The Gift of Homeschooling



I have never been the mom that celebrated my kids returning to school. I hate waking up early, making lunches that inevitably came home uneaten. And despite all my best intentions, the morning hustle usually ends with me yelling at my highly distracted kids to get out the bloody door.

I also just really like having them home with me.

I love the easy pace of summer.

Last September came like a storm. Instead of my kids happily going off to school, I found myself homeschooling. I don’t do well with a sudden change of plans. I like well thought out decisions. I like to research. Plan. Then thoughtfully make my decisions.

But during our little up-heaval, I began to feel led to homeschooling, which I thought, was utterly ridiculous. Having dropped out of junior high, I was pretty sure I would be leading my middle schooler into a future of flipping burgers in a fast food joint.

There was also this. I have been battling depression for the last few years, and although I never liked sending my kids back to school, a part of me had been feeling they would be better served. I was beginning to doubt myself as a good mom. With them back in school I could then commence with sticking my head in the ground and hiding. But,the idea of homeschooling began to feel like a second chance. My kid needed me. Maybe, I could take back what I felt depression had stolen.

When we made the decision to homeschool I had never felt so ill-equipped and unprepared in my life.  Despite being terrified, I said yes, and my life felt like it began again. I had that sense of it being so much bigger then I could imagine. But, there were no breaks from the bickering, quarreling. The moodiness of my hormonal tween was defeating me. If it wasn’t for his happiness in our decision to homeschool, I would have happily dumped him at school some days (we still have those days).

In my decision to homeschool, I had also met with a lot of resistance from those close to me. My ability was doubted, my intentions were questioned. I realized a lot of the doubt I was hearing was echoing my own fears. I knew some of the closest people to me felt I was ruining Owen’s life. I was one of them. That was depressing.

I tried to make up for my fear by hyper-scheduling Owen’s day. We were up by 7:30 am and hitting the books by 8:30. I packed so much nonsense into his day. He was miserable and so was I. I tried to overcompensate my fear by trying to give him an education above what he would receive in traditional school. I was trying to out-do teachers with years of education. I felt lost and knew despite my efforts; I was missing what was important. This was about me and my kids.

I pleaded with God to help me. And in the desert, I found water.

My eyes began to open to what mattered.

Owen and Oliver cuddled up on the couch together READING. I saw their brotherhood tightening. I had often worried with their seven year age gap, that they would not grow up close. The last year has allowed these two to bond in ways I could not have seen.  I see them being kind to one another. It’s enough to outweigh the bickering.

The last year has brought a lot of  tears. Arguments. I didn’t understand why Owen could not sit still when I was teaching him. So while he slept, I googled. I discovered Owen is a kinetic learner. He needs to move to learn. Our school system doesn’t allow for moving and learning. (I get why.) I began to understand why school made him feel miserable.

I learned to sit down with Owen. Stop filling him with “busy” and we began to  share “aha” moments together. There is something amazing about seeing the light go on in your child’s eyes. When the impossible math problem suddenly becomes simple.

Some days, school for my family means spending the day in our pyjamas, my bed becoming a nest as we snuggle and learn together. These days are filled with giggles and closeness. They are so good for my mama soul.

Some days we wake up and decide it’s a great day for a day off.

I gave up my ridiculous schedule the last term of the year. We get up when we are ready. We eat breakfast. And then we do what needs to be done. I got rid of all the busyness I was using to overcompensate for my fear of failure.

I feel like my life is one big summer now. For the first time ever this year, I found myself looking forward to school starting. There wouldn’t be backpacks and dreaded uneaten lunches.

We eat breakfast in pyjama’s, and create learning nests in mom’s bed. There are brotherly cuddles and reading books. There are time outs, and tears. There are “I’m sorry’s” and heart to hearts.

It’s not perfect. But it is what my family needs.

I’ve discovered that in a season where I felt incapable, God has made me able. I wanted to hide, and God reminded me of the most important task he had given me. The one already in my hands. My children.

A Lounge Pants Self Intervention and My One Word for 2014.


