How to Be a Consistent Homeschooler

How to Be a Consistent Homeschooler

My biggest homeschool struggle has been consistency. As I begin my 19th year of homeschooling, I want to take steps to grow in this area. I know I’m not alone in the struggle, so I am sharing my tips with you.how to be a consistent homeschool mom

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In thinking about consistency, I realized that it is highly related to personality. Those of you who have heard me speak about personality know that my typology of choice is that developed by Florence Littauer, author of Personality Plus. There are four basic personalities which can create combinations. But today I’m only going to review the four main personalities, so  I can share tailor-made tips for helping you to become more consistent.

Homeschool Consistency for Popular Sanguine Personalities

The first personality type we will discuss today is the Popular Sanguine. I want to begin with this personality because this type has the most difficulty remaining consistent. This is not to say that the other personalities don’t also have challenges remaining consistent in their homeschooling, but this personality’s quest for fun can cause problems.  The day-to-day, rather boring realities of homeschooling conflict with the Popular Sanguine’s life-should-be-a-party style. The Popular Sanguine personality bolts out of the gate for back to school and is on fire. They tell themselves that this is the year they’re going to be consistent because they are so excited about their new planner, their new curriculum, and routines. But the fun and excitement of the beginning of the school year quickly fades without proper attention. This personality will begin to drop the routines and behaviors and activities they were so excited about in the beginning. So how can we as popular Sanguines become consistent when our desire is to have fun?

The solution to inconsistency for the popular sanguine personality lies in planning for a variety of fun activities throughout the school year. One school year our co-op did only field trips for our co-op day. This sounded like a marvelous idea at the beginning of our homeschooling year. After all, what could be more fun than a field trip? As the year wore on, though, the field trips actually became tiring. The Popular Sanguine craves variety. This is why the popular sanguine becomes so energized and excited about the new school year. She has chosen new curriculum, new activities, and new routines. Don’t plan the same activities, even if they are fun activities. We have fun Fridays in our homeschool. If I am not careful, I can plan to do the same thing every Friday. That is because I haven’t actually planned out my activities. So rather than having a game day, or going on a field trip, or watching movies every single Friday, I need to schedule a variety of homeschooling activities. Put something on the calendar, every week if possible, that you look forward to. Popular Sanguines get depressed if there isn’t something fun to look forward to soon.

To keep things exciting, you could even create a jar of fun ideas for your homeschool and choose one randomly. I created one for my family and you can steal it when you subscribe. Add your own ideas, too! Click the image below to download your copy.

Homeschool Fun Jar printables

Alternatively, you could ask your children to take turns planning fun days. Just do something to keep the homeschooling process exciting.

Homeschool Consistency for Powerful Choleric Personalities

The second personality type I want to discuss in terms of being a consistent homeschooler is the Powerful Choleric personality. This is my secondary personality, so I need these tips as well as those for the Popular Sanguine. The Powerful Choleric more than anything wants control. If this is you, you become perturbed and impatient if you don’t feel like you have control over your children and your homeschooling.

One of the best solutions for remaining consistent as a homeschooling mom who needs to have some control is to get regular feedback on what you’re accomplishing. Powerful Cholerics are ambitious people who strive to be successful. If you don’t feel that you are achieving anything with your efforts, you’re going to become inconsistent.I did an interview with Deborah Bell about her Ultimate Homeschool Planner and how to plan your homeschool year that you will appreciate. What I was most excited about from our discussion is the idea that I would meet with each of my children at the beginning of the week to plan their objectives and also at the end of the week to see what we accomplished. More than just what we accomplished academically, however, the Ultimate Homeschool Planner also gives Powerful Cholerics like us the opportunity to record how we saw God at work in our homeschools. This also meets our need for getting a good return on our time investment.

Another way to feel that you are more in control is to take a leadership position. That could be a leadership position in your homeschooling support group, co-op, or learning center. When Powerful Cholerics are in charge, they are more likely to be consistent. Teaching classes in my home-based co-op has been the best thing for my Powerful Choleric side. I have a schedule made up at the beginning of the year that invariably gets followed because it is a group activity. I feel not only more in control of my homeschool, but I also get to see the results.

Homeschool Consistency for Perfect Melancholy Personalities

The next personality type I want to discuss in terms of becoming a more consistent homeschooler is the Perfect Melancholy personality. This is the personality that wants things to be perfect. Melancholies are the most consistent homeschoolers naturally. These are people who like to do things in the same way and typically resist change or inconsistency. However, this personality can become discouraged and depressed when their consistency isn’t perfect. Perfect consistency doesn’t exist, especially when you are dealing with children!

The Perfect Melancholy personality needs to adopt a new definition of consistency. When someone or something throws a wrench into your plans, accept the interruption as from the Lord. Relax, give yourself grace, and believe that if you are achieving your objectives and following your plan about 80% of the time, you are being consistent. Remember, too, that your children may not share your personality. This is the case for homeschoolers, regardless of their personality. We not only have to take our own personality into account, but our children’s as well. If you as a Perfect Melancholy homeschooler are consistent with your homeschooling 80% of the time, you are likely giving your children with other personality types the freedom and the variety they crave.

