Do you feel that Thanksgiving is brushed aside in our hurry to get to Christmas? I do. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but my family celebrates Thanksgiving for the whole week. We decorate in fall colors and fake leaves (you have to use fake in Phoenix). We burn spiced pumpkin candles, and eagerly wear our tan and orange sweaters and scarves the moment the temperature drops below 100 degrees!
In the frenzy to watch football and eat turkey, do we remember to be truly thankful for our blessings? Every day should be filled with Thanksgiving. It’s a sure anti-depressant. The Bible commands us to be thankful. “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people.” Psalm 105:1. Before you can thank the Lord for his blessings, you have to remember what they are and in our busy world, we can easily forget. To help you remember, I recommend making a blessing jar or bucket or some kind of container to store them in. For crafty types, this can be decorated and placed in a visible spot in your household. I would use small 3x5 index cards to write one blessing per card. A blessing could be an answered prayer as well. What size container should you use? How much do you expect the Lord to bless you? You might need a 33 gallon garbage can!
Check out this cute blessing jar.
Thanksgiving is a great time to take out these cards and read them aloud. On other days when you feel particularly discouraged or forgotten about (and we all have days like that), take them out and read them again. We all need reminders. While you’re at it, ask the Lord to show you more ways he has blessed you to add to your jar.
“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?” Psalm 116:12
[This post contains affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.]
We all want to get things done, but it's important to get the right things done. Nothing is more equal than time; each of us has the same amount. Sadly, there is no store where we can purchase more of it and without some forethought and planning, time has a way of vanishing. To help out the harried homeschooler, I offer some perspective on how to take hold of your time to GTI.
1. Change it Up
Whatever time management strategy you use, it will change because your needs change. For example, if you are a homeschool parent who follows a traditional school schedule with summer breaks, then you know how different summer looks at your house than during the fall and spring semesters. Create two schedules per year.
Also, what works this year may not work next year or in five years.
2. Know Thyself
Some people like a great deal of structure; others would wither under it. Create a schedule that has the level of structure that you feel comfortable with. If you need to write out every single thing you need to do in a day, minute by minute, then do it, otherwise, see tip #5 and chunk it.
3. Eat Like Mark Twain
Just like we don't eat dessert before dinner, eat your frogs first. Thank you, Mark Twain, for the origin of this saying. Our "frogs" are the tasks that we find disagreeable so we procrastinate. By doing them right away, they don't pile up, nor do they hang over our heads all day or all week, burdening us. Do it and feel immediate satisfaction or relief. It's a sure way to GTI.
4. Make Appointments
Schedule certain tasks on specific days. For instance, one of the biggest time savers for me was when I decided to make two days a week my errand days. Now, I don't run out the door every time I need something. This seems like a no-brainer but the shift in my thinking came for me when I realized that one errand day would not suffice. Another day is reserved as my "paper" day for paying bills, dealing with paper piles, and writing out birthday cards or other special occasions.
5. Think in Chunks
This tip is especially helpful for those who don't like a tight structure. Chunk up the day into 1 or 2 hour blocks. Include a few 15 minute and 30 minute blocks. Write down what you need to do during those time frames. With this method, you'll have some wiggle room. Here is what this might look like: ( 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) Clean a room; (10:00 a.m.-10:30) Read-aloud to children, etc... Writing it down is important because it will clearly show you the available time in a day. You won't be able to get it all done and you will be forced automatically to cull the unnecessary items.
Those are a few simple tips to get you started and really, that's all you need for now. None of us can be effective trying to implement too many new things at once.
There is more to time management than meets the eye. The second part of a system that helps you GTI is actually DOING it. First, comes the PLAN, then comes the ACTION. That's what motivation is all about. Coming soon in a future post!
It's coming! This fall 2019!
This summer, I have been sewing my little heart out and working on my favorite projects: historical period attire. While I was working I was thinking how satisfying and enjoyable it is to be able to sew whatever I want. Truly, I am most grateful for this skill. I reflected on the wonderful memories I have of how it all started and the influences in my life that allowed me to do it. Because of all of this, I have decided to offer sewing classes again in my sewing studio!
My sewing class page will be available soon under "Classes" and you can find all the details, supplies, and sewing projects that you can learn. Although my sewing projects are fun in themselves, my emphasis is on the skills you will learn because skills, once gained, can apply across the board to many other projects. The more classes you sign up for, the more skills you will learn.
by Angela Jacobs
"What do you do all day?"
I have heard this question many times over the years. People who have never met a home-schooled child are always so curious and may have never heard of homeschooling before. Some have the mistaken impression that we sit behind a desk all day while our mother lectures us on all subjects as we fill out the corresponding worksheets. Others think that homeschooling means we attend an online classroom and our parents are rarely involved in the actual educating. Then there are some who think we do nothing more than goof around singing songs and painting pictures all day. While each of those types of homeschooling families definitely exist, they aren't what I have come to view as typical.
