last week was rough

Last week things were rough on the Campbell homeschool front. Rough. Meltdowns from both mom and kids seemed to be the norm. Things were taking longer. Emotions were high. I was feeling overwhelmed and less than capable of doing/being all that I felt was required of me.

When Friday afternoon arrived, I think we all breathed a collective sigh. In an effort to remind myself that we do experience a lot of beauty in homeschooling, I sat down to my computer and began looking at recent pictures taken during ‘school hours’.Β  In the midst of the difficult days, it is good to remind myself there is SO MUCH good happening too.

Early morning donut delivery to friends on their last day of fall semester. Science with frozen eggs.

Keep in mind, I can’t take pictures when I am actively teaching or engaged in challenging subjects with the kids. They need me to be completely present with them in those times.Β  Those are also the loudest and messiest times. Most of these were also taken after the mess of books and supplies had been picked up by kids already finished.

These pictures make our school days seem so calm and pretty. The reality is I can only pick up my camera when things are calm & quiet. So, this is about 10% of what our school time looks like, but it is still enough to remind me that even after a really hard week, I’m grateful we have the opportunity to learn together.

It is Monday and I am rooting for a much better week than last week. I know I’m really the one that sets the tone for our school days. It begins with me. Deep breath and a grateful smile coming at you kids.

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  • Southern Gal - I’m about to waken my 8th grader for school with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart. Thank you for the encouragement. Even us “old timers” need a boost at times. πŸ˜‰ Happy Monday!

  • Danielle - Last week was interesting here also. My oldest 2 were playing/struggling with math and took all day to finish 1 worksheet. I was spent, they were spent. We did a lot of fun projects every other year but this one. This one is different so we are pushing through but oh how I miss having fun during our school day. It is a season, hopefully soon those days will be back.

  • Byron - Grace and peace! “SO much good” is usually something we only realize well after the fact.

  • Jessie - Beautiful photos, and I appreciate your sharing this. Thank you for the reminder of remembering the joy of it all when the hard days roll through. You’re just awesome, no way ’round it!

  • Emily - I think last week was a hard week universally. Fingers crossed that this upcoming week is better for everyone. Thank you for sharing!

  • MC - Wishing you a wonderful week!

  • Jill - Thanks for the reminder that everyone has rough weeks (not just me :)). Saying a prayer for you.

  • Charlotte Buckle - Wow, what a beautiful and real post! I am moved by your hard work and devotion to teaching and learning with your children. It is so inspiring and something I want to consider when I have children of my own.
    Beautiful photos and beautiful post!
    Take care,
    C |

  • melanie - Thank you so much for that insight! I always feel bad when asuming that you manage your 5 kids better than I my only one.

    Greetings from Germany!

  • Erica - Your pictures are amazing! I love them so much! Good job!!

  • Kate - I hope this week brings fresh joy and fun as you all learn together! We’ve had some rough weeks too at times. All the things you share are such an inspiration to go about this whole process with joy and a vision for the bigger picture. Thank you! And I’m curious too…do you have any tips for encouraging a six year old who is a reluctant reader? We try and keep it very pleasant and cheerful, practicing for only 10-15 minutes each school day, but even that can be a struggle.

  • Macarena B - I really admire you ! I live in Chile and home schooling is not an option for families living in cities and having a school in the neighborhood. As I work from home, IΒ΄m always there when my 4 kids come back from school … and even I donΒ΄t teach them I feel the same challenge … mothers definitively set the mood for even everyday activities. Hope you have a better week !

  • Carrie - I observed my first cross fit competition this weekend and thought of you and your picture with your son in the yard with the rope climb. It was hardcore. #respect

  • Byron - Carrie – Ashley is hardcore! She is MUCH respected in our CrossFit box! I tell every newbie “Do what (coach) Brett says and what Ashley does.” πŸ™‚

  • Tiffany - Amen– and thank you for sharing this. We also home-educate, and today was my 1st grade daughter’s first day back to full-speed (every-subject/textbook-covered in a single day) since the the last week of November. It went great– so thankful for the many, daily blessings, here, too.~ Hope your week is extra-wonderful!

  • Andrea Greene - I hear you! Thanks for your honesty! I am a homeschooling mom too,and could identify with you completely!!! You are so encouraging and I hope your week is full of smooth and grace filled days!

