Catherine Levison, author and speaker, shares some of her favorite tips for coping with the daily challenges of home education.
One Possible Cure for “Super-Mom Syndrome”
When motherhood or home schooling is getting you down, stop and simplify. So often when we have a problem, we try to attack it with a monumental overhaul of the entire situation. Charlotte Mason taught quite a bit on the formation of good habits, and her emphasis was on implementing only one new habit or idea at a time.
To apply this to our homes and schools, we shouldn’t write a big list of things we want changed all at once and then post it prominently on the living room wall. Success in changing habits depends on setting one small goal at a time and achieving it.
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Reading for Refreshment
Enjoy some quiet time reading books that restore you and at the same time inspire you with constructive ideas. One suggestion for this is, “Victorian Family Celebrations,” also known as “Mrs. Sharp’s Tradition” (currently out of print but can often be found through used book dealers). In the pages of this book, you’ll find encouragement, inspiration, and some concrete ideas on how to raise a family and enjoy spending time together. Because home school families spend a lot of time together, I think we can all benefit from fresh ideas.
There are many books that moms find refreshing. For many, it’s the Bible, poetry, fiction or even a magazine. We home schooling parents read so much research type of writing and have to spend time in the education catalogs that sometimes we have to make ourselves stop and read something for the simple pleasure of reading. I have found the answer for me is poetry. The reason it’s refreshing is you put in as much effort as you want. When all your reading has been for studying, it feels good to read words that simply have beauty and rhythm. You can work you brain if you want when reading poetry, or you can just relax and enjoy it.
Menu planning can save valuable time. And what, my friend, is more valuable to the home schooling mother than time?
I sit down with my children when we are all very, very hungry and we brainstorm about breakfast, lunch and dinner. We make a huge list of meals we like — the more, the better. The list can be kept in a computer file, added to from time to time, and referred to whenever you’re sitting down to plan menus or needing a batch of fresh ideas.
Years ago, I made a master grocery list, and the funny thing is, people always wanted a copy. The best way to make one is to think of how your grocery store is laid out and group your regular purchases accordingly. Most trips I make to the store start with me hitting “print” for the list and using a yellow highlighter to mark what I need.
Many families benefit from freezer cooking and it has become very well known. For further information on cooking ahead for the freezer, I recommend reading the book Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month (SourceBooks).
Also, be sure to visit the following web-page: Frozen Assets Home Page
Homeschooling with Preschoolers
1) Even preschoolers are subject to habits. They can be trained over time to play quietly while everyone else studies.
2) Try having a school box exactly like the other children with your preschooler’s name on it. Stock it with safety scissors, crayons, color books, lacing cards, quiet toys, etc.
3) Preschoolers often want to work in the same book as the older sister or brother. That problem is easily solved by giving young children used up workbooks. None of my little kids have cared that they were already written in, it’s the appearance of looking important enough to “do” school like the big kids that matters.
4) Waiting until your preshooler’s nap time is one solution that worked for me. We couldn’t get the whole school day accomplished in that short time but we could save the most important subjects for then.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Levison — long-time homeschooling mother of five and popular conference speaker to parenting and educational audiences throughout the USA and Canada — is the author of several books on Charlotte Mason-style home education. You can visit Catherine Levison’s Amazon Author page here: Levison on Amazon
You can order Levison’s books online at:
- A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-to Manual
- More Charlotte Mason Education
- A Literary Education: An Annotated Book List
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