5 Confessions of an Imperfect Homeschool Blogger

When I first started blogging, I used my blog as a platform to share with friends and family our adventures in homeschooling. We were the first family in my social circle to make the decision to homeschool and our decision was not without criticism.

I wanted to show those that doubted just how wonderful our homeschool journey was and how much the children were prospering. Like many, I wanted to be uplifting – not a whiner or complainer. I wanted to be inspirational. This meant that I posted often the fun projects the kids would undertake or when something cool or exciting was happening. It also meant that the content on this blog was pretty upbeat and focused on mostly uncontroversial topics.

Over time, as I evolved from a hobby blogger to a professional homeschool blogger my approach became more focused. While this is all good, I find myself struggling to stay caught up with the rapid changes of FTC regulations, engage in social media, create pinnable images, and develop good SEO while simultaneously navigating our own homeschool and family life.homeschool teen giving a presentation with text - confessions of an imperfect homeschoolerI haven’t been posting very often recently and this is mostly due to a changing season in our homeschool journey. As the kids have gotten older, I am less involved in their learning. They have become more independent and less reliant on me for planning activities and outings. As a result, I find I have less to share.

So, it’s confession time. Here are my five confessions as an imperfect homeschool blogger.

Our Imperfect Homeschool

1. We have fallen off the bandwagon, or at least changed our approach

I have hinted at our changing educational style in an earlier post, Our Relaxed Homeschool. We have always had a gentle approach to education. In recent years, I have become more hands-off. When we moved back to Oregon we lived with my in-laws for a few months. This was a huge distraction. It is hard to stay focused on algebra when Judge Judy is reprimanding a plaintiff.

Additionally, to offset the change in my husband’s income (one of the sacrifices we made to move back home), I began to take on more work outside the home. I began substitute teaching and home tutoring. I also began work with VIPKID. Along with my volunteer obligations (Scouts and swim team previously), I am strained. I have to admit, I let school slide into a bare minimum.

I have essentially thrown out Charlotte Mason’s principles which were so successful with my daughter. I have now adopted an unschooling approach to my son’s education. I’m still grappling though with whether to continue with a relaxed approach or adopt more of a schedule. I fear he takes advantage of me and spends more time playing Minecraft (yet I know it is educational too) than learning.

For a several reasons, we also chose to partner with an umbrella school. There were just too many positives to not give it a try. I haven’t talked about this much yet but I will.

I know there are seasons for everything and that children are individuals. But it does make it hard to have material for a homeschool blog when we aren’t doing more than Odysseyware, Life of Fred math, piano lessons, and occasional nature studies.

2. I don’t fit into my local homeschool group

In the previous two communities in which we lived (Bend, Oregon and Redding, California), we connected with a great community of like-minded homeschoolers. We were not a part of Classical Conversations, though a thriving CC community existed in each, but we had a circle of homeschoolers with children of varying ages with whom we were able to enjoy the benefits of an informal co-op which included activities like STEM Club, book club, Writer’s Workshop, and Roots & Shoots.

Here, I really am a misfit. Most of the homeschool families in this area are involved in a very exclusive homeschool co-op (they require participants to sign a specific faith statement) or utilize an online charter school (K12 or Connections Academy). My style of homeschool education looks more like radical unschooling in contrast to the homeschoolers around me.

homeschool teen playing Minecraft with text - confessions of an imperfect homeschooler3. My son does not like to read

He has never enjoyed reading – I know this is in part due to his nystagmus. There are books he has read over and over again (thank you, Roland Smith!) but it is very difficult to get him to read much of anything. I could write an entire post about my son’s distaste for reading. In fact, I probably should. Perhaps it would help me to come to terms with it.

I know it is okay not to love reading  but I also harbor a fear that I have failed him. Fortunately, he has always enjoyed listening to audio books. However, he presently listens to speed cubing and tech reviews, Minecraft gaming videos, and air crash investigations on YouTube rather than literature.

4. Teens are fickle

In the summer of 2016, my daughter was passionate about potentially beginning her own Boba Tea business. She spent many hours researching recipes, designing a logo, and developing a business plan. Most impressive was her willingness to undertake a market research poll of our local community at the farmer’s market. Through her efforts, she made the realization that starting a Boba Tea business would distract from her ultimate goal of becoming an engineer and the schooling required to achieve it.

