Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Seven secrets for a highly effective year

While the political pros and pundits are debating whether tire inflation affects global oil supply, many of us are debating more mundane matters like math and phonics programs and whether this is the year to "just say no" to buying anything new and use what we already have on our shelves.

Even though I've been homeschooling for over 15 years, I find myself having many "first times" this year.

This is the first time I have three children taking college classes and I don't have any control over their start day or their daily schedules. It's September 4.

This is the first time we are participating in a homeschool co-op with over 30 other families.

This is the first time I find myself a bit more anxious about how everything (and everyone) is going to work together and do what needs to be done. Climbing Mt. Homeschooling is challenging. Thank God for an understanding husband and Starbucks.

So for the second time, I'm posting my "secrets to a highly effective year" as a reminder mostly to myself, but maybe it will help others who are also feeling anxious about the upcoming year. I updated a few points with some new thoughts.

1. Begin when you're ready, not when the calendar says it's time to start. Just because the calendar says it's September doesn't mean you must begin. A week or two of extra preparation to organize things may be just the ticket for a more peaceful year. And around here, the fall is just too gorgeous to spend indoors. (I'm trying to keep this in mind for my younger three children who are not bound by the college calendar.)

2. Start with prayer. Commit your days to the Lord and be sensitve to His leading for each day. We have our plans, but He also has His. Make sure they match.

3. Talk to to your children, not just at them. It's easy to move into "drill mode" and forget that these are your children and you're their mother. A mom who constantly tells her children to "just go and do..." will eventually raise children that will want to "just go and do" anything to get out of their mom's way.

4. Be content in the moment. When you're doing an activity, whether it be reading a book to the children, sitting down for a well deserved rest time, or folding laundry don't allow yourself to become anxious about all the other things you could be doing or haven't gotten done. Trust that they'll get done soon enough and enjoy the moment.

5. Respect your children. They have thoughts and feelings too, take time to listen to them. Value their opinion and they will value yours. Respect their time. If they're really enjoying something, don't rush to the next activity just to cross it off the list. (I have found this to be so important with my teens, especially my boys.)

6. Smile. Lots and lots of smiles. They're free and they do so much for the mood in the house. When momma's happy, everyone's happy. Here's a post to help you put on a grin today.

7. Teach your children how to resolve conflict on their own. The post Help! There's a Bully in My House is how we taught our children. It has made our home a lot more peaceful. (This training has been a Godsend to our family now that we are all older and the habit of working out conflict in place. )

As I was posting this my fifteen year old son read the title and said, "Did you think of those seven things today, because we haven't had a highly effective year yet!"

And to that I say, that there's a first time for everything; so maybe this our year.

If you have any more thoughts to encourage others as they being another academic year, feel free to add them.

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