How I’m Helping My Kids Stay on Track for Homeschool During Quarantine

This is a picture of what I’m doing today to keep my youngest girls motivated to stay on task with their school work (it matters to me that they’re motivated, rather than forced, otherwise it’s miserable for all of us!) This has been the best strategy so far.

You don’t have to be an artist to create these simple charts to help track & visualize tasks

You don’t have to have a fancy print-off, just trace their hands and be clear about which actions earn a sticker (or just have them color each finger or fingernail as they earn, if you don’t have stickers). You can be super specific or not. Just keep it fun! The girls don’t have 10 jobs each, we are just breaking bigger tasks into several smaller tasks here.

I threw in a little bonus for Lydia when she earned 5 stickers for the first hand, and the girls will earn a manicure from Mommy once they’ve adorned all 10 fingers. This system is better than what we were doing before, because it visually displays how much they’re progressing overall, rather than receiving micro-rewards for each step in the right direction (or enduring the push-pull cycle!)

Traditional weekly fill-in-the blank charts were doing nothing for us, because they proved to be too abstract. Of course, a chart will never “do” anything for us. We have to refer back to it frequently, we are the ones to do the “work”. Strategies fail quickly when we don’t apply any effort. Having a visual strategy can really enhance those efforts, though!

My kids are self-paced, which has its own challenges, but I imagine visualizing a “countdown” could also be useful for those children who seem to have endless Zoom meetings.

I have a bonus tip which I’ve shared with some of my younger clients: Make tally marks as you listen to online lectures. Use two categories, label them something like, “Stuff I already know” and “Stuff I didn’t know before” ~or~ “New” and “Review”. This gives your brain something to scan for, and scanning requires a lot less effort (and motivation) than active listening does. Think of it like when you’re in an environment with a lot of background noise and you hear your name; suddenly you’re at attention! Your name is something your brain is programmed to scan for, without conscious effort.

Depending on the subject, your brain can be somewhat casually scanning for “novel information or application” in order to try to add up tally marks, which may be used to gauge how well you were listening. Extra credit if you actually write down what the new information IS!!

Have a better day!
Love,
Janina

I Need to Declutter & Here’s a Glimmer of Hope

Admission: I have spent several months with one foot in my business project, and one foot in being a stay-at-home mom (that was my full-time gig up until this year when my youngest daughter started preschool – now it’s only most of time!) I find myself not really being able to give my heart to either very effectively in the moments that I need to. Over the years I’ve become anxious of taking the plunge into ADD-hyperfocus mode, which has kept me just short of finishing some fabulous ideas which are sitting at about 90% done. I want to do more.

Today I started a Skillshare class, and it is REALLY good, you guys! It’s by motivational speaker and life coach TJ Walker, and he calls it How to Organize your Home Effectively. I knew I would get more motivated to tackle the house if I watched it listened to something on the subject. One of the important questions he asked is for us to define our “why?”

My why: I want to feel unburdened so I can start my blog/business without all the guilt. I’ve heard that clutter is a result of indecision, and I’m finding clutter also creates MORE indecision, since I can’t decide whether to work on the clutter or something more meaningful to me.

So now as I approach decluttering, I’m thinking it’s actually best for me to cultivate a mindset, not motivation and willpower and focus, or determination and endurance. I need to just get in the mindset of being decisive. I don’t even need to feel “inspired”. I don’t even need to do it for very long at once.

Being decisive doesn’t mean I know I’m making “the right choice”. It means I’m able and willing to handle the consequences of whatever choice I make. It’s kind of like being… Confident.

There you go, a little motivation for both of us and a blog post written in only 30 minutes! Write YOUR “why” in the comments; in other words, the reason you want to do this hard thing, whatever is staring you in the face, then go do it! ๐Ÿฅฐ

Update: Important realization – I still had to get myself used to the idea of doing it even once I made the decision. Once I started, I gradually gained momentum. Nowhere near where I want to be, but I can’t expect to do it all in a day (maybe that’s why I keep hesitating? Is that my unrealistic expectation?) I am glad to have the advice from any geniuses out there with suggestions for keeping up on papers!

Morning Motivation

Waking up early is well known as a habit adopted by many successful people. Getting a jump on the day helps us avoid that feeling of being rushed and constantly behind. It’s also well established that people develop habits best when we have positive motivation, or better yet, a little instant gratification! Do you know what has ended up being the force behind my drive to get up early recently? Getting the chance to see a beautiful sunrise ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜!

I’m slightly obsessed with clouds from an artistic standpoint, and I yearn to unlock the mystery of how to properly paint them.

Being bathed in a warm glow as pops of pink travel across the sky is a bit more real and powerful than checking boxes on a list or making an “unbroken chain” on an app. I do recommended using those mechanical methods when you need to, but find yourself a little joy whenever you are able. Learn to crave it!*

Today I was that crazy lady walking outside on the culdesac in her bathrobe (not a practice I recommend in most places) taking pictures of the sky, because life is BEAUTIFUL! (Can you tell yet that it put me in a good mood?) When I get eccentric I remind myself of my maternal grandmother, and then that only encourages me. ๐Ÿ˜„

I dragged my junior high kids out to join me (they are the reason I have to get up by 6:00, after all…) One rolled her eyes and went back in the house, the other got excited right along with me, and waved to the neighbors who were getting ready for their morning commute, calling out, “Look at the sky!”

“Oh! Hey there bud,” I whispered, “let’s not actually draw attention to ourselves!” (Sometimes that child is more Grandmamom than I am!) I ducked inside. For a minute. Then I couldn’t resist going back out one last time!

The glorious thing about the sky is that it’s available for any of us who seek it. Our view may be limited, but we can make the choice to either cast our eyes upward, or just continue about our day, perhaps complaining about the glare that makes it difficult to drive. Take a look around you, what do you have that you might have overlooked that can help pull you toward your goals? If you need help with some perspective here, schedule a Creative Consultation with me and we can talk about how to apply this concept to areas you may need motivation in your life.

*Developing a craving for a habit is a concept I learned from The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Purchasing a copy through my affiliate link helps support this blog https://amzn.to/33BY4mP Or create an Amazon list of books to check out at your local library, and save this there!