As usual, I’d like to begin by talking about how trusting God went last month. Our topic was trusting God with our kids. My daughter did not develop whooping cough, but she did get another diagnosis that we are praying will be treated effectively. I also had to trust my teen driver to get this same daughter to volleyball camp with a 40-minute drive in rush hour. And I always have to trust God with the choices my adult kids make.
This project has made a big difference in my anxiety level and has decreased the time I spend worrying. I pray that it is helping you too. I read a wonderful devotion in My Weakness for His Strength, Volume 2 by Michael Wells this morning. Michael wrote that the world attempts to brainwash us night and day that there is no God and even if there is, He does nothing on our behalf. We have to resist these lies by renewing our minds. That’s what the Trust Project is all about.
Why Trust God with Your Marriage or Single Parenting?
The first question to answer using your Trust Project printables is what are the benefits of trusting God with our marriage or with single parenting?
I know I will have a much happier marriage and much less stress. My faith in God will grow as I see the Lord working in and through my husband.
What Will Be Different if You Trust God with Your Marriage or Single Parenting?
Next, what will you stop and start doing if you are trusting God in this area? I will stop the compulsion to remind my husband to put safety first. I will believe that God is in control of my husband’s life and wellbeing. I will start praying for my husband more. I will add his safety and faith to my prayer list.
The next question is what would trusting God with marriage or single parenting look like? For me, it would mean telling my husband to have a good time on his outings without a safety reminder. It would mean entrusting Him to God in prayer. It would mean believing that God gives me guidance through my husband’s decisions.
Marriage and Single Parenting: TRUST
Now let’s move into our TRUST acronym. T is for truth. What is the truth about God and marriage or single parenting? Our Scripture to meditate on is 1 John 4:16:
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
Whether we are single or married, God loves us. We can rely on that. He will work all things together for our good. Our biblical account is from 1 Samuel 25. This is about Abigail who was in an unhappy marriage. She keeps David from avenging himself on her husband. She says something remarkable to him:
“The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live.”
The respect she pays him and the belief in him had to have bowled David over. We know that when the Lord took her husband’s life, David married her. We can trust God to care for us even if our husbands aren’t trustworthy.
The next part of truth is addressing lies we believe in this area. One lie that I think both singles and married women believe is that we won’t make it without a husband.
I had a single friend whose car broke down. She prayed aloud. “Lord, You are my husband. If I had an earthly husband, he would take care of this car for me. But I don’t, so it’s all on You.” You can imagine what happened. The Lord sent kindly men to get her back on the road.
Another lie I’ve believed is that God only works through me and not my husband. In other words, there are some truths that only I have been privileged to understand. While it is true that my husband has made mistakes — don’t we all — I know I can trust God to protect me while I am under my husband’s leadership. Whenever I doubt this, I think of poor Sara who found herself in a Pharoah’s harem because of her husband’s decision. She was not only delivered but praised for continuing to honor her husband.
The R in TRUST is for remembering. How has God proved Himself trustworthy in your marriage or singlehood? There was a time in my marriage when I felt that I was destined to stay unhappy. I was so miserable because of the circumstances (and to honor my husband, I want to make it clear that he had not been unfaithful). I had no other option but to cry out to the Lord for help in changing my heart. That prayer was answered in less than a day. My love for my husband and my happiness were supernaturally restored.
The U in TRUST is for understanding. What has God made clear that you should do with respect to your marriage or singlehood? When my husband drives, I already know that I need to stop “bracing for impact” as he calls it. I have to pay him respect, even when he does something I disagree with.
The S in TRUST is for supplication. We pray for our needs to be met, apart from a relationship. We ask how we can serve God and our spouse better. And, of course, we pray for our spouses, believing that God hears our prayers for their faith, health, success, and relationships. We can ask for our husbands’ prayer requests. And we can make time to pray together. The divorce rate for couples who pray together is very, very low.
