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    The Low-Energy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling

    April 11, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    I should write a book about this,” I told him. His response was to tell me that I didn’t really have the time and energy for such a thing, and he was (mostly) right about that. While my health is much, much better than it was three years ago, I still have to watch myself and be careful not to over-commit, which is really hard to do when almost everything is interesting in this life.

    My solution was to do a blog series instead. It’s not quite a book, but it’s something. Who knows? Maybe it’ll still grow up to become a book someday.

    Of course, if it’s going to be a blog series, that means you all have to participate. You can tell me what you think we ought to be talking about concerning this subject.

    An ongoing series -- to help low-energy moms not just survive but THRIVE in homeschooling. Come and join the conversation!

    This post is going to function as a linked table of contents. As I add new posts in the series, I’ll be adding new links to this page.

    I really think that homeschooling is doable, even for those of us on the lower end of the energy continuum. There are ways in which it might be harder at times, but then again, we’re you’re low-energy, getting kids ready, packed, and out the door to school might be difficult, too. I want to discuss the difference between being low-energy (which is a health problem) versus being introverted (which is not a problem), energy management, getting help, nutrition options, and all sorts of survival strategies.

    And, of course, you can tell me more in the comments, as I already said.

    My hope is that we low-energy moms can learn not just to survive, but to thrive as homeschoolers.

    My plan is to write on this subject at least twice per month — maybe more often, but never more than once per week — until I’m done. What I don’t promise is that the whole series will be in the best, most logical order. It won’t be linear. It’ll be more stream-of-consciousness. It’ll be an adventure.

    I hope you’ll join me!

    Table of Contents

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    Thank you for this series!

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  • Reply Valerie July 5, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I thought I was the only one struggles with energy to homeschool, clean the house, cook, etc. At times I don’t want to get out of bed and wish I could take a day off. But, we all now that motherhood is a 24/7 job which we don’t get paid for, no sick leave, or paid vacation to take. Even if we take a break from homeschooling for a couple of weeks to rejuvenate and take time to rest from all the hard work it can be stressful to get back into the flow of school work. We love learning, reading good books, exploring the outdoors, but then their are those necessary subjects like math that we can’t avoid. This series about the low-energy mom is great and I look forward to many more blog post about this subject. I myself am struggling with multi-tasking and having the energy to keep up with my small kiddos ages 1, 6, 8, and 9 years old.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 5, 2016 at 8:51 am

      Welcome to the club, Valerie! You are not alone! ♥

  • Reply Lauren July 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I am very interested in this topic, thank you! I struggle with being very low energy. I need so much sleep at night (9-10 hours), and have to carefully watch all the emotional drains in my life. (I also cope with depression and anxiety.) I am considering homeschooling my daughter (age 3) and am not sure I can really do it with my constraints. Being a stay at home mom is SO much more exhausting than when I worked in an office!

  • Reply Amy May 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Brandy, thank you so much for writing this series!!!!! It is like you are in my home describing my life and pointing out ways I can give myself grace. I have spent a good part of the last 9 months in the bed, and we have a slew of severe allergies. One of the things I have done over the last few years is to slowly delete holidays from our calendar. I found that there were too many expectations and allergies to accommodate for that I just wasn’t physically able to keep up with it.

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  • Reply Joy May 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this series! It struck me that this series rings just as true for those who may not be ill or low-energy themselves but have students who struggle with chronic illness. It’s helping me form questions to help my low-energy, chronically-ill students steward their time well, too. 🙂

  • Reply Rose April 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

    There are so many comments! It’s filling up my inbox. Does anyone know how I can stop it? I click the Manage your subscriptions link and it gives me an Error page :(((((((((( so sad.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

      So sorry, Rose! I can go in an manually unsubscribe you from the thread. Not sure why there was an error message, though. I will look into that so that it doesn’t cause a problem in the future!

      I never expected so many comments!

  • Reply Morgan April 17, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I can not wait to read this series! I have struggled with low energy for my whole life I think! I am so encouraged by the comments-I really thought I was crazy/lazy but I guess I am not alone! I was diagnosed with extremely low Vit D levels & felt like a new person after I started the supplements. But like others said-if I have ANY outside commitments then I am exhausted. And I am an extrovert-so that’s not what wears me out! I have 5 girls ages 10 & under. One has a serious chronic disease & the youngest doesn’t sleep well.

    I would love for you to address how to deal with friends/family who don’t understand. My hubby thinks I am lazy. My mom teases me about how sickly I am. I feel crazy half the time. Why can’t I just get it together?

    Thank you for doing this!

