Burnout – Doodle

Burnout – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 
Burnout – Bull

Burnout – Snow

Burnout – Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Embers,

Great advice BT! Homeschooling is not a sprint but a marathon. The strategies for each of those races are completely different. I just finished my 15th year of homeschooling, and I can’t believe I am still here! Here are a couple of pointers that have given me stamina and helped me pace myself in this homeschool track:

1. Keep pure motives: Burn out for me comes when I am pursuing selfish ambitions. I know that sounds crazy, but I get bored pretty quickly when it’s only about me and mine. There is nothing like finding some people to help serve to get my heart pumping with life again and renew my energy to homeschool. So make your homeschooling about something bigger than just you and your family.

2. Run unencumbered: I watch for those activities that distract or wear me down. Strive for those things that breathe life and keep guard for those activities that deplete. A walk in the park, a bike ride around the block or breakfast on the patio can do wonders for a soul.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize: What kind of human beings do you want to send into the world? What virtues do I want them to have? With the cultural issues of today, I go back in history and look at the attributes of those who changed the world. It takes work to keep great ideas and thoughts within your sights and in your heart. Remind yourself of what is really important and stay focused on that. Nothing like a good dose of vision to keep my nose pointed in the right direction and wind in my sail.

4. Find like-minded friends: Sometimes I need a soft place to land and other times I need a kick in the “rear-end.” Like-minded, friends make the world go round and are a large reason why I am still here. The road of homeschooling does not need to be lonely. Work to be that friend to others and your friends won’t let you quit.

Embers, don’t give up! One day you’ll find yourself jogging over that finish line. You’ll be so amazed at God’s provision for your race and the prize that awaits you!

Love,
Dood

Close in Age

Close in Age

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Snow:
Dear Dubious,

I cannot speak from experience on this one. I only have 2 kids plus one on the way, and they are fairly far apart in age… What I can say is that I see families doing it and doing it well! These families have a common thread running through them… They have a vision for homeschooling! They have a plan and a purpose. They have committed themselves and their family to something that they believe in 100%. I greatly admire each of them!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Dubious,
This is a common situation with homeschooling families, so you’re not alone. As I mentioned in last week’s post, our own school experience can paralyze us a bit. We need to hearken back to the one-room schoolhouse, which none of us know about except through Little House on the Prairie. Here are a few ideas of how it works:

Grammar – we do a lot of dictation of sentences, and we start with a basic subject/verb sentence. My second grader can identify and/or diagram the basic parts of speech, and my fifth grade student adds clauses and modifiers and diagrams them. This also can serve as a handwriting exercise with the older students using cursive while the younger students print.

History – We like the Story of the World series, and I’ll read the narrative aloud to all the children, and the younger students can answer the most basic comprehension questions; the older students answer more in-depth questions. The older students can write a summary; the younger students can draw a picture and write a simple caption to summarize. I try to find
books at their level to correlate with the history we’re studying.

Science – all students can participate in a science experiment, and the older students can write up lab reports and research the scientific principles of the experiment. Younger students can dictate their results to their mom, and she can write down their findings, and they could even use this for copy work.

Dubious, you can do this!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Dubious,

I think the most overwhelming aspect of homeschooling is looking at the range the educational needs in your own home and wondering how you, the parent, can possibly serve each of your child’s specific needs. Part of the problem for me is that I am looking at modern education and using that as my model. While there are some great advancements made in education, parents have been educating their children since the beginning of time and the modern segregation by grades is a fairly new idea. Actually, it was birthed from the desire to bring education to the masses. Think: small “mom and pops” business to “corporation.” While more and more people grew in their desire to have their children educated, the sheer population of those needing education grew, which created the problem of “how to educate the masses.” Even though this was good problem to face, it does not mean that the old “style” of home education or the “one room school house” was a broken one. It just was not serving the masses, thus the breakdown of education by age.

