My Kids Fight

Hate to disappoint you. We are not a perfect, Christian, homeschool family. Well, we do homeschool and we are Christians … but the perfect part? Therein lies the problem. You see many of us have these high hopes that homeschooling will insure that our kids get along – or that at the very least, will learn how to get along. Of course when things don’t work out the way we expect we are floored.

My Kids Fight! Out of five children there have been arguing and fighting at different times during their lives. Sometimes it was the oldest and the youngest. Other times it was the two youngest. I remember once being so frustrated that I made my oldest two, my son and my daughter sit face-to-face until they could “stand” to be around each other. Their words were “I can’t stand to be around him/her.” Well, that took care of them saying those offending words. The rest took work.

However, I began to see a pattern emerging…one child in particular had difficulty getting along with…well, everyone. My difficult child is a handful. He was a handful as young and even as he got older and we found he struggled academically. Mine was tough love. I expected allot from him, and often he delivered. One thing he learned—and that was to be detail oriented, when it came to what others in the family should and should not do. Unfortunately this perfectionism wasn’t applied to his own life.

Do your kids fight? Homeschooling isn't a magic wand. Our kids are still human. Tips and guidance to help you through.

I know – it’s easy to cry, “Help! My Kids Don’t Get Along!” After the relief that comes with getting it off my chest, I decided some things needed to change and namely me.

  • The way I reacted.
  • The discipline I meted out.
  • The realization that yelling did not help.

I quickly learned that micro-managing could only go so far. I once heard a seminar given by a renowned child discipline advocate that stated when the child is young redistricting bad behavior is necessary but as the child grew we, as parents could relax a bit more. This did not happen in this child’s case. Teaching him self-control proved to be a formidable task and sadly is ongoing. So, what do you do with the difficult child? Or children in general that do not get along? Here are a few of my go-to methods for those times that I am at wits end.

My short list on child behavior modifying techniques:

  1. Pray: When I’m at a loss I ask the Lord in prayer for help, even when it comes to the perfect punishment. HE has been amazing with HIS answers… and believe me, some were short of miraculous in nature in their effectiveness. [Listen to the podcast here for details.]
  2. Punishment vs. Crime: Be sure the punishment fits the “crime” … if your child misbehaves at dinner consider having them eat a cold dinner alone, or doing the dishes. My teenage son has done many dishes when it is not his turn due to causing a fight at the dinner table, or acting rudely. This of course is spelled out way in advance.
  3. Tell your kids what to expect: if you are going into a store, make sure they know to keep their hands behind their backs when looking at things or IN their pockets for little ones. Older children know ahead of time if they break something they will pay for it. Just be clear of expectations.
  4. Make sure you child understands what the punishment will be. If that is not a deterrent, think of another punishment. [You can’t (well you can but it does not go over very well) come up with punishments on the fly… often the punishment is out of anger or frustration and will not curb the event from happening again.]
  5. Repeat back: often I ask my kids to tell me what I said. In that way there is no confusion or the words, “I didn’t know that is what you said!” It is clear to all.
  6. Keep it short. Long explanations are often tuned out – after the first two minutes. Keep it brief and on target.
  7. Encourage. When a child is doing something good, let them know you appreciate it. Catch them and reward good behavior.
  8. Mentor: some children need extra work and practice. When children are young, practice calling their name and having them walk or run toward you. Reward this with a hug and praise. The same thing with hand holding. My grandkids hate to hold hands in the parking lot and I witnessed an accident as a child in the parking lot. So, when they are with me they know to hold my hand, or they will not be allowed to go.
  9. Prepare: Are you prepared to turn the car around on the way to a fun field trip if your children will not behave in the car? Are you prepared to pull off the road when you need to discipline. Believe me, I’ve done both of these things and the reactions are astounding, loud, and are not repeated. It only takes one time of us being firm for our kids to get the idea and respond.
  10. Relax/Anger: parenting isn’t easy. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t get easier… little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems. Righteous anger is fine – reacting out of anger rarely works out well for either party. Be sure your life is filled with prayer and rely on God for that extra strength that is sometimes needed to get through the day!

Remember the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in one day.” It is worth repeating and remembering. Parenting is an ongoing effort and in the process we learn about ourselves, our children and best of all, if done correctly our memories will be wonderful and lasting.

