Do You Have the February Blues, Or Are You Just Burned Out?
January 31, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
Rest and refreshment is what is needed for those depressing blues. But with so much coming and going, schooling and preschooling, laundry and cooking, wiping tears (sometimes our own) and training moments—there's no time to rest! This busy life can be overwhelming and discouraging, especially in mid-winter. Yet, we must continue to serve—so off we go again with no pause. 

Lest you are starting to feel the “woe is me” coming on, let me say this: We were created to serve. And in this serving, we honor the One who created us to do so. And, take heart, Jesus said if we learn of Him while we are at it, we will find rest for our souls. It’s what we crave, but we tend to ignore the One who provides it. 
Don’t allow the enemy to whisper thoughts of defeat, discouragement, or depression. Resist the devil, and he will flee. Find a corner and pray. Listen to God’s voice speak through His Word. He will speak the truth of healing balm to your tired body and weary soul. He will refresh you and strengthen you for the next step. 

Cry out to Him. He longs to hear your voice. When your own strength fails, lean hard on Him. Run to Christ for rest every time you feel the blues coming on. Then get up and do what He has said is good (it might not be on your agenda). Pray aloud as you go serve, quote Scripture, sing Psalms and hymns, and soon your strength will return and your God will be glorified in your good works. 

Take a moment and retreat with your Savior. It will do you a world of good, and it will do your children good, too, as you continue to keep them Home Where They Belong. 
~ Deborah

More help found here:
Fight the Winter Blues , By Nancy Carter
The Winter Blues , By Debbie Slaughter 
Hunger and the Depression , By Deborah Wuehler
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Kari Lynn Dundass   
Our Canadian winters can be a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors, but they can also make for a tough and long January/February for homeschoolers! 

Getting back into a routine after Christmas and New Years can sometimes be really difficult—then pile on the long winter, shorter days and cold weather, and you can start to feel like you are going crazy by the end of January! Anyone else feeling that way right now? Here are a few of my tips on how to overcome the winter blues. 

1. Bundle up and get outside! If you feel motivated enough, you can even plan some learning activities to do outside. I try really hard to make sure that we get outside for even just a few minutes each day, unless it is severely cold! It is amazing how a few minutes outside can help to rejuvenate your day/week! Sometimes it can make the rest of your day go smoother and be more productive.

2. Try a new curriculum or change up your schedule. Sometimes starting something new can give you just enough incentive to want to get back into the swing of things again. Ask your children if there is something that they would really like to learn more about. 

3. Pull out the board games. This is one of my favourite ways to encourage family fun, and it can work wonders when you are needing some motivation. 

4. Plan some field trips to local attractions. A trip to the wildlife park or local museum can help to spark a new unit study or learning topic and provide time away from home. 

5. Turn on the music! Music can do wonders with setting the mood. Turn on some music and dance and sing as a family when you are having a tough day. 

6. If you have older children, ask them to help you make a healthy eating menu for a month! Work together on finding recipes while learning about food and nutrition. Healthy eating can help to change your mindset!

The long winters in Canada can be fun if you take a positive perspective and enjoy the season. There may be bumps along the way, but do your best to motivate yourself and your children to enjoy winter activities, time in the house to curl up on the couch together, and remember that spring is just around the corner.

Kari Lynn Dundass is a cattle rancher and homeschool mom to two boys, soon to be three, in British Columbia, Canada. She works with her parents on their family ranch while her husband has employment off the ranch and assists on his days off. The ranch has been operating for 50 years, and her two boys are the fourth generation. Kari Lynn has a bachelor of Nature Resource Science and loves writing about her lifestyle of ranching and homeschooling. You can find her blog about life on the ranch while homeschooling at .  
Lisa Marie Fletcher
As a homeschooling parent, I think we can easily fall into this idea: we try so hard to be these super moms. We have so much pressure to succeed and not fail our kids that we put ourselves on the edge of a dangerous cliff. We are always giving to others and often forget to watch where we're going. But the truth is . . . this is not safe. Burn out is exhausting and real.

Last year, I completely burnt out. I could barely drag myself out of bed, let alone be an intentional parent or homeschooler. I struggled to try and be productive and successful every day when really I just kind of floundered about, not doing anything. I found myself kind of staring blankly at everything and not really sure what to do about it. So, I gave up. 

I took a few months off and just . . . stopped. I stopped blogging. I stopped doing school. I stopped running around. I stopped trying to keep the house clean. I didn't obligate myself to anything. I just . . . stopped—and rested. 

I gave myself the freedom to do nothing. To stare blankly at the computer screen and mindlessly surf through my Facebook feed over and over. To sit on the floor while the littles buzzed around. To put a chair in the sunshine in the backyard while the kids played. To not check or answer my e-mails. 

