Homeschool Sanity Show

How To Turn COVID-Schooling Into True Homeschooling

If you are one of millions of parents who has had to supervise your child’s education because of the pandemic, this podcast episode is for you. Or, if you know a COVID-schooler, I hope you will share this episode with them. I have heard from a number of COVID-schoolers in my groups on Facebook. While some of them have embraced true homeschooling, many have been struggling. They try to do their best for their children but cannot wait for schools to get back to normal. This COVID-schooling thing doesn’t work, they think.
Before I share how you can not only make homeschooling work but how it can bring peace and joy to your family, I want to thank my sponsor for this episode: CTC Math.
Are you looking for a new Math Curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way! The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test”. Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). Using a multi-sensory approach having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results! And ones who were doing OK before are now doing brilliantly. Visit c-t-c-math.com today to start your free trial.

True Homeschooling Resources

Read the blog post Free grammar games Grammar Galaxy Organized Homeschool Life Class Konos Mystery of History Notgrass History

Conclusion

I would love to see more women find the joy that is available in true homeschooling. Please share this episode with COVID-schoolers you know. Join me next time as my guest and I discuss financial literacy for kids. Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Teach Kids To Share Their Faith

Hey, homeschoolers! As a Christian homeschooler, teaching my kids the Bible, character, and apologetics is of utmost importance to me. But one area of teaching the faith was challenging for me. How could I teach my kids to fulfill the Great Commission and share their faith with others? I haven’t come across a great curriculum for this, but I do know a great evangelist who has taught young people for more than 40 years. She is my sister-in-law, Nancy Wilson. Although I have known Nancy for decades, my interview with her has inspired me to share my faith as well. I think you will love her and I invite you to have your older kids listen in.

Nancy Wilson

Website and books Nancy’s podcast Cru

Conclusion

Join me next time as I discuss how to turn COVID-schooling into true homeschooling. It will be perfect for friends who have been homeschooing from necessity. Have a happy homeschool week!

How to Manage Teen Screen Time

Hey, homeschoolers!

Someone in The Homeschool Sanity Circle group on Facebook asked about phones and screen time for teens. After I shared my experience, I was asked if I could share more. I agreed to do a podcast on the topic.

Sponsor

Before we dive in, I want to thank my sponsor for this episode: CTC Math. Are you looking for a new Math Curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way! The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test”. Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). Using a multi-sensory approach having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results! And ones who were doing OK before are now doing brilliantly. Visit c-t-c-math.com today to start your free trial. Join me next time as we discuss how to teach your kids to share their faith. Have a happy homeschool week!

Teen Screen Time Resources

Read the blog post The Social Dilemma Alternatives to Video Games Reb Bradly Parenting Teens Videos A Sane Approach to Homeschool Screen Time Screen Time Tips Screentime Management Apps Screenagers Movie

Motivation Myths That Hinder Your Homeschool

Hey, homeschoolers! After 21 years of homeschooling, I know that motivation runs high at the beginning of the year. But it doesn’t take many weeks before that initial enthusiasm starts to cool. You begin looking forward to Christmas break sooner than you thought you would. We realize that we need to use some motivational tricks for ourselves and our kids in order to finish the things that we’ve planned. The problem with our motivating efforts is we often buy into several motivation myths that I’m going to describe in this episode. If we do, we will likely continue to struggle.
If you are interested in motivating your homeschooler, I’ve created a video class that you can you use with your spouse or other caregiver that will help you create an effective motivational plan. It includes a handbook for taking action and not just taking in information.

Motivation Myths Resources

Read the blog post Discipline Myths More Discipline Myths Join me next time as I share my thoughts on teen screen time. Have a happy homeschool week!

Help For Distracted And Struggling Readers

Hey, homeschoolers! I interviewed Carol Barnier my first year doing The Homeschool Sanity Show and it was a privilege for me. I had heard her speak at conferences and had read her books and loved what she had to say. Carol is not only hilarious but is so wise in helping distracted students and moms. In today’s episode, we’ll discuss how to help kids who are not only distracted but struggle to read. If you have or know a student with dyslexia or other reading challenges, you’ll want to listen in.
Before I get to the interview, I want to share some background on why I created Grammar Galaxy the way I did. I had five active boys and a girl I taught with them. One of my sons who struggled to read phonetically also was highly distractible. I also taught language arts to friends’ students who had ADD, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, poor reading fluency, and reading reluctance. They were all boys. I wanted to create the curriculum I never had. First, I used stories because I know they are engaging and memorable. They explain the why of grammar and not just the how. Next, I made the characters in the stories have struggles like my kids and students have. So often kids with learning challenges feel they are the only ones who don’t get it. Then I made the seatwork lessons very short. There is a lot of white space on the pages to motivate students. Kids can use highlighters to complete much of the work, rather than pencils that require fine motor skills that often don’t keep pace with other skills–especially in boys. I included an activity in every lesson that doesn’t involve traditional worksheets. I hear from moms of active kids how much they love the large motor activities. Finally, I allow kids to feel that their work is important because it is. Fully literate kids can improve their lives and make the world a better place. Try it for free with your child at grammargalaxybooks.com/samples.

