Get Some Sleep!

Get Some Sleep!

Get Some Sleep!

I’ve said before that sleep can never be overrated. It’s so important to get adequate rest when one is working hard. And let’s face it, managing a home, parenting and homeschooling are all hard work. It takes brainpower including creativity, critical thinking and communication skills, a fantastic sense of humor, and the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome in almost any given situation. Phew! I get tired just thinking about it!

Years ago I heard Jesse Wise (Mom to Susan Wise Bauer) say that there was little that a nap or a snack couldn’t fix. I think it’s an important reminder that our kids often need simple re-sets and re-fuel to function well.

And it’s not bad advice for us mommas, too. I have said for years that good sleep is cheap medicine, and we would all do better to adequate time off from work, including homeschooling, and make sure that we have good, uninterrupted sleep, and rest when we need it.

So, how do you rest- especially those of us who are working, homeschooling, managing house- the list is endless-and how do you get a great night’s sleep?

Schedule Sleep. Put it on the calendar.

    • What days will be screen-free?
    • What days will be work-free?
    • What days will be free from formal schooling?
    • When will you and the kids begin winding down in the evening –schedule 30 minutes for your wind-down routine?
    • When will you and the kids go to sleep at night?
    • When will you and the kids wake up in the morning? Regular wake-times help with better sleep

 

Create end-of-day routines for both kids and you so that you can get good sleep.

    • Adequate water throughout the day
    • Adequate green therapy throughout the day
    • Adequate exercise and movement throughout the day
    • Don’t eat late in the evening
    • Cut down on the caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
    • Cal-Mag drink or lotion
    • Screen-free for an hour before bedtime
    • Supplements if you take them
    • Epson salt foot bath or bath
    • Relaxing music or bedtime story
    • Simple phrases or cues for kids, such as bedtime stories
    • Lights lowered and household activity quieted
    • Turn off the Wi-Fi and gather phones for the evening
    • Limit napping

 

Create sleeping spaces that are welcoming and cue rest/sleep.

    • Make bedrooms screen and electronic free, including phones
    • Block out light
    • Block out noise – use a white noise machine or fan if you need it
    • Set up a cool room temperature
    • Create a peaceful environment that is set aside for sleeping
    • No reading or eating or other activity in bed
    • Paint your bedrooms a soothing blue – blue sends a message to your brain that you’re in a calm environment, lowering your heart rate and your blood pressure. Yellow and Green are also great colors for bedrooms, while purple, gray, brown, and red stimulate your brain and rev you up
    • Establish regular sleeping and waking habits.
    • Manage stress before going to sleep- journal, pray, practice deep breathing

 

Staying on Track

Getting adequate sleep improves performance and reaction times, including emotional regulation and judgment, as well as thinking skills such as memory, critical thinking, and creativity.

As every Momma knows, sleep deprivation can lead to grumpiness, lack of cooperation, and bad attitudes. Adequate rest and deep sleep are imperative for doing the very important and high-energy work of homeschooling.

Need help keeping on track? Our Mom’s Membership site is all about supporting you to do the hard work of homeschooling.

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids?

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids?

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids?

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? It’s a question that gets asked by many new homeschoolers.

I like definitions, so let’s start there.

To ruin means to destroy or cause to disintegrate.

And since I’m assuming you are not a violent criminal posing as a homeschooler, let’s just take that off the table. So, the short answer is, “No,” you won’t ruin your kids by homeschooling them.

BUT.

You will mold and shape them. And like all human interaction, it could go one of three ways.

  1. Really well
  2. Poorly
  3. Combo of really well and poorly

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but homeschooling is just a method of intentional education and parenting. It’s not a perfect method, it’s not foolproof or failsafe. We are imperfect, passionate people who are raising imperfect, passionate people, so the room for wild success and failure is vast.

BUT, like many things, there are things that you can do to ensure a more positive than negative outcome.

  • You can choose an educational pedagogy that has been successful throughout the ages- not all education is created equal.
  • You can choose quality literature, movies, and music – the old Sunday School song that admonishes, “Be Careful little eyes what you see, etc.” is so appropriate for child-rearing.
  • You can choose to study- really study and wrestle and run after- your faith with your children.
  • You can pray.
  • You can partner with other like-minded people going in the same direction educationally and in life. True North, baby.

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? I hear you, still asking and wondering!

But look. Even if you do all the “right” things -whatever that means- like you never get sick, discouraged, have financial difficulties or in-laws who undermine you or a bad hair day- your kids and you might will make mistakes, be oppositional or go in the wrong direction. Maybe just slightly off track and maybe so off base, you wonder if either one of you will survive.