I needed that time. I needed to be kind of selfish after a life of endlessly giving of myself. I needed to hit the reset button and figure out what to do next. 

It's been a slow process of getting back into step. School has been a slow go this year so far, but we're chipping away, and I'm thankful every day that kids learn even when I'm not the teacher. Work is coming back into a plan and my motivation is coming back to me in small little chunks. My house isn't perfect, but I've made progress and changes for the better. 

The big thing I've learned while down? I don't have to be everything to everyone. I CANNOT be everything to everyone. I am not obligated to keep everyone happy or meet everyone's expectations. I can just do what I can do by the strength and grace of God and that is it. The end. 

Lisa Marie Fletcher is a busy homeschooling mom of 5 who somehow manages to find some time to blog at   The Canadian Homeschooler   where her mission is to help connect homeschoolers across Canada with each other and with resources to help them on their journey. 
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Wintertime Blues

Chorus: I’ve got a case of the gray sky, slush-filled, dark and moody…wintertime blues!!! Yeah, yeah…yeah…yeah…

So how about you, Mom…are you feeling the same? If you live where I live, you haven’t seen the sun, green grass, or the thermometer above 32 for a month or two. Your skin is pale and pasty, and you're contemplating running away from home.

Let me just say, you’re not alone…and that if you live in South Florida or Hawaii…I hate you.

But hear me loud and clear, SPRING is Coming! It’ll be here a bit later if you live in North Dakota…and if you live in Canada…I don’t know what to tell you . . . BUT SPRING is coming.

Here’s the deal though. Don’t miss TODAY’s relationships in hopes of TOMORROW’s weather. In fact, maybe the best medicine for wintertime blues is playing a little hooky from the “schoolness” of homeschooling.

Actually, you and I should take advantage of this forced, claustrophobic time of being home with our children. We should be snuggling on the couch with our children as we watch every episode of the old Schoolhouse Rock series, drink hot chocolate, build puzzles, play board games, and enjoy God’s great gift of HOME. 

And you know what’s coming up? The Winter Olympics (Feb. 9-25th). There’s nothing better for a case of the wintertime blues than gathering each night to cheer on Team USA, watch the figure skating drama and, the pomp and pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies.

The snow will melt; the sun will shine again; the grass will green up, and the temperature will rise…and everyone will get busy again and scatter.

So take comfort in KNOWING spring is coming…but don’t wish one of these gray, cold, and slushy days away—because they’re eternal.

Sing with me: I’ve got a case of the warm and snuggly, hot chocolatey, Olympic watching…wintertime blues!!! Yeah, yeah…yeah…yeah…

"The Familyman"
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Lee Binz, The HomeScholar
Delight Directed Learning Cures Mid-Winter Burnout
At this time of year I was always facing major burnout! This is the time of year when someone would say they just hate homeschooling! Sometimes that someone was me; other times it was the kids. Did you know that February is the #1 burnout month for ALL teachers, not just homeschoolers? 

The solution in high school is to be sure you include delight directed learning in your day. This key concept is incredibly important because delight directed learning is good for kids right now, as well as later on in their lives. It also makes your life better, too. 

Spend a few moments to think about your child’s delight directed learning. What does your child do for fun? Without their technology, what non-cell phone or gaming things do they love? What are they doing when they should be setting the table, or emptying the dishwasher, or doing school? That’s probably delight directed learning.

Delight directed learning is specialization, passion, self-study, and love of learning. Here are three reasons why delight directed learning is good for everyone and solves the mid-winter burnout blues. 

First, parents benefit from delight directed learning because homeschooling becomes less work for them. Including things children think are great will make for less perceived work. It improves cooperation and compliance and results in less whining and complaining. 

Second, children benefit because homeschooling becomes more fun for them. While core subjects still require hard work for a small portion of the day, the remainder is more fun. It increases the love of learning and increases their motivation to work on the things they love. From their perspective, school seems like more fun, even though it’s still school, and parents can put that learning on the transcript. It can even build a teenage resume.

Third, colleges love delight directed learning because it makes applicants more unique. Colleges call it “Passion,” and it’s a huge deal for admission and getting scholarships. It can demonstrate career goals on a transcript and allow you to exceed expectations on admission but without overworking your child. 

Better than just quitting altogether, delight directed learning is the key to the February “crash and burn” problem. It makes your life better; it makes your kids’ lives better, and it helps them in their college and career planning. 

