Your “Not-To-Do” List!

God (of course) has the right idea…it’s not wise to compare ourselves with anyone else.

So often we try to look at what other people are DOING to figure out how to be more like them. We try to find the secrets of their success, blessing and peace by copying them. We wonder why we are doing so much, and don’t see the results of all the “successful” people we try to replicate. What is the problem?

I’m trying to do everything right, but the results are not the same.

It’s okay to learn from the lives of people we admire and want to be more like, but let me explain why doing what they do will never make your life better.

Take Instagram for example. You get lots of ideas of what clever moms are doing, so you squeeze that idea into your already squeezed up day. It only feels like one more thing. Just smashing a new idea on top of the busy life you are already struggling to live, and all you do is feel more stressed.

So how will you ever learn to embrace the same peace and victory these other amazing moms seem to live out so effortlessly. Is it even real?

Yes. It’s real. Those of us who are living the lives that others wish to emulate are really living peaceful and victorious lives. But don’t copy what I do! Why? What I actually do constantly changes and looks totally different from day to day. If you want to experience the victory and success I have, first you must forget about trying to DO things my way.

Who I am, and who I have become, is all wrapped up in WHAT I DON’T DO! It’s not what I do that makes me successful, it all starts with what I am not. It begins with what I say NO to. It is rooted in what I am NOT doing, thinking, watching, trying, eating, listening to, following, and practicing. What makes me who I am is what I’m not. I have had to let go of some many different ideas, beliefs, pressures, time wasters, bad role models, family expectations, requests, and anything that is irrelevant to my calling.

I had to clear away all the distractions, and all the weights to run with endurance the race set before me. Becoming successful, peaceful or victorious begins with a trip to the DUMP. Clear the clutter out of your heart, mind, body, soul, spirit, and get it out of your home, kitchen, fridge, bookshelf and desktop.

Start off empty, clean, and free. Before you think about doing one more thing, consider what you ought to let go of. So as you consider what you want to do in this new school year, change your mindset. Instead of choosing what you want to do this year, make a list of un-resolutions. First decide what you will say no to, and then… Begin again.

Share: What’s on your “Not-To-Do” list this year?

Your “Not-To-Do” list is the list that will bring you so much closer to living the life you envision, for yourself and your family. Choose from these great options to begin planning your “Not-To-Do” list–click the image below to read Linda’s amazing blog post!

Sarah’s Mom Tips: How to Triage

Triage: A process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority.

Being a mom of 15, I’ve learned a thing or two about triaging life for our kids. Play, chores, reading, quiet time, research, exploration…all of them are rearranged pretty fluidly for each child. Just as medical professionals triage their patients, evaluating their needs in terms of urgency and precedence, so we homeschooling moms are continually evaluating our kids and what their needs are not only educationally, but also emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Here are some tips that have worked well for us.

As you plan to Fun-School a child under 10, don’t feel like you need to do everything on your list every day.

Listen to your child and watch for what brings them joy -You will learn what subjects and topics your child is passionate about, and those are the ones you should do every day and spend more time on (if the child wants to spend extra time researching their favorite topics).

Many teachers focus the most on the child’s weakness and problem areas. I do not focus more than 20 minutes a day on the problem areas if the lesson or activity burns them out. If reading is a struggle, I use Dyslexia Games, but only 15 minutes a day – unless they want to do more. Usually they like Dyslexia Games, so it isn’t a struggle.

If math is a struggle, use games and calculators, and our book 100 Numbers.

If they seem confused when trying to learn math – stop using a memory approach and teach them the WHY and HOW of numbers. They may need time to mature to be able to grasp new concepts. Children need to understand, not just memorize.

Make a lot of time for play, curiosity and discovery.

Children who are entertained constantly, over scheduled, or are addicted to gaming have a lot of issues. You can avoid MANY problems by making sure your child has time to use their imagination and PLAY without constant electronic stimulation. Kids often opt to be entertained. Boredom is okay and leads to innovation!

Healthy children often can’t sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time. They are wiggly by design, children need to move their bodies while learning.

If there is a topic or book that you want to use that they don’t enjoy, you can let it go OR do the work together OR you do it while the child watches you do it.

Make sure your child watches you write – in print and cursive. That’s what the Mom-School books are for.

Feel free to use audio books in place of reading, so the child can learn on a higher level.

Throw out anything that makes your child miserable when trying to learn. Try the fun and joyful methods. If there is no fun and joyful way to learn, you may be dealing with a maturity issue.

Kids on sugar may seem crazy and out of control.

Kids who do not sleep enough may seem moody and out of control.

Kids who see adults fighting or are exposed to violence on games and movies may seem depressed and unmotivated to learn.

Kids who text all night are often lazy all day. Is your child sleeping with a phone?

Find your child’s passion, and feed it.

It is good for kids to learn to research. Research is an awesome skill, that is learned best when a child studies their passion.

Some of most important things to teach your children involve:

1. Reading

2. Research

3. Relationships

4. Responsibility

5. Resourcefulness

6. Rest & Reflection

Put first things first. Outline your goals for each child and help them grow in the things that really matter.

Sarah’s Mom Tips: “Important” vs. “Necessary”

This is a very handy tool for mothers.

Just TWO simple definitions:

The problem with being a homeschooling mom is that we feel so driven to accomplish the things that are defined as “Necessary” that we often push the “Important” things off our plates and procrastinate.

We MUST focus some of our time and energy on the things that are important, and therein you will find JOY!

If your life revolves around doing the things that you “HAVE TO GET DONE OR ELSE!” your life will be full of stress and anxiety and this feeling that you are doing SO MUCH but you don’t have time for what matters.