What home-schoolers almost always have in common is not only the desire to provide their children with a better education, but to establish deeper connections with them as well. What better way to do that than to feed their hungry young minds? Home-schoolers realize that it's not how children learn that matters, but that they learn, and that their love of learning is not squelched. We combine whatever techniques work for our own children and, if we need to, make it up as we go. So what does homeschooling actually look like?
It's riding your bike in the park for PE, and making a Home Depot kids' project for workshop. It's teaching your kids fractions as they measure the ingredients you need for dinner. It's using textbooks as a guideline, while taking every real-life situation as an opportunity to teach them new skills and reinforce old ones. Homeschooling looks different for every family because every family is different.
It looks like letter crafts at the kitchen table or literature on the couch with your favorite stuffed pigeon.
It's seeing the planetarium exhibit when it comes to the local library and reading the history book out loud to your kids in a Starbucks.
This article expresses the observations of one university professor regarding homeschooled students, but there are many similar observations from others.
"The following 16 weeks, she maintained eye contact throughout lectures and discussions, listened intently to me and her classmates, raised her hand to offer an observation, an answer or to ask a question when no one else would, followed instructions to the letter, communicated verbally and in writing more clearly than everyone else and received the highest grade on every assignment."
In high school, I had the great fortune to learn French from a great teacher. She knew what it was like to be a beginner and how intimidating it can be to speak a new language with funny and unfamiliar sounds and how self-conscious we would be attempting it. She taught us much vocabulary and grammar in a variety of ways, but her enthusiasm is what stood out and is still remembered today after all these years. No one in that class had to take French; it was an elective. I was already inspired, but she furthered that by teaching us about French culture and introducing us to French food. These weren’t in the textbook.
The following year, I signed up for French 2, but this teacher was formerly a P.E. coach and clearly, he wasn’t interested in teaching French at all! We learned lists of French words and phrases. We drilled and took tests. It’s a good thing I started with the other teacher because if he had been my first teacher, I am sure I would not have continued another year. For this teacher, teaching French was a punishment and we were all punished as well.
It is incredibly likely that as a homeschool parent you will not enjoy all subjects that you need to teach to your child. So how will you be inspiring in that subject? How will you not be like French teacher #2?
Perhaps you can find another homeschool parent who loves the subject and would be willing to have your children over to learn from him or her. Then you could teach something for her children that you are wild about. If that is not possible, you can find another way to show your gratitude.
If you must teach the subject yourself, find the most engaging curriculum you can, and preferably one that is self-teaching, so that your children can still be inspired by the enthusiasm of the author of the curriculum. You may find a co-op that offers the classes you need. But for convenience, you cannot beat the online class. We offer all sorts of literature and writing classes live online. No driving in traffic or paying rising gas costs. No catching and spreading flu germs. Just time focused on your child and your needs from the comfort of your home.
Over Spring Break I had the pleasure of visiting my daughter and her family. While there, she taught me how to crochet this little washcloth made with cotton thread, complete with a scalloped border! It's a simple project, especially for her.
As a homeschool mom, we did handicrafts from time to time and I taught my daughter the basics of crochet. Now, she knows far more than I do! That is why she teaches me. She has won 1st place ribbons at the state fair for her crocheted dolls and has made this adorable Tinkerbell outfit for her baby girl as well as a stunning Irish lace table runner for me.
What does all of this have to do with
Many times I have heard moms lament that they cannot teach their children something because they don't know how or don't know enough. That is a serious barrier sometimes. But what they don't realize is that if they know enough (or can learn enough) to get their children started, the children can learn more themselves. Isn't that the goal...to foster independent learners?
I love contests and I am very excited to spread the word about IEW's writing contest. Check out all the details here and then let me tell you why your child should enter it.
1) You could win! That would be exciting, of course.
2) You could win money! See #1 above. Who couldn't use some money to
stash away for college?
3) Writing is easier when you have a purpose.
4) It will be good practice and we only get good at what we practice.
5) Current students receive my editing and feedback free!
Do note that it is not a requirement to know or use the IEW methods to enter the contest.
Over the years I have heard different mothers tell what they do with their kids' school work. One mom told me that she doesn't keep any and that she throws all of their work out at the end of the year! I was horrified (and still am, a little) but her rationale was that it was the learning that was important and that is something they carry with them in their head.
Nevertheless, I am one for keeping records so I have kept a good deal of my kids' school work. Now, I only have some of our treasures, a report or two, a special picture or fun lapbook. Homeschooling was our life and these treasures are imbued with fond memories.
But here's the kicker. On one of my de-clutter missions, I came across three boxes of student writing papers. Not my children's! Yours! I know I have a couple more boxes somewhere AND I have already gotten rid of a couple boxes. Why on earth do I keep so many? I like to have lots of example student papers to help new students with, but truly I don't need three boxes! It's hard for me to get rid of them because they really were good! So...if you were a former writing student and got rid of something you really wish you had now, just contact me; I probably have a copy!
Where will you find me when I am not teaching?
For your reading pleasure!