Homeschool Sanity Show

What I Learned Doing A Social-Media Fast

Hey, homeschoolers! It was the end of October when I saw a post on Instagram from a former guest on this podcast –Karla Marie Williams. She shared a picture of Wendy Speake’s book The 40-Day Social Media Fast and said she would be back on Instagram after she’d completed her fast.

I wrote, “Wait! Take me with you!” I knew nothing about the book or Wendy, but the idea of a social media fast was as appealing as joining a friend on a beach vacation. I ordered the book and made plans to stop participating on Facebook and Instagram the next week. I committed to stop watching the news at the same time.

I learned much more in those 40 days than I ever anticipated. If you could benefit from the lessons I learned, I encourage you to plan a fast of your own.

 

Before I share the lessons, though, I would love to have you subscribe to my channel on YouTube. My most recent video is about how to keep your cool as a parent.

A few years ago, I was experiencing debilitating neck and shoulder pain. I couldn’t sleep or do any of my daily activities as a result. I went to a chiropractor, took heaps of ibuprofen, and used a TENS (muscle contraction) device among many other approaches. When I had nearly despaired of getting relief, I found a video on YouTube by motivationaldoc outlining the problem I had. In short, I had tight muscles from staring at screens which had impinged on a nerve. Within 24 hours of starting the stretching exercises he recommended, I had relief. I was completely pain-free within a few days. God used a YouTube video to solve a huge problem in my life.

I was recently asked to meet with a couple I know via Zoom. I didn’t provide counseling, of course, but I listened to the problems they were having and directed them to get the help they needed. While I think I helped this couple a lot, I realized I could help many more families the same way on YouTube. Going forward, I will be sharing actionable tips and how-to’s for achieving homeschool sanity there. My deepest desire apart from serving God and my family is to serve homeschool families. Please share my channel with homeschoolers you know.

Now to the lessons learned from my social media fast…

The first, shocking thing I learned is that I don’t have to be on social meda.

I own a business with a Facebook page, two Facebook groups, and two Instagram accounts. How could I possibly leave these two platforms for 40 days?

What should have been shocking about this aspect of my fast is that I ever thought my participation on social meda was essential. I have an amazing virtual assistant who manages my posts and makes sure I get messages on Facebook. She continued doing her work while I fasted, leaving only the posts I needed to respond to during my fast.

Although I have wanted to interact with people on my page and in my groups more, I hadn’t been doing it. I’m sure no one missed me!

That should have come as no surprise after I stopped participating cold turkey in a separate Facebook group that I had been active in daily. Maybe three people in the group noticed and messaged me.

Instagram was the same. I’ve had good intentions of being more active and consistent there. But again, I don’t think a single person missed me while I was gone.

The second thing I learned is related: I don’t miss social media.

I did forget some birthdays that I regretted and was late responding to some Instagram messages. But I wasn’t sad about not participating. Like at all. I found myself thinking how great it would be if they shut down Facebook and Instagram, so I wouldn’t have to go back.

I thought I really liked social media. I thought I thrived on it. I’m an extrovert and I don’t have the in-person contacts I once did as my kids have gotten older. But I realized my social needs weren’t being met there, even though it’s called “social” media.

Instead, I found I didn’t care at all about not seeing the funny memes, the cute dog videos, or the controversial posts I agreed with. I could have given these up without a second thought.

But that’s where lesson #3 comes in. I was addicted to social media.

What? If I didn’t miss it at all, how I could be addicted? All the way through the fast, pretty much with no decrease, I found myself clicking on the apps on my phone. I would quickly close them without reading or watching, but I did this every day, multiple times a day without fail, for the full 40 days.

Was it an addiction or a habit? I have been tapping those apps dozens of times a day for YEARS. Expecting myself to break the habit in 40 days was pretty unrealistic.

But the other piece that suggests it’s an addiction is that I did the tapping when I was bored. I did the tapping when I was lonely. I did the tapping when I was sad. I didn’t do it when I was busy and happy. I did it when I wanted a little something-something. I used social media like you use food or a cigarette or a drink. I’m going to call it an addiction, even though I don’t even like it. That’s how most addictions are.

That fact led me to lesson #4: I need something social to do in the evenings.

Like a true addict, I substituted email and Voxer (a messaging app where I talk to friends) for social media. I would open them over and over to see if there was anything new to read there, even when I knew there wasn’t. Because I wasn’t watching the news or reading more than a couple of short, newsy blogs, I would look up news stories online. I hadn’t sworn off of reading these articles. It became so pathetic that I would come up with news stories that might have happened to research! What’s even stranger is that I was often right in my predictions. As an aside, I watched the news recently. The stories are exactly the same as they were 40 days ago!

