How to Use Personality to Overcome Procrastination In Your Homeschool

Hey homeschoolers! Perfectionism is an obstacle to getting more done and certainly to enjoying your homeschooling. In today’s episode, I will discuss how understanding your own and your kids’ personality can help you get past perfectionism and on to enjoying your homeschool journey again.
Before I dive in, I want to encourage you to follow my Psychowith6 page on Facebook. There I will be sharing regular Facebook Live videos where I can continue you to provide you with homeschool sanity from the comfort of your couch. I can also talk with you in the comments and get to know you, and that something I love to do. Perfectionism can look different depending on your personality. In fact, you may not even recognize your struggle as perfectionism with some personalities. There are four personality types that I will discuss in terms of perfectionism.

Perfectionism in the Sanguine Personality

The first personality type is the Sanguine. This fun-loving personality is the least likely to have a problem with perfectionism, you may think, as you observe a messy room or school space. But it is perfectionism that contributes to the mess. Sanguines tend to believe that they must have devoted periods of time to do every bit of the work or they can’t even get started. If the Sanguine doesn’t have all the tools and ideas and the time, she will move on to something that seems a lot more fun. To help you or your Sanguine child overcome perfectionism, turn getting started into a game. In my book A Year of Living Productively, I discuss the randomized task list and Autofocus as approaches that can help us take action without the perfect circumstances and without the chance to finish the work. The idea is that even doing a little on a selected task counts. We can train ourselves and our kids that all we expect is for them to get started. That might mean getting out the calculator or decluttering five expired food items from the pantry. As mom, you can choose one small organizing task each day in your Organized Homeschool Life planner to develop the organizing habit apart from perfectionism. When I was a child, I believed that a clean room included organized dresser drawers. Invariably, that’s where I would start. I would get lost in the items in my drawers and my room would end up looking messier than it had when I started. With a child like this, you want to clarify what you want done. Had my mother said “Get your bed made and everything off the floor put away,” I might have had better luck. The Sanguine would do well to reflect on Philippians 1:6. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Sanguines tend to feel a lot of shame about their imperfection and avoid it. But God is at work in us, imperfect as we are.

Perfectionism and the Choleric Personality

The Choleric personality likes to have control. If the Choleric doesn’t get the results and especially the cooperation she expects, she may give up. If your child doesn’t consistently get his work done or if the kids balk at starting school or if a curriculum you purchased isn’t helping you meet your goals, you may be tempted to throw out the whole notion of homeschooling. If you have a high-control, choleric child, the curriculum is confusing, the teacher of your online class isn’t engaging, or there is no direct correlation between the work and your child’s goals, your child may refuse to do any of it. The source of perfectionism for the Choleric is desire for control. If you’re a Choleric parent, you may think the solution is to either quit homeschooling or to crack down with strict discipline on your choleric child. But neither of these approaches may be best. Instead, consider giving your child some control. Perhaps the curriculum could be changed or modified. Perhaps the class could be dropped or done with less focus. Perhaps you could give your child choice over when work could be completed or even how much of it seems reasonable to do. My Choleric child was told he only had to do enough exercises in his language arts workbook to understand the concepts. So to exercise control, he completed every single one and enjoyed showing me that he did so. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” While desire for control can be a blessing, it has its limits. To overcome perfectionism, Cholerics must respect those limits.

Perfectionism and the Melancholy Personality

The Melancholy is the personality we most often think of with respect to perfectionism. The desire for perfectionism is fundamental to this personality, though we all crave perfection and completeness. We would love for life to be as God originally intended. The Melancholy personality often takes others’ failures to do things perfectly as a personal attack. The towel that isn’t put back on the rack neatly or the letters that aren’t formed correctly are thoughtless and inconsiderate. Of course, this is not case–even if you’ve told them and told them. As we’ve already determined, others don’t necessarily share our motivation for acting as they do. The Melancholy’s desire for completion should be honored when possible. Follow the schedule when you can. If that’s impossible, make it a realistic routine instead. Also give your Melancholy child permission to redo work or tests to get 100%. This permission helps immensely with perfectionism. If you’re a Melancholy parent, I encourage you to spend time in hobbies or projects that can be completed. Homeschooling and parenting are never ending. Finishing something is very rewarding to a melancholy and other personalities, too. Put boundaries around perfectionism. Perfectionism in the Melancholy may be related to anxiety. You’ll want to listen to the episode I did on anxiety if that’s an issue for you. Give your child a number of attempts or a time limit and then have her recognize the anxious thoughts that come afterward. Doing some truth journaling or discussion of these thoughts can be helpful. If the thought is, “If the handwriting isn’t perfect, then I’m a bad student,” have your child challenge that thought with truth. Is that really true? Plenty of doctors’ success in school would argue otherwise. And what does it mean if you’re a bad student? You’re not valuable? Einstein’s life contradicts that notion. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” Melancholies want to keep relationships primary, not perfect work. After all, we could not be saved if God expected perfection in us apart from His Son.

Perfectionism and the Phlegmatic Personality

The Phlegmatic’s perfectionism is often motivated by a desire for peace. If a Phlegmatic fears disappointment or anger with an imperfect job, he will procrastinate. This is especially true with decisions. My son kept putting off making a decision about continuing piano lessons. He wanted to make the perfect decision and not upset me or the piano teacher. I persisted in telling him that I would not be unhappy either way, but that he had to make the decision. He chose not to continue and I could see him holding his breath to see my reaction. I complimented him on making a decision. He did not take piano lessons again but taught himself after learning guitar. Phlegmatics need reassurance that they will have our respect after doing a job or making a decision imperfectly. Otherwise anxiety will keep them stuck. Make sure that compliments far outweigh constructive criticism. I find this to be an issue with kids’ writing in particular. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Even when we make the wrong choice, God is with us and working all things together for our good. Make sure to give Phlegmatics guilt-free leisure time. If they cannot have couch potato time without us making them feel lazy, they will struggle to get their work done. If you’re struggling to get your work done, make sure you give yourself guilt-free leisure time, too. I like to plan it as my reward each day.

Conclusion

The solution to perfectionism isn’t one-size-fits-all. The source of it is often rooted in personality and so are the strategies for overcoming it. Join me next time as we discuss what every homeschooler needs to know about science. Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Create Margin In Your Homeschool

Hey, homeschoolers! I have learned a lot in this busy season. Homeschooling is more popular than ever. That means that business has been booming for me. That’s a good thing! But it has presented me with new time management challenges. What I’ve learned is that I need margin. That’s what I want to discuss in this episode: what margin is and how we can create it in our homeschools.

Before I do that, I want to share a resource you can use to create margin in your day: my book A Year of Living Productively. The book is my review of more than 80 different time management approaches. With this one book, you won’t have to read dozens of other books on productivity. Instead, you can turn to the approaches that are most likely to work for you, read the instructions, and give them a test yourself. I’ve been doing more experimenting during this busy season and my reviews in the book keep me from trying things that I know aren’t likely to work. You can find the book on Amazon or at grammargalaxybooks.com/shop. Now for this week’s topic: How to Create Margin in Your Homeschool. First, what is margin? You might call it buffer, unscheduled time, or rest. Whatever you call it, it’s essential that we have it in our days.

God created the Sabbath as margin.