The other thing you can do as a Perfect Melancholy homeschooler is to communicate your needs to your family. Again, this is a recommendation that I can give to every homeschooler, regardless of personality. But for the Perfect Melancholy it is particularly important to be honest and forthright about your needs and feelings. Saying something like, “I have been feeling out of sorts and even frustrated because we haven’t been able to stay home and get through our homeschooling routine. I’ll feel so much better about things if we can stick to the plan today” can help your family be sensitive to your needs.  Maybe your family should just know what you need, but they likely don’t. They need you to tell them.

Homeschool Consistency for Peaceful Phlegmatic Personalities

The final personality type is the Peaceful Phlegmatic. This personality type can also struggle with consistency because this personality wants to keep things simple and conflict free. If the homeschooling plan you have created for your family at the beginning of the homeschooling year is just unrealistic or too demanding for your particular family and lifestyle, you’re likely to want to drop it all. Of course, there are other options besides all or nothing.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic homeschooler can be consistent this homeschool year by keeping the homeschooling routine and curriculum easy. What are some ways to make homeschooling easy? Listen to the podcast episode I did on how to homeschool in less time for ideas. The Peaceful Phlegmatic homeschooler will be delighted to spend less time doing direct teaching in their homeschool, giving them more time for relaxation. Block off plenty of time in your schedule for unscheduled time. Drop out of activities you know will leave you exhausted by the end of the year. Make sure that curriculum that is confusing to you or frustrating for your kids is replaced. We have so many options available to us as homeschoolers now, there’s really no reason to continue with a curriculum that isn’t easy to understand and easy to use. If you need some recommendations for curriculum that is an alternative to what you have been using, please join our homeschooling support group– HomeschoolScopes.tv on Facebook. In that group you can ask any questions you have about curriculum and  get an array of very helpful answers.

How to Achieve Homeschool Consistency Regardless of Personality

Now that I covered some basic tips for the various personality types, I have one major recommendation for you, regardless of your personality. That is to make your homeschooling a habit. If you try to fit homeschooling in around your other activities and priorities, your homeschooling won’t happen. Do what you have to do to make sure that you have time most days to complete the homeschooling tasks that you know you need to complete. We build the homeschooling habit by doing the same activities day after day, whether we feel like it or not. I am not suggesting that if you are exhausted from being up with sick children or a newborn all night that you absolutely have to do the same routine or use the same schedule. Of course, I’m not suggesting that. That is the blessing of homeschooling that we have the flexibility we need to accommodate those special circumstances. However, if you just don’t feel like doing homeschooling with your kids and you consistently put it off, you will be disappointed with your homeschool consistency this year. In fact, you may feel like a failure, your kids may complain, or your spouse may suggest it’s time to put the kids in school. This is all because you have not developed the habit of homeschooling even when you don’t feel like it.

I know habit building may sound discouraging, but understand this. The amount of willpower it requires to build the homeschooling habit is only intense at the very beginning. In a matter of weeks you will find yourself automatically going through your routines without even thinking about it. Not doing your homeschooling routine won’t even be something you consider. That is the good news about being a consistent homeschooler. Being a consistent homeschooler does not mean you are a legalist. In fact, thinking about having to do the same thing day after day after day, regardless of what else is happening in your life is likely to make you less consistent, rather than more. Know that you can definitely be Spirit-led in your day-to-day homeschooling, but I believe the Lord would have us be consistent the majority of the time. Develop a morning routine, an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. I tell you how here and in The Organized Homeschool Life.

By following these steps, you can be a consistent homeschooler this year. I am very hopeful as I look forward to this upcoming homeschool year with these tips in mind.

 

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How to Homeschool Without Help: Tips for Single and Married Moms

How to Homeschool Without Help: Tips for Single and Married Moms

Last week my husband and I shared about how to keep a homeschooling marriage strong. I think that’s such an important topic. But a few months ago, a listener pointed out that it’s hard for her to hear homeschooling advice designed for moms whose husbands are supportive of homeschooling when hers isn’t. That got me interested in talking to single homeschooling moms and married homeschooling moms whose husbands aren’t supportive. I want those of you who are homeschooling without help to have sanity, too!

 

How to Homeschool Without Help

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I interviewed Jessica Binkley (of Let’s Break the Rules and DearPennyJane.com), a newly single homeschooling mom, and LaToya Edwards, a mother who was single when she began homeschooling, for The Homeschool Sanity Show podcast. These two ladies helped me to realize that homeschooling is an excellent choice for children whether their parents are single or married.

For Jessica, putting her children in school after her divorce didn’t make sense. LaToya met a single, homeschooling mom before making her decision to teach her kids at home, so she knew it could be done. Both women opened my eyes to the need for married, homeschooling moms like me to be more supportive. Unfortunately, other married homeschoolers were some of the loudest voices telling Jessica she couldn’t keep homeschooling. Jessica and LaToya had these tips for single, homeschooling moms:

#1 Keep a flexible, relaxed schedule.

