Happy New Year, everyone! I hope all is well in your at home world. Well, here we are. Two weeks into 2015. Really?! Didn’t we just watch the ball drop? You know, it’s almost scary how fast time seems to go as I get older. There’s just no way I’m 47 and that this year marks 30 years since I graduated high school. Impossible! Time. That’s what’s on my mind today. Specifically, what we are doing with the time we have.
Many of you know that aside from taking care of the At Home Woman community, I also am a home educator and a small business entrepreneur. Needless to say, between my collection of jobs as a homemaker, wife, mother, teacher, entrepreneur, author and ministry leader, my time is not my own. Seriously, not even 30 minutes a day are “just mine”. Honestly, I haven’t taken any “time off” from the business in a handful of years and we home school year round with mostly single day or short mini-breaks from lessons so I needed this reprieve badly. In December, I decided to take a few weeks off. I planned to take some of that down time to get ready for our second half of the school year and cross a few much-needed behind the scenes business missions off my list. Yep, that was the plan! What is it they say about the best laid plains? Here’s how it’s gone down, folks.
December 11, 2014 through December 28, 2014: We took a little trip to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood (a family favorite getaway spot) to see the lights and enjoy some cold outdoor time. We relaxed and ate holiday food favorites. We watched Christmas and family movies. We played. We enjoyed being a family who actually likes each other and being together. I read….not just articles either. Oh, how I’ve missed that! I vegged out and did as little as possible. It was wonderful! Of course, the big mister (my husband) had a few days off for the holidays themselves and weekends but worked all days other than those. So most days were just the little mister, the dog and me doing our thing. And then we had the quartet of family love and fun in the evenings. Ahhh! Can you say “Mama’s in pure domestic heaven.”?
We took down the tree the day after Christmas. It was a few days later that I actually began putting furniture back in its place or found a new spot for it as I rearranged for a change-up. I do that…changing my surroundings by moving furniture around. I cleaned and cooked as usual since that is a never ending must.
December 29, 2014 through January 4, 2015: Time to get off my tushie to attack my plan. Gently, of course. Don’t want to over do it, ya’ know? So I fiddled with a new daily schedule for home, school and business. When you have so much that needs your attention, you need organization and some semblance of a plan. A while back, I had created a color coded 7 day schedule with task blocks for each area laying out what to do in each area on specific days of the week and daily or monthly task section plus a daily missions time management sheet for myself and the little mister. But it needed to be adjusted to fit where we are now since my husband changed jobs causing our schedule to change dramatically. I had good bones to work with so this shouldn’t be hard or too mentally taxing. Right? Yes, that’s what I thought too.
I dabbled with the semester education plan and together, my son and I decided we would take on Music and Sign Language in this second half of the school year. WooHoo! OK, what next? Get our school records updated with our homeschooling umbrella, HomeLife Academy. Attendance to date for the 2014/2015 school year, grades for the fall semester, our education plan for the spring semester. An easy task and totally in line with my internal conversation to ease back into active duty. So a few days later…….Yes, I procrastinated. Don’t judge! I sit down to tally up our days of attendance since July. “1, 2, 3……98 days! Over half of our required days for the year. Not to shabby. Quick, write that down in my book. Done! I’ll enter them online with HSA later. I have until January 15th to do it so we’re good.” (All that was me talking to myself during.)
Meanwhile, business missions 1 – 12 were on my mind. Oh honey, don’t be shocked. That’s a drop in the bucket of the actual number of to-do’s for running a business every single day. My list went like this. *Update my product formulation files. *Get my product batch records in order. *Establish a marketing plan for the year. *Do graphic design work. *Take inventory of my stock and supplies. *Source raw materials and supplies. *Get a blogging and newsletter plan laid out. *Website revisions and updates. *New product R & D. *Research trends and customer feedback. *Plan the exciting new customer program that I want to launch in 2015. Not too terribly taxing work, just time-consuming.
We finished taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations and lights, inside and out. Bye-Bye until next year! Things were back to normal in my at home world…minus the pressures of daily business demands. Life was good!