Recommended resources: (affiliate)

Character Building Bundle - 84%!

Need Money For Homeschool Books?

Need money for homeschool books? After all the years of homeschooling I added up the amount of money I’ve spent and let’s just say, I could be driving a luxury car. I’ve homeschooled since 1986 and in that time I’ve purchased thousands and thousands of dollars in curriculum. It was everything from books to math videos (in the hundreds of dollars) to games (one year I spent over $500 in educational games) to educational computer software (thousands – pre-internet) and educational videos.

Where did all these resources go? I made good use of them and still are recycling and using many of those long-ago-purchased products today. That is not to say that I purchased things unwisely or that many books were never used. In this case I often passed them on in homeschool curriculum sales or gave them to friends. There are some things that I believe every homeschool needs and even if there are freebies on the internet, these sources I believe are invaluable.

In fact I’ve created several shows using just books, you know the ones you find in the library. Yes, there are some great ones available. And I love to put lists together. Here is a list of Summer Reading Books, here is a podcast on Living Books, and here is one on creating (and charging others) a Living Books Library. 

Need money for homeschool books

 

What are my MUST haves for every homeschooler?

  1. A Bible that is age appropriate for each child
  2. A good atlas that is grade appropriate.
  3. A historic timeline.
  4. A dictionary (yes, I realize they can hop online but it makes a good reference for those times when the internet – {{gasp}} – is down!
  5. Reading material – historical fiction, biographies, classics, religious titles

That is my short list. My book shelves are floor to ceiling and filled with books and curriculum I’ve collected throughout the years. Many of my favorite resources are no longer in print however they are available online if you dig far enough. I’ll soon post some of my suggestions in an upcoming post. No matter how much I’ve spent buying good curriculum it is still cheaper than private schools and I’m delighted with my children’s educational milestones, and would NOT trade homeschooling for anything in the world!

And – one more thing  – seminars! Right now our seminar bundle is free – grab your set by subscribing to the email list for the network.  And you receive weekly freebies just for our subscribers as a BONUS .

Our bundles change every few months – so that’s more savings just for you.

And, just in time for the shopping season, I’m offering a flash giveaway, (ends 5/24/2017 at 8 am est) Don’t forget to check out the Media Angels website for specials – we have them all the time, and coupon offers to eZine subscribers as well.

So, let me know what you do to save money and visit Carol Topp’s podcast here for great info – about the Myths that Homeschool Moms believe – here.  A real eye opener.

 

PS. Be sure and check out the Build Your Bundle sale for super savings!

 

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

Homeschooling’s number one aim for many families is character building. I know when I started out, I wanted curriculum that built character! How about you? Are you looking for homeschool curriculum that builds character? I’ve been homeschooling since 1993, and I’ve got some favorites to share with you!

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Character Building

When we start thinking about what it means to build our children’s character what do you think about? I think about all the things that go into a child’s heart and mind. What are they watching, listening to, and reading? This never changes as they grow.

I once heard a story of a type of worm that cattle get when they graze that invades the nasal cavity and eventually attacks the brain. This always stuck with me as an example of our children in the world. They graze through so many things. What will invade their hearts and minds? I wanted to make sure that the ratio of things was always in my favor for as long as I had the influence to make that happen.

When my kiddos were very small we used a lot of song and books on tape. Steve Green and Your Story Hour were favorites. My own children even loved Shari Lewis’s One-Minute Bible Stories. Another favorite was the Arch books.

Children get older

As my children grew, it would take more than knowing the stories and hiding God’s word in their hearts, they would need to wrestle with concepts and a little theology to deepen their character. We grew to love family study time and found The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History a good choice for deep thinking that still taught the who, what, when, and where. We began to study the cause and effect of men and their actions in God’s Word and develop an understanding of God’s Providence.

Children as young adults

When my children all became of an age (we had enough overlap) and their homeschool studies took them to more and more independent learning I knew I had to find things that really challenged them! I turned to an in depth study (don’t let the name scare you off!) of Universal History by Ms. Katherine Dang.

History is a great tool to teach character because it allows your children to sit as a witness to those men and women who’ve gone before them and reaped and sowed. It shows them the role of conscience in the life of a believer and why to “go against conscience is neither right nor safe” for it is the “most sacred of all property” and the role of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in forming it to build good character!