The final T in TRUST is for thanksgiving. Take time today to thank God for His provision in your single parenting or for your husband. I hear from moms all the time who are unhappy with their husbands’ traits that are so different from their own. But God puts opposite strengths together all the time with good reason. Thank God for that. Thank God for all the blessings He has given to your man. I am so thankful that the stroke my husband this March was not severe and that he is recovering.
The T in thanksgiving is also to remind us to thank those who protect and care for us, spouses included. When I was a single woman in college, an older gentleman from my church would come and get my car and have it serviced for me. What a blessing! I thanked him for his help with a sincere heart. But I am reminded today that I need to thank my husband for all the things he does for me and our family. I hope you’ll do the same.
Trust God with your singlehood or with your marriage. He is worthy of our trust. Next month, we’ll talk about trusting God with finances. So get all your worry about money out now. Just kidding!
Which is a bigger struggle for you: trusting God with your kids or your marriage? Comment and let me know.
If you suddenly had all kinds of reasons to fear for your health and safety,
you’re doing something right.
If you have no challenges in this area, you won’t grow your faith. You won’t learn to trust God more if everything is going well.
This last month, I had a number of troubling physical symptoms. I also frequently had to ride in the car with my husband at the wheel. Did I perfectly trust God? No. But did I grow in my trust? Yes! I would say dramatically so. I kept thinking about the Trust Project as my top priority. It kept me from fretting, researching dread diseases,, and signaling to my husband that he was about to kill us all.
One thing I learned last month is that I needed to make an addition to our Trust Project and the printables I created to go along with it. If you’re a subscriber, you automatically received these updated forms in your inbox. If you’re not a subscriber, you can request to be by clicking the button below.
What is the needed addition?First, we need to ask ourselves the benefits of trusting God in each area. What are the benefits of trusting God with my kids? I will have far less anxiety. I can enjoy good times without them being sullied by worry. My kids will feel more confident and have more trust in God too. They won’t be annoyed by my unnecessary worry. What benefits will you gain by trusting God with your kids?
The next addition is to ask ourselves what we will stop and start doing if we are trusting God in this area. With my kids, I will start assuming that my kids are safe. I will assume that God will guide them and protect them. I will believe the best about them and for them. I will stop believing that they will have an accident or be crime victims or will make poor choices. I will believe that my kids are in God’s hands and that that is safer for them than being in my hands. What will you stop doing with respect to your kids?
Finally, I have added a section for us to ask ourselves what trusting God in this area would look like. For me, it would look like praying about my kids instead of worrying about my kids. It would look like enjoying them and my times away from them without worry. It would look like peace in knowing that if God wants me to act, He will make that clear. That last part makes me emotional. The enemy wants us to believe that our kids will die or make a terrible, life-altering choice and it will be all our fault. This feeds into the worrying and the hovering, doesn’t it?
Truth in Trusting God with Our Kids
Now let’s move into our TRUST acronym. T is for truth. What is the truth about God and our kids? Our Scripture to meditate on is Matthew 18:10: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Did you catch that? Our kids have angels in heaven watching over them and protecting them. Of course, God is also watching over them, but in His lovingkindness, He has also given our beloved children into the care of these heavenly beings. These angels will prevent accidents, crime, and even self-harm when we aren’t there. What a wonderful image!
Our biblical account is from Mark 10:13-16:
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
God loves our kids so much, more than we do. What a reassuring truth that is.
The next part of truth is addressing lies we believe in this area. One of the lies I’ve believed is that God will take one or more of my children from me to make me better or stronger. That belief comes from the lie that God is really not good. It IS true that my kids may go to heaven before I do. But it won’t be because God is callously trying to make me a better person. That’s a lie. If God does permit any of my kids to die prematurely, I can know that He has a good purpose, that it is not to harm me or my child. And I can know that His grace and strength would allow me to survive that loss. I don’t have to prepare for that day that may never come. I’ll have all the grace when I need it.
