Entering Public School

We have thoroughly enjoyed homeschooling our children for NINE years! I originally intended to just do Kindergarten to Gabe, but it went so well, and our family was grooving with it, so we kept going just one year at a time. I loved the richness of our content, the time in nature, the learning we could customize per child, and especially the freedom it afforded us as a family.

This freedom allowed us to embark on a three year trek as Freejourners around the country, mostly around the Western US, enjoying all the National Parks and beautiful sites and hikes it had to offer. We hopped around from city to city, living in many for a month at a time, meeting amazing people and learning so much along the way.

I feel like our kids were at perfect ages to do that. Honestly, though, any ages are perfect, depending on the desires of a family. But our oldest was 11-14 years as we traveled. We stayed connected to their long-time best buddies and joined sports teams wherever we went, so they were always around kids. But as they were getting older, like most kids, they need us parents less and need more time away from us to grow and stretch around others.

This was the year for our kids. So, we decided that it was a great time for them to head to school! Gabe, our oldest, entered 9th, and Isaac went into 7th grade. (Jadyn will be with us at least another year, learning at home.)

And so far, so good. We’ve survived the first week, with new sleep schedules, packed lunches, piles of papers to sign, weird schedules and deadlines, and even sports practices! Gabe made the JV soccer team, and we were so proud of him!

They lucked out, too, because this was the first year, the entire district went “paperless” – NO Textbooks! They each got a Chromebook and can easily function around Google Apps as they’ve been using it our whole homeschool life!

But it hasn’t been without hiccups. Gabe is fortunate enough to take 2 classes online as an academic athlete in anticipation for his upcoming snowboarding practices. He can just go to the library to work on them. But that first week, he should have been checking in with a teacher in a classroom first. Somehow we missed that detail. So he went 3 days without going. When he finally realized and checked in, the teacher told him he’d get an “unexcused absence.” There were 5 seconds of awkward silence when Gabe asked what that was. The teacher wondered if he was being sarcastic! Gabe was able to share that he’d “been homeschooled all his life,” and really didn’t know and had indeed been working in the library. I think he got off fine.

Other than that, though, the boys are having a great time for the most part, just tired. I love that they can experience school from the “outside-in.” They can observe the lunchtime/classtime dynamics and feel free inside, but noting how people group around. They are engaging with the teachers and are really eager to learn and participate. They want to hold onto their creativity, their deep thinking, and their boldness. I love it. But they also get to experience the “pressure” of deadlines and grades and social expectations. It’s all good.

I have to say, though, I’m still so grateful to be homeschooling another year. We juggle our business and life and schooling from home, so our days are always full and intense. But I still enjoy learning about science with Jadyn, reading about the Kings & Queens of England, watching her blossom into a creative writer, and especially being out in nature, taking in all that life has to offer.

Here’s to another year for us as a family, living and learning together. It looks a lot different for us this year, but we are really looking forward to it!

Best Way to Learn

…is to just jump in and do it. There are many people (myself included sometimes!) who are more comfortable taking their time, thinking about things, planning, and preparing for a situation.

And that is great. But honestly, the best way to learn how to do something is to just do it. I’ve seen this personally this month with a few things like tennis and snowboarding – and have seen this play out in business multiple times over.

I think it’s because the pressure makes us step up with a higher level of focus. When we do not have to “perform” or compete, we can be a little more lax with ourselves. In addition, reality is the best teacher. Everything is theoretical when we are in practice-mode. You discount real-time feedback or the various new emotions involved that can steer a situation.

Sure, there is that moment of fear or feeling like we are not ready yet – but once we get over that feeling, it really isn’t as difficult as we may have imagined. And really, what have we got to lose? Only much knowledge and new skills to gain!

 

Loving the Variety

I am privileged to engage with such a variety of reading and experiences each day as we creatively walk through this blended life of businesses, school, and life.

Today was one of those days – Podcast Recording, doctor’s appointment, running outside in 20 degree temps, newsletter publications, sent off some Arbonne samples to friends, tennis lessons for kids, speech & debate practice and tailoring a suit for Gabe. And in between those activities, I was able to enjoy audio books during the drives and great reads with the kids.

Here’s what stuck from what I read:

The Miracle Morning

Whether it’s our routines or our relationships, it’s our responsibility to actively and continuously make them the way we want them to be.

There are so many ways to make excuses or blame our circumstances on others. But if we take full responsibility, then we tend to have greater creativity, perseverance, and attitude to weather the difficulties. It’s up to us to make experiences and relationships meaningful.

