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Training Kids to Become Independent Learners

Training Kids to Become Independent Learners

My friend Trisha Mugo is more than a facebook buddy and homeschool compatriot. Trisha is also the founder of a local Homeschool Moms Who Write support group. This busy woman works hard to help her friends reach their dreams. So you can imagine she has her homeschooling as streamlined as possible. I invited her to share her easy homeschool secrets with us today.

There’s a line from Pride and Prejudice that haunts my homeschool dreams.

When Mr. Darcy’s mean old aunt finds out that Elizabeth Bennett never had a governess, she’s aghast.

“No governess! … Your mother must have been quite the slave to your education,” she says.

That line haunts me because I don’t want to be a slave. I’ve felt enslaved to my children’s education before. I’ve been the mom doing way too much, making it harder than it needs to be.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to feel like a sentence of indentured servitude. We can lighten our load by teaching our children to become self-starters.

Earlier this year, I realized in horror that I had made my children reliant on me for almost everything, including sharpening pencils. Instead of empowering them, I had enabled dependence.

If we want to stay half-way sane while homeschooling, then we need to start sowing the seeds of independent learning while they’re young.

Homeschool Made Easy

One way I’m training my kids to become self-starters is by keeping most of their work at their fingertips.

I’ve modified Kristi Clover’s crate system to fit my needs, and it has totally streamlined our homeschool. Watch the video for the details, but in a nutshell, I’ve organized all of our work by the week. I put weekly work in a binder and their daily work on a clipboard.

I’ve ripped apart the workbooks to make their work as accessible as possible. No more lost time looking for workbooks.

Almost everything they need is safely stowed on the clipboard, a clipboard I bought at the dollar store. Hands down the best dollar I’ve spent all year!

I call the “magic clipboard” because everything I put on it gets magically done without much complaining. Turns out, my kids actually like the feeling of independence.

If we need to run an errand, they can take it in the car, so no more lugging around all our workbooks. It’s like a portable desk.

When my son finishes one subject, he can start on the next worksheet. Voila! He needs about half the amount of attention from me that he needed before.

All worksheets for the week are kept in a binder, which my student stores in his desk. If my son wants to have a lighter school day on Friday, he can choose to work ahead.

My children know they can ask my help if they need, but I’m training them to “hustle while they wait.” In other words, if mom is busy, they know to skip to the next problem and keep working.

I don’t have to drop what I’m doing and come running every time they’re stuck. Oh, and they’ve also learned to sharpen their own pencils.

How do you train your kids to work independently?

Need more help streamlining your homeschool system? Do you wish that homeschooling wasn’t hard anymore. . . that it was EASY for you and on your students? Homeschool Made Easy and the sequel Homeschool High School Made Easy do just that. They empower you to make simple choices that will make all the difference for you AND your student. Get yours in paperback or Kindle on Amazon today.

Learning to Enjoy Homeschooling Teens

Not everyone likes homeschooling teens. It’s actually common for homeschoolers to quit when they hit high school. But that’s not at all necessary. It’s not only possible to make homeschooling high school easy, but moms can actually have fun doing it. My friend Jackie Card shares how she found happiness with hers.

I could never homeschool my kids, they drive me crazy!

We’ve all heard it, right? And while we all want to staunchly disagree with such a statement… there are days that we would have to agree. So how do we ensure that the good days outnumber the days that we are searching the roads for a big yellow bus to flag down?

We learn to enjoy homeschooling our children, especially our teens.

It sounds cliche, but ask any mom with a high schooler – it goes by so, so fast. You wake up one morning to these young adults walking around your house, calling you mom, searching for food, and asking for help with algebra. Since we can do nothing to slow time or change the inevitable, we simply must learn to enjoy our quickly-growing children and always remember what a privilege it is to homeschool them. These three things have helped me:

Learn what your kids enjoy.

Homeschooling gives us a unique and beautiful opportunity to learn things about our children that we may never have realized if they were in a public school setting. An affinity for math, even though they may complain about it or a real gift for working with younger siblings – seeing these things gives us an in-road to encourage such gifts. Discussions about careers and future plans are easier because you can see each day what they enjoy doing, what they excel at, and where they need reinforcement. Don’t see it as drudgery – these opportunities are a precious gift to continue to pour into our children’s lives and to help them grow.