For additional character building resources, I recommend:

Raising Children with Good Character by LaToya Edwards (Mommy Jammies Night)

Activities That Teach

activities that teach

At some point in your homeschool career, you may find one or more children, dragging their feet, with little shoulders slumped and heads hung. School just isn’t fun. Just think about it. If you were struggling to learn new material how fun would it be? Not much. Especially for a child who has some learning challenges. School can be frustrating. Or for the bright child–school can be boring. So, anytime is a good time to infuse some fun activities that teach, into your day and spark the creative juices.

Download the printable – a fourteen page eBook by signing up for our ezine here. Or if you are already an email subscriber your freebie is here

There are five important points to consider when creating an environment where activities that teach are fun:

Activities that teachActivities should be fun but have an educational purpose.

There are a ton of science videos out there or blog posts that talk about “fun” activities that will allow learning to take place. However fun without a purpose is, well just fun. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but I will not waste my precious time or that of my children’s having fun during school time if that fun does not have an educational hook. I want my children to be so excited, they want to explore the educational topic on their own. I introduced small little science books to my children. One that caught my son’s eye was a “pond life” book. He loved it. My son took his soon *dog-eared” book out to the pond. He looked things up; he raced inside to get me when something was “SO exciting!” He was about to burst. He put things in categories (sorting), he counted (math), he drew pictures (art), he kept a science journal (art-and-writing), and he learned about the animals that were in the habitat (science). That means he had fun, but it had a purpose.

*A side note here. Sometimes we love our books so much we don’t allow our children to use them to their full potential. I had to let go of my love of books (I truly love them!) and allow my kids to use them outdoors. I had an outdoor copy and an indoor copy to allow myself to let go!

Understand the science behind the fun activities.

“Let’s blow up baggies!” Well, that will spark excitement, but just because you can mix baking soda and vinegar and cause a chemical reaction of expanding gas – strong enough to pop open a zip-locked baggie, doesn’t mean your child understands the scientific principle behind the activity. Do they need to understand the chemical equation? Perhaps not. However, a simple explanation of chemical reactions and how different compounds can create the third compound may be the place to start. My pet peeve is those who say that science is magic. Magic means (to a kid) that there is no answer – it is mysterious. A good magician knows there is science and psychology behind his slight of hand. There is no magic! Don’t fall into the trap of calling science magic or your child will not think they need to discover an answer or a conclusion.

Document your findings.

Did the activity go as planned? Why or why not? If you have a science activity or experiment that did not go according to plan, go back to your notes and figure out what went wrong. Compare it to the instructions. Usually, if you document your activity, you will find exactly where you went wrong. My daughter’s “failed” science fair project won her third place in the Regional Science Fair in chemistry. In science, there is no failed experiments – only experiments that proved your hypothesis was incorrect. This idea works for art projects as well. Often mixing the wrong colors will yield a third or fourth color that can be used. I explain to my children that you can’t mess up art (when painting on canvas) because y
ou can always use white paint over the entire thing and start again … or white out one section and have a “do-over.”

Have the supplies on hand.

How frustrating is it to do an activity and not have supplies on hand? Very! That is why I created “lab” kits with easy to find household supplies. Even some chemistry items are easily found in most home cupboards. In my book Teaching Science and Having Fun (MediaAngels, Inc. Publishing) I list the products and supplies to have on hand to allow your children to succeed. And how wonderful to say to your kids, Please get the “chemistry box” or the “physics box, ” and you are ready to go!

Have fun. Make sure your child is engaged and taking part.

So many times I hear parents say the kids are bored when they do activities. Upon further questioning, I find out that the children are watching while the parent does the activity! No wonder the child is bored. Parents–if you want your children to learn, allow them to be the ones who complete the activities. Stop being helicopter parents. Allow your kids to make mistakes. That is how real learning takes place.

I have a podcast on Wow Science Experiments coming soon. Please look for that on VintageHomeschoolMoms.com as well as the podcast Activities That Teach – Podcast 194.