The substitutes of email and Voxer filled very little of my time, so I began watching movies. Sometimes I would watch with my husband, but I had enough time on my hands that I began searching for chick flicks–those I’d seen and those I’d hadn’t. After watching these, I felt very much like I had scrolling social media: empty. They didn’t satisfy me.

So I tried reading more books. I did find one that I read voraciously. But the rest I slogged through–forcing myself to read a chapter before putting it down. I realized that reading books was so slow compared to social-media reading. Sadly, my patience for it had declined.

One night we played board games with the kids when they happened to all be home and I loved it. But I didn’t recognize the social factor in that. Instead, I considered or tried substituting other activities: handwriting, crafts, and piano. Most of these things seem like too much effort in the evenings. It’s hard to get myself to begin.

Now I know that what I need more of during my low-energy, early evening times is socializing. I’m going to start playing tennis or pickle ball in the evenings again. I’ll invite friends over more often. When the weather warms up, I will go to the driving range with a friend or family member. I will also consider joining an in-person Bible study.

Whatever I choose, I know it has to be social.

The fifth thing I learned is how I want to share on social media.

This is one of the topics in Wendy’s book. I understand what NOT to share. I don’t want to share braggy posts, of course. I don’t even want to share personal things that make no difference to anyone but my family–like here’s a picture of us hiking. But what SHOULD I share then?

I watched the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for a second time and remembered that I had made a list of how to share on social media based on my “How to Homeschool Like Mr. Rogers” post. Here is what I had come up with for my social-media accounts and had forgotten until I saw the movie again:

  • Delight in your audience
  • Put the relationship first
  • Teach emotional, social, and spiritual skills
  • Listen more, talk less
  • Spend time in the Word and in prayer–being willing to ask for prayer, too.

Fred Rogers is a beautiful role model of how to love others through media. I am newly inspired by him as I return to posting and interacting on my social accounts.

That brings me to the sixth lesson I learned on my social media fast: I need to be healed before I can bring healing to anyone on social media.

I was transfixed by the story of the broken reporter who initially wanted to present a negative view of Fred Rogers in his magazine. Before he could write a life-giving article about him instead, he had to be healed of his hurt and anger. The first time I watched the movie, I identified with Mr. Rogers. The second time I knew I was the reporter.

I’ve recovered a great deal from my past dealings with difficult people. But as I thought about returning to social media with a Mr. Rogers approach, I knew I couldn’t do it. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are some really mean people on social media. I’ve heard all the platitudes like “haters gonna hate” and “hurt people hurt people,” but that hasn’t helped me in my desire to avoid them.

When the reporter admits that he had a physical fight with her father, Fred Rogers’s reaction made me catch my breath. His compassion made me realize how much I need compassion–not from people on social media I don’t know. But from my inner circle, from myself, and from Jesus.

The first thing I’ve been doing to experience that compassion is sharing painful experiences from my past with family and friends who I know will understand. I need to share them to let them go.

Next, I realized that there is no troll on social media who is meaner than I am to myself. I cannot be truly kind to others until I am truly kind to me. I am committed to making my self-talk consistent with how I speak to others.

Finally, and most importantly, I realized that Jesus is what I’m looking for. He can heal me so I can show up to heal on social media. When I am restless, sad, or lonely, I am going more quickly to God. I pray, read Scripture, or write out what I’m thinking and feeling to Him.

It’s a process and not an instant one. But God is at work in me and I am trusting in that.

Conclusion

After hearing the lessons I’ve learned, you may be interested in trying a social media fast yourself. If so, I encourage you to get a copy of Wendy’s book. Her daily devotions in the book uplifted me. Her humility shines through. She personally responded to my email about how the fast affected me. Wendy is hosting a group fast during the Lenten season before Easter, but you can do one whenever it makes sense for you.

One of the things I’m doing to counteract my negative self-talk is to post a message at the top of my Amazing Marvin digital task list that says “You’re doing a great job!” This should be corny to me and something I dismiss immediately, right? But it’s not. I like it. It makes me smile. So I want to leave you with that message today. You’re doing a great job! I detest the line ‘Let that sink in,’ but in this case I think it’s appropriate.

Have a happy homeschool week!

