Letter 13 – Dare to be Different

Here’s the next letter my series ~ “Letter To Mereminding myself, and, hopefully encouraging other new homeschoolers,  with what I wish I had known when I started out on our homeschooling journey ~

Dear Nadene,

Do not be afraid to be different.  IMG-20141023-WA0000

Don’t follow the cookie-cutter approach and force yourself or your kids into a mould.   Homeschooling is about finding your true fit.  It is about a tailor-made approach and content. 

So even your bought curriculum doesn’t determine how you should teach or the pace at which your children should learn.  When you or your child become stressed and anxious, just stop, breathe and realign your goals and expectations with the Lord. 

Don’t compare yourself, your kids or your journey with others.  It doesn’t matter if your homeschooling or your children are different to everyone else.  Ignore those piercing questions and keep your eyes on what the Lord has shown you and you will maintain His grace to continue.  When someone’s comment or advice makes you feel ill and ashamed, it is not from Him.   Quietly withdraw and affirm yourself in His promises.

I believe that grace ‘to be’ and ‘to change’ is extremely important.  Even as babies, I never boxed my kids in with statements.   I would say, “So pink is your favourite color at the moment …”  or “You really don’t like broccoli today …”  so that they knew they could change their minds and find alternatives. 

Allow your children the freedom to dress up when they are small.  Encourage them to express themselves, to have opinions and insights.  Ask them what they think and feel and reflect it back to them so that they know you have seen and heard them.  This is vital and will cultivate the greatest gift a parent can give a child – the strong sense of who they are.  

Homeschoolers often ‘get’ this, whilst public-schooled kids strive to remain acceptable and become clones of the popular.  It is sadly why others (non-homeschoolers) call  homeschoolers “weird”.  

And all it is really  … is different. 

Unique. 

And we all are, aren’t we?

Recently a shop teller asked me why my daughters dress “differently”. She said that she noticed that my girls all dress so creatively and uniquely. Even their hairstyles and handbags are different. I told her that my daughters do not go to regular school. They are homeschooled. She said that public-school kids looked like each other … all the same.  Now, my girls are not weird. They just look … like themselves … beautiful!

I took years to ‘find myself’.   Even as an adult, I wasted years anxiously trying to be acceptable … I called myself a nerd … and generally felt like a failure.  I’m so grateful that my children have such a strong sense of themselves, their style, their gifting, their friendships and their values. 

Above all, point your children to the Lord and encourage them to keep seeing themselves through His eyes.  Urge them to please Him by being who they were created to be.  Encourage them to find their calling and use their gifts for Him.  He loves them to eternity and back!

Dare to be different!  Live your lives to the full and have grace for yourself and others.

With hindsight blessings,

Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please would you share yours in the comments.

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

Sketch Tuesday ~ Something From Outside

This week’s theme in Sketch Tuesday is ~  Sketch Something from Outside

Here’s my sketch ~

Outside` 001Hopefully this week Kate and Lara will also find some time for Sketch Tuesday.  How do you purposefully participate in the weekly art activity?

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box. and confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Each week Barb will email the slideshow and the next topic of theme.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings,

 

New Practical Pages Facebook Page

I’m a slow starter when it comes to Facebook …

Facebook Practical Pages

I started a business Practical Pages Facebook page a year or so before I started my own personal Facebook page.  Since then, Facebook have made changes and I now need to deactivate my original Practical Pages Facebook page (FB does not allow me to merge the 2 pages) in order to focus on the new Practical Pages FB page.

Please, pretty please 1,300+ followers, would you please pop over and click to follow the new page … I’d love you to easily receive all my posts, notifications and conversations!

Blessings, Nadene

Sketch Tuesday ~ Rain

The past few weeks have been full … with Easter holidays and our home buzzing with streams of visitors and guests.  Still, Lara found a quiet moment and sketched, but I forgot to email it to Barb’s  Sketch Tuesday in time for the slideshow.

