5 new (school) resolutions to consider

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I intended to finish the calendar year with a strong academic month. Of course, illness and a number of unforeseeable circumstances got in my way. In some ways, we limped to the finish line.

But, in other ways, we ran a good race. We spent more down time as a family, endeavored to be more patient with one another, had a chance just to rest, and focused on priorities rather than a completed lesson plan.

It got me thinking of how lovely it is to get a second fresh start when January 1 rolls around. And how I want to prioritize in the new year.

Here are five ways I hope to “put off the old man” and put on the new one in 2013:
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Simplifying school (and life) at the holidays

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I well remember my public school days near the holidays. They were chock full of rehearsals for the Christmas play, extended art sessions as we finished up crafts that would be gifts for our parents, and a plethora of holiday parties. Our elementary school also threw in a fundraiser and canned food drive as well.

Those seasons were anything but simple.

I think my poor mother must have been run ragged with all the things that were required of us — and her — back in those days.

Times have changed. Given that my husband and I have chosen a different educational path than we ourselves were raised in, we don’t have that same holiday busy-ness thrown at us — at least not from the outside.
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Make mealtimes easier with freezer cooking

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

One of the unique, albeit obvious, characteristics of homeschooling is that it takes place at home. Oh sure, there are co-ops and field trips and class days and carschooling, but often our educational style is home-based. Homebody that I am, I love that!

As such, there are distractions present that might not occur in a traditional classroom setting: barking dogs, poopy diapers, and ringing doorbells, to name a few. How often have my children rushed to the front door from all corners of the house to greet the delivery man?! You would think it was Santa Claus, but no, it’s just a guy bringing a replacement refrigerator part.

I, like my children, am prone to distraction, making teaching at home challenging amid the laundry and the cleaning that could be done.

And the cooking? Don’t even get me started. I begin to make lunch but remember that I have all these apples to deal with. Before I know it, I’m knee deep in pies and applesauce and apple butter. It’s like giving a mouse a cookie.

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Encouragement, criticism, and motivation to change

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

Ever have a day when it feels like you can do nothing right? That your efforts to do well land you flat on your face? That you’re being criticized left and right?

These kind of days are a wonderful wake-up call to me. As much as I hate those feelings of discouragement, they remind me that my kids have days like this, too.

In that moment, I realize that I’m guilty of treating them the way I have just been treated. It gives me pause and makes me mindful of being more encouraging, less critical, and motivated to change.

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned about all that.
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Starting school (with activities for your younger kids)

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

This year I’ll be teaching six kids.

Let’s pause and let that sink in a bit.

This year I’ll be teaching six kids!

Don’t get me wrong. I love having a big family. I love cooking big meals. And I love getting to the bottom of that monstrous pile of laundry each week. (Yes, it does happen every once in a while.)

But, I’ll confess that teaching six kids has me shaking in my boots a bit. This year we’ve got 10th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, and pre-K grades going. So, you can just smell the crazy brewing in my head. [Read more…]