Surviving the Middle School Years

Surviving the Middle School Years

(The following is a guest post from Tammie Polk, True North Homeschool Academy contributor.)

“OMG!!! I HAVE A JUNIOR HIGH/MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT!!!” says every parent at one point in their homeschool journey!

Don’t let this drive you mad, Mama! There is a way to coexist with the ebbing tide of this crucial part of life. Here are some things you can do to make this time bearable.

First, don’t shy away from interest-based/interest-led learning.

Yes, they will still have to learn the stuff that they complain about; however, finding out what they are interested in will help you to plan the middle school –and the high school years—without a lot of hassle.

Next, pay attention to what they’re NOT saying!

Your kids will amaze and surprise you. You’ll think they’re not getting it and then it happens—they show you exactly what you need to do next! What you see could be the key to the nagging question of “How do I motivate my kid to do more or better?” Using what they are showing you could very well be the silver lining.

Then, don’t be afraid to share your talents and hobbies with them.

Many times, when our kids get to this age, they think we don’t know about or haven’t experienced certain things, so it’s time to surprise THEM! Although they may act as though they are disgusted by the fact that they like something that their mom does, it’s still special to them and it opens up key discussions that need to happen at this stage of their lives. I credit my tech savviness to my Dad because he taught me his trade of being a computer technician! Let your kids know what’s in YOUR arsenal.

Last, BE FLEXIBLE!

Goals are important; however, things DO happen. That light bulb may come on long before you think it will and you have to move quickly. Sickness is always a possibility, so it’s important to have backup or rainy day plans on DECK!

It’s important to make the best of these times because they do go FAST! How does that affect you as a working homeschool mom?

  • You may have to change the way you do business! Your kids’ schedule is going to change, be it because they need more help with their schoolwork or their activity schedule takes over a little more. You may have to change your hours and work on the go.
  • You may have to make them a part OF your business! I tell people all the time that we often miss out on the best help in the world because we don’t take advantage of the skills our kids show that WE consider annoying!
  • You may need to help them start THEIR OWN business! Entrepreneurship, whether they intend to go to college or not, is always the order of the day! If they can make money from what they want to do, train them up and help them out!

These years don’t have to drive you to a permanent coffee IV….just saying!

(Concerned about those pesky middle school years?  Check out True North Homeschool Academy’s Junior High Courses.)

Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!

Using Teamwork in Your Homeschool

Using Teamwork in Your Homeschool

Teamwork makes the dream work…Even in homeschool! 

I have a somewhat funny story that I want to tell in this article. It’s about my pastor’s four daughters. 

He had us over for dinner one Sunday and I noticed that each one of his daughters prepared a different part of dinner, so I asked my pastor’s wife why that was and she said, “Well, they are all good at different things.” 

Their youngest daughter seemed to butter bread perfectly. There was never too much butter. There was never too little butter. 

The next daughter to up from her made a mean salad and, since they pretty much had a salad with every dinner meal, she always had something to do.  

The one up next from her had mastered the family favorite side dishes, so she knew that when it was time for a certain meal that she needed to get on her game with the side dishes. They were always cooked and seasoned perfectly.  

The oldest daughter was the meat master. This was the one who would stand outside with my pastor, watching him season and grill meat and she often watched her mom do the same, so she knew that, with certain meats, the flavor came from the spices!  

Each one of them had their own space in the kitchen to craft their part of dinner. When it was done, they each took an item that was needed to set the table and, one right after the other, they would set the table in preparation for their mom bringing out the heavy foods and then they would happily go get their creations.  

They were a homeschool family and even today they have that same work ethic. So, how can you get this to work for you? It may seem like I’m repeating myself a little bit from previous articles. However, there are a few points that I really want to drive home. 

First, know what your family’s strengths are and allow them to display them.

One part of teamwork is putting the best person for the position into the position, stepping back and letting them do what they do. It’s not gonna cause a mutiny. It’s not going to bring a sense of anarchy in your home, but Mama, that’s one less thing you are going to have to do that day.  

Second, make sure that they have what they need in order to get the job done. 

Every sports team has these things in common: 

  • an arena (a place to work),  
  • equipment (something to work with),  
  • electricity (which fuels what needs to be done)  
  • an opponent (a problem to fix), and  
  • practice (to learn the strategies to be the most successful) 

Which one of those do you need to implement?  

Lastly, in order to make teamwork make the dream work in your homeschool, show your appreciation for the effort given, even if the results aren’t that great. If you’re letting your kids help you make dinner and they burned something, instead of yelling about it, thank them for trying and you try to find a way to eat it. If that’s not possible, then stand with them side by side and help them to make it.

Your homeschool will not be as successful as you want it to be without teamwork and, if you are a working warrior like I am, you’re going to see that you can’t afford to run your home without your team. You have a team, so use it.  

(Love this post?  You might also enjoy Hey Homeschool Mom – Keep it Simple!!)

Contributor

Blog Contributor Tammie Polk

 

 

Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!

 

 

How important is teamwork in your homeschool? Teamwork is the glue that holds a successful homeschool together, especially for us busy working moms! Come see our tips for using teamwork in your homeschool! #homeschool #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #teamwork

Hey Homeschool Mom – Keep It Simple!

Hey Homeschool Mom – Keep It Simple!

Keep It Simple, Sister! 

If your family needs three degrees to understand what they need to do while you’re gone, that’s a problem. 

If the person helping you out feels like the instructions you left them are written in Mandarin Chinese with a splash of Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew, that’s a problem. 

If you’re frustrated because your best-laid plan was laid waste by that one kid who comes to you and says, “Mom, all you had to do was…”, then you need to simplify things, my dear. 