Remembering in Trusting God with Our Kids
The R in TRUST is for remembering. How has God proved Himself trustworthy with your kids? I made so many mistakes with my kids’ safety when they were babies. I left a knife in the dishwasher that my baby grabbed and cut himself with, for example. But God has delivered my kids from accidents of their own making, too. My 22-year-old had a biking accident that fractured his skull near the base of his neck. It could have killed or paralyzed him, but it did not. My college son needed an internship this summer and was having trouble finding one. I had no time to help him. I gave it to the Lord. Sure enough, he has one!
Understanding in Trusting God with Our Kids
The U in TRUST is for understanding. In some cases, we already understand what the Lord’s will is. We just need to act on it. As I write, I have just learned that my daughter was exposed to whooping cough. I don’t know if she will develop it, but I know what the treatment is. If she develops symptoms, we’ll get her to the doctor and we’ll trust God for her healing. Worrying about it isn’t trusting God.
Supplication in Trusting God with Our Kids
The S in TRUST is for supplication. We pray. I have my kids on a regular rotation in my prayer app. I pray for their faith, their work, their studies, their health, and their relationships. We can also ask others to pray. When I found out about the whooping cough exposure, I immediately asked friends to pray.
Thanksgiving in Trusting God with Our Kids
The final T in TRUST is for thanksgiving. I have to tell you a story about a dear older friend of mine. One of her children (her only son) died of cancer when he was just 16. The Lord has sustained her through that loss in a supernatural way. But two weeks after he had died, she found one of his shirts in the laundry. She didn’t know why it would be there. She felt this spirit of darkness and despair descend on her. She recognized it and she refused it. She put her son’s shirt on and began to praise the Lord. Thanksgiving and praise can defeat the enemy’s lies about our children.
I am so thankful for my children’s health, faith, and family relationships. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to be their mom, flawed and imperfect as I am. If I were to die today or all my children were taken home in one disaster, how could I, like Job, not give thanks to God for these blessed 23 year of parenting? Take time today to give thanks for the children you’ve been given.
I have many projects on my plate, as I’m sure you do. But I believe the Trust Project is the most important of all. I would love for you to share the project with the people you know who need to believe God for their deliverance and joy.
Next month, we’ll talk about trusting God with single parenting and marriage.
Kits include everything needed for 1-6 students to complete the experiments. Kits are designed for a one-semester class meeting five days a week. The teacher’s manual that includes the reading material and lab reports is available as a digital download, making it economical for multiple students.
After initially telling my teens about these forensic science kits and that I wanted to do at least one unit right away, my daughter was relentless in asking me to do it. That. is. crazy. Science or any school my 15-year-old is begging to do? I’m for that!
I printed the digital teacher’s manual for the fingerprint analysis unit and my daughter 3-hole punched it and put it in a binder for me. Yes, she was THAT motivated. The boys were curious and didn’t complain about starting.
I read them the mystery aloud. By the way, this is a murder involving an unfaithful spouse, so consider your child’s maturity and sensitivity with this. There are no sordid details, however.
I also read the history of fingerprinting analysis as well as the scientific material aloud to them, showing them the figures in the text. This material is to be read by students in preparation for class, but I (I mean my daughter) wanted to get the experiments going. It isn’t a lot of reading, but some of it is highly technical. In my opinion, those portions would overwhelm the average 5th-6th grader. In fact, Scott Moening (owner of Crosscutting Concepts) tells me the same materials are used in college classes.
Discussion questions and lab sheets checked for comprehension. My kids did okay with identifying fingerprint patterns, but I found it challenging. Visual-spatial skills aren’t my strength. I’m a verbal girl.
We took our fingerprints. I loved that the ink pad for this was included. Lab sheets are digital, so you can make as many copies as you need. But I will say my kids were not good at the fingerprinting technique. The lab sheets (had we completed them as written) would have taken a loooong time to complete. We completed them as a group effort.
We analyzed our fingerprints. We found it challenging to do this well. I wished there were an expert at hand to tell us what we were seeing. We were supposed to do a time-consuming numerical computation on our prints as well, which we honestly did not do. For me, it was like being asked to do long division with a calculator at hand. The numerical computation is the old-school approach. However, I was glad to have the history and the information about how it was done. It made the unit feel very meaty and thorough.
