Day 29: 5 Tips for Being a Healthy (Happy) Home School Mom #B2S #31Days

B2S Day 29 5 tips healthy happy home school mom

I believe the pressure to gather, buy, and prepare for the Back to School season is heavier than Christmas for the home school mom.

It isn’t just a measure of love or thoughtfulness. The child’s growth, development, and entire education rests upon the resources that we can (or can’t) supply for them.

Add to that the weight of the housekeeping, child keeping, and schedule keeping – and by the first week of school, I feel chained to an endless list of places, people, and tasks. I completely lose myself to the rush of being everything for everyone. (I identified my problem with saying yes too much yesterday.)

Somewhere in October, I usually come up for air. Wanting and able to actually see and tend to my own needs as an individual. As I have observed myself for the past number of years, I have found that I always put my needs last. My need for further education, adult conversation, a good book, alone time, healthy food, and a number of other little things get passed over for the sake of being efficient, committed, and involved in the lives of everyone around me.

I believe that the best resource I can offer my children is myself – healthy, happy, and equipped only with what is necessary to accomplish a well-planned week.

I hope these tips help to safe guard my heart for this coming school year – so that I’m not resentful of the schedule (that I designed) by November, and also so that I am just as healthy and engaged now as I will be in February. There’s something about preparing for the mindset, sacrifice, and health of the future that these tips have helped me to stay satisfied in every season.

5 Tips for Being a Healthy (Happy) Home School Mom:

Authority: This goes back to Day 17 when I wrote about the confusion of “I’m in charge, now you’re in charge” seesaw that was my experience with kids a few years ago. Everything changed in my heart and mind when I stopped resenting my children. I realized it was my fault that some of our days were a runaway train of child driven activities and chaos. Each day I woke up not knowing what the point of the day was – sure we had a schedule for the week, or even events on the calendar – but a rhythm to each and every day? Expectations of their contribution to our family’s health and well-being? No way. They weren’t required to do much, and since I lived in reaction to them most of the time – they were the ones with the most authority.

That has all changed, and I didn’t have to become Authoritarian to accomplish it.

I know from experience that taking ownership of the day before it falls into my children’s hands is essential for our health and happiness. This will look differently for every one – it will be as unique as you are, just as your conversation, language and style of relating to your child(ren) is different than mine. But the point remains true – if you don’t own the position of authority in your home, then they will. Remind yourself every morning that you are in charge (in a good way) and the success of each day depends on you.

Anchors: Each day needs an anchor. In our home, I don’t like to have more than one major anchor activity that takes us out of the house per day. I think of these anchors like the spindles on a wheel. The center of the week is home, and each day has one thing that takes us out into the world – this allows for slow movement and balance. I want to be operating smoothly by December. A little consideration, lots of “no’s” to the good (not best) things, and patience will provide so much peace and purpose that makes my job as home school mom a pleasant one.

Self-care: Everyone needs self-care. Even if you define it in the most basic terms of hygiene. I think of the care of my “self” as balancing physical, mental, emotional, and soul care. I need both nourishment and boundaries. It’s important to not neglect either of these for the sake of keeping up appearances.

Self-care for the home school mom is vital for the strength of the home as a whole.

It’s important to consider the needs and demands of good self-care when scheduling our commitments and weekly activities. Stretching my strength to the limits of what I can physically handle – late nights, lots of running around town (toting a toddler), and more than one commitment per day will break me. Once I’m broken I need a couple weeks of calm in order to get my feet back underneath me.

When I realized that each year I take a couple weeks “off school” in October because I was too spent on our out-of-the-house commitments to fulfill my inside-the-house commitments I knew I had created a problem by my own desire to be too many things to too many people.

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My people need a healthy (and happy) woman, able to be fully present, active, and mindful of how to manage our home and school.

My self-care looks like (this is a mixture of daily and weekly items):

  • Getting up before everyone else in the house for time with my Lord alone
  • Writing everyday for personal and public use
  • Reading a balance of non-fiction and fiction
  • Setting goals
  • Dating my husband
  • Casting a vision for my parenting and my personal growth
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Creating meals from whole foods
  • Stretching my body to be increasing in endurance (because running after a toddler isn’t for the weak)
  • Pursuing relationships with friends
  • Laughing (vague, I know. But I just need to laugh regularly.)

Your self-care may look entirely different than mine and still produce the healthiest and happiest version of you to your family – and that’s not only good, that’s great!

