Top 5 Things to Do for Your Homeschool in the New Year

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The new year is upon us and now is time for everyone to start evaluating how the school year is going so far.  This can be a tricky time of year because you might feel you have not done what you wanted to and either be motivated to do better or discouraged and give up.  Don’t give up!

Here are the top 5 thing that you can do for your homeschool in the New Year.

1.Throw Out New Year Resolutions

I know, I know, this is crazy talk.  I would’ve been the first to admit it until I read The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than others do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.  This book talks about how New Year Resolutions enable procrastination.  It makes us believe we have an entire year to get it done but then we fail to execute and find ourselves scrambling at the end of the year to be productive or not being productive at all.  This can even be paralleled to your homeschool.  You start of the homeschool year thinking you have all the time in the world, only to find that the year is slipping by and you are homeschooling during the summer (because you didn’t finish- not because you want or chose to).

So do you make no plans at all? Of course not, you just make plans for a shorter time period… a 12 Week Year time period to be exact.  There is so much good stuff in shifting your thinking to the 12 Week Year that I just can’t put it all in here. Go to www.12weekyear.com/gettingstarted to start your 12 Week Year plan for free. And if you are looking for a community to support you, join EPIC at www.epichsn.org .

2. Keep It Simple Silly – K.I.S.S.

As you make your 12 Week Year goals, don’t try to do too much.  Try to keep it simple.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is your kids education.  However, every day counts so make sure you have your basics covered: Math, English, Reading, Science and Social Studies.  All the other extra curricular activities are nice but if it is getting in the way and stressing you out, cut back.  It’s okay! Keep it Simple!  Stick to 2 or 3 goals to execute and focus on that.

3. People Forget, Paper Remembers – Write it Down

This was something my college professor “Shand the Man” use to say.  “People Forget, Paper Remembers.  Write it down!”  Write down your plan for the week or write down what you did that day.  Either way, write it down.  You will be amazed at how much you actually did with your kids  when you write it down.  This is also helpful for reporting or homeschool portfolios.

When you plan, you are more likely to execute. According to Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington from The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than others do in 12 Months “Working from a plan has three distinct benefits: it reduces mistakes, it saves times, and it provides focus” (p. 25).  Write it down, read it and review it daily.

4. Get Plugged In

Don’t be on an island homeschooling by yourself.  Get plugged in!  EPIC Homeschool Network and the South Cobb Regional Library is hosting it’s annual EPIC Homeschool Resource Fair on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Cobb Regional Library located at 805 Clay Road, Mableton, GA 30122.  This is a great way to get plugged into other homeschoolers and see what local resources are available.  Check out more at https://epichsn.com/2018-homeschool-resource-fair/.  We also offer a variety of online resources like our Online Resource Library and our Podcast Channel.

5. Get an Accountability Buddy

This piggy backs off the last tip but this is more personal.  Get connected with one like minded person (preferably a homeschool parent)  and let them know your goals and plans.  Ask them help you be accountable and schedule weekly check in calls.

Don’t let 2018 come, pass you by and leave you wondering, “What happened!”  Get started today and follow these top 5 Things to Do for Your Homeschool in the New Year.

The Emotional Cycle of Homeschooling

 

If you are a homeschooling parent, you know that homeschooling can be… well, emotional.  I recently read about “The Emotional Cycle of Change” by psychologists Don Kelly and Daryl Connor and the parallels to the emotional cycle of homeschooling was so amazing I had to share.  So if you are a parent considering homeschooling or a parent already homeschooling, this is for you.

Kelley and Connor’s emotional cycle of change has 5 phases that I will parallel with the emotional cycle of homeschooling.

Emotional Cycle of Change

Phase 1: Uniformed Optimism – “Homeschooling is Going to Be Great”

This is the stage when you decide to homeschool.  You don’t know what homeschooling is all about but you can imagine all of the benefits you’re going to experience.  More freedom, more learning, more field trips, more time with the family…. You can fill in the dots with what you imagined homeschooling to be.  You haven’t done it yet, but you are optimistic!

Phase 2: Informed Pessimism – “So THIS is Homeschooling”

So you started homeschooling… or maybe you started researching about homeschooling and then the reality of it all is finally hitting you.  You start thinking “So THIS is homeschooling!”  Your amazing lesson plan is not going so amazing.  The house is a mess.  It appears the kids are not learning and you start to question if homeschooling is really worth all the effort!  Maybe it would be better to just put them on the next school bus that rolls by, but it’s not so bad… yet.

Phase 3: Valley of Despair – “I Think I Can, I Think I Can’t”

As you continue to experience the throws of homeschooling, your pessimism starts to sink in deeper.  You and your family are experiencing the emotions of change.  It is unfamiliar. It is hard.  Do you give up and send your kids back to school or do you push through?  This is when having a strong vision is crucial.  You might have heard other homeschoolers ask, “What is your vision for your homeschool?”  You might have glossed over that step in the myriad of research that you did on homeschooling  but now, this is when the vision is important.   Having a strong vision keeps you moving through the valley, knowing that there is a mountain on the other side.  

