A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

Busyness, the New Social Competition

After a conversation the other day, with my dear sister-in-Christ, Jeanne, I began thinking about the busyness of not just motherhood, but of the busyness of childhood.

Admittedly this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this topic, or written about it on this blog.

In fact, this post on, “saying ‘no'” was written in 2015.

Although many things in my life (and in my writing) have changed since that post, much still remains the same.

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Just typing that was exhausting. It makes my brain hurt.

But What About Socialization?

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

If you’re reading this you’re likely a homeschool mother, or at the very least are familiar with the homeschool community. The constant question from the general population is always, “what about socialization”?

Having had to answer this a time or twenty, I understand the frustration.

Sadly though, I’ve discovered the continual barrage of this question on homeschool mothers has led many to over-socialize their children (and themselves).

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Mothers are humans too (although they’re often more superhuman than mere human), and they want to fit in with others just like their children do. This leads to worry about their children missing out on all the ‘things’.

Things = extracurricular activities: drama, music, dance, cooking class, various sports, etc.

There are quite literally more options for activities for our children than I can even wrap my head around. There could be several posts spent discussing these possible options.

Some of them are even good.

However, do our children really need to be overwhelmed by a smorgasbord of ‘good’ activities if it doesn’t leave them (or their mother) time for things that would prove to be more than just ‘good’?

Yes, I’m “That” Parent

I’m an introvert by nature, and a homebody on top of that. My family is convinced that I’m one step away from becoming a hermit. Especially since I can now have pretty much everything I need delivered to my doorstep.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Being a mother of highly social and obviously extroverted children, I’m not likely to see hermit-hood anytime in the next eighteen years or so.

So instead, I know that I need to maintain my sanity, while still providing for the interactive needs of my children.

This means making sure my children have outlets and activities to participate in.

Activities in and of themselves aren’t ‘bad’.

Over-scheduling ourselves and our families is.

I’ll be honest, there are tons of things my children want to get involved in.

There are even quite a few I’ve considered for my children.

However, after prayerfully considering these activities, and my own sanity–as well as God’s call for me to raise my children for His glory, I always come to the realization that these extra activities are just ‘good’.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

Does this mean I say ‘no’ to a lot of opportunities for my children?

Yes.

Is my twelve-year old daughter bummed about missing out on a social group or activity her friends are participating in?

Also, Yes.

As Mothers We Need to Know When to Say “No”.

My children are already busier than I would ideally like. However, the activities they’re in were prayerfully considered.

Whenever possible they’re in activities at the same place and time.

Since my husband works nights and is often gone for long hours of over-time and commuting; I treasure the time he is home, and try to make sure the kids are home to get every extra moment they can with him.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

There are times when this actually causes us to skip a particular activity for the week, simply because, to me, family togetherness far outweighs social activities.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Our Activities:

  • As a family we attend church together on Sundays.
  • Tuesdays my husband takes the three older kiddos to the gym where they participate in homeschool PE (and I stay home for much needed snuggles with the youngest).
  • Wednesdays the kiddos and I participate in Awana at our church. Two Wednesdays a month my eldest works with the tech team for the middle school worship team during our Awana time.
  • Thursdays we have our homeschool Co-Op

The days we don’t have scheduled activities we have game time, and just take it easy.

Children need time to “be bored”, and if every moment of their days are scheduled with activities they never have the opportunity to discover ways to entertain themselves.

There are weeks when my eldest is invited to a birthday party, or to spend a few hours at a friend’s house.

Most of the time she’ll be allowed to go, and always enjoys her time.

Other times, I’ll use my motherhood superpower and say, “no”.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Not because I have anything against her having friends, or experiencing life; but because sometimes there are things more important than those moments of excitement and fun.

Sometimes, there is a voice whispering in my heart “no, not this time”.

I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

Give Yourself Grace

One of the hardest parts about being a mother, is remembering to give ourselves grace. We often forget that God shows us all grace everyday, but we find it nearly impossible to show that same grace to ourselves.

Saying no isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll second guess your decisions. That’s normal.

I’ve learned in the last four years so many amazing things about myself, and my children. Had I said yes to every activity that sounded good, I don’t think there would have been time or closeness for these discoveries.

Saving my ‘yes’ for only the best things, has made a huge impact on my family’s lives.

We may not be doing ‘all the things’, but we are getting to know each other; to learn together, and to live our lives together.

Not just living from one activity to another, but actually living in the moment.

