Back to Homeschool – How We Celebrate

It’s hard to miss all those back to school photos of kids going back to school the first day. Just because we homeschool doesn’t mean we don’t participate in back to school, or “not” back to school traditions too. I believe celebrating the days of our lives in fun ways will be something our kids will gladly remember. I know I will! I already enjoy looking back at first day of school photos of my kids from the last few years and remembering the good times we have had.

 

There are tons of ways to make the first day back to school a special day for you and your children.

 

Here’s what we do:

Back to School Photos

You know you see them all over Facebook and Pinterest. People posting photos of their kids on the first day back to school. We do it pretty simply. We take our chalkboard and write the year on it and take our photos holding it. I usually try to get in at least one photo with the kids so I drag out my tripod. That usually means we end up making silly photos too!

New School Supplies

Everyone loves new school supplies, right? And this time of year there are awesome deals on back to school supplies. I set out each of the kids’ new supplies on their desks for them to find first thing in the morning. I like to get them new supplies that are fun and inspire their creativity.

Fun Treats

We had ice cream for breakfast on our first day of school. My kids were totally surprised and thrilled to find out we were having ice cream. Then for our mid-morning snack, we made smoothies to pack back in some nutrition that we missed with breakfast. I let the kids decide what they wanted to put in the smoothies. They turned out yummy!

Fun Activities

Firecracker loves science and wants to do it everyday. We were studying wind on our first day of school so we made some little kites for them to play with out of supplies we have around the house. Simple. Fun. I made sure to do plenty of fun artsy-craftsy and science-y fun stuff the first week. We can’t always do as much as we’d like to, but I wanted us to start the year off having lots of fun with each other.

Student Interview

I like to mark the passage of time with a student interview. I always find out some interesting facts about my kids. When I interviewed Firecracker on our first day, he told me that he wants to learn Japanese. And his self-portrait was of himself as a ninja. The Japanese – I had no idea. The ninja – I wasn’t surprised. 

Enjoy your first day back to school! Be intentional about it; your kids are worth it!


5 Lessons Learned Through Homeschooling and Unemployment

Our family has just come through a period of unemployment. My hope for you is that you never have to experience it, however… there are worse things in life. You can recover from this. So if you find yourself homeschooling and your bread-winner is unemployed, I hope these bits of insight from my experience help you through it.

 

And if you aren’t going through a period of income loss, these life lessons may be just what you need to hear today to motivate you to get your financial house in order.

 

Homeschoolers, one of my fear during our period of unemployment was that I would have to go back to work, and we would no longer be able to homeschool our children. If we had not had an emergency plan in place, that would have been a certainty from the get-go of this whole thing. I see this opportunity to homeschool as a blessing as I’m sure you do too. So protect it by getting your finances in order so that should an emergency arise in your family, you will be able to continue homeschooling.

 

5 Lessons Learned Through Homeschooling and Unemployment

 

1 – Men and Women View Things Differently

Okay, we all know this right? But especially when it comes to money, men and women see things from different perspectives. My husband and I are a good balance for each other. But it takes intention and practice to try to see things from the other person’s point of view. We have been through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and welcome each other’s point of view. Make sure you are open and honest with your spouse about your finances and are sensitive to their feelings and opinions. You each bring something valuable to the discussion.

 

In his book, Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey writes:

“Somewhere down inside the typical lady is a ‘security gland’ and when financial stress enters the scene, that gland will spasm. This spasmodic gland will affect your wife in ways you can’t always predict.”

 

That totally describes me. Luckily my husband is well versed on the Financial Peace course and he recognizes this behavior from me when he sees it. whew!

 

Mothers, in particular, often find their purpose in caring for their family – whether they work outside the home, work part time, stay at home, or whatever. Their “job” or “income” doesn’t define them the way it does for a man.

 

So what about the men? They are born to be protectors and providers.  God has created them this way. I’m not saying all men embrace this role. But for the homeschool family who is dealing with unemployment of the main bread-winner (usually the husband), it is important for the wife to understand that her husband is dealing with different emotions and a different kind of loss than she may expect. Although their job should not be their identity, providing for their family is a huge part of their identify.

 

If you want some guidance in getting your financial house in order, I highly recommend The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. And no matter what your situation, recognize that your spouse has different concerns, fears, needs, and responsibilities when it comes to your finances.

 

2 – Transition Period

It’s pretty obvious there will be a transition period for your spouse if they become unemployed. But recognize that your children will go through transition periods also. They will be thrilled that Daddy is spending more time at home, but it may take some time for them (and you) to adjust to doing school when Daddy is at home.

 

And when Daddy goes back to work, look for behavior and attitude changes that may be the result of him not being around as much. Kids thrive on consistency. And the changes in their routine and structure will take some adjustment. Be sensitive to their needs and give them some time to adjust to their new normal.

 

3 – Support Structure

Seek out people to provide emotional and prayer support to both you and your spouse. Look for people who have experienced unemployment who understand what you are going through and can give solid advice on getting through it. As with anything, guidance from someone who has experienced what you are going through is meaningful, helpful, and often more valid than what someone else can offer.

 

Many homeschool families rely on the income of one spouse. Although losing one income in a two-income family can be just as painful, the affects on the family are different. But support from any friends who have experienced job loss is encouraging and grounding.

 

4 – Want vs. Need becomes Need vs. Need Right Now

When making decisions about our finances, we often ask the question, “is this something we want or need?” And when there is no money coming in, we are careful not to indulge on things we want but don’t need. However, during unemployment, we began asking a new question, “is this something we need

 

Depending on the ages of your children, consider having discussions with them about want vs. need vs. need right now. Having this discussion with your kids helps them see that you and your spouse are focused on providing necessities for the family, and helps them think through the best use of resources.

 

5 – The Best Things in Life Really Are Free

Getting to spend extra time together as a family was a blessing for us. We knew the time would not last forever and were able to cherish the extra time we had together.

 

Find ways to enjoy time together as a family that doesn’t cause you any extra expense.

- Dancing, laughing, singing

- Enjoying the outdoors – going on hikes, biking, etc.

- Reading books – the library is a wonderful, free resource

- Church events

 

The best things in life really are free.

 

Please don’t let the stress of losing an income keep you from enjoying your family time. Seek God and use this time wisely. There is a reason and purpose for what you are going through.

 

My prayer is that this post is helpful to you and that you will be blessed as you continue to homeschool through this difficult time.

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

 

How To Prepare for Life’s Financial Emergencies

Because incomes are never certain forever, I encourage everyone to get on a plan to financial peace to prepare for an uncertain future. We never saw this period of unemployment coming, but we were prepared for an emergency because of the Dave Ramsey plan. Get The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey and get started on baby steps to financial peace so that your family is prepared when an emergency hits.

Financial peace is possible, but you’ve got to get on a plan!