You may have to teach at unconventional times because of your work schedule or to accommodate your children’s father’s schedule. The blessing of homeschooling is being able to find a routine that fits your family. LaToya advises giving yourself time to find that.

#2 Make time for you.

Having time for self-care and refreshment can be very challenging. Jessica has made Sundays a completely free day on which she will not schedule anything. She still has her children with her, but it’s a time when she can relax. Consider trading childcare with another homeschooling mom so you can have a few hours alone.

#3 Let go.

Jessica emphasized the importance of crying when you feel like it. She said things got better for her when she stopped expecting friends to help her. She determined to stop being hard on herself.

LaToya noted that homeschooling improved for her when she stopped trying to make her school look like a traditional school or even a strict homeschool philosophy. She feels comfortable blending approaches that work for her family now.

#4 Get support.

LaToya pointed out that when she attends homeschool activities, the other mothers don’t know she’s a single mom. That allows her to feel comfortable in groups. Jessica has found support through Facebook groups for homeschoolers that aren’t necessarily for single moms. Single homeschooling is becoming more common and you will feel great in giving other women support as well as receiving it.

I hope you’ll listen to the podcast for even more tips from my guests.

Married and Homeschooling Without Help

I also asked married homeschoolers whose husbands don’t help with homeschooling to answer some questions. I think their reponses will be enlightening if you’re in the same situation.

Describe your husband’s involvement in homeschooling and parenting.

My husband is often at work for most of the day. I am usually the disciplinary figure. I involved my husband in the Principal role so when I had times where my son did not want to fully attend or focus I would intervene with Dad.

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I had the idea that my husband would teach the kids some of his interests on a regular basis. For example, he would have an archery class or wilderness survival class every Saturday for an hour or so. However, he was never really on board with the idea of teaching the kids on a regular basis. My husband is pretty busy with work and generally does home improvement projects on the weekends. He did spend a little time with the kids and their bows right after they first got them for Christmas in 2015, but the bows were really heavy duty, and the kids tired quickly, so that was the end of that. He now wants to hold off with the bow training until the kids are older. His involvement with parenting happens in the evenings when he gets home from work, usually only an hour or two before their bed time. He is the fun dad who loves to tickle and wrestle the kids but most of the time he’s exhausted and needs to relax after a long 10-12 hour day at work. The kids completely depend on me for almost everything, but I don’t think it’s unique to our homeschool household vs. our non-homeschool household. It’s always been that way for us.

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There is no involvement in homeschooling other than to ask how his day went. As far as parenting, he does back me up on most decisions… but he is not really actively involved in much with my son. My husband retired from the military 10 years ago and it seems he retired form everything. He spends most of his time on his phone playing games. He occasionally plays video games with my son but he does not respect my wishes no not have them play violent games like tour of duty or the likes… instead he tells my son to keep it a secret and he plays it with him. My son spent a lot of time when he was younger looking for a father figure in other men like his boy scout leader or his head master when he was in school. My husband does play board games at dinner and sometimes he goes places with us… He does love our son… of that I am sure but he is kind of done parenting I think. We have grown daughters ages 30, 28 and 26 and our 11 year old son. Our son was very wanted, and he is my husbands and my only biological child his daughters are from a previous marriage although we raised them as their mom was not around. I do a lot… I work 1 full time and 1 per diem job, homeschool and run the house cooking (even when I am not home) and cleaning and running errands… its overwhelming.

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My husband has been more involved with parenting in the last few years, but he is almost completely hands off with homeschooling. I work 3-12 hr shifts per week, and occasionally my husband is home before I am. When he does get home before me he will ask the kids, “did you guys do you school work today?” If they say “yes”, all is good, if they say “no” he will tell them “better get it done.” Occasionally, If I ask, he will listen to our 10 yr old son read. He will also listen if they recite a poem or bible verses. He does not help with any lessons, shopping, grading etc.

Have you discussed your desire for more involvement with your husband? If so, what was his response?

I have talked to him about being a little more involved but it does get tough due to responsibilities. I know he tries his best. Every time I have reached out to him and expressed my overwhelmed feelings he doesn’t hesitate to help out more than usual.

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I have discussed my desire for him to be more involved in our homeschool but his response is usually as follows, “I don’t teach. I’ve never had the desire to teach and I don’t think I ever will. This is your thing.” I began this journey knowing that this was going to be all on my shoulders. Even though I secretly wish he’d be more involved and sometimes catch myself comparing our situation with others who have husbands who enjoy teaching their children, I do my best to appreciate this opportunity. I know our situation isn’t my ideal situation but still consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I do. I know single moms who work full time and homeschool on their days off and just know that I have got it pretty good.

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I have not really spoken to him about becoming more involved because I don’t want to have arguments about the curriculum, if I am teaching it right, if our son is understanding it… My husband has very little patience and does not tolerate mistakes well and my son has a terrible tendency to talk back (I am trying to get my point across he says) so having my husband involved would most likely end in disaster. I do wish he were more involved, but a lot of him would need to change before that happened. That is not to say that I am without fault… I have many a day where I lose my cool as well.

