The Beauty of the Homeschooling Journey and Avoiding the Comparison Trap

 

 

I have spent a lot of time over the past year thinking about the “comparison trap” and how easy it is to fall into that mindset. Everyone at some point in their life has experienced this.  Some have been able to learn how to easily sidestep these little land mines as they have ventured on their journey through life. The comparison trap really got a hold of me when I was a mom of young kiddos and I thought I was the only one who struggled with all of the new realities of motherhood.  Feeling so unprepared, I always questioned if I could really raise kids who were self-sufficient and that would contribute to society. I would always compare my mothering skills with those around me or even what I’d see on social media.  I’d always feel like I was falling short and doing a disservice to my family because there were things I wasn’t doing or couldn’t do that other moms were able to. It took a while to get my bearings and to feel like it was all going to be okay and I was not going to permanently mess up our boys. That was a difficult valley to walk through, but I learned so much through those young years and I used those experiences as opportunities to work on myself.   I was always sure to pray and ask God to help me be the best mom I can be!  I knew that God didn’t make a mistake with entrusting Jonathan and Jacob to us, so I learned to be more kind to myself and give myself a lot more grace.

 

The most important thing I learned is that my journey was always going to different and would never be the same as another mom’s journey, so why would I spend precious time and energy comparing myself with others?

 

Hoping I was past the worst of these comparison traps, I started our homeschooling journey. To be completely honest, it has been difficult to maneuver through all the additional land mines that have come with this new journey. I have felt myself getting pulled into comparing so many different things. From the curriculum we use, to the way I structure our school days, to what my children are learning and retaining, to what fun experiments we do and how often.  Sometimes I feel like we need to do more field trips, or I’m not sure if I’m including enough of the Bible into the curriculum…the list could go on and on. Basically, I have felt like I fall short in this home school journey as well.  Sometimes I even wonder if we made the right decision and if I am as equipped as I need to be to be able to do this and feel like I can do it successfully. These comparison traps can be so exhausting, and I feel like I can so easily get caught in a vicious cycle.  Then adding the extra layer of a having a child that is Autistic, I can easily fall into the trap that feels more like a pit and it becomes much more difficult to pull myself out.

 

I have learned that being as transparent as possible can help others feel like they are not alone with some of the same struggles, in addition to also helping me to recognize my human fragility and how much I need God in every single aspect of my life. When I catch myself slipping, I remember who I am in Christ Jesus and how God has never ever let me down or disappointed me before and that He is not going to start now. God is our constant and wants us to depend on Him, to seek Him, and to ask for His help.

 

If your child is in second grade and still struggling with letter recognition, that is okay. If your child it not at their so-called  grade level in math, that is okay. If your child is in 4th grade and is not able to read yet, that is okay. If you are halfway through the school year, or even towards the end, and realize that the curriculum you are using is no longer a good fit for you and your child, it is okay to give yourself permission to switch and find one that is a better fit. So many parents have placed constraints on their family’s homeschooling journey that create limits and a boxed in type of mentality. Society tells us what our child needs to know at what age. I have found that it has been difficult to remove this kind of mentality and to see our homeschooling journey as more of a canvas that we are free to paint on with our children, and to create the most beautiful painting!

 

Our journey is not going to be like anyone else’s journey and there is nothing wrong with that. When we give ourselves grace and extend that grace to our children, when we look to God for His guidance in what will work the best for our family, and when we remove the walls that have been placed around our children by society, then we are free to experience our homeschooling journey the way it was meant to be. We have been given the gift of more time with our children and to be the ones that teach them and get to see them grow – the way that God designed it.  Let’s take advantage of this wonderful opportunity the Lord has given us!

 

With Love,

Sarah Talbot

The Token System

When I first started homeschooling last year, it became clear that I was going to have to be very creative in coming up with different ways to help motivate our boys, Jonathan and Jacob, to want to do their schoolwork each day. I learned about the ‘Token System’ from a friend and thought it would be a fun incentive for them to work towards every day.

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My Upstream Learner

This year we embarked on our second year of homeschooling, and I am slowly feeling more confident and settled in with this new way of life. This was a tough decision for my husband, Jason, and me, and was definitely something we did not take lightly.