January 5, 2015 through January 12, 2015: We started back with school lessons. Now that was interesting in so many ways. The little mister was not feeling it and neither was I. We were in a cold snap with overcast skies that made it even harder to focus. But we stumbled through that first week back and managed to actually do some of the review I had planned for the days that lead up to the new semester. We’re still in that review, by the way. Along comes the weekend and I remember I still need to log our attendance and grades with HSA. I did that….late on Sunday afternoon. Don’t even ask what I did from Saturday morning until then because it’s unclear to me.
I touched on of the business missions. Yes, I touched my list…picked it up several times in fact. To my credit, I did go beyond the “on my mind” on a few of the tasks and initiated 3 or 4 of the missions. A good start….Yes? Oh yes, ma’am! I was easing back into things so well, don’t you think? *clears throat and gives a spunky wink*
January 13, 2015: Reality kicks in over coffee. The business offices are set to reopen next week. ACK! Oh dear! But I’m not done! I haven’t even started on some of my missions and my 7 day schedule plus the time management sheets are still “in progress”. NOOO! I’m gonna have to dive in the deep end of things and swim fast! Thankfully, school’s mostly back on track with no real smack you in the face issues. Whew! That’s at least something to cheer about.
Oh…did I forget to mention I had also planned to begin walking daily again and add some mild resistance training after the first of the year? I didn’t, huh? Well, just take a wild guess on how that’s gone. Uhh Huhh! I think I actually heard the treadmill snickering and whispering with the resistance bands yesterday. How rude! Plus, I started a daily scripture reading and Bible study discussion with my At Home Woman Sharing Room group yesterday. Hey, have you joined the group yet? Take this as your official invite. I’d love for you to come on over and get in on the study with us from the start.
That’s what I’ve been doing with 2015 so far. Notice I said “with” and not “in”. Two very different words with very different meanings. I’ve been dabbling, getting distracted and making lots of plans but no real progress for the most part. But that is gonna change…TODAY! Alright, I’ve taken enough of your time and I really must get my rear in gear on tackling my mission list. I am determined to manage my time more wisely and take a more proactive and positive approach to my days. Not so much flying by the seat of my pants. No ma’am! I’m gonna do much better with my time because once time is gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. EVER! Will you pray for me as I climb this habit changing mountain and kick it into over-drive to make up for my procrastination these last few weeks. Please and thank you!
So …..what are you doing with 2015? Do you need to make positive changes too? I’d love to hear from you on the subject of time and time management. I invite you to comment or come to the AHW Facebook page to talk about it.
Until we chat again…enjoy your at home world!
OK y’all…I’ve got to admit, sitting down to write a blog post has been a booger to nail down. In fact, I can’t say that I’ve come anywhere near nailing it. Here’s what’s going on and where I’m at. My hope is that not only am I not an odd duck out on this but that somewhere, someone will have insight and inspiration to share.
Have you ever thought about how you think? No this isn’t a trick question. It’s not some mental evaluation or a deeply insightful ideology either. It’s just me getting real about what I often experience in my at home world. Here’s an example of how my thought streams often take shape.
Just today, it went something like……
“I need to get an At Home Woman blog post written and ready to post. How can I possible add anything new, fresh, unexplored? What hasn’t been covered by anyone or anywhere? What could I expand on from another perspective? All those fabulous woman’s life and homeschool bloggers I follow offer so much in the way of motivation and inspiring content. I don’t have as much to offer because I don’t have as much experience in (fill in the blank). I’ll troll the internet to see what jumps out at me. When did that cobweb get there? *Achoo* I need to dust….and vacuum. Gosh, is that a Cheerio under the couch? Ewww….what is that hairy thing under the table? Goodness gracious! Miss Dottie sure does shed a lot for this time of year! I need to do some major cleaning and like….uhhh….YESTERDAY. I really need to get more work on my new website done so my designer can do what she does. WOOHOO! More thinking that has to be done! Uhhh….NOT!?! Oh look at that a cute pic (insert friend’s name here) posted on Facebook! Wow….She sure is looking good! Oh, I wish I had known about that show earlier. I bet it would have been a good one. LOL! He’s more of a drama queen than most teen girls! Dang it! I’ve been sucked into the Facebook Vortex! I should clear all these notes and clutter off my ottoman. Oh dear! I have so many files to transfer to this new laptop that the sweetest At Home Man ever born bought me for Valentine’s Day. GEEZ! Writer’s block sucks and blows all at the same time! My idea bank is just completely empty. Oh, I should reply to that tweet. I need to get my bookwork done. I really need to reformulate that product. I want to get those new graphics and designs done soon. I better check emails while I’m on here. Oh, I really want to paint this room. A nice green would be pretty! That’s a good article. Maybe there’s some potential there. What should I make for supper? Hey that looks like another really good article. I’ll click the link to check it out. “Honey, go check on Little Man. He’s being awfully quiet.” What in the world can I write about this time? Crap! This link is taking forever to load. Hit the stop and refresh buttons! Yes! That made it load right up. Oh, I need to go put sour cream on the grocery list. ”
UGH! I need an intervention….or a brain defragmenting!
