Don’t let anxiety steal your joy!

Anxiety-a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

That’s the dictionary definition of the word.  But for those who suffer with anxiety (of all kinds) know it’s much more than that.  There doesn’t have to be an event, or something with an uncertain outcome.  It could come out of the blue, for seemingly no reason at all.

I’ve had anxiety since around 5th grade.  When I had my first experience with bullying and a betrayal, of who I thought, was my best friend.  I don’t know what I did wrong, if anything at all.  I look back on it now and know kids that age are just mean, and dealing with issues themselves.  But ever since, I’ve struggled with my self-esteem and self confidence.

I am very much a homebody, and I typically call myself an extroverted introvert.  Once I gain a group of friends, that typically push me out of my comfort zone, I have the best of times (this can be hard to come by though, being a military family).  Even though I know I’ll enjoy spending time with them, my mind still tells me that I’m much more comfortable staying home.

I am trying my hardest not to impose this on my children.  They are very social and enjoy being with people.

With all that said, I bring you to today.

The day started out stressful, as many often do during a deployment.  I didn’t sleep well the night before, so when morning came around, I was rushing around and tired.  That’s the perfect time for satan to sneak into my mind where I lose patience and my temper.  I had an issue with USPS and a customer order from my Etsy shop.  I know exactly what happened; my mail carrier scanned the package as delivered instead of picked up, so tracking information was dropped. I am thinking the package will still get to my customer, but I called USPS anyway.  Trying to get a hold of an actual person on the phone is unheard of anymore. At the beginning of the phone call they say there will be a short survey at the end for quality assessment purposes.  I would have loved to give them a little bit of my mind in that survey, but I couldn’t get to the end of the call to do it.  Frustration, annoyance, temper.  I think I hung up and called back 4 times. Anyway…

During the same time as I was on the phone, the boys were loud and excited.  You see, I had planned on taking them to the Pumpkin Festival about an hour south of us.  I had asked them to get their socks on so we could get ready to leave.  Tanner was wandering around the house like he never heard a word I said.  Wesley lost his socks, then found them, and then lost them again in a span of 5 minutes.  I grabbed an easy cereal and breakfast bars for them to eat in the car on the way to the festival.  We were running 10 minutes late.

Surprise!  I needed to get gas.  Running 20 minutes late.

We were finally on the road, and my mind was screaming at me to just go home. That this must be a sign as to how the rest of the day would go. Why deal with all of this when it would just be easier to stay home in my comfort zone.  It’s hard to do things like this when it’s just me.  But, after the CC timeline song ended (because Wesley just HAS to listen to it every single time we are in the car), I turned on the local Christian radio station.  Song after song spoke to me.  It was the strangest feeling.  For the rest of the drive I could feel this heavy weight being lifted off my chest.

Why did I allow myself to feel this way?  We really were only a little bit late.  I was meeting friends there.  Friends who would TOTALLY understand if I was late.  They didn’t care.  Only my mind did.  This wasn’t a torture sentence.  This was supposed to be a FUN day!  How skewed our minds can make things.

It ended up being an amazing day.  We spent some time with our friends, and I spoiled the boys rotten (this was their daddy’s treat, even though he couldn’t be there with us). I got to see joy on the boy’s faces over, and over, and over. Even with the smallest of things, like catching butterflies and studying their features and colors.  The boys could have stayed in that spot the whole time. We spent 4 hours at the festival in the 90+ degree temperatures and humidity, and truly had the best time.  If I had caved and listened to my mind telling me what the easiest option would have been, I would have missed out on so much.  Today, I chose joy.  Thank the Lord.

I want to step out of my comfort zone more often.  I think I’m going to give it a go.


Homeschooling with a Preschooler and an Update

First, I’d like to write a little update.

I’ve been wanting to post more things in this blog, but not everything was homeschool related.  And I felt like maybe it would be a little too off topic.  You see, I’ve had blogs for years.  I started my very first one right before we decided to have children.  Then, I redid the blog to allow for baby bump updates, birth stories, and the documentation of our early married years.  I loved that blog so much.  But I decided to make it private because I started it before I was truly aware of the dangers of social media.  There was just too much personal information on it, and I didn’t feel comfortable having all of that out in the open.

I look back on that blog occasionally and I am still so happy I documented those things.  I’d like to bring that back into this blog.  This blog will still be very much a homeschooling blog, because let’s face it, that is most of my life at the moment, ha! My husband and I have some really awesome dreams for our future, that will really build on our children’s homeschool journey.  In the meantime we have a lot of researching and studying to do. I’d like to document that as well.  There is so much more to our lives than just figuring out homeschooling.

And on that note,

Our schooling has started to morph into more productive days now that we are a couple months into it.  My focus is still more on Tanner’s school work as he is in Kindergarten, and my goal for Wesley’s preschool is to be play based.  But with a preschooler, who is very excited about school, it can be difficult to divide my attention sometimes.  I’ve implemented a few, somewhat independent, activities for him to do while I focus on the core subjects with Tanner.  I will quickly share a few of those in this post.

“ABC Find it”

I printed a few of these ABC Find it pages when Tanner was doing preschool work 2 or 3 years ago.  He didn’t really care for it too much, but I decided to keep them around for Wesley.  I’m glad I did.  It makes for great independent time for him!  I laminated everything to make it a bit more durable.  I stick the cut out squares in some sensory stuff like dry rice or beans, and he has to dig through to find them.  Then he puts the pieces on the matching answer sheet.  This gives Tanner and I at least 5-10 minutes to work together.

Learning with Manipulatives

Manipulatives are a favorite in this house.  Scrabble tiles, character erasers, geometric blocks, math counting manipulatives, and even candy are some of the manipulatives we use weekly.  The first two pictures are activities I created pretty quickly.  We were working on the letter A, so I made an A out of squares, and wrote numbers 1-3 on the squares.  Wesley used our unifix cubes to match the color to the number, and created an A out of the blocks.  I also wrote out a few words that begin with the letter A, and he used his scrabble soup game pieces to match the tile to the letter on the paper.

A part of Wesley’s curriculum, Reading the Alphabet (which is now offered for free!), has these little games with finding numbers from 1-10 and 11-20, and 1-6 for dice matching.  Sometimes we use candy as manipulatives, especially this time of year!  Makes for a delicious reward once the activity is over!

Free Play

Free play with somewhat educational games has got to be the best way to keep Wesley distracted so Tanner and I can work on school work. This past week was a week full of play with these Learning Resources Geometric blocks.  I love seeing his creativity and imagination bloom. We also use our Spielgaben set often, but I’ll write a different post on that.

Creative Work and Crafting

This is still fairly new to me because Tanner never enjoyed doing crafts until the past few months.  I, being extremely crafty to a fault, love that they both are starting to enjoy this!  And it frees up quite a bit of time for me to either lesson plan, clean up school supplies, or craft with them!

I hope this post can help you with some ideas to help homeschool an older child and a preschooler, at the same time!