wild and free

A few weekends ago I attended the Wild & Free conference in Virginia Beach, VA.  It came just a few weeks after my mom passed away and felt like the best time ever to escape.  I was so glad to be able to attend with one of my dear friends, Vanessa.  She's the type of buddy that you just long to have in your life.  Meets you last minute when you're going insane and need to escape for some girl time.  Loves to talk friendship but also has this awesomely creative business side of her that pushes me to pursue the things I love in my life.  Anywho, basically I love her.
Wild & Free was a homeschool/intentional parenting conference and I took away a lot.  I thought I'd just share some bullet points of what I learned, hoping it will help you in your journey.  Enjoy!
She taught a session called "The Well Balanced Mama"
-Balance isn't feasible, but peace is achievable
-Allow peace, not anxiety, to rule over you
-God is calling you to be faithful in doing the work, not successful
-Curriculum doesn't have to be just something we check off our to do list
-We see interruptions, not opportunities
-Reminds us to tell ourselves "My posture is peace" throughout the day
A few things to attain this peace:
1. Devote yourselves to God & prayer
2. Focus on quality vs. quantity
3. Avoid multi-tasking and be present (relationships grow better this way)
4. Embrace your own teaching style (stop comparing ourselves to other moms)
5. Grace - remember God equips the called
6. Slow down (how we teach is just as important as what we teach)
From Tiffany Gray @thegraygang:
-We need to be emotionally available to our family
-Say no to the rest, and yes to the best
-What gives you power?  What depletes you?
-Are you addicted to busyness?
A few things to help manage our time better:
1. Look at relationships - get rid of ones that are bringing you down
2. Look at how you spend your time - say maybe first.  Consider your whole family before saying yes.
3. Look at how your yes commitments affect you
"When you try to be everyone to everybody, you end up being nothing to everyone."
(LOVE that quote!)

-Sit down with your spouse and set goals for each kid, each year.
Academic goals, spiritual goals, emotional goals
-What do you want for each child?
-Become a student of your child - learn about them.  What do they like?  What are they passionate about?
Terri Woods @woodsermom:
-Know why we homeschool
"What we're doing inspires them"
1. A lifestyle of learning
2. Good books - reading, narrating and writing about them
3. Meaningful work - chores are non-negotiable, everybody works/serves
4. Time - make time for everything - school, work, play
5. Being in awe of God and his creation
"The world is a wonder"
6. Consistency - kids thrive on security and stability
-Run the race!
-My daily job is to love my children and teach them the word of the Lord
-This is kingdom work
Not only did we get to hear some inspiring talks, we also got to visit the beach.  And I got to practice my jumping skills. 
The conference was a refreshing break from life and all that was going on with it.  I was needing a little inspiration and pick-me-up in the parenting department.
Even if you don't homeschool, a lot of those words up there can be applied to numerous relationships in your life, not just as parents.



I mentioned on my last post that we are homeschooling again this year.  We pulled the kids out last year for a variety of reasons, but the major one was my mom being sick.  We had missed quite a bit of school the year before, while off to visit her and it just didn't seem worth the stress of making up work, etc.  I am so glad we made that decision since my mom passed away September 1st...the kids would have missed the whole first 2 weeks of school this year because we were in Kansas.  It's been a good choice for our family.
BUT, I can officially say that at least 1 person cries daily in this house, due to homeschooling.  Usually me. 
I'm not a patient person.  When people say "Oh wow, you homeschool!  You must be so patient!" I laugh, and then cry.  Because I'm not.
We do the basics (reading, math, english, spelling) and leave the other stuff to real life.
And quite frankly if we survive the day without strangling one another, I consider it a win in my book.  Regardless of if they learned what sound the letter A makes.
Anywho, I am sharing a little bit of where we do the basics at.  Our dining room.  It's nothing fancy.  Nothing pin-worthy, and I'm okay with that.
^This was a good, clean day^
Most don't look like this.  And on good nights we get that dining room table cleaned off and we actually sit down as a family and eat together. 
^I'm pretty proud of this map^
  I took all 6 kids in to Home Depot and cut the molding out to frame it.  An old man working there felt sorry for me as I tried to cut and couldn't really because my muscles are nothing to be proud of---he helped even though he wasn't supposed to.  He probably just felt sorry for me cause my kids were going bananas in the store.  Actually he probably just wanted us to get out of there as soon as possible.  Whatever the reason, thank you old man.
^Our school shelf^
Top shelf is random books, and our "fun tickets" station.  Fun tickets are basically screen time.  Video games, computer, iPad, etc.  They have to earn time to play.
Second shelf is all their curriculum.  Color coded of course (except Elsa...dang store didn't have orange).
On the third shelf, the canisters hold our markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks. 
You'll notice we have labels...of course we have labels, I'm Emily Anderson.  Organizer to the max.  Stuck on You sent us some to help ease the organization of homeschooling this year.  I've actually used this company for years, labeling everything from pencils to lunch boxes to shoes.  I'm that mom.  You know, the kind that labels every pencil, marker, etc.  Yah, that mom (who is totally cool by the way, just a little OCD).
My motto is "ain't nobody got time for losing their school supplies."  And when the kids were in school, this helped my germ-a-phobe-to-the-max feelings subside, knowing they were hopefully using their own supplies and not their neighbors.  Kids touching their boogers, then touching my kids marker?  Enough said.
So colorful and pretty.  Why do things like this make me happy?
I probably need to get a life, but until then I'll continue to roll around in my colorful labels and then give everything and everyone a label.
Anywho, use the code ANDERSONS for free shipping at Stuck on You, all through the month of October!  Get your things labeled and keep track of them.  Seriously.  It will make life happier.  And less germy. 
Moving on! 
Another view of the school room.  It looks so clean, boring and ideally this is where we do school and life, but let's get real:  
You walk upstairs and this is actually where everyone is doing life.  Very messily I might add.  Yesterday they spent the majority of the day playing "co-op" and took their stuffed animals from room to room, teaching them.  They played well together and made a big old mess.  But they had fun.
And often times I have to remind myself that if they only ever learn how to get along with each other, then our homeschooling adventure will have been a success.  That's real life...the ins and outs of learning how to get along with different personalities on a day to day basis.  Real life skills right there.
Our days are not easy, but they are more laid back then when we were in public school.  I have NO idea if we will do this again next year.  We are praying and taking it year by year, kid by kid.
I shall finish with a cute picture of Kohen showing me his drawings.  He had me take a picture of him with each picture that he's drawn in his sketch book.  38 pictures later...
Future Art major!
Happy whatever day it is--
 I can't even keep track anymore.