After my last child Oliver was born, I hated my body. Even though I lost most of my pregnancy weight,  everything looked weird. I would try clothes on and stare at the alien form reflecting back at me. I had poufs where I  never poufed. I had big droopy cha cha’s and found myself  missing my double A’s (I never saw that coming!).  The things I used to wear now gave me an obscene amount of floppy cleavage and a big scary fold over the back of my pants. Not the look I was going for.

So I did what any women would do in this state of physical and mental chaos. I gained weight, stopped working out and let myself go. The depression that had been chasing me took over. Okay, maybe not every woman would do what I did, but that is what happened to me. Sue me

I had spent  twenty years a very long time in the beauty industry  working as a hairstylist. I had worked in a high end salon that demanded I looked well-groomed and stylish at all times. After years of living in that world, I was having an image crisis. I used to help women through these. I felt like a shadow of myself.

Nothing in my closet fit anymore and then one day I discovered P.J./lounge pants at Costco that could be worn in public and to bed. So I slept and ventured out in the same pairs of stretchy pants for days. I stopped wearing makeup and doing my hair;  it seemed silly to do when I was wearing lounge pants 24/7. I began to think of myself as “The Mom Who Let Herself Go”.  I believed people were whispering “Do you see much weight she has gained?”  I felt ashamed and suddenly wished instead of getting fat I would become invisible.

Alright, fat is harsh and you may be reading this and thinking what on earth is she talking about? I’m sorry, but this was a lot bigger then exploding out of my pants. My soul was hurting.

At the beginning of 2013, I weighed the most I have ever weighed not pregnant.When I stepped off the scale I made a quiet decision to change. So quiet, I would not even acknowledge it myself, I couldn’t bear letting myself down again. I did drop a bit of weight at first, but not much changed.

Six months ago I am not sure what switched. I was just woke up feeling fed up and I’d had enough. It took the whole six months to lose eight pounds, but I lost it. In case you are wondering,  I stopped eating after dinner (mindless carb fests) and became a vegetarian that still eats bacon (who can resist bacon?). I know, I am not really a vegetarian, but I do eat a lot healthier. I was meat phobic prior, so this switch was really easy for me. I don’t miss it at all, except when I am at the Keg.

It is not the weight loss (well it helped) that has me feeling better,  I think it was the caring enough about me to do something. I believed every negative thing I had told myself when I looked in the mirror, but taking that one small step allowed a hope to flicker in me, it cracked the door open enough that God was finally able to reach in and pull me out of my misery.

I had allowed my weight to become the “thing” in my life. We all have our stuff that at some level we battle with. That thing. I have several, today I feel comfortable talking about my weight and ugly wardrobe.  I can’t say I really have a food addiction. I just overeat carbs….often. This “thing”, I put it on an altar at the centre of my life.  I allowed it to fester and grow, until I no longer had control of it and lost all perspective. It broke my heart.

This year, I am going to look in the mirror. I am going to stop searching for the old me, and embrace the women staring back. Those saggy cha cha’s? They nourished my wee babies. Those really curvy hips? They held my babies.  I will put on makeup and throw away my dodgy lounge pants (pictured above), because even if I gain back fifteen pounds, I am worth it.

This is not a fluffy New Year resolution; this is my truth. The last months of 2013 have left me feeling pregnant with expectation for 2014, I hear a resonating ENOUGH, from heaven. As part the the SheLoves tribe, we ring in our new year with OneWord. This is my third year of choosing one word to shape my year and it is very powerful. I encourage you to check out the links! Mine for 2014 is “Better”, not to be confused with “perfect” cause perfection is for suckers.

It is the promise of a better life.

I want to live better.

Feel better.

Look better.

I want to get better and shake off this damn depression.

I will treat myself better.

I want to change the world for the better and I can’t do that if I am invisible.

For the record, I have gone shopping twice (and bought stuff). I had a massive shop at Sephora($$). I may need to pace myself out though, Ryan will need a second job to fund my self-improvement mission.


Hot Stuff.

Happy New Year’s!!!


Have you ever been in a rut? How did you dig yourself out? I would love to hear it!







Daniela Schwartz © 2013. All Rights Reserved.