Seem vaguely familiar to you? Do you see the problem? SCATTERED THINKING! In every are of my life and on every level….and all at once it seems! I have been going back and forth between professional and personal when I sit down or stand up to do anything these last few days. That is just part of being an at home woman, right?
Seems like the more I have to do, the more my thinking gets scattered about and I lose focus. The more pressures I feel and tentacles there are pulling on me, the more it tends to happen. Oh….I see you nodding your head over there. It happens to you too, doesn’t it? I thought so. It’s not unusual when you think about it. You have a busy life with responsibilities to attend to with home, family, business, school, extra-curricular activities and just life in general.
Truth is we are inundated with information and responsibilities from all sides. For me, the list just seems to grow and grow…like the blob creature from outer space. There’s articles to read, social media to do, local events to attend, lessons to prepare and teach, family situations to tend to, home life to live (laundry, cleaning, meals, finances, pets, etc.). There’s friends to engage with, company needs and entrepreneur tasks that need to to be dealt with (that list is just too long to even try to write here), ministry and church to focus on, local-national-world news to at least have an inkling about. All this can make for BRAIN OVERLOAD, which often results in scattered thinking. And it is not easy to deal with or overcome. What to do about it, is the question.
Instead of giving out instructions and assignments in today’s article, I want you all to lend your expertise to this at home woman. Oh….you thought I had some clever, insightful and meaningful words for you, huh? LOL…remember….I’m experiencing brain overload and scattered thinking right now.
So tell us…At Home Woman. How do you overcome scattered thinking? What ways have you found to be effective when you need to refresh your brain? Do you close out some open windows to decrease information downloads? Do you step away and let time be on your side? Do you prioritize? Make lists or schedules?
Just what can you share that will help all of us with brain overload and scattered thinking? The platform is yours. Ready – GO!
….IT JUST FITS. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
If you follow At Home Woman on Facebook, you know I’ve had a time trying to name the new recipe share feature that so many of you busy at home women have requested. I asked the social community to make suggestions and they came through with such great ideas. I couldn’t choose from all the good suggestions so I put it out there for a vote. Still…I was not settled. It just seemed like nothing fit or made me say, Oh Yes! That’s it!
I’m a real believer that names have impact and can determine a course. Whether it be naming a child, a pet, a business or in this case, a special feature or program, a name describes and endears you to the subject. It either grabs your attention or it leaves you feeling uninterested and detached. I wanted this one to be a grabber, both fun and functional, with longevity and future potential for more. It just had to fit like a glove. I know…I’m kinda over the top on this, I guess. But that’s ok.
Anyways, here I was, facing the promise of the feature rolling out this week and I had nothing. NADA! No name for the fabulous new feature designed just for you. That is until this morning. I was thinking about what recipes to share with everyone first, when it hit me. I mean it almost knocked me down as I was refilling my java mug. It was a real Aha moment and one of those “Why didn’t I think of that before?” kinda things.
It just fit! And very nicely with what this feature and At Home Woman is all about, I might add.
So without further delay or fan fare, I introduce you to……..
….the newest At Home Woman feature, coming to you by popular request. This will be a 2 -4 times per month category of blog posts that are aimed at helping you prepare tasty dishes and meals for your family without going broke or taking a toll on your patience. You can look for the first recipe installment to go live this week.
What do you think? Does it fit? Please comment here and let me know how you like the name that was such a tough one to pull outta the hat.
