The to-do list is always looming for the homeschool mom. And one of the things on the list is a successfully run homeschool, where children learn happily and accomplish the goals you set lay out for them. Often, we have to cheer our children on, encouraging them to remain diligent to the work before them. Then other days, it feels more like we have to drag, push, or pull them on in the the right direction, just to complete the day’s work. And those types of days tend to carry on and on.
It can become so easy to get stuck in that mode of “make sure you get your work done” or “did you check that off your list” or “did you finish your assignment yet”. . .ahem, I may or may not know this from experience! At our core though, we just want our babes to thrive, to do well, to give their best, to love learning. . .but all of that can be easily lost in translation if we aren’t careful. When I feel myself hitting this place in our homeschool life, I have learned am learning to back down a little, pray for the situation and then sprinkle some good old fashioned love on them. Letting the children know they are special to me really is easy to do and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Constantly go to the Father on your childrens’ behalf, but especially during times of stress and strain. There have been intense times in our school day where I will pull my child aside and pray over them right then and there. God is faithful, and although the situation may not be resolved immediately, the tension is diffused. Sometimes my children thank me for praying for them, but often they don’t. That is okay because these prayers are sown in faith. One day, they will be very grateful and will look back with fondness over the prayers we’ve prayed. Pray fervently for your children.
hugs and tickles
All of my children find this refreshing, even the older ones. Hugs are free and they are loving and they make children feel secure. My kids love when I hug them, even my older ones and random hugs are the best!
My children love a good snack or treat from time to time. We are not an overly “snacky” family, meaning we don’t snack all day long. Pretzel rods and popcorn are always available if someone can’t hold out till the next meal. I try to give my children good, full meals, with 2nds (or 3rds) if they are still hungry. That way, 30 minutes later they aren’t asking for a snack.
Anyway, some days I will randomly just go around and hand out treats to each of my kids and they love it, because it’s unexpected. It varies from things we have on hand, like marshmallows, fruit snacks or popsicles. Other times it’s candy I buy specifically for this purpose. Skittles, candy corn, lollipops and Smarties are some of our favorites.
index card notes
After the kids have gone to bed, I will write a little note to each of them on an index card. I put the card at their place at the table so they will see it the next morning at breakfast. The note will tell them I love them, of course, along with something positive about that child. They note isn’t elaborate and I don’t expect them to keep the note forever. The gesture itself will go a long way in making them feel special.
stickers, stars, and smiley faces
This one is pretty self explanatory! What child doesn’t love a sticker, star, or a smiley face on their papers??? And, guess what? Big kids enjoy this, too. And reserved especially for my big kids, I may also leave a funny note beside the sticker, just to brighten their day.
These are just little extras that thrill my children. Things like:
- Extra time up before bedtime
- First to have video game time after school
- Choose the menu for breakfast or lunch
- Free reading instead of assigned reading
- Movie at naptime in the living room, complete with blankets and pillows
- Pick the next flavor of Kool-Aid, even allowing for some very interesting combination flavors
I often tell my older kids that at the end of this homeschooling journey, we need to still be friends. In other words, homeschooling should strengthen our relationship with our children, not tear it apart. The point is that we have a unique job as mother/teacher and there are simple ways to remind our children that they are special to us.