5 Things I Learned in September

posted in: journal | 2

Wow – time flies when you’re….busy. Ha! This has been a more action-packed school year than we’ve ever had before. People told me that happened with teens, but I didn’t believe them.

Those experienced moms, people. They know what they’re talking about. Listen, even if you don’t like what they’re saying.

Cindy Rollins is the real deal.

Speaking of experienced moms to listen to, Cindy Rollins is high on that list. 

The highlight of my September was not only meeting her in person and hugging her, thanking her face-to-face for the time she spent thinking and reading “in public” for the benefit of us younger moms, but even hanging out with her over the weekend – being known by Cindy and treated as a friend.

Of course, she also referred to us as her middle-aged moms now. She said we aren’t really young moms anymore. I suppose that was a reality check as we realized how long it’d been since Brandy and I back-and-forthed in her blog comments (about 10 years), but maybe we could also look at it like a graduation to the next phase.

Schole Sisters and Cindy Rollins

Teens certainly are a new phase, but once again Cindy is a shining example of humbly walking the one that comes next: launching children and praying for adult children. That seems as far away now as teens did back when I found Cindy. But given another 10 years, we’ll be there.

I’m so thankful God gives us community, gives us one another. He gives parents, a local church body, and also other people along the way so that we’re not on our own and we don’t have to make it up as we go along.

Even if you don’t like what older moms say, even if you’re pretty sure the way you’re doing things will result in different outcomes – listen to wisdom, treasure things up and ponder them in your heart.

Inspect what you expect. Every. Single. Time.

Speaking of other wisdom gained by moms who went before me – I had to relearn this one myself again this month: Don’t expect what you don’t inspect. Or, Inspect everything you expect.

I thought I already knew it. But I also thought that having won the battle to not check work off that hadn’t been done before, we could move on and spot-checking would be sufficient. Work was left undone, though checked off, and it was not a new student needing to learn the lesson, but the same student, again, and not even for only the second time.

If you have an xSTJ student, that is true – you can spot check and trust and be ok. For most students, however, we need to trust, yet verify. It’s a blessing to them, really. The heart is deceptive and the conscience easily soothed – I speak as one experienced on the student side of this problem, too.

homeschool math

P.S. – the above student is working diligently (with me at her elbow) and is not the culprit. Passive tense used to protect the guilty.

Check kids’ work. Check even the responsible teen’s work. If you aren’t seeing it, it’s likely not actually being done.

Don’t flip out when you find that to be the case. It’s totally normal and it’s our responsibility as the parent to be attentive.

Apologize for not checking, then make sure the work gets done at the expense of free time and freedom that might otherwise have been, had appearances matched reality.

That’s your fair warning – there’ll be a blog post on the topic later, don’t worry.

A themed menu plan is a lifesaver.

I have been menu planning for 6 weeks at a time for over a year now and it’s awesome.

I have had my menu planning on autopilot, basically, for some time now and I can testify how helpful it is.

At first, I only had 2 meal-themes repeated weekly: Monday is chicken pieces and Saturday is hamburgers in yardwork season and baked potatoes in winter.

Turns out, though, there are more than two dinners every week, and dinners were simple only to the extent they required no daily decision-making, at least not decision-from-scratch.

So I extended my themes.

Monday – chicken
Tuesday – pork or sausages and mashed potatoes
Wednesday – rotating theme each term, but usually crockpot or Instant Pot options
Thursday – tortilla meal
Friday – pasta or potato hash

A template like this not only makes menu planning 6 weeks at a time a breeze, but also makes it easy to know what to do in the morning. Mondays I pull chicken out of the freezer. Tuesdays I pull potatoes onto the counter and after lunch find a child to scrub them (some kids even peel them!).

Pam can walk you through getting this kind of planning template up and running. I’m just here to testify that it makes homeschool days less exhausting.

Drivers’ Ed requires a lot of time.

My oldest started drivers’ ed this month. I haven’t been driving with him yet – he’s still under his father’s tutelage. When Matt says he can drive places, then I take another piece of Cindy-advice and no longer drive him but let him drive me (it was a “raising sons” piece of advice she gave while she went through this phase). Personally, I don’t mind being chauffeured at all, but from all accounts I might feel different next to a teen driver. Ha! No doubt.

So, 7 1/2 hours a week in class, plus several 2-hour drives, plus needing extra driving practice out with Dad – this is a rather intense activity! As, I suppose, it should be.

True Grapefruit packets help me drink more water.

My friend Kirsti introduced me to these. Have you seen them? There’s True Lemon, True Lime, True Grapefruit, True Orange – they’re just little packets of flavor crystals without artificial sweetener (as long as you avoid the “ade” versions).

Cheaper than LaCroix, they add a zing in the water that encourages me to drink more – which is always helpful.

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I still don’t always follow through on my knowledge: A big glass of water goes a long way to powering through an energy slump or overcoming a headache.

What did you learn in September?

Always keep learning. Here are 5 things I've learned in September - about experienced moms, checking kids' work, drivers' ed, menu planning, and drinking water.

2 Responses

  1. Stefani Mons
    | Reply

    You are right about those xSTJs getting along with mostly spot checking, but my ISFJ is surprising me this year with how well he’s doing without my continual oversight while he starts his first year of Logic work (gr. 5). Actually, he’s been the “best” as school for a few years now, after being a complete maniac for the first 6 years of his life. Maybe the other STJs in the house rub off on him. ;)

    I learned that female rats from a breeder are the complete opposite of male rats from a pet store–our new “girls” are the sweetest little things (and hilarious)!
    I also learned that baby gorillas are hilarious. We went to the zoo and were fascinated by one totally playing it up to onlookers, tumbling around, throwing hay, etc.. (Actually, it was probably the best visit to the zoo we’d ever had–so many active animals!)
    I learned (again, the hard way) to put on gloves when I cut up butternut squash. My poor orange, dry, tight hands.
    I learned that schedules sometimes still need improvement 7 weeks into the school year.
    I learned that traveling at transwarp and performing mind melds are dangerous activities and are to be avoided. LOL

  2. Kimberly
    | Reply

    :) :) “Insect what you expect. Every. Single. Time.” (in purple)

    Looking back, the game changer for me this year has been the phrase “Do your duty.” I picked it up after listening to the What Have You Podcast and just telling myself “do your duty” has helped me stay the course!

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