This book has been a fantastic catalyst for waking up a couple hours before the family and taking care of the important things in life, while enjoying the quiet moments of silence and serenity. It’s really added a new, keen focus to business and life.

The Nightingale

These questions are not about them, but about us. Don’t think about who they are. Think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what will break you. p 126

One of the characters in this book was working through deep regret during the time of Nazi occupation. She had shared a list of names, including her best friend’s, with a German Nazi. The above response was from her mentor as an encouragement on what was most important to focus on. I can only imagine being in her shoes and the internal conflict with every decision.

I think much of life is like this though – we cannot always control the circumstances or the people around us, but we can control our decisions and responses to it. “Who am I?” is the main question to always ask. Continue reading “Loving the Variety”

Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

As for myself, I had been pretty unpredictable over the last several years of life, and would just jump into a work/homeschool/life juggling act each day. Often times, before mid-morning, I’d feel like the day had “gotten away from me.”

Over the last month or so, I’ve returned to a beautiful new habit – waking up earlier than everyone in the house and enjoying an intentional morning routine. I’ve found that it helps me to more eagerly actually get out of bed, as I look forward to those precious quiet moments. I don’t check my phone or email. But I spend some time reading, meditating, journaling, and even stretching or doing some simple exercises. It centers me for the day and helps to give me perspective. I feel more prepared and focused to tackle the variety of tasks and appointments that fill each day.

I began this as a way to get out of an emotional rut I had been in for a few weeks, and found it to be critical for change. But now that I have been practicing it for over a month, I see how it is great for continued growth in all areas of life – business and personal. I’d recommend to people in both situations – those who feel that life is out of control (in any particular or all areas) or those who are content in life but wanting to push towards new growth and bigger dreams.

One resource to start with is The Miracle Morning which gives some practical ideas for how to fill those first minutes of our day. I’d love to hear what your mornings are like and if any questions you have about kick-starting your days more intentionally.

 

Belief

I’m enjoying a new book, You Are a Bada** by Jen Sincero, with a group of other Arbonne Consultants this month. It’s both hilarious and inspiring. Basically it’s a wonderful kick in the pants to step into the meaningful, amazing life we have an opportunity to live.

This book is for those who want more out of life and want to go after big things. Or for those who aren’t even sure – but have an inkling – that they do. Why not?

There are so many lies that can keep us from this and that we can get stuck believing if we don’t take time to step back and evaluate them.  Some are subconscious about money or success that we learned as kids. Sometimes, we just let the traps of the regrets of the past or fears of the future taint our present awesome reality and keep us entangled. No good.

While I’m not necessarily on par with her all her beliefs on Energy, I have seen and do agree with the reality of attracting what we “seek” (usually subconsciously). When we see the world through a negative lens and get stuck there emotionally, that’s the world we tend to live in. I’ve seen the opposite happen as well – great things tend to come when we are looking for and expecting them in healthy ways. Continue reading “Belief”

Risk

I’m not naturally a risk-taker, I’ve learned. I need a certain dose of adventure and variety, but often I stick to the tried-and-true, and actually seek out certain measures of social validation before jumping in to something. Sometimes that is wise. Sometimes it’s just fear, likely.

Don and I spoke today about the importance of the habit of risk-taking. Risk is a natural reality of any growth curve. When you start something new, at minimum, you risk losing the time you choose to invest. In other circumstances, you could risk injury (like with snowboarding!), loss of income (starting a business) or social status or even just a bruised ego (just going against the grain).

BUT what you gain is the confidence to step into the unknown – to new things. And not only that, but you learn the new skills that help you to become an expert. An expert in something actually lowers her risk because she’s more aware of all the possible downfalls – either from her own experience or from keen observation when digging down deep into something.

Perceived risk is what we should actually avoid. Not risk.🙂 I’m learning.

Writing Every Day

It has been months since I’ve put fingers to keypad and poured out my thoughts and reflections. It’s a part of the way I process life, and so I’ve really missed it.

As we teach and lead our kids, we’ve been encouraging them to think about everything they read and experience. We expect them to write and publish regularly as well.

I never like being hypocritical- I need to model it for them. Don loves quoting, “You cannot give what you do not possess.” This is a gift I want to pass on to them for sure.

So, here we go!

Another thing Don always says to people is, “Write For Yourself.”

My life is a mixture of business, family, education, friendships, and adventure, so my writing should reflect the blended experiences of it all. This is for me….and maybe some of you may enjoy it as well.