    • Reply Angelique April 18, 2016 at 5:56 am

      I am so sorry, Morgan, I have been through that, too. My dh is pretty much the same physically as he was at 21 when we met, and he just doesn’t understand. I can’t find any way to make him understand, so I just try not to complain and I tell him what I need from him and just offer it up feeling alone about it…at least God understands. My mom is like me but she pushes through. When I was a kid she would just push herself so hard she’d have a mini breakdown every couple weeks, crying and yelling at me that if I loved her I would help her more…I don’t want that for my kids. I just try to remember that and ignore her and keep my mouth shut.

      • Reply Becky Thomas April 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        I don’t get it. They don’t understand what exactly? I don’t have this problem with my husband. He understands that I do the best i can. He knows at times I hurt.
        So, your husbands don’t believe you?! Don’t care? If I’m having symptoms I tell him. Like, I spell it out. Do you do that?

        • Reply Leslie May 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

          I think that for a guy who still feels like he did when he was 21, the wife’s lack of energy and list of symptoms can look like laziness and whining. From his perspective, he pushes through when he doesn’t feel motivated – why can’t she? What’s so difficult about staying home with the kids and keeping the house decent? It’s hard to empathize for someone who’s never experienced it himself.

  • Reply Erika April 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, so I am really excited you are addressing this!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

      I’m glad you’re here, Erika! You might like the Thyroid Pharmacist website, if you haven’t found it already. 🙂

      • Reply Erika May 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        Thanks, Brandy! My doctor recommended that website, too. I’ve ordered her book and her store offers some really good supplements, without the extra junk found in all the run of the mill brands.

  • Reply Bek April 16, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    We also have health issues in our family…CFS and adrenal fatigue for my husband daughter,son and myself (thankfully the two youngest seem OK thus far) and it’s easy to fall into the trap of questioning yourself, your motivation etc. One thing I’d like to say on this point is IF you are questioning whether you are lazy or unmotivated it is extremely likely you are neither of those things. Just think, how many lazy people do you know that are concerned about their laziness? Laziness is a state of mind that is manifest through the actions(or lack thereof) and is usually decried by those around the lazy or unmotivated one, NOT that person them self. So if you are worried about it, be reassured, it is physical not a personality or moral defect.
    The other thing I’d like to mention that I find to be extremely encouraging is intentionality. Let me explain.
    I have three schedules, A,B and C. A is my ideal schedule, when we are all relatively OK and we don’t have too many distractions.
    My B schedule is lighter for when extra things come up….a visit from grandma, an extra field trip or more time in the ministry etc.
    C schedule is stripped down to the essentials. ..Basic L.A, math, Bible…..and we use that when health levels dip or we accompany dad on a work trip.
    We would like to be able to do schedule A all the time, but it’s unrealistic so I intentionally choose to either A,B or C. By making a choice,we retain control of the situation. It’s when everything feels like it’s out of our control that we feel like failures and that we are not accomplishing anything.
    This also has a positive flow on effect for the children because when they sense mum is panicking or out of control it creates an unsettling atmosphere for them and they feel insecure. But if mum can confidently say ‘We’re doing plan C today kids’ they relax knowing that their parent has got things under control.
    There is one last safety net. Declaring the day a ‘Reading Festival’ for the younger ones, or for older ones ‘Autodidact day’ or Nature Day or whatever you want it to be. Again there is an intentional tone here….mum still has the reigns…..she’s just changed pace.
    When dad gets home and asks ‘What did you do for school today?’ it’s so much more uplifting to say ‘We had a reading Festival today’ rather than ‘We didn’t get much done…. I was so tired….I feel like I’m failing’
    Using our schedules as tools to help us rather than a whip can go a long way to helping us feel more successful.
    Hope this helps those struggling mammas out there….just keep on keeping on?

    • Reply Leanne April 17, 2016 at 1:15 am

      Wow, thank you Bek,

      That is so helpful!

    • Reply Angelique April 17, 2016 at 2:26 am

      That is great advice. Can we talk too about how to deal with resistance from your kids on your GOOD days? Mine can get so used to always being in b or C mode that A mode feels like an imposition…”whaddya mean we don’t get to watch a video thisafternoon, I don’t want to do art!”

      • Reply Bek April 17, 2016 at 9:32 pm

        Hi Angelique (beautiful name?) I guess the thing here is putting the energy into establishing expectations and boundaries. For instance,(and I’m by no means holding this up as a standard. …it’s just our house) No one, even on bad days, is allowed to watch TV or DVDS until after 4pm. There is something hypnotic about screens and trying to drag them away to actively engage their minds and bodies meets with resistance. So putting the energy you do have into insisting on this will help all round. Give them some choices of acceptable activities…reading, drawing, handcrafts, baking for older ones
        Also around 3ish all the kids have to tidy the lounge before dad gets home. This has to happen before the TV goes on.
        The upside to this is if someone does unexpectedly pop over you’re not left completely embarrassed trying to explain that ‘yes we do do schoolwork and no they don’t usually watch TV at this hour’. (Yes this has happened to me. Cringe).
        Sometimes the hardest part is finding the mental energy to work out what needs to be done, but don’t feel like it has to be worked out all at once…jot it down as it comes to you then gradually implement.

