4 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

Hello, Fellow Life Learners!  Welcome back to my blog! Today I will be sharing 4 tips for dealing with anxiety.

I have been dealing with anxiety for the majority of my life and it can be so difficult to deal with.  When I was a little girl it was hard for me to be at the playground with other kids, when I got a little older it was difficult to walk up to a cashier in a grocery store to ask for help or pay for my items.  I would throw up every morning before school. As an adult, I coped with it by drinking and smoking cigarettes. Slowly my journey has lead me to a healthier path and I have incorporated several tools into my lifestyle to gain some relief and stop relying on toxic coping methods.  Here are my favorite ways to relax and find my zen. Please remember that I am NOT a doctor and everything I learned was through my own research and willingness to experiment with my own body. Please, be sure to do your own research and/or talk to your doctor first.

1. I don’t know how people can live without yoga!  I literally need it every day to be happy and have been doing it consistently for about 11 years.  I even continued my practicing when I broke my leg, with modifications, of course! Concentrating on the breath and movement brings me out of my head and into the present moment.  This gives me a chance to really think about what I’m feeling because sometimes I get so lost in the emotions of others that I forget to check in with myself. Stretching and moving my body actually relieves muscle tension in my shoulders, neck jaw and legs.  Of course, it is good for the whole body stretching and muscle pain relief, but these are the areas where I hold my stress. As soon as I step on my mat I can feel my shoulders start to relax.

My favorite yoga teacher is Adriene (Yoga with Adriene).  I like that she has lots of free videos including several 30-day challenges.  She is all about “Finding What Feels Good” giving her class a sense of freedom.  I love her sense of humor and that she is reminded of songs throughout the practice. This video isn’t by Adriene, but I’ve been going back to it consistently as a before bed yoga routine for years. It is interesting to me that I still don’t know this woman’s name and haven’t seen any other videos from her and yet it is my all time favorite video.  I don’t do any of the chanting, instead, I use that time for some mindful neck rolls. At one point she says “clounter clockwise” and it always makes me laugh a little. I love it because it makes her human and relatable. Check it out here!

2. MAGNESIUM!  I found magnesium when researching pain that I was having in my jaw, frequent headaches, and constant pain in my neck and shoulders. I learned that these are symptoms of TMJ which is often treated using magnesium supplements.  It works well because it is a natural muscle relaxer. I started off with a magnesium oil spray which worked immediately. Because of this, I started researching more and more the benefits of magnesium for the body and signs of magnesium deficiency.  This is how I learned that anxiety can actually be caused by magnesium deficiency! I added magnesium to my daily supplements and the difference is ridiculous!!! I used to have a cluster of small, red, scaly patches of dry skin on my wrists and hands that just went away.  I looked into this further and learned that dry skin and eczema are symptoms of magnesium deficiency!!!! I also used to be easily bothered by chewing sounds and any high pitched noise would actually, physically hurt me, this also went away when I started taking magnesium. Guess what….  This is another symptom of magnesium deficiency!!!!! I am now evangelical about magnesium and talk to my friends and family about it often and with passion. Have you accepted my friend magnesium into your heart? BTW, magnesium is also good for heart health! These are my favorite magnesium products, this and this book about magnesium.

3. Ashwagandha!  My research into natural remedies for TMJ lead me to another anxiety relieving herb, Ashwagandha root.  It helps support the nervous system, promote hormonal balance, helps to regulate the thyroid and is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory.  It is excellent for calming the mind and keeping the body relaxed. I have been taking this supplement for over a year. When I first started taking it, I took it for a week and then forgot to take it for 2 days.  The difference was amazingly obvious. Without it, I felt weepy and sad. When I realized my mistake it was easily remedied by taking my ashwagandha, I never forget to take it now. It was pretty difficult to research this one since it was only quickly mentioned in my TMJ research.  It is considered holistic healing. My biggest source on this has been the reviews for Ashwagandha on Amazon. Check them out here !

Read this article and this one!

