Start Small: Rhythms and Routines

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Start Small: Rhythms and Routines

Episode 7

One of the most common questions the sisters get is about rhythms and routines. How to start one? How to resume one after a break? What about when your rhythm or routine is just NOT working? Cait and Kara hash it out in this episode and share their tips and ideas. The biggest one? Start small!

Listen to the podcast:

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Click on the above image to listen to the episode!

Links from the episode

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Resources Referenced in this episode

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Make sure you don’t miss an episode

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

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Do you have a question or topic you’d love to hear Cait and Kara talk about?

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Get fit with your sisters: A 31-day challenge

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Written by Kara Anderson.

So here’s the thing about goals. They generally seem like a good idea until you realize that you have 6 weeks to learn how to run.

And as I stated in our episode about exercise, this mama doesn’t run. I’ve tried to run. Plenty of times. But everything hurts and itches and I go back to power walking around my neighborhood, except just regular walking as fast as I can.

I know I can walk 3 miles in an hour, and a 5K is basically 3 miles, so it will just take me an hour to finish that part of the triathlon.

That’s right.

I forgot to tell you that I signed up for a triathlon.

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Not me.

It seemed like such a good idea months ago when I was very sick, and confined to bed for more than a month. I told myself I was going to bounce back in a BIG WAY and do a Wanderlust Triathlon, which is yoga + meditation + a 5K.

It gave me something to shoot for when I literally couldn’t walk across the room.

I think I’ll be OK with the yoga thanks to YogaGlo, and meditation is no sweat. I can Ron Swanson that if I need to.

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But the 5K is a little scary now, 6 weeks from when I have to do it, so I’ve decided I need a plan, and the plan is this- to move every day no matter what until then.

You’ll notice I didn’t say exercise. Just move. As much as I can.

Perhaps some of that will be running.

Perhaps it won’t.

I’m busy, and no longer motivated by an overwhelming sense of boredom.

But I do think moving is important and so is not being left entirely in the dust by my little sister, who is going to do the triathlon with me.

Not me. Or my sister.

And as a homeschooling mama, I only have so many options. I can wake up before the sun is warm and run, I can try to run at the Y, or I can take my kids hiking and hope for the best.

I think I’m going to do some of all of those, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? If so, you can download this FREE printable. It’s a simple way to stay motivated every day – just mark off each day that you manage to move.

Some easy things we can try:

  • Yoga with our kids – we have tons of resources here
  • Do a video at home -see Cait’s favorites
  • Take a walk together
  • Introduce your kids to Old School Gym Class (just no dodgeball)
  • Jump rope with your kids and teach them some old rhymes
  • Walk the dog
  • Find a breast cancer walk in your area and sign up to raise money for a great cause during Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Play basketball together
  • Try YogaGlo – the first two weeks are FREE
  • Go on a bike ride (unless you are bike-phobic like Cait and me!)
  • Go swimming
  • Play hide and go seek in your house (I am always amazed at what a workout this is!)
  • Do two-three sets of 10 of each of these: jumping jacks, sit-up, push-ups, squats and lunges

My spirit animal.

And then, for every day that you do even one of those things, mark it on your calendar. Tell us about it on the Homeschool Sisters Facebook Page starting Oct. 1, and we’ll do 31 days of getting fit and fancy together. We even have a little prize for you if you complete the 31 days. (Honor system. We trust you.)

So start brainstorming now, and get ready to get a little healthier in October with your sisters!

(Get your printable calendar HERE.)

P.S. My triathlon includes a bonus class! And you’ll never guess what it is!

It’s a barre class. Seriously.

It’s going to be a looooong waddle home.

Will you join me?! How do you plan to get active this October? Tell us in the comments!

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Me, after running 1/3 of 1K.

MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS AN EPISODE

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR TOPIC YOU’D LOVE TO HEAR CAIT AND KARA TALK ABOUT?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE HOMESCHOOL SISTERS

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Where’s My Zen: Homeschooling and Exercise

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Where’s My Zen: Homeschooling and Exercise

When you become a mom, things change. Exercise isn’t what it used to be… and your body isn’t what it used to be. Things change and that luxurious gym you belonged to decades ago is a thing of the past. Exercise feels out of reach. You find yourself doing yoga in the living room over a laundry basket, desperately searching for your zen. Or, you have a child by your side, commenting on the yoga faces you are making… or pretending to be your spin instructor…

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The BEST Instagram photo ever.

