Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Have a Restful, Refreshing Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

restful-refreshing-year

How would you like to have the most restful, refreshing year you’ve ever had? You can make changes to your life that will result in less stress and more satisfaction with the life you have.

Unless God has specifically led you to do something, don’t do it, especially if it is stressful or draining. Make up your own list of things that refresh you. Doing more of what you love will cause endorphins to be released, which will help you have a sense of well-being so you can thrive rather than just survive.

Pay attention to activities that give you energy. Make your own list. Here’s mine:

Things that Relax & Refresh Me

  1. Nature (ocean, lake, river, mountain, beautiful garden with flowers, waterfall, sunset, star gazing, cloud watching)
  2. Art (painting, coloring doodle books, watercolor, mixed media)
  3. Talking to friends (phoning/visiting family and close friends, talking about things that matter)
  4. Reading refreshing books (non-fiction self-help in fun areas like gardening, Christian books that uplift rather than drag down)
  5. Going to yard sales and resale shops (clothing that fits and is feminine, fun activities/homeschool stuff, gifts to give the people I love, how God has provided for me all these years)
  6. Brainstorming fun blog posts & YouTube videos
  7. Writing poetry
  8. Planning something (the homeschool year, date nights/weekends away, the garden/backyard, one of my kid’s themed birthday paries)
  9. Organizing things (seeing orderly rooms, drawers, shelves is satisfying)
  10. Watching YouTube videos (building my learning in different areas)
  11. Going on field trips with my family (adventures, family bonding time, hands-on learning)
  12. A fire in the fireplace (s’mores in the fire pit outside, candles lit in the living room or dining room)
  13. A hot bath (Epsom salt, bubble bath)
  14. Writing from my heart (do more 10-minute writing prompts for the sheer joy of writing)

More Ideas for Making Your Life Less Stressful

Fatigue, studies suggest, often has its source in emotional rather than muscular or cardiovascular exhaustion…” – Richard A Swenson, author of Margin. Find out how to create margin (space) in your life so that you are not always tired:

Make sure you get enough quality sleep:

Find a form of exercise that you enjoy (mine is Zumba), and do it several times a week. You will feel way better and think with a crisper mind and not feel bogged down. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Have more fun with your spouse:

If spending time with friends energizes you, work that into your week. But if being around people all the time drains you, reduce the amount of time spent with people. You can still invest in the lives of others by writing encouraging notes to the people you love instead. Most people I know keep every encouraging note they’ve ever received, and often you minister more to people with something tangible.

Don’t feel bad if you have to drastically reduce the amount of time you spend with groups of people that drain you rather than refresh you. Ask God how you can thrive given the limits of your personality.

I’ve been reading a book called Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith, and one of the chapters talked about ways to bring about more happiness in our lives:

  1. Break the cycle of negative thinking.
  2. Compare ourselves with those less fortunate.
  3. Take pleasure in the moment.
  4. Focus beyond self.
  5. Exercise, sleep, and silence create a sound body.
  6. Give priority to close relationships.
  7. Take care of the soul.

Have a More Restful Homeschool (+ Giveaway!)

Many of you who homeschool feel pressured to do more and more activities. One of the homeschool blogger friends I met at the 2:1 Conference this year (Aimee Smith) wrote a book called The Restful Homeschool Resolution. I’m giving away a copy of her book.

The-Restful-Homeschool-Resolution

Here is a blurb from the back of the book: With personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, The Restful Homeschool Resolution helps you discover deep soul rest as you learn to trust God’s perfect plan for your family’s homeschool. Your resolution to seek Jesus first will transform your homeschool as your own heart grows more restful.

Along with this new book, I will also throw in two gently used books to go along with this restful theme: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives and The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life.

Finally, to start the new year, I am giving away two refreshing audios to everyone who signs up for my monthly newsletter below: “Overcoming Burnout” and “Relieving Stress & Tension.”

Overcoming Burnout: Do you wonder why you never have any energy? Do you feel guilty for not being able to give more to your husband and children because of tiredness? Leave the guilt behind while listening to this refreshing one-hour audio, which gives three examples from Scripture of people who were exhausted, why they were exhausted, and how they overcame their exhaustion. I also give practical ideas from my own life, to help you avoid burnout in the future.

