Terri's Take... » burn out /blog Living a Proverbs 31 Life in a Romans 1 World... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:30:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Finish Well the Race You Started /blog/2014/06/finish-well-the-race-you-started/ /blog/2014/06/finish-well-the-race-you-started/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 18:10:11 +0000 /blog/?p=1892 Finish Well – Part 3 of a 3-Part Series

Part 1 – Start Fresh

Part 2 – Stay Strong

Why should we finish well? Why should we continue down this path that we started?

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Frankly, I’ve seen the fruit and experienced the blessing of homeschooling my teens through high school. Does this mean it’s for everyone? Maybe not. But I can tell you how my family has been blessed with homeschooling, not just in the early years, but through junior high and high school as well.

Public schools, especially in the upper grades, are dangerous places. Bullying, verbal abuse and peer pressure are rampant. And it’s not that kids are just getting an earful; they can be physically attacked and coerced against their will.

But I’m not here to tell you about the dangers of public school. You have the nightly news for that. I would like to share with you the blessings of homeschooling to the finish line.

My kids are not perfect. We have had some rough moments as our teens have navigated their teen years, learning what it means to grow up and become an adult. We have had tense moments and times when we have cried like babies because we didn’t know what to do next, BUT…

Our kids are amazing young people! We love to be around them. But we don’t lock them up at home either. We have acclimated them into the “real world” through extracurricular activities and taking classes at the community college. They have spent large amounts of time with other teens through theater, sports and our church youth group.

Homeschooling our young people has allowed them some opportunities they might not have otherwise had:

  • Apprenticing and job shadowing
  • Classes at the community college
  • Serving at church and para-church ministries
  • Serving on short-term mission teams
  • Spending time with their younger siblings
  • Traveling around the country and the world
  • Starting small businesses

So, how do you finish well? There are two opposite approaches… which one is better?

  1. 1. Just keep going (AKA press on). Sometimes, it is just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other because you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you are determined to get there. This light could be the end of a school day, a school week, a school year or an entire education. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose sight of that finish line. Focus on it and you will get there.
  2. 2. Look up (AKA stop and smell the roses). Look into the faces of your children and truly see them. Take a hard look at your schedule and determine if it needs tweaking. Open your eyes to the opportunities around you and make the most of them. Sometimes we are in so much of a hurry or so determined to accomplish something, that we lose the joy. Don’t lose the joy!

Is one of these approaches better than the other? Not really? Pick the one that will work for you today – either plodding ahead or stopping to smell the roses. You can always use the other approach tomorrow, right? I find myself using either approach, depending on my mood or whatever else is going on around me. Sometimes it is better to just keep plowing forward; while other times it is more necessary to stop and catch my breath and enjoy my surroundings.

The main thing to realize is that this journey we have chosen is exactly that… a journey. And a journey begins with one step and then continues with another and another, until before you know it, there are miles between you and where you started. You may still have miles to go, but take heart…

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams, Jr.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

In a few months, I’ll be participating in my first race. I’m on a team with 11 other women for the Portland to Coast – a walking race approximately 130 miles from Portland to the Oregon coast. I am the first leg. Obviously my focus is on starting well so that I set my team up for a great race. The middle portion will be the hardest (I have a leg in there too), but the finish is the most critical in many ways. Don’t let it just happen by default. Be pro-active, positive and make the most of your final years with your student.

So, to recap what we have covered over these 3 blog posts…

Starting fresh might mean that you first need to take a break, even a vacation, or just change it up a bit to keep the material fresh and from becoming burnt out by routine and monotony.

Staying strong involves identifying the source of your strength, digging deeper for reasons and conviction to continue homeschooling. It also includes finding support, establishing a solid routine, and learning to say “no”.

Finishing well is something we do because we believe in the journey and we trust that this path we have started is worth finishing.

Do you feel like you need some help? Please check out our Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level classes, which have been written for you, the homeschooling parent, to help you homeschool with confidence and for success. Why walk this road alone when you can have someone who has already walked it help guide the way for you?

Homeschooling is a journey, but it is the most rewarding journey that I have taken yet. Are you weary on this journey? Seek the help you need to make it enjoyable once again. Perhaps one of our courses will be the very thing that will lighten your step.

Are you lacking confidence? Lean in to your decision to homeschool. Embrace it, even if it feels uncomfortable for a time. You will go through peaks and valleys during your homeschool journey. It is inevitable. It’s important to remember that the most growth happens in the valleys.

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

And then remember that you can always…

God bless you!

Terri

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Stay Strong in Your Decision to Homeschool /blog/2014/06/stay-strong-in-your-decision-to-homeschool/ /blog/2014/06/stay-strong-in-your-decision-to-homeschool/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 20:05:10 +0000 /blog/?p=1881 Yesterday we talked about Starting Fresh when you feel stressed and burnt out with homeschooling. That was Part 1 of a 3-part series.

