Finding My Way

I have been on a journey for a looonnnggg time trying to figure out who I am, what I want, what I like, what I enjoy, what I don’t like, and who it is that God has created me to be.

I have hidden behind my mental illness for a long time thinking that I would never be consistent with anything or thinking I would never get to do what I want because of it.  My counselor has made it clear that I CAN overcome, do what I enjoy, and have reduced mental illness symptoms.  I am not doomed.  My mental illness doesn’t have to define me.  My doctor is also happy for me that I am doing something I love.  She wants me to have reduced symptoms as well so that I can do it well.

I also used to hide behind the “natural living life” (which I wrote about in my post about being obsessive) and have found that I don’t really fit in that lifestyle anymore.  I’m okay with that.

I have a history of extremes with diet and exercise.  Then when something doesn’t work (because dieting doesn’t work), I go the other extreme.  And I just stop exercising all together.

I am totally LOVING the Balance 365 program.  It teaches balance, health, joyful movement, self love, and all that goes with those things!

I also realized yesterday that I actually like a few things from the THM diet days (but not the diet itself).  I like a few of the drinks, the Oikos Triple Zero yogurt (obviously not a THM food but I found out about it through them), reduced sugar (It’s not necessary to go completely sugar free but my eventual goal is to not have much sugar in my coffee because I drink so much every day… it’s on my list of habits to work on one day), and I love a few of the recipes from the recipe book (Robert and I were talking about that the other day and I added a few of the recipes to my meal plan).

I’m realizing that it is okay to pick and choose the things that I like with food and movement!

It’s okay that I’m not a huge fan of lifting weights/doing strength training.  I am good with just taking walks/hiking.  That’s “joyful movement.”  I may add in some HHHM workouts eventually, but I don’t have to.  Just if I want to.

Then there’s this homeschooling thing…

I have been trying to find my way with that as well.  I’m a former teacher, so I have that knowledge and experience.  I have worked in a university model private school (that was very traditional with curriculum), charter, public, and classical private.  Also, the classical private school had some Charlotte Mason undertones.

Since I started homeschooling a few years ago, I’ve kind of tried a little bit of everything.  Initially I tried classical.  The curriculum I bought fell flat pretty quickly for us.  It was boring to us.

I’ve also tried traditional, and I’ve tried teaching the way I taught in the public/charter schools.  That didn’t work well for us either.  I realized pretty quickly that the way I learned to teach was to help kids take a state test.  Also, the kids just didn’t mesh well with that curriculum, either.  What I didn’t buy, I had to come up with on my own, and that didn’t work well either.

Then recently I fell back into Charlotte Mason.  I have been reading some books about Charlotte Mason (including one that she wrote), and I follow a lot of her philosophy.  We use living books, we do picture study, nature studies, poetry (when we do “Poetry Teatime” and in the Good and Beautiful curriculum), narration, and copywork/dictation.  But, I start grammar way early for Charlotte Mason, we do some format writing composition, I use some text books (Apologia) and work books (The Good and the Beautiful), we use some encyclopedias, and I let my kids read “twaddle” (anything to get them reading in my opinion).

So where does that leave me?

With a little bit of everything.  I don’t fit in one area of philosophy completely.

I know some that are completely classical homeschoolers.  My neighbor is that way.  Her homeschool runs so smoothly and she uses The Well Trained Mind completely to plan and buy curriculum.  Sometimes I’m jealous of the fact that she knows herself so well and knows what works for her kids and for their family in general.  But.  I am confident that I am figuring out what works for us as well.  I just haven’t had much time consistently homeschooling up till now.

I know a few unschoolers.

I know some friends that create unit studies and write all their own curriculum.

Some people do allllll Charlotte Mason (only doing what her books say).  I call these CM Purists.

I have several friends that do Classical Conversations.

Then I know a lot of people that do a little bit of several different things.  That’s me: Charlotte Mason, traditional, classical, and a little bit of unschooling (LITTLE BIT… just allowing the kids sometimes choose what we study for science when they want a break from Apologia).  And I’m learning to be content with all of this.

A little more about me…

I like to be organized.  I like a clean house.  I like to keep up with laundry so that it doesn’t all pile up, so I do a load most days.  I think it’s important for the kids to contribute to the family by doing chores, and I also think it’s important to pay them a little bit for it (which means if they want anything, they have to buy it themselves).  I think routine is necessary.  I love all things pumpkin and I LOVE Christmas.  I am not great with money.  I try again every time Robert gets paid, and I fail.  But I’ll keep trying.  Luckily he pays the bills and saves now… I just buy the groceries and other things that we need.  One of these days I won’t run out of money before he gets paid again :-).  I have a list of rules on the wall in our school room for the kids to follow and I have a reward system when they do follow them.  I really like Coke Zero (or HEB brand Diet Coke, they taste the same!) and good coffee (again, with lots of half and half and sugar).  And sometimes tea (hot and iced).  I don’t drink enough water.  Sometimes I over-do things and then pay for it with anxiety or exhaustion.  I like to have people over, but I can’t handle it too much.  I don’t like eating in the dining hall even though it’s free for us because the amount of people overwhelms me (especially during the summer). So I buy food.  I love candles (seasonal).  Sometimes I take life too seriously, and I often forget how to have fun.  I like to bake (sometimes).  I’m passionate.  I believe that self care is of utmost importance.  I love others without judgment, probably even more when they don’t fit into society’s “norms.”  I love to be an advocate for those who are struggling with mental illness.

And now I’m living a sober life, too.  I used to drink a lot, and all the time… now I don’t drink at all and I go to AA :-).  My whole life changed when I went to a treatment center for alcoholism, and I’m passionate about sharing about that.

I also love Jesus and don’t show it enough.  I have been in a valley spiritually for a long time, and I’m slowly working my way out of that valley with His help.  Being mentally sick and an alcoholic, I have been highly distracted for a long time.  And Jesus understands.  He just misses me.  And I miss Him.  So that’s why I’m working on this.

Life is hard.  Life is good.  Life is hard AND good.

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