        • Reply Bek April 17, 2016 at 9:47 pm

          Sorry Brandy, I’m not trying to commandeer your blog post?

          • Harmony Moore April 27, 2016 at 7:53 am

            Bek, may I quote from your comment in the CM/homeschooling newsletter I’m putting together? The proactive approach of multiple schedules is awesome. I laughed pretty hard at this: “When dad gets home and asks ‘What did you do for school today?’ it’s so much more uplifting to say ‘We had a reading Festival today’ rather than ‘We didn’t get much done…. I was so tired….I feel like I’m failing.’” – This. Too true.

            Brandy, I’m really looking forward to this series!

          • Bek April 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm

            Absolutely Harmony, I’d be honoured☺

      • Reply Emily Huff April 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

        Holy Moly- I agree! My son does the same thing!

    • Reply Tara April 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

      “One thing I’d like to say on this point is IF you are questioning whether you are lazy or unmotivated it is extremely likely you are neither of those things.” Good point. 🙂 I recently had an increase in energy (followed by a decrease in energy…you know how it goes), and during the time of improvement, I was suddenly doing lots of things I’ve wanted to do all along — decluttering some things around the house, giving stuff to Goodwill, cleaning. And I realized that I had NOT been lazy when those things weren’t getting done; I simply didn’t have the energy, mental clarity, etc, to do them. And as soon as the energy and mental clarity appeared, I was taking action to get them done. I didn’t have to talk myself into getting motivated to get things done; it just happened really naturally now that the energy was there. Is this always the case in every situation for everyone (or even for myself)? Maybe not. But I do believe it’s likely we beat ourselves up and live with alot of guilt/shame based on our expectations for our own performance, rather than living in a more grace-filled place. I think that place of guilt/shame/fear that we’re not getting enough done actually probably cripples us further, whereas a more grace-based position would allow us to thrive more — such as your suggestion of a Reading Festival day which still leaves room for learning, joy, peace, togetherness, rather than turning inward to guilt, frustration, disorder, etc.

      • Reply Bek April 17, 2016 at 9:58 pm

        Yes yes Tara. ..remember how you are on the good days…..laying around? No. Doing your own thing? No. Getting stuck into things, getting organised, doing all those jobs? Yes yes yes.
        Sometimes we get so used to feeling dreadful all the time that it becomes our new normal and we forget what we’re really like.
        An understanding spouse or good friend needs to be your voice for you….it’s important to have someone that can be our inner voice for us when we feel ours has been buried by the sickness and tiredness and….maybe even depression? But it needs to be someone we can totally trust….thankfully my hub and I can do that for each other…if we offer that encouragement to others we can actually train them in how we want to be supported ourselves….even without them realising.
        If we haven’t found that friend yet then writing it down and then looking back on it when your feeling low can also be helpful.

  • Reply Heather April 16, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Brandi, I’m grateful to you, as others have already stated, for being willing to delve into this topic. Having an autoimmune disease and other chronic ailments which have yet to be properly diagnosed, I find myself questioning the calling which I believe to be Providential to begin homeschooling my oldest (of three) this coming school year. I simply don’t know if I am up to the task – will I have the energy to manage it all? Will I have the wherewithal to maintain my emotions and the perseverance to see things through? AND will my daughter truly benefit under my seemingly (to me) compromised limitations? I am eager to hear what you have to say and to enter into this community – for clearly, though we feel alone within the walls of our individual homes: we are many in number.

  • Reply Candice April 15, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I’m really looking forward to this series! I am a homeschool mom of eight and the past four years my energy has really decreased. I’m very thankful for a recent hypothyroidism diagnosis because I felt like there was hope for some relief! On week two of meds and I can tell quite a difference. But I think aging and just weariness are also factors. Glad I found your blog!!

  • Reply meg April 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Great food for thought. I had 10 pregnancies in 11 years, 7 surviving children with the youngest born with Down syndrome two years ago. I’ve had my thyroid quit and all kinds of endocrine system fallout. Ended up with panic attacks last spring after a collision with a wall roller skating at my 40th birthday party. Hilarious now, not so funny then, however I discovered I have the MTHFR gene mutation which means I don’t absorb B vitamins well and it has been helpful to my energy level to supplement with some fancy ones and helped the anxiety immensely. It is hard to remember that the Lord is faithful to give us what we need. When I am weak He is strong. I don’t think I will ever homeschool to my own expectations! What is the difference between a good expectation, striving, but also not worshipping our own efforts?

