Overscheduled Life – Needing to practice what I preach.

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I wanted to sit down and quickly write this while I am in the thick of it. The thick of an over scheduled month. You know, the VERY THING we just released a podcast about NOT doing? This is something I am very purposeful of, so how I ended up here is slightly embarrassing and a bit frustrating. I know better. Why is it so important not to over schedule your life? Let me tell you some things I’m being sharply reminded of in this season:

  • It is much easier to view my children as interruptions of my To-Do list rather than view them as a gift and enjoyment.
  • My fuse is shorter. As I feel the weight of deadlines and time constraint for commitments constantly… my shoulders are tense and find myself quickly irritated.
  • I’m not as silly. Humor and laughter are medicine and I’m doing it less.
  • After my girls go to bed it is WORK WORK WORK instead of my slow-paced, date night feeling I like to have with my hubby.
  • I was tempted to say “no” to going and see a good friend get baptized or not make some phone calls to people I knew needed a friend. The very fact that I almost didn’t do those things so I can finish more work is devastating to my heart.
  • It made dealing with unexpected behavior issues or trial at any level feel enormous to take on.
  • We are eating out more, less homemade eating times together.
  • I have zero room for reading on the basis of enjoyment or learning about something that’s prodding my heart.
  • I’m weary.

There are seasons of life where this will fall upon you with no invitation or control. It can’t be avoided. Circumstances, emergencies or trial can make their way into your life in a heavy way and needs to be walked through with as much grace and patience as possible until it lifts.

There are times it can clearly be avoided. If we make a priority of keeping a peaceful pace in our life, saying no when needed, we will reap the fruit of that and avoid much of what I mentioned above. It is worth every effort to be purposeful about escaping the trap of an over scheduled life.  I miss that peace and pace. I’m not out of it yet, I will pay the cost for weeks to come. But, whoa, lesson learned AGAIN. I will tread more cautiously as I commit my time moving forward.

I’m thankful I was reminded of why I choose a peaceful schedule and all the fruit it bears in my life. I’ll seek it diligently…it’s worth is more valuable than gold in my heart and home.

Humbled….. Kristin

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The Overscheduled Life

In this episode of At Home, Jennifer Naraki leads the discussion on the Over Scheduled Life. Jen dives right into the topic with some fantastic quotes and research from the books, Present Over Perfect and Simplicity Parenting.
We talk about at what age we sign our kids up for classes, whether or not our kids play organized sports, and how we manage exposing them to new things while not being held captive to overly busy schedules.
Conclusion? Its hard!
We discuss our own lives too, as mothers, wives and friends. In this world where we can be connected with so many friends across the country and even around the world, how do we make sure we pursue deep friendships rather than superficial ones?
Once again, we conclude it is hard to do.
We live in such a busy time. But we hope this episode encourages you to find ways to add a little more rest in your life and the life of your family.
(But will you please make sure you still have enough time to listen to At Home? Thanks friends!)
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Show Notes

Jennifer Naraki:
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest
Cloistered Away blog–Practicing the Sabbath and Learning to Rest
Wild and Free Community

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The Early Years

In this episode of At Home, Greta Eskridge leads the discussion on The Early Years.
The episode starts out with giggles, as we recorded this one late at night, and might have been a wee bit tired. Thankfully, we get on track and dive into this topic with gusto.
Greta begins by talking educational philosophies with the ladies, whether they had one in the beginning, or if they figured it out along the way. Turns out everyone had a different take on this, and that proves to be the theme of this episode—that the early years are all about figuring it out what works best for you the teacher, and for your kids, the students. It isn’t about doing what your friends are doing, or what looks good on Instagram. Rather, it is about trying new things, and giving yourself the grace to let go when something doesn’t work. It’s about approaching teaching with joy rather than fear.
We share some of our favorite activities for the early years, as well as some treasured pieces of advice, those things we’ve learned along the way. Be sure to check the show notes!
We know that beginning your home school journey with your little ones can feel daunting. You want to do it all just right. It’s our hope that this episode will leave you feeling a sense of peace and excitement about your beginnings. It’s such a wonderful time to study your kids, and find out what lights the love of learning in them. Cheers to the early years!
(and be sure to listen to the end of the episode for another fun Quick Question Round)
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Show Notes:

Greta Eskridge
The Early Years blog post by Greta Eskridge
102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy
Quote by Plato:
“Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.”
Finnish Proverb:
“Those things you learn without joy you will forget easily”