But how you can stay strong and run the race of homeschooling that you have chosen for your family so that you don’t get to that breaking point? That’s what I would like to address today. You need to follow a 5-Step Plan that will keep you from the cliff of burn-out and frustration and squarely on the road of successful, joyful homeschooling.

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Read on about the 5 Steps to Staying Strong in Homeschooling…

5 Steps to Staying Strong in Homeschooling:

  1. 1. Identify the source of your strength! For me, it is my Lord. Whether or not you share my faith, I believe that you have to find the source of your strength. When I have hard days, I look to the Lord for my strength and He promises that He will give it.

It says in Isaiah 40:

“Who has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and the hills on a scale?” (vs. 12)

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” (vs. 29)

“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength” (vs. 31)

Psalms 121 reads:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Ephesians 6 says:

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

So, how do I tap into this strength? By spending time in prayer, mostly. I try to take daily walks and I use that time to pray. I also gain strength from the Lord when I read the powerful words of scripture, like the ones I just typed above. Reading the Psalms, Proverbs and the Gospels always strengthen me to press on.

  1. 2. Dig Deeper! Remember why you started homeschooling. Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. Write them down and refer back to them when you have doubts or feel tired.

Have you seen the Indoctrination movie? If you ever need to fuel yourself with reasons WHY to homeschool your kids, this is a great movie to watch.

We may start out homeschooling for reasons that don’t seem quite so important anymore, such as not being ready to part with your 5yo when it is time for him to start Kindergarten or you didn’t like the teacher. We began homeschooling because my 5yo had learned to read at 3 and was already reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level by the time she was supposed to enter kindergarten. I was afraid she would be bored in kindergarten, so I decided to homeschool her until the bulk of her peers had caught up in reading, maybe until 2nd grade.

Whatever reasons we had for starting homeschooling may not be enough to sustain the decision to continue. Sometimes we have to dig deeper and find the reasons WHY we are homeschooling and keep those at the forefront of our minds for when those bad days happen and we question what we are doing.

Here are some great reasons to homeschool:

Academic reasons – 1-on-1 tutoring is more effective than classroom instruction. A parent is acutely interested in her child’s academic success. You don’t need a teaching degree to effectively teach your own child, even through high school! Kids can progress at their own speed – not held back or pushed ahead unnaturally.

Social reasons – Social interactions in age-integrated settings are more appropriate and effective in developing socially adept adults than peer-driven age-segregated social groups.  As a parent, I can find better social situations for my child than the school playground, classroom or bathroom.

Spiritual reasons – Teachers and students have to check their faith at the door of the public school. Their hands are tied to pursue or discuss their faith in school, particularly if they are Christians. I can teach my kids about our faith all throughout the day. We CAN pray in school. (Deut 6)

Life preparedness – The majority of kids today spend 8 hours in school and 7 hours in front of a screen. There must be some overlap! We can finish up our schoolwork before noon and use the rest of the day for baking, gardening, hiking, etc. We can volunteer at ministries, apprentice or shadow a professional; we can learn new skills, start businesses, take field trips and so much more with our extra time. Classroom time doesn’t prepare a child for “real life”, but experiences do.

  1. 3. Strength in Numbers – Find Support! We need each other. It’s harder to work alone; it’s harder to exercise alone; it’s harder to diet alone; it’s harder to homeschool alone. It can be done, but it is harder. Find support. You may not have many friends in your local area that homeschool. Reach out and find some. Maybe they don’t go to your church or live in your neighborhood… maybe they aren’t part of your scouts club or theater group… but they are out there. Look for a local support group or co-op. See if there is a First Class in your area or other local grass roots support group. Maybe you have to drive to the next town over. You may only be able to connect with homeschoolers online for a season. It’s not ideal, but it is better than having no one in your life who shares your educational choice.
  1.  4. Rhythm in Routine. Having a daily routine and schedule will help you get through tough days. Routines allow children to do the next thing without having to ask you. Schedules help you stay on task and are a great reminder of what must get done each day. Routines and schedules take the “thinking” out of what comes next. This is homeschooling on auto-pilot! (a day doesn’t have to be scheduled out to the nth degree, but even an order of events make your days much easier to tackle.)
  2. 5. Power in Personal Boundaries – Say “No.” Sometimes you need to say “no”. You can’t do it all. This is a season of life – even if it is a very long one. Sometimes you can say yes, but not always. Understand your limits and don’t overcommit.

Stay posted for tomorrow’s post on Finishing Well. How can we finish well this race that we began so long ago (it feels like that, doesn’t it?)? Do you need any help staying the course? Check out Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level Homeschool for the encouragement and equipping you need to homeschool for success.

Question: How do you Stay Strong during the marathon of homeschooling?

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