The following summer, she became intrigued with tiny houses. Her new goal was to build a tiny house prior to graduating high school in an effort to reduce her own carbon footprint and save money on living expenses while in college. She again spent many hours researching and designing her home (you should see her Pinterest board). Ultimately, she opted to put this project on hold for as artist, she also dreams of a large studio space.

Youthful vigor and enthusiasm is wonderful. Channeling it and following through with their visions is an entirely different ball game. Their interests and passions change. While this is certainly a great life lesson, it makes it difficult to blog about their successes.

5. My daughter wants to skip high school and just get to college

My daughter began dual enrollment courses in the fall of 2017. She started out with just one math course but has gradually increased her course load. She is now taking a full load of courses at the community college and is loving every minute. I will be sharing more of this experience on the iHomeschool Network blog soon.

Both of my children have always had a passion for learning. This passion and enthusiasm is still there, but it is reserved for the things they are truly passionate about, not the things I select for them or that the state deems required. While meeting with a college advisor from the four year university where she wishes to transfer she exclaimed,

“I want to do pro-school now! I wish I could just jump past high school.”

Whether we are engaged in an lively family discussion about current events, meandering about the ruins of an ancient temple, or sequestered in our little corner of the house with our mobile device and tuning out the outside world, I know we are learning. Above all, I believe instilling a love of learning and a curiosity about the world is the most important thing. And that is exactly what we are doing.

After all, we are just like you — imperfect homeschoolers. And I, I am an imperfect homeschool blogger.

 

I Travel to China Every Morning with VIPKID

These past couple of weeks have been crazy busy and so very fun! I took on a new job with VIPKID and I have thus been immersed in learning all the material as I have dove head first into this new adventure.

I first learned of VIPKID in late September. I was intrigued by the possibility of working from home and most importantly, finishing my “work day” before my own children crawled out of bed.

Through VIPKID, I now teach English to children in China. Because of the time difference, I generally begin teaching at 4:30 or 5:00 am each weekday. I could begin even earlier but I fear I would be a zombie the rest of the day. It’s been a very rewarding experience thus far and I am excited to share with you.

My VIPKID Experience @EvaVarga.net5 Questions I’m Often Asked About VIPKID

You have to get up at 4am? Are you crazy?!

Yes, I have to get up early – Beijing time is 9 hours different than Pacific time. Admittedly, when my alarm goes off, my knee-jerk reaction is, “What have I done? I just want to sleep!” But once I am in the virtual classroom and I see the smiling faces of my students, I am quickly reminded of the joy this new job brings me.

VIPKID was listed #5 on the “best places to work from home” list from Forbes this year.

Teachers at VIPKID are able to set their own calendars. I homeschool my kiddos and also substitute teach. With the time difference, there are only certain times (Beijing time) that I am available. Sadly, in November my available hours will be even less due to the time change. I may consider waking even earlier – at least a couple days a week to accommodate my return students.

Working with these children is so much fun! I’ve already connected with several students who have continually booked classes with me 3x each week and it’s only my third week!

I’ve never taught ESL? Is it difficult?

Teaching with VIPKID is a lot easier than I initially anticipated. They provide powerpoint slides for each lesson. I thereby need only gather a few props to augment the lesson and I’m ready to go.

You learn all you need to know through online training workshops and tutorials. They also offer in-person coaching at some cities around the country.

Through the interview and mock class process prior to signing the teaching contract, I learned tips and suggestions for success in teaching each of the levels. Most importantly, I learned how to teach students with little or NO English experience by using lots of modeling – a technique called Total Physical Response (TPR) – and lots of props.

Classes are one-on-one and it’s a great cultural experience. I love getting to know the students and engaging the advanced students in conversation.

Are you required to work a certain number of hours or certain days?

Just like substitute teaching, I can create my own schedule and teach as many classes as I want. It is entirely up to me!

Some VIPKID teachers teach on the weekends – even pulling all-nighters. But not me. I designate a few hours each weekday morning to VIPKID and the rest of the day is my own.

How much are you paid?

Teachers at VIPKID can earn anywhere from $14 – 20 per hour. Each class is just 30 minutes (25 minutes of actual teaching time and 5 minutes allowed to write feedback). Arriving on time to class and teaching 30+ classes per month earn you bonuses.

While you aren’t going to get rich and the hours are not guaranteed, it is super fun and a great way to make some money on the side. The company is helpful and they always have fun incentives. They pay you for successful referrals and offer fun contests where money prizes or swag items are awarded.