Learn the requirements.

Especially if you went to public school, it is crucial that you learn your state’s requirements for homeschoolers. I was surprised to see how different they were for us in New York. How does this help us to make homeschooling easier and more enjoyable? It takes the pressure off! When we realized that my 11th grader had already fulfilled her science requirement, it opened up a spot in her day for subjects she enjoys. And when a student enjoys what they’re doing, it makes things much easier on the parent! It also helps in upper high school grades, as students are considering college or a career, to give them space to dive a bit deeper into things they enjoy. What a great opportunity to try out a field before committing to it!

Homeschooling teens could be easy!

Learn to trust your instinct.

I firmly believe mother’s intuition is real and inspired by the Holy Spirit. It can be that little nagging in the back of your mind that something isn’t a good idea or that you should be encouraging a bit more. When we choose a curriculum, a class, or an extracurricular activity for our students we need to pray and trust our instincts. Maybe on paper, it all looks crazy. Too much, too soon. But deep down, you know your student is going to thrive under the weight of new and interesting challenges. So go for it! Don’t compare what your student is doing to anyone else – even their siblings! Or just the opposite. Yes, algebra is supposed to be the next step but you just know that your student needs one more year. So wait the extra year! It’s okay to do things differently. Not only is it okay – it’s the best part of homeschooling and it’s where to creativity of the Holy Spirit can really lead us.

We all know homeschooling isn’t really easy. There will often be days where it just doesn’t seem like enough time to get everything in. But we can make choices that will make our moments easier and we can choose to be thankful for the freedom to embark on this homeschooling journey.

What do you enjoy about homeschooling?

Jackie Card is a homeschooling mom to four daughters. She loves Jesus, coffee, reading, music, hobby farming, and gardening. Jackie blogs at oneredeemedmom.com about real life, mothering, and homeschooling. She and her husband Josh are raising their daughters in northern New York. You can follow her imperfect life on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Do you wish you could enjoy that same freedom and ease Jackie experiences? I agree with her whole-heartedly that it’s possible. Just check out my new book Homeschool High School Made Easy and see for yourself if it doesn’t make everything . . . easier. (coffee not included)

 

Can I give you two free books?

You know I wrote Homeschool Made Easy and Homeschool High School Made Easy just for you, right?

Because I really, really, really wanted you to know you CAN homeschool, and that it doesn’t have to be difficult.

People quit homeschooling when it gets hard, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

I know that for sure, because every day I homeschool a large family for only 2-3 hours a day, and they’re smart and competent. I’ve got the test scores and college scholarships to back it up. And I’m here to tell you things get easier every day.

I want homeschooling to be easy for you, too.

So I wrote you two books. The first one, Homeschool Made Easy, gives an overview of every stage of homeschooling from preschool through graduation. It tells you what’s going on with your student, what he needs to learn, how to know if he’s ready to progress, and how to simplify your classes. It works no matter your teaching style or his learning style. Hey, I tell you how to identify both and use them as your secret weapon!

In my new Homeschool High School Made Easy, I go in-depth for those four years. In one simple volume, I share how to understand your teen, how to survive complex classes, how to prepare your teen for adulthood, and how to make him listen to you.

Seriously.

It’s the magic sauce my husband and I use every day in our parenting and homeschooling, and I’m giving it away.

For a limited-time holiday offer, I’m giving both ebooks and a packet of other homeschool helps to you for free. You can find out all about it here.

Be sure to let me know if I can help you make homeschooling easy in any way. Because homeschooling CAN be easy when you find your why and your way.

Join the Homeschool High School Made Easy Launch Team!

I’m so excited to announce the publication of my newest book: Homeschool High School Made Easy!, available in paperback and kindle versions!

Wanna get a sneak peak?

I’m looking for some homeschool friends to help me spread the word about this unique book and to support the quest to make homeschooling fun again!

What’s in it for you?

