Diary of an Earthed Mama

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series30 Days of Homeschool Blog Series

I am a bit of a dreamer, one of those people who is quite happy to exist in a happy little imaginary world for a large proportion of the time. I suspect that there are many of us out there. Often I find reality is somewhat different to what’s happening in my head and brings me back to Earth with a bump…Join me on a bumpy day 🙂

6 a.m. Awake to dulcet sounds of loud slurping. Surface and find Bod3 clamped to breast. She sort of squawks a bit, and her dark eyes open. “Helped m’self mama,” she announces.

Mr S. brings me a mug of lemon and hot water which I sip slowly, feeling very holy and imagining it happily doing its work, detoxifying my liver. Hmmmm – shame that I’ll probably retoxify things fairly soon with large portions of chocolate. And stuff. Ah well – onwards and upwards! Realise that the sun is peeping through the curtains and enjoy little vision of happy children leaping out of bed to embrace the day, with joyful squeals of delight. Bods 7&11 start to wake…various creaks, groans and moans can be heard from their respective bedrooms. No-one is leaping out of bed. Consider that maybe an enormous crowbar should do the trick. Wonder if they sell crowbars that big. Reflect that that is perhaps a rather draconian measure.

7.30 a.m. Breakfast. Finally sit down having made 4 different breakfasts and having cut the crumpets and toast in exactly the right way (I hope) using a protractor. Just as bottom settles into seat, a great cry goes up. I’ve omitted to provide all the different beverages required for this particular feast. Right – I’m on it! Nothing shall phase me today!!! We settle again and hold hands to sing grace. Ah, peace and harmony, how blissful.

“Don’t want to sing!” shouts Bod3.

Smile benignly. “OK darling, that’s just fine. Maybe you can hum?”

“No! NOT humming, not anything. I don’t want to do it.”

“That’s fine darling. Let’s just hold hands.”

“NOPE. Not even holding hands.”

“Jolly good darling. But the others want to, so just listen then…”

Close eyes and imagine, through the screeching and the mumbling, that we are something like the Von Trapp family – singing in exquisite close harmony. Attempt some harmony.

“Hey – Mummy – what ARE you doing???” they exclaim en masse.


“Well don’t! It’s muddling!”

Right. Onwards and upwards.

9.30 a.m. Music practice. Hide in kitchen. It is possible that cats are dying in the music room. Decide not to investigate unless called. A battle between cacophony and polyphony rages for an hour.

10.30 a.m. Decide to head to beach with kids and dog. Indulge self for a few merry moments conjuring up marvellous vision of self standing windswept on beach in bright sunshine whilst children and dog cavort merrily in waves around me. Perhaps we’ll find some fascinating sea creatures washed up on the beach which I will know all about of course and will expound at length to a captivated audience. Reality somewhat different. The sun has now gone, the sky grey, the wind bitter, the sea rough. Large wave condescends to dump huge amount of water all over Bod3 and soak her to the bone. Of course, no spare clothes to be had. In 11 years of mummy-ing I have consistently failed to remember to bring spare clothes. Bod3 now yelling and demanding to go home. Bods 7&11 refuse. The beach is currently the only place in the entire world that they wish to be. Right. Fight ensues. Dog, in the meantime, has caught an interesting scent and charges off up the beach. Realise he is now a distant speck on the horizon, so charge off after him waving arms and screeching. Pause, after a couple of metres (running on shingle is hard – right???) and wonder if there is a less demanding means of encouraging him back. Remember packet of dried sprats in pocket that stink to high heaven. Whip them out and waft them in breeze in enticing fashion. No response. Realise am downwind from dog. Ah. Eventually dog turns to see crazed woman, squeaking and waving and wafting, and decides it would be prudent to return. Time to go home.