4. Having a clear daily plan:  My biggest source of anxiety is the fear that I will forget something important.  Knowing my priorities and having a clear daily plan means I know exactly what needs to be done each day and what activities are coming up.  I can sometimes get lost in a project and forget to make time for what is important to me. This mostly happens in work situations and I end up overworking and not taking care of myself and the people who are important to me.   It has taken a long time to learn this about myself, but now I know exactly what my priorities are and I am sure to stick within my own guidelines. While I love my family and do use a lot of time to take care of them, I also remember to take time for myself doing the things that I enjoy.  You can learn more about how I keep our life organized here.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned something that could help you diminish your anxiety!  Do you already use some of these? What ways does anxiety affect your daily life and what do you do to deal with it?  I look forward to your comments!

7 Tips for a Great Art Night Experience

I am always looking for ways to be more creative and spend time with my family, so I was excited when my husband initiated a weekly art night.   It’s been more than a year for us of spending our Friday’s together doing art and it is my favorite night of the week!

It has evolved over time, as most things do.  When we first started this weekly custom, we would work on an art project that we wanted.  In the beginning, we were brimming with ideas but we soon used them up and needed more inspiration. One night while watching Skin Wars, a family favorite, I was inspired to make art night a game. It’s really not a competition but in actuality is just a way to inspire our creativity.

We filled a bucket full of ideas written on strips of paper.  Every art night we start by randomly picking an idea from the bucket.  Then we spend a short amount of time looking at references and figuring out our idea.  At that point, we are ready to work on our art project. I like to start by sketching an idea in my sketchbook using a pencil and colored pencils.  Once it is solidified and I have a chance to practice my idea, I will recreate it on a canvas using acrylic paint. I love colored pencils, but acrylic paint is my favorite medium.

Tips for a great art night experience;  

  1. Look at references.   You may think you can remember what something looks like, but then look at a picture and realize you are missing a lot of details or an important part of the shape. It’s definitely NOT cheating to look at a reference photo since anything you create will be uniquely yours.  
  2. Watch time-lapse art videos on youtube get inspired, here are some that I like to watch;

     3. Use Pinterest! Everyone should have a Pinterest!  It is basically just a place to save and organize ideas so that you can go back to them later.  You can pin anything from around the web and even create your own pins. You can check out my Pinterest here https://www.pinterest.com/jeaniesimaginationcultivation/

My tiny thumbnails

     4. Create tiny thumbnails before working on a full-scale version.   This is something I learned from watching one of my fave youtube artists, Drawing wiff waffles.  You can check her out here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBARESDB1dvUXUHZwIVHUdw

sketching my idea

      5. Get inspired! Let books you’ve read or are reading, your favorite shows, your own personal interests, or something you are learning about be your inspiration.  Come up with our own ideas using your inspiration and put it into action. Some ideas in our art bucket include squiggly challenge, make Adventure Time OC’s, and make Plants vs Zombies characters including different skins and weapons.  These are just a few ideas and it’s easy to come up with some of your own.

      6. Let life inspire you!  I can remember having an epiphany one day when a friend of mine was pinning a lot of contouring makeup tutorials.  Painting a face is just like a contouring tutorial! It’s all about shadow and light! This forever changed the way I paint faces.

      7. Listen to a podcast, book on tape or music that you can all enjoy.  

A work in progress

Each of our family members like different mediums.  We buy most of our art supplies from Hobby Lobby. It really is the best deal because they often have art supplies on sale for half price.  They also have a 40% off total bill coupon on their app. Right now, I’m considering getting an art box subscription, if you have one or know about that, please make a recommendation in the comments.  

I love spending time with my family and doing fun activities with them.  Art night has rekindled my husbands love of doing art, helped my daughter build on her already artistic nature, challenged my son to step away from video games,  as well as inspiring me to find the artist within myself.

Homeschool Learning Tools

To me, it is a hugely important skill to be able to find information.  Everyone must learn how to learn!  By having to do research on a topic, I feel that ideas are more solidified in the minds of my children.  There are so many sources out there for information and today I am going to share some of my favorites.