If you are interested in teaching with VIPKID, please use my referral code 04XIOQ  –  and let me help you along the way!

VIPKID is a Chinese-based company, and if you work for them as a teacher, you are working as a contractor, which means that you will need to primarily be responsible for promoting yourself and ensuring your own success.

Teaching online? Do you need to be tech savvy?

You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a headset. Teaching online is definitely different, however, than teaching in a real classroom. There are nuances and obstacles – often related to tech issues – that sometimes arise and this can affect both the parent feedback you receive and your pay.

Though I have only been with VIPKID for a month, I have found nothing but positive experiences working for this company. They are constantly working to improve – their communications, their curriculum, and their system of incentives.

The Chinese employees that handle parent communications are helpful and supportive. The pay is commensurate with the amount of work expected.

What I Learned About Life and Spirituality from Prince

When I heard that Prince had passed away, I was substitute teaching in a kindergarten classroom. My mother-in-law had texted me and I immediately pulled out my phone to confirm. It couldn’t be true.

It was the first time the death of a celebrity hit me in a real and immediate way. There was first disbelief, followed by dread and nausea. I struggled to keep it together until the dismissal bell released me. Then the tears that wrung out of my body were so strong it gave me stomach cramps.Prince Lessons

I drove home and immediately crawled into bed. I got a call from my mom asking if I was okay. She knew my heartache for she had experienced a similar loss when Elvis passed.

I am very grateful that my mother recognized his impact on my life very early. She purchased my first concert ticket for his Lovesexy tour in 1988 and drove seven hours one way to assure I could see him perform live.

“I’m a musician. I am music.” ~ Prince 

I would see him perform once more in Portland in 2004 for Musicology. I had hoped to see his Piano & a Microphone tour in 2016 but missed my chance.

Since his death on April 21, 2016, I have watched numerous video clips of his live performances, interviews, and amateur tour footage that have been shared online. The explosion of material now available have provided his #PurpleArmy with the solace we seek, an opportunity for one more connection with him.

Prince Rogers Nelson

Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His parents, Mattie Della and John Lewis Nelson, and grandparents were from Louisiana.  His parents separated when he was ten years and he subsequently repeatedly switched homes often as a teen. Yet music was always a strong element in his life.

Prince first began recording in 1975 with 94 East. A year later he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros whereupon they agreed to give him complete creative control.

His talent was limitless. He was a master composer, musician, and revolutionary artist. I dare say there is not a single artist in my lifetime who has influenced the sound and trajectory of music as much as he.

“I’m no different to anyone. Yes, I have fame and wealth and talent, but I certainly don’t consider myself any better than anyone who has no fame, wealth or talent. People fascinate me. They’re amazing! Life fascinates me! And I’m no more fascinated by my own life than by anyone else’s.” ~ Prince

A Legacy of Equality

I first discovered Prince while watching Night Tracks on TBS. They had aired two performances by him back-to-back, Little Red Corvette and 1999. I was immediately attracted to the music and his individuality. He was like no one else. He was different.

“I don’t really care so much about what people say about me. It usually is a reflection of who they are. For example, if people wish that I would sound the way I used to sound, it says more about them, than it does me.” ~ Prince

As the years progressed, his style evolved. Through it all, strong female musicians were an integral part of his band. They were not solely backup singers or dancers (though he did have those as well) but his partners – Wendy Melvoin, Sheila E., Rosie Gaines, and Candy Duffer amongst others.

Emma Garland recently stated that women are generally portrayed as passive objects in music, which is to not exist at all. “With Prince, they were addressed with awe and empathy. He wrote about women as real, powerful, complicated, sensitive, and sexual beings that he could learn from, and who enriched his life.”

Prince_FreeA Legacy of Freedom

He caught the media’s attention early in his career with his stage presence and outrageous costumes. Many of his songs were overtly sexual. Yet, Prince never made any apologies for who he was and always preached that the most important thing is staying true to yourself.

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” ~ Prince

He showed me early the power of living one’s life by one’s own rules and no one else’s. He empowered me to walk my own path and to not be persuaded by others to follow the crowd.

Throughout every emotionally difficult time in my life, I’ve sang the lyrics to his songs in my mind. Repeating stanzas like a mantra. The song that had the biggest impact on me was most assuredly Free (lyrics shown above).