~ Felice Gerwitz hated science as a child, as a teacher, and as a homeschool mom, but God in His infinite wisdom and mercy gave her two children who loved anything related to science. If he had not started her off slowly with two children (ending with five – and now seven grandchildren), she would not be an author of science-based curriculum nor the owner and operator of Media Angels, Inc. You can find Felice cooking up ideas in the kitchen or on her notepad of ideas for future blog posts and podcasts. Felice lives with four of her children (one is married) in Ft. Myers, Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Needs Homeschooling 101

special needs homeschooling 101

Special Featured Author Dr. Jan Bedell

Do you have a child with special learning needs?  While every child is unique and needs specialized attention, some seem to require more. They struggle to progress through typical milestones and traditional curriculum and approaches don’t help them.   That was my dilemma with my first born, Jenee’.  When she was 5-6 years old, I remember thinking that I could do better than what I was observing in her school classroom but being educated as a public school teacher in the 70’s the public school mindset is all you know. That is until God opened my eyes of understanding for a different way. When Jenee’ was 9, God led me to home school and it changed my life. Homeschooling was the best decision I ever made. If you are concerned that you might not have the skills or training, don’t be.  God will show you the way; he will equip you as he calls you.

No matter where you are in your journey with your special needs child, whether you are just now considering home school for this special person in your life or are a veteran, all need encouragement and equipping past our current knowledge level.  My prayer is that you find that in Podcast #25, “Special Needs Homeschooling 101.” In this episode, I will share more of my journey and how God led me every step of the way.

Fear can be one of the biggest battles for a mom of a special needs child. What does the future hold for this child? What if people make fun of him or misinterpret his action? What will happen when I am not here to help her? Will friends be a part of his life? How do I afford all these therapies that she needs? Remember this: fear is like a magnet that goes into the future and pulls toward you what you do not want. In Job 3:25, Job said, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” God tells us 365 times in the Bible not to fear.  Having a child that seems to be more vulnerable than most makes these admonishments not to fear easier “read” than “done.” It is important that you push back against these fears as they are counter-productive and often cause the child to experience anxiety as well. What’s a mom to do?  Well, when you are tempted to fear, replace that thought with this one: Faith goes into the future and pulls toward you what you do want.  I often tell the parents of my clients to think of it this way. The God of the Universe that flung the stars into their exact place in the sky has our precious little or big ones right in the palm of his hand.  How much more secure can we be?

Be sure to listen to Brain Coach Tips #25: Special Needs Homeschooling 101 on the Ultimate Home School Radio Network. This podcast, sponsored by Little Giant Steps, contains some specific strategies and curriculum recommendations to make life easier for you and your child.  It airs April 13, 2017 and includes:

  1. How I laughed more and cried more over my special child than anything else in life.
  2. Seeing what God might be doing in you through the experience of having a special needs child
  3. Creating and celebrating every small step along the way.
  4. Keeping yourself encouraged
  5. Equipping yourself for success through The NeuroDevelopmental Approach to Life.

About the author

Dr. Jan Bedell is an author and creates a podcast weekly on the topic of special needs, on Brain Coach Tips, here. She is the creator of a dynamic curriculum for parents of children who learn differently. Her program and seminars have given hope to many. Visit her website at Little Giant Steps.

Homeschooling with the Principle Approach, an Overview

Homeschooling with the Principle Approach an Overview

homeschooling principle approach overview

I’ve been homeschooling my four children since 1997. My youngest child will graduate next year. Over the years I’ve seen many homeschooling methods rise. Homeschoolers are smart cookies and tend to seek the best for their families.

A little of my story…

My oldest child had been in a private Christian school, classical in nature. He would come home in the evenings with homework that consisted of repetitious parotting. The idea was learning took place by rote memorization. It made sense at the time, but I did feel strongly we could do just as well at home without the private school price tag.

We got a copy of World Magazine in the mail and ran across an ad for the Noah Plan. It’s idea of appealing to Scripture as our source of reasoning spoke to my heart. We ordered the Plan.

The plan came and I sat on the floor surrounded by a giant dictionary and big red books. And I cried! I was overwhelmed! My own re-education was about to begin. And that’s where we’ll begin today, with a little education. 😉

I’ll share the rest of my story another day.

Defining the Principle Approach

So, what IS the Principle Approach? It’s the re-discovery and re-statement of the historic truths or principles of God’s Word on which the character of our American founding was built. It’s the Christian method of reasoning from the Bible and from it how to comprehend all subjects. Yes, all.

Seven Key Principles of America’s Christian History and Government

There are seven key principles that were identified and restored by Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater.