Youtube has so many options for learning and sometimes these videos are made by someone who knows how to explain an idea or concept better than I can.  We like https://www.youtube.com/user/mathantics which is fabulous for basic math skills.  We also like to watch historical documentaries and real-life documentation from people experiencing events and lifestyles.  We just finished learning about the middle east and we watched a few videos from women who actually live in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  It makes geography, history and the real people who live in these places seem more tangible.  You can follow my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCflGbmEyWtcOJdqWl0SJFTQ

Symbolab  https://www.symbolab.com/   is a free website that allows a student to put in a math problem they don’t understand and it will show that them how to do it step by step.  I have used it many times to refresh my own memory. It is an excellent tool if used with supervision, without supervision, it can easily be abused.

Hoopla is an app that allows library patrons to finds books, movies, music, and other online resources provided by the library.  You can check out what you want and when you’re done with it you just digitally return it. It is my favorite app.  You will need your library card.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hoopladigital.android&hl=en

Pinterest is my second favorite app.  My kids are both on there too. It’s basically a place to learn about anything you want or just see cool pins about stuff you’re into.  I’m on there as Jeanie’s Imagination Cultivation and I mostly pin about art, homeschool, and gardening. https://www.pinterest.com/jeaniesimaginationcultivation/

I love all of the Google apps! My favorite app is google photos. I love that my images are automatically downloaded to Google Photos and are readily available from any device. It makes sharing images so much easier since users can create shared files and then just invite friends and family to view them. Shared files can be downloaded and saved by all of the users. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.photos

My kids are both on Google Hangouts, which is basically just online texting. They don’t have phones, so this is perfect for when they are at the library and we need to check in with each other.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.talk

We use google docs for all of our writing projects.  This way they are saved to my google account and I don’t have to worry about having the latest version of Microsoft Word.  This also makes printing easy since I do all of our printing at the library. Just log in and there is everything I need. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.docs.editors.docs&hl=en_US

Freeprints is a super cool app where you get 85 free 4×4 or 4×6 prints every month.  You just have to pay to ship. The most I ever paid for that was $7 and I ordered 50 pictures at 1 time.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photoaffections.freeprints

What are your favorite homeschool tools?  Do you also use some of the ones I have listed?

Curriculum Series: Homeschooling at the Library

The library is like school, only better!  It’s a world of education that includes anything you might want to learn about and more.  Of course, it would be the best place to start.

I have been using the library as a large part of our homeschool lifestyle since my kids were just babies. We would go to our local story time where we got out of the house for a bit to spend time with other moms and babies.  We were lucky enough that our small town youth librarian had learned the powerful brain-building benefits of teaching babies sign language. She started by teaching us just a few signs at every story time and before we knew it we were watching Signing Time! and our babbling babies were telling us their inner thoughts and desires.

Our librarian loved to get out board books for the kids and let them step on them and taste them.  Together, we instilled a love of books, learning and libraries from the beginning.

They aren’t babies anymore, but the library still offers a plethora of activities and resources.  Now my kids participate in activities like After School Hangout, Youth Dungeons and Dragons games, teen hangouts, weekend movies, arts and crafts, and laser tag lock-ins.   

As a homeschooling family, we spend a lot of time together.  This is the perfect opportunity for them to hang out with their friends without me being there, but still under the supervision of responsible adults.  They get to practice the skills that I have been teaching them in a safe space.

Our library also offers a week-long pass to the YMCA, the zoo and passes to national parks. The meeting spaces here can be reserved for free.  Our 4H group even meets here incorporating my 2 favorite homeschool tools. You can read more about homeschooling with 4H here; http://www.jeaniesimaginationcultivation.com/2019/03/24/curriculum-series-homeschooling-with-4h/.

My favorite thing about going to the library is getting the reading rainbow song stuck in everyone’s head! “Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high.  Just take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow!”

What is your favorite song about reading?  Do you like to sing about every part of your day like I do?  Discuss in the comments.

What Happened When I Deleted Facebook

Facebook started out as a fun way to contact old friends and share pictures with them and for a while, it was fun.  But then something terrible happened and it became a place to shout political opinions and religious beliefs at others without having to look into their face at the damage being caused.  I became aware, through time, of how Facebook users are being manipulated through marketing and propaganda. It just isn’t that fun anymore.