Something to Consider:

Start small. Try setting one day a week aside where you don’t participate in any activities outside the house. Use this time to connect on a more relaxed level with your children.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May we strive to prayerfully know what the best use of our ‘yes’ is. We ask for guidance in saying ‘no’ when everyone else is saying ‘yes’. Help us to make intentional use of our time with our families that we may raise our children for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Until next time,

wellofaith
A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

If you’re looking for a good book on this topic, I recommend this book by Lysa Terkeurst.

homeschool from the heart

Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

Blessed to Home-Educate

homeschool from the heart

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’re reading this, you likely are either considering homeschooling or are already deep in the trenches and looking for support or options.

Or, you just enjoy reading the ramblings of others who have a similar focus as you.

Whatever your reason, I pray this post brings something positive to your day.

There are others far more qualified to explain the deeper complexities of this lifestyle we’ve been called to, but I’m led to share what I have learned, so far, during my family’s homeschooling journey.

Not everyone chooses to walk this path, and that’s okay.

My family consider ourselves blessed to spend each day together learning, growing, and experiencing life (this includes the sibling bickering) the way generations of families did before the creation of government funded public school, and compulsory attendance.

In a world concerned with political correctness, progressive Christianity, and militant feminisim, I praise God every day that my children have the chance to avoid the indoctrination of modern ‘acceptance’.

From Public-schooling to Homeschooling

My family didn’t fall into this homeschool lifestyle by accident, but we also didn’t plan to keep our children home.

Seven years ago, my daughter was enrolled in first grade at the local public school.

For months I felt led to be more involved with children, and I admit, I assumed this meant I should be more active in the children’s ministry at church.

As with every decision in life, I turned to prayer.

The answer I received was not what I was expecting, or what I thought I wanted.

So, I argued with God.

After all, He must be mistaken.

I couldn’t imagine being home with my head-strong daughter all day, every day; and what did I know about teaching?

After several days of stubborn refusal on my part (my daughter obviously comes by her temperament naturally) I acquiesced to God.

I don’t regret that decision.

Homeschooling Philosophies or Boxed Curriculum Oh, My!

There are more curriculum choices and homeschooling philosophies than I personally know what to do with.

Homeschool from the heart

They’re great.

Or they’re not so great.

It really depends on each unique family and their learning styles, and I’m not going to recreate the wheel.

There are blogs upon blogs that discuss the differences–the pros and cons, of each philosophy or curriculum.

Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool

When we first removed our eldest from public school, I had no idea where to even begin.

The only things I knew were that God wanted us to follow this path, and the K-12 online program wasn’t for us.

That left a lot to wade through and consider.

In the last five years my daughter and I have used various methods for her education.

We’ve tried Charlotte Mason, Classical Conversations, My Father’s World, as well as a not so well-known curriculum (Accelerated Academics– also known as, A Squared).

Every year I’ve prayed about how best to educate my children; to raise them with a love of learning. Not to just teach them what a typical education would offer them, but expand their horizons.

I pray for the best ways to help teach my children how to learn.

God answers our prayers. He really, truly does.

So far, I’ve discovered that my children don’t learn the same way.

Some of this is age, but some of it is their own personal learning styles.

I also learned that I’m really not a fan of boxed curriculum. The anxiety they induce in me really isn’t helpful for anyone in my family.

Since neither of my children, currently of compulsory age (we live in Virginia, and sadly that age is far younger than I’m happy with–but that is a different post completely), care if they have a pre-designed curriculum or not, I have the freedom to kick that added stress to the curb.

Homeschool from the heart

My eldest son (6) loves worksheets and workbooks, but he also loves engaging stories about things he is interested in; he can build amazing creations with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or any of the several mechanically focused building materials he has. He practically taught himself to read, and though he isn’t a fast reader yet, he gets better every day.

Now, this is nothing like how my eldest daughter (11) learns.

She prefers reading great books and discussing them. She works well independently, and finishes the majority of her work without me. If I were to hand her a workbook, we would likely both end up on timeout.

Homeschooling From the Heart

What does it mean to homeschool from the heart?

Homeschool from the heart

For our family, that means there is a lot of prayerful thought and consideration for each child. It begins with deciding what we want (or need) to learn during the upcoming year.

This year I read through Plan Your Year, by fellow homeschooling Momma, Pam Barnhill, and that helped me to clarify my vision for our school. You can pick up your copy here.

Since we school year-round, we have quite a lot of freedom in our scheduling, and don’t worry about getting everything covered in 180-days.

