Sticking to it

img-20160513-wa0004Some homeschool days are tough and you or your child/ren might want to give up.  I have had to stick at our homeschooling over and over when we have stressed and struggled and wanted to give up. 

May I share a couple of tips to help encourage and motivate you to keep heart and head when things seem difficult and hard ~

  • Pray.   Tell the Lord all about your fears, difficulties and thoughts.  Ask Him for His grace to live in His life.  Ask Him to show you the situation from His perspective. Ask for His wisdom and strength to do the right thing.  I often ask Him what I should do today, and not worry about the years ahead.
  • When about to give up, make a plan. Plan something for the day that everyone enjoys and which creates a bond … such as reading aloud, art, crafts, a nature walk, listening to an audio book, going an outing … whatever it takes to get a fresh perspective.  This flexibility is the true blessing of homeschooling.  When things get really bad, take the day off … have picnic or go swim, or curl up together on the couch with popcorn and a great movie.  Give yourself a day to de-stress and try again the next day.
  • Learning new information is usually stressful.  In the end, it is never about learning information but growing in character and in relationships.  A child can always learn facts, but struggles and difficulties are always personal.  Gently encourage your child in their attitude and choices.  Instill the habits that will build character.
  • Sometimes a child just isn’t ready.  Put the work aside and try again in a few months time.
  • Look for alternatives. Try a physical, practical, hands-on activity, or try learning with jumping or singing.  Let your child record their narrations on a voice note or video instead of writing.  Ask them to act it out or make a model or paint the illustration.  Give your child options and choices.
  • If a textbook or book doesn’t work or isn’t a good fit for you or your child, adapt it.  Abandon it!  Yes.  You have permission to put it away.  Rather find an illustrated magazine or borrow a library book about the subject.  Go online and search out a suitable YouTube playlist and let your child watch educational videos.  They will learn more information with these alternatives, and, more importantly,  they will gain a personal connection with what they have watched or read.
  • Deal with fears in perspective — will this really matter 2 years from now?  If not, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Let it go.  You usually will have time to try again.  Even in high school, we “lost” 2 years on a curriculum that was not working for my middle child.  But she was young, and even now, I am not in a rush to catch up those “missing” years.  We will simply push on with what we have in front of us right now.  Even now, facing her final year, we may have to go on into 2017 instead of trying to finish this year.
  • Look for help.  I joined a few relevant  homeschool Facebook groups that offer great advice and give valuable support and encouragement.  Ask the curriculum provider for help.  Join their forums.  In my first year of homeschooling before Facebook existed, this was marvellous help.  And I needed the wisdom, experience and perspective of older moms who were a few stages ahead of me.
  • Don’t compare your children with others.  This is their life, their story and their song.  No one else determines this.
  • Ban “Should have …” and instead say, “Right now ….”  Don’t waste energy looking back and living with regret. You didn’t plan to fail or destroy your child’s education.  What you didn’t know, you couldn’t do, so let it go and do your best with what you know now.
  • Perseverance is highly valued.  Stick to your decision and keep on course.  You may alter deadlines, reset some destinations, avoid some storms or rapids, but keep going on!  Don’t give up.
  • Try, try and try again.  Try this way or that, but keep going.  You will come through this and it will all be fine.

If we had lived close to a town with good schools, I may have given up many times in these high school years, but God, in His great mercy and grace, has kept me right where He wants me and we have had to stick to it.  I am so grateful!  As I look at my gorgeous, beautiful daughters growing into such amazing young women, I am so thankful that we have had this incredible journey together!  It is all worth it!

Wrapped up in grace, Nadene

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10 thoughts on “Sticking to it

  1. Oh, Nadene thank you for sharing your heart and encouragement. What a lovely picture of you four beauties! It’s still early days so hearing your perspective is so valuable for me! Peace keep you.

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  2. Thank you so much Nadene. I really appreciate your encouragement and your ideas that worked for your family. Though I tend to use a curriculum and enjoy the structure of that style of teaching you have been my reminder to get out the art supplies and enjoy that side of life as well. I am so thankful that you started blogging and that you continue to do so. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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  3. Hi Nadine

    Not sure if it’s possible to reply to you this way and whether or not your can manage receiving 1000s of emails! I did try to post on your blog post but couldn’t quite get it to post! I just HAVE to respond though!! I am blown away by your blog and your generous and reckless kindness in sharing your beautiful and valuable treasure so freely with strangers like me! THANK YOU hardly seems to cut it! I followed some link from somewhere to your nature journal and did the biggest happy dance – it is completely stunning and i printed out 4 instantly (one for me and one for each of my boys) and then forwarded it to lots of my friends – homeschooling or not!! It’s so lovely and I can’t wait to go meet God deeply in creation with your thoughtful reflection questions.

    I have just moved to a remote part of Namibia from Zimbabwe. I am teaching my younger 2 boys (grade 1 and 3) and next year my older boy will join us for grade 8, currently he’s in the farm school here. I started off with the CAPS books as they were available here but have since discovered CM and been slowly adding in bit by bit and finding it so rich and meaningful, in fact sometimes totally mind blowing! Their interactions and narrations of the Bible have blown me away – I think i may have wasted about 5 years of my life in Zimbabwe writing out lesson plans for Sunday school when we could have just read them the Bible and given them blank paper to draw what they pictured!! So incredibly powerful and rewarding! And of course we are devouring books together, what a treat – feels like a huge cheat:) Having fun with learning!!

    I have gotten quite dizzy going in circles around the internet, with so many people saying so much but you almost always have to join something or pay something to get anything really helpful. (I know AO is pretty unique though in their approach.) Anyway, it was so refreshing to discover your beautiful blog filled with all the tools i’ve been trying to find – without charging – written so beautifully and practically. I was so surprised when i saw you were South African and had all these brilliant relevant things for a fellow African!! YAY! You’re an awesome ambassador – for teaching, for creativity, for practicality, for kindness & generosity, for wisdom, for Africa, for older women teaching younger women, for JESUS!

    Sorry for gushing but i was actually quite emotional to stumble across you and just needed to express my gratitude! I know how hard it is to teach children and do other things on the side. I am sure it has taken perseverance to put all of that information up! I tried blogging a little but manage about 4 posts a year! I would love to help in the orphanage here as I’m a trained social worker, but don’t think i have the courage just yet as it’s all still overwhelming and time consuming. For the moment just praying is what I can manage. But I am inspired and challenged seeing you manage schooling and blogging and I’m sure other fun things too.

    May God bless you and your lovely girls! May you know his delight in you, may you discover his love notes to you in surprising places through the day. May his grace continue to abound extravagantly in your life. Thank you for sending out rivers of blessing – may your cup run over in return. Mandy Liddle

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    • Hello Mandy, thank you so much for making my day with your enthusiastic comments! I love to encourage others, and I am so glad and grateful that my blog is a source of inspiration and practical help. May you continue to enjoy your homeschooling journey and grow and blossom along with your children! Blessings!

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