It’s been more than a year since I deleted my Facebook and Snapchat accounts.  I was on Facebook all the time, to the point where I was just seeing the same posts over and over.  I would find myself yelling at my kids just for having fun and being themselves because they were disturbing my social media time.  Without even knowing it, I was giving more of myself to strangers on the internet then I was to the people who actually matter to me.  It felt like an addiction that was just as bad as smoking.

At first, I found the idea of leaving facebook daunting.  I was, of course, worried that I would be left out of the conversation and that I would lose contact with some friends.  I already knew before I deleted facebook that there was no way I had over 400ish people who truly care about me in the world.  Duh, right? I feel like I really know now not only who cares about me, but also who I care about and am willing to give my time and energy.  I can be more genuine with those that are my friends and do things that really do strengthen the relationship. It reminded me that a like or comment on Facebook is not the same as real friendship.  

Being without it wasn’t easy, just like it is when breaking any addiction.  I was bored and couldn’t remember how I had filled my time before Facebook. I had snapchat for a while where I only had 8 “friends.”  But even with that, I could see that I was recording every part of my life for someone else to watch. Is that truly living and experiencing life?  In my humble opinion, no. It wasn’t long before I stopped using that too.

The hardest part was realizing how much free time I had and figuring out what to do with it.  I cleaned my house until it sparkled. Then I got more into painting and sketching and it started taking up more and more of that free time.  I also started reading more. I have always been an avid reader but with Facebook and other social media, I didn’t really make time for that part of myself.  It was great basically figuring out who I am all over again and I felt better about my relationship with myself.

We all know what a time suck Facebook can be.  It only makes sense that I find that I am more organized and can get more done in a day.  I also spend a lot more time with my husband and kids. I get to look into their faces and hear their amazing conversations and see who they really are.   I am truly present. We have a family game night, art night and have just added Dungeons and Dragons to our family activities. Without social media, we are a stronger, happier family.

 When I finally picked my head up from my phone, I could see that the whole time I had been missing out!   Life is short and when mine ends, I want to know I left positive real-life memories for my family.

Are you thinking about deleting your Facebook?  Have you already left Facebook? What is your experience?

Homeschool with 4H: Demonstrations

6 tips to help you guide your homeschooler to create a demonstration.

What is 4H?  4H is an organization designed to give young people the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and life skills.  For $45 a year, any child can sign up for up to 3 projects. I love using 4H as a part of our homeschool curriculum.  To me, it seems like a trade school for kids. They can try a project for a year and if they like it they can continue, if they don’t like it they can try something else the next year.  They can choose from many projects like electricity, robotics, sewing, photography and much much more. 4H encourages kids to act and think like adults. They are expected to meet certain requirements like giving a demonstration, doing community service, keeping a record of activities and expenses related to their project and enter something into the county and state fairs.  If you would like more information about 4H, please follow this link https://4-h.org/ .

Each demonstration should be approximately 5 minutes long and the presenter should be prepared to answer questions from their peers.  This is an excellent exercise for homeschooled kids (or any kids!) since they get to learn how to build a presentation, improve their writing and research skills and experience public speaking in a small group of peers that they are comfortable with.

Here are 6 tips to help you guide your homeschooler to create a demonstration.

Allow for plenty of time.

It can be a daunting task to write anything especially when we haven’t had much practice.  There is a real fear attached to looking at a blank page and wondering how to even start. So begin by making sure your youth has plenty of time to work on their project.  I like to start about a month before they plan on making their presentations.

Make it manageable.

I set aside 45 minutes twice a week for this writing project.   I break it down into 15-minute chunks to make it even more manageable.  I start by working with them for the first 15 minutes, the next 15 minutes are on their own and then I check in to guide them a little more in the last 15 minutes.  Breaking it down like this staves off frustration and the fear that this task will never end.

Brainstorm with your tween.  

