It’s not fair: Learning to love the life you didn’t choose

img_2870Written by Melanie Dale of Unexpected.org

A note from Jamie: Sometimes life just isn’t fair, a fact my friend Melanie knows all too well. She’s walked the hard road of infertility as well as dealing with special needs and mental illness in her beautiful family of five (which includes both biological and adoptive kiddos like my own!). If you find yourself in the midst of tough times, you NEED Melanie’s book: It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose. A book on suffering that makes you snort with laughter? Yes, really!

When Alex and I were in the thick of our struggle with infertility, our favorite coping mechanism was humor—a very oddball, totally inappropriate brand of infertility humor. Humor is how we survived and found fun and found ourselves, our us-ness, in the midst of the hopelessness of our situation.

Over time I’ve learned the value in making light of heavy things. They don’t become less important, but Big Scary Monsters lose their power over you when you laugh at them. Laughter makes you stronger.

And sometimes when you’re experiencing Big Feels, it’s hard to let out one without letting out all of them. When you take the top off the crammed-up bottle your emotions are in, everything sprays out. The anger, the pain, and the humor. And it feels so good to let it all out in one frothy stream.

It’s okay to grieve, to feel a loss. And it’s okay to be happy and sing at the top of your lungs. And those two things can happen within five minutes of each other. That’s what I love about feelings. We get to have whichever ones we feel when we feel them and they can make no sense back-to-back and that’s okay.

So let yourself laugh even when you worry you aren’t supposed to. Not at someone else’s expense, but at your own stuff. You own that, and you can laugh at it if you want to.
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10 fresh homeschooling paths to add variety to your routines

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Written by Kara Fleck.

Whether it is a string of monotonous days, the need for a fresh take on a subject, or a little boredom creeping in, sooner or later almost everyone finds themselves needing some variety in the routine.

While I value dependable routines as much as the next person (maybe more) I know my kids appreciate shaking up our normal daily rhythms from time to time.

As a parent who is in her tenth year of this homeschool journey, I crave variety, too.

10 fresh takes for your homeschool routine

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Coffee and Books: An unexpected homeschool game-changer

Coffee & Books: A unexpected homeschool game-changer

Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

September is here.

Armed with fresh notebooks and colorful pens, we feel renewed and inspired. We are determined to make this homeschool year a memorable one.

We have a plan for how we want the year to go, a vision.

And yet, sometimes, the best homeschool ideas are unplanned.

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Take, for example, last winter.

A lifelong morning person, I suddenly found myself unable to wake up before my children. I can see now, in retrospect, that it was the result of saying yes to far too many people plus a case of the winter doldrums.

My motivation was at an all-time low.

By not waking before my children, I lost my planning time. Rather than enjoying an hour to myself, drinking my coffee in silence and setting us up for a peaceful morning, I woke up to rambunctious, hungry children.

When my feet hit the floor on those cold wintry mornings, I already felt behind. I was overwhelmed by a sense of urgency, a need to accomplish all the things … and fast!

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I’d rush through breakfast so that we could tackle math. (Because don’t we all worry a little bit about math in our weakest moments?)

This resulted in colossal power struggles. And tears. And general chaos.

Needless to say, we didn’t accomplish much.

One morning, as I was laying in my warm bed, silently berating myself for not getting up and accomplishing all the things, I had a revelation:

What if I start our mornings with what we love? What if I tackle the one area I never worry about?

And so I got out of bed, poured a cup of coffee, and grabbed a book.

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Write your own permission slip

Write your own permission slip.Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils is the scent of possibility. I stand by that. A sheaf of blank paper, piles of sticky notes: these are the things dreams are made of. Doesn’t everyone love school supplies? (Please say yes.)

I am keeping an eye out for new markers, but in the meantime the supply I’m really stocking up on is permission slips.

A permission slip, really?

“Permission slips?” you might ask. “Those little papers that say, Yes, my child has permission to ride the bus. Yes, my child has permission to pet the goats. Yes, my child has permission to visit the bakery/factory/power plant for educational purposes? That is not even a school supply.”

Oh, but it is! (And never mind the thing about the goats, that isn’t relevant here.)

A permission slip says, “Hey, this thing that you were not sure was okay? It is okay. It is definitely, totally, completely, okay.”

It isn’t an excuse or a get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s a way of saying, “I’m not going to do things the usual way. Here’s what I have decided to do instead.”

And before we jump into this next season, I think we might need to write some for ourselves.

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Homeschool is not the boss of me

Homeschool is not the boss of me

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

I love this season.

Getting ready for the start of a new school year means I get to do all the things I naturally love.

Planning our homeschool calendar.

Typing up our daily schedule.

Researching and (even better) ordering and unpacking new books and curriculum options.

Buying new pens and pencils that we don’t need, but look how pretty they are. (Really, this applies to any office supply – I texted my friends from the store the other day asking if they would help me justify buying a golden stapler. I have issues.)

It all feels so refreshing to me – a new year, a fresh start, a lovely golden stapler.

Then the actual learning begins.

It takes a few weeks, but eventually, I know the newness will fade. The crisp, new books will have coffee spilled on them. A few of the darling pencils will be broken by my ten-year-old in frustration during his phonics lessons. The schedule will mock me. And the curriculum will move too fast for either of my boys, and their learning differences.

It is just part of homeschooling these children.

So this year, I am committed to one goal, and only one:

Homeschooling will not be the boss of me

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