We lifted our fingerprints. We learned about how forensic experts extract fingerprints and this was the most interesting part for me. We added our prints to my picture window intentionally, but this honestly wasn’t necessary. There are ALWAYS prints on my window, even now that I don’t have toddlers. Come to think of it, I need to lift the prints next time to see who the culprit is! You can see the prints reflected on the newspaper on the left. We used dusting powder and hinged adhesive (included) to pull the prints from the window.
The class nature of the kit allows for some fun activities of matching prints to people. In the interest of time, we did not do this.
Finally, we used what we learned to evaluate the fingerprints obtained in the murder mystery. I won’t tell you what we determined. 🙂 Depending on what experiments we were doing going forward, the teacher’s guide suggests holding a mock trial in which the evidence is presented. We are not doing our regular co-op next year, but a mock trial would have been a blast with a group.
Our FACES Software Experience
I did not realize that the FACES composite drawing software is also used to solve the murder mystery until I printed the teacher’s guide. It is another week-long unit to use with the kit.
The version I have is for Windows. The program allows you to choose various facial features such as head shape, chin shape, nose type, wrinkles, scars, tattoos, and more. Everything can be resized. It’s the same type of software used by police to create a drawing of suspects.
We played a game with FACES. I used the software with my daughter–you know, the excited one. 🙂 We did the easiest level with it. We were shown a composite drawing for a few seconds and were then asked to recreate it using just a few options. In other words, just a few types of eyes and chins were given as options, making it much easier to recreate the drawing. We were given a score, and working together we did very well. This was fun and something I can see my kids spending time improving in. It requires both attention and an artist’s eye to do well.
We drew my husband with FACES. With all the facial feature options available to us, and even having my husband and his picture available, it was challenging to make the composite look a lot like him. We enjoyed working on it, though, and the software is easy to use. In fact, it’s fairly addictive. I kept saying we were done, but then I’d try again. If I didn’t have to finish this review, I’d be playing with it some more. 🙂
We did not complete the FACES unit. There is an entire teaching unit that goes along with the software that will be a lot of fun to do with my kids in the fall.
What I love about Crosscutting Concepts CSI Science for My Homeschooled Middle and High School Students
I’m interested in these forensic science kits. I was almost as excited to work with the kits as my daughter. When I’m interested, school gets done.
My kids are interested in learning forensic science. None of my kids complained about using these kits. That is HUGE.
Everything you need is there. I can’t stand hunting around for science supplies when I’m ready to get school done.
It’s story-based. Each set of experiments is connected to one murder mystery involving Lyle and Louise. As the author of a story-based language arts curriculum, I know how powerful that is in aiding learning.
It’s a unit study. I’ve always loved unit studies for gaining students’ interest, but many them are only suited for elementary students. These kits teach math, biology, chemistry, physics, genetics, entymology, history, art, and more in one fascinating set of units.
It has real-world application. Your kids cannot say that you’re teaching useless information. They’ll know more about crime investigations they hear about on the news. Using FACES software, they can learn to pay attention to detail and improve art skills. They can even create a composite drawing of a crime suspect at home! Finally, they might discover a new career path.
Crosscutting Concepts Forensic Science Kits Are Best Suited for:
Advanced middle schoolers and high schoolers on grade level
Reluctant and other students who are interested in crime scene investigation
Families with more than one student or homeschool co-ops
Teachers who are willing to do the experiments with students, instead of having students work independently
Families who can commit to doing experiments several times a week.
Families who can afford a higher-end science kit. Use code HOMESCHOOLSANITY for 10% off and free shipping. You can also purchase individual kits.
I love this curriculum. I feel that completing most of the material with my three kids will make for a fun, educational homeschool year. Hover over the products link at Crosscutting Concepts to find the kits best suited to your family. You can also contact the company on Facebook and Instagram if you have questions.