Education: It’s important for my health and well-being that I be actively pursuing my own further education. For me that looks like taking online courses, reading classics, and taking every opportunity to listen to lectures by the greatest professors, pastors, and teachers from around the world. I do not want my mind to become dull or disoriented to the world around me. Educating my children isn’t a process of handing over facts, I want to encourage them to learn by leading them by my example to pursue knowledge, understanding, and above all wisdom.

Food: This is a really practical one. I need good, healthy food to feel happy. I know I need to not neglect the priority of meal planning and budgeting in order to provide my family with the best foods that will fuel our bodies and our minds. Junk food and fast food may be the easier routes when the schedule is so packed that I can’t even see straight, but for me – too much junk in equals feeling like I am junk.

You are what you eat.

As a home schooling family, we have the privilege of eating almost every meal together, and while I can’t promise my children that every meal will be from scratch – I can be mindful to prioritize our food year-round for better minds and bodies.

With these 5 things in mind, I have seen slow, imperfect progress in my soul toward becoming the woman I want to be, the wife that compliments and supports my husband, and the mother who cares, nurtures, and educates with contentment and patience.

Here are some practical resources that have helped me on this journey to a healthier self:

  • FREE Healthy Living Mini Audio eCourse: The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families :: From the creators of the Ultimate Bundles – The course contains a collection of quick and easy-to-follow lessons from trusted bloggers:
    • Essential Habit #1: “Nurture Your Best Self (and Bust the Productivity Myth)” with Heather from Mommypotamus.
    • Essential Habit #2: “Keep Your Family Fit (Gym Membership Not Required)” with Crystal from Money Saving Mom.
    • Essential Habit #3: “Eat More Homemade Meals Around the Table (with Less Stress Than You Think)” with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship.
    • Essential Habit #4: “Reach for Natural Remedies with Confidence (and Know When and How to Use Them)” with Katie from Wellness Mama.

    Each lesson comes with a 20-minute audio lesson, PDF transcript, and a practical “Take Action” guide. The lessons are inspirational and practical.

  • Make Over Your Mornings :: I won’t bore you with more encouragement to try this one. Just trust me – I still believe you should do it.

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  • Paddle Upstream :: Live with the end in mind. From Tsh Oxenreider, author of Organized Simplicity (life-changer for me) comes this course which will guide you to living the life that has purpose and meaning. “Living upstream means paddling against the flow of culture—a well-meaning, good-intentioned culture that, frankly, has gotten it wrong about a few things. But paddle we must, using our well-trained arm muscles and a good compass… because it’s the right thing to do.”
  • Grocery University :: Crystal Paine’s first course has been made over. It will help you get a grip on your grocery budget. I know for me healthy food is just as important as a healthy bank account. Ready to learn how to spend less than $50 per week on groceries? I know saving money is a high priority for me!

This has been Day 29 in the #Back2School in #31Days series, to see the list of topics covered click here for the index.

Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, bookmark or share it for future reference. There are affiliate links in this post, because that's just good business - they are all marked by underlining. If you want to know more about affiliate links read my disclosure. As always, be sure to subscribe for more free content and to download your free guide to writing your own Parenting Purpose Statement.

Day 26: Our Block Schedule #Back2School in #31Days

Kid-ucation Graham and Joe

I’ve been studying our days for a long time.

How my kids spend their time when allowed to play however they please, taking note of their highs and lows – excitement and boredom. Ups and downs or I like to call them – anchors and hot air balloons.

I’ve experimented with timing and different levels of involvement, and through this I’ve learned that a strong routine is built upon the natural order of a person’s interests.

For example, my daughter almost invariably will begin her day already playing in her mind. She has a plan for what she wants to do first as soon as she comes downstairs. All she needs is a snuggle and breakfast and she’ll be set for hours. She not only wants this freedom, but she needs it in order to thrive, create, and discover. When I have tried to establish a morning routine for her, she not only resents me but it’s almost like she deactivates – all thinking, feeling, and working functions are turned off and she is very difficult to manage.

I am not saying that I let my daughter completely do whatever she pleases just because she will fight me otherwise. I guide her most definitely in the mornings, but in ways that she doesn’t discern as guidance. Making sure she has a rich learning environment in which to play isn’t created on accident, and I’ve learned that my best involvement with her environment is an unseen one.