I think this is important because my tweens don’t really think deeply about topics that aren’t directly related to their interests and they often struggle with what questions to ask. It takes lots of practice to develop this skill.  When my kids first start a writing project, I like to start off by working with them for 15 minutes to ask the questions who, what, where, when, how and why. They are usually able to come up with the answers with some discussion.  Then I type the answers for them in their own words. This starts it off positively by giving them a place to jump in.

Read their writing out loud to your child.

When reading out loud it suddenly makes sense why we would need punctuation! It allows my kids to recognize their own mistakes and how they can correct them.

Attend community events related to what you are learning at the time.  

Recently, we were able to attend an event at our local library called Public Speaking 101:  Being a Mic Boss. It was a free lecture lead by a retired news anchor. She gave some tips about how to become better at public speaking.  A lot of her speech was about preparation. This is something I have been trying to instill in my kids and it is great when someone else reinforces the ideas I’ve been teaching. Look around at the events that are going on in your area.

Practice!  

It is important to practice any demonstration or speech until the speaker feels comfortable! We use Orai and the voice memo app on my phone to practice.

A few useful homeschool tools:

Curriculum Series: Homeschooling with 4H

What is 4H?  4H is an organization designed to give young people the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and life skills.  For $45 a year, any child can sign up for up to 3 projects. Many projects have leaders while others can be studied on their own.  I love using 4H as a part of our homeschool curriculum. To me, it seems like a trade school for kids. They can try a project for a year and if they like it they can continue, if they don’t like it they can try something else the next year.  They can choose from many projects like electricity, robotics, sewing, photography and much much more. 4H encourages kids to act and think like adults. They are expected to meet certain requirements like giving a presentation, doing community service, keeping a record of activities and expenses related to their project and enter something into the county fair.  If you would like more information about 4H, please follow this link https://4-h.org/ .

My home school teaching style is a variation on unit studies.  Unit studies are collections of learning activities tied to a theme that the homeschooled student is interested in.   They provide a hands-on approach to learning that incorporates subjects such as math, science, language arts, and the social sciences. 4H naturally fits our curriculum for that reason.  This year my kids are each taking 1 project. My 12-year-old is taking Electricity Unit 1 and my 10-year-old is taking Poultry Unit 1: Raising Pullets.

When they complete a project to be turned in and judged at the county fair, they must also include their erecord, which is a documentation of the activities they participated in for 4h that year.  They must keep track of expenses, project meetings, community service, club fundraisers and anything else they did with their 4H group. They must also include a story about their 4H experience. There is a project guide included with these projects.  For example;

Raising Pullets: Junior

  1. Complete the “planning your project” section of this guide
  2. Members new to this project must explore interest areas 1-5.  When repeating this project explore any 5 interest areas.
  3. In each interest area plan at least 2 of the things to do.
  4. Take part in at least 2 project learning experiences.
  5. Become involved in at least 2 citizen/leadership activities.
  6. Write a 1-page report about what was done and learned through this project.
  7. Complete the record keeping section on pages 14-20 of project manual.

What are the Benefits of incorporating 4H into homeschool?

  • Friendly competition

For a long time, my homeschool students couldn’t understand why they would want to work hard at creating the best project they could.  They had never had to worry about grades because we will work on a skill until it is mastered. They haven’t really had any peer pressure either.  It took joining 4H and being competitive for them to finally want to be the best at something. Actually, for the first year of 4H my kids didn’t really care about competition.  But then something happened that had never happened to them before. They failed. They didn’t win and they got to see the people they knew win prizes. In that first year, they learned a lesson in losing with grace.  They also learned that they want to win! It has greatly improved their work ethics and the end product of much of their school work and 4H projects.

  • There are plenty of opportunities to practice the skills they have been taught at home out on their own.

I feel like finding space for my kids to spend time away from me is so important.  As a homeschooling family, we spend a lot of time together and I am always wary of what my kids are doing and how they are behaving.  They are also very aware that I am there and adjust their behavior accordingly to my rules. I am teaching them the skills they need to live on their own and they need a little practice in a safe environment and away from me.  There are so many occasions for homeschooled kids to go out and experience life without their parents but also still be under trusted adult supervision. Colorado Youth experience, 4H camp, and leadership camps are just a few examples.  