Us Mommas have a tough time with these kids living their own lives. They are our hearts, walking around outside of our bodies and we love them so. And when they suffer, we suffer. And homeschooling allows us to get to know each other really well, our strengths and our weaknesses, our joys and our sufferings.

And maybe that all sounds discouraging, but it’s just messy. Because people are messy. Your kids need an education. Who better to provide that education than their loving parents. It’s Biblical. It’s the way of the wealthy, educated elite: providing private, individualized instruction. And you have an investment in your kids in a way no one else will. Maybe you are not as equipped as you feel that you need to be, but honestly, that is easy to remedy by the following:

  • Find a great educational pedagogy and the resources YOUR family needs to succeed*
  • Find a tribe of like-minded travelers*
  • Do the work homeschooling requires
  • Have FUN and enjoy the fabulous journey that homeschooling can provide you and your precious children

Will homeschooling ruin your kids? The short easy answer is No.

Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? The more complex realistic answer is you will struggle, work, cry and experience joy. It is worth it.

*Need help? Our Academic Advising and Student & Mom’s Membership is designed to come alongside you for homeschooling success!

Strategic Quitting

Strategic Quitting

Strategic Quitting

Business guru Seth Godin says, “Strategic Quitting is the Secret of Successful Organizations.”

Wow. Let that sink in during January of 2021. Because it felt like we all did a lot of quitting in 2020- quitting regular meet-ups with friends, live church, eating out, going to the gym, co-ops, class days, etc.

But that’s forced quitting, and hopefully, we’ll all be back to our life-giving communities SOON.

Strategic Quitting in Business

What about the things we need to give up: things that waste money, time, energy, goodwill, and our personal or collective resources? You know- the chocolate caramel treats you started buying in bulk around, say, March. Quitting that skanky show (you know the one). You won’t let your kids watch it, but you know isn’t so healthy for your attitudes either. The overpriced coffee you buy that blows your budget and supports causes you don’t—that type of quitting.

This month- as you think through habits and dreams, assess what you can cut out. Think through the fluff and fat. Lean up.

If you are in business, what you need to quit might be super obvious- or not. I was getting a recurring charge of $12.99 for a service I didn’t use (no biggie, but glad I caught it), and I was automatically enrolled in membership from a class that cost $129 a month (a definite biggie that I didn’t catch until several hundreds of dollars later (ouch)!

But that’s business. How does this apply to homeschooling?

Strategic Quitting in Your Homeschool

Strategic Quitting Blog Post. I quit calendar note.

Are you clear about your academic, life, and soft skills goals for each kiddo, and are they current? A quarterly mom assessment is not a bad idea.

Are your kids moving forward, or are they frustrated and stuck?

Are you, as the homeschooling teacher, frustrated and stuck?

Remember the Goldilocks Principle as you teach and train your kids: not too hard, not too easy, one step beyond what they know. If you, or your kids, are constantly frustrated by a subject or skill, it might be time to quit giving in to that frustration.

Get some testing, invest in a mentor, or an academic advising session. Those kinds of investments cost pennies on the dollar, point you to effective tools, tips, and curriculum, plus save your child (and you) years of heartache and frustration.

Let’s Quit These Things Together

Do you dread using the curriculum you purchased but feel guilty about tossing it aside? Quit the mom guilt. Sell it or gift it and do something else. There’s plenty of great curriculum out there (some of it free) that will bring you joy. Quit cheating yourself because of guilt. And if you need permission,  as a homeschooling vet of 30 years, I’m giving it to you.

Are you wasting time by not having clearly established rhythms and routines for your day? Quit letting life control you and set a realistic, doable schedule for you and your family. That means taking time to be aware of the natural rhythms and routines y’all have. It means being a student of your family.

Are your kids up way before you and ready to be productive, but you stayed up too late grabbing “me time”? Do you frequently sleep through your kids’ most productive hours of the day? Quit giving in to your emotions. Plan and schedule time so that you get re-fueled in a healthy way that feeds your entire family.

Are you constantly spending money on eating out because you didn’t meal plan? Quit putting off the inevitable. You and your people are going to need to eat. Multiple times a day, in fact, and learning how to plan meals and implement that plan will save you thousands of dollars and your health in the long run.

Is your clean unfolded laundry a permanent fixture on your couch because you ran out of time to fold and put it away? Quit thinking the laundry fairy will come to your rescue. Your Grandma probably had a weekly system that went something like this,  “Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, etc.” Create a doable laundry system; wash and dry throughout the week and then set aside 1-3 hours a week where everyone folds, hangs up and puts away laundry.

