2021 Homeschool Week 6 | February 8

I was easily distractible this week. Things felt hard to accomplish before I’d even start them. I spent a lot of time trying to gently transition, and I’m grateful I’ve learned to give this to myself without the guilt trips that were previously ingrained. (Days late to finish and post this, I’m nodding along, grateful for the personal work I’ve done to not indulge in self-loathing for needing time.)

Looking back on our daily activities, I feel reassured that I wasn’t the failure I felt like. Even though I quickly quiet that voice in my mind these days, it lived here untamed for so long

This week I would have said we didn’t accomplish much. Lots of time was “wasted.” I didn’t push myself, I let things go, I could have done more… you know all these things you tell yourself when you’re constantly holding yourself to some unreasonable standard of perfection that only you’re supposed to achieve, but if you don’t, you can’t possibly be worthy?

This week, we seem to have done more than enough. Sometimes when I look back, I wonder how we did SO much, even. But then I know it’s because we can and we’ve created this to flow within our lifestyle, not take away from it. 

I have intentionally started to keep a list of what we do each day. It’s simple, and now that it’s becoming a habit, it doesn’t take much effort in upkeep. It’s a lot easier than wracking my brain later, trying to remember what we did and when, which is helpful for keeping up with the information I will share here as well!

For myself personally, it serves as both a reminder when glanced over quickly and also a tool to observe how our time was spent and how that ties in with how I feel about it. Are we balanced? Could we make adjustments that better serve us? Do I feel overwhelmed because I’m doing too much or the “wrong” things? Do I really need to spend some more time on our education and activities or do I need to calm that voice that tells me it’s not enough even though I have direct evidence that it is? I’m not free of self-doubt, but I don’t argue with my truth any longer. 

To make this easy for myself, I bought a clipboard with a compartment for holding additional papers/supplies. I keep the clipboard accessible, and I can easily write on the outside and store anything within that I may need to keep up with for the kiddo or sharing here. 

Not everyone needs this to stay organized, but I will make a point that finding solutions for your needs is significant in supporting you through your day. It took me a long time to believe I deserved any kind of reasonable accommodations after struggling undiagnosed (autistic, ADHD, PDA) and always needing to “just do better” for a lifetime. 

If you’re like me, I want to make sure to remind you that you deserve it. If you don’t understand why I’m saying this because it’s obvious, maybe it will be eye opening that for many of us, it really wasn’t.

When you live with invisible struggles, they’re often invalidated and you learn to further invalidate yourself. Awareness helps, but keeping a lifetime of mean voices in check can be easier with useful tools for support.

Yes, it’s “just a clipboard” but it symbolizes so much more in the way of small changes and allowances making life exponentially more manageable. 

Are you using tools to your advantage? What works for you?

I’ve had a habit of making lists, writing out many plans, getting things out of my head and onto a place I will see later…but then those papers usually stay in my way until they get piled up and put away to be ignored. It’s not effective.

I’m still interested in bullet journaling, but it can be a bit overwhelming to just jump into and feel confident with. I don’t do well with forced activities, even if I enjoy them, so I’m not pushing myself to hate this. I’m just not putting any pressure on the timeline while knowing once I do piece it together, I’ll likely enjoy the benefits. In the meantime, the clipboards give me a place to keep those pages organized and prioritize the pages that do need to stay accessible for my use.

The red case on the left is the one mentioned for Myles’ learning and activities – it’s his favorite color and has a compartment to store his documents. The “padfolio” is beautiful, but ultimately it gets closed and things are easy to stay hidden from an ADHDer – this will be great for some projects and not others! The swirly clipboard can keep any daily to do lists or pressing items I fear I’ll forget. I chose a clear binder with removable pages for learning bullet journaling without committing to a certain journal type or being stuck with pages I don’t enjoy!

I’m learning how to make these work for me, not telling myself I have to stay organized a certain way. In case it helps anyone find supplies they enjoy, I’ll quickly link them here in order from left to right:

Dexas 3517-J101 Slimcase 2 Storage Clipboard with Side Opening, Strawberry*

Hongri Plastic Clipboard, Teal Marble*

Padfolio Portfolio Folder with Pen – Geila, Blue*

A5 6-Ring Loose Leaf Binder Journal, Refillable*

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

Looking back over this week, it appears the majority of our intentional time was spent reading, playing a game, or watching a show. A couple weeks ago, I made myself a list of non-negotiables and a running to do list so I could let go of the things that didn’t really need to be done when I knew I wouldn’t feel like it. I embraced that again this week. We consumed a lot of media and let it be easy. We also threw in a bit of  science, math, and typing; watched a couple live webinars with Varsity Tutors; and started a new Kiwi Crate. 