I have five kids, but I have friends who homeschool with their 10 or 12 kids. Teaching a range of kids takes some creativity and patience. But, I actually feel that home education is more of an organic and natural approach to education. Our little “homeschool” gives my older children a chance to be reviewed on subject matter that may appear “beneath” them, but it offers them reinforcement on core elements that have become familiar, yet are essentials. My younger children overhear discussions on subjects that have not yet been introduced, but it provides them a beginning vocabulary that will eventually give way to understanding. My younger children are often reviewed by my older and sometimes my younger children review my older with vocabulary flashcards. So there is this natural flow of introduction, repetition and review.

I like to think of it this way: I can run my family through McDonalds or I can spend a little extra time, energy and focus to make them a home-cooked meal. While there is a valid need for a McDonalds style education in our fast paced world, I have chosen a home-catered education that is full of life-giving substance that gives way to a long-satisfying healthy education.

Love,
Dood

Bull:

Dubious,

I don’t think I can say it any better than Dood, so I’ll just summarize her key points in Bull lingo:

1) Don’t compare apples to oranges. Your school will be different than the factory model. It will look and function differently. And that’s good, because I doubt your true goal is to recreate the public school system at home. So, I think the first thing you need to do is determine, “What are your goals?”

2) Then, establish a routine and stick with it. With a little forethought and preparation, productivity abounds. Without it, days can be lost to good intentions. In the early stages of home-schooling, it’s easy to get excited about the possibilities: uber-smart, obedient children, well-disciplined teens brimming with maturity, and young adults filled with the character to choose wisely. All of these accomplishments are possible, but not without a lot of hard work on your part. Your part comes first, so focus on it first.

3) Recognize and accept that there are sacrifices. We’ve talked about this before, but you can’t maintain a model showroom home, cook every meal from scratch, linger over long lunches with friends, indulge in weekly mani-pedi’s AND oversee a high functioning home-school. Educating your children is a job and should be treated as such. You wouldn’t keep any job for long that you only attended to occasionally. Give it your best — it’s a deserving profession.

I hope you’ll choose home-cooked over McDonald’s. I’m certain you can and that it will be the most satisfying “meal” you’ll ever choose. Bon appetit!

Bull

Close in Age – Doodle

Close in Age – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Close in Age – Snow

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Dubious,

I think the most overwhelming aspect of homeschooling is looking at the range the educational needs in your own home and wondering how you, the parent, can possibly serve each of your child’s specific needs. Part of the problem for me is that I am looking at modern education and using that as my model. While there are some great advancements made in education, parents have been educating their children since the beginning of time and the modern segregation by grades is a fairly new idea. Actually, it was birthed from the desire to bring education to the masses. Think: small “mom and pops” business to “corporation.” While more and more people grew in their desire to have their children educated, the sheer population of those needing education grew, which created the problem of “how to educate the masses.” Even though this was good problem to face, it does not mean that the old “style” of home education or the “one room school house” was a broken one. It just was not serving the masses, thus the breakdown of education by age.

I have five kids, but I have friends who homeschool with their 10 or 12 kids. Teaching a range of kids takes some creativity and patience. But, I actually feel that home education is more of an organic and natural approach to education. Our little “homeschool” gives my older children a chance to be reviewed on subject matter that may appear “beneath” them, but it offers them reinforcement on core elements that have become familiar, yet are essentials. My younger children overhear discussions on subjects that have not yet been introduced, but it provides them a beginning vocabulary that will eventually give way to understanding. My younger children are often reviewed by my older and sometimes my younger children review my older with vocabulary flashcards. So there is this natural flow of introduction, repetition and review.

I like to think of it this way: I can run my family through McDonalds or I can spend a little extra time, energy and focus to make them a home-cooked meal. While there is a valid need for a McDonalds style education in our fast paced world, I have chosen a home-catered education that is full of life-giving substance that gives way to a long-satisfying healthy education.

Love,
Dood

Bull wraps is all up tomorrow, May 31st! Stay tuned…

What’s the fuss about learning styles? – Day 4

Brain Trust,

Dear BT,

My kids are so different; do I need to find different ways to teach them?

