curriculum · future · goals · homeschool solutions · homeschooling

What is a Student’s ‘Best Effort’ in Homeschooling Look Like?

Do you ever feel like your kids give video games, television, playing, sorts, their hobbies (add your own thing) their best effort, but when it comes to school they try to quickly hurry through, doing as little as possible, with as little effort as possible?

First, in order to avoid the trap of perfectionism, let’s define what best effort isn’t.

It is not:

  • Never making a mistake
  • Always doing things correctly
  • Never taking chances
  • Never trying new things
  • Berating yourself for not doing it all, all the time
  • “topping” your highest score

So, for our purposes, what is homeschooling’s “best effort”?

A student’s best effort can be more adequately defined as:

  • Effort not limited by prior knowledge.
  • Being a willing learner.
  • An attitude of “I am willing to try.”
  • A persevering spirit to follow it through to completion.

*Important*: best effort should be defined within the students’ appropriate developmental age and personality style.  Learning disabilities also need to be considered.

For example, I have a perfectionist. When he is approaching a new math subject, he puts in the effort, he is willing to learn and try, BUT he often quits at the first sign of confusion.  

His issue is that he does not have a persevering spirit. He is used to “getting” things quickly and when he has to push harder to understand, he gets frustrated and quits.

My other student, who by the way has dysgraphia, will see a new subject and say “I don’t know what this is about. It looks confusing. I don’t want to try.”  He has an issue with being a willing learner and being willing to at least try.

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What about your child?  In which are do they need to grow so that they can achieve their best effort?

Effort not Limited by Prior Knowledge
This student sees a new topic and is willing to learn about it. They are not frightened and say “I have no idea about this topic,” or may have limited knowledge but be open to adjusting their current understanding.

Being a Willing Learner
This student has a desire to understand his world better. He is humble in his approach and not frightened of learning new information which may be challenging.

“I am Willing to Try” Attitude
This student acknowledges a lack of understand or exposure to a new topic, but doesn’t allow that to prevent him/her from absorbing it into his/her mindset.

A Persevering Spirit to Follow it Through to Completion
This student, when faced with new information or learning something for the first time, doesn’t give up.  He/she sticks with the new information until a natural end.

It is my belief that in order for your student to achieve his/her personal best, the weakest area needs to be identified.

It is said, that you can only know where you’re going, if you know where you have been. Likewise, a student cannot perform at his/her personal best until you take and evaluate your current status and where you need to grow.

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If your child struggles with one of these areas, don’t panic. Every child does.  It would be a rare child indeed that could do them all perfectly. 

These issues may, in fact, appear even when they are doing their favorite activities (like video games or drawing), but they are more willing to persevere through them because there is a higher reward of joy, satisfaction or fun.  With schoolwork, though, the reward isn’t very obvious..and let’s be honest, it just isn’t as fun!

So, the next time your child is giving you less than his/her best, evaluate which concept they are wrestling with and make a plan.

Solutions…

Some ideas for turning around one of these areas of work struggles include:

One-on-one learning with a parent (even sitting next to them if needed)
Taking a break from said topic and approaching it with a new, fresh mind/attitude
Trying a new curriculum that teaches it differently
Adding more hands-on work to the topic
Asking another homeschool parent to help teach the topic
Utilizing a group learning environment (through a co-op or group) to teach the topic
Utilizing a tutor

Hope this helps and I am right there with you!

Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

future · goals · homemaking · Mommas

A Letter to Yourself for 2018

What if you could sit down and write yourself a letter about how you would like your year to go? Assuming that would not open it until December of 2018, it will be like giving yourself a gift of things to be grateful for, to acknowledge success in and to continue reaching for.

What would it say?

A dear friend of mine did that this week, and I thought: “What a great, uplifting idea!”

This isn’t your typical list of things you want to change or letter telling about the joys or disappointments that happened in the previous 365 days.

It’s a letter of hope, of intention, of desire and anticipation!

What could a letter like this include?

Mine would include something about how I kept up with the dishes on a daily basis and managed to get rid of a hundred bags of clutter.

Perhaps you would write about the relationships you plan to make steps to heal or the personal accomplishments you hope to achieve by March and then again by June.

Consider these ideas:

Relationships you would like to see grow closer or repair.
Do you have people in your life that you will like reconnect with? Friendships that have grown cold or maybe relatives you have lost touch with?  Tell your future self the names and how you would like to reconnect with these special people.

Young Women Travel Together Concept

Personal goals you would like to see achieved. Do you have a hobby you want to send more time on or are you trying to grow a small business? Are you looking to open an Etsy shop or to get business cards printed? Tell your future self in what month you would like to see this goal accomplished.