The Israelites were constantly looking for ways around the Sabbath–as though it were a punishment or a way to ruin their weekend. Instead, Sabbath is a gift. Jesus said the Sabbath was created for us, not us for the Sabbath. Sabbath is for rest. Sabbath is for time with God. And Sabbath is to remember that we are not God. When we don’t have a day off each week, the likelihood of burnout and illness is high. Our kids need a day of rest, too. That day doesn’t have to be Sunday. If you serve the church, Sunday is a workday for you. Another day could be Sabbath for you. Yes, we tend to have other commitments on our Sabbath day. But Sabbath commitments shouldn’t be the same as other days’ commitments. So a time to visit family, attend a Bible study, or even volunteer can fit into a day of rest. But we also need Sabbath for time with God. Attending church is an excellent way of spending time with the Lord and fellowshipping with believers. But we can use the time to do more Bible reading, prayer, and journaling. If you sing or play an instrument, Sabbath is the day to make time for this. Listen to music that fills your soul. Go for a walk. Spend time in nature. Finally, we need Sabbath to remember that we are not God. So many times I have been tempted to work on Sundays, and honestly, I have given in. I do not trust that I can get everything done that must be done without doing that. This is my lack of faith in God. He hasn’t given me more to do than can be completed in six days. Yes, I can fritter away the time that should be dedicated to working. But even when I’ve done that and confessed it, God has been faithful to enable me to get the important things done without working on Sundays. When we take a day of rest, we are reminded that we aren’t essential. Only God is. He will accomplish His work with or without us and He commands us to rest and renew. I want you to know that I am preaching to myself here!

Establish a margin day.

Decide on a day a week that will be your Sabbath, but also give yourself a day for added margin. When we plan to accomplish too much in six days, there is no place but the Sabbath day for the overflow to go. So start planning five days of work, leaving one day as your margin day. Or, if you are planning a 5-day school week, plan four days of work, leaving a fifth day as your margin day. Saturday is my margin day. The most difficult part of this is refusing to plan how to use your margin day ahead of time. It can become like a tax refund. A tax refund should be margin money–bonus money that adds more cushion to your account should you need it. But tax refunds are typically already spent by the time they’re received. Often they’re spent many times over! That’s what we can do with a margin day if we aren’t cautious. We can tell ourselves that we’ll skip math, that we won’t meal plan, that we won’t start on that work or volunteer project now because we after all, we have the margin day! Now we can relax. But more things will come up to interfere with our plans for the week. We tell ourselves we’ll just do our regular homeschool schedule on margin day, but what about all the other projects that have been allocated for that day? We can end up so overwhelmed on margin day that we don’t want to do anything. We blow everything off and either have to stay up late to complete time-sensitive tasks, or we begin a new week feeling behind and cranky. We may even blame our families for our predicament. The solution is to do our best to complete our planned activities each day. At the end of the week, any legitimately unfinished tasks can be completed on margin day.

Plan a time block for margin.

To make effective use of margin day, we need margin in the rest of our days. If we try to squeeze too much into a day, we will never finish what we plan. Margin day will be overloaded. Interruptions and technical problems and underestimates of time required happen to every homeschooling family. So our days have to take that into account. Plan a block of time that will have nothing scheduled but is specifically for unfinished tasks from the day. Like margin day, this time can quickly become planned when we don’t feel like doing something now. Avoid this habit and keep your margin block open. I think of this time like a professional keeping time for walk-in customers. If you don’t keep that time unscheduled, you won’t be able to address the things that come up. You’ll be stressed out and overwhelmed. I have struggled with keeping my daily margin time unplanned. I either tell myself I can use my margin block for tasks I don’t feel like doing now or that I’ll use it as free time. I can certainly use the time as free time if nothing has come up, but some task usually comes walking in. One of the things I’m doing to create margin in my days is to be very focused in the mornings. I am not using a traditional homeschool schedule with two high school students at home, so I have the morning hours to do my work. I have signed up for an accountability time-blocking program called Caveday. If you are motivated, comfortable being on camera via Zoom, and thrive with structure and accountability, I think you would love it. Check out caveday.org.

Create margin in your workload.

Finally, we can create margin in our workloads. I interviewed Amy Michaels about the 3-week month. I love the concept. You make progress on your goal 3 weeks in a month, leaving the half weeks of the month available as margin. Honestly, I have struggled in implement it because I have tried to stuff 5 weeks plus of work into those three weeks of a month. I keep thinking I’ll have the half weeks as margin, but I don’t. The solution is to focus on getting less done. I’ve made some decisions about my workload that I think will help. I’m not going to produce a podcast during the margin weeks. That means I will produce 3-4 episodes a month, but never five. I am considering a haitus of my weekend newsletter and instead only sending out the podcast notifications. Making decisions about what to eliminate in my homeschooling was always painful for me. I wanted to do it all! But I don’t want the negative effects of trying to do it all. I suspect you don’t either. When decluttering clothes, the advice is to put items into a maybe or review box for later. You’re not saying no forever but just for now. Put curriculum and activities into a maybe box to review next semester. If you need more help with this, I’ll link to my episode on curriculum overwhelm in the show notes. I’m going to put my weekly newsletter into a maybe box for next year. That feels so much better than saying I’m not going to write a newsletter anymore. I’ve heard from several families who use Grammar Galaxy that they’re concerned it isn’t enough work. That’s what we want. We want to feel like we have margin to add other reading and writing and even fun grammar exercises to the regular curriculum. Feeling like it’s not much is what motivates our kids and us to continue. Look for ways to decrease your workload so it feels like it’s not enough. Then you’re on track to creating margin in your day. It’s easier to add than to take away.

Conclusion

When we have sabbath, a margin day, a margin time block within our days, and a decreased workload, we will experience the peace and productivity we crave in our homeschools. Join me next week as we discuss how to use personality to overcome perfectionism in our homeschools. Have a happy homeschool week!

More Homeschool Curriculum Sanity

Hey, homeschoolers!

Last time I shared how you can find curriulum for homeschool sanity. This week, I have an amazing resource for you. I interview Heather Bowen of HomeschoolCurriculumFair.com.

Before I share the interview, I want to let you know that the audiobook version of Protostar, Grammar Galaxy Volume 2 is now available. Response to the audio version of the first volume has been strong. Tom McLean, the narrator, does an incredible job of bringing the book to life and adding humor with his voices. The audiobook is 20% off through September 10th. Add the audiobook to your purchase of the Protostar text and receive an additional $5 off.

Be sure to join the Top Picks Curriculum Fair group on Facebook and check out the curriculum website mentioned.

Join me next time as I discuss creating margin in our homeschools.

Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Choose Curriculum For Homeschool Sanity

Hey homeschoolers!

Few things cause homeschoolers as much anxiety as choosing curriculum. I understand that. Curriculum can cost us a lot of time and money, and it can be frightening to make the wrong choice.

I created a tool to help you in The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner.  The Curriculum Challenge includes a form for rating curriculum on several criteria. You can download it for free at Psychowith6.com/TOHLPlanner.

#1 Determine your learning and teaching styles

The first consideration for choosing homeschool curriculum is to determine your learning and teaching styles. When I began homeschooling, I was attracted to curricula that was reading based. I love reading to my kids and my kids enjoyed being read to. A reading-based curriculum like Sonlight made sense to me. However, I had three young boys when I began homeschooling, so when I heard about the unit study curriculum Konos that would have my kids engaging in hands-on learning, I knew I had to check it out.

I honestly did not relish the idea of all the crafts and extra work required in using the hands-on curriculum, but what I wanted more than my own happiness was kids’ love of learning. I do not regret choosing Konos, even though I was sewing and painting and cooking while pregnant and chasing toddlers. My kids loved it and when we added co-op activities in our home once a week, we had found the perfect fit. I had friends to teach and spend time with. My kids made close friends and we all had a blast.

I am not saying that every homeschooler should learn using unit studies. I know homeschoolers who prefer textbooks. I know others who prefer all-in-one online learning. And still others who prefer in person or online classes in their homeschooling. What I do encourage you to do is to be honest about what you and your kids benefit from the most. There is no point in choosing a curriculum that is a good fit for friends or gets rave reviews on Facebook if it’s not your or your children’s style.

A big part of the consideration should be whether your child learns bast through reading, listening, watching, or doing. If you have no idea, take time now use materials that are in each of these modalities. Download free samples from publishers websites or use curriculum that you can borrow or get for free. I share free samples of Grammar Galaxy here.

