Have you ever looked back on a really great day of homeschool and thought to yourself, “That was a really great homeschool day, I wonder what made the difference?” In my 17 years of homeschooling, I have found that the answer is homeschooling with patience and kindness. How do you “get” patience and kindness? Here are some things that help me.
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Homeschooling With Patience
Reading the Bible and Praying
Yes, my husband or I read the Bible to our family every night. But, I have found that setting aside a time each day for myself to read, pray, and journal really changes my whole attitude. It can even help the rest of the day go better. I am a person who does write in and highlights her Bible. I like to have tabbies to help me find the book I am looking for more quickly. I will either have a Bible Reading Plan (to try to read the Bible in a whole year) that I am following, or I will be just reading straight through the Bible or I might focus on one book or chapter and go deeper with it for a while. I do get interrupted to care for little ones needs, even if I read when they should be sleeping. I have to remember that God helps them to sleep, and if they are awake, it is part of God's plan for me to care for them. For prayer, I have some OLD sermon notes I wrote down on how to pray that I have added to and laminated because it was falling apart. I have one for children, one for my spouse and I and one for church/missions/leaders/Israel, etc. I also keep a prayer journal where I write specific things.
I have noticed that I am less patient and kind when my children are disobedient or being unkind to one another. Especially when I am foggy brained, weak or tired and thinking, how do I discipline this properly so it won't happen again?
That's when I turn to For Instruction In Righteousness. It has topics, like “hitting” that I can turn to. It tells me what to read to my child from the Bible related to the topic, ideas for how to discipline in this situation (now that your sister is injured, you get her an ice pack and be kind to her, next you will have to put away her folded clothes for her) and Bible verses for them to repeat back to you or memorize to help with this problem.
Sometimes I do well with creative solutions but other times I need this book.
Homeschooling With Kindness
Knowing Your Triggers
There is a book that has really helped me identify my triggers of getting upset and being unkind. It helped me to prevent that from happening or dealing with it in a quiet way. It is called, Homeschooling With A Meek And Quiet Spirit.
One “fun” and creative way for me to work with the children that I learned from this book; is when my children are arguing and it is robbing me of my quiet spirit, I give them each a small piece of dry bread (I keep to make croutons). Then I make them eat it and quote Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.” Then I have peace in my home (at least while they are eating) and I feel more patient and kind.
I learned so much more from this little 118 page book. I am selfish and won't lend it to anyone because it is the best homeschooling Mommy book I have read!
Motivating the Homeschoolers
Another thing that decreases my patience and kindness is when the kids are not self-motivated and I have to motivate or encourage all day long. It drains me. We have come up with a “sticker night”, as we call it. In our home school, we have 175 days of homeschool. So I make a chart for each child, even the high schoolers, from Days 1-35, 36-70, 71-105, 106-140 and 141-175. We keep track of what day we are on in our Homeschool Lesson Planners. Then, as the work for the whole homeschool day is finished, the child puts a sticker on their chart. Sometimes the stickers have characters, stars, encouraging words, etc. A relative of ours donates to many causes and receives more address labels than she can use. She gives us those extra labels and we cut the pretty pictures off the left side of her label and use those for stickers as well. Each chart is turned in to a parent. The child chooses a parent to spend two hours with. Up to $10 can be spent, if needed. We have done many things: going to a favorite playground, swimming at a local hotel pool, playing dolls, playing with little cars, bowling, eating at a restaurant, finding and downloading approved games or music online, going to a movie, etc. Grandma found out about our sticker sheets and she upped the motivation by offering the children money for each sheet turned it as well. I usually warn her before we bring them all as it can get to be a lot at one time. At times when our income is low, we ask the children if they want to do something that doesn't cost money or if they would rather save it until we can afford to spend money for the sticker night. As I have told my friends about this over the years, they have told me they now do this in their own way. One friend uses the chart for a trip to a large book store with the child to have cocoa and buy a book up to $10.
Monitor Your Health
Find out what you need to help you to show patience and kindness. Maybe it is eating better, drinking more water, taking vitamins or supplements, more sleep or less on your calendar. No matter what it is, it is worth evaluating and trying something new so you can be the homeschooling mama you want to be! I would love to hear what works to help you homeschool with patience and kindness.
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