I hope you enjoy and comment often on the recipes, the posts and the feature itself. I hope you will request general and specific recipes you would like to see and make all kinds of suggestions for this feature. These posts are for you and often will be by you.
Please, try out what looks good to ya’, comment and share the posts with your friends.
Thanks so very much! I really do appreciate each of you.
Love and peace as you enjoy your at home world.
Since At Home Woman is new on the block and really more for YOU than anyone, I decided to ask YOU what YOU want to read more about.
Please take a few minutes of your valuable time to answer 1 question in this survey to tell me what you would like to read more of around here.
Thank you so very much!
Ginger Moore, the At Home Woman
I’m ready for school, Mom!
My son, whom I call “Little Man”, is loving school. No! Really! He is! Almost every day, he will come in to “the learning center” (aka. our living room), get into his chair at his desk or grab my hand to pull me out of my seat and happily exclaim, “I’m ready for school!” He’s excited and eager to explore and fill his curious mind with information about the world he lives in. When I say it’s time to stop for the day, he will often beg for more. There is something to be said for that. Color me a happy at home mom and teacher!
Learning Can Be Fun
We play to learn and we learn from our play. We use all sorts of dynamic and interesting approaches to lessons that make them enjoyable. Kids are sponges and want to learn new things. Studies show they learn better when play is included in their lessons. When it’s fun and interesting, the time goes by quickly and the information tends to be retained better. Yes, we have “seat time” and we practice things like handwriting and do math drills. But we do it in such a way so that it’s not boring or an intense brain drain that he dreads and can’t wait for it to be over. It’s very creative and alive.
Flexibility Wins Again
Let me explain. Although some may disagree with our approach, we’ve chosen to not be strict in our home education structure. We remain flexible. I make loose plans and set goals we wish to achieve for each week but I try to keep in mind that these are not set in stone. We flow with it to make it exciting and new every single day, even though we are doing lots of repetition. We capitalize on what I call “teachable moments”. If my son expresses an interest in something, we go with it and delve into that particular subject. One day it may be planets and outer space that catches his curiosity. The next day it may be koala bears or palm trees that may strike his fancy.
A Recent Teachable Moment
Circumstances will often dictate our days. For example, I’ve been fighting a terrible cold and struggling with little to no voice for a week or more. So I’ve tried to give “quiet” lessons each day in an attempt to save my voice. Last week, I gave Little Man my white board and told him to practice writing and drawing. Here’s a photo of what he did.
Can you tell what it is? Don’t feel bad, if you can’t. I couldn’t either. Ready for this? It’s a mouthful of teeth! Cute, huh? Little Man also came up with a tooth brushing game to play with his drawing. The eraser was a toothbrush and the markers were used to color code different things the teeth needed to be happy and healthy. There were bits of food and stains that had to be removed and “sugar bugs” that had to go. The goal was for all the teeth to smile big and bright because they were being well taken care of. LOL….What an imagination that one has!
So I just went with it, taking the open opportunity to teach about why we have teeth, good oral care and why it’s important. We wrote out words like “tooth”, “mouth”, “brush”, “floss”, etc. We had a fun “made us giggle” creative story time with scenerios and characters we made up along the way and things they should do or shouldn’t do when caring for their teeth. I then printed out a couple of worksheets to further the lesson.
One Subject Matter Can Cover So Much
Home education or lessons don’t have to be stressful, complex, long or cumbersome. The goal is to learn and broaden horizons, right? One lesson can cover several subjects for your lesson time. In the impromptu oral health lesson, the drawing counted as Art for the day. The writing was part of his Penmanship and the words were counted as Reading and Spelling lessons for the day. The subject matter was his Science that day. The whole of the matter applied towards his Life Skills & Practical Concepts for the day. Six (yes, I said 6) school subjects were covered with one assignment, and all in 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
As my son grows older, I’m sure our teaching techniques will have to grow with him. I’m also sure that the fun and excitement will remain in our school days no matter how old he gets. For now, we’re keeping it easy and breezy, with lots of flexibility to tap into his interests and expand his knowledge horizons.
Playing to learn. It works for us.
Do you incorporate play into your at home education lessons? What ways have you found to help make learning fun?