Love,
Learning Styles in Lincoln


 

Doodle:

Dear Learning from Lincoln,

I have five kids and am continually amazed at their differences. They each have their specific quirks, twitches and cowlicks. Yep, they are unique and weird, and I love (or at least appreciate) most all of it. So, even though I don’t doubt that there are a Heinz 57 of learning styles, I frankly don’t have time to cater to them. So, I try to expend my energy on passion. As I look back to some of the learning experiences that most shaped me, I realize those teachers didn’t know my “learning style,” yet their passion and joy over the subject matter is what ignited and changed me. Of course, every lesson will not be a passionate one, but hopefully our “joy to learn” as we teach our children is transferred to them. My goal is to pass on a true sense of wonder and discovery about this world we live in, which, I believe, can reach every learning style.

Love Dood

Click here to read Bull’s thoughts from Monday!

Find Snow’s post from Tuesday here

Read Hyacinth’s words of encouragment from yesterday here

I’m too crabby to homeschool! – Day 4

Brain Trust,

I don’t think I have enough patience to homeschool….my kids drive me crazy, is this a problem?

Love,
Impatient Patty


 

Doodle:
Dear Patty,

Wow! The Brain Trust is knocking it out of the park. Bottom line: we live in a microwave, drive-thru, texting society (unless, of course, you live in a place like Southern Sudan…but, even there, cell towers are popping everywhere), and we don’t like to wait.

We want things, and we want them now. In the day of internet, information is ours within seconds. Downloaded music blares through your speakers instantly. Before your microwave popcorn is finished popping, you are underneath your snugglie watching your instantly-streamed movie.

How about children? We want them to obey instantly. We want them to be educated today. We want them to assimilate all of our instruction the first time through. We expect their character to be formed and tested yesterday. MBA and NFL scholarships tomorrow. We forget that things of substance take time. I find that I am the most impatient when my expectations are unrealistic or have somehow been disappointed. The work of training, educating, and loving our children is not completed in five minutes; it takes a lifetime. As you are building patience, you are building a legacy that will last and endure (long past your microwave popcorn).

Love,
Doodle

Click here to read Hyacinth’s encouraging words from Monday!

Find Bull’s post from Tuesday here

Read what Snow said yesterday here

Hubby’s Role – Day 3

Brain Trust,

What is the role of your husband in your homeschool?

Love,
The Mrs.


 

Doodle:

Ford Boys
Dear Mrs.,

If Snow were my wife and the mother of my children, I would be on a very long Carribbean cruise. Snow, when can I drop off the kids? And Bull? What are your discounted rates?

Each homeschool family has their own personality and dynamics. I am inspired by them all. Really, is it not amazing that these men all over the nation trust their wives and themselves to educate their children? It really is a call and sense of something much greater than probably any of us realize. I could not homeschool without the encouragement and support of my husband. His conviction has kept me trudging forward. He has never once asked about curriculum or our scope and sequence. But, on the other side, I have friends whose husbands are very involved in all of those decisions. So, each family needs to find their groove, and relax, knowing that they will find their way. Here are some pointers to include hubby:

1. Communicate. When I am overloaded or feel overwhelmed, I have learned that it’s not my husband’s responsibility to right all of the wrongs. He is my husband, not my saviour. (That’s where good girlfriends come in handy). But on the other hand, I also have learned to wave the “white flag” when I need some reinforcement. My guy is the first one to come to my aid and bring encouragement. He is a great sounding board and sometimes just having someone who has a vested interest is all I need.

2. Decisions. With our homeschooling, I do the research and have basically figured out what I want to do regarding curriculums, but I work to include my husband before making a major decision. This helps. This helps a lot. Two are better than one. And when the going gets tough, you have the moral support of each other. You are a united force in front of your children. Even if you make a wrong decision, at least you are making it together.

3. Older kids. As my kids have entered middle school and high school years, my husband helps in math, science and editing papers. My logical reasoning: I was an Art Major. He studied Biology and Chemistry. A match made in heaven!

Bottom line: like marriage, there’s no “perfect” arrangement; every family just has to find their own path.

Love,
Doodle

Read Bull’s thoughts from Monday…

Click here to see what Snow said yesterday.

Stay tuned to hear from Hyacinth tomorrow, April 26th!

How do you people do it all? – Day 2

Brain Trust,

I need to know how veteran homeschool mamas do it all: schooling, groceries, house chores, keep order, and still have energy past 3pm? Help!