This week’s Sketch Tuesday theme is ~  Rain

Here’s Lara’s sketch ~

Rain 001

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box. and confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Each week Barb will email the slideshow and the next topic of theme.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings,

 

Letter 12 – Casual Classical Music

Here’s the next letter my series ~ “Letter To Mereminding myself, and, hopefully encouraging other new homeschoolers,  with what I wish I had known when I started out on our homeschooling journey ~

Dear Nadene,

Follow Charlotte Mason’s approach and play classic music in your homeschooling.  Just forget about  all the formalities such as reading the biographies, writing notebook pages, and over-analysis of the music.  If you make classic music a formal lesson your children will sigh and shut down.  (Add formal lessons gradually … informally … gently … not every lesson needs to be narrated!)

Simply enjoy it!  Let it waft over you all.  Let the music fill the room.  Quietly let the music evoke a response.  Play it in the background, listen to it while cooking or folding laundry or cleaning house together. Beathoven's Wig

Your young kids will love all the “Classic Kids” CDs and the ridiculous and fun lyrics of  Beethoven’s Wig, so that is a good investment, but you don’t have to buy all the CDs and books.  Gradually add a CD or two to your collection.  Simply stream music.  Download music.  Watch YouTube videos.  There’s plenty of free music and music appreciation lessons.  Join Barb’s Music Appreciation Monday or Patti’s All Things Bright and Beautiful.  They’ve done it all for you — so no excuses!

Add movie soundtracks to your collection.  They are often filled with amazing classical music, including choirs and the opera, like in “Room with a View” and many of Jane Austen’s and Narnia movies.  soundtracks of animated movies

Now and then, share your own “Best of ….” YouTube videos.   We have had the best enjoyment sharing our favourite singers and musicians from our era.  My children were amazed to find that much of the music in animated children’s music (like Shrek) came from original hits of yesteryear.  piano guys

Back in the 80’s the saxophone was the most popular classical instrument.   Right now the Piano Guys (their complete playlist) are a hit, as are the extremely popular 2Cellos.

Importantly, listen to your teen’s music!  Enjoy it with them and don’t judge.  Be interested in their music, artists and current music styles.  Their music is a vital connection to their hearts because music is the montage to their lives.  Their playlists connect to all their experiences and opens you up to their souls.  They have cried to their sad music and danced to the fun stuff!   Dance with them.  Learn hiphop and some current songs and sing it with them.  It is fun and it forms deep connections and lasting memories  .

Without ‘teaching’ the classics, simply expose them to classical music casually.  You are building a rich culture and your kids will remember it and appreciate it for the rest of their lives!

With hindsight blessings,

Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please would you share yours in the comments.

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

Smash This Nature Journal Review and Giveaway

I am super excited!  Smash-This-Nature-Journal-Review-and-Giveaway-@handbookofnaturestudy-1-768x1024

Barb over at Handbook of Nature Study has posted her review of my Smash This Nature Journal and is offering her readers 3 free copies of Smash This Nature Journal #1.

Please pop over to her post to enter.   She writes,

“Don’t miss this giveaway which will end on Thursday night at midnight. I will randomly choose three entries to win their very own copy of this download and announce the winners on Facebook on Friday. I will also contact you via Rafflecopter (email) in order to deliver your electronic prize.”

Pop over to my Packages Page to order your downloads.  And when your children have completed their pages, please email them to me to share here on the blog!

Blessings,

Nadene

Letter 11 – Teens

Here’s the next letter my series ~ “Letter To Mereminding myself, and, hopefully encouraging other new homeschoolers,  with what I wish I had known when I started out on our homeschooling journey ~

Dear Nadene,IMG_20151224_194701

 Do not be afraid of the teen years!

When you start out, you may feel that your can cope with teaching your toddlers and middle schoolers, but may quake at the idea of homeschooling high schoolers.  Actually, be honest, you are scared of parenting teens …

Teaching high school maths  isn’t really that difficult.  Remind yourself that if you have passed matric and have a diploma and a degree … you can do algebra and physics … or scratch pencil on paper until you have worked it out …  And if you can’t, you can find someone else to tutor your teen.  In fact, a tutor might be an excellent solution to the mom-teen-tensions and struggles!  I have heard many, many prospective parents refuse to consider homeschooling because they fear they will fail to teach high school subjects.  You don’t have to be a qualified teacher to homeschool your high schooler.  You are their facilitator and tutor.