#2 Determine your approach to homeschooling

Once you identify preferred learning styles, you are ready for the next question: What is you were approach to homeschooling? How do you believe that children learn best? Do you believe that the traditional textbook approach will prepare your children to go back to school? Do you like having everything laid out for you so you can check off the boxes and satisfy any educational requirements you have to meet? Do you believe that technology is the way of the future, and your children would benefit from learning digitally now? Or do you believe that classically trained students are superior? Do you want your children to be challenged to learn more than what is expected in traditional schools? Do you believe that children learn best by studying subjects from many different disciplines? If your kids are also hands-on learners, a unit study approach could be perfect.

Do you believe that children learn best with a gentle approach to learning that incorporates living books and nature study? A Charlotte Mason approach may be up your alley. Do you believe children’s studies should be interest-led and practical? An unschooling approach may be right for you.

There are numerous homeschooling approaches that you may want to adopt or sample from. I am an eclectic homeschooler and I recently wrote for IHomeschool network that I think every homeschooler should consider eclectic homeschooling and choose the best of any approach they like. If there are approaches that you aren’t interested in, you can eliminate them from your search list. Remember that you aren’t making a permanent choice but a choice to start with.

#3 Consider how much time you have

The third consideration for choosing curriculum is time. If you have a long list of reading and exercises and activities that are meant to be accomplished each day and you are going to be working full-time from home this year, be realistic about what you can accomplish. It is true that you do not have to do every prescribed activity. But if you routinely skip exercises, books, and activities, you may feel behind or just overwhelmed by the expectations. Your children may feel that way, too.

As with anything, you should choose curriculum that makes you feel like you’re not doing enough. How can I say to choose curriculum that makes you feel like you’re not doing enough? Because that way it will be easy to add activities and expand on what you’re doing. It’s much harder to decide what to eliminate. My elementary language arts curriculum, Grammar Galaxy, takes just 10 to 15 minutes three or four days a week, especially in the earlier levels. Some parents, especially those new to homeschooling, or anxious about lessons that don’t take more time. The reason I created the curriculum the way I did is because children engage in language arts study throughout the school day. They are reading and writing and talking. You want your curriculum to leave your children wanting more. In fact, this is one of the ways that we can motivate our children. I love it when I hear that kids beg to do more grammar galaxy and are upset when mom wants to take a break over the summer. That means I have done my job and mom has done her job by not overloading kids to the point that they hate their study.

Even classroom teachers reserve space in class time for current events, seasonal activities, and new ideas you have for teaching. Why wouldn’t we do the same? Unlike classroom teachers, we don’t have to keep our kids busy doing seatwork all day. I encourage you not to fall into the trap of babysitting by homework. I supply Grammar Galaxy subscribers a monthly calendar of fun, short language arts activities to add to the curriculum.

Some new homeschoolers have the idea that they will be able to put a stack of books next to their students and the student will dutifully complete the day’s work without any help from them. This fantasy, and it is a fantasy, is honestly not what you want. Completely independent learning is something reserved for mature students. It is not homeschooling and lacks the best part of homeschooling, in my opinion, which is the relationship that we enjoy with our kids. If your child is coming from a school background and is new to homeschooling, he or she will be wanting that time with you. Read with your children, go over the math problems with your child, and do the activities with your kids during the time you reserved for teaching. Certainly we should be spending that time until we know our child knows what to do. If you’re doing this right, your child will eventually say “I’ve got it” and will send you on your way. Obviously, that’s dependent upon your child’s age.

How long homeschooling should take by grade

Because homeschooling doesn’t take seven hours a day typically, you will want your child to find other ways to stay occupied. If you are going to be an unschooler, you will want to provide activities, materials, and freedom for your child to pursue her own interests. Your child will need time to get bored. Otherwise, your child will need guidance as to how to occupy the rest of their time during the day. Sports and music practice and a variety of games have been useful to us in this regard. You may also want to make a list of things you want your child to do before having screen time.

#4 Consider Curriculum Cost

The fourth consideration when choosing curriculum is cost. New homeschoolers are often surprised by the expense of materials that were once provided to them through their tax dollars or private tuition. Homeschool curriculum can come from the homeschooling arm of a school publisher, but it often comes from a small publisher like myself. Because we don’t produce millions of copies of our books and we don’t have a corporation to spread out expenses, our prices tend to be higher than what you’d expect for a mass-market books. But having been a longtime customer of curriculum homeschooling curriculum, I can tell you that the materials are worth every penny. Classroom teachers who have visited homeschooling exhibit halls and have been in awe of the choices available to us. They don’t have the options that you and I have. Because we’re speaking of money here, I just want to note that homeschooling publishers depend on your integrity not to share digital materials or make copies of printed ones.

If a more expensive curriculum is on your wish list and money is tight, look for copies you can borrow or purchase used. My homeschooling support group has a lending library from which you may borrow curriculum for an entire year. If your support group does not have a similar lending library, suggest starting one. The other thing to consider is that you will be able to recoup some of your costs by selling your print curriculum when you’re finished with it. You can sell it at a used curriculum sale in your area or online. If you are afraid of choosing curriculum that doesn’t work for your family, remember that you are not going to be out the full amount if you resell the used curriculum.

#5 Look for curriculum that is high quality and well reviewed

After considering learning styles, a homeschool approach, time, and cost, you’ll want to find curriculum that is high-quality and well reviewed. Searching for this can take an incredible amount of time. I like to look at Rainbow Resource and Cathy Duffy reviews to help me, but even these resources can prove to be overwhelming. That’s why I created a list of the best curriculum in three categories. You won’t have to search for the teaching approach, the cost, or the best reviews. I have a list with all of this information for language arts, science, and math that I’m happy to send you for free.

While I know that Grammar Galaxy, now available through sixth grade, isn’t for everyone, I think it’s a great fit for many homeschoolers. It can be used as your core language arts curriculum, to which you will want to add reading and writing assignments either from the free monthly calendars I send out or from other subjects you’re studying. But you can also use Grammar Galaxy in your morning basket or for Fun Fridays. Some families use Grammar Galaxy at bedtime, which makes me smile. Reading to my kids at bedtime was always a joy. If you’re interested in trying Grammar Galaxy for free, go to GrammarGalaxyBooks.com/samples. If you love it, I have created a special discount for podcast listeners only. Save 15% on any Grammar Galaxy order with code PODCAST through September 15th.

#6 Share your curriculum plan with veteran homeschoolers

My final tip for choosing sane curriculum is to ask about your plans in relevant homeschooling groups. In my Grammar Galaxy users group on Facebook, many homeschoolers come and ask about their curriculum plans. If your plan is overly ambitious, veterans will tell you. I also have the Homeschool Sanity Circle group on Facebook that can address many different styles and approaches to homeschooling and will help you determine if your plan is a good one or not.

Conclusion

You can develop a sane curriculum plan for your homeschool. But if you don’t exactly listen to me and you over plan and try to do too much, or if you make a poor choice for your family, you are like every other homeschooler I know, including me. It takes time to develop your own style. And even when you think you have it down, your kids grow and your circumstances change, and you are starting over. Give yourself lots of grace, and don’t forget to pray. I brought a used Five in a Row curriculum to a book sale and I felt a little silly bringing it because the book had some water damage. A woman came up to me and was elated because she had been praying to find the curriculum inexpensively. God knows your needs and He will supply them.

Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Keep Relationships The Focus Of Your Homeschool

Hey homeschoolers!

As beginning homeschoolers, we tend to be way more focused on our homeschool space and curriculum then we are on relationships. But just as engaged couples should be focused more on the marriage then the wedding, we have to be intentional about developing our relationships. That’s what I will cover in this episode of the Homeschool Sanity Show.