Carol Barnier

Now about my guest. Carol Barnier spent over 20 years as a homeschooling mom during which time she was also a busy and popular conference speaker. She created an online community for parents homeschooling highly distractible children called SizzleBop, which enjoyed a membership of over 5000 families. As a frequent radio guest and author of books and countless articles, she has shared a gazillion (the most real of numbers) tips on teaching and loving the highly distractible child. Today, she pours that same love of “teaching out of the box” into the child who struggles with reading. Through her new effort, Barton Buddy, she brings her multi-sensory support material (including new ditties!) and trademark sense of humor to the parent using the popular Barton Reading system at home with their own struggling reader, who may or may not have just fallen out of their chair. She’s the author of three books about dealing with (or possessing) a non-linear mind in a linear world. Her first book, How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning, gives the reader understanding into the mind of the highly distractible child. It answers the imponderable question, “Why does this child constantly fall out of his chair?” (hear the kathunk) It also provides idea after idea on how to teach a child who simply can’t sit still. Carol’s second book, If I’m Diapering a Watermelon, Then Where’d I Leave the Baby?, was born of the realization that her highly distractible son had not fallen very far from the tree. (hear the next kathunk) This book celebrates women who are non-linear thinkers, women who are the Mary’s in this very Martha world. It also provides strategies on how to keep the distractible mind on track while taking advantage of the gifts that come with being gloriously unregimented. Her third book, The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles, takes all the mystery and complexity OUT of learning styles. This book keeps it simple, and puts its emphasis on the “What do we do now?” It takes each academic subject and then provides dozens of ideas on how to teach it from a variety of angles to a variety of learning styles. It makes teaching the atypical learner not only easy, but fun. No really, it does. Her very popular Ditty Bugs CD brings the power of rhythmical language to a variety of memorization tasks. Does your child struggle to remember fraction rules? Can they name all the presidents in order? How about the planets, the classification system, number of feet in a mile? Through simple ditties, your child will almost effortlessly absorb facts and formulas that they need in their academic subjects. Carol and I discuss: To connect with Carol, go to SizzleBop.com. Join me next time as I share motivation myths that can hamper our homeschooling. Have a happy homeschool week!

How To Level Up Your Gratitude

Hey, homescoolers!

I’ve written and spoken about gratitude a lot because it’s important. God’s Word reminds us to give thanks 173 times. Giving thanks is the Lord’s admonition to His people, but even secular leaders recognize the benefits of expressing gratitude. Gratitude journals are all the rage.

But I had an experience recently that helped me see that my gratitude needs an upgrade. What’s exciting about this recognition is not that I have another reason to feel guilty. On the contrary, I have another reason to be encouraged. And so do you!

In this episode, I want to share some ideas for taking our own and our family’s gratitude to the next level. And it doesn’t require you to go on a foreign mission trip.

Before I share those ideas, I just want to say thank you. I have been so blessed to have you listen to this podcast, to chat with me at Great Homeschool Conventions, and to write and tell me that my work makes a difference in your life. It’s easier to keep running this race with your encouragement. I thank God for you and I pray for you.

Last month, my son woke us up to tell us that our basement was flooded. We thought he meant that some water had come in along one wall. That had happened before and my husband had a plan for solving the problem. So I was shocked when I walked downstairs, only to have my feet sink into sopping wet carpet. Water had come in from every wall, leaving only the center of the rooms dry. Our sump pump had failed in the midst of a heavy rain. We didn’t know that the pumps have to be replaced regularly. If you haven’t replaced your pump, let our experience be a warning to you.

Before I entered our sopping wet basement, my gratitude list would have sounded something like this:

Lord, I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my home. I’m thankful for my business.

I’ve matured enough in my faith that I wasn’t grumbling to God about the mess the water had made, but it was definitely a damper on my day. I became hyper focused on solving the problem. More rain was in the forecast later that day. I was ready to turn to Google for help when I felt the sense that I needed to stop and let my husband help me. Because my office is in our basement, I was feeling that I needed to be in charge. But I heeded the call to stand down. I just worked on cleanup.

Then my husband announced that our plumber was coming in a couple of hours to install a new sump pump. That was very good news! But the rest wasn’t. “I asked how he was,” my husband said, “and I could tell something was wrong. He has cancer and starts chemo in a few days.” I wasn’t shocked because of the large number of people we know who have been diagnosed with cancer or a recurrence in the last two years. But I was in awe of how the Lord used our flooded basement to give us the opportunity to minister to a man at just the right time.

Yes, I was grateful that we suffered so little loss with the water damage. I was grateful, too, that the flooding hadn’t occurred after installing new carpeting. Instead, I had been wanting the carpet replaced anyway. But what I was most grateful for was the love of our God. He loves our plumber so much that He used a heavy rain combined with our failure to replace a sump pump to bring him to our home, where we could pray for him and witness to our faith. What’s incredible to me is that He didn’t just work this together for our plumber’s good but for ours.

God is more than able to use every circumstance to make His plan a reality. I’m so grateful that He is trustworthy! His will will be done, even if we make a mistake. Even if someone we love makes a mistake. What a comfort!