For more information on dealing with the seasons and cycles of homeschooling high school, you may like my free class: The 12 Keys to Homeschool Success

Lee Binz,  The HomeScholar  is a dynamic speaker and  author   of over 30 books on homeschooling high school. She is an expert on  homeschool transcripts  and getting scholarships. Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. You can sign up for her free  monthly homeschool e-newsletter  where you can also get a daily dose of high school help. Check out the  homeschool freebies    on the website. You can also find Lee on Facebook at .
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Dara Halydier
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Rest? Quietness? You may be thinking that it isn’t going to happen at your house. As homeschoolers we tend to go from morning until night, and we still don’t feel that we get it all done. If you’re like me, I start off the school year ready to sprint. But homeschooling requires a marathon. It’s February, and you may have hit the wall—that part of the race where every step is an extraordinary effort. That’s burnout! 

The solution to burnout is three-fold:
  1. Rethink your definition of success. Lower some expectations and be realistic.
  2. Grieve your losses. According to the conference notes in“burnout involves losses—gradual loss of idealism, satisfaction, feelings of hardiness, competence, and well-being. (Admit there is a problem)
  3. Recreate balance in your life.
There are several areas of your life that you need to consider when lowering expectations and trying to find a balance.

Relationship and time with God – Reading the Scriptures, praising, praying, and surrendering each day to God gives the right perspective, guidance, and wisdom.

Rest, relaxation, meditation – We always took an hour after lunch each day when everyone went to his own place. We could each nap, read, call a friend, etc. This gave us the energy for the final lap of each day.

Good nutrition – Proper fuel will help you stay in the race.

Regular exercise – Get the blood flowing before math, and let the endorphins loose for positive feelings.

Laughter and play – Laughter lowers the pulse and blood pressure and seems to improve immune functioning. 

Good support system of family and friends -- "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Meaningful work – For a mom and homeschooler, your kids are your ministry. Holding a croupy baby or teaching a teenager math is meaningful work. 

Evaluate your self-talk – “Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

Give yourself a little dose of grace each day!

Reorder your priorities – God, marriage, kids, schooling.

Put margin into your day – Margin is the space between load and limit. 

Say “No” – Saying “No” is not an excuse for non-involvement, laziness, or insensitivity. It is a mechanism for living by your priorities, allowing God to direct your life, and preserving your vitality for the things that really matter.

Dara Halydier is a pastor’s wife, a Bible teacher, a conference and retreat speaker, a mentor, a friend, and the mother of 5 grown boys! She homeschooled for 21 wonderful years is now encouraging other homeschooling families by speaking across the nation at homeschool conferences. Dara helped to start local support groups in Fort Worth, TX and in Georgetown, TX. She is the executive director of Abiding Truth Ministry and the author of the Practical Proverbs series and As They Sit and Stand: A Resource and Guide for Teaching Your children the Bible. Dara has learned life’s lessons the hard way – experience! The lessons she shares come from truths that she has learned from dealing with chronic pain and a disability, from having moved over thirty times, having four boys with learning disabilities, and having overcome a past of abuse and shame to proclaim God’s grace, forgiveness, and freedom. Dara teaches with humor, wisdom, and vulnerability as she reaches out to encourage and equip the next generation.

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in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of January

Learning comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you have children who crave worksheets, other times you have a child who just wants to read a book. If you have the latter, like me, you will find that All Through the Ages - History Through Literature Guide is the perfect way to make history learning fun!

My family loves history, the adventure packed, what is around the next corner type of history. Not the boring, dry, textbook history. We love to live in the moment of the history we are learning about. The only way to do that is to ditch the textbook and find the living history books that make the history come to life for us.

Now, we could do this by looking up books at the library. I could proofread them, see if they fit our standards, age groups and time periods. But this takes time, time that I don’t have when I have four kids at home who want to learn -- and for whom I want to keep that desire for learning burning, no matter what.

Christine Miller from Nothing New Press has taken all the dirty work out of finding books for me with this guide. Now I am able to look up the time period, narrow down the age group, and find the books my family will love to learn from when it comes to their history lessons! (. . .)

One book in particular gives me names of books to read, or have my children read, from creation and the antediluvian world all the way up through the modern era. Not only that, but we also get geographical history of the top countries in the world. There are even small sections of books that cover the History of Science and Mathematics, History of the Visual Arts and Music, and Great Books of Western Civilization and the Christian Tradition.

Most of the books listed in this book can be found in your local library or within the common homeschool catalogs. There are codes listed after every book that tell the source where that book came from. Having this information will help you find the book if you can’t find it at your local library. 

I fell in love with this book so much that this is my go-to book. I could not make our history lessons fun and engaging without it! 

YOU can WIN this amazing resource for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER : Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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