Saturday, August 4, 2012

How I Recharge

Wow, what a wonderful day!! I had the opportunity to attend my 5th HSC homeschool conference. It is held here in Sacramento, so it's close and convenient. While some families choose to bring their children and even grandparents, I use this weekend as my get away. I enjoy going to lectures and workshops. It feeds my soul and reminds me that I am a part of a huge movement, homeschooling. It is now mainstream! I was inspired today in many ways and I would love to sum it up here. There are many workshops to choose from, but I quickly realized that my theme was self care and happiness. Every lecture or even conversations I had, wove together in such a beautiful way.

The first talk was called, "The New Consciousness of Education." It was presented by a public school math teacher, who is a homeschool dad of four. That alone should be an eye opener, but I am not shocked! Especially after spending many years going to public school and teaching in it! He was going over his theory on why there are so many issues in schools. He said, "You can't change things from the outside, you must evoke change from the inside." He asked us what most people think success is? What is happiness? Most agreed that they were all told the same lie growing up, that is you get good grades in school, you will go to a good college, get a good job, make good money and be successful and happy! This lie suggests that there is one path to success and if you don't follow it, you will not be happy!! Of course as homeschoolers, we think the opposite, there are many paths and we are here to help our children follow their passions. He suggested we think about success differently. He went on to explain things that most people crave and need to function happily. Choice, we all want choices. If your child says no, they are probably saying I want choice. I was shocked when he put up these pictures of prisons and said, we strip away all the rights to choose. They can't choose where to go, what to eat or when, whether to talk or not, when or where to sleep or exercise, when to go to the bathroom, what to wear, etc. What surprised me was when he compared that list to school, so true! I remember teaching, no lie! The pictures he had up there were actually schools that looked like prisons! He also talked about the human need for connection. He reviewed how times have changed and how people long for connection and try to get it via Facebook, reality tv, video games. These are all creating more separation. We all need a healthy way to connect with others. Where are you connected? Disconnection leads to depression. The last thing I took away from his talk was to let your children have curiosity, then cultivate it, this will lead to competence and build their confidence. This is what he called the cycle of cultivation.

The next lecture was by a great gal, named Sandra Dodd. She is an unschooler and is very entertaining. She speaks the truth and says things most people think but wont say out loud. Her talk was titled, "Happiness from the Inside out." She spoke about simple tools that I have been working on for years, but it was nice to hear it in a funny, light way. Laughter is a great stress reliever! She said your environment should provide emotional safety and peace for your children. So if you find yourself going down a negative path that will be contagious. You have a choice to be positive, to look for the good in all situations, and it maybe hard. It takes practice and awareness. It is possible to nurture and encourage people to be happy. She spoke about joy and wonder and to not accept a prepackaged life. That you can find more time to be present and look for gratitude. She reminded us how negative the news and media is and how it can affect the way you feel. She asked us to think about the people or activities or the things we watch and if they add improvement to your life? Are you getting caught up in other peoples drama and allowing it to bring pollution into your life? She ended with a funny quote that she found added laughter in her home, so she posted it in her bathroom. " A fart is a wish your butt makes."(Sorry, I couldn't stop laughing, had to share!)

The last worksop I went to was called, "Homeschool Burnout."I had no idea what to expect and as I walked in late I was surprised to see magazines all over the floor and people ripping pictures out. I was instantly intrigued. She greeted me and filled me in on the activity. We were doing a dream book or mini vision book for our homeschool. A great way to reconnect with what is important and refocus in times of need. The first thing I did was write my mission statement for our homeschool. I had to let go of it not being perfect and just let it flow. This is what I wrote, "It is our mission to have a peaceful, loving home. In our home our children will be able to explore their passions. They will be allowed to follow their inner spirit. They will experience support in all they do. We will cherish our time together, especially in times of transition with daddy traveling." The next page was reasons we homeschool. I wrote, "To allow children to learn when they are ready. Follow where they are developmentally, not the state standards. Spend time in a safe environment. Spend time with daddy when  he is here or travel with him. Accept them as who they are. Raise happy, healthy children." We then found pictures in magazines to remind us of our dreams for us individually, not for our kids or family. We wrote a statement or mantra on the cover of booklet, to bring us back to why we chose this journey. I found a picture of these cartoon heads with baseball hats on. It said, "Get your game face on." What an appropriate saying for this professional baseball family!