I decided after that experience that I needed to upgrade my gratitude. I needed to go beyond making a list of all the standard-issue reasons to be grateful. I needed to start looking for how God was going to use the disappointments, the disasters, and even the dumb things we do for His glory and our good. Then I would thank Him for His love and care, even in advance of seeing them in reality.

Here is how I’m going to do that. I recommend that you and your children join me.

First, make a list of every worry, disappointment, and upset that is troubling you now.

For each entry, thank God that He is going to make you more like Jesus through that. He is going to use the circumstance as fertilizer to grow the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Who doesn’t want more of that fruit? I know I do. Thank God that He will give you wisdom. He promises to give us His wisdom when we ask in James 1:5.

Next, knowing that You will grow, thank God that He is going to use the circumstance for your good and the good of those you love.

Even though you don’t know how or when, even if it’s not in the way you prefer, you know that He will do this because He promises us this in Romans 8:28.

Finally, thank God that He will be glorified and His plans will be fulfilled.

Every situation will be used to demonstrate the power, the love, and yes, sometimes the patience of God. We agree with God that His ways are higher than our ways.

We can also level up our gratitude by putting it into action.

We can and should spend more time in prayer and Scripture reading–especially more than we spend time reading the news and others’ opinion. We can worship God in music, spending time in nature, creating, serving, and giving. Our love for Him overflows into worship.

We can remind others that God is at work. He hears our prayers but is waiting for the perfect time, when we and the people we love are most ready. We can preach to ourselves and others that this is not our home. Even if this life is not as we wish, we know that our eternal life offers more than we could ask or imagine. We can offer a listening ear and a hug to those who are waiting on God, offering the comfort we ourselves have received from Him.

And finally, we can share the Gospel. We can witness to our faith in the One who raised His Son to life and will raise us, too. We can share the real reason we suffer that has little to do with a person, politics, or particulars. Our sin led to a decaying world full of suffering–failed sump pumps and cancer. But God provided the solution to sin. I’m so thankful that solution isn’t dependent on you or me. Then we’d be sunk. Instead, we know the end of the story and it is victory. In that we place our hope and we rejoice with gratitude.

Conclusion

We are human, so when you walk onto sopping wet carpet, your initial response is unlikely to be gratitude. But if you stop and consider how you can become more like Christ, how God will work it together for good, and how God will be glorified, you’ll be likely to put your gratitude into action.

Next week my guest Carol Barnier and I will discuss how to help distractible, struggling readers. Have a happy homeschool week!

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Your Child’s Writing

Hey, homeschoolers! After reading, I’ve found that homeschooling parents are most concerned about their children’s writing ability. I understand that. As a writer and homeschool mom, I wanted my children to be excellent writers. When they weren’t, I was worried. But in this episode, I’m going to give you three reasons not to worry about your child’s writing. Before I do, I invite you to subscribe to Grammar Galaxy’s monthly language arts missions. Each calendar includes seasonal writing prompts along with grammar, spelling, and reading missions–all free.

Writing Worry Resources

Grammar Galaxy monthly missions Happy Handwriting Handwriting Without Tears Grammar Galaxy Nebula Handwriting Speed Worksheet Writeshop 7 Sisters Cinema Studies Course Join me next time as I discuss motivation myths that steal our homeschool sanity. Have a happy homeschool week!

How to Overcome Homeschool Distractions

Hey, homeschoolers! One of the biggest challenges we face in homeschooling and life is distraction. There are many obstacles in the path to focusing on what really matters. And ignoring them is quite a challenge. But it’s possible! That’s what I want to share with you in this episode.
Before I do, I want to invite you to engage in the distraction of Homeschool Sanity Circle. Yep, it’s on Facebook. But it’s an encouraging, supportive group. Have a question, a problem, or something funny to share? We are there for you.

Distractions Resources

Get Your Pretty On Get Dressed for Success Psycho with Style on Instagram Grammar Galaxy Books Secrets of Scheduling Success Margin in Your Homeschool Caveday.org

Conclusion

When you identify distractions use breaks, guilt-free leisure time, imagining the future, make distractions more difficult, recognize the real reason for the distraction, and meditate and pray, I believe you will overcome distractions in your homeschool. Join me next time as I discuss why you shouldn’t worry about your child’s writing. Have a happy homeschool week!

What Every Homeschooler Needs To Know About Science

Hey, homeschoolers!

Science has been in the news a lot lately. And misunderstanding about science has me taking action this week. You may not know that my education and even my training as a psychologist centered much more on doing and analyzing research then it did on clinical practice. In fact, my job in graduate school was coordinating clinical drug trials.

In this episode, I’m going to use what I know about science to share three principles our kids must learn while they are in our homeschools. If they don’t, they can be seriously misled, even if they do well on their college entrance exams.

Resources for This Episode on Homeschoolers and Science

Read the blog post

Download a free sample of Grammar Galaxy

Definition of Science

Carl Werner on Homeschool Sanity Show

Astronomy paper

Caveday

Facebook Live

Trust Project

Join me next week as I discuss homeschool distractions and how to ignore them. Have a happy homeschool week!

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!