Addition by Subtraction

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Make 2021 the year you QUIT.

Quit anything that creates distractions and diverts you from your mission. This year, determine to GAIN peace, sanity, and productivity.

Need help, inspiration, and a community of like-minded mommas heading true north? Our Membership Site is just what you are looking for!

Strategic Quitting Infographic Things to Quit in the New Year Quit giving in to frustration - find solutions instead. Quit the mom guilt. Quit that curriculum that isn't working. Quit letting the urgent control you - plan your routine. Quit running on empty - stragtegize time for re-fueling. Quit putting off the inevitable - plan & budget meals. Quit magical thinking - the laundry fairy doesn't exist. Create a chore system that works for your family.

Holidays!

Holidays!

Holidays!

Holidays! I absolutely LOVE the holidays! Just the thought of them makes me smile so hard that my cheeks hurt. In this article, I want to share some of my favorite holiday memories.

As a child, I enjoyed making ornaments at school because I knew that my Mom would treasure them. Our real, six-foot, Douglas fir tree was adorned with three kids’ worth of ornaments and the number grew with every school year. The thing that I loved most was that nothing else went on the tree but those and maybe some garland!

Do you and your family make ornaments of any kind, especially edible ones?

Aside from this, my favorite holiday pastime was stealing the pineapples and cherries off the ham before it went in the oven! My mom didn’t figure out it was me until the bowl disappeared and reappeared empty. I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen after that!

Do you have one in your home who simply can NOT wait for you to stop cooking or to walk away while they sneak in for the kill? Who gets run out of the kitchen at your house?

Making memories is what the holidays are all about! Whether it’s your entire family or only those who live in your home with you, make memories! Start new traditions, too.

I remember the year that we had steak, baked potatoes, and salad for Christmas dinner instead of the traditional foods we were used to having. Let’s just say that there were NO leftovers!

What’s the craziest or most different meal you’ve had for the holidays?

As a teenager, my best friend and I would go to the movies on Christmas morning to keep from having to help with the cooking. By the time we were done, our families were eating and we always seemed to make it home right when the blessing was being said!

Do you have a favorite movie that you like to watch during the Christmas season?

In college, I spent those same times volunteering at local shelters and missions, serving the homeless. I can remember helping to de-bone 250 turkeys, sending 30 back to the restaurant who donated them because they weren’t completely cooked. As I stirred a restaurant-sized vat of cornbread dressing and then moved to open 100 cans of bulk-sized cranberry sauce, I didn’t want to see or hear anything that resembled food!

Do you and your family volunteer anywhere during the holidays or go caroling? What are some of the ways that you spread the love?

This year, one of the things we will be doing is the Luke Bible reading challenge where, beginning on December first, we will read the corresponding chapter of Luke together as a family. According to the challenge, families who participate will read through Jesus’ entire life by Christmas Eve.

Will you be reading anything special as a family during the holidays? Would our holiday booklist be of interest to you?

I’m already preparing myself to argue with my daughter about her selection of Netflix Original Christmas Movies, which seem to make their way to the list on MY profile around this time of the month.

Do you have a favorite Hallmark or a Netflix Original Christmas movie that is part of your family’s traditions? Check out more Holiday Traditions and a list of the new Hallmark movies here- maybe you will find a new holiday favorite.

One important thing about the holidays is to make them your own—that’s what makes them special! Your holiday celebrations don’t have to look like anyone else’s, so don’t stress yourself out trying to overdo things. Most families get into the most financial trouble during the holidays and overspend on pretty much anything during this time!

  • It’s okay to give gifts, not to give gifts, or to give gifts on a different day…
  • It’s okay to decorate a little, a lot, or not at all…
  • It’s okay to rest, relax, and order out instead of cooking…
  • It’s okay to celebrate away from home or with friends instead of family…
  • It’s okay to have a crowd, a few close friends, or only you and yours…
  • It’s okay to take a break from Life itself…
  • It’s okay to argue about why matching pajamas are or aren’t okay for your family…
  • It’s okay to have an overabundance of hot beverages just so everyone can have their favorites…

The holidays are YOURS, so let them reflect you!

About the author: 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!

 

 

 

The Advent Celebration Challenge

Enjoy the benefit of our many collective years of homeschooling through the holidays and read some more articles that help bring home the beauty and truth of the season: a helpful reminder that Less is More For the Holidays and our Special Needs Holiday Edition. 

Let’s face the challenge of THIS advent season together. Join us at our Facebook Group where we will have live presentations and check-ins to help us all keep our focus during this Christmas season. If you have always wanted to know more about creating a Jesse Tree as part of your celebration or more about Advent itself, you won’t want to miss the adventure! It’s no pressure – just a guide- and we will do it together.