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We have been married for 17 years, I know what to ask for and what to let alone. I would actually prefer if I needed help, that he help in another area of our life (parenting, yard work, home maintenance, even cooking).

What have you done to compensate for a lack of partnership that has NOT worked?

I have complained directly to my husband that he doesn’t help me enough with the kids. This usually starts a fight. Complaining to your husband that he doesn’t help out enough when he works more than full time is usually a bad idea. Especially when you don’t work. Yes, sharing responsibilities is a great idea, but there’s definitely better ways to discuss concerns so you don’t end up sounding like you don’t appreciate what he does do for your family.

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Listening to many podcasts and reading many blogs for advice is good but can get overwhelming… I tend to compare myself to them and their lives… failing to remember that my life is not like theirs… my circumstances are different. I tend to feel pressure to do it like them, to have the amazing schoolroom and the books and the reading and the laughter and the sunshine, unicorns and rainbows… and end up disappointed when I don’t… I change curriculum because someone recommends it, I am easily swayed to try something new because I cant see what is working… I spend a lot of time in tears. I think doing this past year without some form of community like CC has not worked as well for us…

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Buying every curriculum that floats by my computer screen! Asking my husband to do more within our school than I know he wants. I knew from the beginning this was ALL on me. Asking him to check math answers or help with grammar is just met with his obvious frustration, resulting in me becoming frustrated too.

What have you done that HAS worked?

Communication is key in anything but knowing also the right words to say with love is important.

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I make sure to thank him for what he does for our family. I will ask him to do the dishes or give the toddler a bath while I’m busy with something else and trust him to do a great job. I don’t complain about the way he does things or nit pick if he does things differently than I would do them. I always make sure to thank him with extra affection. A little affection goes a long way in a busy lifestyle. We make sure to take time to be together as a couple on date nights a few times a month. I know neither of us are perfect and in order to have a happy family, we have to have a happy marriage. If he doesn’t want to be involved in teaching, I will respect that and remember to be thankful that I can work from home and teach my kids this way. I know I’m so blessed to have a wonderful family and a husband who provides for us so I can stay home and homeschool the kids.

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There are no co-ops in this area, so last year I joined CC just for the language part… it was out first year schooling and he needed some other people to be around as he transitioned… It worked well but we didn’t continue this year because of my job and traveling. (I work full time as well as a travel nurse and we tried homeschooling on the road… but that was not a good decision for us at this point) I have found other homeschoolers and try to get together with them… I am trying to form a book club for the kids as well… but that is going slowly… I have friends to run ideas by and I listen to a lot of pod casts! I talk to my minister, my sister and friends as well as other homeschoolers for ideas in inspiration.

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Reflection on what seems to be working and not working. Talking with our kids about what they like and don’t like and what they want or need. They know that I make all the final decisions, but I will ask their input. Actually, I have asked my husband to listen as I read from three different history books in order to help me decide which one I would use for the upcoming year. He enjoys history and gave good input regarding what he thought about both kids and how they would or would not like each of the history books.

What do you recommend to other married women who are homeschooling without help?

Set a schedule, make sure to stick to it. 

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I recommend meeting with other moms who are in your situation. You can search for facebook groups of homeschoolers in your area and ask if there are others in your situation who might want to chat for encouragement. It always helps to know that you aren’t alone. I like to watch “homeschool in real life” or “a day in the life” videos on YouTube for ideas and encouragement and listen to podcasts about homeschooling. We all need constant reassurance and confidence boosts to continue on our journeys so we don’t burn out, doubt ourselves, and give up. 

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If you are married take the time to try to get your spouse involved… a little bit at a time… even if its reading aloud. Get them to take something off your plate. Maybe have them take them on weekend field trips or something… they don’t have to grade papers or teach the lessons, but have them part somehow… even if they don’t know they are! If your spouse is good at something, have them teach it to your child. Shift roles, maybe since you’re schooling they can do the cooking… or the cleaning or run the errands. Tell them you really want this to work and even if they cant participate in the schooling could they help you out by doing other things that will free you up to teach? Don’t take this on alone… if you cant get your spouse on board, find a co-op or a community where others are joined and use them as your sounding board. Ask others for help… use every resource your community has to offer in order to find what works for you. Pray daily… ask God for guidance… Don’t forget tot take care of you. Find time for you to have time with friends… or do an activity for yourself… something you enjoy. Don’t get consumed by all of this… learn to let some things go… you’re human and we are all bound to make mistakes. Forgive a lot… be humble and realize that time is precious… don’t work so hard on schooling that you forget about creating memories as well… I have spent the past year not doing the above and looking back, I wish I could go back and do it over… but I can’t. I ask for forgiveness, and I move on to the next lesson.

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Homeschooling is not easy. I wish I did not have to work so that I could provide the environment that I envision. But that is not where we are right now, so facing reality is not easy, but it’s doable. We eat out way more than we should, the house is certainly not as clean as I’d like it, and I’m always in a panic that I’ve forgotten to pay a bill. But I have all the equipment that I need to get the job done and we just keep plugging away. The one thing that I think is quite helpful to me is listening to other homeschoolers. Note: Pinterest is great, but stay away! I also think that all media gets in the way. If someone is already struggling in their homeschool life, getting sidetracked with devices is not helpful. I have to constantly remind myself. I have a VERY limited amount of time to complete our schooling; I absolutely do not have time to waste on the computer. There are several podcasts that I listen to during my commute or while cooking dinner. I also have some conference talks that I just love and have listened to several times. 