I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend. There are some more great topics and I hope I leave feeling as energized as I do now!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Does The Chaos Mean?

It hit me last Thursday, that I am pretty much a single parent more than 75% of the year! Then the next question I freaked out about was, how am I going to do this all alone, especially the teenagers?! My husband works January through October, everyday, all day. He travels all over the US and is on a different time zone most of the time. When people hear he watches baseball for a living they must think, what a great job. I wonder if anyone knows what it's really like.

Up until recently, I did a pretty good job of keeping the kids connected and distracted while he was gone. They go through different phases of being sad and mad. The new emotion is anger. I guess we grieve when he's gone and when he comes home we adjust or act out when we know he'll be leaving again. I know he thinks I'm pretty lucky, getting to be in the same bed nightly, real home cooked food, hanging out with my kids. Don't get me wrong, I do feel fortunate!

I have been home from work for 11 years!! Over the years I have been able to explore myself and follow my passions. I started homeschooling when my son was 18 months old. I started teaching natural childbirth when he was 2 and became a natural healer when he was 7. Wow how lucky can I be to not have to worry about work and just focus on my family! Well, with all that comes a down side. No break for mom!! This might be ok if my husband came home nightly or even on the weekends. But there could be months at a time where I don't know where he is and when he's coming home. Of course I chose to live in Sacramento to be close to my parents and brother, so I could use their help. They do help quite a bit, but when the chaos appears and daddy is gone, it is me. One strong, patient, well experienced, bachelors in child development (so I should know how to handle anything) mother! I'm trying my best.

Lately it has been interesting the dynamics around here with a new 11 year old boy, who misses his daddy and all his old neighbor playmates. The 8 year old girl has her qualities, that I'd love to trade in when I'm tired. Which with a nursing 1 year old, tired is my middle name. So, as the glass bottle broke on the floor, sending all kids scrambling to clean up, I had to ask myself, "How am I going to handle a 1 year old camping?" I quickly shot a text off to three people. My husband said, "we would handle her together." My sister said, "this too shall pass." Boy that sounded good when I said it to her, but not sure how it helps me now! My friend, who is also going camping, said, "alcohol." Funny that is close to what my friend said last week, when I wept by the pool, over a 11 year old whom wasn't listening! (She said margarita's.)

So, I come back to my question, what does the chaos mean? There is definitely a message or lesson to be heard and learned. Slow down, spend time, listen, simplify, expand your village, find your rhythm, love your children, take an om card, have faith. When I drove off with all three in tow, I ran into a used kids store and bought a backpack style carrier, to hold the 1 year old when camping. I then headed up the hill to my cousins, listening to classical music, which forced the kids to be quiet and probably go inward. We enjoyed family, swimming, food and nature. Not many discipline issues especially when all are happy and relaxed. We got home and I tucked my 11 year old in, applied his favorite essential oils, and had our 11 kisses and 1 to grow on. He stopped me and said sorry for his poor behavior. We sealed the apology with 12 kisses again, and I felt better. I got another call from the 8 year old, saying sorry and sealed that apology with 9 kisses. I love them. Maybe this transition from our old home, filled with great neighbors, was a gift. We are no longer distracted from our family getting to know each other. Wow, what a powerful thought. Family is important, kids are the future, care for them tenderly. When the weeds of doubt come up, look for the wildflowers. This too shall pass.

Things I find fascinating

  • Bagua Board/ Dream board
  • Balanced Birth Approach
  • Birthing From Within
  • E Is For Ethics
  • Homeschooling
  • The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth
  • The Family Virtues Guide
  • The Power of Wisdom
  • Waldorf
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Zen in Ten Seconds