Before I do, however, I want to tell you about The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner. I had good intentions of spending time with God, my husband, and my children one-on-one. But it was amazing how quickly my daily responsibilities got in the way of that. I still face temptations to make other things a priority. That’s why I added space for my time with God and my relationships on the daily page of The Organized Homeschool Life Planner. We make note of what God is saying to us in His Word each day–something that is so important at this time. Then we choose a person or a character quality we want to focus on throughout the day. Keeping relationships in focus is one reason you will come to look forward to your daily planning time. You’ll know that your life and homeschooling are in balance. Try a free sample of The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner at psychowith6.com/tohlplanner.

When it comes to keeping relationships a priority, there are five relationships that are deserving of special attention: God, spouse, children, extended family, and friends.

#1 Relationship with God

The first relationship we have that has to be a priority is our relationship with God. I could not do any of the things I do without the Holy Spirit strengthening and renewing me. I need God’s word each and every day. That’s because I hear other words that run counter to His in abundance. I hear them from the news, the radio, and social media. I even hear them from well-meaning people I talk with. I quickly become confused about what truth is.

As our students need drills on math facts, we need drills on God’s word so we achieve mastery. Reading directly from the Bible each day, even a single page, will be a layer of protection for our vulnerable minds. Audio Bibles are wonderful for busy moms. We can listen while we walk, fold laundry, or cook. Devotionals are another way of reflecting on God’s word that can be enjoyable for us as homeschooling moms. Listening to worship music can also keep us meditating on His word. I have been successful in memorizing God’s word with my kids by using the app MEMLOK just five minutes a day.

Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. Rather than turning to others first with a concern, we can train ourselves to go to God. I enjoy writing out prayers each day. When I’m really struggling, I use truth journaling. I write out what I’m thinking and feeling and then respond to myself with the truth. We can pray throughout the day, using waiting, driving, nursing, and sleepless times for connecting with God.

Using the time boundaries we’ve established, we can ensure that we are spending adequate time with God. We can also experiment to find the best time to be consistent in our prayer and Bible time. We could plan it for the morning, the evening before bed, or during kids’ free time. Whenever you plan it, you will be richly rewarded for having time devoted to the Lord.

#2 Relationship with Spouse

The second relationship we must prioritize is with our spouse. If you are not married, I encourage you to prioritize time with your main support person. The number one reason our homeschooling records will be demanded is because our spouse  is protesting the validity of our homeschooling in divorce court. A happy marriage is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. As far as it depends on us, we must seek a healthy relationship.

That healthy relationship begins with time. In a podcast episode I did with my husband, I was struck by his saying that men want to know that homeschooling isn’t going to take all of the time and energy we have, leaving nothing for them. Homeschooling can become another lover if you will, trying to steal us away. We should not allow that to happen. If we are too tired to engage in activities that our husband enjoys, especially if that’s physical intimacy, we need to adjust our time boundaries once again.

Be intentional about reserving time for your spouse or support person. Put it on the calendar and make it part of your daily routine. Then treat that time with respect, and don’t let just anything crowd it out. How we treat that time speaks volumes about how we feel about the relationship.

#3 Relationships with Children

The third relationship we must prioritize is with our children. I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that we have to separate our roles as parent and teacher. I honestly don’t know how to do that because those roles have been blended in my life for over two decades. But it is appropriate to have a separate focus in your time with your children. The teacher in you may be focus on helping your child improve his handwriting, master multiplication facts, or become more adept at grammar. For many of us the parent role is like the law. Our children must learn by the rules and do well.

But if we work from law alone, we will lose our children’s hearts. If you consider your favorite teachers as a child, my guess is they were not strict legalists who loved the law. Instead they were likely teachers who could laugh and clearly loved you as a person. This is what our children want to see in us. Yes we expect them to work hard and learn a lot. But we want to enjoy life with them, too.

We can know if we have become too legalistic in our homeschooling by our children’s reaction. If mild complaining about starting the school day has turned into sullen and angry pupils, we need to take a look at what we’re doing. Have we been allowing violations of our time boundaries? Are we more concerned that our children do their work then grow as people? If you really aren’t sure, ask your children what they think your primary goal is. In The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner, I have an assessment your children can take that will give you great insights into your parenting and teaching.

The easiest way to make sure you are keeping relationships with children at the forefront of your homeschooling is to schedule time with them. Scheduling time for fun activities with all of your children is an easy way to do this. Have a fun Friday in which you do educational activities that don’t  seem educational. These can include field trips, videos, and games. You can also plan family activities to fulfill this purpose. A board game night is one example of something to put into your weekly routine.

But one of the most powerful ways of connecting with your children is to plan individual time with them. Depending on how many children you have, you will have to adjust this plan accordingly. With six children, it was impossible for me to do this daily. But many weeks, I could devote time to each child once a week. I gave my children the option of choosing our activities. Their choices told me a lot about them. I had a child who wanted his feet rubbed. His love language is physical touch. I had a child who liked going to a restaurant for a treat with me. Others requestded time to watch a show or play a game with me. Because children often fight to get our attention, spending individual time with them can help decrease sibling rivalry. And as children mature, I would argue that the relationships become even more important to nurture.

#4 Relationships with Extended Family

The fourth relationship we must prioritize is with extended family. You may have relatives who aren’t supportive of homeschooling. Depending on how negative these relatives are, you may have to limit time with them. But in most cases, we do well to help extended family feel important. Relatives, like husbands, may feel sidelined by a busy homeschooling schedule–explaining at least in part a negative attitude. There are many ways to make family members feel a part of what we’re doing–whether that’s regular calls, letters, or visits. Family should be incorporated into the regular schedule if possible. You may be surprised by how flattered a relative is by being asked to teach your children a skill or even to be regularly involved in teaching.

If you have family members who don’t know much about homeschooling, invite them to watch a video or to talk to a local support group leader who can answer their questions. Some negativity may be coming from homeschooling myths they’ve heard. You can also share what you’ve been learning, even showing family members the materials you plan on using.

#5 Relationships with Friends

If you’re prioritizing relationships with God, your spouse, your children, and extended family, you may conclude you have no time left for friends. You may even believe that spending time outside of the home with friends isn’t appropriate for a homeschooling mom. I believe that even that most introverted home body can benefit from friendships. Without friends to talk with, to pray for us, and to advise us, we can quickly become overwhelmed and depressed.

I don’t know what I would have done without friends when my children struggled with a school subject, character qualities, and even faith. I needed friends to help me see that I was expecting way too much of myself.  I’ve needed friends for practical help, too. I still need friends to encourage me.

With busy schedules, participating in an activity where the moms stick around makes socializing easy. If that isn’t possible because of social distancing restrictions, consider joining a virtual Bible study or small support group for moms. But also pursue face-to-face interactions outside or in an environment you are comfortable in.

Time with friends can make the difference between staying the course in homeschooling and giving up.

Conclusion

Choosing curriculum and how to organize more materials can be more complicated than focusing on relationships. But relationships do require a commitment of time. I hope I’ve convinced you to make your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your extended family, and your friends a priority. If you do, all the other aspects of homeschooling become more manageable.

Join me next time as I discuss how to find curriculum that will give you homeschool sanity.

Have a happy homeschool week!

 

How To Establish And Defend Time Boundaries In Your Homeschool


Hey homeschoolers!

When you’ve made the decision to homeschool, one of the next important steps to take is to define and defend time boundaries in your homeschooling life. In this episode I will share what time boundaries are, how to protect them, and which time boundaries you should consider.

Before I do that, however, I want to share resources I’ve created that are powerful in establishing and defending time boundaries. They are The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner and A Year of Living Productively. As a beginning homeschooler, I just had no firm time boundaries. As a result, nothing got done. I wasn’t teaching preschool to my oldest. I wasn’t doing laundry. And I had no idea what was for dinner. I was overwhelmed and sure I could not in good conscience keep homeschooling. I was also sure I could not have any more children than the three boys I already had.

That’s when someone told me about a woman who calls herself FLYLady.  Her emails helped me understand that I needed routine in my life. Routines and 15 minute missions changed everything for me. I had time boundaries for myself and my children.