So often the “Necessary” things wear us out and keep stacking up. Tell me what is SO important about the IMPORTANT things and why is it NECESSARY to focus on the IMPORTANT THINGS TOO?

“Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”–good words to consider when weighing this question. Ultimately, what is the lasting thing that I should invest in with my energy and focus?

One important thing? Self care. Your making self care a priority teaches them to do the same.

Sarah’s Mom Tips – Prioritizing ALL the Things!

As you plan to Fun-School a child under 10, don’t feel like you need to do everything on your list every day.

Listen to your child and watch for what brings them joy. You will learn what subjects and topics your child is passionate about, and those are the ones you should do every day and spend more time on (if the child wants to spend extra time researching their favorite topics).

Many teachers focus the most on the child’s weakness and problem areas. I do not focus more than 20 minutes a week on the problem areas – if the lesson or activity burns them out. If reading is a struggle, I use Dyslexia Games, but only 15 minutes a day – unless they want to do more. Usually they like Dyslexia Games, so it isn’t a struggle.

If math is a struggle, use games, calculators, and our new book 100 Numbers.

If they seem confused when trying to learn math, stop using a memory approach and teach then the WHY and HOW of numbers. They may need time to mature to be able to grasp new concepts. Children need to understand, not just memorize.

Make a lot of time for play, curiosity and discovery.

Children who are entertained constantly, over scheduled, or are addicted to gaming have a lot of issues. You can avoid MANY problems by making sure your child has time to use their imagination and PLAY without constant electronic stimulation. Kids often opt to be entertained. Boredom is okay and leads to innovation.

Healthy children often can’t sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time. They are wiggly by design, children need to move their bodies while learning.

If there is a topic or book that you want to use that they don’t enjoy, you can let it go OR do the work together OR you do it while the child watches you do it.

Make sure your child watches you write – in print and cursive, that’s what the Mom School books are for.

Feel free to use audio books in place of reading, so the child can learn on a higher level.

Throw out anything that makes your child miserable when trying to learn.  Try the fun and joyful methods.  If there is no fun and joyful way to learn, you may be dealing with a maturity issue.

Kids on sugar may seem crazy and out of control.

Kids who do not sleep enough may seem moody and out of control.

Kids who see adults fighting or are exposed to violence on games and movies may seem depressed and unmotivated to learn.

Kids who text all night are often lazy all day. Is your child sleeping with a phone?

Find your child’s passion, and feed it.

It is good for kids to learn to research. Research is an awesome skill that is learned best when a child studies their passion.

Some of most important things to teach your children involve:

1. Reading

2. Research

3. Relationships

4. Responsibility

5. Resourcefulness

6. Rest & Reflection

Put first things first. Outline your goals for each child and help them grow in the things that really matter.

Ignore anything on this list that you don’t agree with, this is my method, and may not be right for your family.

Get Out of Survival Mode

My husband says we are almost “empty nesters” because five of our adult children have moved out… and we only have TEN left at home!

I was asked a couple of times to share my ideas on how to get out of survival mode and thrive. I quickly wrote down five steps. I hope this helps someone.

First things first:

Number 1: Throw out everyone else’s opinion about what you should be doing with your family, home, body, homeschool, kitchen, job, budget and life style. If they don’t live in your house, their opinion should not drive you, shame you, or be your source of motivation. Sometimes we operate from a place of guilt because we are trying to satisfy someone who can’t be satisfied. This person is usually a family member who is an empty nester, or maybe was a teacher in the past, who knows what’s “best” for your family. Or you could be motivated by an image from Instagram that is totally unrealistic. Who are you following? Who are you trying to please? Are you driven by fear of failure or by a desire to fulfill your purpose and bring joy into your world?

Number 2: What is your purpose? What’s the end goal in raising your children? What’s your vision for your marriage? What are your personal and realistic health goals? Write down your answers and check your life to see if your daily life is in alignment with your goals. Does your husband share these primary goals? Get on the same page. If you are in agreement move on to step 3.

Number 3: Let go of anything you are doing for the wrong reason. Let go of anything that isn’t working. Let go of the unhealthy things that you may have lost control of… like things that waste time, wear you out, and compromise your health.

Number 4: After taking time to clean out your life of anything that keeps you from meeting your goals and living your purpose, you will be ready to add in some good stuff. But you CANNOT ADD until you subtract. So now that you dumped the time wasters and gave up a couple unhealthy habits, and stopped listening to the control freaks who love you… you are ready for your purpose. Start by planning just two hours a week to focus on your purpose: that meaningful something that matters so much to you.

Number 5: Get total control of your daily accomplishments. Start choosing to focus daily on what is important, instead of being in survival mode, where we scramble to do what is absolutely necessary. Once you get control of your daily life you can start making room for bigger dreams, bigger projects, a bigger mission. But remember there is nothing more important than nurturing a family. Nurture your family with a vision for the future and let one of your greatest goals for each member of the family be to help each one discover and pursue their life’s purpose. This includes your purpose along with your husband’s. You are more than parents, you are a team to raise a family and make a difference in this world, in your community or whatever.

When you are in survival mode, it’s impossible to think much about the rest of the world because your own world is barely hanging in there. So why are we in survival mode? Because we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our children. Because we are being shamed by Instagram and “people who care”? Because we are wasting too much time? Because we have no energy as a result of eating junk food, and we don’t sleep? Because we take on homeschooling methods that sap the life out of us and make our kids miserable? Because we are too tired to bless our husbands? Because we have preschoolers and babies?

I’m just writing what popped into my head. I hope it helped someone.

One last thing–turn off the noise. Turn on peaceful music and light a candle. It only takes a moment but can totally change the mood in your home to help everyone settle down and refocus.