An Open Letter to Homeschooling Moms

Dear Homeschooling Moms,

Every homeschooling family is different in their schooling methods, expectations, and purposes. Inspiration from other families can be a positive thing. You can discover some techniques or methods that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. You can gain some confidence that your chosen methods are appropriate if another family is further along than your’s and has used the same method successfully. You can be uplifted and encouraged to keep working toward your own goals by seeing other families working diligently toward their goals.

However, sometimes this inspiration turns to an internalized pressure. Even if the other mom doesn’t outright say that her method should be your method, women often say it to themselves. When the inspiration becomes a source of comparison, a source of feeling inadequate, then that should signal us to step back.

Step back into your own ways. Stop looking at what others are doing and use your own mind to decide what you want to do. Let that be sufficient. There are a lot of voices in the homeschool community saying what one must do to be successful. I know in my heart that the only things you must do are the things legally required of you in your state or country of residence and the things you find that build your children up.

If you don’t enjoy reading aloud, then don’t. It is better for a child to have a happy mother than one who trudges through chapter after chapter with annoyance in her voice.

If you don’t enjoy or have the time or the skill set to write your own unit studies, don’t do unit studies.

If you and/or your children don’t thrive in the unstructured environment of the currently popular “unschooling” method, then don’t “unschool.” Traditional homeschooling with a single packaged curriculum is sufficient.

If your children work well in workbooks, use workbooks. Don’t let someone convince you that “kids can’t learn using workbooks because it’s counter to their nature.”

If you don’t like cleaning up arts and crafts projects every day, save them for a rainy, lazy afternoon. Children don’t require free access to (very messy) paint and Play-Doh to learn creativity.

If your children don’t enjoy notebooking and nature studies, don’t do them. They are unlikely to grow into adults ignorant of their environment, so long as they have free play time outdoors.

Of course, if you do like “unschooling” and notebooking and messy crafts every day and developing your own unit studies… then do those things happily. I simply want to encourage you mothers who aren’t fans of fad homeschooling methods to keep to your own paths and not let outside pressures influence your decisions.

Also, remember that what is shared on social media is a small glimpse into a family’s life. It is easy to misconstrue an Instagram feed or YouTube channel — one sees a post of children painting scenery outdoors on a gorgeous autumn day and extrapolates that those children have that experience every day. That’s not realistic. Reframe what you see online through the lens of reality.

But even if those children do paint scenery outdoors and every day is perfectly gorgeous in their climate and they never whine or argue… those children aren’t your children and their lives are not your family’s lives.

So let go of the pressures and be the homeschooling mom you were designed to be.

With blessings for your homeschool year,

A Fellow Homeschooling Mom

Meal Plan Monday: 11/04

I didn’t post a meal plan last week. I told you this may not be a consistent thing!

Between meals I planned last week, leftovers, and pantry meals, I don’t need to shop this week. I may ask Nate to stop at the store for a few perishables before the weekend, but I would like to make it to next Monday before I do another big shop.


Meals we had last week:

  • Italian orzo spinach soup (new recipe to try; it was very good!), Italian herb bread
  • Colorado meat pie, biscuits
  • Smoked sausage, bell pepper, potato hash
  • Chicken noodle soup (recipe coming, I hope!), slow cooker dinner rolls, salad

Leftovers to be eaten this week (probably for lunch):

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Italian orzo spinach soup
  • Cheeseburger macaroni

Meal list:

  • Slow cooker Mexican lasagna
  • Chicken cutlets, basil pesto pasta, broccoli
  • Slow cooker ham & bean soup (new recipe to try), cornbread
  • Sandwiches, carrot sticks
  • Chicken meatballs (I just use the meatball portion of the recipe, pan-fry them, then simmer in spaghetti sauce) & spaghetti
  • Chicken & veggie fried rice

Over the last week, I also put some slow cooker freezer bag meals away. I froze 4 bags of meatball soup and 1 bag of beef roast for French dip sandwiches (from a slow cooker cookbook I have). The roast was on manager’s special last week AND I found the ciabatta rolls I like in the bakery clearance section. The rolls and the bag of French dip roast both went into the freezer.

