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Homeschooling and the Power of Boredom

Homeschooling and the Power of Boredom

As summer rapidly approaches, the likelihood of hearing that ominous word—boredom—grows increasingly probable. I learned to carefully avoid this word around my parents in my youth, as it typically meant being given a long list of chores. Our summers involved mostly outdoor activities: riding bikes, woodland exploration, and swimming—with a bit of reading thrown in on rainy days. Our family often had one vacation in the summer, with destinations chosen by my parents based on their interests and tastes, not mine. This was the norm, and it worked.

Modern Parents and the Boredom Principle

It’s safe to say that modern parents appear more obliged to provide the bored child with incessant vacations, camps, and activities to assuage their boredom than previous generations, which begs the question: is boredom a bad thing?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read a book on childhood brain development for a continuing education credit for my social work licensure. I wish I could recall the text now, but I do remember that the author was emphatic that denying children of downtime—time to be bored—affects them in two significant ways. The first is less creativity, which was no surprise, but the second point was a bit of an epiphany for me. They also struggle to develop clear values and a subsequent moral structure. 

Recently I was reminded of that book while listening to a TED Talk on boredom. Experts agree that free time and daydreaming are essential parts of childhood brain development. Over-scheduled children denied the time to reflect and be creative are not only starving their brains but wrestle with issues of moral ambiguity and difficulty solving problems. Sound familiar? Not to mention that modern children now possess devices that continually entertain and occupy their thoughts—regardless of what the calendar says. Modern science concurs on the subject of boredom with that 20-year-old textbook.

Building Quiet Time Into Your Day

Consequently, as soon as my children were old enough, I built mandatory quiet time into our daily schedule. Each day, my children were required to spend one hour alone in their rooms, where they did not talk, watch TV, or engage with any technology. Total silence. They were allowed to exercise, read, do crafts, build Legos, or anything creative, but they were not to do schoolwork. This was their time to pray, ponder, meditate, be mindful, daydream, analyze, stargaze, imagine, and think deeply.

We had a few more fun things on the schedule when summer approached than when I was a kid. We had a pool, so we had friends over quite a bit. The kids were allowed to pick one day-camp activity, such as horse or robotics camp, and sometimes we would go camping. Otherwise, we expected our kids to ride their bikes, explore the woods, and swim—with reading thrown in on rainy days. If they made the mistake of telling me they were bored, I always had a list of chores or projects handy, and I resisted the urge to fill in the blank spaces on our family calendar.

The Biggest Benefit of Boredom

What happened most was they built tree forts and mud pies and dammed our creek. They went berry picking. They colored pictures at the picnic table. They played with the dog and cat. They played kickball. They pitched a tent in the backyard. They helped me dig weeds in the garden or lay on blankets watching clouds, trying to find cartoon characters in the shapes.

They deliberated internally on their actions, observations, and experiences. They had an epiphany or two, which we would sometimes discuss over their bedtime prayers, and which helped solidify their values. They also had some of the most creative ideas! Through the power of boredom, they nurtured their brain development and pondered what was essential and what kind of people they hoped to be.

Parents, don’t waste the boredom! Instead, recognize it for the opportunity that it is and watch the great things your children will accomplish.

 

Postscript: 

If you would like to watch that TED Talk on boredom, here is a link:

Ted Talk on Boredom Link

Grab our FUN Summer Bucket List– perfect for summer days!

 

About Angie

Mrs. Ferrell lives in southwestern Ohio with her husband of 23 years, her youngest child, and several pets.  Mrs. Ferrell has many hobbies, including gardening, bicycling, quilting, photography, writing, and curriculum development. She is an avid reader and in constant pursuit of new challenges.

3 Way to Be a Working Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling takes work. If you’re wondering if you could possibly work and homeschool, yes- you can be a working homeschool mom!

Know Your Working Homeschool Mom Limits

Limits are a good thing. They work as boundaries to keep you from overwhelm. To understand your limits and set your boundaries, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I practicing good self-care?
  • Do I choose foods that nourish my body?
  • Would meal-prepping work for me or add extra stress?
  • Do I have any “tells” that help me know when I’m approaching overwhelm?
  • Am I losing my temper with my friends, family, or work associates?
  • Do I need a certain amount of time in the morning to myself before I’m on for the day?
  • Do I need a regular bedtime to support what I need to do each day?
  • Am I allowing for enough off-time or playtime?
  • Can I set boundaries for myself that I can provide to others and easily enforce?
  • What are my employer’s expectations?