What other advice do you have for those homeschooling without help? Comment and let me know.

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6 Great Summer Learning Ideas

6 Great Summer Learning Ideas

It’s almost summer and that means it’s time to plan for summer learning. Whether you homeschool year-round or need ways to keep your home education going during the lazy days of summer, I’ve got you covered.

6 Great Summer Learning Ideas

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#1 Summer reading programs

You’re likely familiar with this option. Even if your child is already an avid reader, the variety of summer reading programs available can make reading even more fun. The first place to check for reading programs is your local library. My church has run a summer reading program for many years as well. Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and Sylvan also have summer reading programs. But you’re not limited to formal programs. Create your own! You can make a list of reading requirements such as what’s in my Reading for Treasure Map and offer a reward for completing it. Click the button below to claim yours.

Send me the map!

#2 Free kids’ activities

A second great summer learning activity are the free activity programs available. We recently signed our kids up to bowl for free all summer. Adults are just $30 if they’d like to bowl too. If you question whether bowling is educational, I’ll have you know I took bowling for college credit. There is a similar summer program for roller skating. Many theaters offer free kid-friendly movies in the summer. We saw a Disney nature film one summer that was excellent and definitely qualified as educational.

Zoos, science centers, museums, and even Home Depot offer free programs for kids in the summer. Check their websites or newsletters for details. You’ll want to Google summer kid or family activities 2017 for your area, too. There are many festivals, reenactments, and other opportunities that you wouldn’t think of otherwise.

#3 Park Events

Parks frequently offer nature programs for kids during the day and music events in the evening. Use these opportunities to expose your children to new musical genres. Our outdoor theater in the park allows standing attendees to watch musicals for free. Your local park service’s website and newsletter are important places to look for educational events. But park learning doesn’t have to be formal. One homeschool support group here has park play dates in the summer. Activities can include sports and crafts or just the chance to build friendships. If your support group doesn’t offer this, start your own play dates!

#4 Outdoor learning

Summer (especially in the cooler morning hours) is an ideal time to do nature study. Go for hikes, observe ants at work, study life in pond water, and more. If you’re going on vacation this summer, the opportunities for nature study expand. We’ve learned a lot about shells, sharks, crabs, alligators, sting rays, and jellyfish while at the beach.

A Sane Approach to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

It’s a wonderful time of year for enjoying a variety of sports like baseball, swimming, and tennis. We love playing four square and will be playing with our new pickleball set as well.

When you and the kids are bored, use a resource for games you can play outside. Games for Everyone and Great Big Book of Children’s Games are great resources.

Anything using water will be well received in the heat of the summer. Night-time games are fun, too. My kids have a glow-in-the-dark capture the flag game they’re looking forward to playing.

I’m also a big fan of doing messy art and science experiments outside in the summer. Whether the kids use traditional paints or paint with water or use sidewalk chalk outside, summer is a great time to learn art. I don’t think my kids will ever tire of the Mentos in cola experiment. It’s definitely one we want to do outside. Check out the Outdoor Science Lab for Kids.

If you have a comfortable area outside or can go to one, why not spend some time reading and doing tradiitional lessons there? There’s just something about a change of venue that makes learning more fun.

#5 Classes & Camps

Summer is also the time when traditionally educated students sign up for classes and summer camps. I used to be very wary of these classes because I didn’t know the students or teachers. Having my child attend with a friend made me more comfortable and we’ve had good experiences. You can find classes and camps on just about everything. Again, Google summer camps in your area for 2017 and you’ll probably be overwhelmed. You can limit your options by asking about your child’s interests first. You could ask for recommendations on Facebook as well.

Summer is a good time for your student to attend or help with VBS or church camps. If your church’s schedule doesn’t fit with yours, consider having your child attend or help at another church’s event.

#6 Coursework you didn’t have time for

Summer is the perfect time for getting caught up on subjects. Without all the regular school-year activities, your student can make quick work of the last lessons — that is, if you schedule time for it. Even though for many homeschoolers summer is a relaxed time, we still need dedicated time for reading, activities, and studying if that’s your plan. A mastery curriculum like Learn Math Fast (use code SANITY5 or SANITY10 for a discount) or Grammar Galaxy are a wonderful means of helping your student catch up this summer. The lessons are short and even fun!

Learn Math Fast Books

Use codes SANITY5 / SANITY10

I love summer as an opportunity to complete the subjects or courses we didn’t even have time to start during the school year. We have cooking, music, videography, and coding classes to do. The best times for us to do these will be in the morning or on rainy days.

Speaking of rainy days, I have to mention again my recommendation of playing educational board games. Summer is a great time for these.

The Ultimate Guide to Language Arts Board Games

Learning definitely doesn’t have to stop in the summer, even if you take a long summer break. I hope you have lots of ideas.