My vision is to “Create 21st century Christian leaders who will stand for right though the heavens fall”.  I want to create children with an “Excellent spirit”. This vision helps me to evaluate the curriculum I choose and on days that I don’t feel like pushing, I think of WHY I need to push.  I push for my kids, I push for their future.  This is also when I reach out for help and encouragement from fellow homeschoolers.  We have all been in the valley of despair.  The key is to not stay there or quit.

Phase 4: Informed Optimism – “I Can Do This”

Refuled with encouragement and the knowledge that it does get better, you press through.  You start seeing your kids learning and all your hard work is finally bearing fruit. You CAN do this!

Phase 5: Success and Fulfillment – “Yes”

Then finally, you feel success and fulfillment.  You’ve got your homeschool routine together and things that were once difficult and uncomfortable are now routine.  Everyday is not perfect, but you learn to celebrate the victories in your homeschool and you stop comparing it to others.

So there you have it!

Now that you know about the emotional cycle of homeschooling, I hope that you feel more prepared to continue and not let your emotions take you off track.  The emotions you feel right now in your homeschool is normal.  Homeschooling is hard, but so rewarding.  So now you know and as GI Joe says “Knowing is half the battle!”  Go forth and Homeschool to Success!

 

Motivating the Unmotivated Webinar

Motivating the unmotivated

As parents, we want so much for our children. It is exciting when their eagerness matches our enthusiasm, but what happens when that beautiful meeting of the minds doesn’t happen?

You praise, you use pep-talks, you enlist consequences, and some of us go broke investing in the latest “fad” promise. We go through the frustrating cycle of trying to motivate our unmotivated child, seeking help, but finding no real answers. That cycle ends now, during this webinar, Terri Hunt “Terri Teaches” will share reliable and research based strategies for motivating the unmotivated child.

Each attendee will also walk away with a toolkit of information to utilize and keep handy in the home. This online only event is hosted by EPIC Homeschool Network and sponsored by Superior Guidance. It is FREE and open to the public.

Register today by going to https://homeschoolworkshop2017october.eventbrite.com 

Free Fun in the Sun

EPIC Summer Bucket List

Are you looking for some free, fun ways to have fun in the sun this summer?

EPIC Homeschool Network has come up with a fun family activity to help you decide what you should do this summer with a game within a game.  Here’s how it works.  Print the EPIC Summer Bucket List game-board and play Tic-Tac-Toe as you normally would.  One person is “X” and the other “O”.  Try to get three in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  Whichever three activities are in a row at the end of the game are the three activities you will do as a family.

Click HERE to Download the Game-Board

Don’t let the summer pass you by without having some fun!

How to NOT Have a Boring Summer

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School is almost out for a lot of homeschoolers and traditional students and whether you homeschool year round or take the summer off, one thing you don’t want to do is have a boring summer.  You remember those summers as a kid!  I know I do.  I remember being in my home from sun up to sun down watching television all day long.   It was… boooooooring not to mention mind numbing!

So how do you overcome the pitfalls of a boring summer when you yourself are exhausted from a long school year (or might even have to work)?  Here are 5 simple steps.

 

Make a Plan

Talk with your kids (not at them) and find out what they want to do for the summer.  As you talk with them listen and negotiate as necessary around your budget of money AND time.  For example, one of my children wants to learn to swim, play the violin, learn to sew and… well after that point I kinda tuned out.  While my budget of time and money did not allow for everything she wanted to do, we made a compromise.  We will go to the pool twice a week so she can get comfortable in the water and I will teach her to swim and I will find a sewing class.

Schedule It

Unless you schedule the activities you will not execute it.  Let’s face it, it’s summer, who wants to schedule anything in the summer but this is key to not having a boring summer.  Schedule the FUN!

Be Balanced

Don’t take on more than you can chew.  There’s a reason I zoned out when my daughter kept going on and on about what she wanted to do.  Yes the days might be longer but your endurance is not so be balanced and don’t over-schedule.  Allow wiggle room, after all it is the summer.

Be Consistent

Whatever you say you’re going to do, do it.  By practicing consistency now it will help as you transition back to the school year in the fall.

Be Present

Put the phone down during your time together with your children doing whatever it is that you planned to do.  I have found that when I have my phone in my hand while doing something my kids wanted to do it was as if it never happened.  I was not really present with them so it did not really matter.  So don’t cancel your time by using your phone, tablet or other smart handheld device.

So there you have it.  Five tips on how to NOT have a boring summer.  What are some of your tips?

In our next post  we will discuss some ideas of low cost fun things you can do to not have have boring summer.  Stay tuned!!

 

HELP! I Don’t Know What To Do!

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Have you ever said those words? I know I have and Dr. Libby Hodge, an author of “Identity and Destiny for Amazing Kids,” a mother of 5 and grandmother of 6 beautiful grandchildren, has some suggestions to help you when you are at your wits end.  In her article Dr. Hodge highlights three steps to take control: pray, stay calm, and create a plan.  Sounds simple enough but she takes it a step further in each step.  One of the things I found most intriguing is a parenting plan.  A parenting plan?  Who thinks of that!

Click on the following link Help I Dont Know What to Do to read more about what Dr. Hodge has to say on the topic to find some relief to your stressed out life.  You can also find out more at http://amazingkidsbylibby.com/ .