Depression And The Homeschool Mom

Hey, homeschoolers! This is going to seem like a weird way to start the year, but I am recommitted to my mission on this podcast of promoting happy, healthy homeschooling. I spoke with a family recently whose presenting problem was child misbehavior. What became obvious, however, is that the mother’s depression was leading to marital and parenting problems. Depression puts our homeschools at risk. Children of depressed mothers don’t develop as well academically, emotionally, or socially. Depression is a significant problem.
  • Affects 1 in 10 adults per year
  • is leading cause of disability

What causes depression?

  • genetics
  • post-partum/hormones
  • medical conditions
  • alcohol/drug use
  • trauma/grief

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • Feelings of sadness that won’t go away
  • Loss of interest in things
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability/poor concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Eating too much/too little
  • Unable to sleep/sleeping too much
  • Headaches, or other pains in the body
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, suicidal

Resources for depression

Feeling Good by David Burns Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online National Suicide Prevention Hotline Depression Action Steps:
  • For DIY treatment, set a deadline by which you will get professional help.
If someone you care about is depressed, send them this episode. Gather supportive family members with a referral. Offer to provide homeschool and practical support while the homeschool mom is getting help. I don’t practice as a psychologist any more, but I’m praying that this episode has been helpful to you.

How To Encourage Healthy Eating In Your Kids

Hey, homeschoolers! As homeschool moms, we want our kids to be healthy academically, spiritually, socially, and physically. That’s because health is wholistic. If there’s a breakdown in one area, it’s likely to affect the others.

One area where I struggled as a mom was encouraging healthy eating. If that’s an area you’re seeking to improve, I know you’ll love my guest today: Katie Kimball. Katie is the national voice of healthy kids cooking, is a blogger, two-time TEDx speaker, former teacher, and mom of 4 kids who founded the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse, recommended by The Wall Street Journal in 2020 as the best online cooking class for kids. Her blog, Kitchen Stewardship helps families stay healthy without going crazy, and she’s on a mission to connect families around healthy food, raise critical thinking skills using the lab of curiosity that is the kitchen, and grow the Kids’ Meal Revolution where every child learns to cook.

Here’s our super practical discussion.

Healthy Eating for Kids Resources

Find the free knife skills class Katie mentioned, click here.

What to Teach Your Child About Obesity

I’ll be back next week when I share important information on depression for homeschool moms.

Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Achieve Your Goals: 10 Tips

Hey, homeschoolers! If you’re wondering how to achieve your goals this year, I have 10 tips for you. And this podcast is implementing one of them. I’m co-podcasting with my friend Barb Raveling for this episode that I hope inspires you in the new year.

Goal Resources

Free Homeschool Routine Kit A Year of Living Productively Anti-Procrastination Bible Verses Decision-Making Worksheet for Procrastinators Freedom from Procrastination The Renewing of the Mind Project Goals – How to follow through Productivity Tips for the New Year Join me next week as my guest and I discuss how to encourage healthy eating in our kids. Have a happy homeschool week!

Special Replay: Get Things Done In Your Homeschool

Hey, homeschoolers! Do you regularly find yourself at the end of the school day with nothing to show for it? Do you feel like you aren’t getting anything done? If that’s you, you’re in good company. I regularly hear from homeschoolers just like you and I can’t wait to share the solution I give them.

Sponsor

The sponsor for this week’s podcast is Time 4 Learning. Listen to how Time 4 Learning could save your homeschool sanity. Then go to time4learning.com to learn more.


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Time 4 Learning

Time4Learning provides the best honest online casino nz tools and resources students need to build skills and confidence in the core subjects like math, language arts, science, and social studies. No matter how long you’ve been homeschooling or whatever your current situation, Time4Learning is a flexible, online curriculum that can be tailored to your child’s individual needs.

The comprehensive, award-winning curriculum allow students to study confidently and excel at their own pace, making it ideal for all kinds of learners, whether they are mainstream, gifted or special needs.

Click Here to Visit Time 4 Learning!


Resources to get things done in your homeschool

Read the blog post

[Read Why You’re Not a Homeschool Failure]

 

 

 

Download your routines at HomeschoolSanity.com

Conclusion

If you believe you are incapable of getting things done in your own strength, if you create a routine for yourself and your family, and you establish and enforce boundaries, you can find that you are getting more done than you ever dreamed. That’s been my experience!

Which of these reasons is the main reason you aren’t getting things done in your homeschool?

Special Replay: Why You’re Not Following Through on Your Plans and Goals


Hey homeschoolers!

Are you great at making plans for the new school year but you never seem to do what you’ve planned? Or are you great at setting goals for the new year that you struggle to achieve? If that’s you, I’m going to put my psychologist hat on and explain why your follow-through fails. That’s what’s on tap for this episode of The Homeschool Sanity Show. There’s no time to waste. It’s a busy time of year, so let’s jump right in.