12 p.m. Lunchtime. Everyone is apparently starving and ravenous, with concave stomachs that rumble like pits of lions. Prepare food and think it will be lovely (and fun!!! Get me! Fun mummy!) to have a picnic in the garden, with children munching happily in the tree house and me rocking gently on the swing seat. It turns out there isn’t enough space for three children AND their lunches in the tree house. Various bodies fall out and/or get ejected. Call upon advanced negotiations skills…which fail. By the time everyone is settled happily, the desire for food seems to have passed, the desire to play has taken over.

1 p.m. Everyone peels off to pursue different activities. While elder Bods are busy, think it would be nice to set up an art activity for Bod3 and anyone else who cares to dip in…Envisage long, peaceful, creative spell, the breakfast room a hive of productive activity. Ah yes, this activity should take, oooooo, well, an hour? And by the end we’ll have some fabulous works of art. People will exclaim at my gifted children as I proudly display their work on the walls. Optimistically put the kettle on… After about 5 minutes, it appears that this activity has run it’s course. The room looks like Jackson Pollock has held a rave in it, and the “artwork” looks like a miserable soggy Rothko in shades of brown. Remind self that it’s the process that is important. End result matters not. Takes me most of the rest of the afternoon to clear up.

4 p.m. Decide to do some yoga. Announce this grandly to herd of children, hoping for smattering of applause, which is not forthcoming. Children grunt assent. Absent self to bedroom for peace and stillness. After 5 minutes Bod3 potters in.

“OOOOOO look mama! You made a house for me!” she exclaims with joy. “Can I sit on this bit of you? Make another house! Can I climb on this bit?”

“Right – now I have to do a balance,” I explain, “Please, please, do not wobble me.”

“Shall I huff and puff and blow you down mama?”

“Ummm…..not just yet?”

“Well I’m huffin’ an’ puffin’ – you have to fall down NOW!!!!!”

After a while she sits patiently to watch and wait. The other two wander in.

“Whatcha doing Mummy?”

“Mummy is doing balancing,” Bod3 clarifies solemnly, “Don’t wobble her.”

I find the 3 pairs of eyes boring into me rather disconcerting and I fall over. Enough yoga.

5 p.m. Look at clock and realise with horror that it is dinner time and haven’t thought about what to cook. Enjoy for a moment image of self, glamorous and coiffured, creating marvellous culinary delight in sparkling kitchen whilst children, rosy cheeked with smooth hair, in freshly laundered nightgowns greet Father as he returns from work. Reality a little different. Race around kitchen opening cupboards frantically, trying to find foodstuffs that will ‘go’ together. Can’t find much so finally decide on ‘fusion food’. Dinner burnt because at critical frying moment Bod11 enters kitchen with a question:

“Mummy – what’s a quark?”

“Well…..weeeeeell… (must buy self some time while grey matter kicks into action – quick, think of something…) it’s what posh ducks say?!”

Snigger at high level of my own wit.

“Mummy, please don’t be silly.”


“Umm…of course…well…. it’s a very small, um, sort of bit of a particle.”

Look round triumphantly at Bod11’s expectant face.

“Is that all you know?”

“Um, yes. Perhaps we should look it up?”

At this moment, Bod3 rushes in, clutching her bottom in dramatic way and bellowing “WEE COMING!!!!”

Abandon cooking as High Speed Toileting Service springs into action.

By the time Mr S saunters in there is a towering pile of burnt saucepans in the sink, closely resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the kitchen looks like a bomb’s hit it. Dinner barely edible.

7.30 p.m. Storytime. Ah my favourite bit of the day. Time to cosy up together on the sofa with hot chocolate, a chance to be peaceful, a chance to indulge my inner thesp. Dog has decided to occupy half of the sofa, he’s so blissed out that can’t bring self to move him. The rest of us squeeze into remaining half. Bod7 is suddenly afflicted with a bad attack of Ants in Pants. Flings legs over head in alarming way and with increasing exuberance, narrowly missing tray of hot chocolate several times before achieving a direct hit. Oh, and apparently, when I get into it, my scary voice is too scary. Put thesp back in box.

