If you've been following our homeschool story for the past 5 years, you may have picked up on the fact that I get overwhelmed sometimes. This year I've decided to be especially laid back, especially with the 7th-grader. The 11th-grader is going to be on a very structured program with Connections Academy, so I need to keep up with what's she doing. However, I'll be doing that in a very laid back manner.
Here are the resources and activities I'm using to keep me sane and calm:
1) Meditation - We've been starting our day with it. Yes, the two year-old heckles us, but he knows that it's meditation time. He isn't exactly honoring it right now, but he is acknowledging it. I start my day in the bed with my own personal meditation, but we have group meditation for school to teach them the practice.
2) Exploration - When a question comes up, we explore it. It doesn't matter if we are in the middle of a structured lesson. We pause and explore. Exploring keeps them interested and keeps learning exciting. Today we studied more on nutrition, but we ended up exploring complete proteins for vegetarians (see related, but we took it where it led us).
3) Deconstruction within structure (linear vs non-linear) - Reading through a chapter in a the way that moves you. It's not necessary to start at the front and end at the end. Explore charts first, look at tables, read the questions. Explore it the way you want. Study it in the way that matters to you. (This keeps me as an educator calm because I don't have a child staring off into the sunset when boredom strikes)
4) Youtube, teachertube, google tumblr, blogger, TECHNOLOGY!!!! We live in 2012. I love to use what we have around to support me when I don't know something or if I'm too busy to focus on a question.
5) Lunch dates with Hubby! I have older children, so I leave them in the house alone and run off when I need too. They are great babysitters, and I take advantage of that. I do this to keep my mental health. Note: I make sure that their cell phones at close at hand and I CALL TO CHECK UP!