Allowing yourself the grace to say “yes” when you mean yes, and “no” when you mean no will provide you with a filter for creating limits.

Set Your Work Goals

With work comes expectations. What does your employer expect from you? If you work from home, what do your clients expect of you? What do you expect of yourself? What are your goals?

Adding to your own limits, note the following:

  • What are my work hours?
  • Do I have any nights or evenings I’m expected to work?
  • Can I leave my work at work or will I be expected to work from home?
  • Do I have help with my kids while I’m at work?
  • Does the person who helps understand my homeschool plan?

Make Your Homeschool Plan

If you’re not sure where to start, I just want to say from the get-go, do not overwhelm yourself with this. Keep it simple.

If you can come up with 5 key things per student you’d like to cover for the year, you’ve got a solid big picture. You can add to the big picture in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you or your helper if you have one.

Things to consider:

  • Where are we starting? How did we end the school year last year?
  • What are the ages and grade levels of my students?
  • What are the courses I would be comfortable teaching or delegated?
  • Would I benefit from online, interactive homeschooling classes?
  • What is my worldview? How does that weight my homeschooling choices?
  • How many children am I homeschooling?
  • Do we have to have traditional homeschool hours or do we have some flexibility with that?
  • Do I have a homeschool method I’m committed to?

Just Get Started Homeschooling

The hardest thing to do is to just get started. Pick one subject, one goal, and just go for it.

We can help.

Need a like-minded tribe to journey with? Our Parent Equipping Membership is a great place to start and our Getting Started Homeschool Printable Planning packet was created to help you create a plan, write out your goals, and your vision while keeping your home and students on track. Download it free.

Or Grab the Working Homeschool Mom Bundle FREE

This special Working Homeschool Mom Bundle will get you going.

Working Homeschool Mom Bundle

Leadership and Soft Skills

Leadership and Soft Skills

When we think of a leader, we tend to think of someone who is charismatic, smart, and a “take charge” – that go-to person in any situation. We look at a leader as someone who has know-how (hard skills), but I can tell you – it’s also someone who has soft skills. Leadership and soft skills go hand-in-hand. 

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills are those personal attributes that allow us to interact well with others, allowing us to have peaceful and healthy relationships.

They are also known as power skills or personality traits. Soft skills are those skills that everyone seems to understand implicitly. They are related to manners and social moves. For kids with learning disabilities, however, soft skills can be elusive and confusing.

4 C’s of a Soft Skills Education.

These would include:

  1. Collaboration- Collaboration is better known as teamwork. Can you lead, follow, and interact maturely with other team members? Do you problem solve and handle your own emotions well, or are you causing problems for others on your team? Do you understand the team hierarchy well? Are you willing to lead, follow, and get out of the way? All of these skills go into being a good team player, at different times and in various seasons. A good team player, 
  1. Communication- Employers are currently stressing the need for students to have excellent communication skills, including the ability to persuade by written and spoken communication. In particular, they want to hire those who can “sell” (i.e., persuade) both orally and using the written word.
  2. Critical Thinking- Employers are currently stressing the need for students to have excellent communication skills, including the ability to persuade by written and spoken communication. In particular, they want to hire those who can “sell” (i.e., persuade) both orally and using the written word.
  3. Creativity- Creativity is all about thinking outside the box, generating new ideas or tweaking old ones to fit new situations, and interacting with materials, people, and resources in unique ways.

These soft skills are essential tools in the leadership toolbag. 

What is Leadership?

Leadership is both the ability to research and prepare for what’s ahead as well-being to lead, guide, or instruct a group or individuals, teams, or organizations.

Increasingly we want our children to step up and lead when called upon, especially in the world we currently live in. We want them to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. 

They don’t need charisma, they need that internal ability to govern themselves and lead by example, be willing to speak up, and encourage others to be leaders in difficult situations.

Preparing for Leadership with Soft Skills 

Preparing tomorrow’s leaders starts with soft skills. One of the most important soft skills is the art of persuasion. 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed trying to explain your point-of-view to someone, especially in today’s online environment, you can see just how important this skill is. 