  • Chantel - Amen Sista! Our week last week was super rough. None of us wanted to do school and it was like pulling teeth. So easy to see where we think we fall short when we have our own expectations for everyone. The gloom, clouds, snow storms, and frigid temps aren’t helping us either here in SLC. So we decided that this weekend it was time for a change of scenery and weather and we will drive south for some sunshine and outdoor exploring! Sometimes a break is much needed and well deserved…for all.

  • Maureen - I homeschooled for 21 years with my baby graduating in 2010. It was such an awesome, wonderful, beautiful 21 years… so precious to us all with amazing cherished memories. Umm, did I mention meltdowns from both mom and kids? Oh yeah, baby. But like dirty dishes and laundry, they happened, got cleaned up and we moved on to the good stuff. So glad thats what you and other commentors are doing too.
    PS: I have noticed meltdowns of mom and kids from public schooled friends too. Meltdowns do happen, but man, the rest of the time we sure do get, the good stuff!

  • AshleyAnn - Carrie – Well, you won’t see me competing, but I do love a good rope climb!

  • Gian - Thank you for your home school post & past posts. I am trying to evaluate whether homeschooling is a good option for my family & while I realize it is a very personal decision. I wanted to know if you could talk abt how you approached your children abt homeschooling? I know a few of them were already in a traditional school setting. My son is in a wonderful school, but its very test and stat driven, they do worksheets all day and transition 6-7 times a day in 1st grade! He is starting to be stressed and I am not sure how to even approach the subject.

  • Kristina - I hope you have a better week! Beautiful pictures!

  • Amy@AtMulberryHill - Oh, I can relate to this SO well!! I’m homeschooling eight, the youngest three being boys – 7,5, and 3. We still have a LOT of challenging days, yet when I look back at pictures, all I can do is smile. I think you’ve figured it out for me. The pictures are taken in those few moments in between when things are calm and the house is more picked up. πŸ™‚

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I am so sorry things were rough. I wish I had magic words or advice to make it all easier. Just know I think you are amazing and you shine so brightly. Hugs.

  • Kelly S - I totally typed in your URL this morning, thinking, “she is always so calm and their house seems so pleasant…” – as I’m in the midst of a frustrating couple days with my little ones. Haha – glad to know I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚

  • Melissa - This reset my odometer for the week. Thank you!

  • Analene - Ashley, it’s a truth I’m kinda glad to hear – that your peaceful and uncluttered images are just a piece of the whole (and for me, unseen) picture.

    I see great value in setting our gaze on the lovely, and I’m sure anyone who looks at my blog and photos has a lopsided perspective of my family too. Of course I know what my home and people look like all the time; and yep, I see myself from the inside out (so my perspective of our life is lopsided in the opposite direction. Ha!) but for some reason, it’s easy to convince myself that someone else’s “real” is more fabulous than mine. Welcome to the human condition I guess.

    Thank you for seeing and capturing the beautiful in the midst of real life living.
    And thank you for reminding me/us that your life shares a common bond of imperfection with all us gals!

    Hugs friend!

  • Yanet - The thing is that even if they were not homeschooled, they’d have hard and emotional days. As moms, we have hard and emotional days. I think the important thing to remember is that as a whole, in the big picture, the good outweighs the bad. Good for you for finding ways to keep it in check. Praying for a better week for you guys.

  • Jessica P - Thanks for this post. The hard days make me doubt myself sometimes, but the truth is we all have those days. Every teacher–at home or in a traditional school–has those days. Thanks for reminding me to focus on the beauty. I hope you all have a great week!

  • susie - It must have been hard every where last week. A number of us moms at church last sunday were complaining… we figured it was the moon! Maybe winter is getting long on all of us!

  • jules - Love the quiet between the chaos… and the PE your son is getting in on the stairs too!

  • Tiffany Gardner - Your homeschooling journey has been such an encouragement to me! My kids were in public school and after 4th grade I said YES to god and brought them home. We are part of a CC campus in OKC. I am SO grateful for that community and to learn in the classical way. It is also HARD. Some days are just plain HARD. My oldest is now in 6th grade and I still can’t believe we are choosing to be brave and continue on this journey. Thank you for your words. Thank you for being real. Hope your weeks have been better…. or that you have had some awesome moments on the hard days!