But as the years went on, I realized I needed something more. I wanted to have boundaries around the other areas of my life that needed organization as a homeschooling mom. For example, I wanted someone to tell me when it was time to get my used curriculum ready to sell. I wanted to know that I needed to get fall activities on my calendar. And I wanted to take time to get good meals in the freezer. I couldn’t find a resource like that, so I created one. I divided all of the areas of my life that needed organization and into 52 areas, one for each week. Then I broke those areas down into  four 15-minute missions that could be done each weekday or an hour on the weekends.

Many homeschool moms found that they were able to establish time boundaries using just The Organized Homeschool Life book. But some moms told me they didn’t know how to fit even 15 minutes into their busy days. That’s when I created The Organized Homeschool Life planner. It’s a life planner that guides you into establishing time boundaries for your month, your week, and your day. Everything that’s important to you is included in your daily planning form.

Some homeschool moms are working or running a business as well as homeschooling. They wonder about advanced time boundaries and how to create them. I wondered about them, too. I started experimenting with a different productivity approach every week. My results with them are now in book form. The book makes your process of experimenting much faster. You can quickly find your own productivity formula in the book A Year of Living Productively.

Defending Time Boundaries

Now let’s talk more in depth about time boundaries. To understand what a time boundary is, imagine that your country tells a foreign power not to cross its boundaries by land, air, or sea. The boundaries your country establishes are much like the time boundaries we devote to specific activities. Defending time boundaries is like what a country does when a foreign power violates its borders. If there is no response, the country’s defense is weak or nonexistent. The results will likely be that the foreign power invades. Your country is now at the mercy of the foreign power and its goals will not be achieved.

In the same way, if we do not respond to violations of our time boundaries, our goals for homeschooling in our lives not be achieved or at least will not be achieved quickly.

Before I share with you what I think appropriate time boundaries are for you and your family, I want to talk about defending them. There’s no point in a country creating a long list of rules for foreign powers to abide by if they aren’t going to defend them.

Let me give you an example. A homeschooling mom I know had upper elementary children who were constantly interrupting her business calls. She decided she could no longer homeschool because of her kids’ behavior. If we allow our children or anyone else for that matter to violate our time boundaries like this without consequence, we will likely quit homeschooling.

There have to be consequences for violators. Only you can determine what the consequences will be, but they must be something that the violator cares enough to avoid.

Here are some defensive moves I have used to defend my time boundaries. I have posted signs that I am recording a podcast or doing an interview and cannot be disturbed. I have moved out of my home temporarily to work when I have been disturbed. I have put off doing a task, even for my sweet husband, when I have been knowingly interrupted in my work. I have had my children do my work around the home to make up for the time they have taken from me. The more logical the consequences, the more effective they are. I will state here that anger, yelling, and even tears are is ineffective in defending your time boundaries as a country using emotion to defend its borders.

Some of us have children, spouses, or outsiders in our lives who repeatedly violate our time boundaries. The tendency is to wonder why these people are being so rude and selfish as to not respect the boundaries we put in place. But the better question is why are we allowing it? Why aren’t we defending our time boundaries? Because people as sinners will always get away with what they can. No amount of moralizing on our part will change that. If your family knows that you will drop everything the second a child calls for you, you are about to be invaded.

We like to focus on others who violate our time boundaries, but our greatest threat is the violator within. We create beautiful homeschooling plans, some of us more detailed than others. We know what our routine is going to be. We know which activities we are going to participate in. We know what lessons we are going to cover. And we’re excited! And then our internal boundary breaker appears. She says things like  I’m too tired.  I need a break. I’ll feel better if I get on Facebook for a bit. I’ll start my walking program next month, when I’m not so busy. I’m a homeschooler; I can do whatever I want to do. Unfortunately, “whatever I want to do” often has negative results. We end up very unhappy with our house a mess, low energy from lack of exercise, and stress from being behind but ever busy.

I have had parents I’ve counseled about disciplining teenagers ask me if there is another way to get what they want from their child apart from saying no. And the simple answer to that question is no. If you are determined to defend your time boundaries, and you should be, you will have to say no to yourself and others over and over again. But the lie that makes that prospect seem so daunting is that we will be miserable if we say no. In fact, you’ll be happier as you get better and better at saying no.

It can take time to create time boundaries that are reasonable and allow for rest and recreation. But once you do, enforce them against violators, even if that violator is you. Do what your reasoned self determined to do, unless you absolutely can’t. If you do that, you will be happier; your kids will be smarter; and you may be healthier than ever.

Creating Time Boundaries

Once you have determined that you need defended time boundaries in your life, you can work on creating them for yourself and your children. The first consideration in establishing time boundaries is to separate time for your work and time for kids. The biggest mistakes we make as homeschooling moms is thinking that we can multitask our work , whether that’s housework, charity work, or business,  with teaching and parenting. Certainly there are opportunities to multitask. You can use cooking to teach, chores to teach, or even your outside work to teach your children. But most of the time you will want a singular focus. You need time set aside for your work while your children are occupied. Depending on the age and temperaments of your children, your children may be occupied with schoolwork, playing with siblings, or using screens because you cannot be interrupted during that timeframe. Of course you can also have someone else helping you with your children to allow for focused work time.

But when we are teaching or spending time in parenting, we need a singular focus. We don’t scroll Facebook while we are watching a documentary with the kids. We don’t take phone calls while we are reading aloud. We aren’t writing something on the computer while our child reads to us. Trying to do two things at once typically leaves us unsatisfied with our progress with both of them. Create a routine or schedule that allows focused time with your children for teaching and parenting.

It is true that we do not have to actively teach for seven hours a day. We can use a mixture of audiobooks, teaching that is available on video or computer, and self-directed books. Just make sure that you aren’t expecting a child to be independent for long periods as of even adults struggle with this.

While our work, teaching, and parenting are pivotal, our times of rest and renewal are just as important. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, exercise, and recreational time, you will struggle to be the mother and teacher you long to be. If you wonder if this focus on rest, renewal and  hobbies is wrong, listen to these podcasts:

How to Be Happy and Homeschool Too

Is Self-Care a Snare?

Once you have established your own time boundaries and you know when you will be teaching, tutoring, and spending quality time with your children, you will have a better idea of time boundaries for your kids. Like us, children need times of focused work and time for others. They also need rest time. Children need short times of focused work followed by more pleasant or active activities. They also need sleep time and time to just zone out. Whatever that looks like for your family is fine.

Again, because children are sinners, they will beg you to skip school. This does not mean you’re doing anything wrong. They will be thrilled if you announce school is not in session. But the more you violate your time boundaries, the more restless your children will become. We all respond to time boundaries. What truly makes us happy isn’t time off that seems never ending. Instead, it is the satisfaction of accomplishment. There are ways to make nearly every subject interesting and motivating. But some things just have to be done. Your children will benefit from being trained in this. I like to alternate more challenging subjects with lighter ones, and I like to give kids more free time when they finish their work early.

This episode on scheduling could be helpful to you as you plan your time boundaries.

Conclusion

When you create time boundaries for yourself and your family and you defend them, you can be confident in having a successful homeschool year. Yes things will happen to get in our way. But with your time boundaries you will get so much more done than if you had none at all.

Join me next time when I discuss how to develop relationships in your homeschool.

Have a happy homeschool week!

6 Reasons You Should Homeschool This Year

Hey, homeschoolers!

I don’t believe there has been a better time to homeschool than now. In the face of a pandemic and political unrest, there are new reasons to homeschool your children this year. As a psychologist and a homeschooling mother of six with more than two decades of experience, I wanted to begin a series for new and prospective homeschoolers. The first episode in this series is about why you and I should homeschool this year in particular. If you have friends who are considering homeschooling, I would appreciate if you would share this episode with them.

Before we dive into the topic, I want to share news about Grammar Galaxy, the elementary language arts curriculum I developed specifically for homeschoolers. It’s fast, easy, and fun story-based learning that kids beg to do. I just released Blue Star, the volume for 6th graders or those who have completed Red Star. Prices are marked down 20% now through August 6th. Try a complete sample of it for free at GrammarGalaxyBooks.com/Samples.

