How to Get Your Homeschool Morning Off to a Great Start – Self-Care

How to Get Your Homeschool Morning Off to a Great Start – Self-Care

It is so easy to get sucked up into the dailiness of life…

and just go through the motions without stopping to take care of yourself. As a homeschooling mom (or dad), self-care is incredibly important and not something to take lightly.

Busyness will always be there, the cleaning, cooking, schooling, working, and the never-ending laundry won’t go away. But taking a few moments of time to do something that feeds your soul, that is living.

 

 

I am a morning person.

I like my mornings to myself. Mornings are my re-charge time. The time when I can do things I enjoy and remember that I am an important person beyond my roles as wife, mom and teacher.

I do things during my mornings that I enjoy like running, yoga, reading, gardening, journaling, playing piano, drawing, or just sitting with a cup of coffee and enjoying the silence and the sunrise.

What I don’t do is work, think about dinner, plan, look at my computer, or turn on my phone. These things completely derail my morning time and draw me away from my soul time.

They draw me into other people’s worlds and it’s very hard to get back. These morning hours are to ground me, to remind me to breathe deeply, live fully, and love my life.

 

Self-care looks different in varying seasons of life as a mom.

When I had 3 toddlers underfoot I wasn’t getting much sleep and had a much more difficult time getting up early enough to find time to myself.

So, I did my best to train my kids that before 7 was Mama’s time and they needed to quietly entertain themselves for a bit until Mama was ready to start the day. I’ve always had  a few early risers; I guess they take after me. Usually, this looked like giving them each a banana and setting them up with a few toys and some soft music to play at my feet.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes not so much, but what was important was that I was showing them that I was important. Now that my kids are a bit older and I only have one toddler, I find my mornings growing much longer and myself stronger for it.

 

 

In my quest to raise my kids I am not simply teaching them head knowledge, I am sharing with them a way of life. I am modeling a lifestyle that I want them to emulate. I want them to know how to take care of themselves as adults in all areas of their lives.

How to find quiet space to re-charge whatever their life circumstances may be. I want them to look back and think about how their mom wanted so deeply to be a great mom, that she took the time to care for herself, body, mind, and soul.

It is important to me that my children learn patience and respect as they allow me to have time alone. I don’t want to just stop whatever I am doing the moment they wake up and allow them to interrupt me because then they won’t have the opportunity to see me adulting.

They need to watch me do things for myself so that they can find value in it for themselves. Kids are experts at taking all of your time for themselves, it doesn’t matter if you have 1 child or 10, they take it all, unless you teach them otherwise.

Remind them gently that when you get your alone time, life at home will be much happier. And when they are adults they will love you for it!

 

How do you create time in your day to care for yourself, fill your soul and recharge?

Sometimes, It’s Okay To Be Interrupted

Sometimes, It’s Okay To Be Interrupted

Education is so often put into a box, or a room with 4 walls, or a textbook. Learning, however, cannot be stopped. I love the curiosity of young children and their amazing ability to see and be awed by the little things, an ant, a worm, a deer track in the mud. Children are not encumbered by time, and when I remember that and take a moment to join them in their discovery I find their curiosity and joy infectious. I have learned to appreciate this interruption of my day.

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

-Benjamin Franklin

 

My daughter and I worked hard all last year on spelling. She was a beginning reader and it was difficult for her. The program I was using was new to me and was difficult for me to simplify to my liking. It started off a bit rocky, but we got through it ok and by the end of the year I think we both felt pretty good about what we had learned. Then summer came and we forgot about school and spent most of our days at the lake.

 

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So far this year we haven’t opened a spelling book (mostly because I forgot to purchase one for her, it happens), but all of a sudden she has discovered that if she spells things it’s like a secret code. She can tell mom things that her younger siblings can’t understand. All of a sudden spelling is really fun! Now she goes through her days spelling everything she can think of, from cat to Thanksgiving. She gets a lot of it wrong and asks for frequent help, but she’s loving every minute of it. She can’t wait to learn how to spell everything under the sun. Helping her decode words all day long, it’s just another one of those welcome interruptions, and we are both loving it.

If You’re Scared To Homeschool Your Kids…

If You’re Scared To Homeschool Your Kids…

If you have just begun to consider the idea of teaching your children at home, you may be wondering what that even looks like. Are you having bad dreams of chalkboards, desks and teaching your child for eight hours a day? Phew! That sounds intimidating and exhausting, and just about impossible in a home setting, especially if you have other children.

Let me ease your mind a bit. Teaching your kids at home looks a whole lot more like a one-room schoolhouse and a lot less like a classroom. What I mean by that is, when you teach your kid(s) at home there is so much less to manage; just your own kids. You can choose how you want to teach and what time works best for your family. You can adjust to your child’s attention span and create the environment in which your child learns most easily. We often opt for the out-of-doors because it contains fewer distractions and reminds us to jump up and stretch our legs often!