We received new books from the Thriftbooks orders I mentioned here and here.

In the past, I had searched for books we had enjoyed from previous library checkouts. Knowing at the time I didn’t want to purchase them brand new or in “acceptable” condition, I added them to a wishlist so I could keep an eye on when they became available in like new or very good condition.  I just happened to go check while some were available, even though it had been years since they were added. I couldn’t pass them up!

We received:

That Is Not a Good Idea!*

Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters*

The Fate of Fausto: A Painted Fable*

Sam, the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World: A Leonardo, the Terrible Monster Companion*

Image of a few books we read, cocoa, and our dog Maple

We love Mo Willems and Oliver Jeffers. LOVE! These are so fun to read, as a young kid, as an older kid, as an adult – I will even read them to another adult!

Myles continued listening to his audiobook of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.* I told him I had found out that the author’s daughter wrote two follow up books, and he was excited to have more of the story to explore later.

Together, we continued listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5.* We’ve read about 12 hours, with 14 to go. It’s long, but we don’t let that deter us from listening at our convenience.

We also read through the rest of our January 2021 edition of Highlights for Children* and even revisited a few stories we had skipped from December 2020. We may even start February’s before the month ends!

Myles found a sticker activity book we used to do together when he was young and found it fun to place stickers and look over the pages while he was listening to his audiobook. We often prefer doing something with our hands instead of sitting still. I know many of you will feel the same way. I always encourage rather than shame this behavior, especially now that I understand it.

The PBS play games app also has quite a few fun games he enjoys playing through while listening. I’ve mentioned these the last couple weeks as he started entertaining himself this way.

When he needs more of a challenge or is ready for a change, he moves on to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* on the Nintendo Switch* which he has been putting a bit of time into lately. Puzzles, problem solving, and exploration are valid skills. Fun is also significant, and we shouldn’t feel we’re only allowed to have it after being productive. Who else still struggles with this from a lifetime of having it ingrained?

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

I really don’t have much to report on math and typing except to repeat that he’s keeping up with them on his own still. I take a look at the progress every once in a while, but I’ve let him work at his own pace and determine what that is for himself. 

When he takes classes with Varsity Tutors, sometimes I attend, and sometimes it gives him something to do while I catch up in other areas. This week, we attended two webinars together.

Space Rocks: Moons of the Solar System with Raquel Nuno, Planetary Scientist and PhD candidate in Planetary Geology at UCLA

Myles with Raquel, posing for a photo

Stories of SUE, a Fantastic T. rex Fossil with Jeff, an educator and docent at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.

Myles with instructor Jeff, who is holding fossilized poop

These are excellent opportunities to learn something you wouldn’t normally, with experts who put their energy into sharing their passions with you.

We’ve also taken weekly classes with instructors who teach on different subjects, and I’ve talked about many of those in past posts, especially last Fall. You can check out what classes are available here, and if you sign up for any hours beyond the free classes, you can get 3 free hours by using our link (we get three hours too and appreciate your support!)

We continued in our Science: A Visual Encyclopedia* this week with one lessons on metals and a follow up lesson on “strange metals” or metals with abnormal properties.

I enjoy how our science lessons typically don’t take long to explore, but they provide so much. We learn significant concepts in an interesting and concise way that builds a strong foundation for continued learning.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

We ended the week with a Kiwi Crate craft after spending some time reading through the Explore! Magazine included. We read about the science and creatures of the deep sea, anglerfish, and subs used for research. Then Myles put together a chomping anglerfish with prey pieces for him to chomp up!

We skipped over our Atlas Crate this week, and we will probably check it out next week instead. We get them once a month, so it’s easy to do them at our convenience, when it adds to life instead of trying to cram it in. It’s easy to accidentally set them aside and let them pile up too, as we learned with Kiwi Crate last year – which is the reason even though we’ve switched our subscription, we’re still working through the old ones! I’m grateful though. They fit into our time now better than they did when we received them, and we’re enjoying having them available. 

If you’re interested in either of the crates we’ve talked about (or others they offer), you can see what subscriptions they have available here. We each receive a $10 credit if you sign up using the above link.

We’re spending the current week in and out of the snow, and I’m taking my time publishing last week’s (this) post. We’re having historical weather events for our area, and snow stuck to the ground to play in doesn’t happen consistently. We’re “enjoying” it as much as you can enjoy being frozen without proper gear!

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