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I Love Your Style!

Remember that time when you were a teenager and wished your brown eyes were blue, or your straight hair was curly? Or the other way around? Or those times when you wished you could wear a certain hairstyle or outfit and have it look half as good on you as it looks on your friend?

Embracing your Unique Homeschool Style @hsbapost

I’ve seen – and experienced! – that the same sort of thing sometimes happens with homeschoolers. I felt pretty good about our unit study on American History until I heard about another family’s literature-based study and then I wondered if I’d included enough books in ours. I felt pretty good about the Biology textbooks we chose to use until I saw how cool someone else’s hands-on study was, and then I worried that maybe we hadn’t done enough.

It’s tempting to be a bit jealous when other families are learning Latin together and enjoying it, but we couldn’t fit it into our schedule. Or wish that we could go on awesome Field Trips like that homeschool blogger I admire does, but the nearest decent museum is over an hour away from us so it’s not that easy. Or regret that I hadn’t started off my children with nature journaling when they were little, because my friend’s first grader is so cute with his little journal and sketches.

There’s another side to that comparison trap too – we’re sometimes tempted to look down our noses just a wee bit at that other homeschool family that does things differently – bless their hearts – than we do, and we somehow feel that our style is better.

Here’s the thing: My style IS better than yours…. for my family. Your style IS better than mine… for your family.

I’m not even sure it’s possible to stop comparing ourselves to others, but I do think we need to be careful of our attitude when we compare. I have learned (for the most part) to be comfortable with our homeschool style, and that the resources we use and the way we use them suits us best. So I can listen with great interest as another homeschool mom tells about how their Classical style homeschool works and think how great it is, and learn from it, without thinking that we are either better or worse because we do things differently.

Embracing your unique homeschool style with confidence @hsbapost

I bet you wear your hair differently than I do. Maybe it’s important to you to spend more time styling it, or maybe you prefer to spend almost no time on it at all. You might prefer longer or shorter, curled or straightened; layered or not; but whatever you do, it’s probably what you’ve decided looks good on you and you like it that way. I’ve also been to enough homeschool conventions to know that homeschool moms dress differently. Some wear jeans and t-shirts; some wear skirts or dresses only; some are very casually dressed; and some are in elegantly tailored outfits. There’s that old stereotype about homeschool moms wearing denim jumpers, but I think we all know that we come in more clothing styles than just that.

Guess what? We also come in more styles than just Delight-Directed or Charlotte Mason! And we should be confident that our style suits us and wear it well, even as we acknowledge that other homeschoolers look great in the style they’ve chosen too.

Whatever your style, wear it confidently! It suits you, and you look great!

 

 

 

Kym (2 Posts)

Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.


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4 Steps to Regain Balance in the Home & Homeschool

Guest post by Angela Horton.

There comes a time every year when I enter The Struggle.   The healthy balance in my home and homeschool fizzles into near chaos and it is a struggle to get that balance back.  I find myself overwhelmed.  For me, that difficult season is usually the second semester of school.  Maybe it’s the after-effects of a too full holiday schedule.  Maybe it’s that the newness of our school books has worn thin.  Maybe it’s spring fever.  Whatever causes the turbulence, though, I know I still have months of school to go.  Somehow I have to find the energy to keep the house running and the family fed.  Somehow I have to keep teaching.

So what do I do?  How do I keep moving forward when it feels like everything is spinning out of control?  Over the years, I have come up with my 4 Steps to Regain Balance in the Home & Homeschool.

4 Steps to Regain Balance in your Home & Homeschool @hsbapost
1.  Get some rest.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is almost guaranteed that you are also feeling over-tired.  Go take a nap.  Really.  I have tried “pushing through.”  The result?  Cranky Mama.  Trust me.  That isn’t helping anyone.  Get some sleep.  I promise that all the work will still be there waiting for you when you wake up.  (I’m still waiting for the good fairy to do all my work while I sleep.  It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m patient.)  The work may still be there, but you will be in a better mental/emotional state to handle it.

2.  Reevaluate your priorities.  What things are most important to you in your home and homeschool?  This is not an exhaustive list, friend.  There shouldn’t be too many things on that list.  This is your TOP priorities.  For my family, that list involves things like pleasing God, good character, family relationships, healthy food and a house that functions (notice I didn’t say a perfectly clean house.  There is a difference.)

Don’t look at what everyone else is doing when you make your list.  Don’t write the things you think should be priorities.  What is truly most important to you and your family at this stage in your life?  Write those top priorities on a piece of paper.  You’re already overwhelmed.  You don’t need to try to remember everything in your head, M’kay?

3.  Ask the hard questions.  How are you spending the time you have each day?  You only have 24 hours a day.  You need to use 8 of those hours to sleep.  That leaves only 16 hours.  If you have a baby in the house, you will use approximately 15 1/2 of those waking hours just to feed and diaper the baby.  That leaves about 30 minutes to make your priorities happen– at least that’s how it always seemed to me.  You are going to have to make those minutes count.  Take a good hard look at a typical day in your household.  Does the way you spend your time reflect the top priorities you wrote down in step 3?

There are so many time stealers.  They have a way of creeping in on you when you aren’t paying attention.  The next thing you know, you are super busy doing things that have nothing to do with your top priorities.  Which brings us to the final step:

4.  Simplify.  This is probably the hardest step, although step 3 is pretty hard.  This is the step that makes you do something about what you saw when you asked yourself those hard questions.  Unless you are the most organized person on the planet and you have a will of steel, it is pretty much guaranteed that you saw areas in which your time was being used unwisely or for things that don’t reflect your priorities.  Now it’s time to change that scenario.