A Legacy of Compassion

Prince was also a secret philanthropist, supporting causes including youth empowerment, animal rights, racial justice, and clean energy for all. His compassion for the others was an important part of his legacy.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” ~ Prince

The legendary musician was renowned for speaking out on behalf of those who were vulnerable and voiceless. According to federal tax forms, his charity, Love 4 One Another, gave more than $1.5 million between 2005 and 2007 alone.

A new mural of Prince has been unveiled from 10:10 on Vimeo.

The climate charity 10:10 recently commissioned a new mural in honor of Prince’s contributions to environmental causes in Camden, north London. The mural kicks off their six-week campaign to provide solar panels to food banks and charities – groups that reflect the commitment to community, creativity and humanity that Prince demonstrated in life with his secret philanthropy.

“If you ever lose someone dear to you, never say the words, ‘They’re gone.’ They’ll come back.” ~ Prince

When he gave, he made only one request, to not publicize it. He wanted no publicity or accolades for the gifts he bestowed. Many of those who were impacted by his generosity only began sharing of his compassion after he had passed.

A Legacy of Love

Throughout his career, he brought cultures together. Uniting sexes and working to instill his message of love for one another. His fans or #PurpleArmy continue to share his vision.

Spirituality has always been a part of his music. Prince’s musical and lyrical explorations of spiritual themes are evident in each and every album he released. More importantly, he embodied and lived by his spiritual principals.

So many reasons why
There’s so many reasons why
I don’t belong here
But now that I am I
Without fear I am
Gonna conquer with no fear
Until I find my way back home

~ Prince, “Way Back Home”

When I think of Prince, both his music and his life overall, I don’t so much think about religion. When I think of him, I think of love—not romantic or sexual love—but unconditional, human love. A love that transcends gender, race, or religion. A love not limited to one’s family, social circle, community or nation. A love we are most in need of cultivating if we are to grow and evolve.

Prince logo.svg

My 2017 Word of the Year: Hygge

For several years now, I have considered choosing a “word of the year”. A word to focus on throughout the year can at times be simpler and easier than a long list of resolutions. I started thinking about my word a couple of weeks ago.

The first word that came to mind was grace. I find that I can be easily frustrated – particularly with the shortcomings of others. This past year, I have been working on patience for others and also for myself – essentially extending grace. I hadn’t really adopted it as my “word of the year”, however. Even so, this wasn’t quite the word for which I was looking.

Hygge is Love | My 2017 Word of the Year @EvaVarga.netRecently, I’d liked a link shared on the Sons of Norway Facebook page, 20 Pictures that Explain ‘Hygge’, and a friend commented, “Gee, now I am hooked on “hygge!” I’ve known about hygge for a long time but as it happened to appear in my newsfeed simultaneously with posts about the new year, it struck me that this was my word.

Hygge is a lifestyle concept that comes from Scandinavia (specifically Norway and Denmark) and is not easily translated into English. It is about an atmosphere more than one thing in particular. The atmosphere is a combination of not just the place, but the companionship and the situation. It could be your own home, but also a cafe, a walk in nature, a casual meeting with a group of friends, or even by yourself.

Hygge has no real English translation, but essentially describes the feeling you get when you’re comfortable.

Hygge is something that happens in every season, but winter can be pictured as more hygge filled season with details like candlelight to brighten the dark evenings. In the summer, eating outside with friends is a great example of hygge. As I contemplated this word, I was very inspired to take the time to include more hygge in our life – both in homeschool and our daily routines.

Hygge is Adventure | My 2017 Word of the Year @EvaVarga.netHygge is Adventure

When the kids were younger (elementary years), we had a very relaxed approach to homeschool. We completed our lessons early and had the rest of the day to play and explore passion projects. I would typically reserve one day a week for adventures – nature study outings, field trips, and leisurely days at the lake or up the river.

No matter where you go or what you do, you can bring the hygge. It’s a state of mind.

As they got older and more involved in outside activities, our leisure time began to erode. Lessons take longer and we have less time to freely explore. Not to mention, we’ve all gotten more distracted (do I dare say, addicted?) to our devices. It’s harder to motivate the kids to get outside.

I miss our adventures. I miss spending a leisurely afternoon on the beach watching them swim and dig in the sand. In 2016, we made it a family goal to get outside more – to go camping and to hike more frequently. We aimed to complete hike 52 different hikes in the calendar year. I’ll be writing a recap and reflection of this goal next week.