Relieving Stress and Tension: This one-hour audio workshop will show you:

  1. How to get immediate relief from tension by pressing trigger points, minimizing noise, and other simple tactics.
  2. How to get long-term relief from tension by trusting God, nurturing your marriage, and connecting with your children. Practical ideas to accomplish these. This section includes a short talk about intimacy.
  3. How to build rest into your day, your week, and even your year, so that you don’t feel constantly depleted.

If you would like the gift of these two audios at no cost to you, sign up for our refreshing newsletter below!

Homeschool Survival Essentials

Monday, September 9th, 2019

homeschool-survival-essentials

What are your homeschool survival essentials? My friend Ingrid from Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles asked some homeschooling YouTubers what they must have in order to homeschool. She made up a list of 10 questions for us to answer for a more full picture of what is needed in every homeschooler’s home. So here we go…

Homeschool Survival Essentials

1. What are your top 3 favorite mom things?

  • Time alone.
  • Mom’s night out.
  • Mom’s night in.

2. What are the 3 homeschool must haves no matter what?

  • Black & white card stock paper
  • Binders with a clear pocket in the front
  • Prismacolor pencils

3. Share 3 new things that will be added to your homeschool this year.

  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Civil Air Patrol

4. Share a minimum of 3 things you will be changing in your homeschool.

  • Adding to Teaching Textbooks for my daughter for Albebra 2, including Khan Academy and Math-U-See DVD’s.
  • While filming homeschooling this year (we’ve filmed our homeschooling for the past 10 years, which you can find in the Unit Study Treasure Vault!), my son will be filming just the physics experiments without a person in the screen.
  • As long as they finish what they need to do for the school week, they can arrange their school days however they want. No rigid schedule this year.

5. Share 3 things in your survival homeschool kit. (These are destressors that will help you survive the day/week.)

  • Spending time with my mom, my sisters, my friends
  • A hot bath at the end of the day
  • Time alone to decompress

homeschool-survival-must-haves

6. 3 must-read homeschool books (for homeschool help)

  • The Well-trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
  • A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola (If you want to know more about Charlotte Mason, I have a 6-part blog series that starts here.)
  • Educating the WholeHearted Child by Sally Clarkson

7. 3 favorite subjects to teach in order please

  • Bible
  • literature/writing
  • history

8. When is the best time for you to do your planning

  • Long-range plans for the school year are done in the summer.
  • On the weekends, if I need materials for an experiment the next week.
  • For math, they do one lesson per day. That doesn’t need a lesson plan.

9. Share your favorite planner and supplies.

  • I don’t like planners, so I don’t use them. I use paper and pencil when needed.

10. Share a minimum of 3 field trips you are planning to do this new homeschool year.

So those are my homeschool essentials. What are yours?

Delight-Directed High School Curriculum

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

delight-directed-high-school-curriculum

What?! Is it possible to have delight-directed high school curriculum? Why, yes it is! Following the interests of your teen, you can build any high school course on your own or by collecting curriculum and resources that are perfect for the personality and strengths of your high school teen. Let’s take a look at what we will be doing this year for my 14-year-old daughter.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Homeschool High School Math Curriculum

First of all, she will be taking Algebra 2. We will be using Teaching Textbooks, but we will also use Khan Academy and Math-U-See Algebra 2 (especially the DVD’s) to help her think mathematically, since this is her least favorite subject. I also picked up the Algebra Survival Guide: A Conversational Handbook for the Thoroughly Befuddled. We will be going through the book together during the first few weeks of school to refresh her memory on Algebra, since she did Geometry last year and has not been doing Algebra for a full year.

high-school-math-curriculum

Homeschool High School Geography

Since Rachel has already done three years of high school English (literature and writing), she will not be doing English this year. Instead we will be focusing on the location of each country in the world, along with its culture and topography.

