November was a lovely month. Let me tell you about it.
Weather, natural beauty, and the skies. November was filled with beautiful weather and lots of time outside, which in a cold weather state is a huge surprise and delight. Normally, by November we have all hunkered down into our low state of grey skies and chilled-to-the-bone temps, hanging on to our sanity and praying for March. This year, I could not believe every day that the sky was brilliantly blue, the temps were in the 50s or 60s, and the sunsets. Even on rainy days, the sky bore such beauty in rainbows and sunsets that my Instagram feed was a Hallelujah chorus! To say I’ve been into this gorgeous weather would be an understatement.
Family Rules. I attended the L.I.F.E. (Learning In the Family Environment) Homeschool meeting. This group is for home educating families in my area and November’s meeting was the veteran panel where women who have educated their children through high school came and shared their experiences with us. I gained so much helpful information and practical tips, along with loads on confirmation and confidence that this lifestyle – though trying – really is worth it and it really works. One small point a couple women made while telling their stories was that they relied on Family Rules. It wasn’t even the point of what they were saying, but it made a large impression on me. They were talking about manners and social engagements and how they would review their family’s rules and standards. One woman talked about how having these in place saved her from using too many words in conversations and corrections. She’d just say, “Lecture #7” which the number was arbitrary but her kids knew she was referring to a set of rules they had for their behavior. I realized that while I have loads of rules all stored up in my mind and while I’ve spoken these rules to my children, I have not yet written them out nor boiled them down to concise bullet points for easy remembering. This will be happening. I love learning from others. If you have a great set of Family Rules please share them with me in the comments!
Homeschooling through Busy Seasons. R-e-a-l-i-t-y hit hard at the beginning of this month when I realized that everything was going to pile onto my plate to keep our lessons going while attending loads of extra evening activities with family, friends, and church. I love this time of year. I have learned so much about myself and my weak spots through the trying ways that holidays stress my introverted nature, but I have also seen how the Lord answers honest prayers prayed over the long haul. And I’ve asked Him for help with two things: my anxiety and my love for others. I recognized that my stress created a lack of love for others. I couldn’t enjoy myself in social engagements because I resented all the work it took to make it happen. I couldn’t rest in the moment with another person because I was burdened by my previous behavior at home, all the unfinished work I left there, and all the sacrifice of my time to be here with them. So I’m learning to keep praying, keep growing, and keep breathing. It’s such a simple thing to learn how to stay fully alive through busy seasons, but it’s an important thing to me. (Read this post to get the full picture of what I mean.)
Black Friday. I no longer hate everything sale-related this time of year. Partly due to maturity and realizing that I was the problem not the sales because I was impulsive. A cool new electronic device is $100 off? Oh well then, I guess I just have to buy it. Yeah, that doesn’t make for good feelings when I realized I didn’t have the money to be buying that new thing and now we have to eat rice and beans to make up for my poor choice. So planning ahead, shopping at only 1-2 stores, and not even looking at the other ads at other stores (because I don’t need to know what deals I’m missing anyway) are my safety zone.
Science. Back in August when I was preparing for Back to School, I asked both my school aged kids what was the most important or most interesting subject to them – and they both said “Science and How Stuff Works!” In our unit study I’ve been able to pick and choose our science lessons (there are multiple options per subject for what your child is interested in), but I didn’t feel like I was capturing their fancy. So, I found How It’s Made from the Science Channel at our local library! We took 3 days to watch all the episodes and my kids were mesmerized. They truly appreciate how much time, attention, and work goes into making everything from doughnuts to Nascar engines, and I love that even at this early age I can cater their education to include fun things like this to peak their interest and train their attention. At 9 bucks, I think this DVD will be a great stocking stuffer.
Teaching from Rest. Sarah McKenzie, author, blogger, podcaster, and home educating mama of 6, hosted a live online book club for her book Teaching from Rest on Periscope in November. Let me tell you that if you do not want to buy the book – that’s cool – you will still benefit from watching the replays of her videos because the encouragement, honesty, practical tips, and vision for a home educating environment that nourishes the whole family flows freely from Sarah’s personality. She is simply a delight to engage with. I have been reading her book during my devotional time and committing my days, my children, and my philosophies to the Lord. This book is a game changer.
Simplicity Parenting and ADD. I wrote about my brain this month. I tackled my ADD openly to show how it is possible to heal from the frazzle and to build a stronger brain through practicing 7 things I’ve learned that help me. I’m also in the middle of listening to the book Simplicity Parenting, which is heavy reading on parenting against the mainstream culture. It isn’t written from a Christian perspective as far as I can tell. The message that by default our children in this current culture are being over stimulated to the point of exhibiting post-traumatic-stress symptoms is sobering. The author Kim John Payne, M. ED., with Lisa M. Ross, tells of experience counseling parents and children from around the world which centers on one very big issue – excess is making kids crazy. As a personal note, I loved the redefinition of ADD in this book. “It isn’t that kids and adults truly have an Attention Deficit, no I call it API: Attention Priority Issue. These individuals usually have lots of attention to give to their lives but they don’t know how to restrain their attention and give it priority.” Again, this book is a game changer.
Book Club. The book club that was recently created by myself and a few of my friends on Facebook held our first meeting! We discussed The Secrets of a Charmed Life (which has nothing to do with magic by the way, that was my first concern when I read this title). The time we spent together centered around this book was so enriching and deep. It is so nourishing for my spirit to be able to dig into history, issues of the human condition, and other culture’s traditions in friendly conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed this time, and I look forward to our next meeting. Let me know if you want to join, we have a Facebook group. (This is also a reminder that I need to post the next votes on dates and books. Thanks for your patience friends!)
Bullet Journal. Again I am struck by how much momentum is building with Bullet Journaling. My original post on How I set up my Bullet Journal has been my #1 trafficked post by far just this month. I wrote an update about how I’m using the system with more videos and helpful tips that you can find here.
This was November. We are in the middle of enjoying Thanksgiving. My husband has time off from work and we are balancing rest and work around the house. These seasons of busy, family, and holiday are so unique and I’m so thankful for the Lord’s grace in allowing my I-need-routine-to-be-okay self to let go and stay in the moment. I’m thankful for personal growth, prayer, vulnerability with loved ones, and breath in my lungs. This life is a miracle every single day. I want to notice as much beauty in all of it as I can.
This post is linked up with Emily P. Freeman for Things Learned and with Leigh Kramer for Things Into.
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