Simplifying All the Things

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This is a super long post.  I have been struggling to get things out of my head and into a post for a while.  And this is so helpful for me!

I’ll spare the details because I just don’t feel like writing them all out, but I have had a rough few weeks.  My health issues + money worries + anxiety + a bit of depression = a struggling Courtney.  I still don’t know what’s wrong with me, and it is making life difficult.  I still have a bad cough, shortness of breath, heaviness and inflammation in my lungs, and extreme fatigue (and insomnia… weird, right?).

It happens.  Life is hard.  There will probably always be something.

I still try to find joy in the little things and in the things that God has blessed me with.

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Homeschooling has been tough lately because of my health issues.  I keep thinking that maybe the kids are better off in school.

I’m thankful for my husband and two close friends who remind me why I homeschool in the first place.  It has helped me be content with just simplifying homeschooling, not stopping it.  When I mentioned it, Robert said, “nope!”  This is huge because in the past he was all about them being in school.  Now he reminds me that it’s the best thing for them and things will improve.  I would totally regret it if I put them back in school.  I’m thankful for the support of the people in my life.

My Why

The boys were struggling with getting picked on and bullied.

It was affecting the boys’ mental health.  Ethan had really bad anxiety and was even writing suicidal notes.

They weren’t really learning a whole lot.  All three kids are behind in math (quite a bit).

There is constant turnover (because of the corrupt administration).

We get to experience life in a different way with all of the flexibility and free time.

The kids get to be kids… play with friends and be outside lots.

We get to be together all the time.

They get to be creative and do things outside of the box.

We can travel when we want and do field trips when we want.

No 5:30am mornings.

No 10 hour days away from home.

No carpool.

No school drama (the school is pretty rough in many ways, including a corrupt administration).

No homework after a 10 hour day.

Poetry teatime.

Crafts and art.

Getting to pick and choose what we learn about.

Fun learning.

The ability to drop things for a day and pursue learning about something more deeply.

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At this point in my life, I just really need to simplify.

Social Media

Facebook has been causing me a lot of anxiety.  I decided to deactivate it.  I’m really hoping to leave it deactivated this time.  Sometimes I feel like it’s an addiction that I struggle to control.  When I have it, I feel like I’m scrolling and scrolling for hours each day.  I also overshare.

I don’t want to delete because of all the pictures over the years, so we’ll just see what happens.  I may just go on there and save a lot of the pics and delete.  I am just tired of allowing it to cause me anxiety.

I went onto Instagram and unfollowed like 400 people.  Now I pretty much only follow people that I interact with and/or who have been encouraging and supportive.  I had to unfollow most homeschooling accounts because I always feel like I’m not doing enough.

I will probably not blog as much (that’s just what has been happening lately).  I hope to not sit at my computer so much!  This has been a problem for since high school!

Homeschooling

I have talked with many homeschooling mamas that have been in it for years.  Some have grown kids.  Some have had health issues.  Some just have a busy life and keep things simple for that reason.  Regardless, they have reminded me that there is a season for everything and things just change.  That’s life.  So I am embracing it and know that they will be okay.  God will make sure they know what they need to know for what He has planned for them!

I struggle with this because I am a perfectionist AND because I assume I know people are thinking.  I have been a teacher, and I know how teachers feel about homeschooling AND people have made it clear that homeschooling makes kids behind.  It just doesn’t matter.  We are doing what we need to do for our family.  So I’m moving forward.

I’ve also realized that simplifying doesn’t mean they won’t be learning!

My Plan

Staying the same…

  • They will all continue free printouts for language arts (from The Good and the Beautiful).
  • They will all continue Math U See.
  • They will all continue reading independently each day.
  • I will continue reading aloud to the boys.
  • We will continue Poetry Teatime and Friday Free Writes.
  • Karis will continue Story of the World and Masterbooks General Science 1.
  • I will do astronomy with Levi.  He has been begging, and I have everything for it.  We will keep it simple.  I have also made plans for this.
  • I will keep reading The Story for Kids aloud to them.  I just do one chapter a week, and they are usually pretty short.
  • Random fun things that are spontaneous!  They all still LOVE crafts.  I’m trying to lean into that!