… and sometimes, you might find yourself afraid to go biking at all! It’s hard enough to make the space for exercise as a mom, but when you add homeschooling to the mix things get even trickier!

September is National Yoga Month! To celebrate, Cait and Kara want to support you where you are with exercising by giving away one of our very favorite workout shirts featuring our favorite saying: You’ve got this!  And you’re going to want to keep reading to find out more!

(Psst! If you are enjoying our podcast, we’d love it if you could head over to iTunes and rate the show- it helps other homeschooling moms to find us.)

Listen to the podcast:

THE HOMESCHOOL SISTERS3

Click on the above image to listen to the episode!

Links from the episode

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Yoga Resources for Children

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Yoga-Inspired Games and Equipment

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Children’s books about yoga and mindfulness

And now… a giveaway!!

JJ Rose Creations specializes in customized shirts and gifts. The company is the brainchild of Cait’s friend, Tera, a super-creative mom to three fantastic little people.

Be sure to follow JJ Rose Creations on Etsy and Facebook!

We are giving away one of our very favorite workout shirts featuring our favorite saying, “You’ve Got This!”

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You can enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us: How do you make time for exercise? Share here!

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Make sure you don’t miss an episode

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Are you wondering how to do that? Follow these instructions:

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Do you have a question or topic you’d love to hear Cait and Kara talk about?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

Be sure to follow The Homeschool Sisters

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Put it in your back pocket: Preparing for homeschool slumps

Put it in your back pocket Preparing for homeschool slumpsWritten by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

Put it in your back pocket: Preparing for homeschool slumps

This summer, we started our mornings with Coffee and Books on the back patio. As the kids ate breakfast, I read aloud. For much of the summer, this was the extent of our homeschooling. I’d read until they lost interest, or until it was time to head to the pool.

Our days were fluid, open-ended, free.

But this week, the air has changed. Once heavy and thick, it is now light and crisp; the breeze carries a familiar chill.

This week, Coffee and Books was interrupted because the kids needed to head inside to grab hoodies and – gasp! – shoes.

And this week, for the first time in months, I had a child ask when we would start “our regular homeschooling.”

The change of season helps with the summer-to-homeschool transition. It awakens something in us. After a summer of fun, we yearn for structure and routine.

Put it in your back pocket: preparing for homeschool slumps, homeschooling, back to school, curriculum, not back to school

September momentum

I have loved back-to-school shopping since I was a little girl.

Fresh notebooks

New pens

That new book smell

Brand new markers and crayons, sharp colored pencils

September is a clean slate. As a homeschool mom, I start September with a plan. I am energetic and inspired, ready to make this year our best homeschool year yet.

There’s something really special about autumn. I love the brilliant, ever-changing colors, the crackling of leaves underfoot, cozy sweaters, apple picking, and pumpkin everything.

Change is good. It keeps things fresh…

put it in your back pocket: Preparing for homeschool slumps, the homeschool sisters podcast, back-to-school, homeschooling, homeschooler, education

…But, this year feels different.

This year, I am feeling that September excitement but, if we’re being completely honest, I’m also feeling something else: trepidation.

I know what comes after the excitement, apple picking, and pumpkin everything.

As much as I love making new tracks on fresh powder and the way a fresh snowfall envelops the world in silence, I know what is looming.

Some seasons of homeschool are harder than others.

As we embark on our third year of homeschooling, I am all-too-aware of the November Slump and February Blues.

The days will be darker, grayer.

Kids will bounce viruses back and forth for weeks on end.

And somewhere along the way, despite best-laid plans, my motivation will plummet.

put it in your back pocket: preparing for homeschool slumps, homeschooling, homeschooler, education, the homeschool sisters podcast

It was a great summer.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Zac Brown Band in concert at Fenway Park. My husband and I parked outside our first apartment, walked past old haunts, had dinner at a favorite restaurant.