Hygge is Companionship | My 2017 Word of the Year @EvaVarga.netHygge is Companionship

Spending quality time with family and friends has always been very important to me. I have very fond memories of large family gatherings for holidays and reunions – granted my mother does have six siblings so our extended family is very large. Click here for A Dozen or So Ideas for Family Time. 

When something is hygge, you say it’s hyggelig (“HOO-gah-lee”): “That was a hyggelig evening.”

We’ve moved twice in the past five years. As a result, it is easy to lose connections with friends. I often feel lonely and disconnected. While I realize that not all friendships are “life long”, I know I need to make extra effort to keep the friendships that are dear to me alive. I can also reach out more in an effort to create new friendships. As an introvert, this can be a challenge.

Hygge is Joy | My 2017 Word of the Year @EvaVarga.netHygge is Joy

I love getting outdoors. I love watching my kids smile and delight in the wonders of nature. Spending time in nature is also rejuvenating for one’s soul. In 2016, I made it a personal goal to become a certified Oregon Master Naturalist. As a mother and homeschool parent, it is important to take care of me. Achieving Master Naturalist certification was rewarding both intellectually and personally.

The concept of hygge is very nostalgic: candlelight, anti-technology, and comforting traditions are all “hyggelig.”

This coming year, I look forward to renewing our weekly practice of nature journaling. Slowing down and reflecting upon our outings will be hyggelig. As will curling up with a book more regularly.

Hygge is Motivation | My 2017 Word of the Year @EvaVarga.netHygge is Strength

One of the things that has brought me joy is strength and good health. I haven’t been consistent in my fitness these past few years. Exercise may not sound very hyggelig to most, but returning to a training program will bring comfort in knowing I am taking care of myself and in turn caring for my family.

“Hyg dig!” or “have hygge!” is a popular way to say goodbye.


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How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen is already a top-seller on Amazon even though it won’t be released until January 3rd. It promises to be a fresh, informative, lighthearted, fully illustrated how-to guide to hygge. How to Hygge is a combination of recipes and helpful tips for cozy living at home. Pre-order your copy today.

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Scandinavian Comfort Food by Trine Hangman will warm you up and teach you to embrace the art of hygge, no matter where you live. This is a beautiful book of Scandinavian comfort food and the recipes are absolutely delicious. The recipes are very modern and healthy.

I’m on Periscope!

So, after months of trying to get this working for me I’m finally making some headway. Yay! This week, I hope to broadcast daily from numerous locations on the beautiful Oregon coast as I take part in an intensive Oregon Master Naturalist course.

I’m a little apprehensive, however, as many of the locations for our field study may be out of cellphone range so this will be a bit of a trial-and-error. Please bear with me as I experiment with this new tool to bring Oregon to you!

periscope

Periscope is a live streaming video app for your smart phone that enables you to watch events around the world, LIVE, from someone’s cell phone video camera.

You can follow me (search for me on your app @academiacelesti) or catch the replays on YouTube.

What does this mean for you?

I can give FREE webinars about homeschooling and building a love for science from my comfy house to yours any day of the week! No one travels and no babysitters are required.

How can I get on Periscope?

  1. Download the Periscope app to your smart phone.
  2. Login through your Twitter account, if you have one. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use your cell phone number to log in.
  3. Follow people by clicking on the little person icon at the bottom right of the screen. It will populate with people you follow on Twitter. Check the name to select anyone you wish to follow.
  4. To find me, click on the search icon (magnifying glass) in the top left and search for @academiacelesti. Click “Follow.”
  5. You will be notified of current broadcasts with a cute little whistle sound alerting you to tune in! Or you can follow me on twitter to get a tweet when I go live!

Can you interact with me live?

Yes! There are colorful fluttering hearts floating along the right side of your phone screen throughout broadcasts. The hearts are the “love button” of Periscope. Tap the screen above the person icon to let the broadcaster know you like what’s being shared. It’s fun!

Live viewers can also type comments and questions, as well as send fluttering colorful hearts of love. As a broadcaster, I can see your comments and answer your questions live during the broadcast.

How do you share my  broadcasts with friends?

During the broadcast, you can alert your friends by swiping to the right (iPhone) or swiping up (Android)—don’t worry, the broadcast will continue while you do this—and selecting the “share with followers” button. I appreciate it when you do, so thanks in advance.

What if you can’t watch live?

Not to worry! Periscope stores the recording for 24 hours in the main feed (the television icon) so you can watch the replay on your phone. Alternatively, go directly to the EvaVarga Periscope link on your computer for LIVE broadcasts and 24 hour replays. { Please note: You can still give hearts during replay, but not comments. }

I will also post replays to my YouTube channel so you can catch replays past the 24 hour.