That’s why I am taking part in the Life Skills Leadership Summit

Leadership and Persuasion

The Art of Persuasion, by Lisa M Nehring

One skill that current employers is finding lacking in new hires is the ability to sell. With the constant shorthand of texting and 9-second tik-toks and reels, the fine art of Persuasion is being lost. Why is the ability to sell so important? What are some ways that parents can help their kids develop this skill?

Grab your free ticket
! Join some of your favorite homeschool speakers and leaders as we strive to raise leaders in this generation. 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through the link and make a purchase, Lisa Nehring / True North Homeschool Academy makes a small commission. Thank you.

Where is Your Homeschool Tribe?

Where is Your Homeschool Tribe?

Homeschool families tend to be DIYers. We take on the incredible responsibility of educating our families, often on one income. There is even a growing segment of homeschoolers who home church! It might be said the entire DIY movement started with education and homeschooling back in the early 1980s. We didn’t know anything back then of a homeschool tribe. 

So, what’s a tribe anyway?

According to the Internet, a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” 

Homeschool Tribe Community

The homeschool tribe community consists mainly of families. Many of our families don’t look that different from the world’s family units. We have many of the same problems. The difference for most homeschooling families within the community is that we have a common recognized leader- Jesus. 

He is our religious, social, and even economic tie. He creates our shared culture. 

Homeschool Tribe Culture

The homeschool tribe culture itself is unique. It’s different than the world’s culture because it rests on a person and not a time, place, or bloodline. While we see God’s Principle of Individuality within the culture, there is a tie that binds.

Finding Your Homeschool Tribe

With all of this in common, you’d think it would be easy to find a homeschool BFF. But, that’s not always the case. With all of the DIYing we do, we can become so independent we neglect our need for our tribe. 

Our tribe can often be found within our church family. What a blessing that is!

If your church isn’t supportive of homeschooling, you may find yourself on the outside looking in. And that’s a lonely place to be. What’s a homeschool parent to do when they feel that isolation and loneliness set in? Try these five tips:

Five Tips for Identifying Your Homeschool People 

To know who you need in your tribe, you have to know a few things. Things like, what you offer as a friend, what you want in a friendship, and what your friendship boundaries are. Try these tips to help you in your search. 

  1. Know what’s important. Do you need a supportive group? A fun group? A serious theological group? 
  2. Identify your boundaries. Are you the come-over anytime kind of mom? Do you put limits on your children’s electronics and TV exposure? Do you prioritize a specific time of the day for your family only?
  3. Respect others’ personalities. God has given each of us a unique personality. We are one body, with many parts. Learn to honor your role and the part of others
  4. Get your fundamental geography right. Do you want in-person support and friendship? Is an online setting okay? What about live interactive opportunities online? Maybe a combination?
  5. Give and receive grace. Okay, this is an important one– there are no perfect people, so there are no perfect homeschool Tribes. Love your people as they are, where they are, and when they need it. And learn to accept that for yourself. Grace is key.

Embracing the Homeschool Tribe

Having a homeschool tribe can provide you with many things; support, accountability, spontaneity, friendship for your kids, and a respite from the demands of homeschooling and caring for your family.

If you’ve been a DIYer for any time, it might take you some time to learn to embrace the benefits. Don’t be afraid to try. 

Need more help finding your tribe? 

homeschool tribe

Join Lisa Nehring at the Teach Them Diligently Health and Wellness Summit for her workshop: Finding Your Tribe with Lisa Nehring. 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through the link and make a purchase, Lisa Nehring / True North Homeschool Academy makes a small commission. Thank you.

The 5 Love Languages and Your Family

Do you ever feel like you are constantly giving, Giving, GIVING love to your kids, and for the life of you they are not getting it?! Of course, it could be because they are having a bad day, struggling with a specific challenge, or just growing like a week.  BUT another reason could be because you are not speaking your teen’s love language.

What is a “love language”?

I first heard the term love language from the author, Gary Chapman. He defines it as “the way people speak and understand emotional love.”

One of the best things you can do for your ENTIRE FAMILY is learn all your love languages. 

You would think that being around each other all the time would make it obvious what love language we each are. In fact, I assumed that. I thought that whatever way I gave and received love was how EVERYONE received love… spoiler alert: I was TOTALLY WRONG! 

