Schooling During Crisis

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Over the years I’ve had my share of family crisis while trying to homeschool the kids. Many people have asked how to homeschool when life is in a crisis. Usually the moms feel like they are failing the kids because “life” has gotten in the way of their schooling.

Does that sound slightly backward to you? I mean, we put “schooling” in this separate category from what is real life. If we stop “schooling” our kids and start educating them, then we can use the crisis in life to help them be smarter, stronger, and more capable of weathering their own life storms.

There are some crisis that last a long time, but most are fairly temporary. Your kids will likely survive pretty well even if you were to stop all of their schooling for a time. There is nothing that says a child won’t learn it if it isn’t presented in Sept.

Let’s say for the sake of argument, you simply cannot do the bookwork with your kids. If they are young and need you right there explaining everything to them, but you’re on bed rest, the stress this will cause will likely be too much for you. And at this point, taking care of yourself is way more important than making sure your kids do their spelling. So, let’s shift our thinking from trying to school the kids, to educating them during this time.

I would recommend reading books to them while they play quietly. Another thing you can do is have them listen to books on CD. This will free you to rest, while they are absorbing. If all you did was had them listen to some books, you would be doing well. Relax and know that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances.

Take this time to talk to your kids about how life doesn’t always go according to our plans, but that it doesn’t need to turn us upside down when it happens. This life skill of being able to adjust to crisis in our lives is one of the best skills your kids could have. And here, right now, you have the opportunity to share with your kids how to deal with the difficulties in life. Ask them what they can do to help in the situation. Get their ideas. If it is little Johnny’s idea that he can play quietly with his dinosaurs, then it’s easy to remind him what he said about helping. Write down their ideas for them. My kids always loved being able to help where they could. They often would suggest things that I thought were really beyond their abilities. But let them try if they want to.

Allow yourself some grace to do things you might normally not do, like letting the kids watch educational videos on TV more than you normally do.

If you have family members who want to help, have them take the kids out for a park day, or field trip to a zoo or museum.

Give the kids activities that take a long time to complete – or something they will spend hours playing. If you have a son who loves playing with Legos – let him. One caution here is just bring out one or two things at a time, otherwise you’re going to have a huge mess to clean up, which causes more stress for you.

One thing I noticed when my kids were younger is that when the environment was kept fairly quiet, they would tend to be more calm and quiet themselves. Avoid having the TV on just for background noise. Try not to watch game shows, daytime drama shows, cops shows, and even the tv talk shows. Play some classical or relaxing music on the stereo system to evoke a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

The last thing Mom needs during a crisis is more noise.

Have a friend or relative take your kids to the library to pick out some new books to read. If you have kids who like to do crafts, perhaps this would be a good time to let her work on crocheting something. Yarn isn’t that expensive and can be a great way to clear your mind while listening to a classic book on CD.

Some of our favorite books on CD were The Chronicles of Narnia series and Lord of the Rings. We listened to a lot of history stories on CD as well. Diana Waring had some amazing ones.

If you’ve ever had a time when you were on bed rest, we would love to hear some of the things you did with your kids that helped educate them during the time of crisis.

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The Importance of Creativity

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Today, my son asked me, “Do I have to do the multiplication the same way they do in this book?” I’ve always been about fostering creativity in our children. I found that when they were being creative, they were learning more about the world around them than could be found in a book.

Watch this wonderful workshop on creativity and education.

For many of us, we still see that the books are written by the experts who “know” what children need to know. But I would challenge you this week to open your eyes to the imaginative play of your children and see afresh an exciting world of education.

I would love to hear your stories of what you learned while observing your children being creative.

So, this week’s assignment — it may be difficult for some of you and it may be difficult for some of your children, is to find a common household object and see how many different uses you can find for that item. Bring the object out each day and see if any new uses have come to the minds of your children. Let them play with the object. Leave it on the table during dinner time (if it fits). Keep it out in the open and just see what happens to that common household item.

Right now, I’d like you to think about what item you would like to use and post it here. Then come back in a day or two and let us know how amazingly creative some of your children are. Every idea is worth sharing.

This may very well be one of those experiments that grows in your family and becomes a weekly creativity exercise. Begin NOW!

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Take Your Homeschool Up a Notch

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Help! My Kid Can’t Write!

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One of the questions I get a lot is in relation to kids writing – or not writing. This is particularly common with regard to boys. Here are a couple of questions I’ve received via Facebook (Friend me!) lately.

My 12yo writes sentences like he is still in 1st grade. For example: “The dog went outside.” When I try to show him how to make it more interesting by adding other words, it is like pulling teeth (an example of the same sentence above: “The black dog … galloped down the stairs to go outside”). I have even tried using what he loves…animals, to no avail. He sees nothing wrong with the sentences he gives me. Even on stuff where he has to write an answer to a question, I get one word answers. He has an amazing verbal vocabulary, but it doesn’t transfer to writing. HELP!!!!

And another

My son has trouble writing as well, and he speaks in phrases. hard to get his thoughts all organized. He is a freshman. I am not feeling very good as a teacher. 🙁

Every person on the planet has “gaps” in their education. The real goal is not to get the child to write, but to get him to see his need for writing. When educating our children we want them to find the holes in their education that they can fill. It would be impossible for us to fill their buckets with all the knowledge in the world.

I believe this is one of the weaknesses of the current public school system. They have decided what a “comprehensive” education looks like, so they push it at the kids, leaving many of them without a love for learning.

I recently overheard a high school public school student say, “I do enough to not be noticed.” The whole goal for her schooling was to not be noticed. How sad is that? Don’t stand out! Don’t be too smart.