  • God’s Principle of Individuality
  • Christian Principle of Self-government
  • America’s Heritage of Christian Character
  • Conscience is the most sacred of all property.
  • Christian form of American Government
  • How the Seed of Local Self-government is Planted
  • Christian Principle of American Political Union

What the Principle Approach Can Accomplish

A Principle is “the source, origin, or cause of a thing; that from which a thing proceeds.” – Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Did you know our nation had a Gospel purpose? Read the Mayflower Compact and discover for yourself. The Principle Approach can restore this by the radical idea that a new civilization is built upon a new man (Christ, the new Adam) through regeneration and the resulting liberty of the Christian individual extends to the civil sphere.

Do you know what it means to think governmentally? We do it everyday. It’s simply asking “who or what is in control”, who is doing the directing or regulating. Think about a self-governed person, one who has been redeemed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This individual might extend Biblical principles in his home, church, and civil sphere.

The 4 R’s of the Principle Approach

Children (and teacher!) are taught a method of learning to uncover universal principles and how to apply them. This is called 4 R’ing.

  • Research- studying God’s word to identify basic principles of live and living
  • Reason-reasoning from the principles identified and applying them to homeschool subjects (or any subject)
  • Relate- expounding the principles and relating the truths to individual Christian character
  • Record- the use of writing to create a written record of the way in which the principles are applied. A notebook (sometimes called the Notebooking Method) is the tool used.

The Distinctives of the Principle Approach

  • Demonstrates that the history of Christianity and the history of America can’t be separated
  • Restores our heritage of Christian scholarship
  • Brings both student and subject into harmony with the Word of God
  • Brings a unity of subject through a diversity of teachers and subjects
  • Recovers the Biblical origin and purpose of each subject by copious use of defining our terms
  • Unifies Biblical principles with supportive ideas and facts
  • Produces Christian scholarship and character necessary to supporting our families, churches, and nation

Feeling overwhelmed with that information? Don’t worry! We just needed a big picture to start. I’m confident anyone can learn the Principle Approach. I did. My four children have. I’ve taught numerous moms. You can do it!

Additional resources:

Education methods: The Principle Approach http://ultimateradioshow.com/education-methods-principle-approach/

Make Your Homeschool One-of-a-Kind http://ultimateradioshow.com/making-your-homeschool-one-of-a-kind/

Mighty Works of God http://pilgriminstitute.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=267&Itemid=19

 

Thank you to our sponsor:

Smurfs the Lost Village sponsor

Get your free Christian discussion guide here. 

 

Using Movies to Teach

Using Movies to Teach

Using movies to teach in your homeschool

Going to the movies as a family today is hard. Before you even get to the issues of time, money, and motivation, you have to discern what’s appropriate for a family to see together.

Not easy. 

We’re bombarded with so many messages that are contrary to family and faith when we walk in a movie theater, our tendency is to skip this form of recreation completely.

What if, though, as Christians we redeem those movies that do make the list of family friendly? What if we could use movies to teach in our homeschool?

A look at Smurfs: The Lost Village

from PluggedIn review:

“The past two big-screen Smurf outings carried a relatively high-price-tag combination of live-action and animation. They were Hollywood movie-template concoctions with just enough silly, just enough sweet and just enough kick-’em-in-the-Smurfside snark to supposedly “appeal to the whole family.”

Thankfully, this newest Smurf flick sorta shoves, er, Smurfs that cynical strategy onto the junk heap and goes back to the kid-movie drawing board. Frankly, the Smurfs: The Lost Village‘s creators do something really brave: They make a movie … just for kids.

Yeah, there’s a just a dash of potty humor. But this all-animated kid’s fare never winks at the adults watching. It never splashes viewers with pop-culture gunk or doles out tucked-beneath-the-surface innuendo that it hopes little guys won’t catch. Nope, Smurfs: The Lost Village is a rollicking story aimed exclusively at youngsters.

Don’t be locked into someone else’s label for you, it tells the tykes. Give of yourself, care for others, do your best, and most of all, be there for the ones you love. Why? Well, because those are all the right things to do.

And that’s a pretty Smurftastic set of messages for kids … and for parents, too, come to think of it.”

