5 Things I Learned in July

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July just whizzed right by – like most months, I suppose. But it’s good to pause and see what the big takeaways are from the month.

1. Constitutions 18 years after 18 differ.

My husband and I celebrated our 18th anniversary in July. He asked for and received permission to take me out just before my 18th birthday (those swing dance lessons at 16 definitely were not dates).

When we would go out to eat before we were married and our first year or two of marriage, we would go to a local Mexican restaurant. We haven’t been there now in at least 8 years – probably longer. So, for our anniversary, we went out to lunch at Casa Chapala again.

Let’s just say that the sentimental restaurant pick won’t happen again.

And it turns out that a huge plate of fried Mexican food sits less easy on the stomach of those pushing 40 than those pushing 20. Who’ve thought?

2. Keep bamboo odor thingies in your car.

Yes, “bamboo odor-eating thingies” is the official term. I forgot to mention this road trip tip last month: I bought these and had 2 of them in the car (and 2 of them at home in the boys’ room) on our week-long road trip with 9 people in the van and I do believe they helped prevent the stale food and non-showered body smell from building up in the car.

They don’t seem quite up to the challenge of keeping a bedroom with three boys fresh, but for the van, they work.

Maybe I just need 8-12 packets in the boys’ room…

3. If you exercise & don’t overeat, you lose weight; if you don’t, well, you don’t.

Filed under: “ugh” and “truths I keep trying to prove wrong but end up proving right.”

Just keep on keeping on.

4. Every hour counts.

For about a week and a half in July I experimented with budgeting my time on a daily basis – doing it the night before on a preformatted daily docket type sheet.

(PS – if you click over to Amazon: at Office Depot this pad was 1/3 the price listed here)

For days that have a lot of coming and going and obligations to fulfill, when you aren’t quite sure how it’s all going to fit, actually fitting it all onto a time budget specific to that day is helpful.

It’s helpful now, too, as I try to figure out our next school year routine. I can experiment with a time budget for the day knowing this is just for today, a temporary iteration, not a “real” plan to try to keep up.

I don’t think it’s something I’ll do everyday, but I like having the pad of list-like pages on hand for those days that seem extra full or those days that have important projects I need to make sure I fit in rather than leave to chance pockets of time.

5. Starting school is hard to do.

This has been the least productive summer school term I think we’ve ever had. I can’t quite pin-point why, except that every single one of us (except the 6-year-old, go figure) has had other things to do most days.

It’s probably just a new phase of life thing, probably has to do with it not being overwhelmingly hot, and probably because I wasn’t quite prepared enough either.

Back to homeschool is hard to do. Still, we have been doing math though very little else, and with the mental energy going only to math, with plenty of fresh air and exercise bookending the math work, those trouble spots and difficulties we were having when we wrapped up last school year seem to have been overcome. So, really, it’s worth it and the summer term hasn’t been a total write-off.

I am always tempted to want to start the school year off with a bang, right on track, but that bang is really the boom of an inevitable boom and bust cycle. Better to gradually introduce everyone to the new work and new routines.

We need to work up to a full routine with conscious effort at habits and consistency, not perfect-from-the-start implementation.

If you’d like to join me in working on habits of consistency, one week at a time, from August 19 through the month of September, join Simply Convivial Membership. I’m releasing a new course on August 19 called The Work of Homeschooling. It’s like Sweep & Smile or Humble Habits, but for homeschooling – each week we’ll build another small habit that will help us grow in consistency of work ethic and consistency of cheerful attitude.

Join Simply Convivial Membership and hundreds of other likeminded homeschool moms who are preparing to gird up their loins and do the work of homeschooling.

We spur one another on to love and good works, every day, and we’d love to have you join us.

Bonus: July in Books

I didn’t finish any books in July, but I started several. Of note, I’m currently reading

I purchased and began reading Taking Laughter Seriously as I prepare for my Laughing Well talk with Scholé Sisters. It’s very interesting and engagingly written.

It’s not a humor book, but rather a philosophy of laughter book. However, it’s also lighthearted and humorous, too.

With my friend Abby I am reading Awakening Wonder by Stephen Turley. It’s very good if you can get past his academic-speak and preference for million-dollar words.

There are several sections that I’ll be referring back to as I write my talk on Paideia for the Paideia Northwest conference in November.

I am finally catching up on the book club with Cindy Rollins inside Premier Sistership.

I think Cindy was right as usual: This book provides good food for thought in living out a holistic, full, growing life with our kids as we homeschool. Benedict’s rule was an attempt (that worked) to teach others to live, and that’s what we also want to do for ourselves and our children.

Speaking of learning to live:

Brandy and I had a great time talking about showing our students how to live as we homeschool, primarily by living the good life ourselves. We have the ability – why would we not?

Click here for the replay, available inside the Free Membership Preview on Simply Convivial. Just click “enroll” for free to see that workshop and several others.

Join the discussion!