Another huge shift is to sit next to your child and collaborate their schooling choices.   This is very important .  Give your teen choices and work through options together.  From the simplest decisions like when and where they want to work, what format of notebook they will use, to how to study for exams, to what subjects they need and their career options. 

Don’t be afraid to set simple boundaries and insist on disciplined work.  Include dad in these discussions so that your teen doesn’t play one parent up against the other.

Create accountability sessions where you check your teen’s progress or sign off work.  Use a record of work page, a Homeschool Tracker or calendar to meet the course deadlines.  If you don’t, best prepare yourself for some serious delays, forgotten subjects, or even a course that simply doesn’t work out!  And if when it happens, you will learn how to take a deep breath and start over with a better plan of action.

Encourage entrepreneurship and provide opportunities to experience real life and new adventures.  Develop their potential in creative and career exploits.  Meet with others who can affirm their passions and develop their skills.  Give them increasing independence and expect them to mature and become responsible. 

Remember that your teen goes through emotional rollercoaster days and weeks … and need you to remain calm and in control.   Your teens will withdraw.  You will feel uncertain and insecure.  Here’s the BEST advice I have ever received ~ “Don’t take it personally!  It is not about you!”  (given to me by my darling 14-year-old a few years ago.)

Above all, maintain heart-to-heart relationships with your teen.  Be flexible, available and gracious.  Hear their hearts.  Sit with them … listen … even if they don’t want to speak.  They feel so dreadfully insecure at times.  Listen to their music.  Chat to them about hairstyles and fashions.  Be open to new ideas!  Make tea or coffee dates and set aside special time alone with them.  Affirm them.  Champion them.  Have fun with them!

 I am so grateful for all these intimate, and challenging years with my daughters.  I would have lost this if they had gone to boarding school (our only option for our children going to public school.)  In these years of increasing and overwhelming peer pressure, homeschooling your teen is an enormous blessing! 

I am stunned and amazed by the gorgeous young women that my daughters are becoming and I am so grateful that we have homeschooled all the way through. 

You can do it!

With hindsight blessings,

Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please would you share yours in the comments.

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series:

Kate’s Doodles

Hardly a day goes by without Kate sketching or doodling.  This is just one of her many gorgeous “doodles” ~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sketch Tuesday ~ Water

We have participated in Sketch Tuesday for most of our homeschooling years and it remains a fresh, exciting and creative part of our weekly routine!  This week’s Sketch Tuesday theme is ~  Water

Here’s my sketch ~

Water 001

If you would like to join Sketch Tuesday, pop over to Harmony Fine Arts and click the subscription box. and confirm the subscription email when it comes.  Each week Barb will email the slideshow and the next topic of theme.

See you at the next slideshow!

Blessings,

 

Letter 10 – Come To Pass

Here’s the next letter my series ~ “Letter To Mewhere I encourage myself (and, hopefully other new homeschoolers)  with what I wish I had known when I started out on our homeschooling journey ~

Dear Nadene,

When you feel that things are too difficult, repeat this mantra, “This too shall come to pass” …

Those sleepless nights with new baby …“This too shall come to pass.” 

Those busy toddler days of upheaval and mess ….“This too shall come to pass.” 

Dreadful delays  while toddler battles to  “do it myself” … “This too shall come to pass.” 

Special foods for mealtimes … “This too shall come to pass.”

Early bathtimes and bedtimes … “This too shall come to pass.”

The crying child afraid of (___) … “This too shall come to pass.” 

Handwriting struggles, hating Maths and halting reading … “This too shall come to pass.”

Spelling stresses, writing distresses, recitation protests … “This too shall come to pass.”

Refusals, rejections, wretched moods swings… “This too shall come to pass.”

Teen scenes of distractions and avoidance … “This too shall come to pass.”

High school tensions, subject choices and final exams … “This too shall come to pass.” 

Fears for the future, career choices and graduations … “This too shall come to pass.” 

Nadene, all too soon, your baby is grown up and moving outwards and onwards.  Your homeschooling job seems short, and what seems impossible, improbable, even insurmountable will all shrink into the right perspective if you can remember, “This too shall come to pass.” 

Take it from someone who has come all the way through to the end, the Lord is faithful, He will never fail and He is good all the time.

With hindsight blessings,

Nadene

I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic!  Please would you share yours in the comments.

In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series: