Tough times? Don’t Despair!

The beauty of fall is here! I’m loving it, how about you? Cooler days, beautiful sunshine, and lovely leaves all make for one of the best seasons…  if it wasn’t for the frustration with some of our homeschool curricula.  How about you? Does the fall often bring with it a little disenchantment with the new homeschool curricula you thought was going to solve all your problems? Yeah, that happens here too!

It’s easy to get desperate when things seem to be an uphill battle every day, but don’t despair. There are solutions out there that will help you get out of the rut you’re in and on the road to enjoying this amazing fall!

  1. Take inventory. Don’t let another day pass you by without checking into “Why” you are frustrated. Take a few minutes to write everything down. Then take another few minutes to write down the things that would make you happy right now.
  2. Look at that list – is there anything on it that you can change now? Is there anything that you don’t have to live with? Is there any way to incorporate the things on your “happy” list? There are times when it’s the curricula that is the source of frustration.  Don’t hesitate to make an adjustment. So often we believe the lie that we have to live with a bad choice simply because it cost a lot of money. If this is the source of your despair – ditch that bad choice and move on to greener pastures. Are you worried about the cost? Ah, dear friend  -please don’t! Enduring every day with stress and frustration is much more costly in the long run.
  3. Look at other options. There are so many great resources out there for homeschoolers, it’s often surreal. If you’ve spent all your budget on a curriculum that just didn’t work – explore free or low-cost homeschool alternatives. Downside: free often involves a lot of planning and organizing.
  4. Lighten your load. If you’ve been stressed and are about to give up homeschooling completely, it may be time to find a way to lighten your load. Each homeschool curricula require some level of parental time investment. That time requirement can range from a few minutes a week to hours each day. If you’ve been stressed, it may be best to consider options that are less of a time investment. Don’t worry, you’re children will not suffer. That’s another misconception we parents tend to believe… if we aren’t loaded down teaching our children every aspect of their schooling something will suffer. Not true! There are good online homeschool curriculum options that take a load of grading and record keeping off of your shoulders so you can enjoy discovery, learning, and all of the joyful things that come from being a homeschool parent.
  5. Find joy.  Find something every day that causes you joy and relish in that moment. Remember, it’s the little things that mean so much. Savor the goodness of that thing and take it one step further  – say it out loud. “This is such a beautiful day!” “Chloe you’ve done so well today on your spelling – let’s go take a walk together and enjoy the sunshine.” Relish those moments, and you’ll feel the despair begin to lift.

Relaxed Homeschool…

 

The homeschooler is often looked at as the odd – the abnormal – the different…  But homeschooling is really cool – and I don’t mean popular.  Homeschooling is a wonderful family based way to educate your children, and a great way to destress your life and return to a more simple existence.

Stress seems to be the order of the day -and children often pay the price for it.  Lives are full and so busy that often children are rushed here and there without the ample opportunities that they need to investigate, learn, and grow.  Homeschool can be a relaxed sort of “cool.” A lifestyle where your chidlren learn in a fun way – where they can’t wait to do their “schooling” for the day. We enjoy being home together  playing and learning and just being family. 

If you are tired of being rushed here and there and want to change to a more simple lifestyle – give homeschooling a try.  There is an option for every type of family and every homeschooling need in math, language arts, science, and social studies.  Take inventory – make a change… relax… you’ll never miss the stress.

A few praise pointers…

In my days as a private school administrator, I cannot guess how many times I heard parents tell me that their child was gifted and they thought once enrolled, the child would simply need to be advanced a grade. It is funny, but most of those children were just good, healthy, “normal”, yet wonderful children. However, in the eyes of those parents they were so much more.
It is only natural for parents to feel that their proecious little one is a “child progeny.” I am personally thrilled when parents think their children are special (in a healthy way, of course). There are so many children who live life with no encouragement or praise from their parents. Parents who cherish their children and give them healthy praise are rare, and definitely give their children an edge by doing so. Many research studies support the fact that children who are encouraged are more confident and determined than other children who are not encouraged or praised.
Yet, praising children is more than just a pat on the back and the obligatory “Nice job!” Many child psychologists say we need to praise our children, but if it isn’t SPECIFIC praise then it may be harmful. That’s interesting isn’t it? So, praise and encourage your children, but identify the specific behavior that they are doing so well. It is the effort that matters most – not the innate gifts that we have such as intelligence, strength, or beauty. Isn’t it true for all of us, “It isn’t what we are given that matters, but what we do with what we have been given.” Give it a try – praise your children for the effort that they put forth, a good attitude that they displayed, or even good personal discipline that they exemplified, and that will encourage them to keep at it.
But wait – can there be too much of a good thing? These same psychologists seem to think so. I guess that would compare to chocolate… I love chocolate and could (probably) eat it all day long. Yet a complete diet of chocolate is not good for me. In the same sense praising a child too much can lead to serious problems. Research has shown that children who were excessively praised were less confident and less determined to face difficult challenges.
In our personal lives we are often very busy – yet we try to be as involved in our children’s lives and education as possible. This moment by moment influence is truly one of the core reasons why we homeschool. Yet, in the midst of all of that, it is common to lose sight of the “big picture.” Whether they are doing handwiriting, spelling, or even their online schoolwork there are always opportunites to encourage them, especially in areas that they have had struggles!
This little study into praise has made me more determined – and I encourage you – to be a proactive parent and to foster admirable qualities in my chidren. I plan on doing this by first, praising them and encouraging them; second, being there for them; third, spending quality time with them; and finally, by letting them know just how special they are to me!
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