  • Gaining hands-on experience and doing their part to contribute to their community (social studies)

Each club member must participate in at least 1 community service activity.  These activities are decided on and planned by the group. Youth gain hands-on experience planning and executing an event.  With this, they can see the things that adults do at their jobs and see that they can do these things too.

Doing community service is not only an opportunity to give back to our community, but it is also a reminder to these kids and their parents to be grateful for what they have.  It develops a sense of compassion and teaches us all that anything could happen.

Working with club members builds bonds and creates friendships which develop confidence and establishes the beginnings of their personal network.   When they go out into the world to find their own jobs they will have accomplishments of their own to list on their resumes.

Personal growth is something we don’t even realize is happening and it’s activities like these that spur that look within one’s self.

We have participated in many community service events including passing out hot chocolate and cookies at the local holiday lighting, preparing laundry detergent for Free Laundry Day for the homeless, preparing homeless survival bags, helping to clean the Raptor Center, visiting our local assisted living center, and so many more.

  • Interactive experiences that create life long memories

Project meetings give club members the opportunity to act as an apprentice and gain real hands-on experience in whatever new skill they are trying to learn.  It also allows them to meet and learn from someone who already knows this skill and uses it in real life. Our club has several group activities. As a requirement of our club, each member must sign up for one of three committees; the Historical Committee, the Community Service Committee, and the Carnival Committee.  Each of these committees gives these kids the chance to take initiative and plan some projects with some subtle guidance from an adult leader. These are activities that they enjoy and these experiences become life long memories.

  • Club meetings are run like the local government. (social studies)

Club meetings are all youth-led, with the watchful guidance of trusted adults.  They vote on a club president, vice president, treasurer, recorder and pledge leader.  They have an agenda created by the president and they all participate in discussions and voting on each item.  It really is run as if it were a town government which is excellent practice for anyone considering involvement in government. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss government in a way that means something to these kids personally. For a whopping $10 per child, they can attend a half a day of officer training where they learn about their desired position.  Then they get pizza and swimming!

  • Being exposed to people who use these skills in the real world

A variety of people volunteer to be 4H project leaders.  They are often experts in their field and come specifically to pass those skills on to someone else.  My kids not only get the opportunity to try something like robotics or electrical projects, but they also get to learn from someone who isn’t mom and has used these skills in the real world.  I add to this pool of teachers by volunteering as the photography project leader.
4h is filled with new learning experiences and opportunities to refine basic skills that will be used all through life.  Do you use 4H as a part of your curriculum? Tell me about your experiences or ask me your questions in the comments!

A Quick Sunday Routine

Today I am going to be talking about a quick Sunday routine that prepares my family for the rest of the week.  That routine is just writing what we have coming up for the week on my big whiteboard. It’s a small thing that has a huge impact on how our family runs.

I have broken down our homeschooling so that we only work on a few subjects a day. This gives us the freedom to work as much or as little as we need to on each subject. My 10-year-old is currently reviewing multiplication.  Since we are memorizing the multiplication tables and playing Tri-fact-a (a multiplication board game), math takes longer than it did when she had mastered addition and subtraction.  My 12-year-old is also spending more time on math since he is beginning to learn algebra.

To keep my week organized I use 3 tools;

 I am a huge Flylady fan. I have been following her for about 10 years.  Not perfectly of course, but I do my best to love myself anyway! I love using her app, which is basically just a checklist of what I need to get done.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flyladyplus/id1115477521

Google Calendars is fantastic because of its convenience.  As long as I am sure to put events in my calendar right away, they are at my fingertips when planning our week.   My calendar info is shared across all of our families devices so everyone knows what to expect. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-calendar-time-planner/id909319292  

My huge whiteboard is a staple piece for keeping my family informed.     It allows for our plans to be big and bold so none of us misses anything and it only takes me a few minutes to write it up!