There are actually FIVE love languages

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Think you *know* the specific love language of each of your family members?  Go ahead and guess.  Write it down – maybe make a game and everyone guess what love language they are… then do yourself a favor and take the free quiz –you might be surprised! 

 A Guide to the 5 Love Languages 

Let’s go through the different love types and ideas on how you can show love to that type.

Words of Affirmation: An ENCOURAGING WORD does wonders for this person.

  • Write this person a note with words of encouragement or a Bible verse
  • Leave a voicemail full of affirmations -keep them sincere!
  • Send sweet texts
  • Give a shout out to them on social media
  • Leave a post it note on their desk or in the book they are reading with a fun note of encouragement

Acts of Service: DOING SOMETHING is super meaningful for this person.

  • Bake this person’s favorite cookies
  • Laugh at their joke
  • Offer to bring them soup in bed when they are sick.
  • Wash and clear their car 
  • Clean their room for them

Receiving Gifts: RECEIVING AND GIVING GIFTS brings joy to this person. 

  • Consider starting a collection for this teen, like postcards or mugs from your travels
  • Bring a sweet treat home every time you visit this certain store
  • Start a charm bracelet that you add to on special occasions
  • Subscription boxes are like regular gifts that you receive in the mail; there are so many fun ones from food to grooming to interests
  • Gift cards from a favorite store 

 Quality Time: Giving this person YOUR FULL ATTENTION means everything

  • Take road trips together.
  • Tell them you have 30 minutes and you want to spend it with them. Then ask them what they want to do. The answer may surprise you.
  • Have a lull in the middle of the day? Play a board game.
  • Plan a regular coffee or breakfast date 
  • Plan an experience that you do together when you have  long week-end; canoeing, going to the zoo, reading a book out loud, etc.

Physical Touch: This person knows you love them by how much they can FEEL your love.

  • A good shoulder massage after a stressful day
  • A strong mama bear hug when the world feels against them.
  • A playful hip bump as you walk by
  • Put your arm around them when they are standing next to you
  • Hold hands when you are walking together, or even sitting next to each other

It is interesting to me how we homeschool moms often are quick to say, “Learn your teen’s learning style,” which I totally agree with. However, I would argue that just as important as learning your kiddos’ love language!

Not only will your kiddo be able to learn well (by leaning into their learning style), but they will also be able to receive your love well (by sharing it in their language).  And let’s face it – being around each other 24/7 and NOT showing the “right kind” of love to your family can cause unnecessary friction as much as teaching them with the wrong learning style.

So, make it a Family Night

As a family, take the quiz  and then compare notes. 

For your tweens and teens, helping them learn their love language is similar to them learning their personality type and leadership style. They are all pieces to the puzzle that makes them who they are. And it’s always a good thing to know more about yourself so that you can lean into your natural abilities as well as develop areas that don’t come naturally. 

Take it further

  • As you celebrate throughout the year, offer gifts to each other that are particularly meaningful based on each other’s Love Languages. 
  • For Birthday’s, create meaningful gifts for the Birthday Person, making sure you give a gift that expresses each of the 5 Love Languages. 

While love languages might seem simplistic, it’s another tool in our toolbox of parenting and home education that can help inspire and motivate our family members. More importantly, it allows us to communicate our love and respect for each other in ways that celebrate the unique art in each other. 

Check out our Orienteering Class. It covers learning styles, personality, interests, skills, and abilities and helps students hone in on vocational interests and training that will save both of you time and money. This is a class EVERY student should take!

How to talk to you kids about porngraphy

How to talk to your kids

February is often thought about as the month of love, romance and relationships. And while, as parents, none of us want to think that our kids might be involved in porn, if they have access to the world wide web, they are being targeted to view porn. And just because this month is all about love and romance, it’s a great time to talk about teaching our kids the difference between real love, Biblical love, sacrificial love, and poor substitutes that will rob them of their dignity and morality. 

Create a Safe Place for Kids Who Struggle with Porn

Why bring up such a touchy and maybe even painful subject? Because love does not exploit others, it is sacrificial and good. And if we are raising our kids to be the kind of people who follow 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a, we must talk to our kids about pornography and teach them how to hide their hearts, minds, and souls from this devious parasite. We must also create accountability and safe people and places to go if they struggle with porn.