We continually cover Bible (and as they get older a focus on Apologetics) Math, Latin, and Language Arts (literature and grammar–depending on the age). Based on the time of year, we also include Sciences, History (my eldest daughter’s favorite subject), Art, Geography, Writing, and Health.

Recently I’ve gone back to a lot of the principles Charlotte Mason taught, and have found a new love for the simple way of teaching and connecting with my children.

Homeschool from the heart

While I’m not truly what people would consider a Charlotte Mason educator, I love anything that tells me to share amazing books instead of boring textbooks. My inner bibliophile gets all giddy at the thought.

Another thing about homeschooling from the heart, is making sure you’re truly connecting with the heart of your children.

Each child is an individual, and even though they’re all part of the same family, they won’t always be like you.

My children are very active and social. They thrive being around people.

Since I’m quite introverted I make sure I pay attention to this aspect of their hearts too.

Church Activities and Co-Op

If left to my own devices I would likely never go further than the end of my drive-way. I have everything I need–or can have it delivered.

With four children–three of which love being around other people, I’m never left to my own devices.

I suppose this is for the best.

To insure my children get quality time with other kids of various ages, we participate in Awana every year. This one night a week is generally all I can handle outside Sunday mornings.

However, this is not enough for my brood.

Which leads us to this year, and Co-Op.

The last time I participated in anything Co-Op related, it was CC.

Turns out, that wasn’t really our thing.

My kiddos are definitely excited about joining Co-Op. They’ll be learning things I wouldn’t ordinarily teach them at home.

Like Debate.

Plus, there is that ‘socialization’ people outside of homeschool circles worry about.

How We Got Here

As you’ve already read, I spent five years trying to figure out which popular idea or curriculum was the right one. I read everything I could on the different styles and philosophies. I listened to people who swore this curriculum or that curriculum would be the answer for everything.

In short, I didn’t consider who my children are or who I am. I was looking for a one-size fits all way to educate young people who are not only separated by age and gender, but by interests and learning styles.

I didn’t consider how our lives really are.

That we don’t work well within the confines of grid schedules, and endless hours of busy work.

We have interests outside what are generally included in a boxed curriculum, and prefer more flexibility than is given in CC or even in Charlotte Mason.

Philosophies and curriculum are wonderful.

They really are, but they aren’t everything.

You can buy every new curriculum, or try every Co-Op. You can switch philosophies in mid year, or you can just wing it.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re teaching young people to learn.

To experience life.

We must teach the whole child.

Homeschool from the heart

Not just parts.

This means knowing their hearts, and knowing ours.

It means teaching manners and etiquette.

Teaching our children that hard work pays off, even if it isn’t in the way we expect. We won’t always get a trophy, and we don’t always need one.

To teach a child from the heart, we must do more than just parrot the newest craze.

We must learn to listen with a discerning heart.

To pray for wisdom so that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming like the world.

For more book recommendations check out this post.

Until next time,

wellofaith
Homeschooling From the Heart Not Just a Curriculum

parenting love

That Time As A Teen When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.
When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew everything about everything, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate.

Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus.

My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me.

I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans.

My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

The Reality Of Parenting Is Drastically Different

Before the birth of my youngest daughter, my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound.

The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches. It was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months.

Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the Lord created, and to truly appreciate it, helped relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me understand something about myself:

I’m not a perfect parent, and I don’t really have this parenting thing down.

In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me.

I always thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent.

Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it.

Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with four beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous.

Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys.

It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have.

Our eldest is only eleven, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago.

Yes, she can do solitary things without constant supervision, and she has experienced the joy of middle school ministry events (where her mother wasn’t invovled), but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored.

This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car or abducted (see, anxiety).

I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children.

We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can.

Have some people lost their way?

Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge.

There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen.

Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.

Our Family’s Bible Verses: 2017

Our Family Verses 2017-- WellOFaith

Making a Prayerful Decision

This year we’ve been having a few problems with our children’s behavior towards each other.

My husband and I realized this wasn’t completely on them, but fell on us as parents as well. Their behavior reflected on how we treated, acted, and reacted to those around us.

We prayerfully decided to choose two verses for our family to not only memorize, but to truly take to heart.

The Lord wants us to place His words on our hearts and carry them with us–remembering them and understanding them.

Place the Lord’s Words on Your Heart

Our Family Verses 2017-1--WellOFaith

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Titus 2:7a

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

One Step at a Time

Every morning we recite these two verses together. So far, both of my children have them memorized.

I on the other hand still need to look at them.