So, come and join in the conversations around homeschooling, connecting with nature, healthy lifestyle and loving our families, or catch the replays. I’ll post them up here too as much as possible!

Have a great weekend!

Taking Care of Me: Finding Balance in Life & Homeschool

As a homeschool mom, it is easy to lose sight of our own needs for the sake of our children and our spouse. Neglecting our needs, however, can damage our confidence, our relationships, and ultimately our enjoyment of life.

Sometimes we forget that if we don’t look after our body and our needs, we won’t be able to help our minds feel nourished, and our souls feel strong. It is important to take care of ourselves as individuals to ensure a happier and healthier life, as well as helping us to be more a part of the community in which we are a part.

Finding Balance in Life & Homeschool

I’ve written a few times in the past about how we have worked as a family to simplify our life and find balance. Today I would like to share a few of the things I do just for me and how I incorporate these into our homeschool lifestyle.

takingcareofmeMy Intellectual Self

Natural history and nature studies has always been a passion for me. As an undergraduate, the majority of my credits were in ecology and natural sciences. When I learned of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program, I knew immediately that I wanted to seek certification.

The Mission of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program is to develop a statewide corps of knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated volunteers who enrich their communities and enhance public awareness of Oregon’s natural resources through conservation education, scientific inquiry, and stewardship activities.

Since January, I have been immersed in the online course material which provides a basic overview of Oregon’s natural history and the management of its natural resources. While some of the material is review, I have been thoroughly enjoying the assignments as well as connecting with the other participants.

In June, I will begin the regional course requirement which are in-person coures taught within an ecologically distinct region of Oregon. I have selected the Oregon Coast but I am considering adding additional eco-regions in the future.

The final required component for certification is to volunteer 40 hours for a natural resources oriented group or project. Volunteer projects can include education and outreach, citizen science, land stewardship, and/or program support. I am very excited and look forward to collaborating with resource specialists again and developing educational programs for local students.

Finding Balance

What I love best about the online course material is that I have been able to include the kids. I read aloud my weekly readings and then assign them a modification of the tasks I am expected to complete. They are thereby learning college level material alongside me.

findingbalanceMy Physical Self

When the kids were younger and we first began homeschooling, running was a major part of my life. I was marathon training six days a week – running, swimming, and cross-training. It was challenging and fun.

With each successive half or full marathon that I completed, I set a new time goal. My aim was to qualify for Boston and I was just ten minutes shy of achieving that goal. Then a debilitating injury set me back. Planters fasciitis.

Though I recovered a few years ago and have tried to return to training a few times but I have never been able to stick with it as I did when the kids were toddlers. They each have their own activities and interests and there are more demands on my time. I’ve come to realize that I have been making excuses though.

Now that we have returned home and the climate is less restrictive, I have recently begun to focus and rebuild my mileage once again. Presently, I am averaging about 22 miles per week. I’d love to run another marathon again but to be honest, my goal presently is just physical fitness and enjoyment.

Finding Balance

During the week, I generally run while the kids are at swim team. On the weekends, the family will often accompany me – sometimes on their bikes. It makes for a great family outing and keeps me motivated.

Other Things I Do

Read something fictional

I love to refresh my mind by taking a break in the evening and escaping to another world. Reading fictional stories stimulates the right side of the brain, sparking creative thought. That stimulation helps make my day go a little smoother. I think differently, approach problems in abstract ways, and feel rejuvenated.

At our Family 5 Share Meeting each month, we each take a moment to share a book we have read in the past month and how it impacted us or what we learned. It has been a great way to connect and see that learning is a life long process.

Keep a journal

I actually have several journals, though I don’t write in each one daily. Most are bullet-form so I can jot down things I did, people I met, or how I felt. It’s been a great outlet to help me be present, remember the little moments and sort out challenges in both my personal and professional life.

I’ve always encouraged the kids to keep a journal and we’ve played around with a variety of journaling approaches over the years. My husband has begun to journal as well.

A good night’s sleep

The scientific benefits of sleep are innumerable. To perform at my best, it is critical that I get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. More sleep equates to more happiness, better health, and improved decision-making. Not to mention that it detoxes the brain.

BalancingVisit the sites of other iHomeschool Network bloggers as we explore Balancing Your Life & Homeschool.