Listen to learn the three main reasons you aren’t following through. The first one was a surprise to me!

Resources for Following Through

Read the blog post

How to Keep the Happy Planning Going

Curriculum Paralysis

The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner

Grammar Galaxy

Get your copy of A Year of Living Productively.

What’s your biggest struggle with follow through? Comment and let me know.

Project-Based Learning

Hey, homeschoolers! At this point in the year, I begin to think about changes I want to make in my homeschool. One change you may want to consider is adding some project-based learning. My guest today is going to help us with that.

Before I introduce her, I want to let you know about the projects I’ve included in Grammar Galaxy Nova for middle schoolers. While learning about literature, vocabulary, spelling strategies, and grammar, your student will complete fun writing projects like a restaurant review. Each project is broken down into simple steps completed each week. Whether you have a middle schooler or not, the good news is that all levels and resources at Fun to Learn Books.com are 20% off on Black Friday through Cyber Monday with code THANKS.

Now for my interview with Nancy Mikhail. I met Nancy at the Great Homeschool Convention in Ontario, California. She is an Educational Consultant specializing in the creation and design of engaging pedagogy and active learning projects that excel beyond the requirements of California State Standards. Nancy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at the California State University at Long Beach, and furthered her education by earning her Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University at Fullerton. Her experience within the education system ranges from preschool to twelfth grade. However, Nancy’s skills go above and beyond the classroom. She has taken her passion for teaching and education into after school programs, academic advising, and nonprofit organizations. She is an active participant and presenter in educational conferences and workshops. Her drive to progress and create a better educational system allows her to take the lead in building curriculum, especially within language strategies and guided reading. Literacy is a vital component of education and Nancy’s desire to increase student learning is evident within her teaching and career. Here’s our interview.

We discussed:

  • the benefits of project-based learning
  • easy ways of incorporating project-based learning
  • the projects available at BuildAProject.net.

Connect with Nancy on Facebook and Instagram.

I’ll be back with all new episodes in January. Until then, I’ll be replaying some favorite episodes that you may have missed. Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

What Does it Mean To Be A Woman Of God Today?

Hey, homeschoolers! What does it mean to be a woman of God in a world that seeks to redefine womanhood? That’s what I discussed with my guest Kristen Clark. It’s an important topic for us to consider as homeschooling mothers and also as parents of daughters. Kristen Clark is married to her best friend, Zack, and is a newly adoptive mom to two precious boys from Ukraine. She is co-founder of Girl Defined Ministries, and is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and is an unashamed dog-lover who snuggles with her little maltipoo whenever she can. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Kristen as I did. We discussed:
  • Kristen’s experience in the world of modeling
  • How we can avoid being a “wimpy woman”
  • How we can be biblical women in today’s culture
Find Kristen’s podcast, books, and course at GirlDefined.com. Join me next time as my guest and I discuss project-based learning. Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Speak The Love Languages As A Homeschool Mom

Hey, homeschoolers! Last month, my husband’s sister Nancy passed away after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was a lifelong international missionary and a bold evangelist. I interviewed her about how to teach kids to share the gospel. Here’s a link to that episode. Today, though, I want to use Nancy’s life to talk about how we can speak the love languages as homeschool moms.

Love Languages Resources

Read the blog post. The 5 Love Languages of Children Video prepared for Nancy’s celebration of life service.

Conclusion

Join me next time as my guest and I discuss what it means to be a woman of God in today’s world. Have a happy homeschool week!

Discovering Your Child’s Smarts With Dr. Kathy Koch

Hey, homeschoolers. When we begin teaching our kids at home, we quickly realize that some of them have traditional smarts with words and logic, but others have smarts that aren’t celebrated in school. My guest today is well-known author Dr. Kathy Koch. I think she will inspire you to discover your child’s unique smarts so you can maximize them in your homeschool.

Before we start, though, I want to say how grateful I am to have been a part of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network since its start eight years ago. I took a year’s sabbatical, so that means I’ve been speaking to you via this podcast for seven years. I don’t take that privilege for granted.

Now for my interview with Dr. Kathy Koch about your child’s smarts. Kathy is the founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in thirty countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, the Colson Center, and Teach Them Diligently. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured inKirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has published five books with Moody Publishers. I know you’re going to enjoy our conversation.

We discussed:

  • how to awaken our kids’ smarts
  • practical ideas for applying the smarts to core subject areas
  • helping our child in areas of weakness, and much more
8 Great Smarts book

Join me next time for how to speak the love languages in your homeschool. Have a happy homeschool week!