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November Parent Meeting

This upcoming election is the most important one in our lifetime, if not ever.  Our nation and our state are in a crisis in so many areas. We at RCA feel strongly that we must be on our knees fighting for our nation.  For as much as we can point fingers at politicians and lawmakers as the source of our misery and fear, we must remember that this is a spiritual fight!  Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [a]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  My question to you is, are you willing to wrestle?  During a wrestle, both individuals are strong and become weak, but only one prevails.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that our November parent meeting is on Election Day.  I know we all will be following the election into the night, but I hope you will take this opportunity to come together and pray (wrestle) for our nation!  On Tuesday, November 3rd, we’ll be hearing from guest speaker Nathan Pierce, our legislative liaison to the State capitol.  He will be giving us a legislative update and discussing why private homeschooling needs to be protected.  We will follow him up with a guided time of corporate prayer led by one of our dads.  Please feel free to bring your high schooler to this meeting.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2: 1-5

Please DO NOT miss this next meeting!
6 pm Coffee Fellowship & Root Beer floats
7 pm Parent Meeting & Prayer

Biblical Discipline

At the October 2020 Parent Meeting, Pastor Chris Amaro from Revival Christian Fellowship shares from God’s Word how parents can disciple their children biblically.

 

Why I Chose A PSP Over Charter School

I often get asked why I chose a PSP over a Charter, and every time my heart speeds up just a tad before I answer. You see, this topic can be a touchy one, and opinions can be strong about it. I have multiple friends who chose Charter and love it because it has worked best for their families. I still adore these friends, value their opinions, and am still amazed at the work they do in their lives for the Lord. That choice was right for them.  My decision to go with a PSP had everything to do with the convictions the Lord laid on my heart regarding my family. This is my truth, my answer to that often asked question.

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Ways To Discipline Your Kids

Our families were asked in an open forum town hall meeting how they discipline their kids, and here are their answers.

  1. In the case of a temper tantrum, stop everything, sit with your child, and let them know this behavior is not OK and will not be tolerated.  Resume your activity once they are finished.

  2. Get eye to eye with your child and speak with them.

  3. Disobedience=losing toys and privileges

  4. Using God’s word as a positive affirmation of what we are to do and not do.

  5. Pray with your child.

  6. Immediately remove your child from whatever they’re doing.

  7. Let your yes be yes and your no be no!

  8. Use the book Wise Words for Moms as a guide for teaching and disciplining your kids.

  9. Show them their need for Christ.

  10. Use the book My ABC Bible Verses-Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts.

  11. Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

Why Is Private Homeschooling Still A Good Idea?

  • In our world grade is based on mastery, not age

  • We are perfectly equipped to educate our kids

  • You can’t serve two masters

  • Take time off for family crisis

  • We can pray with our kids throughout the day

  • Our right to intervene for medical reasons is preserved with private homeschooling

  • We can have an IEP that is not dictated and enforced by the State but instead by God

  • Public education subjects can be a waste of time. We are to redeem the time wisely Ephesians 5:16

  • Private homeschoolers are not part of government data collection

  • We as parents can limit outside influences over our kids

  • The public school takes away our choices

  • Private homeschooling is a discipleship program for our kids

  • We can teach from a biblical world view

  • Our kids are with the us-the best place to be!

  • Teaching our kids is our God-given right.

  • Kids aren’t sick as much as when they are in a classroom with other kids.

  • Deuteronomy 4:4-6

  • Time to work on character building

  • To develop a love of learning in our kids-not teach them to memorize facts.

  • We have control over where our kids are

  • Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Top Ten Reasons To Homeschool

 

Last year I was at a leadership conference of Christian homeschool support group leaders, and we participated in a town hall meeting.  We were asked the question, “Why is private Christian homeschooling still a good thing?“.  I was greatly impressed by the variety of given answers, and they all made me think and appreciate our freedom to homeschool in California.  I’ve selected the top 10 for you.

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Juggling Kids

Tips for Less Stress and More Fun While Homeschooling Little Ones

  1. Pray without ceasing!: Seriously though, before homeschooling, this didn’t come as naturally to me as it does now. As a homeschool mom, I find myself always in prayer, starting early in the morning before the kids wake up; I pray to ask for God’s wisdom and direction for the day. We open our school with prayer, each taking turns to thank God for the opportunity to homeschool and learn about Him each day. We pray when we are having trouble with a subject for God to help us. I pray to communicate better with my children. I pray for wisdom and direction in how and what to teach. I pray for forgiveness when I catch myself teaching in the flesh and ask for help. The kids and I pray before each subject and ask God to help us to learn the subject and to see Him in it. The other day my son prayed, “God help me to learn how to read so that I can read your Word for myself.” Talk about a motivator to teach my boy how to read. Keeping the focus on the Lord, and doing all things unto Him, has given schooling an eternal purpose, and this is where we find peace and joy.

