Encouragement for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom

By contributing writer Colleen

As we dive into fall, many of the homeschool moms I talk to, especially those homeschooling for the first time, start admitting that the initial excitement they once felt has worn off, and they’re left feeling tired and overwhelmed.

Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. Here’s some encouragement for you.

Encouragement for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom at The Happy Housewife

The newness of the curriculum and plans has gone away, and the battles have begun. Let’s face it, fighting over homework gives way to fighting over all work once you begin homeschooling. Very few children adore being told what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Homeschooling can be hard.

I want to encourage you that you’re doing a great thing. Even if it’s one of those days when you peek through the curtains and stare wistfully at that big, yellow bus full of kids and wish that your kids were getting on it too.

We all have those days.

Surprise Rides

When those feelings hit you, it’s time to step back and remember why you are homeschooling in the first place. Call for an impromptu day off, pile the kids in the car, and head to a park or museum, taking advantage of having the venue mostly to yourself. We call these “surprise rides,” and I don’t tell the kids where we’re going. I just tell them to get in the van because we’re going on a surprise ride.

Encouragement for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom at The Happy Housewife

Instantly, moods change, and the atmosphere turns collaborative as they take turns guessing until we pull into wherever it is that we’re headed. Hearts change, and we enjoy each other once more.

During these breaks, try really hard to put aside work and school thoughts in your mind. The goal is to put everything else away and just be there for your kids. Play, explore, and enjoy each other.

On the way home, you’ll all feel refreshed and blessed. It’s a time to remember that those reasons you homeschool (whatever they are) all boil down to the sweet faces you live with and love. Taking advantage of the flexibility to step back when you all need a break is one of those often forgotten blessings of homeschooling.

Encouragement for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom at The Happy Housewife

Shed Your Expectations

Perhaps fall is the perfect metaphor for homeschooling. It’s a time to shed all the old expectations and behaviors that weigh you down, relax, and pull back to be with your family. A hibernation of sorts.

Regardless of how you regroup, remember that you’re homeschooling for the best of all reasons. You’re doing what you feel is best for those precious children. Always keep them in the front of your mind, and you won’t go wrong.

Take heart, mama. That yellow bus will continue to pass you by, while you sometimes stare longingly at it, but those kiddos in your kitchen are going to be there for you and for each other. You’re building a legacy of love. Keep up the great work.

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photo credit (top photo): Travelin’ Librarian via photopin cc

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Compost Cups Science Project

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

As we walked through the autumn forest and noticed the falling leaves, I asked the kids what happened to the piles of leaves we walked through last year. That started a conversation about decomposition.

Decomposition and Composting

Decomposition is the process in which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter (according to Wikipedia). It’s natural recycling!

When leaves fall and plants and animals die, they start this process of breaking down or decay. Insects, bacteria, and fungus all carry out decomposition. In the end, dead matter decays and is turned back into soil. That’s what happened to the piles of leaves from last fall.

You might have a compost bin or pile at your house where your yard, garden, and kitchen waste are decomposed to create nutrient rich soil that can be put back into the garden.

Make Your Own Compost Cups

To study composting up close, we decided to create our own mini compost bins in cups, so we could see decomposition in action. You can make your own compost cups science project with these easy steps.

Supplies Needed

  • 16 ounce plastic cup
  • Organic items such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy), leaves, coffee grinds, bark, etc.
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup dirt
  • Rubber band or tape


1. Place organic material, dirt, and water in the plastic cup.

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

2. Cover the cup with plastic wrap and seal with a rubber band or tape. Give it a good shake and place it in a warm, sunny place like a window or safe spot outside where it won’t be disturbed.

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

3. Every couple of days add another tablespoon of water and give it a shake. Note what is happening to the organic matter.

What Happens?

The warm environment of the cup increases the activity of the microbes inside. These bacteria and fungus go to work breaking down the organic matter in the cup. The added water and oxygen from the shaking keep the process going.

Within a day or two you can see this happening. Given enough time, you’ll be able to see the organic matter turn into dark, nutrient rich compost that can be added to garden soil.

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Love Your Library!

Love Your Library! | The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

When I first started officially homeschooling, we lived in a small town in rural Ohio. We lived four buildings down from the library. Really. I had no vehicle for the first few months, and to this day, some of the best memories of that period of our lives (besides having our 5th child) revolve around the Coolville Ohio Public Library.

Monday through Friday usually found us there, either returning books, checking out more books, attending story time, or just visiting the librarians. Those librarians became some of our best friends. My children were only 5, 3, and 1 when we moved there, and we were just starting our homeschool journey. We left when our children were 7, 5, 3 and a baby.

Before this time, we went to the library once in a while to check out a few books that our oldest was interested in. It was great. We loved it but usually forgot about it until we ran out of books again. Living four doors down from the library was a homeschool mom’s dream come true. I think if this had happened later in our homeschool journey, I never would have the library experiences with my children that we have now!


  • We learned everything that our library had to offer. We were there every day.
  • My kids felt safe. The library wasn’t very big. (It was an old, small bank building with a vault and everything.)
  • The librarians were our friends. We were probably there more often than most, if not all, of the town’s residents.
  • If they thought something could help us, they offered it. New things were coming out all the time, and they would let us know. New books, new resources, new experiences.
  • They would learn from the central library what they could do for homeschoolers, and they would share that information with us.
  • If they didn’t have a book I wanted for a particular subject or unit, they would find it, request it, or buy it.
  • We met other people in the town that we might not have otherwise found.
Love Your Library! | The Happy Housewife

Story Time at our little library in rural Ohio

How you can  love your library.

1. Learn the librarians’ names, especially in the sections you use the most. If you go at the same time and day every week, this is pretty easy. They’ll see you come over and over and want to know you, too!

2. If you need something, ask! They are there to help you, not hide stuff from you that you could use in your learning adventures. I’ve found out all sorts of neat services like being able to use special teacher cards to check out more at a time and having the librarians check out a selection of books relating to a certain topic for you to pick up. There are many others. This information might also be online, but you can find out more from your librarians.

3. Use the library. Go to story time, summer reading programs, youth programs, and classes for adults. Volunteer!

We’ve had amazing experiences in all the different libraries we’ve visited, and I truly think we never would have even tried if we hadn’t had this little library in Ohio to remember.

I hope our family’s experience with a tiny library in a community of 700 people helps inspire you to be a part of and love your library.

Oh, and if you are ever in Coolville, Ohio, drive down Main Street and visit the library!

Even the baby loved the library!  (11 years ago!)

Even the baby loved the library! (11 years ago!)

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Trees Through the Seasons Art Project

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Trees have the ability to change all throughout the year depending on the season. In the summer, we seek shade under their lush green foliage, and in the fall, we marvel at their brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red. Trees can finally show off their  bare, strong branches and tiny twigs in the winter. Then, the leaves begin to emerge again in the warming sun of spring.

This is an interesting scientific phenomena that kids can explore through art. They can make a drawing of a tree through the seasons to show their understanding of the leaf cycle.

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

Talk with your child about the seasons and the effect the seasons have on trees. Draw how trees look during each season.

Start with one season and work your way through. Chalk pastels work great to create your trees through the seasons artwork.

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

Use this project and these resources to put together a leaf unit study of your own.

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