This is what this week looks week like:

  • Monday our cleaning day.  Getting these 5 Items done after a lazy weekend gets our house back in order for the rest of the week;  vacuum, sweep and mop, windows and mirrors, change sheets and take out all of the trash. School work for that day is math, spelling, and writing.  Right now we are writing their speeches for the 4H speech contest in April.
  • Tuesday:  Water and groom houseplants.  School work is math, spelling, and geography.
  • Wednesday:  This is the day we set aside to work on any 4H items.   Basically, we record any activities we attended that week and fill in any information we have for the erecords.  There are several big 4H related projects every year like making a project related demonstration, the 4H speech contest and Fair entries.  Wednesdays are dedicated to completing them. I like to break things into small chunks so that we aren’t overwhelmed.
  • Thursday:  Math, spelling and language arts.  After school hang out at the library.  Every Thursday night we have a family game night. We all alternate picking the game.  Some of our favorite games are Cranium Family Edition, Ticket to Ride, Pictionary, or any multiplayer video game.
  • Friday:  I like to make Friday an “easy” day, so we watch a documentary and then the kids spend the afternoon at the library.  School is out on Friday’s in our area, so our fantastic library has kids programs going on all day! Friday is also family art night.  
  • Saturday:  Electricity 4H project meetings and 4H Club meetings are held on Saturdays.  

On the whiteboard, I also write down a list of tasks that need to be done every day.  Everyone can be more productive with a checklist of tasks to be completed. Our checklist keeps us focused on the tasks we need to complete before our day ends.  It includes taking the dogs out, feed and water the dogs, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, make your bed, tidy your room, do a chore, 30 minutes of reading, and take care of the hamster.  None of it’s hard and I’m really just trying to build strong habits that follow them into adulthood. I started this routine because my kids were constantly asking me what we were doing next and my husband and I were often on different pages in different books!  After incorporating this habit, our lives immediately became less stressful.

And that’s it!  A super easy way to keep our lives organized!  Do you have any quick routines that majorly impact your family?  What are they and why did you start them? How did it change your life?

About Me

Hi!  I’m Jeanie of Jeanie’s Imagination Cultivation and I’m a homeschooling mom of tweens.   My family is the most important thing to me. Everything that I do is for them and that’s truly what makes me happy.  

I’m an amateur artist trying new things and exploring new mediums.  I LOVE COLORS SO MUCH!!! I want to taste them! I want to swim in them!  I often describe art using feeling and taste words, lol! I enjoy painting with acrylics and sketching with colored pencils.  My creations are often surreal underwater ocean scenes that tell mermaid sci-fi fantasy stories, or maybe they are just a reflection of my inner self!

Books and reading are a huge part of my personality.  When I was a kid I used the library and books as a place to escape.  Now, our local library is my favorite place and books are like home.    I have read so many books, but the ones I enjoy most are post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasies.  I also love books that make the internet seem creepy because it kind of is. My favorite books are Otherland by Tad Williams, The Circle by Dave Eggers, Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks and The Bees by Laline Paull.  Sweetwater and Child of the Owl by Laurence Yep were so influential to me when I was a tween that I still think about them often.

Of course, since I’m a living creature, I love to eat!  Who doesn’t? My favorite foods are garlic and onion because that’s how all good cooking begins!  My ultimate favorite dish is probably huevos rancheros. Growing up in New Mexico has imprinted southwestern flavors into the happy place that is my tongue.  

I have always wanted to have a field of sunflowers and this past summer I was finally able to grow one!  As a delicious bonus, I also planted some vegetables and I’m so excited to do it again! Come on summer, I’m ready to garden!

I chose to start this blog because I haven’t seen a lot of information about homeschooling older kids.  I want to provide information about secular homeschooling for tweens and teens. I also want to provide information about using 4H as part of a homeschool curriculum.  I don’t want to teach you how to write an essay, you can find that anywhere, I want to teach you how you can better guide your homeschooler to write an essay. I may share some tools that help me to be the best version of myself, not just the taskmaster stuff, but also the human part that needs encouragement, alone time and personal interests that are not about my kids.  In this blog, I will write about life as a homeschool mom.

Have you read any of my favorite books? What did you think? What books were influential to you as a budding tween/teen? Let me know in the comments!

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