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1/5/2012 10:07:26 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Homeschooling High School--Keep On Keeping On!

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
January 2012--Keep On Keeping On!
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Dear Friends,

Are you settling back into a routine after the hectic holiday season?
Or, are you having a difficult time even thinking about plowing
through another semester of school? We remember when we homeschooled;
it seemed that January was a particularly long month. Maybe the
following tips will rejuvenate you to keep you going through high
school...or at least through tomorrow!

Bring on Some Levity

Teaching high school is serious business--no doubt about it. But, if
the seriousness has sapped your joy in spending time with your teen,
then maybe it's time to resurrect some humor. If the school day begins
and ends with you keeping a tight schedule, hurrying from one subject
to the next, with no time in between for a lighthearted moment or a
casual chat, consider breaking the cycle by injecting some laughter
into the mix.

Do you remember all those old jokes from your childhood (Why did the
chicken cross the road? How many people does it take to...?)? Bring
them back; your children may actually enjoy them. Or buy a joke book
or search for trivia on the internet to share some chuckles with your
teen throughout the day. Don't forget the proverb that "laughter is
the best medicine." It reduces tension and stress by releasing
endorphins in our bodies and the result is an overall sense of
well-being. What a simple antidote!

Spontaneity can break up the humdrum of everyday routines, even
homeschool schedules. Just watch your teen's eyes light up when he
finds his favorite candy hidden in his math notebook or a snack
mysteriously appears on his desk. Let your daughter know you'd enjoy
her company (and some fresh air!) during a walk around the block after
she finishes her science assignment. These seemingly insignificant
things may be exactly what are needed to add an air of expectancy to
your school day.

Did you know learning can be entertaining to your teens? Something as
simple as using famous quotes (do an internet search) can be
educational and fun. For example, who said: "I long to accomplish a
great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small
tasks as if they were great and noble." (Helen Keller) After giving
your teens time to respond, you could spend a minute discussing what
the small tasks are that your teen is accomplishing that are seen as
great and noble in the Lord's eyes. The quote by George S. Patton,
"Courage is fear holding on a minute longer," may be another great
conversation starter with your teen. Famous quotes can also give
insight into the men and women you are studying in your history or
literature courses.

You may want to purposefully get your teens' noses out of their school
books and into the world--in other words, let them experience what
they are learning. Are you studying government? Take time to visit a
town council meeting or attend a trial to see the judiciary in action.
Are you covering the Civil War? Attend a battle re-enactment that may
be taking place near you. Spice up your fine arts course by attending
a concert or visiting a museum with your teen. Don't underestimate the
educational value of field trips. No time to do the planning? Assign
your teen the responsibility of checking into the details regarding
logistics, ticket purchases, etc. He'll gain practice in life skills
as he makes the arrangements.

If you are looking for ways to motivate your teens, consider giving
them an unexpected day off from school. Call it a teacher recuperation
day. (If your conscience nags at you for taking the day off, consider
that most public schools build into their school calendars at least
several days for teacher workshops.)

Guard Your Heart

Are you feeling dragged down or is your tank running on empty? Too
much introspection can cause our eyes to stray from our Source and our
sense of peace is rocked. As a result, feelings of fear,
self-righteousness, comparison, or discontent may enter our hearts.
Fear wastes energy and causes unneeded anxiety. The Lord woos us to
Himself to replace fear with trust in His good purposes for you and
your teen. Isaiah 26:3-4 promises, "You will guard him and keep him in
perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its
character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans
on You, and hopes confidently in You." (Amplified) When your mind
strays into unhealthy areas such as whether or not you are providing a
good education for your teen, ask the Lord to remind you of His
promises to give you guidance and wisdom for your children. When you
are tempted to fear the unknown, put your mind at rest with this quote
by Corrie ten Boom, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a
known God." Refocusing your thoughts by this reminder to "be more
defined by Who you trust than by what you fear" will help to keep fear
at bay.
Self-righteousness is a trap into which parents of teens often fall.
As teens mature, there are many areas of their lives where parents
need to offer correction and training. We'd like to gently remind you
that this correction and training needs to be done...gently. Be on
guard for any sense of superiority on your part. Remember the Lord's
dealings with you and extend the same graciousness and mercy to your
teen. Abraham Lincoln stated, "I have always found that mercy bears
richer fruits than strict justice," and the Bible echoes this in James
2:13, "For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy;
mercy triumphs over judgment." There will be days when you give way to
impatience, anger, and lack of self control. We all do. But we know if
we confess our sins to God, Who is ever willing to forgive, we receive
His cleansing. Also, remember to walk humbly with your teen and to
keep short accounts by handling conflict in biblical ways.

