We worked with the Teens and Youth Choirs, went on Missions trips. I sang in the Choir, the Praise Team, worked with the Special Needs Ministry, taught Sunday School, worked in the Nursery, and played keyboard in the Orchestra.
While I’m sure we never perfected any of these, we sure did try. One might even say that we burned the candle at both ends. We did all of this while we both worked. My husband worked full time and most of those weeks overtime and occasionally two jobs. I worked around 32 hours a week. There were many nights in those early years when we would get home, eat dinner and fall into bed and get right back up the next morning and start it all over again.
Now that I’m on the other side of “all that” I would say to you to try and balance without trying to be Supermom. There are no Supermoms. Pinterest, blogs and sometimes our friends make it look like there are, but no one can do it all. Don’t put too many expectations on yourself. Keep pressing on. You’re doing great. Your children need YOU.
I remember once when my son was very sick and his fever was very high. He only wanted me to hold him. The laundry was piled high. The dishes were dirty in the sink. I was on the phone with my mom and I told her that I couldn’t get anything done. She said to me, “Hold him now, the laundry and dirty dishes will wait. He will not always want you to hold him.” It wasn’t long after that conversation that I saw a plaque at a craft fair and it said:
“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ‘til tomorrow
For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow.
So hush down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”
I bought that plaque that day and have kept it to this day and hope to pass it on to my children as they start their families. So when you have a never ending “to do list” and a child that just needs “you” give yourself a break. Just be mom.
One thing that helped me focus our family was having a family verse. Our verse is Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me and I will show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” We called this “God’s telephone number.” This verse showed up in lunch bags, written in the bill of baseball caps, tucked in basketball shoes, track shoes, on the dashboard of cars, etc. Post it on your fridge or on your family chalkboard. Recite it to each other every day. Mom, stay the course. Being a mother is, in my opinion, one of the highest callings in the land. Wake with renewed strength each day. Remember that you get fresh do-overs every day and that His mercies are new every morning.
Felicia (Fifi), of Average Day on Everidge, is married to James, the first and only man she ever fell in love with, and they have two children, Kristen and Bradley. Bradley is married to their daughter-in-love, Kayla. Felicia began blogging two years ago at the urging of her husband and children. She loves to encourage others by sharing the love of Jesus.
This afternoon I looked up in the sky, noticing the wind and the clouds moving quickly above me. The warmth of the sun was shining down on me, but soon (when the clouds covered the sun) it became noticeably darker and cooler all around me.
As I watched the clouds cover the sun and cause darkness and coldness all around me, this seemed to be a perfect comparison to how I have been feeling lately. I have been recovering from a physical illness since mid-September, and I have felt discouragement and even depression try to settle on me as my daily life and routine has changed while my body heals. Even writing has been difficult, and writing is normally as easy as breathing for me.
Proverbs 13:22 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (NIV).
I feel like I am in a season with clouds hiding the warmth of the sun from me, but God encouraged me today with this simple analogy as I sat there a little longer. I was able to watch the clouds break up, and the bright sun’s warmth covered me once again.
The warmth of the sun reminded me that God is still here. (The sun was there all along. It was only hidden behind the clouds.) God knows where I am, and He hasn’t forgotten me in this cloud-covered time of healing I have found myself in. I don’t know when it will happen, or what it will look like, but I know one day the clouds will clear and the warm sun will be shining down on me again.
Do you have hope that has been deferred in any area of your life?
Maybe you are in a season like I am, where it seems as if the warmth of the sun has been hidden from you. This can cause great discouragement and lead you to wonder if your situation will ever change. Don’t become lost in the darkness around you. The Lord is near you, and He is there to guide you and walk with you during this trial in your life. Maybe it has been so dark around you that you can’t see God at all. Pray something simple like this, and I believe He will answer you:
“Father God, I am weary and discouraged. The darkness around me feels so consuming that I cannot even see You anymore. Please show me where You are in all of this, and I will follow You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Amy Riordan is a Christian writer and speaker with a desire to see women’s hearts healed and set free. Her passion is to inspire others to embrace who they were created and redeemed to be. Amy lives in PA with her husband and two children. She candidly shares her story on her blog, Walking in Freedom encouraging women to pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus, the only One who can satisfy their deep longings for intimacy and connection.
Perfect for moms planning parties for children with food allergies, these non-food ideas will keep your children safe AND perfectly spoiled on their special day!
I love these ideas, since my own child, Laynie, age 9, has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. She was diagnosed at 14 months when I first introduced peanut butter and she broke out in hives from head to toe. Since then, she has had two cases of anaphylaxis, and one other serious reaction, and innumerable cases of hives.
