Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five Ways To Avoid Spring Fever Symptoms

Hey Fellow Moms!

How are you doing during this season of busyness?  Are you managing to maintain the balance between too much busyness and not enough outside activities?  Now that we are moving quickly into the spring season, are you still motivated, or are you experiencing some burnout? I don't know about you, but I find that pretty much every year between January and March, we experience burnout to some degree. This year is no exception.  We have actually struggled with burnout to a greater degree than ever before and honestly, I think it started with me, and trickled down. I've been home schooling off and on for twenty-five years. The past eleven years home school has been a constant part of our lives.  We've been doing things pretty much the same way for the past four years and I think that's why I hit a wall. I'm feeling ready for a change. My kids are expressing a desire for a change in the way we do things, as well. That is the beauty of home schooling. When you hit a wall, you don't have to keep bashing your head against it. You can re-assess and figure out what changes are needed for your unique family and the individual learning styles and personalities that make up the family unit. We are praying about and checking into some different options for next fall, but in the meantime we came up with some simple changes to make the rest of this school year more enjoyable, fresh, and new.

1. We switched up locations in the house for each child to do their studies. They needed a fresh environment.

2. We removed all electronic devices and allow use of them only in the evening for a couple of hours once each of the kids has produced evidence of their progress they accomplished throughout the day, along with the completion of chores. These little devices worm their way in and take over if we aren't careful to monitor the amount of time they are used. It's really easy for the kids to get distracted, but this includes mom too.:) I have given myself blocks of time to spend on my own electronic devices and that happens only when I am not needed to oversee chores and school, and after certain things have been accomplished  at various points throughout the day ie. workout, mealtime prep, eating, and cleanup, laundry etc. The other perk to this change is that it gives each child something to look forward to after hard work. It's a carrot to reward them for keeping their priorities straight.

3.We decided to incorporate at least one family activity each week that is different and fun. After interviewing the kids, we discovered that they have some great creative ideas for ways we can implement some fun activities that are not costly. Some of their ideas are game nights, swimming, bowling, reading a book together, hiking with our Goldens, skating, movie night, cooking a fun and different meal together, just to name a few.

4. We decided to plan more field trips into our weeks throughout the spring season and to invite friends to join us.

5. Mom, what do you enjoy doing?  What are ways you can fuel your own tank so you can continue to fuel your family?  For me, my passions are singing, writing, photography, research, reading, hiking, Cook-free meals (AKA date night with my hubby), working out, culinary arts, and spending time with other moms.  Be sure you incorporate activities into your lives that will give you something to look forward to. A carrot for mom is important too. We all need things to look forward to!

This morning I realized that the week has been running along at a nice pace. The overall results of the changes we made have proven that the changes were needed! Productivity is much higher, attitudes are more positive, and the kids seem much more at peace and able to enjoy learning to a greater degree.

I snapped a few pictures this morning while they were all busy with their lessons.

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Energy prayer
Once a week our daughter and her five kiddos join us for some morning classes and assignments, followed by some refreshing outdoor fun. Last week our oldest daughter and three of her kids were able to join us as well. I can't express enough how important it is to plan some fun activities into the week. Our kids have their usual routine each day that includes their academics and they have piano lessons, choir practice, community and church activities, all of which they enjoy, but it's really important to add in something different and fun periodically as well.

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Encouragement for tired mommies

Last week I took the kids on a field trip to the Compassion Project and afterwards we had lunch at a beautiful park with a couple of other families. This trip included explorations in geography,anthropology, missions, and the opportunity to see, first hand, the suffering that goes on in other countries along with ways we can reach out to them from right where we are.

When we allow our kids to see the differences between our country and other countries, it can develop compassion in them and help to see how blessed we really are. This helps to bring a new perspective on life. It's really eye opening.
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One more thing that has really helped refresh me, is getting back into my regular exercise routine. I feel much more energetic, I'm sleeping better at night, I have fewer joint aches, and this translates into a much healthier mom over all.

Hang in there....the end of the year is just around the corner.

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