Love suffers long and is kind; itdoes not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

Statistics Tell the Hard Truth About Porn Use

Think your kiddos are immune? Here are the statistics: 

  • Nearly 27% of teens receive sexts and emails and around 15% are sending them.
  • 57% of teens search out porn at least monthly
  • 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.
  • The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
  • 71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
  • A 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile dysfunction.
  • US youths (ages 14-18) exposed to pornography: 84:4% of males and 57% of females

You might also be shocked at the types of pornography teens are viewing:

  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online
  • 69% of boys and 55 % of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online
  • 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online
  • 32% of boys nad 18% of girls have seen bestiality on line 
  • 18% of boys nad 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online
  • 15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography online

And according to Enough.org,  “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”And according to Enough.org,  “Extreme content is the new norm. Soft porn has disappeared. In 2010 the journal Violence Against Women reported physical aggression in 88.2% of leading pornography scenes and verbal aggression in 48.7%, with 94.4% of the aggression directed towards women and girls. A February 2018 headline in Esquire Magazine read, “Incest is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn.”

What are the effects of Pornography?

Studies have shown that kids who viewed pornography for hours each week have less gray matter in their brains than those who did not view it. 

Youth that view pornography once a month or more are at a greater risk of developing:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sexually permissive attitudes
  • Preoccupation with sex
  • Inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality
  • Unrealistic ideas about sexual relationships
  • Insecurities about body images in females and insecurities about sexual performance in males.

Furthermore, the long-term effects of porn on relationships include abuse and divorce.

Guide Your Children Well

I think we can all agree that porn is a problem. What are we supposed to do about it, short of getting rid of all electronic devices in our home? We need to start by talking to our kids about sex and pornography. Kids under ten targeted for porn is a growing issue, so don’t think that waiting until they’re in high school is a good idea. Expect that by age 12, your kids have been exposed to porn. After you have an initial age-appropriate talk with your kids about porn, develop regular check-in times where you ask open-ended questions. Give your kids time to respond, and create an ongoing conversation with them about sexuality and porn. Look, consider who they’ll talk to about sex, if not you. Again, you are their God-ordained guide. 

  • Talk about sexuality within the context of family and marriage. Define for your kids what healthy, normal, Biblical relationships are and what normal and healthy exchanges of affection are between husband and wife and others. 
  • Straightforwardly talk about sex. Get comfortable with correct terminology and be prepared for awkward questions. Your kids are exposed to global culture, and you are their best guide. 
  • Talk to your kids about what they may encounter online. Let them know that it might be scary or uncomfortable but assure them that they can always come to you and tell you about it. Let them know that others might try to share pornography with them but that they can always come to you and that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed to go and talk to a parent about this. 

Trust Your Faith to Direct Your Conversations

  • Share age-appropriate material with your kids about sex. 
  • Talk with your kids about the difference between porn and real sex. Let them know that porn is fantasy, bodies are altered, staged a certain way, and not private, but carefully curated to market well. Pornography is also ultimately selfish as it is only about satisfying one person -the viewer. Real sex requires good communication, humility and transparency and can be awkward and beautiful as a married couple negotiates their sexual relationship. Marital sex requires thinking about someone besides just yourself. 
  • Talk about consent and personal boundaries. Porn can be violent and can quickly normalize non-consensual behavior. It fuels sex trafficking and enslaves both the people working in the sex industry and viewers. It exploits the weak to feed a billion-dollar “industry.” 
  • Normalize sexual arousal and put it within the context of being created by a loving and creative God, within Christian marriage, and within the context of stewarding one’s heart, mind, and soul for a future spouse. Pornography can easily be likened to having a virtual affair with one’s now or future spouse. This view is not a guilt trip. This is a reality check. Sexuality within marriage is about accountability and covenant.

The Bible is Clear

The Bible is clear about how we are to approach sexuality as followers of a Living God in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not [helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [c]and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Prepare for Awkward Conversations with Your Kids About Porn

While talking to our kids about porn might be awkward and uncomfortable, we must let them know that we are willing to have awkward conversations and can handle the awkwardness. It’s a challenging topic to confront but a necessary one for the sake of their hearts and minds. 

Additional Resources: 

Podcast

Communicating with our Kids about Pornography with Hal and Melanie Young Podcast

Books

Every Man’s Battle

Every Young Man’s Battle

Raising Real Men

Porn accountability

Covenant Eyes

Accountability 2You