#1 Called

The first reason I believe you should homeschool this year is if you are called. As a Christian homeschooler, I see that calling as coming from the Lord. That’s how it came for me. Certainly you could homeschool because of circumstances or intending to homeschool for the short-term. But a year can be a surprisingly long time. So, you may need a calling to finish the year.

I had a family member who homeschooled and a friend who intended to when the Lord placed this odd calling in my mind: You should homeschool. That calling was as surprising for me as Moses’s was for him. I am a clinical psychologist by training and I assumed that when I sent my three children to school that I would resume working, writing, and speaking–things which I knew the Lord had called me to.

This new calling on my life was insistent, however, and I picked up a book on homeschooling the next time I was at the Christian bookstore. I was impressed by what I read but had no interest in homeschooling. I thought I could nullify the calling by telling my super social husband that I had this thought about homeschooling. To my disbelief, he thought it was a great idea.

I was still so resistant to the idea that I took a trip with a friend to consider the calling further. When I returned from the trip, I still did not understand how I could fulfill my original calling as writer and speaker at the same time as I took up the new call as a homeschooling mom. If you’re paying attention, you should be smiling now. I am able to fulfill my first calling because of the second. I decided that if God had given me these two callings, it was His responsibility to work them out. I decided to do a trial run in homeschooling my preschooler. That did not go anywhere as smoothly as I anticipated. But the Lord wouldn’t leave me alone. He made big changes in me to allow me not only to continue homeschooling but to have more children.

If you have been called by God to homeschool this year, he won’t leave you alone either. I encourage you to pray and read and discuss the matter with your spouse. While I encourage you to give homeschooling a year, you are not locked into it if it does not work.

#2 Freedom

The second reason you should homeschool this year, after being called, is freedom. I hear from many people in the middle of COVID-based restrictions that they miss their freedom. Certainly the response to the virus has made us more aware of the freedoms we take for granted. However, homeschooling in a normal year is an experience of true freedom.

If homeschooling is completely new to you, you won’t understand that homeschooling advocates have been working over the decades to ensure that we can’t be forced to use a particular curriculum with teachings that run counter to what we believe. Homeschoolers also can’t be forced to use a timeline for learning that doesn’t fit their kids. It’s common for homeschoolers to have a child doing language arts above grade level, science at grade level, and math below grade level, for example. In a traditional school, teachers and students may loathe the curriculum they’re using, but they’re locked into using it. For the most part, you will be able to change curriculum any time you like. In fact, you even have the freedom of using no formal curriculum at all.

If you want to enjoy this freedom of homeschooling, your first step is to determine the laws of your state. I encourage you to visit HSLDA.org, that is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. I encourage you to join it now. As more and more families exercise their constitutional right to home educate, there will be resistance. HSLDA provides legal defense for any challenges others make to the your right to homeschool. Determine what restrictions there are for homeschooling in your state, and then contact a local homeschool support group leader. This person will be able to tell you how to interpret your state’s law in practical terms.

Freedom is one of the most important reasons to homeschool this year in particular. If you aren’t comfortable with your school’s response to COVID-19, homeschooling, and not just online school, will provide you with that freedom.

#3 Time

The third reason you should homeschool this year is to reclaim your time. When your child attends an outside school, you are beholden to the schedule that the school gives you. Your daily, weekly, and vacation schedules are at the mercy of the school. When you homeschool, you can vacation when you want. Our family has taken family trips in May before the rest of the world is out of school. The rates are lower and the crowds are smaller. You also have freedom of schedule in your day. Are you and your kids night owls? You have the freedom to stay up late, sleep in, and start school at a time when everyone is well rested. You can skip school for a field trip, a birthday, or even a mental health day.

In traditional schools, activities like field trips and special events are also out of your control. These are planned with no input from you. Having your child in a traditional school is also time-consuming. You may have to take your child to school and pick him or her up from activities. You may be asked to help out in the classroom or with special events. There are parent-teacher conferences, numerous forms to complete, and let’s not forget the dreaded homework. In the time that it takes many parents to help with homework in the evening, you could home educate your child.

I asked homeschoolers who follow my Psychowith6 page on Facebook if they thought homeschooling took their time or gave them more time. The vast majority said that it gave them more time. Even as a mother of six, I agree. I cannot imagine having six children in different schools, especially private schools that requir numerous drop-offs and pickups–not to mention the school events that would have quickly filled my calendar. Homeschooling can free up both your and your child’s time.

I want to issue a disclaimer here, though, that is very important. If you think that homeschooling means putting your child in front of a computer all day with no input or participation from you, homeschooling will not work. This is why so many children hate the online learning that is being used by public schools during the COVID-19 outbreak. You should not expect to be able to work a full-time job and spend no time teaching your children yourself. Even if you could motivate your child to learn at home without requiring any of your time, you will not enjoy the other benefits of homeschooling I’m going to describe next.

#4 Education

The fourth reason to homeschool this year is to provide your child with an excellent education. When I read A Field Guide to Homeschooling by Christine Field, I was impressed by the data that showed homeschooled children outperform both public and private school students on standardized tests. I should not have been surprised by this, however, because there is no more successful model of education than one-on-one teaching. In fact, schools recognize the power of individual instruction and have been attempting to use technology to provide it in the classroom. While there are most likely gains being made as a result, I don’t believe that they will be able to match the effectiveness of homeschooling. Kids want human teachers who praise and correct them.

As I’ve already mentioned, homeschoolers can choose quality curriculum that fits their child’s learning style and the family’s lifestyle. If your child hates reading science texts but loves doing experiments, there’s a curriculum for that. Have a child who’s an auditory learner? Many curriculum providers like me provide audio versions of their materials. Is there a subject you didn’t learn or understand when you were in school? Use homeschooling as an opportunity to learn alongside your kids. One of the greatest blessings for me has been learning world history, a subject I never studied, with my children.

Homeschooling also allows us to provide our kids with an excellent cultural education. IQ tests are based, in large part, on cultural knowledge. In fact they have been criticized for this as poor children do not have the same opportunities for cultural experiences that wealthier children do. However, what this tells me is that being exposed to a variety of books and materials and experiences will make your child smarter. As a homeschooler, you can provide a rich cultural education to your child without the serious problems associated with large field trips. I have witnessed the difference between public, private, and homeschool field trips many times. In traditional school field trips, the children are talking and shoving one another and cannot possibly hear what the field trip leader is saying. In most homeschooled field trips, the children are not only listening but asking excellent questions of the leader.

Homeschooling allows you to provide a quality education that you’ve curated.

#5 Mental Health

If a better education weren’t enough motivation for me to homeschool, Christine Field offered me another reason that had a big impact on me: Homeschooled children have the highest self-esteem of any group of children. As a victim of childhood bullying with resulting insecurities, the idea that my kids could feel good about themselves was exciting to me. In fact, my children are evidence of the truth that homeschooling increases self-esteem. My oldest son went to public high school his last two years and experienced high school bullying. It wasn’t severe, but my son was able to manage it because he was confident. Instead of thinking there was something wrong with him, he recognized there was something wrong with the kids’ behavior.

Whether you would characterize your attitude toward COVID-19 as very worried or not worried at all, you can provide your child with a mentally safe environment. I am very concerned about the impact of new regulations on children who suffer from anxiety is great. Anxious children being exposed to anxious teachers and administrators, who have avoidance as their top priority, is likely to lead to serious mental health problems. What I know from treating anxious children is that avoidance is the worst thing for anxiety. I encourage you to listen to the podcast I did called Help for Anxious Homeschoolers if your child suffers from anxiety. Children need confident adults around them in order to overcome anxiety. In a situation where the adults share that anxiety, we have a real problem.

