Watch how I do this. What in the world do essential oils for back to school have to do with sugar and screen time? Let alone back to school schedules for big families? Our family motto is Team Reed and when back to school time hits we pull together and make it happen. One early bedtime and drop at a time!
The cicadas are buzzing, the harvest is coming in and back to school time is on the horizon. For many of you it’s RIGHT around the corner and all us mamas are trying to make it the smoothest transition possible. Our little homeschool doesn’t kick off until after the Labor Day holiday but even homeschoolers have back to school shopping lists, and the dreaded transition back to school. It takes discipline to shake off the garden dirt, summer sun and sand and settle into the routine that’s required to keep sanity during the school year. I’ve got six kids and I’ll tell you what, it takes everything I’ve got!!! But I’m committed to THRIVE the back to school transition, not merely survive it. Here’s how we roll…
Summer schedule for homeschooling
Each summer I begin with great intentions. “We’re going to keep up with some of our studies!” Hardy, har, har. It never happens. And if you’re that mom that can keep up with summer book reports and math lessons then I tip my sun hat to YOU! With all sincerity! But I’m just as relieved as THEY are when the school year is over. It’s free time for Momma to be creative! I garden. They catch bugs. It’s as simple as that. We DO however keep up with piano lessons. That’s the feather in my cap and I’m super proud of it.
Morning chores are still required but I’ll confess, the rooms are a little messier and the bedtimes are a little later. It’s summer and there are memories to be made after all. The older I get, the more relaxed I get. There’s a little more dust in the corners of my house from May-August and when it gets to me, I bust out my vacuum AND my Balance oil. (But I’ll get to that later.)
Back to school schedule for big families
To keep sanity and tune those little biological clocks into school mode there are a handful of things that I begin to crack the whip on come mid-August
- Chore lists. Each child has a list of “non-negotiables” on a clip board for easy reference. Six and seven days a week these are the things that MUST be done before fun, friends and privileges. (I know, I’m so mean). This includes things like farm chores, reading time, piano lessons, clean bed rooms and the habit of serving, like coming to Mom or Dad once a day and asking, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
- Less sugar. Even less than normal. Look, you know how I feel about this. You can’t pump your babes full of white sugar and high fructose garbage and expect their immune system to survive Sunday School let alone BACK to school. Homeschool or “regular” school, there are germs everywhere and people have NO clue when to keep their kids home so they sneeze all over youth group ET VOILA… your whole families sick for two weeks. We enjoy fun things like trips into town for ice cream, birthday cake and heaven knows I love to bake… but come school time, I dial the sugar intake waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back for my littles. Even on such a tiny intake I can tell ANYtime they’ve consumed it. If they have treats at night they are swinging from the chandeliers the next day. I believe that SO MUCH of what people think is normal childhood crack head behavior is actually a reaction to sugar. And so, to make the transition into the school year a bit more smooth, fun treats become very rare or Momma uses honey.
- Screen time goes strict. Another area where I loosen up for summer is screen time. The kids all participate in the Summer Reading Program at the library so I really loosen up here and I justify it because they all love books so much. If it’s miserable hot outside or we’ve got three days of rain, we head to the library for some movies and the kiddos crash in the cool basement and engage in a little binge watching. Preschoolers and Daddy binge on Shawn the Sheep while Momma plays with new recipes and the Junior High boy cracks out on Smarter Every Day on YouTube. Come school year though, we go back to our policy of “Friday Night, Movie Night” as our screen time for the week. Each child gets a Friday and they get to pick the movie. This keeps their brains free for reading and helps lengthen those precious little attention spans during the week. It’s terribly important to carefully select your kid’s entertainment as most modern shows are designed to annihilate the attention spam with VERY short clips and horrible music. In reality, they are complete twaddle and have no redeeming qualities other than being a great babysitter. Subjecting a child to that for hours a day and then expecting him to be able to sit at a desk and focus is ridiculous. Just saying.
- Meal times get more focused. Menus are posted and no one has to guess when and what we are eating. (Can you tell that I cut lose during summer as much as the kids? I get so much more disciplined during the school year!) No longer eating around our beach schedule, we go back to a pretty set meal time. Little ones know that if they see Momma making dinner, it’s time to set the table and when we’re done, we sing and enjoy each other’s company with a bit more intention then during our get up and go schedule of the summer.