Comparison-- and you thought only teens suffered from peer pressure!
But when we parents succumb to comparison it usually points out our
weaknesses and crushes our spirit. Guard against contrasting your
homeschools, your children, and your spouses to others. There are
healthy ways to compare and contrast in order to learn from others--
so don't throw out all comparison. But, when it leaves you
demoralized, it's detrimental. Ask the Lord to help you know what you
may emulate from someone else that can be beneficial, and what needs
to be tossed aside. Although the tendency is to honor and highlight
only those homeschoolers who may be extraordinary in a particular
field, the reality is that all of your teens are special and unique. A
back issue of the newsletter entitled "Eureka! Average to the World
but Special and Unique to God" may be a good reminder if you struggle
in this area.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13224


Discontent creeps in when you begin desiring things you don't have
such as a more involved spouse, a more compliant teen, a bigger school
budget, and the list goes on. Having an accurate view of God's
provisions will keep discontent away. We suggest that you read
missionary biographies of men and women who labored under many
difficulties but who found the Lord to be sufficient. If you need more
drastic measures to rid yourself of this malady, Foxe's Book of
Martyrs will likely do the trick! The Lord is always gracious and will
meet your needs--but not always in the manner or timing that you think
best. Trust His heart to be true to His promise that He'll supply all
your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus
(Philippians 4:19). These are powerful words penned by Paul from a
prison cell that can sustain you on any homeschool day!

Streamline

Most homeschool families we know are very busy. Dare we
say too busy? Running from one activity to the next with no time to
care for the hearts of your teens may be a signal for you to take
stock and cut out unimportant things. If you feel you aren't doing
unimportant things, then consider trimming out some of the less
important activities (at least for a season). Streamline when
possible; say no to activities that will wear you down, de-clutter
your home (maybe just a closet or your school area), and see the
difference it makes in your school day. A slower pace of life will
reap benefits in both you and your teens' lives. In the same way that
your car's "check engine light" comes on at the most inopportune times
to alert you that all is not well with your car and it needs
attention, be alert to your homeschool's "check engine light." When it
lights up, pay close attention and make necessary changes.

Change Perspective

From our vantage point as "retired" homeschool
moms, recollections of our homeschooling days are a bit of a
blur--because the years went by so very quickly. Your homeschool days
may seem terribly long to you, but you too will look back one day and
think your homeschooling years were done at warp speed.

That's why it's important for you to see your homeschool through the
lenses of eternity. In light of eternity, trivial things that tend to
be important now (children bickering over pencils, running out of
notebook paper, misplacing the math book, and so on), are seen for
what they are--insignificant bumps that don't matter in the long term.
View your teens through lenses of eternity, and the energy you put
into schooling them will be well worth the tears, the time, and other
matters that must be set aside during this season.

Apply these words from Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, to your
homeschool and let them prompt you to recall that you don't homeschool
alone--the Lord is your companion and He offers you supernatural help:

"He who begins, finishes. He who leads us on, follows behind to deal
in love with our poor attempts. He gathers up the things that we have
dropped--our fallen resolutions, our mistakes. He makes His blessed
pardon to flow over our sins till they are utterly washed away. And He

turns to fight the enemy who would pursue after us, to destroy us from

behind. He is first, and He is last! And we are gathered up in
between, as in great arms of eternal loving-kindness."

Graduation day may seem far away, but it will sneak up on you. You can
homeschool for the long haul if you cultivate a sense of humor, guard
your hearts, streamline, and view your homeschooling with eternity in
mind.

Join us in February as we share ideas for homeschooling in your
community.

Thankful for you today and looking forward with you to tomorrow,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants

Students--Send in Your Art

HSLDA's 10th annual art contest is now accepting entries, and we
encourage you to visit our website for all of the details:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13223


Becky and Diane's Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

March 3, 2012 - Living Waters Home Educators, NJ (Diane)

April 12-14, 2012 - MACHE, St. Paul, MN (Diane and Becky)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12477

May 11-12, 2012 - CHAP, Harrisburg, PA (Becky)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12478

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