While we want everything to run like a well-oiled machine when we leave home (or even while we’re there), we must remember that we are dealing with human beings who all have differing needs. Instead of giving our families a Ph.D. dissertation on how we want things to go, eliminate the stress you’re going to put on yourself by using the KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Sister. 

But…why should I keep it simple? 

When things are simple, it is more likely to be done! 

How many times have you given up on something because it simply did not make sense that there were so many steps to follow? Trust and believe that your family feels the same way! When you make things hard—which we don’t always realize—it is not going to be done. I’ll give you an example.  

When we first started homeschooling while I worked, I expected my daughter to follow the same schedule she had been following in school. I made elaborate lesson plans for my husband to follow and made sure every moment of the day was accounted for, which made me feel good.

Then I noticed that school wasn’t getting done until after I got home. What I had left for my family took all day to do, and every night, my husband was telling me about something that needed to change, which was offensive to me. It wasn’t until I sat down with my daughter and asked her what she needed that things began to work better! Have you asked your family? 

When things are simple, creativity and spontaneity run wild! 

You will have much more time in the day to get things done when you keep things simple at home. You won’t always feel so rushed to do this and that once you come in for the day! If you’ve ever gotten home and was surprised to find that your family had already taken care of those things you’re usually rushing into the house to get done, then you know exactly what I mean. When your daily routine and tasks are simple, you won’t be bothered by the fact that your family wants breakfast for dinner. 

So, what are the things that I need to simplify? 

I can’t speak for everyone’s household; however, what I can do is offer a few suggestions: 

  • Your expectation of perfection—understand that it’s going to take time to get anything going. Baby steps will get you further than you think! Allow yourself time to refocus, revise, revamp, and change what is needed. 
  • The amount of stuff you use—there will be times when you can do more with less! You don’t need to buy a 1,000 piece kit to do something that can be done with a box, a flashlight, some glow sticks, and a little imagination. 
  • Your schedule—every moment of the day does NOT need to have something in it! When you don’t allow for flexibility, any little change will throw you off your game, and then nothing gets done! 
  • Your curriculum—consider using something that is online or self-paced! Building independence in your children will not breed anarchy but will give you the time that you need to get other things done. I know that’s difficult in this tech-crazed world; however, having something that they can do anywhere and at any time will make things simpler than you think. 

These are just a few of my thoughts as I continue in my year. For those of you who are just starting, I wish you the BEST in your school year! 

Contributor

Blog Contributor Tammie Polk

 

Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!

 

 

 

Do you struggle to keep things simple as a busy homeschool mom? Check out these tips for simplifying your homeschool life! #homeschool #simplicity #homeschoolplanning

A Thankful Working Homeschool Mama

(The following is a guest post from Tammie Polk, a working homeschool mom, and True North Homeschool Academy contributor.)

We’ve all had that day when we get off from work or walk out of our home office and realize that there was so much that could’ve happened that day, but didn’t. Even though the house may be a wreck and you’re at your wit’s end, you smile at your family, take a deep breath, and get to put the house back in order. I know that things are rough for you, Mama, but you have much to be thankful for—let me share a few with you. 

Are you a working homeschool mom? Learn how to be a thankful working homeschool mom today! #Thankful #WorkingMom #Homeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Be thankful that you’re a working HOMESCHOOL mom… 

There are many women out there who cling to the hope that this will be them one day. The ones who are looking at you and wondering how you do it? Yep! Those are the ones who have that hope.

While many have thrown in the towel for their own reasons, celebrate the fact that you stayed the course. More importantly, be there for those who are no longer on that journey and find a way to be a help and blessing to them. With the way things are going in the world today, the decision to homeschool is becoming more and more prevalent! 

Be thankful that you’re a WORKING homeschool mom… 

Didn’t you just say that? Yes, I did, but with a different spin. There are millions of women out there who are wondering what they can do from home so that they CAN homeschool. Would you believe me if I told you that’s how my business started? I was involved in a thread with some fellow homeschool moms who were wondering what everyone did for extra money. When I told them about my homeschool consulting business, I got messages for DAYS! You’ve figured out what you can do to help sustain your household while lovingly teaching and leading your children. 

Be thankful that you’re a working homeschool MOM 

I am certain many of you know someone who has lost a child or has struggled with having children—the emptiness they feel is unimaginable and some are quick to remind you of how wonderful it is to have a family. You may laugh and start telling war stories, yet the look in these eyes of these women seem to burn through your soul at times. Never take being a mom for granted. You have a rare and precious opportunity to shape young minds to be awesome adults one day! 

Be thankful that you make it work every day… 

It won’t always be pretty, either! You’ll have days when absolutely nothing gets done except for the work what you do. You might even have days where you look at the school bus driving through your neighborhood and start contemplating whether or not you’re going to put your kids on it. Then, there are the days when you simply want a quiet house, but remember: 

  • No one knows your babies better than you! 
  • They may fight now, but they will thank you one day! 
  • Each day you wake up is a new day! 
  • You may not meet every goal, yet you are meeting some! 

At the end of the day, it’s all about looking around our homes and seeing the positive, no matter how fleeting it might be. As you say goodnight to them tonight, tell them you love them and that you’re thankful for them! It will do much for your heart and theirs! 

Contributor

Tammie Polk is a Mompreneur on a Mission! She is a married, homeschooling mother of three girls ages 15, 10, and 5 from Memphis, Tennessee. When she’s not pouring into her girls, you can find her writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games! Her major claim to fame is being the author of over 30 books on life, faith, family, and business- all of which were written in the last three years. Tammie is also a business coach, homeschool consultant, motivational and inspirational speaker, and international radio show host!

Blog Contributor Tammie Polk

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