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There’s something about a fresh start. And I think that’s one of the most appealing things that propel many into getting right to new goals. But it’s almost a tricky thing to balance. Often times we want a fresh start because we haven’t liked how some things are going. Namely, how busy we homeschooling families can be. So, while we want to slow down and start afresh, we all too often end up diving right into a busy pattern and maintain old habits that need to go. It doesn’t have to be this way though. So, I have a challenge for you to help you ease into the new homeschool year so that this cycle doesn’t happen unintentionally.
Before deciding what to toss out the window when making a fresh start, it’s important to review accomplishments. In order to know what is going well, you need to consider the results of what you’ve been applying. This has to do with life in general and not simply homeschooling. Remember that home education is a natural extension life. So in addition to the curriculum, take a look at your student’s extra-curricular activities, including sports, hobbies, volunteer work, clubs, and other activities.
Review Major Set Backs
We all have them. So, it’s okay to be transparent here. One of the most helpful ways to review major setbacks is to list them. And these will likely be in the same categories as your accomplishments, however, it’ll likely be broken down more to help you find a link to areas of weakness. For instance, maybe homeschool co-op is going great, but perhaps you’re personally lacking time for self-care because of time-consuming demands the co-op has on you.
Other things to list to help you find a link to setbacks include:
One of the best things we can do and teach our kids is looking for the lessons we can learn from setbacks. For sure, setbacks don’t make us failures! We just need to reflect, learn lessons, and move forward with a growth mindset. That’s called grit.
Another helpful thing we can do is re-frame the outcomes. In this way, we can better see what lessons we do learn from these experiences. And it can also help us consider what we need to change and how to move forward.
God gives us opportunities to grow. And it’s wonderful because the lessons help us to grow in our faith walk. Instead of dwelling on regrets, we can be thankful to see the lesson and to do something different next time. And we can also be thankful for all that God helps us accomplish. So, after listing out the accomplishments, setbacks, and lessons learned, give thanks to God for what you have learned.
Keep a Positive Outlook
If we dwell on the negative, it’ll bring us down. And that causes so many problems for us.
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist. Her life work and ministry is about the mind-brain connection. She describes how negative, toxic thoughts grow connections in our brains that are like dead trees. Conversely, positive thoughts and truth grow neuro connections like green trees in our minds. It’s the seed principle: you reap what you sow.
Be Intentional About Avoiding Burnout
This boils down to our mindset. Again, Dr. Caroline Leaf has excellent insight about this in her How To Avoid Burnout by Cultivating Correct Mindsets talk:
How you understand and use your mind is predictive of how successful you will be.
In order for us to help prevent burnout, we need to consider if we’re using our minds to thrive or just survive. Dr. Caroline Leaf encourages people that they can get their mindsets to set the tone for health and success. In other words, we can choose to have a toxic mindset or a healthy mindset. Another way to word this is a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Of note, mindsets are determined by one’s perspective.
We’re wired by God for healthy thinking. We see this principle in a couple of Scripture passages:
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
Considering that God gave us instructions to guard and take captive our thoughts, it makes sense that they’ll help us to live with more ease.
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Marcy Crabtree is a veteran homeschool mom currently teaching her high school senior, Ben. From unit studies to online learning, they have approached learning from a delight-directed viewpoint, building a deep love of learning. You can find a plethora of homeschool encouragement, tips, and recommendation on their blog, Ben and Me and in social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.