Jennifer Ladewig, from Homeschool Happenings, says, “I am a homeschooling mom of six. I have three children with varying degrees of food allergies, ranging from allergies to a couple of food to a kiddo that can eat nothing. I set out to make Birthday Cakes extra special, even for the ones that cannot eat them.”
She has some brilliant ideas for moms like me! Go visit her blog and follow her on Pinterest for more inspiration.
Last Friday, Laynie, my 9 year-old, broke my tablet.
It was a gift. I have wanted a tablet or a smartphone or ANYTHING other than my Kindle for years. When I was given this tablet as an unexpected gift back in May, I was ecstatic. It was a special luxury that made me feel like I was finally able to fit in with the online world – able to download cool apps like Ibotta and Instagram (but it was incompatible with this new thing called scoping, but I didn’t care, it was still cool). I could finally use the latest educational apps. Yes, it was really nice while it lasted.
Friday was a tough day. I won’t go into details, but it was just evident that we were struggling a bit financially, …again… we’ve been fine for a while, but just hit some bumps this month.
As a family of 5 currently living on less than I used to make as a teacher (that gives you an idea), it’s been really hard living without using debt, and as a result of choosing that lifestyle, we’ve gone without a lot. I am so proud of that, don’t get me wrong. But I was longing for just a little luxury. I wanted Olive Garden, but we were eating beans and rice. I was imagining a freshly repainted living room and kitchen, but I was looking at scraped and stained walls and unfinished baseboards. I was envisioning a reunion with college friends on a girls’ spa retreat, but had to speak up and say “I can’t afford it, guys. We’ve got two kids’ birthdays and Christmas coming up. Doesn’t a stay-cation sound fun?” (Um, no… lame.)
And then I told my husband that I loved him and he’s a wonderful provider and father to our children. And I focused on contentment and my purpose as a stay-at-home, homeschool mom who truly loves what I do, day in and day out.
But on Friday I was pretty depressed. I had been running errands all morning while my husband watched the kids so I could get it all done a little faster and easier without three children in tow. Some of those errands were related to financial chores that needed to be taken care of. In the past month we’ve had a few unexpected expenses totaling about $700, and things have gotten very tight. Over that month, I’ve been happy for friends who have paid off their college loans, booked cruises, posted Instagram pics of their all organic and “clean” dinners they served up sans coupons, bought a new minivan, lost weight on the expensive diet and exercise plan, and signed a book deal. I was happy for them, I truly was. But inside I began to doubt my own contentment. I wondered if there would ever be an end to our tight financial budget.
I even began to doubt homeschooling. “Man,” I thought to myself, “if I sold all our Classical Conversations curriculum, and some of our other school books and supplies, and signed on with the state’s ‘public-school-at-home’ program, I could use the money for Christmas, I could get free internet, and all the books I’d need, and maybe even qualify for food stamps for our family.” Those thoughts led further to: “Gee, if I just sent the kids to public school and preschool, I’d probably get government assistance or else financial aid at the preschools and probably my oldest would get free breakfast, lunch and after-school care.” I imagined it being wise and aspiring to do those things, and spend a couple of years going back to school for web design and working as a substitute teacher, and get us out of this tight financial state that we had seemed to be falling back into.
I had just finished my last task when my sweet, yet overworked and chronically ill husband texted me: “I wanted to let you know ahead of time so you’d have a heads up, Laynie broke your tablet. It was an accident.” Oh no… all those photos and videos… I didn’t download them yet…
I cried. I pulled the car over to a parking lot and just cried. At first it was about the tablet.
But then… amazingly, I found myself crying less about the tablet. But more so about the fact that I realized I was focused on the things that didn’t really matter:
that lingering college loan
I pulled myself together, and I texted my hubby that I would be home soon.
When I walked in the door, my face was no longer red, but I could tell my daughter had been crying for some time. As she walked down the steps to me, I noticed her splotchy cheeks and puffy eyes while she shook, admitting what she had done. Her eyes sought out forgiveness in mine.
Praise God I remembered in that moment that in the grand scheme of things, this little bump in the road is only temporary. The sacrifices we make are SO. WORTH. IT. Thank God He helped me to remember what’s truly important:
living within our means
Memories. She would remember this day. She would remember my reaction. She wouldn’t know that Mom had a really bad day and this was just one straw that broke the camel’s back. But she would most likely, always remember my reaction and my words to her in that moment.
Praise God He helped me. I am so weak and make so many mistakes. Thank God that He gave me the peace I needed in that moment to offer unconditional grace and forgiveness to my child.