One Room Schoolhouse Photo Credit Todd Petrie (CC)
Photo Credit Todd Petrie (CC)

As far as teaching goes, it will depend somewhat on your own personal style and also on your child’s, but generally, you’ll only be overseeing their learning, not lecture-style teaching. The more independent work your student can accomplish the better. One of your goals in home education should be to create lifelong independent learners who are equipped with the abilities to teach themselves anything they want to know. This style of teaching and learning will take a bit of mindset adjustment if you are coming from a traditional school setting. However, I think after a bit you and your child will find it very freeing.

If you are teaching multiple children at home, I suggest you consider taking some tips from the one-room schoolhouse. While you work with one child, have your other children help each other with their work. Teach to the oldest child and let the younger ones learn along with you. They’ll be leaps and bounds ahead without you having put in any extra effort.

 “We have all the advantages of the small student-teacher ratio, much better discipline than in most classrooms, far less busy work, a wide choice of good text materials and above all a deep bond of love with our children.”
~Rick Boyer

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Are You Raising A Hero?

Are You Raising A Hero?

Christopher Reeve said it this way, “A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway.”

It takes guts to raise heroes. If you asked me, anyone who chooses to home educate their children is a hero already. There are a lot of unknown mountains to cross and treacherous valleys to overcome when we teach our own kids. Our culture can make us feel like we are inept and ill-equipped to teach at home. This is bogus. You can do this. You are modeling heroism.

Children are incredible mimics.  If you are modeling heroism and offering heroism to your children in the form of excellent literature; you are raising a hero. Good job!

These are a few of my heroes…

books-of-heroes

 

 

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1st Day of Kindergarten!

1st Day of Kindergarten!

1st Day of  Kindergarten (1)

The first day of kindergarten has been fast approaching; the end of summer looming and now, it’s here! We take the plunge into the 1st day of Kindergarten. And maybe, some of us, are wondering what we have gotten ourselves into…How do we navigate this ship called our child’s education?

Well…first you plan. Then you plan for the unexpected. And finally, remember that all those books and fun art and science materials you have at the ready, well, they are there for when you need them. But as Sarah Mackenzie says, “your plans are just guesses, and your curriculum choices are your tools- meant to be your servants, not your masters.”

“Your servants, not your masters”, if you only get through a little of what you planned, it’s ok. Do less and do it well. Enjoy the new relationship you are building with your child around learning. Smile and create wonderful memories.

An Atmosphere for Learning

An Atmosphere for Learning

Socrates Quote
Source: cottagethoughts.wordpress.com

To set an atmosphere, described as: “a surrounding or pervading mood, environment, or influence” (source), is to clear the unnecessary from the place of learning and to allow learning to be the focus.

Create an atmosphere of learning within your home and without. Learning is what we do here. We live and breathe and so we learn.

Learning is all around us. Surround your life with excellent books that hold answers to life’s questions. Discover outside your 4 walls as much or more than you discover inside the pages of books.

Create curiosity in everything that you do. Ask why, what if, how did this come to be?

Find the answers together. Become information sleuths. Ask others for their stories, thoughts, and opinions. Learn from everyone you meet and everywhere you go.

Enjoy the place of learning and carry the atmosphere within you.

5 Things You MUST HAVE to Start Homeschooling

5 Things You MUST HAVE to Start Homeschooling

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When I was getting ready to homeschool my daughter for kindergarten, I was afraid I wouldn’t have the right tools. In fact, I didn’t even know where to start. How many subjects was a child supposed to study in kindergarten? I was on the alert all the time looking for things I needed. I picked up a kindergarten workbook I ran across at Costco.  I saw a book at a used book store called “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know”. I bought a handwriting book and a math book and a reading book. I stressed over what type of colored pencils and paper we would need for arts and crafts. Collected supplies for science projects. I talked with other moms about what they were using. I looked at lots of expensive curriculum packages. The works.

 

Honestly, though, by the time her kindergarten year was over, I realized that most of what I had worried myself about was unnecessary. We used a little of it, but mostly I worried about what we were not doing because, after all, I had bought all these things thinking we would need them and they were staring at me wonderingly. I felt guilty for not utilizing them.

 

Most of what we did that year was write her letters  and numbers with pencil and paper, do a little math every day, spend an exorbitant amount of time at the library picking out wonderful books to read together, and now and then we used the computer to look up anything we didn’t know. Reading, well, just wasn’t for her yet, so we shelved it. That’s it. We went on lots of nature walks, played games, colored, read books, books, and more books. In kindergarten, less is more.

 

This list applies to the upper grades as well. These are the important things. Don’t get caught up in all the extra fluff that seems to scream “school” at you. Most of it is unnecessary. Cover the basics and let your kids discover and study their passions. Be passionate with them. Spend lots of time at the library browsing and fostering their natural curiosity.  We all learn best when we are interested in a topic. According to this MindShift article, “They are finding that interest can help us think more clearly, understand more deeply, and remember more accurately.”