Friday Favorites #12: Back to School — Overwhelmed?

Dear friends,

This has been our first week of the school year, since the home school co-op that we rejoined (after a year of being “just home”) started classes on Monday with plenty of academic assignments doled out for the rest of the week.  To be honest, I am sometimes very overwhelmed.  That’s an understatement.  Whether it is:
  • lost school books (note plural, and one is still missing!) and one that I even forgot to order in the first place
  • a fussy, mischievous first grader and an angry older sister who was trying to do homework in the midst of the interruptions
  • computer parts spread all over the carpet during a very educational dissection of a defunct machine
  • a broken washing machine when my son was trying to wash his shirt to wear to co-op — that morning!
  • a child who is shocked by the number of math problems assigned 
  • loud (nay, very loud!) kids having frequent fits of the hyper sillies 
  • people who try to talk to me with toothpaste in their mouths (pet peeve!)
  • arguments over who gets to use my laptop (after which I changed the password to the kids’ account on it — so there!)
  • the Internet going off when I was in the middle of something (loose cord!)
  • a headache from staying up too late trying to plan out how in the world I can get my kids to be more consistent with chores and cleaning up after themselves…  

Oh yes, the mama has been a bit spazzy the past several days!  But there have been lots of bright spots, too, like:

  • getting back in to the classroom at co-op (my happy spot!) and chatting with the other moms in the teacher’s lounge
  • an afternoon of caring for my one year old grandson Jacob on Wednesday
  • a birthday dinner for my husband last night with all 10 kids home (very rare!) — that’s him with Jacob
  • a quick date to Starbucks with him earlier that day to share a vente hot chocolate and a cranberry scone (thanks to a gift card from his sister)
  • a really good long back rub from my husband when I had a bad kink in my shoulder
  • helping my second daughter pick out a pretty font for her wedding invitations (less than two months to the big day!)
  • reading about missionary Mary Slessor with my 10 year old daughter, who wants to be a missionary when she grows up
  • sharing Philippians and Aesop’s Fables with my five younger kids at the start of school each day (it may not be assigned but the Scriptures and good literature are vital!) 
  • encouraging notes from family and friends
  • a teenage son who offered to bring me some ice water
  • an elderly neighbor who brought us most of a chocolate cake (since she baked one and couldn’t eat it all by herself, and wanted to thank us for inviting her to church last week, which she loved, loved, loved).  

Guess I’d better count my blessings and put a smile back on my face, huh?  And I’m going to start taking my nutritional supplements again, like my thyroid booster, some St. John’s Wort (kids asked if this is because I have warts — then cheered when I told them it was to help me be not so grumpy), evening primrose oil for those female hormones, and the Juice Plus that we stockpiled a couple of years ago that is about to expire in a few months.  I just divvied out daily doses into little snack size zip lock bags.  Now I need to remember to take them.  Oh yeah.

Well, maybe you can relate.  Fortunately for all of us, there is plenty of encouragement for those tough days that is only a mouse click away.  This is some of what has kept me going this past month since I last compiled a Friday Favorites post.