    • Reply JjVan April 15, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Meg, I would love to talk to your about your experience! I just had my third miscarriage (one living child), was diagnosed with the MTHFR mutation, changed up my vitamins, but my OB/GYN doesn’t know much about it and I am looking for more info. I also have anxiety, etc. I definitely understand the whole “low energy” description!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      We will definitely be talking about MTHFR. 🙂

  • Reply Brooke April 14, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I am so excited that you are discussing this. I come from a family of low energy women, including my aunts and cousins. My mom, sisters, and I have always taken naps. We all need a lot of sleep. After I run errands for a couple hours or if I have to go shopping or a day of school I just want to rest and do nothing. Sometimes, I feel lazy, but I’m just always tired. I tell myself I will clean when the kids go to bed, but I’m happy if I get the dishes done. I have good days and I’ll clean all day. I didn’t have this problem until I got pregnant with my 4th daughter. I ended up with a huge hormone change…lost hair, acne, mood swings, and low energy. I ended up changing my vitamins and gave up meat and dairy. I no longer have the afternoon slumps and the mood swings are better, but I still have low energy. I want to fix it because I find I don’t have as much patience with my girls since I’m always tired.

  • Reply The Project – A Feast of Days April 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

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  • Reply Nicole Noelle April 14, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Following. I feel same way as many of you do. I feel sick and tires of being so tired all the time. I am only 34 but some days I feel like I have lower engery thannmoat everyone I know. My mom has cronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and I am pretty sure I do too. We are almost done with our first year homeschooling. 8th, 6th, 3rd, and my youngest just turned 3!

  • Reply Christina Thompson April 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I have adrenal fatigue which I have to watch very carefully.

    I have adrenal fatigue which I have to monitor very carefully. By God’s grace, my children are still thriving (ages 12-5). Two of the best things I ever did were put them on a week long chore schedule with a major chore and a zone chore. One major chore for 1 child is vacuuming and dusting while their zone chore for the afternoon is to tidy the living room. Another child has laundry (1 load a day, gather dirty clothes, redistribute to the bedrooms) and their zone chore is the schoolroom. Everyone must put away their own laundry before they go to bed. I prep dinner in the morning, when I have the most, efficient energy. Having the house run smoothly helps school run smoothly. My kids have workbooks for when I just can’t handle it, and they read rich literature (thank you Charlotte Mason and AmblesideOnline). We use youtube to teach a lot of science, and my one son uses a youtube channel to teach himself Mandarin Chinese. I know many parents don’t want their kids online much, but some of our online learning sites have been phenomenal at improving my children’s skills. Story of the world CD and Classical History CDs have been great to keep the calm in the car and to do some of the teaching for me. I group teach my children as much as possible for history, science and art.

    • Reply Leanne April 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks for your comments Christina. Very helpful as I know keeping on top of the house and trying to get the kids do chores is the hardest part of our home educating life. Sounds like we school very similarly yet I find keeping on top of the state of the house eats into our schooling time especially when I am having a bad day physically/emotionally as the kids seem to know they can get away with things more easily. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Misty April 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    So excited to read!

  • Reply Kimberly April 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    As a homeschooling mom recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, I’m very interested in this topic. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone and that there are others facing similar struggles. Thank you for opening up about this topic!

  • Reply Becky Thomas April 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Ugh! I can’t believe someone is actually talking about this. I have fibromyalgia, asthma, IBS, and reactive hypoglycemia. I also homeschool 2 special needs boys. They need a LOT of my time and attention, and it’s HARD! Most days I feel they do not get enough learning time, but you know, we are hardest on ourselves.

    • Reply Tara April 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Becky, I just got an email about a Fibromyalgia Summit that will be available online next month. I remembered that fibro had been mentioned in the comments on this post and wanted to share in the hope that it will be helpful and encouraging for you. I don’t want to promote anything inappropriately in Brandy’s comment section here, and I’m not affiliated with this event in any way. I simply received the email and I know I’ve personally learned alot from these online health-related summits. It is free to listen to the presentations during the time the event is going on, and that’s usually what I do. But if a person wants to purchase and listen on one’s own time, that’s also an option; and the email I received says that TODAY only with coupon code HEAL the summit can be purchased for $29 instead of the regular $69. Again, I haven’t heard these presentations yet, am not affiliated, etc. And I usually just watch/listen for free. But it is difficult to hear all the sessions during the time they are online; so if it’s a topic that’s very personally relevant, I occasionally do purchase the event. Just thought I’d share in case you’d like to register to listen for FREE (free is good! yay!) or save $40 off the purchase price.