Of course if your child would not attend class in person at a public school, you may think mental health is not a concern. But on the contrary. Children have had their lives turned upside down with the removal of social activities. And contrary to popular opinion, homeschoolers are not asocial. When I first began homeschooling, my local support group sent out a 75-page, single-spaced newsletter of opportunities for socializing. Children do need to be with other people, primarily family. But homeschooled children can also connect with neighbors, church members, and other homeschoolers. During normal times, homeschoolers can participate in sports and activities that other schoolchildren do. But at this time, socializing has become limited to such a point that especially gregarious children will be suffering. The loss of beloved activities and time with friends can lead to depression.

If you choose to homeschool this year, you may have to do some work the way I did as a new homeschoolers to build connections with other homeschoolers. These are people who feel comfortable getting together with another family or to to play sports, do experiments, or go on field trips. In fact, these small, in-home co-ops were my children’s favorite part of homeschooling and mine. We built incredible friendships as a result of them and I encourage you to pursue them this year.

#6 Relationships

The sixth reason, but by no means the least reason, you should homeschool this year is relationships. The most valuable outcome of homeschooling for me is not that I’ve had a students in college and kids who’ve earned scholarships. It’s the relationship that my husband and I have with our kids and they have with one another.

Even though socializing is important, peer dependency is to be avoided. When your child always prefers to be with school friends rather than with you or siblings, you have peer dependency. This means that what peers have to say about life will be valued more highly than what you have to say. I’m not suggesting that homeschooled kids never have a high opinion of what peers say. It’s a normal aspect of young adulthood. But the depth of the dependency and even rebellion can be mitigated by spending more time with your child.

I would not trade the time our family has spent together for anything – certainly not my business. In order to enjoy these close relationships, you may have to work on child discipline. I know I did. I just did two episodes on child discipline lies and an interview on sibling conflict that you will want to listen to. When you have trained your children to respect and obey you in general (and not perfectly), you can begin to enjoy them as people and love participating in their education. I desire that many families would know the joy my husband and I have known in our relationships with our children. Homeschooling them has been a big part of that.

Conclusion

I’ve given you six reasons to consider homeschooling this year, but I have many more. If you feel called, long for freedom, more time, a quality education, your kids’ mental health, and strong relationships, I hope you’ll consider it. If you have questions, please contact me at psychowith6 at gmail.com. I’m happy to help.

Join me next time as I discuss establishing time boundaries as a new homeschooler.

Have a happy homeschool week!

What to Do When Your Child Won’t Say I’m Sorry

Hey, homeschoolers!

If you have more than one child or if your child has had conflict with another, you know this situation. Your child has said or done something to hurt someone. Your natural inclination is to tell the child to apologize. But what if she won’t? Or what if he does, and everyone knows it’s not genuine? What should you do?

That’s what I asked my guest, Lynna Sutherland. You will love what she has to say. I know I did.

Sponsor: Homeschool Mom Science Podcast

Before I share the interview, I want to thank my sponsor for the episode: The Homeschool Moms Science Podcast.

This new podcast is specifically geared toward helping homeschool moms teach and enjoy science.

It’s hosted by homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry.
Topics include:
– When to take which middle and high school science classes
– Why you should laser focus on the ACT and ditch the SAT
– What they learned from finding and choosing colleges for their homeschooled daughters
– How teaching science should differ for likely science major students and non-science students
– Do you have a palmaris longus?
– What you should know about CLEP and AP
– The unusual benefit of daily graphing
– Your science teaching questions answered
– 4 science teaching mistakes and how to avoid them
– And much more
Listen to this upbeat, encouraging, sometimes humorous podcast for homeschool moms…
including the science story of Greg Landry meeting his wife.
Search for Homeschool Moms Science Podcast on your podcast app or visit https://www.collegeprepscience.com/podcast.

Solutions for Sibling Rivalry with Lynna Sutherland

Now to introduce my guest. Lynna Sutherland is a homeschool mom of eight kids ages teen to toddler. She loves to encourage moms to take a heart-based, gospel-centered approach to parenting and sibling conflict resolution. Lynna is the host of the Sibling Relationship Lab podcast and the creator of the Sibling Opposition Solution online course for parents and the Sibling Investigations devotionals for families.

Resources for Sibling Rivalry

Join me next time as I share six reasons you should homeschool this year.
Have a happy homeschool week!

More Child Discipline Lies That Make Homeschooling Harder

Hey, homeschoolers! Last time I shared 3 child discipline lies that make homeschooling harder. I’m back with 3 more lies this week. If you haven’t listened to the previous episode, I recommend that you do. Subscribing to the podcast makes it easy to find the episode.

Sponsor: Homeschool Mom Science Podcast

Before I dive into the topic, I want to thank my sponsor for the episode: The Homeschool Moms Science Podcast.

This new podcast is specifically geared toward helping homeschool moms teach and enjoy science.

It’s hosted by homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry.
Topics include:
– When to take which middle and high school science classes
– Why you should laser focus on the ACT and ditch the SAT
– What they learned from finding and choosing colleges for their homeschooled daughters
– How teaching science should differ for likely science major students and non-science students
– Do you have a palmaris longus?
– What you should know about CLEP and AP
– The unusual benefit of daily graphing
– Your science teaching questions answered
– 4 science teaching mistakes and how to avoid them
– And much more
Listen to this upbeat, encouraging, sometimes humorous podcast for homeschool moms…
including the science story of Greg Landry meeting his wife.
Search for Homeschool Moms Science Podcast on your podcast app or visit college prep science dot com slash podcast

Now for today’s topic: 3 more child discipline lies that make homeschooling harder

Last time I covered “My child is an exception,” “I can’t discipline because my spouse and I don’t agree,” and “My child should always like school, life, and especially me.” Those are all lies that will lead you to neglect disciplining your child, which will in turn make homeschooling harder.

Lie #4 Requiring chores is mean

The fourth lie is related to this false notion that kids should like everything, covered in lie #3. I have been flabberghasted when parents have suggested that requiring kids to do chores is mean or actually abusive.

My father was forced to work on an abusive uncle’s farm beginning at age 4. The idea that having kids unload the dishwasher, do their own laundry, or help with younger siblings is abuse is very upsetting to me. If you aren’t going to work alongside your children in the running of your household, your chore expectations are probably too much. But this concern is voiced not by authoritian parents but by passive ones.

Chores train your children for adult responsibilities. They learn skills and a work ethic. But perhaps you’re thinking that there are enough years for them to learn these things. You’d like kids to have time to be kids. However, there’s another reason to give your children chores.

Chores build self-esteem. We all feel good when we’ve worked hard to accomplish something. When your children help run your home, they feel needed. I have told my children for years the truth: I couldn’t do it all without them. Start a simple chore plan today. Ecclesiastes 2:24 says “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.” Your child’s happiness requires doing some work.

Lie #5 My children should behave without rewards

Once I begin sharing with parents how they can motivate their children with rewards, I’m soon presented with this lie: my children should behave without being rewarded. They should do their schoolwork and chores out of the goodness of their hearts. Never mind that their hearts aren’t filled with good. They’re human just as we are. The fact is we don’t do anything for long that isn’t rewarded because that’s how we learn.

Many parents don’t understand that they’re not only failing to reward children for good behavior but they’re punishing it. Here’s what I mean. Your child writes the paper you’ve assigned. You look at it and point out all the errors or comment on how it doesn’t look like much effort was put into it. Don’t get me wrong. That may be true. I’ve told my students that I know they can do better and I get away with it because I usually reward them with praise.

We do the same with chores. Rather than acknowledging the work that’s been done, we call attention to what wasn’t done. Our kids won’t be motivated to work, even if they “should.” And that only makes sense. We would quit a job that withheld a paycheck from us and we would certainly quit a volunteer position that only gives us grief. I know I have.