  2. Do Not overbook your calendar: I am one to want to sign up for it “ALL” at church, you name a ministry, and I was involved because I love God’s people, and I felt like I was doing the Lord’s Work. I also often felt overwhelmed and irritated at my kids and husband because I was trying to finish a project for one ministry as I was heading out the door to a different ministry meeting. Am I saying ministry work is terrible? Absolutely not! I am saying that we need to have our priorities in order, God first (His Will, not mine for the ministries I serve in or join.), husband (1st ministry), and Children (2nd ministry). I am thankful to my God-fearing husband for pointing this one out to me. I am learning before committing to anything to pray about it and talking it over with my husband. I need to be available for God to use me where He wills and for me to be available for my husband and children. 

  3. Embrace the “WHY”: I confess I have been irritated more than I’d like to admit with the endless “why this? Why that?” from my children until the Lord helped me to see those as teachable moments, child-directed teachable moments. When I changed my perspective on the endless “Why?” and embraced them as fertile soil to teach my children. I began to encourage and enjoy the “Why ?” and these moments with my kids. I also saw that my children appreciated my complete attention and availability and soaked in all the info given.

  4. Do not be held captive to your curriculum: Use your curriculum to structure your school days but do not let it dictate everything you teach your child. One size doesn’t fit all; each child learns differently. Be led by the Spirit, praying for wisdom and discernment. God knows your child best, what they’re thinking, how they learn, what their gifts are, and He has a plan and a purpose for them. Be observant of your child’s likes, interests, passions, gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. If you are doing science, for example, and your child is really into seeds and the cycle of a plant, then dig deeper into it. Plant a seed, observe the cycle in your back yard — order books on seeds, gardening, trees, etc., from the library. Child-led learning is the best because they are engaged and wanting to learn more. 

  5. Meal prep lunches and snacks for the week: “I’m hungry, MOM.” The #1 sentence in all homes with growing children hands down. Feeding your children 1000 times a day can be a distraction when doing school, an annoyance, and a time suck if you let it. Take care of it before your school week starts, and prep your lunches and snacks for Monday- Friday. Set an eating schedule for snacks and meals, then meal prep. You can make premade p&J sandwiches; I make a whole loaf of bread and freeze them in zip lock bags. You can make homemade Lunchables by dividing up lunch meat and cheese into snack zip lock bags or Tupperware. Cut up carrots, cucumber, celery and divide into snack sizes in zip lock bags or Tupperware.

  6. Peaceful Library Trip: I think we must teach our children library etiquette. It’s not a playground; it is a calm, quiet, and orderly place. My children know how to act in a library for like 2 mins, then the wiggles and giggles take over, and two rambunctious kids (age 6 and 4) enter the picture, and now you have a shushing mad dogging mom (that’s me) and it is far from a pleasant experience. Until now, I have discovered that you can go online and order books to be conveniently picked up, all nicely stacked at the book check out counter. YESSSS! It is awesome! (note: order books two weeks in advance of when you will want to use them in your schooling) Now I can get the books I need without the stress, and when I go to pick them up, my kids get to pick out three books each of their choice in the children’s section. Now going to the library is enjoyable.

  7. Ordering groceries online: Such a time saver and a stress relief. I think it is important to take the kids to the store and teach them about how a grocery store operates, how to act in a store, and where to find what you need. My favorite is showing them various fruits and vegetables that God has created for us to eat. Although the convenience, stress-free, and time I save with online grocery shopping is a blessing.

  8. Saved by The Bell (ok, that may have aged me, lol): We take a break after every subject. My kids are little ages 6 and 4, so the wiggles need let out often for all of us. We usually do 30 mins of school, 30 min break, 30 min of school, 30 min break, all day long. When the kids leave for break, I let them know I am setting the timer on the stove, so when they hear it ring, they need to please come out ready to learn. Not sure why this works better than me calling them to come, but it does, and they love it, so we do it.

  9. Forever Warm Coffee: I love my coffee. Although I find myself reheating the same cup of coffee 5-8 times in the morning until I realize it is lunchtime, so I pour it out and drink water. The other day, I decided to use my traveling coffee mug, and I had warm coffee in the afternoon. Now I make a travel mug of coffee with my almond milk and honey just the way I like it, I enjoy it during my quiet time and sip on it throughout the day, and it is warm until dinner. AKA Mommy sippy cup lol, It is excellent!

  10. Have Fun! You can turn everything can into a game. At the younger ages, we play a lot of scavenger hunts (ask a question, get it correct, get a clue to find the next one), red light, green light ( answer correct= green light, wrong= red light), we play detective math (I will play the inspector gadget theme song, and the kids are detectives trying to find the answers to the problems which we call evidence). Use toys as manipulatives. Be creative, read through the curriculum a week ahead, and plan fun ways to teach in the form of games; this has been a game-changer for us.

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