  • Reply Jenny April 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I’ll be looking forward to following along. My low energy is somewhat self induced in that I work part time night shifts. However, that is how we make it work that I can be home to homeschool our kids, so I will take it!

  • Reply SarahD April 14, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Oh boy…I brought this up to you before and I’m so glad you’re tackling it, because I think this is an often unspoken downside of homeschooling for so many women. I see from this post and also the multitude of comments that I’m not the only one.

  • Reply Jen April 14, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Wow. There are a lot of us interested in this topic. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the role of nutrition.

  • Reply Rose April 13, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve never read anything on this topic but THIS IS ME. I don’t have a health “issue”, however. I do get run down quite easily. It could be my stage in life with a toddler, 5 and 7 year old, yet I see homeschool moms with more kids this age and older and they just do everything and I can hardly get through 2 days of school and I can’t keep my house clean even if I only do once a week… DRIVES ME NUTS. I can’t do much outside of HS without tire and fatigue. 🙂 anyway please keep writing this series!

  • Reply Christa April 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Yes! Great topic. Looking forward to this series. Are you planning to cover guilt?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Yes! Guilt is a whole big issue, isn’t it?

  • Reply Amanda April 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Can you go back in time and write this for the past year? 😉 Pregnancy took me out pretty hard this year… and I was so not prepared for it. So many of my plans for my 4th grader went out the window because I didn’t have it written out for HIM to follow, but for ME to implement WITH him… and I was so sick all fall I couldn’t even remember what I had planned, or where I put it.

    Whatever you come up with, I’m sure it’ll still apply next year when I’m sleep deprived with a baby! Lol. Planning for contingencies and brain-deadness is the biggest thing I need to work on, I think, so if you have ideas there, that’d be great. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Actually, Amanda, my eighth grader just informed me during a science narration that he didn’t think backwards time travel was possible. 😉 But I think you just touched on something really important: written plans can be super important when Mom is sick! ♥

    • Reply MesOgg April 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Yes! Yes! Contingency plans and what to do when brain fog is a problem Woukd be super helpful!

  • Reply Ann-Marie April 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Oh, Brandy, I swear with each post that you pen you win my heart over a bit more each day 🙂 Being a faithful reader for years, this speaks volumes! As a mom with low energy that came about 2-3 years ago due to a diagnosis of Crohns disease which I decided to opt out of the meds and change my diet and lifestyle, I unfortunately set myself up for a subsequent B12 deficiency and exhaustion that I struggled to make better for over a year. During that time, I spent much time in prayer and reflection and although I am MUCH better than I had been, I now realize my limits and I am not by any means supermom nor pretend to be! Although this time was truly a struggle daily it did bear much fruit and made me realize my limits. Truly looking forward to this series. Thank you SO much!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      I did not realize you had Chrohns, Ann-Marie! I’m so glad you have a diagnosis — that can give a lot of direction. And yes: realizing and accepting your limits is an important part of the process, I think. 🙂

    • Reply Stac April 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      I have a similar issue, and the Lord has used it to grow our whole family spiritually. It is not what I would have chosen, but He is omniscient and always knows better what we need than I do.

  • Reply Leanne April 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm


  • Reply Shan April 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting to me how many moms here with littles – mine are ranging from ages 15 to 3 and I find that while I used to consider myself high-energy, even with little sleep, nursing/pregnancy, as I’ve gotten older into middle age, dealt with more hormonal and health issues, and now running older kids around more places, I’m often barely able to just hold things together. It’s been a real struggle here for me in every way for quite awhile, and the Iowa winter didn’t help much with my mood. I’m finding that although you state it’s not a problem, being an introvert that homeschools has been a real problem for me. With older kids that have places they need to go and people we need to see, as well as little ones as well, I think my super-low-energy self right now is dealing with the compounding of years of being an introvert with no people-break (there is always someone talking to me!!!!) and having to leave the house frequently when I really don’t want to, and not being able to do some things in school that used to define us when kids were little, like a consistent and rich morning time.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Ha! I *do* agree that introversion and homeschooling can sometimes collide {as can extroversion and homeschooling, I think} — I just meant that I don’t think introversion itself is a problem that needs to be solved. 🙂

      We recently added another evening of driving our teen places and I. hear. you. on the exhaustion of that. I was just telling my husband that somehow adding this extra night has completely disoriented me!

