The Not So Big Life with Sarah Susanka

Let’s chat about The Not So Big Life with Sarah Susanka. Susanka is a social innovator, acclaimed architect, agent of personal transformation, and author of the Not So Big series. Sarah Susanka has become the inspiration for a new way of understanding how we inhabit both our homes and our lives. She is the best-selling…

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How Homeschooling Requires us to Face our Shortcomings

Rowan Atkinson is a second-generation homeschooler and is a recently graduated homeschool mama after homeschooling her four children for two decades. She is a historical fiction reader, British period drama watcher, soccer player, Sunday school teacher, author, and businesswoman.    Rowan Atkinson is the author of Enough Already: Real Help for Homeschool Freakout Burnout and…

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Grow your Confidence & Banish Burnout with Kara S. Anderson

Kara S. Anderson shares, in her book More than Enough, You can grow your confidence, banish burnout, and love your homeschool life.

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How to Journal to Process Stress, Anxiety & Trauma with Nicolle Nattrass

Nicolle Nattrass is a homeschooling mother, an advocate for Maternal Mental Health, and has worked as a professional actor, writer, and Certified Addiction Counselor. She is the creator and designer of 4 Creative Journaling programs that focus on self-care and mental wellness. Nicolle Nattrass is part of the Journal Council, for the International Association for…

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7 Effective Tools to Build Boundaries (& Why You Require Them)

How to Build Boundaries (& Why Homeschool Mama Needs Them)

Boundaries are simply this: you respect yourself and expect others to respect you also.

Teresa Wiedrick
We homeschool mamas have a unique challenge and privilege all at the same time: we signed up to be with our children.
We might needa little quiet in our homes. We might need some time away from our kids. We might need a clean house in order to feel sane. That’s a challenge.
Boundaries are simply this: you respect yourself and expect others to respect you also.
Why build boundaries?

The boundaries you maintain around your energy, needs, and goals will help you maintain your peace, quiet, cleanliness and organization. When our needs and goals are met, we have energy and mental space to extend nurture to those around us too.

What kinds of boundaries do we instill?

Boundaries are entirely subjective. What you value and what I value aren’t the same. Maybe you don’t value a clean house. I’ve met that mom. She was horribly messy, but also far more content with her kids. To each her own.

We need to create at-home work boundaries.

Some of us moms are trying to work from home while homeschooling. For my creative writing to expand, I like to write in quiet. Mwahaha. (You know where I’m going). This has been a challenge, to say the least. Over the years my kids have learned (most days) if I am tapping on my laptop or my study door is closed, I am unavailable.

We need to create morning boundaries.

I insist on fifteen minutes of early morning quiet for my brain to wake up with a cup of coffee, daily reading, and a journal entry. As I’m aging, I wake at ridiculously early hours, so I don’t have to work at it. Teenagers don’t wake at 5.

How to accomplish morning boundaries with younger kids: For some three-year-olds, fifteen minute’s quiet might be too long. Consider purchasing an alarm clock and set the alarm to 7 o’clock. They’re up at six, you say. The alarm Text Box: …you do not have to be a representative of the homeschool world.clock is for them to stay IN their room. Let them know when the alarm goes off, they can come out and greet you then. Make sure they’re set up with a few toys, books, and a snack just for the morning, so they have something to do. (And I know, this idea would never have worked with one of my girls, but it worked with the other three.)

Build on your time apart.

Consider setting a boundary on your toilet time. If the door is closed, no one can talk to you, unless the house is on fire. Direct them to scream, THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE! And the house better be on fire. Stretch toilet time to ten minutes, then eleven, then twelve. Bring in a book and a cup of coffee. (At what age do you start? If they don’t know what a fire is, or they don’t have the verbal skills to yell, “The house is on fire,” they’re too young.)

Build boundaries with non-supporters.

When you’re not feeling the love from the general public or an unsupportive relative, when you regularly hear comments like “Why aren’t you in school? Is it legal? Do you have teaching certification?” Remind yourself: you do not have to be a representative of the homeschool world. People are often just surprised by an unconventional choice or wondering if there’s a holiday. They might benefit from hearing your reasons for your homeschool preference. If you’ve been asked something regularly, be prepared to answer, but determine your answers in advance. No sass required.

Build boundaries into your homeschool day.

If you’re not an unschooler, and you’re occupied in a study routine, don’t answer the phone. Determine your study hours, let the regular people in your life know those study hours, and they will learn to honour them as you insist these boundaries are as necessary as punching a clock in a workplace.

Build cleanliness boundaries.

Maybe you want to teach your kids, “Keep your room clean, flush the toilet after you use it, wash your hands after you use the toilet, wipe the bathroom wall after you pee (boy mamas unite!).” You can teach them whatever is essential to you. Yes, the wall will still gradually yellow because they are learning. They’re not mini janitors. But you gotta start somewhere.

Teach kindness boundaries.

Teach them not to interrupt their siblings. Be patient. However, assume their immaturity in relating continues throughout childhood. Teach them to listen to each other and to you. Teach them to repeat back what they’ve heard their sibling say so they actually learn how to listen. Expect great things from their sibling relationships and assume this is the ultimate training ground for future relationships.

Caveat: small children are natural boundary breakers.

If you have small children, the notion of boundaries is nebulous at best. What boundaries do you expect from a child who is six? Or ten? How about fifteen? Just remember, kids don’t get magic boundary pills. You gotta teach ‘em.

Assume boundaries will take a while to learn.

Assume you really will be repeating yourself a million times. Give yourself a break: expect boundaries won’t be established quickly or without mistakes. Boundaries are taught over time.

Observe yourself.
A powerful tool to understanding ourselves is to sit and listen to our uncomfortable feelings. Why do we feel what we feel? Be gracious with ourselves and don’t judge our feelings as good or bad, but observe them instead.

Accept all your feelings. You are human and humans feel all sorts of feelings: disappointment, disgust, overwhelm, sadness, frustration, contempt, glee, and elation. Recognize that feelings often pass like clouds in the sky: they don’t stay static, yet they’re not entirely predictable either. Unlike any other self-care tip I offer, this one, “observing yourself,” is a profound one. It helps to unlock intense, uncomfortable feelings.

Alone time.


An all about you thing.

Energizing activities.
For me, writing, gardening, reading, and nature.

For you, needlepoint, poetry, 1950s deco, clothing design, makeup techniques, or travel blogs? You tell me.

Whatever it is, do it every day. Just 15 minutes. You can do that or you can learn to do that (and your kids will learn that you are indeed going to do that).

Here’s two podcasts with two seasoned homeschool mamas:

A chat with Julie Bogart
A chat with Pat Fenner
Get your quiet time.
A hot cup of coffee or mint tea before anyone talks with you. Quiet space to think. Quiet space to determine our thoughts toward our day. Time to journal, to plan, and to be quiet.

Time to speak our daily homeschool mama affirmations.

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Homeschooling Little Kids & Taking Care of Yourself with Isis Loran

Isis Loran is the creator of Nature Homeschool and homeschool mama to four kids under ten in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. Isis Loran‘s family spends a lot of time in nature because her family also homesteads. This is her fifth year homeschooling and she writes at And in this episode, we speak…

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