9 p.m. Bod3 asleep and the elder Bods reading. Decide it’s safe to have a bath. Run water and drizzle in some posh bubble bath that Mr S. bought me which I save for when it’s been One of Those Days. Relax in warm water, close eyes and breathe in heavenly scent. Door opens and in stomps Bod7.

“Oh hi Mummy. I need to do a poo.”


“Shall I get out then?” I ask.

“Nah, s’alright Mummy. I like talking to you while I poo.”


“Can I just open the window then darling?” (please?)

“Oh, hee hee, but then I’ll get a cold bottom won’t I?” she giggles.

Fine. Of course. Take one last sniff of heavenly scent and resign self to fate. We have a lovely chat.

10 p.m. Bed. Really must make some attempt to keep mind alive. Pick up book to read. Eyes can’t focus on page. Must employ mind over matter strategy. Woken by book falling onto face and give up attempt. Drift off instead and reflect upon wise words spoken by dear friend. We’d been chatting about the concept of the “good enough” mother and her contribution was this, “As long as you go to bed every night and think about how you could have done things better, then you’re doing a pretty good job”. Find this thought comforting and profound. When reality constantly brings you back to Earth, at least there is always tomorrow 😉 and after all, Earth is a pretty glorious place to be 🙂 🙂

Cathy Smith is co-author of www.fiveescapetheclassroom.com, a blog she writes with fellow home educator and best friend Debbie Douse. Their children bonded over a love of the Enid Blyton Famous Five stories and became firm friends. In the blog, they share their home ed adventures with the world. Follow us!!!


Setting Goals for Guidance in Your Homeschool

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

How to set goals for your homeschool

First, let me start by saying that at this point in our journey I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING my girls. However, we were not always set on homeschooling. Both of my twins had two wonderful years in a public preschool, and attended our local public school for kindergarten. It wasn’t until we found out that my daughter would be having spinal surgery when she was 5 and would be in rehab for 6 months after that. It made perfect sense to homeschool at that point. I just needed to learn how to set goals for guidance in our homeschool and I want to share with you a few things about setting goals that I have learned along our ten year journey in homeschooling.

You Will Receive Unsolicited Advice

Everyone who homeschools believes in the path they have taken. And like everyone in everything, if something is working for us we want to share it. The best curriculum, how to socialize them, what activities are important, are all things that we have to make decisions about. I recommend that you BLOCK it all out. I have participated in so many discussions about curriculum, that it makes me crazy. It is something that you will have to choose based on you and your child’s learning style.

You Will Receive Some Invaluable Advice

The one piece of advice I receive in the beginning of our journey was from an acquaintance we met while staying at the Ronald McDonald House during my daughters rehab therapy. She told me to write a mission statement and some long term goals. So I did. I named our homeschool Summerwind Academy and said that Here at Summerwind Academy we thank the Lord for our blessings, read lots of books, serve others, and create things in order to live our best lives. It was not fancy or beautifully worded, but I wrote it down on the inside of my planning notebook. My first year, our goals were these five things. Every decision I made, I ask myself if it moved us closer to these goals. It helped guide me. We did not need a full on curriculum, because we were just going to read lots of books.

Your Goals Will Change, But They Will Still Be Your Goals and Can Guide You in Decision Making

Our first year, our goals were for them to learn to read well, participate in volunteer activities, create a nature journal, and read the Bible through. In 2015, my girls were in middle school, I got divorced, and we moved. Our goals for that year were to read lots of books, and to survive the divorce. Last year my twins started highschool and our goals have changed. I set the goal that they would be prepared to enter college, even if they chose a different path. I listed out their high school graduation requirements and a list of possible electives. When we choose activities and opportunities we use this as a guide.