      If it’s any consolation, you still look like Superwoman to me, Shan. 😉

  • Reply Catie April 11, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject. First of all, I’m really interested in what exactly you’d consider “low-energy.” And second of all, with ALL THAT YOU DO (or seemingly do), I wonder why you consider yourself low-energy?! 🙂

    • Reply Catie April 11, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      What are the odds that two Catie’s read Brandy’s blog and are perpetually tired? 🙂

      • Reply Catie April 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

        Too funny! Two Catie’s with a “C”! It’s amazing! 😀

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      You Catie’s are cracking me up!

      I will share a bit of my story in my next post. And to be honest, I’m doing pretty well right now and have been for the past year. But would you believe it if I told you that I have been sick most of my life?

  • Reply Jennifer April 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Oh my goodness! This will speak to me tremendously! Thank you for opening up about this.

  • Reply Julia April 11, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Very timely for me! I’m struggling with a recent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have a 7 year old and a 2 year old. My husband works a 21/21day schedule off shore in the gulf of Mexico, so life is trying, to say the least. I have had the thought that maybe it isn’t fair for my children to have to spend their entire day with a worn out Mama who is in pain most of the time. I look forward with anticipation to reading more of your entries! Thank you!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      My heart goes out to you, Julia — in college I worked in oil and so I’m familiar with the rig schedules — a 21/21 would be brutal when you’re feeling badly! I will pray for you. ♥

      • Reply Julia LaBorde April 17, 2016 at 12:23 pm

        Thank you! God is able to sustain me! I’m totally relying on His strength!

  • Reply Elena April 11, 2016 at 10:56 am


  • Reply Mama Rachael April 11, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I need this. My energy fluctuates a lot day to day. If we grocery shop and run errands in the morning, I’m shot for the afternoon. When we have Bible Study at church in Tuesday mornings, that’s about all I can do on Tuesdays. I *so* want to homeschool, but I imagine that we will just stay home every day, and we won’t do much else. Doesn’t help that my son is super high energy, and super interactive, though he is getting better at playing by himself. Now, full disclosure, I’m 19 weeks pregnant, though I want to nap everyday, if I do it messes with my sleep at night. So, I am aiming to do my pregnancy yoga workout each early afternoon, then have my cup of 1/2 caff coffee; otherwise, I’m a zombie all afternoon. And then there are days I can get the whole house cleaned and read multiple books to Little Man and still feel good in the afternoon. I’d love to hear others in this situation and how they cope and deal with it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      You know, Rachael, being super low energy in my early days of mothering wasn’t entirely a bad thing — the staying home and keeping it simple actually ended up being a really good thing for my children, I think. God often guides us through our limitations and not just our opportunities. 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer April 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I’m really looking forward to reading this series, although I’m not sure that I’m low-energy so much as burnt out and introverted. It’ll be interesting to read and discuss.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      You know, I hadn’t really considered the differences between being low-energy and being burnt out. You have given me much to think about!

  • Reply Debbi April 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

    As I sat at the table with my head in one hand reading this, and ignoring the lunch mess left behind and procrastinating on the umpteenth load of laundry today, I found hope in this idea and in reading the other comments. The comfort of feeling less alone is always beneficial. I look forward to the discussion!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      You are definitely not alone, Debbi! When I really started talking with other homeschool moms about this, I found that a very large percentage were struggling with being energy-depleted. That was one of the reasons I’ve been wanting to talk about it — so that we don’t feel so lonely. 🙂

  • Reply Nicole April 11, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Oh I love this. I have AI diseases (a few) that kill my energy and leave me in pain often. I’m doing so much better recently with managing those, but still have to protect my down time. With three kids under 6, two who rarely sleep through the night, I add in loss of sleep and need extra down time. My kids all have allergies so food prep is a huge time consuming task here. I feel overwhelmed thinking about school every single week day starting this fall. Oh my! I also especially struggle with prioritizing, well everything, but mainly outside activities. Trying to decide what’s important for us out of the house is tough because that takes so much of my energy to get us out and wrangle the toddler and the very rambunctious preschooler.

    • Reply Tara April 11, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Have you looked into the “Paleo Approach” by Sarah Ballantyne (also known as AIP – autoimmune protocol)? Many people have reversed autoimmune diseases by following this diet/lifestyle approach. I experienced great decrease in inflammation and pain and better energy from implementing it.

      • Reply Catie April 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

        My DH had a lot of AI problems too and he does a sort of Whole 30/Paleo diet. His psoriasis (among other things) GOES AWAY when he takes out dairy and gluten (he still needs to figure out which one it is that causes the most trouble–hence the Whole 30).