The reason I’ve prefaced this post with these comments is because more than anything it’s not about doing the work that we require of them, it’s about teaching them how to learn and how to love learning. If we end up producing kids who are balanced across the board but don’t love to learn, will they continue to grow as adults?

With that in mind, that is my goal even with the ideas I share. Not every child will “learn” from every idea I give you. Try them, see what works.

Feel free to jump in with some comments of ways you’ve gotten your kids to write —- and to enjoy it!

My daughter Erica joined a website called Fan Fiction. She began reading some of the stories people wrote about some of her favorite characters in her books. Up to that point, she hadn’t really done much writing. (She was 13 when she joined) As of this writing, she has written over 110,000 words in 9 months on the site. She loves writing about the characters that she has already come to know and love. One of the other neat aspects of the site is that people can review your stories. You can search for stories related to their favorite books, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and even Pride and Prejudice.

Along similar lines, have your child copy a great story, stopping at a crucial point, then have him continue with the story on his own, trying to keep with the writer’s flow. As they copy the work of the masters it will become embedded into their brains as they write the words, causing their minds to “rethink” like the author.

Put away the red pen! If you are in the habit of correcting everything they do, and there are a lot of red pen marks, what you are often succeeding in doing is giving your child yet another reason to not put his thoughts on the paper. If you really want to correct his work, make a copy of it and correct it yourself – for your benefit. Then as you analyze the mistakes you can use those mistakes as future learning opportunities. For example if you notice consistently that your son uses the wrong “there” in his paper, simply help him in conversation about how to know which “there” to use.

Get some fun books like, “Woe is I” or “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.” They are fun books about writing. Don’t just give your kid the book, he’ll never open it. Read the book yourself then share some of the fun things you’re reading.

Now, let’s say your child wrote a story that sounds like a little kid wrote it. Have him read it outloud to you. Ask him questions about how it sounds, if it made him want to read more, or if it made him think he should draw pictures after every other sentence? Often when the child only reads his paper with his eyes, he doesn’t see any thing wrong with it, but when he reads the paper aloud he is able to grasp that the story is really not what he wants to produce.

For some kids a great way to “write a story” is by telling the story. It may seem like a little kid thing to do, but have your child tell a story into a recording device then translate the story onto paper.

People tell stories all the time. Have you ever heard him excitedly tell you about a movie he saw or a game he watched or something that happened with his friends? If so, help him to turn it into a written story.

There is “story” all around us. Help them to find the stories in their lives and use those for great writing assignments.

If they are really having trouble with writing, please don’t give them 3000 word assignments. Give them a paragraph assignment! Start small and build.

One of my kids found an e-mail pen pal. They began writing back and forth and it was a tremendous way to encourage writing (and spelling!) The only thing I told her was that I did not want her to use e-mail shorthand.

What are some ways that you have gotten reluctant writers to write?

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Help Me Get the Word Out

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I’m looking for 100 homeschool moms (or dads) who would be willing to take a little bit of time to help me spread the word that Ignite the Fire is now available once again.

If you are on any social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc and are willing to post something at least 10 times, I will give you my workshop Ignite the Fire absolutely FREE! You don’t need to provide me proof that you’ve done it. I trust you! Just leave a comment here that you have done it. You will then need to e-mail me, drop me a message on facebook, or DM me on Twitter and I will give you the download link for Ignite the Fire! This workshop will be available at the beginning of Dec for sale, but you will have it first!

If you are on Facebook, I have created a link in my notes. If you aren’t my friend, you need to add me.  I’ve made it easy for you in that all you have to do is click SHARE.

Do you blog? I would love for you to share the information that Ignite the Fire is now available for immediate download. In addition, everyone who signs up for the newsletter receives a FREE copy of my most popular workshop, Putting the Fun Into Home Education.  You can copy this image and put it on your blog.

itf resized

If you are on Twitter here are some sample tweets.  The website address to use is   or I’ll use the bitly one in the sample tweets. If you want to use the other and you have room, that’s fine too.  If you have experience with Ignite the Fire – I’m sure you can make up your own exciting tweets.

Give your homeschooled kids the gift of an education that is FUN – Ignite the Fire is back!

Did you know kids retain more when they enjoy what they are learning? The must have resource for homeschool parents

Help your kids love to learn. FREE workshop Putting the Fun into Home Education

Do you ever struggle with reluctant learners? Terri’s book Ignite the Fire is a sanity saver!

Help develop your child’s purpose – Homeschool book, Ignite the Fire will guide you!

Need 100 Homeschool Parents Free Gift for your participation!

Here comes the heart string pull —-  As a single mom in the real estate industry, the past two years have been extremely difficult financially for us. Many people in our community have helped with monetary gifts. And those have been so appreciated! There are times we would not have had electricity or even had our rent paid had it not been for the love and support of those in my community (both online and in person). My desire though is to be able to support the kids with my own hands, while still being able to be home with them to continue the foundation that began 18 years ago.  If I can get just 100 people to purchase Ignite the Fire I will be able to pay my November rent! Yes, I still owe November rent. 🙁 I believe in the book I wrote ten years ago. The testimonies I receive about how it has changed the lives of families and freed them to really educate their children have both humbled and encouraged me.

I really do appreciate any help you can offer in getting the word out that Ignite the Fire is now available once again.

After you have posted something about ten times (of course you can post more) come back here and leave a comment in the comments box. E-mail me, DM me on Twitter, or message me on Facebook and I will send you the link to download the workshop Ignite the Fire!

Oh yea…don’t forget to go order your own copy of Ignite the Fire!

Thank you for all your help!

Categories : Get the word out
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