Things we won’t be doing… 

  • I won’t be doing geography/culture studies for now.
  • We won’t be doing Brave Writer writing projects and book study guides for now.
  • I won’t read multiple books aloud to the boys or turn it into a lesson.
  • The boys and I won’t be doing Story of the World (for now).  We have tried for a while and just have a hard time getting into it.  Karis loves it though!

New things…

  • Ethan will be using Easy Peasy All in One Homeschooling for science.  They have physics/chemistry on there, and he has been begging for this!  He does it mostly independently.  I just don’t have the energy to figure this out, and it’s free!
  • Karis will be adding music and Bible from Easy Peasy (her choice).
  • The boys and I will do Early American History from Easy Peasy.  It’s all planned out!  They will be able to do it independently if I’m having a rough day, but I will attempt to do it with them.
  • They will all have the option to do art, music, and computer on EP.


Food Prep/Meal Prep

Basically, I’m sticking with simple and inexpensive meals when we don’t eat in the dining hall.  We have so much meat in our freezer, so I’m trying to work with that.

I buy some pre-made things to make life easier, but I try not to buy a whole lot.  Some things can be made homemade super easily.  I’m also allowing myself to buy a fun thing here and there for the kids like seasonal/holiday desserts and things.

These are all things that I have been doing lately… I’m just kind of giving myself “permission.”

Other Things

Chores.  I’m not consistent at making sure the kids are doing the chores on their chore chart.  I think I expect too much.  So, for now, I’m just gonna say, “Hey!  _______, please empty the dishwasher!”  It works best.  They do have specific bathroom chores and floor chores, so that’s easy.  This is what we have been doing.  I’m just allowing myself to be okay with throwing out the chore chart.

Planning.  I made a VERY detailed lesson plan last weekend then I crashed and burned this week.  I cannot do that to myself.  I need to just kind of make a loose plan and go with the flow.  I need a plan, but I tend to shut down when I expect too much of myself!  I was being a lot more relaxed, then when I started having bad anxiety, I thought I should control it with more planning.  That doesn’t work super well.  Back to a loose plan and flexibility!

Being frugal.  When I think about buying something, I will ask myself if I really need it and/or if it will really benefit our life.  I will sit on it for a bit.  Even something that’s $2.00 adds up.  Every little bit makes a difference.  I hope to start bringing lunches wherever we go instead of eating out.  Much less coffee out (it’s super expensive).  I plan to spend less on groceries.  My main goals are to be able to drive to town for AA and Bible study and take care of medical costs without a huge issue.  I was going to buy a new shower curtain for our guest bathroom/the kids bathroom because the one we have is somewhat stained.  I decided that it makes more sense to take it down and wash it before buying a new one.  Maybe I can get those stains out!  It’s not that I won’t buy things anymore, it’s that I will try to figure ways around buying things if I can!  We will be going to the library each Monday so we won’t need to buy books.  I have so many free options for homeschooling (plus what I already have!).

Budgeting.  I’m going to attempt to use the Every Dollar app.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m never consistent, but I’m hoping that I will be.  I have been telling myself for years that I am not good with money, that I’m a spender and don’t know how to be any different, and that I just can’t stick to a budget.  I decided this morning that I need to speak about this area in my life a different way.  I have the ability to be better.  I know how to budget.  I know how to pay down debt.  I know how to do all of these things… I just need to do it!  Robert and I plan to pay off all of our debt except for our student loans when we get our income tax refund.  I tend to just spend and spend when we get it (well, Robert does also!).  So, this coming year we will be responsible!

 

I know this is a lot.  Most of these things are things that I have already been doing.  I just felt like a failure because of it… but I’m going to embrace things and try to live life to the fullest.  The decision to not use social media as much and trying to live more frugally are the BIG things.  Hopefully life will feel less overwhelming and more simple/natural!

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