        I just wanted to say that I, too, think you should give it a go if you haven’t already! Might help? 🙂 Sorry! It doesn’t sound fun! I hope you find out what works. 🙁

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Nicole, I think you are at the hardest point because when you have all littles, you don’t have any help. Hang in there and in a few years it’ll be MUCH easier. I remember when I realized that I felt better and a lot of it was because my children could finally pack their own stuff, get in the car, buckle up, use the bathroom, and take a shower — all without needing constant assistance! All these little things take energy, but it seems like it should be minimal, and so we’re dismayed by how we feel.

      • Reply Ashley April 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        I have AI diseases as well. Boy does it help when the kids can do the things above on their own! Now it is not constant bending down and moving when in pain. I get myself ready, my daughter does her stuff. I still have days where I’m exhausted enough to cut school off, but I agree…you are in an even harder place when they are more dependent. My hardest thing these days is having the energy to read with and deal with attitude. My girl knows when I will let things slide, and got away with less work this week when I was in a flare, even though she knows what to do, she is young enough to need me beside her or giving a slight push.

  • Reply Angelique April 11, 2016 at 8:57 am

    YES! This is much needed and very timely for me personally. I’ve been coping for years by having mandatory nap/quiet time in the afternoon, but my 18 mo old just gave them up, he climbs out of the pack n play, no interest in the tv except to rewire it, attacks his older siblibgs if I ask them to play with him in his room or the backyard…
    One of the big things for me right now is, I feel like I don’t have the energy for a ton of the fun extras with my kids, so I feel too guilty to do any mother culture type extras for myself. I don’t really have any hobbies except reading, and usually I’m too tired for actual literature and I just end up reading blogs and news. Not good.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Hang in there, Angelique. Until then, I will say that we will talk a lot about the mother culture aspect of all of this.

  • Reply Hollie April 11, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I am looking forward to this! With three under three ( plus an older child I’m educating) I need this series 🙂 I’m averaging between 2-4 hours of sleep a night in this season, so low energy or no energy is certainly my normal!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Yes, sleep deprivation will kill your energy, even if you are usually healthy. Take a nap, Hollie! It sounds like you need it! ♥

    • Reply Kim April 16, 2016 at 5:14 am

      Have you heard of the book “On Becoming Baby Wise”. It is so helpful with getting little ones sleeping through the night….and not just only letting them cry it out. It is a wonderful helpful read. And they have a second one for slightly older little ones. If babies and kids sleep, mommy can sleep too.

      • Reply Hollie April 16, 2016 at 7:31 am

        Yes, I am currently trying (unsuccessfully) to get my four month old on a schedule with the methods in that book. I plan to keep trying though. Thank you! ?

  • Reply Tania April 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

    You must have known what kind of a morning I was having, lol! My energy levels ebb and flow depending on how much of my energy I spend on stressing about stuff. I look forward to this series.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Ha! Yes, I was spying on you the morning I published this, Tania. 😉

  • Reply Dawn April 11, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I definitely am a low energy homeschoolers due to hormones-maybe perimenopause. Every other week is a bad week compounded by irritability. I am so looking forward to this series!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Dawn, I was just reading the other day about the physiology and chemistry behind irritability…I will try to dig that up. It was really fascinating. I was actually think about teen girls at the time — I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind to apply it to US. 🙂

  • Reply Bonnie April 11, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Ahhh! Thank you! I’m looking forward to this. I’ve always had low energy levels, but recently I’ve been hit with over-commitment plus depression, and homeschooling has been almost impossible.
    I’ve felt too lazy/worn out to prepare any food, let alone healthy food that would actually nourish me. And I just want to sleep all the time. Last week, I almost marched down to the local school to enroll a couple of kids. But today, I’m ready for a new start. This is very timely for me!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      You’re welcome, Bonnie! It can be a downward spiral, can’t it? And sometimes it’s hard to identify the best place to pull ourselves out of it.

      True confession: I called my husband more than once in our early years of homeschooling and told him I was going to quit and the kids had to go to school. 🙂

  • Reply Sarah April 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

    And then there’s low energy AND being introverted. I too struggle with feeling guilty about my lack of energy, calling myself lazy. I have great days where so much gets done, and then I think “see, if you stay motivated and focused, you can do it all!” Which proves to be very untrue (cue week-long crash and burn). Pretty sure my lack of energy stems from being overweight and out of shape before the rapid succession of pregnancies and babies in the last 8 years, compounded with a variety of what should have been small health issues. And now with many littles underfoot, there seems to be no time for exercise and a healthy diet…and the cycle goes ’round and ’round viciously…

    Looking forward to this series!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      We will definitely talk about laziness and how to distinguish it from being low-energy.

  • Reply Aren April 11, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Such a great idea! I look forward to reading your thoughts, Brandy!