My best idea for you, though, is to create a plan. Put the events you’re most interested in on the calendar. Add an idea to your planner for every week and you’re more likely to use them.

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Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects

Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects

Are your kids excited about writing an old-fashioned book report or creating a tri-fold board to show off what they’ve learned? Those standby projects will probably never disappear, but as homeschoolers who want to prepare students for the future, there are amazing digital alternatives! Read on to learn all about them.

Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects

Want to listen to this article on a podcast? LISTEN HERE Or WATCH ON YOUTUBE

If you aren’t a tech-savvy mom who tries out the latest and greatest digital platforms, you may have no idea what is available for your students. I do love new digital and online programs, but I haven’t used many of the newest options with my kids. Before I tell you what I learned from my guest Beth Napoli of TechieHomeschoolMom, I want to share the benefits of having your kids use these digital alternatives for projects.

All-Access Pass Info

Why Use Digital Alternatives for Student Projects?

First, they’re motivating to most kids. Kids may be so interested in learning to use a new platform that they don’t realize they’re doing the work of writing a report or creating a timeline. The second reason is related: bonus learning takes place when students learn to use a digital device or program. If your child needs the device or program to do something in particular, the tutorials will become a part of the process. Learning to use a new program is a vital life skill for the digital age. If your students learn how to teach themselves how to use a new platform now, learning another one later will be much less challenging. The final reason I believe that having your students use digital alternatives is because they’ll learn valuable career skills. Simply mastering one of these platforms opens the door to a skill that will make your student more employable or even to a business while your child is still in school. I have paid people to create graphics for me using one of the platforms I will mention below. I hope you’re excited to learn more!

If you’re worried that you will have to learn the platform too, rest assured that while you could learn along with your child, you don’t have to. My kids often teach me tricks for using tools I thought I’d mastered. Your students can move on without you.

What are Some Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?

Digital projects made with Canva

Canva. Canva is the free graphic program I use to create most of the graphics you see on this blog. I’ve also used it to teach the kids in our co-op. I assigned them the project of creating a flyer for a business (why pay someone when you can do this yourself?) and creating an advertisement. Beth Napoli mentioned having students create infographics to summarize what they’ve learned. You could also have your student create quote graphics for a historical figure or favorite quotes from a book they are reading.

EMaze Art Gallery EMaze Travel Journal

Emaze. I haven’t used Emaze with my students, but Beth has had her kids create a travel journal for Ancient Greece. This would be a fantastic way to share what is learned in a world or US geography study as well. Beth has also used Amaze to create a 3D interactive art gallery. Amaze is truly an amazing tool!

Prezi timeline project

Prezi. Prezi can be used for multiple purposes, but Beth had her kids create a digital timeline with it. My high school student created a paper timeline that spanned two walls of our basement and had to be kept up all year! I really wish I had had him use Prezi instead.

Animaker walk cycle

Animaker. This software can be used to create animated videos. Instead of a long report, have your students create a video on a topic and then share it to YouTube. Your kids will not only learn themselves but can help teach other students, too.

Where Can You Start with Using Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?

Beth has created a list of 25 free webtools for creating digital student projects for our subscribers. Click below to claim your list.

You can choose a project and one platform and get started.

But you can also make digital projects even easier by enrolling your student in an online unit study. Unit studies have been my preferred way of teaching for 17 years. They’re not boring, they involve teaching multiple subjects, and they reach students with all learning styles. The problem is they can be a lot of work to create yourself. Beth’s Online Unit Studies have done all the work for you. Using an all-in-one digital platform where students can watch videos, read material, and share what they’ve learned, your students can see their progress in each study. Your child will learn not only the subject that you want to study but how to use these digital platforms as well.

Until now, you would have to plan which unit study you wanted to use and pay for it individually. But with the Kickstarter campaign that you can participate in, you can purchase an all-access pass. What that means is that for one low price you can have access to any and all unit studies (even future studies!) for a month to ten years! I would have saved so much money with an all-access pass to online unit studies had the technology been available. Don’t wait, though. A limited number of all-access passes are available.

All-Access Pass Info

Famous Artists Volume I Famous Artists Volume 2

You can get an inside look at online unit studies on my Facebook page and enter to win the Famous Artists bundle by commenting on or sharing the video until April 25th, 2017.

Have you used a digital alternative to traditional student projects that you enjoyed? 

 

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Homeschool Sanity – My Mother’s Day Gift to You

Homeschool Sanity – My Mother’s Day Gift to You

You deserve a day to be honored, mom. You deserve a day of rest, too! But what I most want to give you is the gift of homeschool sanity. That’s what I’m all about. Scroll down to enter this amazing giveaway and to get access to the rest of the Mother’s Day giveaways from iHomeschool Network.

Homeschool Sanity Mother's Day Giveaway

The Organized Homeschool Life

I have created a collection of gift items for a Mother’s Day giveaway that I think will give you just that. First, I have a print copy of The Organized Homeschool Life. Working through these organizing challenges one week at a time, fifteen minutes a day will make life saner for more than just Mother’s Day. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to spend hours and hours this summer “getting organized”? With this book in hand, you won’t have to. Purchase your copy today and if you win, I’ll refund your money!