Spiritual pursuits which have been on your mind.  Do you feel you need to increase your Bible knowledge, ramp up your prayer life or memorize scripture?  Get yourself a reading plan and praise your future self for having had 30 days in a row of prayer and scripture reading.  You can do it!

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Physical aspirations that you have been wanting to achieve.  Tell your future self how proud you are that you lost 15 pounds or that you joined that local yoga class.

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Bad habits you want to break.  What bad habits would you like to make history for your future self?  Smoking? Emotional-eating? Lack of exercise? Wouldn’t it be great to tell your future self how accomplished she is for going 30, 60, or 90 days without a cigarette or having stuck it out through a whole exercise class?

Things you would like to have happen with your children or in your marriage.  If you have been desiring to have more special time with your kids, this could be the year.  Or if you and your spouse need to make time for monthly dates or alone time.  Tell your future self about some of the fun times you had together.

I hope this have sparked some ideas for you.  I hope that your New Year will be filled with blessings and you will be able to achieve all the great things you hope to!

Jenny

 

 

 

 

curriculum · first time · future · goals · homeschool solutions · homeschooling

Getting Started in Homeschooling: Writing a Mission Statement

pexels-photo-408503

This is for all you Mama’s who are just getting started.

Recently I conducted a workshop for parents new to homeschooling.  Trying to be thorough, we covered a lot of different subjects:
-the legalities of homeschooling
-different curricula that is available
-the option of using classes or co-op’s to enhance your teaching
-the truth behind socialization (they get plenty by the way…).

But, the more we talked, the more I saw the moms and dads’ eyes WIDEN in disbelief.

Hopefully this post will help start you on your path to homeschooling without feeling too overwhelmed.

In order to reach any new destination you need a road map. When you walk out your door to go somewhere you have never been before, don’t you pull out your phone and type in the address so you can have directions easily accessible?

Why would we approach something as monumental as educating our children without some sort of map?

Granted, not all of us are good at planning ahead.  (Me too.)

After six years of homeschooling though, and making the mistake of wasting my time on some classes and groups I should never have participated in, I see the mission statement’s resounding value.

Let’s jump in.

Using my mission statement worksheet, spend some time thinking about/writing down why you have chosen to homeschool. 

  • Is your child unhappy in school?
  • Are they falling behind?
  • Do they have problems with bullying?

I began to homeschool because I was concerned my older, extremely inquisitive child would be dulled and bored by the public school routine.  I wanted to offer him adventure, hence the name of our school: Adventure School!

Next, think about the things/write down the things that are important to your family.

  • Is it important to you that your children read a lot?
  • Do you want them to be able to explore their artistic interests?
  • Do you feel a spiritual component is essential to your family life?
  • Do you want to make sure that they spend an ample amount of time out in nature?

Now, spend some time thinking about/writing out the things you feel you will be happy to leave behind once you start homeschooling.

  • Does your child hate getting up early?
  • Does your child despise workbooks?
  • Does you child need the flexibility to do work at his/her own pace?

When I began, although I didn’t have a mission statement, I knew it was important to me that I had time in the Bible with my boys, that we got out in nature and that school would be varied and interesting. I wanted to keep them involved in peer-appropriate activities and to teach them important life skills.

My mission statement for this school year reads as follows:

“Our family will homeschool in order to make sure that our children have enough time to foster their relationship with God as well as their interests and passions. By homeschooling, we will not only pursue academics, we will have new and varied experiences and have balanced, memorable lives. By homeschooling, we will surround our children with positive influences, maintain the home as the central hub of of their lives and teach them practical life skills.”

Here is the MISSION STATEMENT template again.

Good luck writing your mission statement and let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

budgeting · future

Moving along…

Happy New Year! The big blizzard came through a few days ago…Brrrr.
Well first of all I want to say thank you to those of you who are following this blog and for the encouraging comments. It is very helpful and appreciated!
In recent weeks, I have been discussing the issue of staying home with a few friends and my family, and I am pleased to say, just talking about it has been of great help. A talk especially with my parents put me on the right path and provided me with the hope of staying home that had been eluding me for months. Being a spiritual person, I feel God has a plan for my life and that every decision I make (especially big ones) I want to seek much advice and counsel.
No, I have not won the lottery, but due to some budgeting and cash flow changes, the chances are better than they even were a few weeks ago that at some point in the near future, I can choose to stay home.
Other than that, I have been organizing! Cleaing out closets, labeling, organizing my pantry, looking at recipes, etc. Laying the foundation you might say…
Moms…tell me about your household budgets! I would love to know how you keep track of your expenses. We have a budget we printed out after taking the Dave Ramsey course which we really thought was useful. Do you use envelopes? Do you find there is a temptation to spend more money when you are home with the kids? If so, why?
May the first week of January be filled with promise for you all!