Homeschooling With Greater Joy and Peace

This is a guest post by Alecia Baptiste.

Some days homeschooling our children can be amazing.  We wake up in the morning feeling rested, excited about facing the challenges of the new day and eager to explore with our children.  On those days our children are excited about learning and cooperative.  And don't you love it when your children have those “Aha” moments?  When they finally get that math concept or they make some connection between facts or after months of struggling to read, you see them lying contently in bed reading a book. On those day we think to ourselves, “This is why I homeschool.” You feel utter bliss.




Other days, it can be a struggle.  Those are the days the kids wake up whining and complaining.  It takes them F-O-R-E-V-E-R to complete the smallest task.  Someone is in tears because of their school work (maybe it's you). One child who should be able to work independently can't seem to understand any of her work today, but your little one needs you to sit beside him or he won't sit still.  And on top of all of that, you have a plumbing emergency.  On those days, we think to ourselves,”Why am I putting myself through this?”  The idea of sending the kids to school sounds like paradise.

Obviously, these are two extremes.  Most of our days are a mixture of the two. 

I want to share with you some simple daily habits that can help you remain full of peace and joy on even the most challenging days.  We don't have to allow the external circumstances of life to determine our state of joy and peace.  We can't control most of the circumstances of life, including our children's attitudes, cut we can control our response to life.

As I tell my children, you choose your attitude.

  1. Practice gratitude.

    For some of us, it really takes practice to be a person of gratitude.  Personally, I naturally focus on my failures and lack.  I do the same to my children.  This focus on the negative, or lack actually affects the way we feel.  It makes us feel like we are never good enough.  It can lead to anxiety, fear, depression and a host of other unwanted emotions. All of these negative emotions zap us of our energy, creativity and peace.  It could be the reason you're feeling so exhausted.

    The prescription for this is to start practicing being thankful.  I recommend starting every morning and ending each day with writing down 5 things you're thankful for.  This would be a great way to put your children to bed each night.  Ask them to tell you 5 things they are thankful for, then you tell them 5 things you're thankful for.  Challenge yourselves not to say the same five things each night.  I've found that adding this habit to my day has made me more thankful throughout the day.  When I'm thankful, I feel more joyful. When I'm more joyful, I feel energized, and excited about life.  I'm actually more productive when I'm thankful.
     
  2. Let rest be a part of the natural rhythm of your home.

    In this culture where productivity and efficiency are valued, we have forgotten the importance of rest.  It would seem like with all of the gadgets that we have to make life easier, there would be more time to rest, when in fact it seems we haven’t gained any time.  We just fill up our time with more activities.  People expect even more out of us.  We expect more out of ourselves.

    So in this busy culture we must plan to rest.  Each day plan to rest.  Take a walk. Take a bubble bath. Have an extra long bathroom break as you read a book you enjoy. ;-) Take a nap. Stretch.

    Rest is not luxury.  It's a necessity. 

    Even a 15 minute walk can be the rejuvenation you need to help you deal with a challenging circumstance more positively.  I also suggest planning larger chunks of rest each week, one day of rest each month, and several days a year when you and your partner get away from the kids for a personal “retreat”.  For some of you, rest will be a game changer for your life.
     
  3. Be intentional about your thoughts.

    This goes hand in hand with gratitude.  This is all about deciding in advance what you choose to think about, rather than allowing negative, critical and even false ideas to have free range in your mind.  We all do it.  So here are some ideas of how to keep your mind focused on the good, the beautiful and the true. 

    Use daily affirmations.  Read or recite truths daily—as many times as needed.  Personally, I read and meditate on the truths in the Bible. 

    Choose a word of the day (or week) to focus on.  Post it on your refrigerator or some place that you will see often throughout the day.  Recently, I focused on the words “reach out” to remind me that I needed to focus on reaching out to others. 

    Post inspirational quotes all throughout your home.  Stop to read them throughout the day.

  4. Prepare yourself for the day. 

    The most important thing you can do for your morning routine is to get up 15- 30 minutes before your children for quiet reflection.  This time can be spent praying, reading, meditating, or taking a refreshing walk.  This is the time that you need prepare for the work of the day.  You may even want to spend a few minutes looking over the day's calendar, to see what you can expect for the day.

    You need this time.  Resist the urge to check e-mail or get work done.  (Lately I haven't been taking my own advice on this one.)

    Resist the desire to be perfect.  Many of us have been fed a BIG LIE: Practice makes perfect.  It's simply not true.   I know some of you need to read this, because that's the standard you've unconsciously given yourself and your children.  When we make our standard perfection, it can keep us from doing work that needs to be done.  It can keep us from serving others who need our gifts.  It can keep us from growing. It can leave us feeling like we're not accomplishing much. Perfectionism can also cause our children to resist doing work—because they don't want to fail again.   Focus on progress and effort, rather than the results.  Celebrate every small bit of progress and effort.  You deserve it!

Which of these habits are you going to try?  Let me know how it works for you.



For more habits and routines that can transform your homeschool, go to:

http://aleciabaptiste.com/habits-and-routines-that-can-transform-your-homeschool/


Alecia Baptiste is the wife of the most patient and gracious man on earth, and a mom of four children who have revealed much about her imperfections and her own need of Divine intervention.  Her mission is to release moms of the burdens fear, guilt, unforgiveness and perfectionism, leaving them free to focus on what's most important to them, and allowing them to give their children what only they can give them. She does this through one-on-one life coaching, group mentoring programs and live speaking events.

Connect with her at: www.aleciabaptiste.com or www.facebook.com/AleciaBaptistelifecoach
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