I’ll blame old age. 🙂

We will continue reciting them each morning for the remainder of 2017.

Currently there is still much work to be done, but I know as long as the words are there for my children, in time those words will make an impact in their lives.

And in mine.

What verses do you return to again and again when your family is having problems?

 

Blessings,

Sare Signature

 

 

 

The Well-Trained Mind

Homeschooling is a very new adventure for my family, and everyday we find something new to learn about it. We spent a month working on a unit study of volcanoes and working on a lapbook of them. That seemed to work well. During that time my daughter also worked through Life of Fred Butterflies for her math. We snuck in grammar and history through various things, but I just didn’t feel it was solid enough for us.

So I did what I do.

I read.

At the beginning of this journey I did a lot of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with the homeschool highway. While reading I noticed people talking about “The Well-Trained Mind”, and it didn’t sound like anything I was interested it.

Until, after days of praying for a better way, I was.

So I bought the book and read through the chapters dealing with the Grammar stage. This is the learning stage my daughter is currently in. Then I borrowed the book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I was floored. This is it. This is exactly what I was looking for, but didn’t realize it.

It’s the Classical Approach to learning, and it is what I know in my heart we need. At least for this season. I’ve prayed about it, and like with the knowledge I needed to homeschool, this feels right.

On Monday, we’ll be beginning our first official day of learning in the Well-Trained Mind. We’ll learn from FLL and from Story of the World Volume One. We’ll continue with Life of Fred, and all our reading we do. We’ll begin learning about animals as outlined in TWTM, and we’ll continue to spend time with our Lord.

This is just another step in our learning process. It may not be forever, but it is for this season. I’ll continue to turn to God with my questions and problems, and he’ll continue to guide me along this path for as long as is right.

Do you homeschool your children? If so, what approach do you use? Please share with us in the comments below.

May God Bless You All,

Sare

Joyful Hearts

The public school here has been in session since the 5th, and every day I am thankful for the Lord placing homeschooling on my heart.

I’d love to say each day is a picnic on the beach (one where sand doesn’t get all up in your potato salad), but really, what part of life ever is? Miss K and I are finding our rhythm and learning how to learn together. This is made a little complicated by the now walking and getting into even more mischief, Mr. D.

The Mister has been away at another school for the Marine Corps, and our little family has felt a little smaller without his larger-than-life presence.

While we deal with the responsibilities of daily life, as well as the new found availability of snuggles in our home, we have the Lord to thank for all these blessings.

Every night my heart grows a little happier as I listen to Miss K saying her prayers. She always prays for her daddy and that he will do well on his tests and will stay safe while he is gone.

We are all growing in our prayer life, and when we say grace we have started adding one thing each we are personally thankful for. Little things like being thankful for the sunshine, or being thankful for the game we got to play.

So, while we are always growing and changing,  and with those things often come discomfort, we are grateful for the new closeness and love that is flourishing within the walls of our home.

May you and yours be blessed,
Sare

Falling Behind

I’ve fallen behind on chronicling my walk of Faith, not because it isn’t important to me–it truly is. The last several weeks have been crazy, busy, and emotionally draining.

My father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, so we’ve been going through the steps to start treatment. There has been a lot of prayers coming from me in recent days, but there are truly times when I’m not sure I’m as good and faithful as I should be.

I’m never sure if I’m leading my children to the LORD or if they’re just along for the ride. I’m not sure if my actions are showing the changes the LORD is making in me, or if it is only something I see. Each and every day, I give the day to Him and ask that He blesses me and opens my heart to His word. To allow His light to shine through me so others may find His grace.

Each day I read about Christians who are making a difference in the world, and I wonder if there is more I should be doing. I’ve been active in my church, but as the days go by I wonder if I’ve taken on more than I should have, and if being involved in so many things is truly what the LORD had planned for me.

My daughter and I have slowly merged onto the Homeschool Highway. We’re reviewing the things she ‘learned’ in first grade. In most things I’m very grateful to her first grade teacher. We’ll be going full swing as soon as I’m sure we’ve got a good footing. This is a new adventure, and with everything else going on, it has made for some really stressful and scary moments.

I don’t often second guess myself, even before I realized our Heavenly Father was with me, but there have been days when I’ve had to send my kiddos to their rooms so I could have ten minutes to re-center myself with His word. There has been many, many moments of asking God if He was certain this was His path for me. Am I really doing the best thing for everyone?

So far, we’re still with it, and until the time when God opens a different door for us, it’s where we will stay.

May God Bless You and Keep You,

Sare