I have been wanting to write for a while, and I notice myself getting super distracted and unable to put my thoughts into words, so I just keep putting it off (well, I will sit down to write then don’t end up getting any writing done). Then my brain gets more and more filled, and I find it even harder to get the words out. At the moment, I have a LOT that I want to talk about, so I will try to break it up.
I found out recently that I have ADHD, and it all makes sense! More on that to come.
Things are GOOD
Things aren’t perfect by any means, but they are so good. I’m in a much, much healthier place with my mental health than I’ve been in years.
For the most part, my anxiety is very low. I hesitate to say anything about it because it almost always picks up a bit when I start talking about it, but I think I am getting to a place in which I can talk about it.
My depression is almost non-existent.
I’m happy. I’m at peace. I’m joyful.
Even on the hard days (they definitely happen), I have an understanding deep down that things are okay. That we are doing exactly what we should be doing. That the decisions we have made for our family are right. This is the most important thing.
I’m trusting the process. I’m trusting the fact that Robert and I are 100% in agreement with what we are doing. This has literally never happened before when it comes to me working and homeschooling the kids. He has pretty much never been a fan of homeschooling, and he has always thought that I need to work. But now he regrets pushing all of that because he knows it was detrimental to Ethan and me.
Thankfully, though, I do see the positives about it. The biggest thing is that I learned more about teaching and have fallen into confidence with this. I actually trust myself as a teacher now, and I feel like I’m doing a good job and will do a good job moving forward.
We have also seen that traditional school just does NOT work for one of my kiddos. He struggled from the moment he stepped foot in there, and it just continued. It never got to be less of a struggle… just more of a struggle. He’s convinced that he will be going back to school in the future, but Robert and I just don’t really feel like that’s an option anymore. I have learned to never say never, but the plan is just to homeschool moving forward.
School Plan Moving Forward
I already have a plan for curriculum, etc moving through high school. There are a few subjects that I’m back and forth about (well, mostly history), but ultimately I have a pretty solid idea of what we will do based on what’s working now and all that I have tried in the past. I also have zero idea what we will do for Spanish! I will figure it out. I will also allow them to choose electives.
Here’s the plan for Levi:
Here’s the plan for Ethan:
Lessons and Activities Recently
Through the novel that we are reading (The Barren Grounds), we have great discussion throughout. We work on vocabulary and ask good questions for each chapter. We point out the background info, figurative language, grammar, punctuation, etc. throughout.
Each day we either do copywork of a passage (which helps them pay close attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc), dictation (putting that knowledge into practice by writing down what I read aloud then making corrections), or reverse dictation. Reverse dictation is basically just editing! I type up some paragraphs from the book making mistakes, and they use proofreading marks to edit it. Then we find the different parts of speech in each word of a sentence from the chapter.
A lot of these ideas come from Brave Writer Boomerang novel studies.
We also use The Good and the Beautiful for spelling dictation, grammar rules and application, vocabulary, reading, geography, and art (in a consumable coursebook). They are memorizing grammar rules with cards also, and they are working on map work.
We are reviewing a lot of math that they have already done to make sure they have a solid foundation before moving on to algebra 1. Right now we are working on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing positive and negative integers. We are also reviewing adding and subtracting fractions. We use Math U See, and I expand as necessary. The boys actually prefer that I teach it to them versus watching the video, so I have been doing that. I use the video as a resource for myself, but the textbook also explains everything!
For history, we have been reading about embalming and mummification in our Story of the World book. Because this book is written for a younger crowd, I always expand it. I use the Usborne Internet Linked World Encyclopedia and the Kingfisher World History Encyclopedia. I have them do written narrations/summarizations. They answer questions and do the chapter tests.
The other day we read a passage about mummification, annotated it, answered questions and summarized sections, and then started a science experiment using different salt mixtures to preserve apple slices.
For science (astronomy), the boys are going through a somewhat dry textbook for science. It’s also young earth based which I don’t agree with, so I do talk about that as we read. It’s a good spine for now because I already have it. My goal for the next year or so is to just use what I have and maybe supplement with Teachers Pay Teachers and other resources.
I decided to pull out some more resources and activities to expand. I started by giving the dictionary definitions of waxing and waning. We watched a video about the moon phases that is for middle schoolers (Khan academy video on YouTube), we looked at the moon phases here in our zip code this month (on the Farmer’s Almanac website) and drew them on a calendar. We did a quick review lesson on summarizing (integrating writing into science), read a passage about moon phases, then wrote a summary paragraph. We did a fun activity with Oreos to show the phases of the moon (never too old!). Then the boys answered questions. Levi told me he has learned about moon phases for years and never remembered. He told me he actually understands now.
Next, we started reading about the solar system in our textbook, learning vocabulary, and answering questions. We began our research of the planets. We will make mini-books first then eventually turn it into an essay.
Some days are hard to get through, and I feel like I’m not doing amazing. But most days I’m realizing how much this is going to impact the boys in the long run. I’m truly in my wheelhouse right now.
