Getting Rid of the Grumbles in Homeschooling
If you are a parent to more than one child, then you will readily agree that each of our children is very different. They may have similar looks or traits, but in the end, each is unique and has different learning styles that they prefer. Homeschooling allows parents to intricately weave together these different styles and educate our children efficiently with a vested interested in having them reach their academic goals. However, we often spend days in frustration along the way as our children can lapse into grumbling and complaining about this or that task at hand. One little exercise can be an invaluable tool into transforming those little complaints and murmurs. It takes very little time each day, but when consistently done over time, this tool will actually change the way your children look at life, including their schooling.
This tool is called a “Gratitude Journal,” or you can create your own fun name for it, but the concept is fairly simple. Each child should have a notebook and before they go to bed every day, or perhaps before dinner, etc., they are to list five things that they are grateful for that happened or that they discovered that day. This can be a part of your homeschool schedule, so make sure that they have time to do this each day. They need to list different things each day, so the idea is not to repeat the items. If you do this before dinner, it can be a topic of conversation with your children about their day. Or, if you opt to do this at bedtime, it can be a source for bedtime prayers. Work it into your homeschool plan and emphasize writing if you wish, or make it an art project. Whatever works for your homeschool will be fine, but keep the items fresh and new every day.
Initially this will be a simple exercise and your child will find that they list items that are pretty obvious – their family members, their pets, etc. But fairly quickly, they will have “used up” these items and it will be a bit of a stretch to look for new things for which to be grateful. They will need to shift their attentions to deeper things. They will even find that they will begin to anticipate the “good things” in their day so that they will know what to write down at the appropriate time. It will actually cause them to look for the good things, not focus on the “grumbles.”
Changing our focus is not quickly done sometimes, but if a gratitude journal becomes a habit and part of every day, it can have this effect. Homeschooling is full of many joys, and your children will come to value your gift of time eventually, but sometimes we have to help them to seek the good things. Sometimes we have to lead them into gratitude because it doesn’t always come naturally to our children. You might even find that keeping a gratitude journal for yourself is a good idea. Model the act of giving thanks, and see if your children don’t begin to pick up on that, too!
Mrs. Camille Rodriquez is a wife and mother, with experience as a pastor’s wife for more than a decade and as a homeschool mom for almost 20 years. Visit her website at National Homeschool Academy.