I recently finished the audiobook The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. In the book, Hal encourages us to choose a big goal that is in line with our values. He also encourages us to choose a goal that will make us better people — the kind of people who are able to accomplish our other goals. I was walking my neighborhood as I listened to his book. I considered a number of goals, including writing more books and getting into better shape. But the truth is, I’ve already accomplished similar goals. And those goals don’t necessarily line up with my highest value, which is my faith in God.
As I thought about my faith, my life verse came to mind: Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
I continued walking as I thought and I had an idea. What if my goal was to trust God in every area of my life? In fact, what if I focused on trusting God in a new area every month? I could write about my experience, I could podcast about it, and I could invite people to join me. It would be very similar to what I did with A Year of Living Productively and The Organized Homeschool Life.
I’ve shared what a rough year this has been for me already–not really because of my friends’, husband’s and my own health and other scares–but because I haven’t trusted God. I’ve worried, I’ve panicked, I’ve cried. I’ve lost valuable time; my health has suffered; my happiness has suffered; and even my relationships have suffered. If I had truly trusted God, what a difference it would have made!
I was on board and ready to do it. But I’ve learned that jumping in before having confirmation from the Lord is a bad idea. So I prayed about it as I walked and researched the idea as soon as I got home. The very first link that jumped out at me in my Google search was a video on Trusting God by Chuck Swindoll. Chuck referenced Proverbs 3:5-6 and outlined the blessings of trusting God as well as the curses of not doing so that I’ve experienced to the full this year.
Chuck explained what keeps us from trusting God. Self-sufficiency. We think we can do it ourselves, but the responsibility is overwhelming. Asking friends for help. How often do we call on others to talk through problems before praying? Feeling distant from God. We think our emotions are a measure of God’s power when nothing could be further from the truth. The bad habit of worrying. We tend to think we can’t control our thoughts and while initial thoughts may be reflexive, what we meditate on is completely under our control. Impatience. We think God ought to deliver on a drive-through timeline, when so often quick action could be disastrous. We doubt. We think maybe God can’t or He just won’t. We prefer human counsel. We listen to experts who don’t even share our faith in preference to trusting God. We manipulate and take charge of a situation without being Spirit-led and only later realize that we should have trusted God instead. We toss and turn, trying to come up with solutions and often cling to people and things God is trying to remove from our lives for our good.
All this Chuck said to affirm that trusting God is the greatest goal I could undertake in my life. Then he said something that felt like it was just for me. He said, “Wouldn’t it be a great project…to think through ways that you can begin to trust God?” He suggested inviting a friend or mate to undertake the project too. I began to weep happy tears because I knew then that The Trust Project is my big goal for the year. I knew that I was to invite you and anyone you know who wants to grow in faith to join us.
The Trust Project
After this confirmation, I spent time thinking through all the areas of our lives that we ought to trust God with. We will take on one area each month. If you’re thinking that you don’t have time to do this now, know that this project isn’t about what we do but what we believe. Of course, I have a plan for us to grow in our belief, but it will take very little time. Yet, I know that the time we do spend will pay off in ways that we can’t even imagine now.
We will be using an easy-to-remember acronym for each area we focus on: TRUST.
T is for Truth. We will meditate on a Scripture for each area, read a biblical account that will fortify our trust in God in that area, and we will truth journal all month.
R is for remembering. We will remember how faithful God has been to us in that area of our lives, despite our worry and lack of faith.
U is for understanding. God has already given us understanding and wisdom in these areas of our lives that we must trust and obey.
S is for supplication. We will pray for God to meet our needs in each area and we will ask for Him to help our unbelief.
T is for thanksgiving. We will thank Him for being the loving, trustworthy God He is and for how He has provided, but we will also thank Him for how He will provide in this area of our lives going forward.
If the Lord leads, we can spend additional time reading additional books, listening to music, and watching videos that will further strengthen our faith in each area.
So will you join me? If so, you can download your free Trust Project Printables by clicking the button below.