Schedule

Here is the schedule but we will also post reminders in the group and on our Facebook Page and Instagram so be sure to follow us! Or print out a 2020 schedule HERE.

The Accidental Homeschooler

The Accidental Homeschooler

The Accidental Homeschooler

The Accidental Homeschooler. It kind of went something like this, “Mom, you can just homeschool me!”  My 8-year-old daughter begged. Her excitement and hope confused me.

What?!

Why?!

She did great in school, had so many friends, and wasn’t struggling academically at all.  It was at home the meltdowns occurred.  Her frustration would reach a boiling point that would bubble over and leave tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks.  Her wide blue eyes would spill over with tears, and the sparkle was becoming rarer.  It was at home, not at school, that the temper tantrums would occur.

I laughed.  There is no way I could homeschool her.  We fought with each other all the time.  Our frustration would reach points where I am not sure we liked each other at all.  Oh sure, we loved each other…but we really didn’t enjoy spending time together.  Homeschool her?  Why would I?  We would kill each other.  I DID NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE TO HOMESCHOOL THIS CHILD.

God Had Other Plans

I prayed, “God if you want me to homeschool my children, I need you to change my heart.”  I was sure the answer would be to leave them in the amazing school they were in!  They were doing so well.  All three of my girls had great friends. They had teachers I loved!  GREAT teachers.  A community that involved parents and families.

Also, I Do Not Own Any Denim Jumpers!

Bright Pink sneakers at a starting line.And then I had an epiphany. I realized I missed my children.  I could tell my youngest was a struggling learner, and my oldest was growing up so fast.  That middle child, the one that just wanted her mommy to see her, she just needed to not be overwhelmed by the end of the day.  Our days consisted of getting up early, loading up to drive to school, being at school all day, activities at night, go home, fast supper, clean-up, do homework, get ready for the next day, and repeat.  This is what everyone does!  I was a substitute teacher in my children’s school, and I got to see them every day…but they could never be my focus.

I will never forget trying to work through a math lesson while teaching my daughter’s class.  She was so frustrated, but I couldn’t help her.  I knew I could help her at home, and my job was to work with the other students.  I then figured out she was copying her neighbors’ work in order to just get it done.  I sat her down that night to talk with her and realized that she was hurting by the end of each day.  She was exhausted.  She needed more.  More time to work at her own pace, more time outside, more sleep, more mom, and more family.  How on earth could we handle more?

I Guess I am Homeschooling, even if I am an Accidental Homeschooler

I decided that I would pull her out for a year.  I wasn’t committing to more than that.  My original plan was to take her out for a year and leave her sisters in school.  This wasn’t just any school.  This school required parent involvement.  4 hours per week, per child.  It was small, and there was a waiting list!

Wading In With One

OK God.  I can do this. One foot in, one foot out.  Let’s compromise?  I will homeschool this one, for now.

My youngest child just wasn’t getting it though.  She never had.  Reading was really tough for her, number sense just wasn’t there.  She was sweet, sensitive, and an amazing friend to everyone.  Everyone told me, “Don’t worry.  Developmentally she’s on track!”   But I knew.  Something wasn’t clicking for her.  Once she found out I was going to be home with her sister, it became a non-issue.  She had always wanted to just stay with me.  At the end of her first day of kindergarten, she said to me, “I don’t know how to read, naptime is too short, I don’t think I need to do that anymore.”

I Can Homeschool Two

Ok God.  These 2.  I can homeschool these two.  They are both young enough.  I can teach them at home.  My oldest however, I can’t teach her.  She is so smart!  I could never challenge her enough!

My oldest came to me shortly before the school year was up.  “Mom, I don’t know, but I think I want to be at home too.”  Ok. Don’t panic.  I can talk her out of this.

And here I am finishing my fourth year of homeschooling, and I am probably doing it wrong.  I am definitely not doing what I envisioned.  I don’t have more patience, I still fight with my middle daughter about her math lessons.

God Will Fill in the Gaps for the Accidental Homeschooler

We don’t have only great days, and I never feel like I am doing enough.  So many nights I lay in bed.  “God, I did my best but we both know it wasn’t enough.  I need you to fill in the gaps.”  I have faith He will.

What we do have?  Laughter when we trip up.  Together we learn, we play, we explore,  we grow.

The truth is we are involved in each other’s lives.  WE LIKE EACH OTHER!  Love has always been a given, but now, most days, we want to spend time together.

We want to make our home a culture of learning.  Do I ever see that school bus go by and think, “Hmmm…I would have so much time if….”?