  • your own digital copy of Homeschool High School Made Easy so you can start simplifying — and enjoying — these high school years . . . PRONTO!
  • exclusive access to the Homeschool Made Easy private facebook group, where we’ll discuss this book and it’s predecessor, Homeschool Made Easy. I’ll answer your hard questions, and we’ll generally have a great time. Because we’ll have more time since homeschooling is suddenly easier, right?
  • links to your blog and facebook page on my blog if you want to share your personal testimony (in 500 words or less) about how simplifying homeschooling changed you, your student, and/or your family life.
  • insider information on how I wrote and published three books . . . and am shopping my fourth to a major publisher.
  • free gifts that go along with the message, including printable action guides, planning helps, affirmation cards, more.

What do you have to do?

  1. Fill out the form below as completely as possible. Don’t sweat it if your answers seem small or insignificant; I’m looking for enthusiasm and creativity most of all.
  2. Watch your inbox. If you’re chosen, I’ll contact you within the next week.
  3. If you are, indeed, chosen, I ask you to make the following commitments:
    • to give the book your honest review  on Amazon within the first month.
    • to spread the word on social media (I’ll give you everything you need, so it will be quick and painless). I’m talking a blog post, a podcast interview, a facebook shout-out,  a pinterest pin . . . whatever you can do.

If this sounds like fun for you — if you are ready to make your homeschooling through the high school years easy and enjoyable — then please fill out the form below!

Finding Your Tribe

Once in a while, a homeschool mom finds another homeschool mom who just breathes grace. Grace and hope and encouragement. Just what one needs to continue on one more day, week, semester . . . someone like my friend Tina. Tina Nahid wrote the beautiful Moments of Grace that whispers fresh life into a tired soul. When you’re ready to put away the useless formulas and burdensome failures, take a moment of grace with Tina. Here’s a cup of tea with her today.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

–Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT)

When I first ventured out on my homeschool journey, I had the mindset that I could start this new endeavor all on my own. Once I set my mind to it, I was determined to make it happen! I voraciously devoured every book and article on home education, and therefore I thought I was pretty well prepared to take the leap. Let’s just say I was a tad naïve!

The first few years of homeschooling were very isolating for me, yet I persevered regardless of the lack of community. I didn’t really know any other alternative. Thankfully, as the years have gone by, homeschooling has grown exponentially and many groups and support systems have formed. This is a wonderful occurrence that is beneficial in every way; physically, emotionally and spiritually for us as women.

We desperately need our tribe!

As I began to reach out and find a community of grace-based women, my perspective and attitude began to change, for the better! I felt encouraged, understood, less stressed and more relaxed, which is something we all not only want but need.  And because of the sense of community and encouragement that I began to experience, I felt empowered to continue this journey of educating my children at home.

We are not and cannot be islands in our homeschooling adventure.

It isn’t good for us as women to be isolated from other women. We weren’t created to be alone. Finding friends who are emotionally safe and spiritually sound can take time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it!  Having another mom who “has your back,” who prays for you and your family, who encourages you and speaks life into your circumstances and trials is a blessing far beyond recognition. I don’t honestly know where I would be at this point, 17 years into my career as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom if it weren’t for my circle of friends.

For those of us who are of a more introverted nature, we especially can fall into the belief that doing it alone is acceptable and sustainable. Yet, in most cases, it is neither. We still need at least a few friends who we can reach out to, have community with and spend time together. It isn’t optional; it is essential. For our wellbeing in the long-term, friendships built on trust, encouragement and loyalty enhance our lives in every way. They serve as an extension of God’s unconditional love and grace toward us in our everyday lives.

With the opportunities that are now available for connection on social media, there is no excuse for us as women not to reach out and find community. There are many homeschool groups online in which we can find comfort and support as well. Our local communities, unless we live in a very rural or isolated area, likely have some type of support group. And if they don’t, we can always pray and consider starting our own. Remember, it’s a healthy choice for both now and the future. It’s healthy for us as moms and women, healthy for our children and our husbands as well. Be blessed and go find your tribe!

Tina Nahid is a wife to her husband Nami and mother to Abraham, Micah and Ellie and has been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for 17 years. She has an MA in English and an advanced diploma in Biblical Counseling and is an author of two devotional books for homeschool moms, including Moments of Grace. She and her family reside in Kentucky.

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