———

Redeeming qualities of Smurfs: the Lost Village

Five teachable themes*

 

  1. The Source of our Identity. Smurfette must learn who she is in relation to the other Smurfs. In a day when identity is a buzzword, we can ask our children, “Who are you?” and teach them they are God’s handiwork.
  2. A Servant’s Heart. One way we discover who we are is through serving others. We can ask our children, “How can you serve God to show love?”
  3. Courage to Act. In a culture that shouts to just “go with the flow” and leave bravery behind, Smurfette is an example of bravery when she sets out to discover what’s beyond their Smurf village. We can encourage our children to follow her lead and remind them of the ordinary men and women of Scripture who did great things.
  4. Our Past Doesn’t Define Us. Smurfette’s origins want to keep her from acts of bravery and the discovery of who she is. We can use this as a springboard to point to Scripture’s teachings on Grace. We can share the Gospel with our children.
  5. Loved into Being. The beautiful message of Papa Smurf’s care and love for Smurfette is a redeeming type of love that shows love overcomes evil. We can ask, “How did God love humankind into being?”

My teens and I will be seeing Smurfs: The Lost Village and look forward to the discussion it generates. Let me know what you think when you see it!

*Five teachable themes taken from the Smurfs Discussion Guide made available from Affirm Films.

FREE Download Faith Based Discussion Guide Smurfs

 

smurfs movie the lost village

Smurfs: The Lost Village is a sponsor of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. Disclosure. 

Family Friendly Staycation Ideas for Homeschoolers

Family friendly staycation ideas for homeschool families

Family friendly staycation ideas for homeschoolers

Wouldn’t it be fun to play a vacation that didn’t involve 20 hours in the car? It’d be great to save money, too! Summer is right around the corner and vacation planning starts now.

Here are some fun ideas you can do as a family that children of all ages could enjoy! And you don’t have to wait until summer.

Camping

Search your local camping sites and you can find cabins for rental. You don’t even have to go any further than your own backyard. Even a makeshift tent will do! Here’s one idea: Backyard tent. 

Drive and Picnic

Load the family up head out for a day-trip! Keep the destination from the kids. Pack a picnic lunch. Keep the electronics and devices off. Sing, talk, and have fun. See what’s to be seen no more than two hours from home!

It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy!

Date with a Book

If you’re a family that appreciates time at home and a staycation to you means staying at home, try a date with a book. Each family member wraps up a copy of their favorite book to share with another family member. You can write the description of the contents (don’t give away the title!).  Here are some fun ideas: Date with a Book

Visit an Old Family Friend (or relative you’ve not seen in ages)

It seems today people have forgotten the fun of visiting friends and family who live a little further than across town. This one will take a little more planning and consent from the party you’ll visit. Come up with a hostess gift as a family to share. And your favorite foods or dessert!

Each Night a New Adventure!

A week’s staycation affords you seven different opportunities to try new things! Library, museum, nature center, park, roller skating, swimming, or a movie! You’ll sleep soundly each night from the adventure, but in the comfort of your own bed. Each day will bring a new thing to do.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, do anything fancy, or be gone from home for days and days to enjoy a good time with your family. Keep a journal, take pictures, make memories!

 

Sponsor:

Sony Pictures Smurfs: The Lost Village

Smurfs the Lost Village

You can download the FREE faith-based guide for families for Smurfs: The Lost Village Smurfs: The Lost Village Discussion Guide

 

Move Past the Juggling Act and Learn to Flourish


Moving past the juggling and learn to flourish

Are you paralyzed by such a long to-do list that you don’t know where to start? Do you drag through the day exhausted, thinking only of how much longer it is before you can finally collapse into bed . . . just to get up and start all over the next day? Is your life so dominated by the urgent that you never get to the important?

Balancing all the responsibilities of home life, home school, and home business can often seem overwhelming—better suited to Supermom than ordinary mortals. But take heart! There are practical ways to manage your life so that you can flourish. Here are some of the best strategies I’ve learned in 22 years as a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom.

Don’t Juggle—Balance!

We often talk about juggling our many responsibilities. The problem is that the juggling act inevitably leads to dropping the ball. Sooner or later, everything will crash—including you. It’s more useful to think in terms of balance. Imagine a performer on the high wire at a circus or crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Tightrope walkers make frequent small adjustments to maintain their balance; they move a little to the right and a little to the left, adjusting gradually without drastic shifts. That image of maintaining balance rather than juggling can make a powerful difference in the way we approach daily life.