It was an amazing night filled with music we love. I spent the evening dancing and singing to favorite songs, lost in the moment.

I was completely present, over-the-moon happy, wholly grateful for my place in the universe, entirely at peace.

(How often does THAT happen?)

It was a perfect evening.

put it in your back pocket: preparing for homeschool slumps, homeschooling, homeschooler, the homeschool sisters podcast

At one point, Zac addressed the crowd. It was almost as if he was reading my mind when he asked, “You know this feeling? What you’re feeling right now?”

He went on to say that he wanted us to take that feeling, put it in an envelope, and tuck it in our back pocket for when things get cruddy. (Zac used a more colorful word.)

And I thought to myself, “YES! THIS!! But how??”

Summer concerts bring me joy but that post-concert high – no matter how hard I try- never lasts more than a few weeks.

Kind of like my September homeschooling momentum.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’d love to have some September momentum saved in my back pocket for February.

Preparing for homeschool slumps

Right now, we are all excited about the new year.

We are armed with new books, fancy pens, and sharpened pencils.

We have big plans and exciting ideas

We are inspired, fresh, present.

But those of us who have been here before know it won’t last forever.

Well, Kara and I are planning something. We’re brainstorming because we’d like to have some tricks in our back pocket for when February hits.

So, stay tuned! (And while you’re waiting, be sure to read this post from Kara because she actually has a February envelope!)

Here are some inspiring books to keep in your back pocket…

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us: How do you prepare for homeschool slumps? Share here!

Put it in Your Back Pocket Preparing for Homeschool Slumps  The Homeschool Sisters Podcast

Make sure you don’t miss an episode

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes.

Do you have a question or topic you’d love to hear Cait and Kara talk about?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

Be sure to follow The Homeschool Sisters

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Fall Haul: Homeschool resources we’re loving

Fall Haul Homeschool Resources We're Loving  The Homeschool Sisters Podcast

The Homeschool Sisters Podcast #7:

Fall Haul: Homeschool resources we’re loving

It’s a bonus episode!

The sisters have been getting lots of questions about planning for the fall. In this episode, Cait and Kara share all of the resources that they are excited about using in the upcoming year. And, with five children and an age range of 5-12 between them, you’re not going to want to miss what they have to say!

Listen to the podcast:

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Click on the above image to listen to the episode!

Math

Language Arts

History & Geography

Science

Art

Other links from this episode

Now, we have two questions for you! 

First, what is your favorite educational app?

Second, what is your favorite homeschool resource? Share in the comments!

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Make sure you don’t miss an episode

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes.

Do you have a question or topic you’d love to hear Cait and Kara talk about?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

Be sure to follow The Homeschool Sisters

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Fall Haul! Homeschool resources we're loving

Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s less: Chatting with Shawna Wingert

Just because it's different, doesn't mean it's less Chatting with Shawna Wingert  The Homeschool Sisters Podcast [Episode 6], not the former things, special needs, special education, homeschool, homeschooling, homeschooler, podcast,

The Homeschool Sisters Podcast #6:

Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s less: Chatting with Shawna Wingert

In this episode, the sisters chat with one of their most favorite people: Shawna Wingert. Shawna is a writer, speaker, author, and homeschool mom to two amazing boys with special needs. Do you ever feel like your homeschool doesn’t or can’t look like the homeschool next door, or the family at church or co-op, or even all the families on the internet? Shawna joins the sisters to remind you that it’s OK, and that just because you have to do things a little differently, that doesn’t mean what you are doing is less.

Listen to the podcast:

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Click on the above image to listen to the episode!

Links from the episode

Books from this episode

When A Flower Doesn't Bloom

Be sure to follow Shawna

Shawna writes at Not The Former Things and you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can also find Shawna on the following sites:

… and many, many more!

Make sure you don’t miss an episode

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes.

Do you have a question or topic you’d love to hear Cait and Kara talk about?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

Be sure to follow The Homeschool Sisters

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Just because it's different, doesn't mean it's less Chatting with Shawna Wingert Pin, special needs, homeschool, homeschooling, poddcast, the homeschool sisters podcast, autism, not the former things

My Big Picture Planning Page (and how I use my bullet journal for homeschool planning)

My big picture planning page

Written by Kara S. Anderson

Recently Cait and I were chatting for an episode, and I mentioned my Big Picture Homeschool Planning Page.