About the ADHD Diagnosis
I have been told for several years that I should seek out an ADHD diagnosis. It seemed like everyone thought I had it. I was in denial, but I brought this list of symptoms into my appointment with my PA a couple of weeks ago, and he and I agreed that I have ADHD. Now that I feel seen, I’m trying to work out treatment, etc. I know it’s going to be a process on top of my other mental health struggles. But at least I have a diagnosis to work with.
I have tried a couple of stimulants and have realized that they may not be for me. They made my anxiety unbearable… way worse than normal (and it’s already REALLY bad). My PA has been hesitant to give me a stimulant because he was afraid that it would make my anxiety worse, and he was right! I’m not sure if meds for ADHD are for me, but if I do try again, I’m going to request a non-stimulant. Both of my boys take non-stimulants now.
I am just so thrilled to understand myself better.
The other day, Robert was joking with me and said that Ethan gets his hyperness from him and his organization skills from me. This was kind of surprising because Ethan is a slob, and I have always considered myself a pretty organized person. But then he went on to laugh about the fact that he trips over stuff anytime he’s walking in the dark in our bedroom. I said “that’s just recently, right?” He said, “it’s been almost 20 years.”
I came home and looked at my room, then I went to work to clean it up. Hahaha.
This was a few days ago, and it’s currently still clean. We will see how it goes! Haha.
It was eye-opening for me in a good way. Apparently there’s this thing that is joked about called “clutter-blindness.” I just didn’t realize!
This also explains my extreme impulsivity and emotional dysregulation that has caused me to quit jobs mid-year so many times, and I’ve burned so many bridges.
For some reason, this morning, my brain has been hyperfocusing on the fact that I have burned so many bridges in the past because of impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, severe anxiety, and depression. I have quit jobs mid-school year 6 times! I have only finished a complete school year 4 times. There were sometimes other reasons in addition to my poor mental health, but it still happened. I have also unfriended people on social media out of impulsivity. I have just severed relationships a lot over the years.
As I was prayer journaling about this, God brought a song up that reminded me how much he loves me as I am (literally- I was listening to a playlist and it came up). It’s called “17” by Chris Renzema. Here are some of the lyrics:
“I hear you say child, stop listening to yourself so much. I have made you more than worthy of my love. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that’s enough.
Oh child, if you could see yourself the way that I do. See, I made you in my image, and my work’s not through!”
So then I decided to write a bunch of Psalm 139 because that’s where some of the lyrics came from.
Thanks Jesus for reminding me that you love me as I am!
It has been pretty refreshing to truly understand myself.
Other Random Things
Robert is currently working on our large (8×8) chicken coop. It has taken a while because things have been so crazy around here. I cannot wait to show you when it’s done! This is what it looks like currently:
My garden got hailed on the other day, and it’s not in the best shape. It could be worse, though. We were supposed to have more hail last night, but it didn’t happen, thankfully! We will see how it goes. I didn’t take pictures of my tomatoes, but the babies that were growing are no longer there. 😦
I have been making sourdough bread multiple times a week. I will be sharing a post soon about the process of making it! It basically turns out well every time, and I’m thinking it’s because of the online class that I took!
I’m going to be getting back into my childbirth education class through Childbirth International that I started YEARS ago because I just want to finish something! I will then be able to do online classes! I have been talking with my trainer, and it is really great that I have the same one, AND she remembers me well!
I will also be working for camp a bit. From now until summer starts, I’m going to be organizing the Wilderness departments recipes and spreadsheets. This summer I will be doing the planning and ordering for Wilderness, and a summer staffer will do most of the cooking. I will help with the cooking, too, just because it’s fun for me!
Posts to Come
Like I said above, I will be writing a post about how to make sourdough bread. I’m going to begin writing a memoir, and I’m going to write a bit of that here. At least the beginning. I’m going to continue writing about homeschooling, mental health, and homesteading. I’m going to finally post more of my recipes and adjust the recipe posts that I have already written. I wish I could afford the plan that will allow me to make recipe cards on posts, but I can’t, so you’ll just see them written out like any other post. I’ll share about my childbirth education class and the fun things going on at camp! I will also share more of our adventures. Robert and I are hoping to go to Enchanted Rock on Tuesday to climb for his birthday (just hoping it doesn’t rain!). If not, we will try to get a climb in at camp sometime soon.
Life is good. I still take everything minute by minute because I know that things can change in a split second, but I’m trying to embrace gratitude and focus on the good!
Thank you for sharing your story! I relate with a lot of what you write … and I’ve recently self-diagnosed as ADHD, much to my surprised. Turns out that being the most organized person *in our house* doesn’t mean I’m actually organized or have it “together” in any way. 😜 My husband was diagnosed with ADHD over a decade ago, but I had a pretty stereotypical, shallow understanding of how ADHD manifests in adults (esp women). The emotional dysregulation piece was key to helping me recognize ADHD in myself and explains so.much about my whole life (I’m 42, so there’s a lot of years full of behaviors and feelings that haven’t made much sense until now!).
And it’s encouraging to hear that you and your husband have reached a place of understanding with homeschooling/staying home. That’s been a struggle in our family and it’s hard!