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Homeschooling Difficulties

In this episode of At Home, Kristin Rogers leads the discussion on Home Schooling Difficulties. This is an episode that all us mamas can relate to in some way. Because the truth is, home schooling isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. There are hard days, and even hard seasons.
Kristin asked our listeners to share some of the struggles they face as home schoolers. Then she chose some of the most often shared struggles to discuss in the episode. You’re sure to appreciate the care and encouragement she offers as we talk about things like self doubt, dealing with a child who is easily frustrated, the differences between teaching boys and girls, and juggling teaching school, planning meals and running a home.
All of us share our own experiences and the ups and downs we have faced as home schooling mamas. It’s an episode full of practical advice, as well as heart filling encouragement to keep at the job of schooling your kids at home.
As home schoolers, we all face unique difficulties. But we hope you come away from this episode knowing you are not alone, and that all the hard work is worth it.

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Are homeschooled children living life in a bubble?

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No more than you and I are.   In fact, their experience of life is more like the real world that you and I  experience as adults, compared to the world that children their own age in a traditional school setting experience.   Homeschooled children are not in a classroom  for thirty hours a week.   But this is not a limitation:  It is a kind of freedom.

Yet many people have this image of homeschooling families, which assumes that because we choose to do school at home, that means we are always at home, and that we don’t interact much with society.   Well, as far as the homeschooling families that I know are concerned, nothing could be farther from the truth.  While the majority of the children in my city are in a classroom, my family can be found at the library, at our favorite coffee shop and bakery, museums, farmer’s markets, countless errands, nature trails, the list could truly go on and on.  So if you are concerned that homeschooling means living life in a bubble, let me assure you, it need not.

But you still may wonder, with all this home educating, time with siblings, and playing out in nature, where do our kids get exposed to the difficulties  of life, if they aren’t in public school?  Where do they see sin and conflict and have to work through problems, in order to practice for adulthood?  I think there are so many answers to this!   The public school experience has not always been a given in all of human history.  Yet sin has always been present; and so there are always plenty of opportunities to see the harsher realities of life.  My kids meet people with a wide variety of  beliefs in our neighborhood, we see people in ill health at the nursing home we volunteer at, we see real problems in our extended family, conflict occurs at home and at church, and we read the news.  We talk about politics and current events.  These are the rich experiences and places my children are exposed to.   Because my kids have siblings, we can hardly go through  a single day without having conversations about how Jesus would have us respond to the provocations that happen at home with those we love.  I wish conflict was confined to the public school alone!  My kids are far from being isolated from the problems of life.  But the truly wonderful thing is that they are not just seeing problems, and left to themselves to figure out the right response.  Because we are generally together when these hard truths present themselves, we are able to talk through the way Christ would have us respond.  How many times did we ourselves, as children, get exposed to something in school that was too upsetting and confusing  for us to properly handle, yet when we got home and our parents asked how our day was, we simply said, “fine,”?  Being exposed to sin is not enough.  Because being exposed to sin is not the same things as being equipped to understand the world and learning, one experience at a time, to respond in a godly way.

If homeschooled children are exposed to people, which they are, than there  are plenty of opportunities for them to live as a light to the world.  Think of the generation to whom those words in Matthew 5:14-16 were written!  There was not  a public school system at that time available for everyone as we know it today:  And yet  this concept was able to be carried out.   1st century Christians were a light to the world at the market, in their extended families, in their communities.  This is the same way that a homeschooled child who believes the gospel can be like a lamp on a stand.

In my house, I believe that I am raising a future author.  He will have a lifetime of opportunities to shine as a light, Lord willing.  I don’t expect my kids to be a huge influence on the world at age 6 and 7 (although I do think they are a testimony to God’s goodness, and at times, to the wisdom found in the Scriptures).  But I hope to train them, by God’s grace, to be an influence when they are mature.

Luke 6:40 says,  “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”  I think this points out that our children, as students, are the ones being molded. We can’t place them in a classroom with a teacher and 20 to 30 other students, and expect that their influence will be the one that prevails.  We need to be careful where we place them as students.   Because they will be like their teacher.