We may dig into those freezer meals later this week to stretch shopping out until Monday.

Fraternal Chroma Socks

As Squirt said when she saw these, “ocks!” (That’s after I corrected her from saying “oos!”)

Progression Info

Started – October 4

Completed – October 24

Duration – about 3 weeks

Pattern Info

Basic Sock by Ann Budd

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns

I modified the basic sock pattern to include a 2×1 ribbing along the instep and is maintained on the cuff. Otherwise, it’s basically the sock pattern in size 8.5″ circumference at 8 stitches per inch.

Yarn Info

Knit Picks Chroma Twist Fingering

70% superwash wool, 30% nylon

Colorway – drawing room

0.55 skeins = 240.4 yds used

Photos

Getting decent pictures these days is a challenge, so bear with these candid shots!

Answers: Are those all yours?

The short answer I give is… “yep” with a smile.


The long answer I want to give is…

Not really. I mean, I carried and birthed all four of them. I am the legal guardian of all four of them. I am responsible for all four of them.

But they aren’t mine, and I try not to think of them as such.

They are complete individuals with body, soul, and spirit. They are God’s children, His people. He put them in our family to train into adulthood.

But they aren’t mine.

Thoughts and words are powerful. They are the seeds of feelings and behaviors, both conscious and not. They can uplift, encourage, glorify, and exalt. They can also sow discontentment, resentment, and discouragement.

Thinking that my children are mine, I believe, has the potential to give me the illusion of control. But I am not in control of them or their futures. It’s true, I set the schedule and habits and expectations for our family. But, ultimately, God is in control of their lives, not me. When we buy into that illusion of control, it typically ends in resentment and disappointment and despair when our expectations and hopes are not met.

That’s why I don’t like calling them mine.

But that’s an awfully long conversation for Aisle 5 in Walmart over a half-full cart with a stranger, you know?

Meal Plan Monday: 10/21

I’m not sure if this will become a regular occurrence here, but I’ve wanted to try this content out for a while now.

I appreciate the meal plans other lifestyle bloggers share because I glean a lot of recipe and entree/side dish combinations from them. Over the years, I’ve noticed that not many vocal meal planners eat very similarly to us, so there could be an audience for my voice in this space.

My goals when meal planning are to include a variety of foods, both cuisines and ingredients. I try to expose my children to different flavors and textures and ingredients so, hopefully, they grow into adults who appreciate or at least can tolerate most any food.

Also note that I don’t plan meals for specific days unless we expect company. I just make a list and choose each day from the list what I want to cook.


As a little disclaimer: we don’t eat any particular diet. We don’t eat organic and have no food restrictions in our family, so far. We don’t eat entirely from-scratch, but I also use few convenience items.


Ingredients to use this week:

  • Celery
  • Ground pork
  • Chicken breast
  • Mozzarella
  • Pepperoni
  • Sliced red onion

Meals (in no particular order):

  • Lunches: BLTs, dill pickle dip (forgive the website name, but it is a tasty recipe!) w/celery sticks; cheeseburger macaroni w/carrot sticks
  • Chicken cutlets, basil pesto spaghetti, steamed broccoli
  • Pork egg roll bowls (I use this egg roll recipe; the filling and sauce go over a bed of rice for a “bowl” version)
  • Nachos
  • Sour cream chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice
  • Meatball vegetable soup, Italian herb bread
  • Stovetop pizza
  • Colorado meat pie filling w/biscuits (pantry meal on reserve if we need it)

I want to share the recipes that aren’t linked already, but I can’t make any guarantees to that end these days. I can only guarantee it’s on my mind, and I intend to try!


What is your family eating this week?