The Sweet Life of a Homeschooling Mom Comes through the Law of Kindness by Karen Campell at  “As I read these words, I realize how often I have been loath to extend grace to my children and have allowed my own tastes and opinions to be presented to them as a holy standard, when the truth is that God’s Word is the standard we ought to be pointing toward. How often I have even been tempted to put my own spin on Scripture in order to “prove” that my preference is the “right” one. And I have remembered the times when my first thought was “what would other people think about me, especially as a homeschooling mom, if my kid does x, y, or z.”  Also by Karen:  The Sweet Life of the Home Schooling Mom is Based on Godly Wisdom
Ten More Ways to Keep Your Days Delightful, Part 1 by Teri (as guest posted on Jonesy’s blog Jonesville, Population 6)  “As I schedule the busywork, I also make plans for the beauty I hope to find, or create, in our home-school. Some days ahead will be hard, very hard. And I know it! It’s easier to keep perspective if we bring out the joy, the delight, where we can – a kind of preventive measure against February’s angst. Here are ten tips on my mind for this August bloom.”  Also by Teri: Ten More Ways to Keep Your Days Delightful, Part 1, and her original article from last year Ten Ways to Keep Your Days Delightful on her own blog, 
Home School Blog Conference Guest Post by Debbie Pittman (as guest posted on Jonesy’s blog Jonesville, Population 6)   “I’m definitely more tired – I prefer to think of it as mellowing – but the biggest difference is that I no longer feel like I’m out to prove something. These days my motive for homeschooling is not based on a fear of anything, nor am I delusional enough to believe I am the only one who can teach my children what they need to know.  I home educate for more pragmatic reasons.”  You can follow Debbie, a 25 year veteran of home schooling 11 kids (some adopted) at her own blog, Cheaper by the Baker’s Dozen
Your Failures Do Not Define You by Sally Clarkson at  “It is an illusion that anyone you know is perfect or can live by their works. No one can. All we like sheep have gone astray. We simply cannot hold to our ideals by effort, we are in total need of His mercy and grace, every day, all the time.”  Also by Sally: Holiness is Not Law-Keeping by Love-Keeping and The Mystery of Child Training: Where to begin?
Westminster Dare by Sarah Clarkson at “In each of these stories or studies, I have found the simple fact that when a person comes to God, however flawed or frail they may be, and asks to be used to build his kingdom, to know, as those Westminster saints did, what is really true about the world, God responds. When people strip themselves of sin and illusion, when they step away from the frenzy of their culture and enter the quiet, waiting space of prayer, God speaks in ways they could not expect. When anyone pursues the truth about the nature of the world, or chases after real justice, or begs to glimpse and live real love, God answers and acts and invades their lives in a way I find shocking. The crux of it though is choice. Simple, but strenuous, a daily choosing to be vigilant in thought, disciplined in habits of body and mind, determined in prayer and in that seeking after the kingdom of God.”

Organizing Head & Heart to Home School  by Ann Voskamp at  “Education is the atmosphere we breathe, the envelope of wonder that surrounds us, held by the gravity of our daily habits.”  Also by Ann: Live the Seven Rungs of Holistic Homeschooling
Looking to the Good Shepherd Jesus for the example of how to care for others… Keeping a discerning eye on those who claim to be shepherds of God’s people… Learning to recognize, heal from, and speak out against abuse — spiritual, emotional, verbal, and physical — in churches, organizations, and families.”  Most of the initial posts came from this blog ( and from my main blog ( but I have added other articles, a substantial links page, and a Quotes to Ponder page.  My newest article there is: On Walking by Grace Instead of a Focus on Mortifying Indwelling SinTwo analogies from that article: 
I also wanted to let you know that I have created a new blog, with a tagline of

1) If I only put the effort into correcting the errors in my kids’ schoolwork, then that is all I will get to do.  That is because if I don’t spend the time to teach them well in the first place, I will by necessity have to spend all of my time pointing out where they messed up.  It would be better to be proactive and teach it right from the start than have to go and react to the mistakes.  I need to enthusiastically equip and nurture them for success, not set them up for the disabling, de-motivating discouragement of always being told how wrong they are.  

2) A gardener has to spend time weeding a plot of ground, but the point is so that she can plant a lovely and fruitful garden, not so that she can have barren land.  (See Mother’s Seeds.) Yes, we have to correct one another at times, but if we aren’t doing something beautiful, too, it’s just plain empty.

Two quotes from my Quotes to Ponder page:

“But we’ll be careful to be peacemakers and not peacekeepers.

  Peacekeepers are likely to overlook the causes of pain and suffering,
    to avoid dealing with it in order to maintain some kind of equilibrium
     regardless of what it may be based on.
      Peacekeepers prefer the status quo
       and are apt to tell the hungry to quiet down
         lest they disturb the sleep of the overfed.”
           Bishop William Frey in The Dance of Hope  

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” 

On my other blogs:

And an old article from StartWell: The Mom Alphabet (Here is the one for “O”: “Overcome obnoxious offenses with optimism.”)

Created to Be His by Becky —  I don’t know her, but she seems to be quite the kindred spirit to me in her concerns about grace and legalism
Recovering Grace – a blog by men and women who grew up in the IBLP/ATI movements founded by Bill Gothard – and wish to bring grace and healing to those who have been negatively affected by it

OK, that’s enough!  I’ve got to go finish up some history homework with one of my kids!

Virginia Knowles


About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Child Discipline, Friday Favorites, Grace, Legalism, Motherhood, Stress ~ Difficulty, Web Links. Bookmark the permalink.

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