(Doesn’t that sound super official?)

Cait said it was genius, and I wanted to tell her the truth – that like all things I do, it was pretty much an accident.

Because I am not a Pro Bullet Journaler. At all.

I love the idea. I love the method, and I love my bullet journal. I love the little pieces of Washi tape, my book darts, and I love the dotted pages – I must have a journal with dots.

And I love all my weird pages and that I finally have a place to put ALL THE THINGS. (Besides my brain.)

But the truth is, pro bullet journals seem to follow more of a plan, and I am just making it up as I go along, which is how I came up with my Big Picture Homeschool planning page.

Why even do that?

My Big Picture Homeschool planning page happened because I really like ideas. I am not as good at execution, but I love knowing I have something in my back pocket.

I also have the habit of jumping into things that look cool, filling my Amazon cart, and getting all excited about something only to have it fizzle pretty quickly like one of those sad July 4th snakes.

So my Big Picture Homeschool Planning Page does two things:

First, it gives me a place (besides my cluttered brain) to record thoughts and ideas and projects and such that I come across on a near-daily basis, because Internet.

Second, it gives me the opportunity to wait. I don’t have to make a snap decision, or spend money today. I don’t even have to add another library book to our holds list.

Instead, in the course of my day, when I hear about something cool and homeschool-y, I just write it down and let that business percolate.

When I want to use one of those ideas, books, etc., I move it to my Monthly Homeschool Planning Page.

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Your big picture page is an organized list, right?

It was once. Long ago. Now it’s kind of a mess.

Soon, it will be time to migrate to another journal, though, and that’s when my favorite part happens! I get to start over. (I love starting over with a fresh journal).

So I’ll migrate the stuff that we haven’t done yet then and reorganize the list and try to make it pretty.

Here’s where I will also admit that the current page has lots of colors of ink, and I just have the top of the page marked with a torn piece of Washi tape. I do have these pages recorded in my index, though, which means I can find them in about a second.

And yup – I said PAGES. My one page has grown over the past month as I started thinking about the school year ahead. Ack!

So what about that school year ahead?

My approach to planning for the upcoming school year seems to change every year. Last year, I decided to divide our year into 4 chunks, and that was good. I planned just one quarter at a time, but had a general framework that stayed the same.

But this year, I am going to plan even less upfront. I was listening to a Julie Bogart periscope where she talked about planning one month at a time and that pretty much blew my mind.

Because in truth, my kids are a bit older now. I don’t have to act like I know what I am doing every second or risk them flushing Matchbox cars down the toilet while I try to plan.

I can look at them and say, “I’m going to spend this afternoon doing a little homeschool planning,” and they will find things to do until they get hungry.

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So what’s next?

So here’s the best part of bullet journaling, right? Anytime you get an idea, or realize something isn’t working, you can just change it.

This alone has made me fall in love with this system.

So in the next month or so as I finish filling the pages of my current journal AND we start a new school year, I’m making some upgrades.

  • I will continue with a big picture page
  • I’m going to add a books page and with a system for marking which ones I want to read-aloud, which ones to strew, which ones to get on audio, etc.
  • I’m going to add a field trips section
  • I’m going to add a projects section

But here’s the best part – YOU don’t have to wait to do all of those things. You can do it RIGHT NOW. Lucky.😉

Head on over to my site to grab your FREE Homeschool Bullet Journaling Printable. Yeah! Free! It will walk you through all this business step-by-step, and get you all set up for the BEST school year ever.

You got this, sister!

DON’T MISS AN EPISODE OF THE HOMESCHOOL SISTERS PODCAST!

Here are several ways that you can tune in to see what Cait and Kara are up to:

We would love if you could leave us a review on iTunes.

DO YOU HAVE A TOPIC YOU’D LOVE TO HEAR US TALK ABOUT?

If so, send us a message or leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

COME HANG OUT WITH US!

You can hang out with Cait and Kara on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

So hit me – what questions do you have about bullet journaling and homeschool planning? How do you do your planning? Let’s chat!