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Combating Isolation in Homeschooling

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Homeschooling can lend itself to becoming isolated. I remember once when the boys were young I was desperate for another adult voice. Anyone. Would. Do. I have never been a fan of recorded messages, but I remember vividly the one that began, “Hello! This is Bob from Hollywood!” I was so happy to hear his voice, even though it was a recording and he really didn’t call me to chat. I realized then that I needed to find other women who had chosen to homeschool. I don’t think I would have done very well had I not found others in whom I could confide and be encouraged.

I consider homeschooling to be a profession, a calling, and a lifestyle and not always an easy thing to do. As we embark on this school year I am encouraging you to find others who you can talk with, who you can share about your struggles and your victories. You need a cheerleader who can rejoice with you as you tell them about listening to your son read a book on their own, watching your daughter divide 3,978 by 32, or helping your son write a story.

Maybe you are thinking, “That’s all good for you to say, Lisa, but how do I do that?” I am glad you asked! I do not have an exhaustive list, but I pray that these ideas can happen for you or give you ideas to help.

Invite a family over for a play date.  You don’t want to mess up the house or them to see your mess? That was my case, the house was a mess and I just wanted to get out for a while.  You could meet at a park for PE, share a picnic lunch, give the children a chance to meet others, and burn off some steam.

Join a homeschool support group. There are Facebook groups of homeschoolers and you could see if there is a group that meets in your area. If there is not, would you be willing to create a group? You can meet at a park, library, or a coffee shop. I was thrust into being the leader of a group, but I loved it and that group was a lynchpin for me throughout my years of homeschooling.

Listen to podcasts about homeschooling. Here is one that has all sorts of topics; I am sure you will find something to encourage you. This can help you not feel so isolated.  Homeschool Snapshots 

Call a friend or family member who is homeschool friendly and ask them if you can get together regularly. They don’t have to be homeschooling themselves, but that would be a bonus!

Talk to your husband. If you are married and your husband is supportive of you homeschooling, talk to him. I would start off with the good things that happened today and then discuss any difficulties you are having. There were many days where all I could think of that was positive is we went to school. 🙂  I did find it very helpful to just have a listening ear. Dale couldn’t solve the problems, but he could give me his time, which I really appreciated. I also realized that if he somewhat “knew”  what was happening he felt more involved in our school.

Find a mentor. I can’t thank the ladies who helped me enough when I homeschooled. I was scared I was going to mess up my children, forget to teach them something vital (like their name), or wonder why I was doing this. The women who had been homeschooling longer than me were a Godsend to encourage and help me. If you don’t have anyone local, you can still meet online and share concerns over a cup of coffee or a soda.

Have a great week! Find some people to encourage and support you and be a blessing to them too!

By the way, The picture at the beginning of my post made me laugh and I hope it brings a smile to your face.

– Lisa- 

 

Celebrating Your School Year

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By this time of year, most of you have finished your school and are enjoying the break that summer affords us. You have my hearty congratulations on completing your school year. Let me celebrate with you on the great accomplishment you have achieved. Your children may (or may not) thank you for all you have done this past year, but your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I see the hard work you have put into your school year and the love you show to your child by teaching them every day. For you who do not know me and wonder how I can say this is because I have the honor and privilege to do written assessments each year and see first hand the dedication you as homeschool teachers have to your family’s education.

I wanted to thank you for the time you spent:

  • looking over and deciding what curriculum to use
  • planning  for school
  • teaching your child
  • loving and supporting your student
  • teaching when you didn’t feel good, times were tough, attitudes were less than ideal
  • being diligent
  • instructing and guiding
  • grading papers
  • running to extracurricular activities
  • cooking meals after a long day of teaching
  • cleaning your house before, during, and after school hours
  • loving your family
  • being a great teacher!

If you have not yet done so, take some time to pamper yourself and relax. Take some time for you. It will do you a world of good and most of all, you deserve it!

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

 

 

 

 

Hang in There!

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May has snuck up on me and the academic year is quickly coming to an end. I am feeling a bit rushed and overwhelmed as I try to wrap up everything for school. I have a feeling I am not the only that is feeling like this. I wanted to encourage you today to hang in there. Finish strong and keep on the course you have made. You will feel good knowing you accomplished the goals you set.  Here are a few ideas to help.

Take one day at a time. You still time to finish school so don’t panic if you feel that you aren’t where you want to be.  what is it that you can do today? What things do you want your children to learn t-o-d-a-y?

Set manageable goals. What 3 things do you want your children to do in terms of learning? Think of it like this… Today we are going to 1) review the 3’s multiplication tables; 2) read a story and concentrate upon accuracy;  3) observe the clouds and write a poem about them.

Stick with it. I don’t know about you, but Spring Fever is a real thing in my life. I am antsy to get outside and do anything but school. I am sure your kids are right there with me! lol So, I try to think of the day and break it up into smaller segments.  Write lesson plans and then take a 10-minute outdoor break. Grade papers for an hour and then take a 5-minute break to get some fresh air, etc. I find that if I set smaller tasks in front of me with some reward of being outside for a bit of fresh air on these beautiful days I have a better outlook on things.

Take advantage of the weather. No matter where you live, we have great days to be outdoors. Why not do a nature study on plants and animals? Grab your phone, take pictures of cool things you find. You can show the pictures when you return and have your children write a story about what you saw and did.  Let the kids draw animals or plants they see and do some research on them for another day of school.