All the areas of focus, Scriptures, Bible readings and journaling responses are included. When you opt to receive them, you’ll be added to a special Trust Project list, where you will receive only Trust Project updates. So if you have a Christian friend or family member who wants to join us, who is not a homeschooling parent, they can without getting unrelated email.
Trusting God with Our Health and Safety
Now let’s talk about trusting God with our health and safety–our area of focus for this month. I’ll take you through the TRUST acronym with my own responses.
The T in Trust is for Truth. Our Scripture to meditate on this month is Proverbs 3:7-8. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” When it comes to health and safety, I have been wise in my own eyes. I have feared so many things that could make me sick or kill me. But trusting God has made me healthier!
Our reading is from 2 Kings 20.
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord.6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”
7 Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
8 Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”
9 Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”
10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”
11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.”
Our journaling prompt question is: How does this Bible reading lead me to trust God with my health and safety? First, it makes it clear that God is in charge of my health and the length of my life. Second, it makes it clear that God will communicate with me about my health. If I am anxious, I can ask Him for wisdom and reassurance.
Next, what thoughts lead me to distrust God? This question is designed for truth journaling all month, but I will go through some of my current anxious thoughts with you about health and safety. I’m thinking, “I have to have a colonoscopy and the preparation will be horrible.” My truth reponse: You’ve survived it before and millions of people do it. God will get you through it. My next thought is: “I’m going to get into an accident and die unless I am watching anxiously while my husband or teen drives.” My truth response: God is in control. My anxious watching cannot save me because I am not in control.
R is for remembering. Our prompt is: How has God proven Himself trustworthy in your past? I have been healed of a gastrointestinal disease and chronic allergies–both of which are miracles. I have been protected from accidents countless times. I am still alive and well in my 50s, despite all my worrying.
U is for understanding. Our prompt is: What wisdom has God given you to believe and obey? God has shown me that I feel best when I exercise, get enough minerals, and avoid drinking soda. I have to obey that last part.
S is for supplication. Our prompt is: What is your prayer in addition to more faith? I pray that I would feel relaxed about medical testing I have done and that tests would show I am in good health. I pray that I would be kept safe as I travel, no matter who is driving.
T is for thanksgiving. Our prompt is: What can you thank God for now and in the future? I thank God for the good health I enjoy and for access to excellent medical care. I thank God that my immediate family and I have never had a serious car accident. I thank God that my life is in His hands and that He will care for me all my days.
I would love to have your recommendations as well. Comment below so others can see them.
Throughout this month, keep meditating on Proverbs 3:7-8. Read other Bible accounts of God’s healing and protection. Keep truth journaling, remembering God’s faithfulness, believing and obeying the wisdom He’s already given you, and praying and thanking Him.
Thank you for joining me in trusting God with health and safety. God bless your week!
Pin the image below to encourage others to trust God.
GYPO is like a wardrobe menu planning service. You receive a shopping list of wardrobe pieces, not the clothing itself. There are lists of basics for stay-at-home moms and seasonal lists with trendier pieces added to the basics. With the shopping list, you are given a month’s worth of outfits that can be put together from the list. Here’s why I think you’ll love Get Your Pretty On as a homeschooling mom.
Get Your Pretty On (aka GYPO) can make you feel pretty.
Before GYPO, I saved my nice clothes for special occasions like I saved my “good dishes.” I figured it didn’t matter. I’m a homeschool mom after all. But then I tried GYPO when I saw a friend doing it on Instagram. One morning I awoke feeling very low in energy. I put on my outfit of the day and suddenly I felt great!
Recently, a male friend of ours was over and asked where I was going looking so nice. My husband said, “She looks like that every day,” and I couldn’t argue with him. Wearing outfits that are flattering makes me feel pretty, confident, and energized and I want every homeschool mom to feel this way.
GYPO saves you money.