My son, however, doesn’t want to eat right away and he wants to be told what to do first. He wants to know what things he needs to do in order to earn screen time. Most often screen time is reserved for the afternoons when the toddler is napping and the energy level for the day has lulled. His personality thrives when I establish a morning routine for him, this is how he best functions knowing that I am helping and enabling him to reach his other goals for the day. Otherwise, when left to himself in the mornings, he flounders and frustrates – himself and others.

So for today, when I show you what our block schedule is and what it means for us – I am by no means expecting you to copy and paste it into your day planner with fingers crossed and a prayer that maybe this will help keep everyone in your home happy.

Likely, it won’t work for any other family than just mine. And I’m okay with that.

What I do want you to glean from this post is connections between my children’s behaviors and the behaviors of the children in your life. We are all unique and yet strangely similar too.

Here is our current Block Schedule:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 7.11.48 AM

You can see that our 3 main blocks have natural anchors for that time of day.

Breakfast, morning chores, snack time, lunch, dinner, and bedtime routine. Just announcing that it’s time for morning chores requires a full-stop from what they were involved in and a change in action.

Full-stops are so important, necessary, and crucial that I use them sparingly – and always couple them with eating or leaving (things the kids love naturally).

The reason a full-stop is so valuable is that it supports authority. When I announce that it is time for a full-stop, it isn’t a matter of “wanting to” for the kids.

I’ve learned that limited use of, but full confidence in my authority has safe guarded our home from the threat of wasting our days. And more than that, it has allowed me the freedom to more fully enjoy my kids and engage in their fun because I’m not secretly afraid that they will bully me into giving into their every desire. Oh how I’ve learned the hard way that giving them too much freedom to choose hurts all of us.

You’ll notice that I don’t use times in my blocks. It’s important to not tie times to these anchors for us. I’ve attempted to schedule based on a time on the clock and that’s only led to frustration for all of us. Just because it says 12:00 PM on the clock doesn’t mean my kids want to come in from outside to eat. Usually, we like to eat before noon anyway.

Timing is important, and learning to use a time budget has been life changing for me. But trying to time everything perfectly has made me too obsessive or too passive.

So when it’s time for an anchor, the kids know that they will be receiving instruction as to what they can do next.

Individual lessons: math, writing, activity books, reading, and lapbooking will be included here.

Group lessons: using our Five in a Row and Early American History, we will focus on 2 main subjects per day – I have written out a sample week, a bare bones plan for our days:

  • Monday: Science & Bible – Start Lapbook
  • Tueday: Math & Language Arts
  • Wednesday: (HC)2 – no group lessons
  • Thursday: Early American History & Art
  • Friday: Social Studies & Cooking Lesson – Finish Lapbook

All lesson specifics will be written in the Kids’ Bullet Journals – all chores, anything time sensitive, or places we need to go per day are included here. We’ve already started using them this week to get comfortable with the new habit, and so far the kids are working well with this layer. (Remember, I only add one new thing into our routine at a time.)

Bedtime routine: We started doing the’s Bedtime High Five years ago. Those of you who visited our home way back when JoeAnna was 3-4 years old will remember the construction paper hand taped to the back of our bathroom door.

This routine, and the simple phrase “let’s do our high five” has had a lasting impact on our bedtime efficiency. Teaching our kids from an early age to do the same things every night before bed has created strong habits that build security into their lives.

Why Block Schedule?

I’ve learned from trying to do too many good things in a single day that this pushes us too far. The best things get rushed or skipped while the new things suck all our time and energy.

Taking the time to fill a block only with the essentials leave us with room to breathe, room to make mistakes and start over, and room to simply enjoy the hot air balloon moments in everyday.

This is the beauty of a home education. A tutorial education, one that is fit to the individual.

I hope today’s challenge in the #Back2School in #31Days series inspires you to study your days too. To see and discern what times are best for the people in your life, and to see growth and fruit from your intentionality.

This is Day 26 in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.

You can still get access to the course:

Crystal Paine’s #MakeOverYourMornings course has been one of the most inspiring sources of help-to-change for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Join me and a group of friends as we go through this course now! Comment or contact me if you want in on the group encouragement.

Read my post detailing the 5 things I needed most from the course, and how this course was the catalyst to some really great changes in my life.

Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, bookmark or share it for future reference. There are affiliate links in this post, because that's just good business - they are all marked by underlining. If you want to know more about affiliate links read my disclosure. As always, be sure to subscribe for more free content and to download your free guide to writing your own Parenting Purpose Statement.