My girls have been “back”’to school for almost a month now and Lord, it hasn’t been easy. Between a week off with Covid, snow days, half-days and holidays, there’s been little consistency. The days are “too long”, school is “too weird” and they don’t understand “why they have to do this”.
Today, I drew them their “circle of control”- the things they should focus on- what they want to eat for breakfast, wear and play- how they decide to move their body. All of the other things- the weather, having to go to school, how other people live and behave- are not in their control.
I explained that every day, we have a choice on what we focus on. It’s easy to get lost in the things out of our control- best to leave those things to God and to live with a heart full of gratitude for the things in our immediate circle.
New Leaf Parenting. Every Day is a Fresh Start. Turn the page and try again.
Lately, one of our daughters has been suffering from extreme anxiety. We’ve been in counseling and seeing her pediatrician on a regular basis. I’ve also supplemented my daily reading with a plethora of parenting books and podcasts and today, I wanted to share some resources that have been particularly helpful.
1). It all began with this book my friend, Leslie, recommended. Sissy Goff is a Christian counselor MEd, LPC-MHSP based out of Nashville, TN. She works exclusively with young girls who are suffering from worry, anxiety and/or depression alongside a counselor for boys, David Thomas, LMSW and Melissa Trevathan, MRE who started their practice Daystar Counseling in the 1980s. This is a workbook designed for a parent to work through with their child and it has been an absolutely wonderful resource for our family.
2). This is the companion book to the workbook above, also by Sissy Goff, intended for parents to read as they support their daughter through worry and anxiety. I have underlined half of the book.
3). This is the INCREDIBLE PODCAST that I have been listening to with counselors Sissy, David and Melissa. Each episode is only 20-30 minutes and is PACKED with useful strategies, many of which I have implemented that very same day! Season 4 Episode 7 is specially about worry and anxiety and depression and since it was recorded so recently, it really discusses the effect the pandemic has had on our children. I cannot recommend this entire podcast enough, but particularly this episode! If you do nothing else on this list, listen to this.
4). Season 4 of the Raising Boys and Girls podcast is centered around Sissy’s newest book, Modern Parents, Vintage Values which I have in my reading pile but haven’t started. Everything they discuss in the podcast is right in line with our family’s values so I cannot wait to begin this book!
5). Finally, this is another book co-written by the same three counselors and another in my “to read” pile, by my side as I type.
Philosopher Plato once said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Happy photos on social media tell only one side of a story- a book with many chapters. My hope is that in sharing a battle our own family is fighting, you will know you are not alone in yours. I hope these resources are as useful to some of you as they have been to us. ❤
One year ago, in the face of a dooming pandemic, I made the difficult decision to homeschool.
Oh, I worried.
I worried about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I worried about them becoming hermits, afraid of unfamiliar shadows. I worried about them being taught by their mom, because as a former teacher myself, I know the power of a teacher’s ability to reach students in a different way than other teachers, parents or friends and I wanted that for them.
In all honesty, I still want to be that for other students.
I worried about them being left behind, especially as they witnessed their friends still attend our beloved, local school.
Ultimately, I went with my gut and we had an incredible year.
Spring arrived and with it, the hope of the pandemic’s near-end.
I started to prepare the girls for their return to school in the Fall, casually mentioning how cool it would be to wave to their friends in the hallway on their way to P.E., Music or Art class. Did they know the Fall Festival was already booked for this year? Were they looking forward to the Fun Run?
But upon Summer’s dawn, doubt settled in.
A vaccine, that I had traveled to another state to get just so I could get it as soon as possible, was available and yet, less than half the country had opted to receive it. The country was split- my body, my choice/ our country, our responsibility.
Now, variants are on the rise and social distancing measures, including masks are still required at school.
Holding a Masters in Elementary Education, I am in a unique situation.
My husband has worked from home since the pandemic began and I am able to stay home to teach with hired help to occupy the girls not currently in lesson.
Moreover, apparently I made homeschooling too fun. All three big girls have begged to continue; and while part of me felt that this was fear-based on having been away for a year, I couldn’t bring myself to convince them that their school could provide a better learning environment than what we had going on right in the Carawan Classroom.
My *entire* experience as a parent has been blessed with the wisdom of my elders: Don’t blink. Cherish these days. It goes by SO fast.
Combine the pandemic, the pressure from my children, the wisdom of my elders and my innate joy in continuing to teach my daughters, and here we are.