If one of your priorities is to have more quality family time, but you spend 3 hours a day on Pinterest, it’s time to rein yourself in.  Maybe you should get a timer and give yourself 30 minutes of social media and spend the other 2 1/2 hours with your kids instead.  If one of your priorities is to eat dinner together as a family every night, but you do volunteer work 5 nights a week, it’s time to step down from some of those commitments.  Each thing that eats your time needs to be evaluated to see if it is helping or hindering you in your quest to achieve your priorities.  It’s time to learn how to say “No,” both to others and to yourself.

Despite what everyone says, you really can’t do it all.  You have to choose.  Every time you say “yes” to something, you also say “no” to something else.  In other words, “Yes, I will serve on that committee” also means “No, I won’t be home with the kids that night.”  Or “Yes, I will stay up and watch that movie” also means “No, I won’t go to bed on time.”  Conversely, every time you say “no” to something, you free yourself up to say “yes” to something important.  Make sure you are saying “yes” to the things that are important to you, and “no” to the things that aren’t.  As you simplify your schedule to reflect your priorities, you also free yourself up to simplify other areas of your life.  Gradually, you will move from overwhelmed to overjoyed.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Can you use these 4 steps to overcome it?

 

Angela Horton is a pastor’s wife & homeschooling mother to four energetic kids ranging in ages from 17 to 4 years old.  She is a crafty girl, traditional foods cook, homesteader wanna-be and has been homeschooling her brood for over 14 years.   When she isn’t trying to get glue out of her hair or wiping up spilled science experiments, she writes about it all on her Titus 2 inspired blog at Gallimaufry Grove.

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Why Are You Home Educating Anyway?

Guest Post by Aimee Imbeau.

How do you respond when you are asked this question?  Are your immediate thoughts regarding the failing public system?  Are you tempted to argue that you are the one who can provide your children the best education possible? 

Maybe we chose this path so that we may protect them from the big, bad world.

If the above reasons, or reasons like them, are our main reasons for home education, I think we are missing something BIG here.

Why are you home educating anyway? @hsbapost

I’ve been in the homeschool world long enough to know that home education will not save our children.  It has become exceptionally simple to worship home education.  I’ve seen families use it to keep their family in a ‘safe’ bubble. Don’t get me wrong; I long to keep my children protected and sheltered.  I firmly believe that safeguarding our children is of utmost importance.  It is our responsibility as parents.

BUT

Our children’s salvation does not rely on home education.  

Only Jesus can save our children.  Let’s not lose our focus on this.

We need to understand why we have chosen to home educate our children.  In my family, these are the main reasons we “home disciple” our children:

1.     I’m home educating so that my children will fulfill the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20, NKJ.

2.     Home education is a wonderful opportunity to develop the love for God’s word within my children and to deepen their belief in His word and in who He is.

3.     I can teach my children that His word is ultimate truth.  We need the next generation to know that God’s word is truth and to respect God’s word as authority.  We have absolutely no business redefining God’s word. 

4.     I am better equipped to teach my children to know God’s word.  If my children know what His word says, if they trust and believe God at His word, then it will be more difficult for them to be swayed and deceived by false teachings.  It is easier to deceive the biblically illiterate.

5.     I think the best reason for home educating our children is so that they will fulfill the greatest commandment.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37, NKJ 

This is the first and greatest commandment. My absolute main reason for home educating my children is to teach them to love an amazing God.  They can be the smartest kids, get into the best schools, make a ton of money, but if they fail to love God as Jesus commanded, then I have seriously missed the mark and done them a great disservice.      

A New Covenant

A favorite verse in the home school realm is Deuteronomy 6:7-9; and rightfully so.  Scripture should be spoken of regularly in the home.  But I’d like to add another verse to this premise:

“I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Hebrews 8:10, NKJ

Under the new covenant, the word of God is written upon the heart, not just around the home.  I want the Word and the gospel to penetrate the mind and heart of my children.  I want their hearts transformed.  

How do I do this?  I have many methods and activities that we carry out consistently.  One area we focus on daily is our worship.  Here are some ideas:

  • We have a worship playlist set up in YouTube.  The songs are played and lyrics are on the computer.   This makes for a very easy worship time since I don’t play an instrument nor do I have the gift of singing. One of the blessings of our morning worship is when I hear my youngest tell me “I have a song in my head” – and it is the worship song we sang that morning – even an old hymn!   
  • I allow children to take turns choosing songs and ‘leading’.  My kids love picking songs for the family to sing.
  • We listen to Christian music through KLove online radio during our lessons.  Sometimes an upbeat song comes on and we have to turn it up (PE?).  
  • I recently discovered Hymn unit studies online.  My children have fallen in love with Jesus more through studying and singing hymns.  Hymns like “Before the Throne of God”, “Be Thou my Vision”, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” are ones we have journeyed through together.  
  • Many songs are based upon scripture verses – both hymns and contemporary music.  We find those verses in the Bible and discuss them.  My kids get excited and joyful when they correlate scripture and their favourite songs.  I’ve recently discovered that these songs have helped significantly with scripture memorization!
  • We investigate other ways to worship God such as through visual arts, making up our own songs (writing a Psalm!!), dance, poetry, appreciating God’s creation and more.

Worship is one of the many ways I instill God’s truth in the hearts of my children.  How have you brought worship into your home education?  

Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC.  Aimee has been blissfully married for 17 years and still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus.  When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking and having heart to heart talks with girlfriends.  She blogs over at A Work of Grace. 

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