Now I realize that focused meditation (the kind that uses a mantra) is a huge help for those with anxiety. It effectively teaches you how to control your thoughts so that they don’t run away with you–causing an anxiety or panic attack. I found focused meditation was also profoundly helpful to my clients that “couldn’t turn their brain off” at night–often falling asleep with the TV on so that they could distract their brain with nonsense to fall asleep.
My next little experiment is going to be on my BigGuy. I’ve wanted to do this before and even tried, but I’m Queen Inconsistency and never managed to get him on track for more than (literally) a day. Now, I have to do this for myself and I’m going to pull him along with me–hoping it will prove useful in him being able to control his thoughts and stay more focused. He’s been on board for this for a long time because HE doesn’t like being distracted, but he can’t control it. As a result, he also can’t manage to get on top of the practice on his own.
So I encourage you to consider this if you or your children have anxiety, distraction or even just a hard time falling asleep each night. Make sure you are focusing on a mantra during your practice. The link to my business blog entry above will give you great starting points (free ones!).
The picture says it all folks. Summer camp. A joy so genuine that it is worth the fortune of money paid, the hours in the cars, the dislocated workplaces of the parents, and the jumbling of task management at home to accommodate All Of The Joy.
What kind of summer camps provide the faces you see above, you ask?
… this Mama’s college coursework started. Which you can see affected my writing/posting… Because I’m human and I have a lot to do, y’all.
My undergraduate and graduate degree are in non-science majors and I am now undertaking another Master degree in a science-related field. That means taking a handful of science prerequisites. It’s been a while since Mama has been in school (not THAT long) and it didn’t occur to me that summer session effectively takes a 16-week semester and crams it into 8 weeks.
We are ending our sixth year of homeschooling. For the first 1-2 years, I waffled between scheduled and notsomuch scheduled when it came to academics. If not for all our moving, I might have tried to find a schedule that worked until I gave up. Instead, I threw my hands up and said “He’s ahead–I’m not gonna worry about it”.
It started innocently enough: I was lamenting (by way of Facebook messages) to two of my friends about trying to meet the needs of BigGuy while occupying Girly with something other than the television. Jen always has great ideas and I don’t think she had a clue what she started with her brain dump into the Facebook message…
Next to packing lunches, planning is the complete bane of my existence. I loathe each with equal passion. Currently, I am detaching from reality each evening with an inflammation-inducing comfort of organic milk (we have been dairy-free for ELEVEN years) and chunky Chips Ahoy cookies (we have been gluten-free for a decade and pretty much flour free because of blood sugar issues for easily 3 years)… because I am in a quandary about how to proceed with my kids educational needs and I just don’t feel like dealing with it.
But I’m going to deal with it, obviously… Here is the quandary…
I thought of this as I drove the 26 miles that takes 45-50 minutes without traffic to the co-op we’re newly involved in this year. Traditionally, we don’t travel this far too often. We have definitely made a similar trip twice before: both times for a specific writing teacher for a half-year because she worked REALLY well with BigGuy (who only ever enjoyed writing with this woman and she really enjoyed him–worth the trip).
Don’t get me wrong, we make trips. Going into downtown Chicago for museum free days or heading out to a specific location for a special trip–these happen. Likely more often than most schooled kids; but possibly also more often than many homeschooled kids. Homeschool families vary in both their tolerance for trekking around and their availability to do so. My family is out a LOT. “Homeschooling” is a misnomer because we’re not home as much as people think we are. Continue reading We spend a lot of time in the car→
Yeah… I think this is going to work out–not being part of the Young Philosopher’s group that was meeting on Fridays from 11:30am-1pm. I mean, that’s lunchtime. Seriously? And it’s kind of far. And it falls on the day that BigGuy and I are supposed to hold our big Socratic white-elephant-in-my-head discussions… which might be too much heavy conversation for a day.
But Fridays are really, really open now and I think that’s going to work well for us. For one, it’s the day we prepare for the weekend. We do our “weekly home blessing” (thank you, stronghold of The Fly Lady) which is a set of two chores per family member that help get the house cleaned up before the weekend. This started long ago when we hosted “Wine Night” at our house every Friday night for nearly a year before relocating. Taking care of cleaning up the house before the weekend set in meant that we enjoyed a clean house all weekend and company dropping by wasn’t an issue. We could just relax.
Well, we are returning to that. And I think having the review of the week’s work and the Socratic discussions on Friday are going to dovetail nicely into preparing for the weekend. Because we can also have these discussions WHILE we work on stuff.
So each day the kids have all kinds of responsibilities…
Make their bed
Put their laundry in the hall basket and one of them takes the basket down to the laundry room (or one of the adults do)
Pick up toys in their room (which usually happens twice/day–once before going down to breakfast and once before bed… but we’ve removed a lot of toys from their rooms)
Pick up whatever toys they were playing with all day before getting their screen time or going out to any cool play dates
Set the table and get drinks. Honestly, I have no idea who does what part of this now except that at a prior family meeting, Girly wanted to put out the plates. That meant someone had to get them for her. Apparently, not anymore. She’s pushed her kid chair to the cabinet, stood up on it, got down four large dinner plates, and put four forks on them and then carries it all to the table. Whaaaaa…..???
Clear the table after every meal
BigGuy has to clean his bathroom and the master bathroom–and doing that is broken down so that he does a different part each day. He often forgets this chore or forgets to include my bathroom… but this is a new one.
At the end of the week, it goes like this (or rather, IT. IS. PLANNED. to go like this):
BigGuy vacuums the entire first floor and upstairs hallway. With his complete failure to master vacuuming, we are now sweeping.
Girly is supposed to dust and put away whatever toys are left out.
Papa is supposed to empty EVERY. GARBAGE CAN. IN THE HOUSE. including the laundry room and powder room; and mop the first floor
Mama is supposed to clear ALL of the horizontal surfaces–desk, kitchen island, counters; and sort/purge all papers–bringing the keepers to the office.
Honestly, the kids are the only ones being held to this right now and BigGuy bears the brunt of it. So add this to the list of “things mom should really get better at”. To be fair, Girly is WAY more helpful in general than BigGuy so I kind of don’t feel all that horrible about it. At 5, she tap dances rings around him in the helpful category. I love my son and he has his amazing qualities. I’m just saying that being helpful isn’t one of them.
And then there’s the general keeping things in their place crap. Shoes go in the closet, not out and about. Pencils have a place. Library books have a place. Board games have a place. My core sense of self is only at rest when “everything has a place and everything in it’s place”. With this house presumably the final place (until retirement), sh*t’s gotta get put in it’s place and that needs to become a habit.
Friday is also farm share day. So if we can get the rest of the house clean, by the time we get our farm food later in the day, we really don’t have anything standing in our way to deal with the vegetables. We get two shares from a farm in town; but then another farm uses our house as a drop-off point (it’s complicated–they started using us mid-season when we were already midway through a full season share with the other farm. Although to be fair, last year we did 4 shares total–two from each of these farms; and we’re likely to go back to that next year since we will not yet have our own gardens to the point of supporting us. Wait-wait-wait… I digress..
I’m looking forward to Fridays. Especially if they’re sunny. And clean.