You Will Have Life Challenges During Your Homeschool Journey

When life happens, homeschool changes to teaching life lessons, and I have learned that IT’S OK. When we had to travel for my daughters therapy, sometimes we were out of town for weeks at a time. Our goals kept us focused, we still read lots of books, we helped other families who were suffering at the Ronald McDonald House, and we visited the zoo and the aquarium many times. When we found out that my dad had brain cancer and would only be with us a few more months, they read books to him, learned how to make juice smoothies for him, and ride the bikes that he got them. During these times many people feel like they are getting behind or their kids are not getting the education that they need. I would encourage you to LET IT GO. My daughters and myself, learned life lessons during these times, when life happens.

In an effort to provide full disclosure: My girls are not geniuses, musical savants, or walking trivial pursuit games. They are both very well rounded individuals. They are both going to graduate high school very well prepared to start college if they choose that path. I say if they choose, because right now it seems like they are both on the path to being entrepreneurs. I am proud of what we have done so far, and I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING.
I am happy to have the opportunity to share with you here at 30 Days of Homeschooling: The Good, The Bad, And All the Rest.

Hello!  I’m Heather. I am a mom to twins. I enjoy nature, photography, and serving others.  I love my family, fishing, donuts, and homemade pizza. I am passionate about homeschooling my girls, the benefits of being in nature, and helping others. I started this blog because I have 10 years of home schooling experience, a new found joy for life, and a desire to share what I know, so that I may help others.  You can find me at http://www.fruitful14to41.com/ , or hanging out in mom groups or nature groups on Facebook.

A Homeschool Day of Power Struggles: It’s Still Worth It


This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

If we look at homeschooling through the rose coloured glasses presented to us through sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, we might think that every day is supposed to be this wonderful journey, snuggled on the couch together reading, doing beautiful crafts and worksheets, examining flowers outside and journalling about it. And maybe for some families, it IS like that. But I would think that it’s an extreme minority, and we’re all going to have power struggles in our homeschool day.

Homeschooling is hard. Wonderful, but hard. There are good days, there are fun days, there are rough days, and there are horrible days – just like parenting. Trying to meet the needs of each child in our lives can be a challenge.

In 2013, I wrote the following journal entry. This is a glimpse of a hard day in homeschooling.

He sits curled up on the floor of the kitchen, barricaded into the corner by the chairs he’s pulled around himself. His eyes bore into me, daggers shooting from them wishing I would just go away. There’s a series of words being muttered to me that I can’t hear, but am well familiar the context of the intent of them. (more…)

Homeschooling Starts With the Ugly

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

Homeschooling is the hardest thing I have ever done. If you are homeschooling, I imagine that you feel the same way. Most would start with the good, but I’m going to start with the “Ugly” because that is where my journey begins.

Homeschooling the “Ugly”

My first day of homeschooling my now 14-year-old daughter was spent with me in and out of my bathroom sobbing uncontrollably.  I had already woken up with much trepidation about what we were about to embark on, but I made the situation worse by browsing through Facebook where all of my friends back to school pictures were plastered everywhere.  At that point every self-doubt I had about our decision became all consuming. Thankfully the days got better, and I eventually made it through a day without crying. You’ll be happy to know that I’m somewhat well-adjusted at this point in our journey.


Homeschool Reality Check ~ What I Now Know After a Quarter of a Century of Homeschooling

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

As part of our 30 Days of Homeschool series, Jan Burt tells it like it is after more than 25 years. 

Taking on life as a mom to five is one thing….but homeschooling all five of them from preschool through high school graduation is something else entirely. Anybody who might tell you that homeschooling is dreamy-awesome and just blessing-blessing-blessing all day long is not telling you the whole truth. It is those things; it is also a whole lot of other things as well.

First, let me tell you about the good stuff.

Homeschooling allowed me to spend approximately THREE TIMES as much time with my children as compared to friends who sent their children to public school. That’s a big deal ~ an enormous deal! I was able to be thankful for all the time I had with them instead of resentful that they grew up and I never got to enjoy them (which often is the case with public education). (more…)

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