Soon it will be summer, so hang in there! Have a great week! ~Lisa~

 

 

Schooling During Busy Times

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 6.52.36 AMSometimes our schedules get so busy that school can feel rushed, leaving us feeling harried. So, how do we teach with joy and peace in the midst of the busyness?

Praying is what I have found to be the best way for me to get things in perspective. I can be anxious and fretting about things, but after I pray I realize that God cares about me and what I am going through. He has the answers and that quiets my mind and helps me to think more clearly.

Making a list of what needs to be done gives me a broad view of my day/ week and helps me prioritize. For instance, I may want to accomplish these activities in one day: do the laundry, teach school, go to the library, post office, and the grocery store, call my friend, tutor, make dinner, clean the kitchen, and get gas for the car.  The four things on my list that I must do and cannot put off for another day are teaching, tutoring, making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. I can call my friend after lunch or when I am prepping dinner. I can do the laundry, get gas, and run errands tomorrow. I like lists because I can see what tasks are there and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when they are completed.

Writing out a schedule helps me to see if all of the things that I want to do can actually be accomplished. Don’t you find that your list of To Do’s is nearly always longer than how many hours are in the day? I am not saying you have to keep a schedule of time down to the minute but having a general idea of things helps. In my experience, I have come to realize that it takes longer to accomplish things than what I had alotted and so I try to add a margin of time if possible. It’s a bonus if I get things done and still have some “free” time. I feel like I won some kind of prize!

Getting help when you are feeling overwhelmed is beneficial to you and your family. Homeschooling can be draining and at times overwhelming. I have been there! January and February were the hardest months in our school year. Our anniversary is in late December and I can remember one year crying in the parking lot of Outback Steakhouse (on one of our few date nights). I was asking, nearly pleading with Dale if we could consider putting our sons in school. It was that kind of year, my friends! What a way to celebrate our anniversary, huh? We talked about what was making me feel that way and I came to the conclusion that I could use some extra help. I called a friend and she offered to keep the boys for an afternoon. This was such a generous and much-needed act of kindness that really helped me when I was at a low point. I would encourage you that if you are feeling this way, reach out and ask for some help. Is there a friend that you could trade one afternoon where she keeps the kids and the next week you do that for her? You might even feel ambitious and do a mini-lesson with the kids. Certain projects are better done with a group than just with our children. There may be a high schooler who would love to sit with your beginning reader or do an art project with them. You could pay them or make them a batch of cookies. That is money well spent!

Making time for yourself helps you and ultimately, your homeschooling. When I feel pulled in so many different directions I get grumpy. A couple of weeks ago I was stretched to the limit on time and commitments and, oh, was I was frazzled! My husband and I were pulling out of the driveway on our way to church and the garage door opener refused to close. I jumped out of the car, manually entered the code for the door, trudged back to the truck and plopped angrily into the seat.  “What’s wrong?” my husband inquired. “I am tired!” I retorted. “Do you want to stay home today?” he asked. “Yes!” I responded without hesitation. So, Dale opened up the garage door, parked the car in its spot and I went and took a two-hour nap! Boy, did I need that and everyone was much happier that I took that nap. 🙂 Find something that will recharge you, whether that is taking a nap; drinking a cup of coffee; calling a friend; taking a walk, or listening to some music, do it! That activity will help you and give you the energy needed to accomplish the other things you need to do.

Have a great and relaxing week! ~Lisa~

 

Half Full or Half Empty?

I have been called an eternal optimist. I gladly accept the label and hope to always see things in that light. So, how do you see things in a positive light when school is creeping along, attitudes of apathy are threatening to take over your homeschool, and the housework is piling up? How about a small break to refocus and rejuvenate? I have found it to do wonders for me.

Have a little “Me” time. During school each day, have a quiet time where everyone must have some time to themselves. Have quiet activities such as books to read, coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles, making cards, or a deck of playing cards for solitaire are just a few ideas. For little ones, you could have them play with manipulatives such as wooden blocks; threading items onto pipe cleaners, play with foam shapes and letters, or a water painting book. Establishing a quiet time helps children to be independent and occupy themselves, while also stimulating their imagination.

Learn to say “No”. I know I mention this from time to time, but having less to do will create less stress. It seems like I take on all kinds of commitments and then wonder why I am feeling overwhelmed. I have always been a “Yes” woman, thinking I can do it all. Well, I have realized that less is better because I can devote my time and energy to doing a couple of things with excellence instead of more things that are “almost excellent”.

Focus on the positive. There are so many wonderful things happening, so many things we can be thankful for each day. Look back at the beginning of the year and see the progress that your daughter/son has made in school. Has your son learned his colors? Your daughter learned to write in cursive? That is awesome!

Rejoice in the little things. Don’t be looking so far ahead with schoolwork to what you haven’t accomplished, but rather see the small steps you are taking each day to get there. I encourage you not to look at the end of the textbook and wonder how you are ever going to get there, but rather see the pages you are reading and studying today for school. It will get done, you will get there; I promise!

Do something fun! How about playing with your children? You could make or purchase playdough, build an obstacle course, have a sock fight, play Indoor Hide and Seek, build with Legos or Duplos, or bake something. Enjoying a leisurely activity together not only helps ease stress but also helps you to bond with your child(ren).

Have a great week! ~Lisa~