Ahners Grove

Ahner’s Grove Natural Skin Care Products

With these gift items, you can light a candle, take a bath, moisturize, and soothe yourself into bed on Mother’s Day and for weeks afterward. I’m so thankful to my friend Sara Ahner for providing these items from her Etsy shop. You’ll receive:

An organic beeswax candle

Lemongrass & Calendula, Oats & Honey, and Lavender Peppermint soaps

Lemongrass Bath Melts

Whipped Shea & Cocoa Body Butter

Coconut & Honey Lip Scrub – this is edible! How cool is that?

Coconut & Honey and Cocoa Mint lip balms

Lavender essential oil roll-on

You can rest easy knowing that you are putting all-natural ingredients on your skin. I am literally enjoying the scent of these products as I write. I don’t want to send them off, but I will. I know where to get more! The Fresh Brewed Gift Basket pictured above would make a great gift for your mom or for a new bride.

Plunder Jewelry

I get compliments on the Plunder jewelery I buy from friend Brandy Alderman all. the. time. I’m so thankful to her for providing the gifts for this giveaway. They are my two favorite pieces.

Tabitha necklace photo

The Tabitha necklace in silver and black that can be worn long or short. It goes with almost everything and can be dressed up or down!

The Lilly earrings are also so flexible. They go perfectly with the Tabitha necklace. You’ll love them!

Enter until April 23rd 2017 at 11:55 p.m. to win below. 

When you finish entering, enter all the other giveaways from the iHomeschool Network bloggers.

Mother's Day Gift Basket Giveaways iHomeschool Network

Contest by Rewards Fuel.

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6 Anger Lies Christian Parents Believe

6 Anger Lies Christian Parents Believe

Anger is one of the most discouraging problems for parents. It creates fear, guilt, and even hopelessness. If it’s your struggle, confronting the lies you believe about anger is the first step in overcoming a problem with anger.

6 Anger Lies Christian Parents Believe

Want to listen to this article on a podcast? LISTEN HERE Or WATCH ON YOUTUBE

I’ll begin with a bonus lie: psychologists don’t struggle with parental anger. Not true. It was one of my biggest battles early on in my homeschooling. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those moms who can claim she no longer gets angry at her kids. But I can say that the improvement has been significant. I have yelled, been overly harsh, and even split my knuckle open after I smacked the counter in anger. I have said things I wish I could take back, made my kids cry, and have felt like an all-around awful parent as a result of my anger.

Right now I hope you aren’t regretting that you’re going to be getting advice from me on this issue! I do believe that every mistake I’ve made helps me to help you. I hope you agree. If you do, let’s get started.

First, anger is a normal human emotion. The feeling itself isn’t a sin, but the way we express it often is. Anger always begins in the mind with our thoughts. If our thoughts aren’t true and we act on them, anger will be a besetting sin — one that exercises power over us. So let’s examine what I think are the most common lies we believe and act on.

#1 They made me angry.

You probably recognize this one from your kids. “He made me mad, so I hit him.” You might have responded with, “We don’t hit, even if we’re angry.” But we have to address the lie, too. No one can make us angry. No matter how horrible junior behaves. No matter how awful the treatment, how big the disappointment, how outrageous the behavior.

No one, not even Satan, can make us angry. The only person who can bring about your sinful anger is you. Why? Because you’re the one who interprets what someone else does. Two days after my first baby was born, my mother-in-law told me I looked like I had another one in there. I did not get angry — even with the emotion of anger. I could have told myself that she was joking. I could have told myself that I did in fact look like I had another one in there. Both thoughts would have helped keep me from getting angry. I could have had thoughts that provoked me to anger, however. “She is trying to humiliate me,” for example. What I actually thought was, “She has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t remember that it isn’t appropriate to say that. She loves me. I love her.”

People don’t make us angry. Our thoughts do.

#2 I can’t control my anger.

This lie is related to the first. Other people provoke me and I can’t help it. I relate so much to what Terri Maxwell said about this. She noted that she could be yelling at the kids one minute and sweetly answering the phone the next. If we couldn’t control our anger, we would be yelling at everyone — our friends, slow cart pushers at the grocery store, and even our pastor. But we don’t. We save our sinful expressions of anger for the people we love most.

Why is that? Because the people we love most tap into our greatest fears and frustrate our deepest desires. We don’t trust people outside of our home to forgive us our angry fits, but we do trust that we’ll be forgiven by our spouse and kids. Just because that’s usually true doesn’t mean we should continue to sin against our family with our anger.

The lie that we can’t control our anger stems from the lie that we can’t control our thoughts. Perhaps like anger, an initial thought cannot be controlled. With my mother-in-law I might have had an initial thought that she embarrassed me. But I wouldn’t have to hold on to that thought and add to it. The biggest lie in thinking that leads us to anger is that we know what someone else is thinking. My child is trying to make me miserable. He doesn’t care. They think I’m a slave. We do not know what our kids are thinking. Our kids don’t even know what they’re thinking. It’s pointless to ask why a child did something wrong because they honestly don’t know. Do you know why you do things you know you shouldn’t do?