She started by decorating a binder with travel-the-world stickers to get her excited. We have a puzzle of the world with each country a separate puzzle piece. We will also be going on field trips: our first trip is to Canada! She has a travel journal to snap pictures of Canada and write descriptions on the sides of the pages. I picked up a brand new atlas, since countries are changing all the time. Of course, her passport is current–we will be using it the first week of school!

high-school-geography

Homeschool High School Psychology & Early Childhood

My daughter is taking Psychology and Early Childhood courses from 7 Sisters Homeschool. I love, love, love their no-nonsense curriculum. They have a LOT of electives to choose from that are perfect for delight-directed homeschooling of high school.

Introduction to Psychology is a one-semester course with printable tests and activities for each of the chapters. I found two visual guides about psychology at the local bookstore: How Psychology Works and The Little Book of Psychology. I might make a YouTube video showing you the inside of these books at some point, since they are beautifully laid out.

Early Childhood Education is another one-semester course with printable tests and activities that my daughter will be taking the second half of the school year, when we finish Psychology. Over the summer my daughter took the Safe Sitter class at the YMCA to start babysitting. What she learned in the class is a perfect introduction to Early Childhood.

psychology-homeschool-curriculum

I plan to also do Astronomy with my daughter this year, but the curriculum hasn’t arrived yet, so I will write a separate blog post for that.

Last but not least… what my 16-year-old son will be doing:

My 16-year-old son will be taking Pre-calculus, Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Piano, and Civil Air Patrol. He already took the SAT last year and did well, so this is his senior year. He will continue running the sound system at Youth Group at church, as well as teaching himself computer programming.

delight-directed-homeschooling

And that’s how you do delight-directed homechooling. Why are my kids so far ahead, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s because of what I did with them in early childhood (which I explain in my workshop Cognitive Development in Early Childhood). Secondly, they are far ahead because we accelerated their learning through unit studies. Thirdly, we skipped middle school. Stick around. Join my newsletter below, even if you don’t want the Bible craft book, just to keep up with our family adventures!

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Homeschool High School Room Tour

Monday, September 11th, 2017

homeschool-high-school-room-tour

Come on a tour of our homeschool high school room!

When a homeschool family transitions their students into high school, your homeschool space will begin to change. You will need an environment that looks more elegant and suitable for teens, not baby-ish. You want your teens to not be embarrassed to bring their friends over.

Homeschool High School Room Video Tour

We filmed a tour of our updated homeschool room for teens. Take a look at the environment you might want for accomplishing the academics you need for high school:

First of all, you need a computer desk with a computer. If your teens take high school math at a co-op, you might not need this area as much as you would for a computer math program for upper level math. We use Teaching Textbooks for pre-calculus and other higher-level math.

We also use computers for Spanish (Rosetta Stone), typing essays, studying Khan Academy for SAT preparation, etc. Your teens obviously need access to a computer in order to be computer literate. Also, if your teens have not learned basic keyboarding skills, you will want to make sure they know how to type fairly quickly before they go to college.

On the top of the computer desk, you can have a globe, a model of something, or flags stabbed into some sand. Hands-on models for high school science can also be stored on top of the computer desk.

high-school-homeschool

To increase the elegance of the space, you will want to get rid of all the toys that your teens have outgrown. Bold primary colors are for younger kids, so earthy tones look better for teens and adults. You can improve your living space by adding good lighting and plants. If you don’t have sunshine, high quality silk plants can make your homeschool high school room look like a resort.

You will want a desk or other flat space that is empty, so that your student has a place to work on vocabulary cards, tests, or any other written work. If you don’t have a separate homeschool room, you can always use your dining room table. One drawback of using the dining room is that if your teen is taking a timed SAT practice test or other timed test, they will be in a main thoroughfare instead of in an area where they can be alone without distraction.

high-school-white-erase-board

You will also want a white erase board, especially for your high school lab sciences. It doesn’t need to be as fancy as this one, which we picked up at a yard sale. You can probably find one at an office supply store, but a simple white erase board is equally effective.

We used this white erase board especially for chemistry as we wrote out huge equations. We also used it for grammar lessons. A white erase board is versatile and can be used to illustrate any point, even in history or Bible class.

My husband made a small wooden platform for speech class or small skits. We placed a rug on top of the platform, as you can see in the video.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our homeschool high school room. This should give you some ideas for transitioning your students as they grow into teens!

For hundreds of hands-on high school activities, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Come see more tours of homeschool rooms: Back to Homeschool School Room Week

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