I grabbed my little girl who’s not so little anymore, hugged her tightly, and told her it was ok. I also told her that nothing she could ever do, and no mistake she could ever make, would cause me to love her less or be unable to forgive her. I told her that a tablet is just a thing, and not important enough to be mad over.
And in the past few days without it, and as the stress of Friday has passed and life goes on in abundance, grace, and mercy, I’ve been able to see a little more clearly. I hope that this little glimpse of my life inspires you to keep on, even when money’s tight. Even when it’s hard. Stay focused on your purpose for homeschooling your children, and know that one day, you’ll be able to look back at these bumps in the road and see that it was all worth it – and that you’ll have no regrets.
I made this little graphic on Thursday and posted it to my Facebook page. God was already working on my heart then. I knew even then that I was struggling with contentment, and wrote this to encourage myself as much as anyone else who happened upon my Facebook page that night. God used the events of the past few days to teach me peace, contentment, and joy again in the midst of momentary struggles. If you don’t know that peace, I’d love to talk with you about it. Hugs.
I’m getting excited for our state’s homeschool conference, NCHE Conference 2015: Thrive! This year, I am thrilled to be on the official blogging team for it. In preparation for the conference, I needed to make myself a checklist and to-do list so I would remember what to bring, and as I did it, I made one for you too! Here it is! (And a handy FREE printable so you can print these ideas out easily)
Homeschool Conference Checklist:
|Scroll down to download your free printables!
Things to take with you when you go to a homeschool conference!
1. A Bag
- Not just any bag, but a huge one. A duffle bag or even a drag-behind luggage case or pull-along file cart will do. It needs to have plenty of room in it for carrying not only the stuff you’ll bring with you, but the TONS of stuff you’ll pick up during the conference. You’ll need something easy to carry all that stuff along with you throughout the day.
2. Electronic Devices
- Bring your smartphone, tablet, or even your laptop computer if you want to. You’ll want to snap photos, take notes, share things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (For NCHE conference-goers, use hashtag #NCHE2015). I’ll be bringing my laptop since I’m a blogger, but I’ll also have my handy tablet as well for social media and sharing my conference fun with others (follow me!). Also, don’t forget a backup battery!
3. Old Fashioned Notebook and Pen
- I will have these things as well, for jotting down notes and encouragement for future reference. If you take nothing else – these are definitely a MUST. For each speaker you sit in on, you are guaranteed to want to write something down, and you’ll hate it if you don’t have pen and paper. Trust me. My first year I attended, I was jotting notes in my conference program book. There wasn’t enough space!
4. That reminds me, you’ll definitely need a Conference Program Book.
- For the NCHE Conference, you can find it already published here.
5. Take your business cards if you have them.
- They are so handy for when you meet new business contacts, or when you make a new friend. You’re sure to meet all kinds of people, and you never know when you’ll need to quickly give them your contact information. Plus, sometimes the vendor booths have contests for chances to win their products, and all you have to do is drop your business card in a bucket.
6. Snacks/Gum/Mints/Water/Drinks (& Possibly even lunch)
- For the NCHE Conference, there are lots of nearby restaurants and even some onsite concessions, but if you’re looking to attend the conference frugally (like me) pack a little cooler with plenty to keep you satisfied throughout the day. You’ll be walking ALOT and will need food and drinks. In between sessions, you’ll only get a 30-minute break, which is often the perfect time to run to a vendor booth to check out curriculum, and waiting in line for snacks might be a waste of time or may cause you to be late for the next session. If your children are in the Children’s Conference program, you will only have an hour and 20 minutes to pick them up, eat lunch with them, and return them (and it’s during session times that you may not want to miss, so the kids may have to attend the sessions with you during that time). So, you may want to pack lunch, too!
7. Comfort Items
- Things like lip gloss, hand lotion, hand sanitizer (you will run into new and old friends, and shaking hands, holding handrails, touching elevator buttons, etc.), and facial tissues (for those especially inspiring speakers who make you cry!). If you’re going to the NCHE Conference, take a sweater – it’s always so cold in the convention center for some reason!
8. A Camera
- If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet that takes pictures, you may want to take a camera. You will make lots of good memories, meet lots of new friends, hear from wise and experienced speakers, and you’ll want to remember the inspiration and encouragement that you received at the conference. Make sure you have your memory card and backup battery too!
Click the link below the image to download the printable version of this list plus all the extras included (scroll down):
- The checklist for preparation
- A Daily To-Do List (you write in your goals for the day)
- Note-taking pages (3 styles: with or without graphics, lined or unlined)
By clicking the link below you’ll immediately be taken to the printable to download it.
Is there anything I missed? What would YOU bring to a homeschool conference?