Before GYPO, I bought all kinds of trendy pieces that didn’t go with anything I had. I still felt like I had “nothing to wear,” so I was likely to shop for more. Now I shop for just a few new seasonal items that mix and match with the basics I already own. Knowing exactly what to buy is like shopping from a grocery list; you buy less! You’ll discover a number of great pieces in your closet that will work with your wardrobe, and you’ll finally know how to wear them. If you love shopping the thrift stores, GYPO is the list that will narrow your search. GYPO has given me a new passion for thrifting. My favorite find was a new-with-tags $165 dress for $5.
GYPO also saves you time.
Homeschooling moms are busy. With GYPO I don’t have to figure out what to wear every day because I have a calendar of outfits. I was amazed by how easy it was to pack for overnight trips when my outfits had already been planned for me. It’s so much quicker to choose items to give away, too. You know they don’t look as good as your GYPO wardrobe pieces and they don’t go with anything!
GYPO builds friendships.
When you purchase a wardrobe capsule, you are given access to a private Facebook group. Women (many of them homeschooling moms) share pictures of their outfits of the day there. There are women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and they’re all so nice. Members share about their personal lives and give style and shopping advice. I’m very picky about Facebook groups because I can’t stand drama. The GYPO group I was in was wonderful and I think I know why. The creator of GYPO, Alison Lumbatis, is a member of the group and is humble, genuine, and loves to encourage women. Be sure to listen to my interview with her.
GYPO is good self-care.
I have told my husband and kids numerous times that dressing in my GYPO outfits makes me happy. They know it does. And as I’ve said before, our husbands and kids want us to be happy more than anything. When we’re happy, we are better wives, mothers, and teachers. Taking care of our appearance often leads women to eat better, exercise, address depression, and work toward meaningful goals. We also model a healthy approach to parenting for our daughters when we make our personal needs a priority.
A bonus reason to dress in pretty clothes is you don’t have to panic that the UPS guy will see you in your pajamas at 3 p.m. You’ll be ready for anything!
Does your child get overwhelmed and upset in noisy, crowded places? Maybe your child is extremely picky about the texture of her food, the feeling of her clothing, or unfamiliar smells. At the other extreme, maybe your child is a “sensory seeker” who craves stimulation and can’t seem to sit still. As many as one in 20 children has sensory processing challenges, which can make traditional schooling challenging.
Children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) may exhibit a variety of symptoms that are easily confused with misbehavior or other conditions. Teachers may not recognize or know how to handle the behaviors including:
Meltdowns and tantrums when tired or overstimulated
Difficulty sitting still or focusing
Trouble transitioning from one activity to another
Poor handwriting and fine motor skills
Intense fears and aversions
Preoccupation with barely audible background noises or stimuli
If your child has SPD and struggles in a traditional school setting, you might have flirted with the idea of homeschooling. Here are some strategies (and an honest look) that may give you the confidence to make the leap.
#1 Develop Routines
Most children thrive on routines, but kids who struggle to focus or transition between activities need them even more. The trick is to set up realistic routines and be able to check your expectations when things go sideways. One strategy that helps many kids is to post the daily schedule on a wall and reinforce it with a task list that your child can carry around or place in their work area. Some parents have reported that a spiral notebook works well. This gives the student the option of crossing off tasks as they are completed and ripping out pages at the end of the day.
#2 Unconventional Methods? So What?
Students usually sit at desks during classes in traditional schools. That doesn’t mean you have to do it that way when homeschooling your child. Create a dedicated homeschooling space that fits your child’s needs. Instead of a desk and chair, maybe you need a beanbag, yoga ball, swing, or mini-trampoline. Instead of brightly-colored posters, maybe you need walls that are a soothing color and are relatively bare. If your writing class is conducted standing in front of a whiteboard or reading hour happens before bedtime, that’s fine. As long as real learning occurs, whatever works for your child and that doesn’t drive you insane is fair game.
#3 Take Breaks
Knowing your child as well as you do, you’re sure to notice when he is getting antsy or tired and is losing focus. The best solution is to break tasks down into small chunks and take breaks when you need to. Kids with SPD may tire easily and struggle if you give them more than a few math problems at a time, for example. If you want to encourage your child to push through for a little while longer, here are a couple of ways to work out a compromise:
Get a set of three or four dice. Let your child roll them and use the results to determine the amount of time given to piano practice, exercise, or English homework. If they roll four threes, the total time would be four times three, or 12 minutes of practice or study. Add more dice if needed for more involved assignments.