  • Reply Herbwifemama April 11, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Yay! I have PCOS with insulin resistance, and low energy is a big problem for me. (I actually thought I had Hashimotos last year because of how low energy I felt (among other symptoms)- I don’t, though. I often feel guilty because I feel like I just don’t have enough time to do all I feel I should. Although I’ve often found ways to cope with less energy, including sleep and lowering expectations. But you have so much wisdom, and I can’t wait to learn more about what you have to say about this! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      So when they tested you for Hashimoto’s, did they actually test you for the antithryoglobulin AND the antimicrosomal? Or was it just your thyroid levels? I’m curious…because I think sometimes the tests are not done thoroughly for an accurate diagnosis. I’m not saying that it isn’t just the PCOS, but in my experience it seems like thyroid issues can be super difficult to diagnose.

  • Reply Catie April 11, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Yes! I struggle with this, too, and look forward to hearing your thoughts. I definitely feel that I must just be lazy and unmotivated. The idea that my lethargy and fatigue is due to a medical issue or simply aging and poor diet sounds like an excuse. I really can beat myself up over this issue.

    I hope you can speak to how a homeschool mom can follow a healthy diet while tending to all of her little ones. My diet is very poor. I practically don’t eat all day because I can’t find the energy and time to make a salad. Then I drink a pop in the afternoon to give me a boost, which just makes me crash a few hours later. I know changing my diet would solve a good deal of my energy problems, I just can’t find the energy to cook!

    • Reply Tara April 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Could you make a giant pot of soup (or chili, stew, whatever you like) and have it available so you could just heat it up and get some nourishment quickly? I find it harder make something for myself if I have to actually, um, *make* it at lunch time. If I already have prepared stuff, that seems to work better — either leftovers that just have to be reheated, or the salad ingredients already pre-chopped to just toss together on a plate. Sometimes this doesn’t result in the greatest variety, if it’s a giant pot of soup that gets eaten multiple days, for instance; but I figure it’s better to at least get some food into my body NOW before blood sugar levels crash, crankiness sets in, etc. And this means cooking once and reaping the benefit for a number of days, rather than having to do major cooking every day. A large roast or whole chicken is another good option; stick it in the oven or crockpot and let it do its thing, then have a good bit of meat to use however you like – even if it’s just eating some cold chicken so keep you stable. 🙂 I’ve also been roasting or steaming some vegetables on the weekend. Then I have the prepared meat and some ready-to-eat vegetables (ready-to-reheat, if I don’t want them cold) that can be quickly pulled together for lunch. And then my “salad” with the meat/veg might be just greens with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. It gets some real food into my body, even if it isn’t super-gourmet. 🙂 I’m still working on this issue, but these are the things that have helped me thus far. I don’t like the “desperate for food, need something NOW, but nothing is readily available” feeling!

      • Reply Rachel April 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

        Great advice Tara! I struggle with making my own meals a priority, too. But, since I’m nursing a new baby, I really have to make time to eat to protect my milk supply. It’s tough with four kids 8 and under! I’m surviving with make-ahead food choices that I wrap up and put in the fridge. They can be eaten warm (like thrown in the toaster oven to warm up) or cold. It also needs to be something I can eat one-handed so I can eat while nursing, since that is my “downtime.” I try to keep bean and cheese burritos (I make these on the weekends; they freeze well and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days easily), fruit salad, various sandwich material, and sliced veggies and fruit available in the fridge to quick and easy food choices. I also find things like Luna bars, Cliff bars, or homemade granola bars (when I have a chance to make these, I make them in bulk and freeze the extras), etc., are a great snack to tide me over until I can get a real meal. I do still drink coffee and hot tea, but am working on reducing my dependence on those.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:11 pm

        I wish I had a like button for your comment, Tara. 🙂

        • Reply Tara April 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm

          Haha, I guess a real sentence will have to suffice. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Catie, your issues really could be destabilized blood sugar! EAT, girl! 🙂 I like Tara’s suggestions. I make a protein smoothie every morning at 10am. I am not actually hungry, but we don’t eat lunch until after 1pm, and I know that by then I will be hangry. At first, it was such a pain to build the habit, but it turns out it’s one of the better habits I’ve built into my day. ♥

  • Reply Sharron April 11, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Oh I could use a book on this! One aspect I struggle with is questioning myself, “am I lazy, or is there some physical aspect that is not right”, then also we have some odd health and sleeping issues with my 10 yo which make an uninterrupted nights sleep somewhat rare. I’m looking forward to these posts!!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Okay — YES! The mental dilemma over whether I’m really tired or whether I’m just being lazy…SO hard to unwind that sometimes.

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