When you’re only disciplining a child with criticism, yelling, or punishments, you have to break out of that cycle and start rewarding the smallest of good behaviors. It’s not that your child “deserves” a reward. It’s how children and even animals are trained. In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the talents in which the good steward is rewarded with praise and more responsibility. God knows that we all respond to rewards. If you’d like to learn more about motivating your child, you can find my class on the topic here. It’s just $7!

Lie #6 It’s too late

The final lie I want to discuss with you today breaks my heart. After I’ve explained principles of good discipline, parents of even very young children will tell me, “It’s too late. The damage has already been done.” This is said to justify continued lack of discipline or harsh discipline–usually with reference to having an exceptional child. I won’t delay in telling you that this just isn’t true.

I know parents who have adult children who are on drugs, in jail, and out of many failed relationships. You cannot make the right choices for an adult child or even a minor child. But you can always choose to discipline. In fact, Eli in the Bible suffered for failing to discipline his adult sons.

Obviously, you can’t turn your six-foot, teen soon over your knee to spank him, nor should you. But you can give consequences for lack of respect and poor choices–just as you would with any other adult. You can also reward a child for giving respect and making good choices, regardless of that child’s age.

The truth is God doesn’t hold you responsible for a child’s choices. He holds you responsible for disciplining. The training God expects of us includes teaching our children to honor God. In Psalm 78:5-8, we read “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.”

We can make God’s Word known to our children of any age and we can begin today. It’s never too late with God.

Conclusion

Give your kids chores, reward them with praise and privileges when they do what is right, and begin today because it’s not too late.

Thanks again to my sponsor, The Homeschool Moms Science Podcast.

Join me next time to hear what to do when your child won’t give a genuine apology. That episode was delayed, but I promise to have it for you this time.

Have a happy homeschool week!

3 Child Discipline Lies That Make Homeschooling Harder

Hey, homeschoolers!

I’ve been talking with parents who struggle with child discipline, and I realized that I hear the same dysfunctional beliefs over and over again. I decided to share the discipline truths that can you set you free to enjoy your homeschooling in the next two episodes. Most of these truths won’t be new to you, but we can all benefit from reminders. Our culture often encourages us to believe lies about child discipline, so I am going to do my part to be counter-cultural.

Before I discuss the first discipline lie, I encourage you to check out the class I created for angry parents. The cost for this valuable, life-changing class, specifically designed for Christian homeschool parents? Just $7. I have been told the price is too low, and maybe it is. I want people to understand that it’s not a cheap class. But I also want many who need the help in changing a anger habit to have access to the class. My advice to you is to grab it before I increase the price.

Podcast Sponsor

I also want to thank my sponsor for this episode:  the Homeschool Moms Science Podcast

This new podcast is specifically geared toward helping homeschool moms teach and enjoy science.

It’s hosted by homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry.
Topics include:
– When to take which middle and high school science classes
– Why you should laser focus on the ACT and ditch the SAT
– What they learned from finding and choosing colleges for their homeschooled daughters
– How teaching science should differ for likely science major students and non-science students
– Do you have a palmaris longus?
– What you should know about CLEP and AP
– The unusual benefit of daily graphing
– Your science teaching questions answered
– 4 science teaching mistakes and how to avoid them
– And much more
Listen to this upbeat, encouraging, sometimes humorous podcast for homeschool moms…
including the science story of Greg Landry meeting his wife.
Search for Homeschool Moms Science Podcast on your podcast app or visit college prep science dot com slash podcast

Now for today’s topic: 3 child discipline lies that make homeschooling harder

#1 My child is an exception to the rules

One of the most common discipline lies I hear from parents is that their child is in some way an exception. The child has special needs, the child has numerous mental health diagnoses, or the child is strong-willed to an extent that has never been seen before. Because of these exceptional differences in the child, this child cannot be disciplined. Nothing will work. Or at least nothing traditional. Parents of these exceptional children tell me that standard child training principles will not work, so they wait as I scan my memory for a magic bullet. Perhaps I have heard of some new, powerful technique or some ancient practice that has been intentionally hidden from parents.

I have fallen for this lie many times, I am sad to say. I have watched Supernanny with the same anticipation, waiting for her to teach parents a new trick for an exceptionally out-of-control child. But I have never seen her pull out a magic solution. In fact, she teaches many of the same parenting principles that are taught in the Bible, and that have been used for centuries. I firmly believe that they work with any child who is capable of misbehaving.

I do offer parents of difficult-to-discipline children this disclaimer, however. Children who have learning disabilities, mental illness, or a very strong will are going to require more training, more time, and more patience on your part. You may need a professional to coach you through the child discipline. That is especially true if you are disciplining a child from an abused or neglected background. In this case, you need support and help in training your children.

But let me be clear. All children, regardless of their circumstances need discipline. Proverbs 13:24 reads “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” You do not have to spank your child, but if you love her, you will discipline her.

Lie #2 I can’t discipline my child because my spouse and I don’t agree

If I can convince a parent that even the most challenging child can and must be disciplined, the next lie served up often has to do with lack of agreement on discipline in the marriage. Whether you are married or divorced, the idea is that child discipline can only be effective if you and your spouse are parenting the same way. So if your husband doesn’t agree with the discipline approach you’re using, doesn’t help you discipline, or won’t listen to this podcast, then you can’t discipline your child.

The truth is all moms and dads parent differently. And most parents have some disagreement about how children should be disciplined. Even if we agree, our follow-through isn’t going to be perfectly in sync. So if we use lack of agreement as an excuse, we will never discipline our children. Both mom and dad point the finger at the spouse to place blame for an incorrigible child, when both should point the finger back at themselves.

There is no question that a united front makes child discipline more effective. But the idea that we have to wait for our spouse to get on board to train our children is complete hogwash. When your child is with you, he can be taught to respect and obey you.

To get your spouse on board, you can share what works for you and ask if he is interested in trying it. You can ask if he would be willing to see a professional to seek child discipline advice. And you can pray. Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” If we don’t enjoy unity in our discipline approach, we can still pursue unity with our attitudes.

Lie #3 My child should always like school, life, and especially me

Because I sell curriculum, I talk to a number of parents who have a hard time finding curriculum their children like for an entire school year. The child might say they like a curriculum at first and then say it’s boring and want something else. Or they might enjoy homeschooling, soccer, or a co-op for a while and then they want to quit. How, these parents wonder, can they find something their child will like for the long-term? They also wonder what they’re doing wrong that they’re child isn’t happy.

These parents don’t seem to remember their own childhoods. Did we love every day of school, every subject, or every activity? Boredom and a desire for variety is natural for children, but we don’t have to indulge it. For the most part, we have the freedom to change curriculum, drop classes, and quit participating in a child’s activities. But doing so every time a child decides she doesn’t like something is not disciplining her. We want to give our kids the expectation that they must honor their commitments, especially when dropping something negatively affects other people or costs money. Involve your child in the decision-making process. Explain the length of the commitment or the financial consequences of making a change. This is preparing children for adult life. Breaking contracts comes at a cost for us as adults and potentially a loss of reputation.

If we believe the lie that children should always like school and life, we can end up losing a lot of time and money in not disciplining our kids. But an even more costly lie is that our kids should always like us. If they’re angry with us, we think we are doing something wrong. But the opposite is likely true. Of course, we don’t want to deny our kids everything. Their not liking us would be justified in that case. But if our kids don’t like us for saying no to something we know is not the best choice for our kids, then we are disciplining appropriately. And if we have otherwise positive relationships with our kids, they’ll get past it. Hebrews 12:11 tells us “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” If you love your children, you’ll allow them to be unhappy at times–even with you.

Conclusion

To summarize these three lies, every child needs discipline because discipline is love. No exceptions. You and your spouse don’t have to agree for you to discipline your child. Discipline when your child is with you. Finally, your child doesn’t have to like school, life, or you, but she must be trained to respect you.

Thanks again to my sponsor, The Homeschool Moms Science Podcast.  Join me next time as I discuss three more discipline lies that make homeschooling harder.

Have a happy homeschool week!