Invest in a visual timer, such as a colorful, oversized hourglass that your favorite student can turn over and watch to measure their progress. Choose one that lets you scale the time period. For example, a five-minute timer can be flipped over for additional time.
#4 Use Visual Cues
Visual cues help solidify routines your child can do on their own. Help your student make a list of morning tasks they can do before joining you for the school day. This can include brightly marked tasks such as:
Brushing their teeth
Combing their hair
Making the bed
Whatever else they need help remembering
One strategy is to laminate the cards and stick them on the wall with velcro. Your child can pull them off when each task is accomplished.
#5 Adapt to Quirky Behavior
Sometimes, if you can’t beat ‘em, you need to join ‘em. One mother was at her wits’ end over her five-year-old son’s penchant for chewing on everything from LEGOs to his shirts. She finally came up with a solution – gum. No amount of bribery, correction or pleading could curb his compulsive behavior because he needed the sensory input it provided. When she realized that, she offered him a more socially acceptable way to get it. It doesn’t always work, but gum often gives him the oral motor stimulation he needs and calms him down. If you can’t extinguish a quirky or repetitive behavior, see if you can redirect it in a more appropriate way.
#6 Gloves and Chalk and Other Weirdly Brilliant Ideas
Is your child a neatnik who doesn’t want anything to do with art due to trauma with paint or chalk? There’s a workaround for that. If your student doesn’t mind wearing gloves, slip them on before art class. Latex allergy or aversion? No problem, since cloth work gloves are a possible, if awkward, solution. Use craft supplies that aren’t moist or squishy, like pipe cleaners and washi tape. If you can figure out something that works and that your kid agrees to, it’s not weird; it’s wonderful.
#7 Appreciate a Beautiful Mind
Does your child with Sensory Processing Disorder take 20 minutes to set the table by painstakingly lining up every piece of silverware? Take time to appreciate his unique vision. Perfectionism might be inconvenient, but it’s not a bad thing. However, it is important to develop ways to help your kid deal with the frustration that comes when things don’t go so perfectly. Research suggests this can affect their self-esteem if not addressed appropriately.
#8 Go with the Flow
Sometimes, reading up on the scientific reasons behind a behavior helps parents stay patient when their kids run away suddenly, scream, or otherwise act out. It also helps to realize that you can’t teach or parent the problem away, and that it’s not your fault when your overstimulated student throws a tantrum. Meltdowns are a fact of life for many kids with SPD. Try to remember that your child isn’t giving you a hard time; your child is having a hard time. If you can remain calm and try to figure out the source of your child’s distress, it will pass more quickly. If you find yourself getting flustered in tense situations, consider taking a meditation or yoga class and practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques. It can be frightening when children thrash, bang their heads against walls, or hyperventilate. It’s a good idea to get CPR and first aid training to be able to identify emergency situations and respond appropriately.
#9 You’re Going to Get Things Wrong – It’s OK
When you’re having a bad week and the temper tantrums are feeling more like the climate than a passing storm, take heart. You won’t be the first or last parent to mess up. The teachers at school don’t have all the answers either, so take a breath, take a break and let the moment pass. A yearlong academic study by Dr. Steven Duvall found that parents homeschooling kids with special needs generally do an excellent job.
Which of these strategies do you want to try first? Let me know in the comments.
Jackie Nunes is a blogger at WonderMoms.org. She is a former pediatric nurse and now a full-time homeschool educator. She and her husband have three children. Their middle child suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was 4. Now 11 years old, she is hearing impaired and uses a wheelchair. Jackie and two other moms created Wonder Moms as a project to share real talk, helpful information, and practical advice with parents of kids who have intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, autism, language and speech delays, deafness, chronic illness, and traumatic brain injury.