ABSOLUTELY.

Would I change the decision to follow the calling God put on me to homeschool my children?

NEVER!

Rebecca Lundgren

Rebecca Lundgren, The Accidental Homeschooler, lives in South Dakota with her husband Jeremy, three daughters, and their zoo of adopted animals.  While her family never intended to homeschool, she has learned a lot along the way.  Her background includes a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from South Dakota State University.  Before she began her homeschool journey, she taught in Public Schools k-12, English as a Second Language (ESL) k-6, and directed an Early Childhood program.  In addition to homeschooling, she is a well-loved teacher at True North Homeschool Academy where she teaches Jr High Classes.  She loves camping and hiking with her family, reading, crafting, and children’s ministries.

For more of this type of you-can-do-it encouragement read Managing My Home and Time, Using teamwork in Your Homeschool, or Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

 

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our ChildrenGeneration to Generation

Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children is a great primer on Biblical Feasts and Festivals.

We have studied them utilizing great resources, such as Robin Sampson’s, A Family’s Guide to Biblical Feasts and Festivals, and Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman, along with the Bible and good Jewish friends. I have shared some of what we have learned in my unit study, The Celebration of Sukkot.

Our family life has been nourished by ancient traditions that have fed our souls as we practice the Old Testament Feasts and Festivals and recite what have now become familiar prayers and sing traditional songs, such as Dayenu.

There is great learning to be had about one’s faith and tying together Old and New Testament relevance when you study the Biblical Feasts and Festivals. This is one of the reasons we are offering Biblical Feasts and Festivals as a one-semester class, taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.

If we want our children to never give up and never give in when it comes to their values and beliefs, we must teach them hope. Hope is what led the bruised and battered nation of Israel back to our homeland, and it is hope that will lead our world to the Messianic Era.

~ Yael Eckstein from Generation to Generation

When I had a chance to review Yael Eckstein’s, (of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews), latest book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children, I jumped at the chance.

Ms. Eckstein takes a unique approach to the importance of Biblical Feasts and Festivals, by focusing on the theme of each one.

The main focus of the book is l’dor v’dor- from generation to generation.

She begins, naturally, with Shabbat, and covers eight holidays – showing us ways in which we can pass on important lessons through each one.

 

The Lessons

  • Shabbat – Teaching our Children Priorities
  • Passover – Teaching our Children to Seek Knowledge
  • Shavuot – Teaching our Children Gratitude
  • Tisha B’Av – Teaching our Children Hope
  • High Holy Days – Teaching our Children Forgiveness
  • Sukkot – Teaching our Children Faith
  • Purim -Teaching our Children Courage
  • Tzedaka – Teaching our Children Generosity

Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse, then a quote from a Rabbi or Jewish teaching, and an explanation of the holiday, including how Yael and her family celebrate each holiday.

At the end of the chapter, there is a page-long explanation of how the feast or festival is celebrated in the New Testament; ways to teach our children the theme of each chapter, a special note for parents and then Scripture Memory verses from both the Old and New Testaments. Sprinkled throughout is Jewish vocabulary that illuminates the Scripture.

This is a jam-packed little book, easy to read and very accessible; and a lovely way to learn about and incorporate the deep meaning of Scripture into your family culture.

Perfect for families who are just beginning their exploration of Biblical Feasts and Festivals as well as those who have already jumped into understanding the rich correlation between Old and New Testament. Yael Eckstein, as expected, does a beautiful job of integrating the importance of Jewish meaning and themes with New Testament faith.

An important and accessible book for families who long to see their children raised and living in the living faith of The Book.

Enter to win a FREE Copy! 

For more information on the book, visit the website at www.generationbook.org.

About the Author

The author, Yael Eckstein, is President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, whose vision for building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews has been translated into the largest Christian-supported humanitarian agency helping Jews in Israel and around the world.

You can learn more about the organization and Rabbi Eckstein at the website International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

For more than 2,000 years, the Jewish people have preserved and maintained their faith from generation to generation, despite being exiled from their land and suffering persecutions, pogroms, and even the Holocaust, where six million Jewish women, men, and children were killed at the hands of the Nazis. In her book, Generation to Generation, Fellowship President, and CEO Yael Eckstein unlocks the keys to how the Jewish people have successfully passed on the legacy of faith through the family and offers insights into how Christians can incorporate these principles within their own families to pass on a strong and living faith.

Find IFCJ on FB 

If you are interested in learning more about Biblical Feast & Festivals, check out the semester-long class from True North Homeschool Academy which is taught weekly live online from Israel. We offer Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew which both include some study of traditions and culture also taught by Rabbi Arthur Fischer.