I was so honored to be invited to the Homeschooling Saints Podcast. This was my very first podcast. I was super nervous, but Lisa Mladinich, the show’s host and a fellow homeschooling mom made me so comfortable! It was such a pleasure to talk about this topic which is the number one topic I cover with hundreds of homeschooling moms over these past 20+ years!
This episode will help you get clear on what is critical and how you can put my time-tested tips into action in your own life. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn…
How playing the comparison game does not work for your unique family (myths, get ready to be busted!).
Why it’s especially important to ground yourself in spirituality, and define with your spouse what educational success looks like.
Educating the whole child to feel a real sense of success by aligning your curriculum to each child’s strengths.
The importance of “Less is More,” stopping the pressure of thinking you “are not enough” or that you will “mess your children up.”
How to celebrate the wins, glorify God, and acknowledge your wins!
My real family examples and suggestions to focus on strengths, including time management tips for teens.
How to honor the dignity of each child, recognize the importance of self-knowledge, and follow the call to holiness.
Before you make yourself a cup of java or tea and put your headphones on, do me (and yourself) a favor to get the most out of this episode. Pull out a notebook, I want you to get clear on something vitally important…
Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What is standing in the way?
Sit with those three simple, but essential, questions and jot down your answers. Because the precursor to curing mommy overwhelm is knowing what your goals are.
Consequentially, if you simply reflect on the past school year accomplishments you will notice a subject or skill, that your child needs help with to feel real success.
Does this mean you forget the rest of the subjects?
NO! Theother subjects are subordinate to the one big goal.
You have to first and foremost respect the dignity of each unique child.
Each child has a unique set of strengths and challenges. To foster these, by making them the one goal for the year, lays the foundation to real sustained growth. There is plenty of help to do this too!
Here’s an example:
My daughter was nearing nine and was struggling with reading. She had very real, vision issues that made reading laborious and exhaustive. Naturally, she had strong resistance to her reading lessons that year. Additionally, she had (still has) a vivid imagination. Quite frankly, the simple Dick and Jane type of readers did not hold her interest. The stories she had created in her head, through her imagination, were far more captivating.
That year, I planned her curriculum with one goal; have her feel real success with reading beginner chapter books. Every other subject played second fiddle to this. This subject took priority in everything I choose for her for that year!
I mean everything!
Nothing was added to her curriculum that would curtail her ultimate goal, reading success.
To illustrate; we kept math work to mainly hands-on fun we did no laborious workbooks. I had no worries here, because I knew math skills would come in time. Indeed, at the right time for her to truly master them. Science was accomplished family-style, with weekly read aloud, and fun experiments with her siblings.
I had on hand many games and puzzles to help her strengthen her eye muscles for focusing. We used the library often in search of topics she loved for read aloud time and reading practice.
Fast forward 15+ years to today. She just graduated Christendom College this May with honors, and get this, she is pursuing a career in copyediting!
Really awesome, right!!
I have taught this methodology and practice to hundreds of families too! It works and sets the stage for your child to feel a real sense of success.
I love this saying as it evokes a clear image for me! It is the image of a runner at the starting line of a race. They have been preparing for months to run this race. The runner is eager to begin and give their very best effort to run the race.
In my mind, I can see that this runner is different. She does not run for personal gain but for a higher reward. This reward is priceless. This reward is satisfying on such a deep level that the runner draws strength, her energy and perseverance from the mere thought of obtaining it.
What does this have to do with homeschooling?
I see the runner as a mom who homeschools her children.
I work best visualizing images, making movies in my head of the life I want to lead. Being fed on a steady diet of old fashioned black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s, I was drawn to the messages told in a story. There was always the hero and his journey towards some good for himself or humanity. I find that the best books I cherish have strong hero stories!
It is no wonder that I was drawn to the ultimate story, the very best hero tale, when I was invited back home to the faith of my birth. This story is the one our Lord has told through His Word and through his Apostles and Saints, handed down through the ages.
This ultimate story is the center of my family’s homeschool journey. It is the energy my family drawns upon to direct each day.
It is all that matters in the end.
A little while ago I wrote a guide called, Get Ready. This handy little guide I developed as a starting point for anyone who wants to begin their family journey towards an authentic and doable Catholic homeschool. In it, I introduced the PRRR method, (a silly acronym, I know). Firstly you start with Prayer, then you go through the next steps of Read, Research, and Reflect. In addition, there are helpful suggestions and worksheets to guide you through this EASY process.
“Get Set, Go!”
Above all, what I learned after 25 years of homeschooling and consulting, is that you “Set” your life first, then layer in school. I know that seems unfamiliar and maybe even confusing at first, but think about it for a minute. The only way to find balance, to have enough time for all your roles, as wife, mom, and teacher is to SET LIFE and fit in school.
To do otherwise is a certain recipe for overwhelm.
Consider this…would you buy a car without thinking of who is going to drive it and be a passenger in it? Would you make dinner by never looking at the ingredients you are adding to the dinner, let alone open the fridge?
In other words, when you choose to homeschool, to do something extraordinary, you have the opportunity to personalize and tailor the education of each and every child in your family.
However, can you possibly teach so many different levels with so many different personalities and learning styles?
It is possible! I have personally witnessed many, many families do this. Ordinary people with an extraordinary desire to challenge the status quo of education. You have already begun, when you decided to take on the primary role of educator.
How? You are a parent.
Two powerful passages come to mind that speak volumes:
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. (CCC 2223)
The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies. (CCC 2224)
Relax, over the next few weeks I will be introducing practical techniques that help you SET YOUR LIFE.
So, go ahead and spend time first in getting to know what is in your fridge BEFORE you make dinner….spend time this week getting to really know your kids interests and talents.