Needing a nap,
Tired


 

Doodle:
Dear Tired,

Well, Hyacinth, I wouldn’t say I run a well-oiled machine unless you consider an espresso maker a well-oiled machine. I have found myself wrestling with the same issues through the years. I wear rose-colored glasses, and even after 20 years of being a mom, I still hold onto the idea that I can get it all done. Believe me, I know how unrealistic this is, but the difference of 20 years is that I don’t beat myself when I fall short. A girl can dream, can’t she? So, Tired, here are some of my pointers in my attempt to get it all done (yet not burn out) and have more than enough time for the kids and hubby:

1. Expectations: These change with my seasons. There are seasons when I have limited my “out of my home” responsibilities to maintain sanity in my home. and there are seasons when I’ve added “out of my home” responsibilities to help me keep sanity in my home. We must know our season. I have lowered my expectations to only turn around in the next season and realize that I need to raise my expectations. It can be hard to discern your season, and for me, this is when I call on my husband or ask a close friend. For years and years, I didn’t sleep much because of nursing babies. Now that my kids are older and can dress, feed, and usually wipe their own bottoms and noses, I sleep at night. And I can do more.

2. Lists. I am highly motivated by lists. Yep, I’m one of those. I make lists so I can cross things off. I am a crazy romantic when it comes to lists, even though I rarely get it all done. Those undone items get bumped to the next day and I start over. Writing down my goals gets me moving and helps me clear the cobwebs. A list cries out to be conquered, and it’s funny how motivating this is for me.

3. Crockpot. We eat pretty clean and simply. But it’s incredible what a chicken roasting in a slow cooker or a bubbly crock of chili does to entice my family to gather at the dinner table. I see it reenergize their (my) weary soul(s). Create a weekly or monthly menu list that you’d like to try. A menu plan and ingredients in the fridge ultimately save me time and energy. Double your recipe and throw the other half in the freezer, and you get two for one. Voila!

4. Motivators. I do well with a goal in mind especially when there is a reward at the end. I find my kids do as well. I like family my family to get up and get their school work done. I give my kids incentives (note: I did not say bribes) to accomplish their work. One of our incentives is a mid-morning snack. The next incentive is lunch. (I hope this doesn’t create food issues later – always something to worry about, right?) The next motivator is free time. So at the start of the week we set a schedule, we work in music lessons, projects, library visits, play dates, field trips etc. I work hard to ignore my computer and the phone. My commitment and discipline is paramount. One of our consequences to not getting our stuff done is called homework. Homeschoolers hate homework.

5. Divide and Conquer. Train your children to do jobs around the house. Two-year olds are capable of picking toys and putting things away. Three-year olds can sort silverware and set the table. So and so on. Early on, I realized that my children could do more than I expected from them. Teaching and training takes a lot of time and work on the front end. My kids can help keep a house clean. I believe this is a fabulous opportunity to teach my kids to have a good work ethic. and one day it will pay off to make them great employees and future husbands and wives. And besides, I’ve got bonbons to eat. See point number six.

6. Bonbons. What refuels you? If Mama isn’t happy, nobody is happy. When I first started homeschooling, after about 3 months when the honeymoon was over, I realized that I was running out of steam. I was burned out. I began to feel sorry for myself… teaching the alphabet was wearing me out. I knew pretty quickly that my attitude was going to do some damage if I didn’t get refueled. So here’s my advice: Love life. Love yourself. Love your husband. Love beauty and don’t deny the things that fill you up. Grab coffee with a friend. Go shopping. Eat your bonbon. Exercise. Take a luxurious bath. Light the candles and put on the music. Turn off the computer and go to bed early. Read for fun. You are worth it. You a more than your nursing breasts! You are more than your lists of accomplishments, roles and duties. What fills your cup? Out of a full cup, we fill others. It is hard to pour out to your children and your husband when your cup is empty.

Thanks for the question, Tired!

Love,
Doodle

Click here to read Hyacinth’s thoughts from yesterday!

Hear from Snow tomorrow, March 14th…

Read a load of Bull on Thursday, March 15th…