When we’re caught up in the juggling act, we think in terms of crisis management, resulting in a triage approach to life: We ignore the things that aren’t going to be done no matter what, ignore the things that will be taken care of anyway, and give all our attention to the current crisis.

You just can’t live that way for very long. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to find a pace that you can maintain for the long haul. Rushing frantically from one deadline or crisis to the next will burn you out and eventually injure innocent bystanders—your family. Constantly operating in triage mode is a signal that your life is like a disaster scene.

So don’t think in terms of crisis management. Don’t even think in terms of time management. Think in terms of life management—balancing all of life in the real world.

Find Peace in the Space between the Ideal and Reality

One of my most fundamental principles for life management is this: Find peace in the space between the ideal and reality. The ideal is what you would do and have if you could do and have anything you wanted without any complications or the hindrances of an ordinary life. The reality is your everyday life—the facts that you have to deal with. No use whining about that. The real question is: What are you going to do in the middle?

Once you accept that no one can “do it all,” you realize that it all boils down to prioritizing. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to other things, so be very intentional about what you choose. Opportunity does not equal obligation. Figure out what it is that only you can do or should do, and focus on those things. Eliminate unnecessary activities, and delegate or outsource tasks that have to be done, but not necessarily by you.

Set Written, Specific, Measurable Goals

Once you’ve decided what you need to focus on, setting goals will help keep you on track. Writing down your goals makes them more real and helps you take them more seriously. Goals must be specific and measurable. If you can’t measure something, how can you know if you did it? Sharing your goals with a mastermind team or accountability partner will help keep you on track.

Set both short-term and long-term goals. Building our lives primarily around short-term tasks keeps us focused on the urgent rather than the important. Instead, start with a long-term vision for your life and build your yearly goals around that. Then you can plan each month, week, and day in alignment with that vision.

Setting goals in 3 major categories—personal, family (including homeschooling), and business—helps you see the balance (or lack of it) in your life each week. You won’t always have a perfect balance among the categories—and it’s not just about the number of items in each group. Some weeks will necessarily lean more toward one area than others. But if you often have 25 items in the business list, 5 in family, and 0 in personal, you’re headed for burnout fast!

Take Care of Yourself

Many moms neglect taking care of themselves, but you simply can’t nurture, provide for, and educate your children well if you’re always on the edge of burnout. Make time for personal rest, renewal, relaxation, and even recreation. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and drinking plenty of water.

When we get bogged down in the difficulties and challenges of our busy lives, we start drooping like a wilted plant that hasn’t been watered in a long time. But it’s the flourishing plant—one that has been well tended, with the right balance of good soil, water, and light—that grows and offers beauty or nourishment. When you are flourishing, you can take better care of your family so that they too will flourish.

God Is Faithful

Even with the best strategies and goals, things won’t always go exactly as you plan. But if God has called you to homeschool your children, He will provide the strength, patience, grace, resources, and time to do it. May your family and your life be a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

 

Homeschool Podcasts You Don’t Want to Miss

Homeschool podcasts you don't want to miss

Homeschool Podcasts You Don’t Want to Miss

What is a podcast?

If you’re new to podcasts, it might help to begin with explaining what a podcast is!  “Simply put, a Podcast is a series of audio or video recordings, that you can subscribe to and listen to whenever you like.” – The Podcast Host.

This makes it easy to listen to your favorite individuals in areas that are important to you and your family, such as homeschooling and parenting.

On the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network you can listen to podcasts by streaming directly on the website for any of the show hosts. You can also subscribe to the shows via iTunes or Google Play and the new shows will automatically load to your subscribed shows. Easy peasy.

How will homeschool podcasts benefit my homeschool?

As a busy homeschooling family, you may wonder how adding one more thing to do to your day will benefit your homeschool. With the wide variety of homeschool podcasts to choose from there are so many ways you can reap the benefits!

  • encouragement- it’s not easy to get away to a homeschool conference. With the push of the “play” button you can listen to a pep-talk from your favorite speaker.
  • methods and homeschool philosophy-  you can listen to ways to homeschool.
  • homeschool helps- math, grammar, writing … there’s a podcast to help.

Homeschool Podcasts You Don’t Want to Miss

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the great homeschool podcasts, just a list of favorites according to listeners and a few of my own.

Do you have a favorite show post or podcast show on the Network? I’d love to hear which podcasts speak to you!

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Walk this way giveaway

 

 

 

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