– Jen Dees

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Homeschooling Multiple Ages

In this episode of At Home, Rachel Reeves leads the discussion on Home Schooling Multiple Ages.
As we get closer to the start of a new school year, we’re doing our best to cover some of the school topics you all have been asking about. Rachel does a great job wading through this one, which very often feels overwhelming to many homeschooling mamas.
Each of us share some of our own difficulties in this area, as well as some of the strategies that have brought us success.
We discuss helpful curriculums, scheduling tips, and which subjects we teach our kids separately and which subjects we teach them together.  There are a lot of practical tips in this episode!
In the end, what we hope you’ll see is that while teaching multiple ages simultaneously isn’t the easiest, it can be really wonderful.


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School Year Prep

In this episode of At Home, Brianne Buskey leads the discussion on School Year Prep. Some of us struggled just a bit with this topic, because we’re still in the midst of summer. But our Brianne is a planner at heart. So it doesn’t take her long to dive right in and give us an episode chock full of practical tips and advice for planning the new school year.
We cover everything from choosing curriculum, our planning methods, budgeting for home schooling, how we arrange our school books and supplies, and even have a discussion about being part of a charter. By the end of the episode (almost) everyone was so excited about getting ready for the new school year, that the words “pumpkin spice latte” were uttered. Some of us though, still just want to go to the beach.
Whether you find yourself dreaming of fall drinks or sunny beaches, this episode is sure to inspire you to make some plans for the new school year. Thanks Bre for such a helpful episode!  And don’t forget to check the blog for pictures of school spaces from the At Home ladies.


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In this episode of At Home, Kristin Rogers leads the discussion on socialization.
Wow! It turns out this is a big topic and we all have so much to say.
Kristin does a great job helping us get to an understanding of what socialization really means. We determine that it’s much more than kids being cool, and dressing in the latest fashion. But we also recognize that it is easy to become distracted by those things.
We decide that we want to look at socialization from a broader scope, to approach it with a view of the kind of adults we want our kids to become, rather than focus solely on how well they are fitting in with their peers right now.
We hash out ideas for how to get through some of the socialization challenges homeschoolers can face, such as home schooling an only child, being an introverted parent with an extroverted child, home schooling in a rural area, getting out in winter (something us California girls really know nothing about) and more.
We hope this episode will give you lots to think about, and will be an encouragement to you as well.
Don’t forget to listen to the Quick Question Round at the end of the episode It’s sure to leave you with a good laugh.  We love sharing the heavy and the fun with you all!


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What Counts as School

In this episode of At Home, Greta Eskridge leads the discussion on what counts as school. The conversation starts out fun, when Greta asks if we can do school in our jammies, does baking cookies count as math, and if Legos really are learning tools, or just toys.
However, we realize this is a topic many homeschoolers wrestle with, so we dive in and do our best to blend thoughtful ideas with our laughter.
Throughout the episode, we all agree that one of the most wonderful parts of homeschooling is the freedom to teach school in a way that works best for us as teachers and for our kids as learners. That means all of us do school a little differently.
Some of us have more relaxed home school routines. Most of us scaled back when we had new babies. Each of us loves the idea of incorporating play as real learning time. And while we all see the value in spending one day of the school week pursuing nature study with our home school group, some of us don’t like to have too many other outings scheduled in one week.
What we end up with is an understanding that real learning takes place in many different ways, and in many different places. The key is to get our kids to fall in love with all those kinds of learning, so they’ll be learners for the rest of their lives.

(For this episode we have created another hashtag #athomereallearning. We want to see all the real learning your kids are doing at home—in their jammies, cooking in the kitchen, on the nature trail, with their math books, building forts, writing stories, at the grocery store, and wherever else your learning takes you. Share with us!)

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Children + Chores

In this episode of At Home, Jen Dees leads the discussion on children and chores.
Jen is very excited about this topic, and was a little surprised that some of us saw it as more of a “necessary” topic than a “fun” one. And I think she made it her goal to get us all to see how much fun chores can be. Our Jen Dees loves a challenge!
Jen offers some great research to prove her point that chores are really wonderful things for kids to do. And as the episode progresses, you’ll see that some of the At Home ladies are total rock stars at this. While others of us are still… growing.
Wherever you find yourself on that spectrum, we’re hoping this episode will help you find inspiration and plenty to think about as we discuss everything from what chores our kids actually do, giving allowance, how to get kids started with chores, handling bad attitudes, and so much more.
And for this episode we’d love to start something new: sharing your fabulous chore ideas with our At Home audience. We want to see your kids in action, your chore charts, and the other fabulous things happening in your homes as you teach your children the value of chores. Simply tag your photos with #athomechores and lets be flooded with inspiration from one another!


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