Essential Oils for Back to School
I’ll be straight. Oils are a MAJOR part of everything we do and it’s no different as we transition to the school year. As free flowing as our learning style is, it IS a change from running wild all summer. There are immune systems to build up and little brains the need to focus on new ideas and concepts. My kids love essential oils about as much as their Momma and here’s a BIT what we use to THRIVE, not survive our back to school transition.
Lavender Oil – Come mid-August I start bumping the bedtimes up a bit earlier. This does NOT make me very popular but that’s O.K. I’m the mom. “But it’s still LIGHT outside!” Little biological clocks aren’t as compliant right away and so I use a pre-diluted lavender roller ball on my kiddos feet right around tooth brushing time. Lavender is a natural calmer and it helps them wind down and sleep sound and because it’s pre-diulted for kids, I can use it with peace on the four year old AND the thirteen year old.
On Guard – This is doTERRA’s immune blend and if you Mom without it, you’re crazy. (“Mom” being a verb in that sentence:). On Guard is a blend of immunity boosting oils. You know those nasty conditions that sweep the country every year? One kid gives it to another? The oil will put a welcome damper on that. For rizeal! It is NO joke and I wouldn’t DREAM of NOT using it on my kids. This gets put on their feet as well. The older ones (who have crazy fortitude) take it under their tongue before events like youth group and trips to friend’s houses.
Balance – A blend of calming oils. Let’s be real. It’s like red wine oil. Teaching all these little people is amazing, but I’m an introvert and that’s a LOT of output for someone like me. Balance oil is MY JAM and I rub two drops over my heart when people start making me nuts. At least once a day people. Just keeping it real here. Another oil I’d NEVER “Mom” without.
InTune – Not all attention spans are created equal. I’ve got some that can sit and absorb and learn for days and others… not so much! InTune is a pre-made blend of oils that encourages and supports focus. If Momma needs to FOCUS she uses it too. My children who need it, ask for it. THEY know it works.
Peppermint – Peppermint is a great recall oil. It helps trigger memories and so when I’m introducing a new concept on a particular day, I’ll run it in the diffuser and then if they kids are writing about that subject later on or narrating, I run it in the diffuser again (it pairs excellent with Wild Orange and Frankincense for this as well.)
All of these changes are presented during a family meeting. It’s not as ominous as it sounds. It’s simply a way for us to come together and unite on an idea without distraction. If we mention changes like this in passing or at a meal, it’s a disaster. We’ve found that cozying up on the couches together and talking things over, setting expectations and giving boundaries works much better. Everyone gets a chance to talk and Joel and I can gauge whether we’re all on the same page or not. The chore charts get handed out, allowances re-negotiated (lol)… It re-enforces our Team Reed family motto and gets everyone on the same path. (For more on our Family Motto you can read here!)
Well, that’s about it. In trying to cultivate a true and beautiful love for learning I think it’s important to go into the school year with as little stress as possible. What a joy to be the one charged with keeping their little hearts, minds and bodies as in tune as possible; in every way giving them an optimum environment for learning no matter where they go to school.
Many readers know that each month I teach a LIVE essential oils class, this month I’ll be giving more details on which oils the kids and I use during the school year. And I’m going to teach practical ways you can use essential oils to help with focus, anxiousness, confidence… REAL things that kids deal with every day at school.
If you’ve never attended one, I invite you to be my guest. Simply respond to the prompt when you visit this blog or email me at email@example.com and I’ll register you as my personal guest. The class is Thursday, August the 16th at 7:00 Central and if you can’t attend or you missed it, NO worries! Register anyways and I’ll make sure you get the replay! Everyone that registers is going to receive a printable of my personal six favorite diffuser blends for the classroom and homework time!
PS: If you are just ready to grab some oils ’cause you can’t take it anymore, firstly, I wouldn’t blame you, second, I’m going to send you TWO free diffusers when you start with this beginner kit! ‘Cause I know some of you have been reading about oils for awhile now and you’re just ready, darn it! Click here to get my most popular starter kit, The Home Essentials. I’ll get a notification and pop those diffusers in the mail to you quicker than a three year olds attention span!