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Obviously, we can control our thoughts. Colossians 3:8 reads, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Obviously, we can control our anger, too. Jesus is our example who gives us the power to control our anger. The New Living Translation of Isaiah 53:7 reads, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.”

#3 I have righteous anger.

This lie is usually justified by pointing to Jesus’ example in getting angry and overturning the temple merchants’ tables. The problem with this argument that we have righteous anger is that it must only be about how God is being dishonored. If we are honest, we will admit that our anger is about us. We have been kept from getting something we want; we’ve been humbled; we are feeling guilty; we are afraid. James 1:20 says that our anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. Even if we did have righteous anger, God frankly doesn’t need it. He has done a very good job of handling people who dishonor Him from the beginning.

We sometimes mean by righteous anger that we are justified in being angry or that anyone would be angry under the circumstances. That belief doesn’t mesh well with Matthew 5:22: But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Our anger is most likely not righteous anger.

#4 Anger is the only thing that works.

When I was practicing as a psychologist, I heard this a lot. I still do. The only way I can get my kids to obey me is to yell, to get angry. Reb Bradley who did an interview with me for the Homeschool Sanity show said in essence that if that’s the only way you can get your children to obey, it’s because that’s what you’ve trained them to do. Kids know they don’t have to listen to you because there will be no consequence UNTIL you blow your top.

[LISTEN TO PARENTING BLIND SPOTS WITH REB BRADLEY]

A quiet voice can work to discipline your child. So can consequences, positive and negative. But you have to use them consistently. For most parents, anger seems easier. I will explain in an upcoming episode how to make discipline easier so you don’t have to get angry.

#5 Venting is a good thing.

When I first began practicing, I believed this lie. We worked with patients who suffered abuse. We encouraged them to vent their anger. We had them scream and rip up old phone books or punch pillows. There is some wisdom in asking patients to stop denying their feelings. But the research and experience tell me that venting is not effective long-term. Patients who had a great venting session weren’t any better in the days that followed. In the hospital, venting didn’t hurt anyone. But in our homes, venting can hurt the people we love. In our selfish desire to get everything off our chest, we may leave family members unable to get our hurtful words out of their heads.

Don’t think that venting to other people about your family members is the thing to do. Have you ever had the experience of retelling what your spouse or child did that made you mad and you find yourself getting angry all over again? Venting this way not only keeps you angry but can tarnish other’s view of your family members. There is absolutely a way to ask for prayer and advice without venting or dishonoring your family members.

There is also a way of expressing our needs and feelings in a positive way. I’ll share more about how to do that in part 2 on anger. But I’ll leave you with this Scripture that should have taught me venting isn’t a good thing. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

#6 Anger is no big deal.

One of my favorite resources for dealing with anger is Dr. Davis’s Freedom from the Spirit of Anger. In this video. Dr. Davis describes a father who only loses his temper every couple months. Dr. Davis said that for his family that was like living next to a volcano that only erupts every couple of months. Anger is a serious problem that can lead to divorce, emotional problems in children, and even death. Anger may increase the risk of heart attack.

763153: Freedom from the Spirit of Anger DVD Freedom from the Spirit of Anger DVD
By Dr. S.M. DavisThe most destructive force in family life today is the anger of one or both parents. But rebellion in youth seldom goes away until parents deal, not just with anger, but with their spirit of anger. MANY PEOPLE WITH A SPIRIT OF ANGER DO NOT REALIZE THEY HAVE IT. James and John had such an intensive spirit of anger that they wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy an entire village full of people. Yet they were deceived so that they didn’t know that their spirits were putting off such a spirit of anger.A spirit of anger is also very contagious. Proverbs 22:24-25 explains how fathers or preachers who are blind to their own angry spirits develop followers with the same spirit. Here is an explanation of why ALL of man’s anger is wrong. Here also are 10 STEPS TO FOLLOW TO GET FREEDOM FROM THE SPIRIT OF ANGER. One father testified, “All my life I had a problem with anger. I finally dealt with it when I heard the Spirit of Anger’ message. Three weeks later my wife pointed out to me that my little boy no longer had a problem with stuttering!” “Freedom from the Spirit of Anger”is the second of 5 Sermons in the “Anger Series.”

Anger leads first and foremost to anger. Angry parents tend to have angry kids. Anger from one spouse leads to anger in the other. Proverbs 22:24 says, “With an angry man do not go.” Angry people are dangerous. Short of that, they’re no fun to be around. God takes anger very seriously. Psalm 37:8-9 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.” Anger can lead to a multitude of evils. We want to overcome sinful anger through the power of the Holy Spirit.

One step to take now is to download a free printable of the truth about anger. You can meditate on these truths and accompanying Scripture each day to help you stop believing this lies about anger. This resource is made available free of charge to subscribers to Psychowith6. Click the image below to claim yours.

Click for your anger truths printable

Which of these anger lies has been the biggest problem for you? Let’s chat about it on Facebook.

 

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