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

Quarantine Halloween!

Who says March 31st can’t be Halloween if we want it to be? The world is a little upside-down right now anyway!

The kids ran from the front door to the back, but this could easily be done inside a home, knocking on bedroom doors, etc.

Here’s a craft/activity where most of the effort must be made by the kids! (No neighbors here, they’re all mine!)

I told them the night before that we would be having Halloween the following evening, March 31st, and it was up to them to get a costume ready. When the time came, I just walked between the front door and the back door with an old box of miniature candy canes. The kids had to run all the way around the house and knock on the door or ring the bell. I would open the door as they said, “Trick or Treat!” Then they would take one piece and race for the other door, trying to beat me to it! They wore kind of rag-tag costumes, but who cares? Besides, that’s not unusual for us, even on Halloween. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I got rid of some old Christmas candy (plus a small craft item I found), and they stayed busy making memories for an evening (one day at a time, right?) Win-win for me!

Try it yourself if it sounds like something that would work for you. Let me know how it goes!

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!