How to Homeschool the Visual-Linguistic and Visual-Spatial Learner

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How to Homeschool the Visual-Linguistic and Visual-Spatial Learner

Do you have a child who struggles with listening and understanding while you read aloud? Would they prefer to read the material themselves instead? Do they need to write down what they are thinking in order to remember it best? Does your child process pictures better than words and loves to illustrate or sketch homeschool lessons? If any of these characterize your child, you may be homeschooling a visual learner.

There are two main types of visual learning input:

  1. visual-linguistic—using words
  2. visual-spatial—using pictures and symbols

You might find the visual child is better with visual-spatial activities at younger ages but enjoys visual-linguistic activities as their reading and writing abilities develop. Here are teaching and learning techniques to enrich your visual learner's homeschool experience.

Homeschooling Visual-Linguistic Learners

Visual-linguistic activities focus mainly on the written word. Children who thrive with visual-linguistic presentation of information are typically avid readers. Because public schools have a strong visual-linguistic bent, these types of learners excel in a traditional classroom.

They typically read a passage and remember it with very little need for review. Sometimes they can remember what they have read from years ago.

If your child seems to love words and retains information better if there is a written aspect to it, you might be homeschooling a visual-linguistic learner. In that case, the techniques below will enhance your child’s learning experience. 

Techniques for the Visual-Linguistic Learner

  • Use Sonlight’s high-quality reading materials to give a visual learner something worth digesting and remembering.
  • Allow your student to read along with you, either sharing a book or reading their own copy instead of merely reading aloud.
  • Have your child read to you while you multi-task. This method provides you the background knowledge to discuss the book and help your child process any difficult content. If you go this route, I suggest you pre-read the books for yourself.
  • Let your child take notes or use notebooking pages while you read. For example, Sonlight has a specific set of notebooking pages to use with level F Eastern Hemisphere. 
  • Use Sonlight-specific lapbooks with written information to help them visually process what they are learning. Sonlight carries lapbooks to go along several levels.
  • Allow your children to mark their books with highlighter to illuminate difficult text (especially at the high school level). 
  • Allow them to underline key passages.
  • If they are struggling with a text, let them make notes in the margins or take notes on a separate sheet of paper. 
  • Have them copy important Bible passages, poetry they are trying to memorize, or other memory work.
  • Print copies of the discussion questions for them to refer to while they are reading. 
  • Print copies of notes or discussion guides for harder-to-understand books. 
  • Use a chart or graph to keep track of what is happening in a confusing story. 
  • Allow your child to watch videos that bring history to life, enhance what they are learning in science, or demonstrate math points. Videos that use bullet points in print are helpful, as are subtitles.
  • Choose a math curriculum that caters to visual-linguistic learners: Math U See, Videotext Algebra, and Dive DVDs. Saxon Math is also very good for visual learners, as it gives step-by-step written instructions. Literature-based math programs such as Life of Fred teach through words rather than practice problems. 
  • Print or refer to written lyrics of songs so your child can read the lyrics along as they sing. 
  • Provide instructions in written lists rather than verbally.
  • Teach your child to make outlines and take notes as they read or listen to you read.

Homeschooling Visual-Spatial Learners

Visual-spatial activities are similar to visual-linguistic activities, except they focus on images and pictures instead of words. You will find a lot of overlap between these two groups, so the techniques in the above list may work for your visual-spatial learner, too. This list includes only activities that are not mentioned above. 

Techniques for the Visual-Spatial Learner

  • Usborne history and science books, while sometimes frustrating for parents to read aloud, provide visual context for the child and help them create picture-memories to store in their brain. Allow your child to pour over the pictures and point out items of interest. 
  • Children with great spatial skills often do well with remembering faces and places. Show them pictures of people and places so they can associate a face with a story or a location with an event.
  • Sonlight's Timeline Figures placed into the Timeline Book create a visual representation of major historical figures and events.
  • Map work done with a markable map is probably the best way to teach geography to a visual-spatial learner.
  • Use lapbooks, activity packages, and coloring book supplements
  • Have your child draw pictures of what they are learning. Even if the pictures aren’t very accurate or seem convoluted, the child is forming a mental picture that helps them understand and remember. 
  • Allow them to doodle in their math books and along the edges of their worksheets. 
  • Create charts with pictures of the characters and events as they go along. 
  • Show them pictures of various historical figures and events. 
  • Watch videos that bring the history to life. 
  • Create a visual representation of the events with LEGO bricks, playdough, toys, or acting.
  • Teach them to take notes, using symbols for repeating words. Allow them to be creative, and teach them to use a key to explain what each symbol means.
  • Devise your own version of the Inductive Marking Approach. Using a copy of the text you can mark, highlight certain words, draw pictures to mark themes, and look for keywords that work together. This method works well for the Apologia textbooks in Sonlight’s high school levels as well as history spines that have a variety of topics.
  • Visit museums, learning centers, and other areas for field trips. Walking around a museum adds both visual and spatial aspects to your child’s learning. 
  • Hands-on math programs, such as RightStart or Math U See, where children need to physically manipulate numbers on a spatial plane, are perfect for these learners.  

While everyone learns best when material is presented in a variety of ways, visual learners will especially benefit from the two lists of techniques above.

Visual-linguistic students are avid readers who adore a book-based homeschool curriculum. See what it could look like for your family.

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5 Tips for Homeschool Organization in Small Spaces

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5 Tips for Homeschool Organization in Small Spaces

A dedicated homeschool room sounds like a dream!

  • maps and foreign language posters on the walls
  • bookshelves neatly filled (but not crammed) with books
  • a desk for each child
  • a couch for Read-Alouds
  • pencil jars and marker bins in a neat line
  • science tools and math manipulatives, arranged invitingly on open shelves

Of course, this dream is not always possible.

Don’t be discouraged from homeschooling if your living situation can’t provide a dedicated homeschool room. My family has homeschooled in a variety of small spaces, including in a 1000 sq. ft. apartment with no yard...when there were still seven kids living at home!

Whatever your situation, if wish you had more room for storage or day-to-day studies, here are tips for homeschool organization in small spaces.

1. Designate Easy-Access Storage

You won’t be able to keep a stash of every supply that every grade of homeschooler could possibly need on hand when you’re homeschooling out of a small space. But you can look ahead in your Instructor’s Guides and prep what's needed. I like to give each child a specific shelf or cupboard that contains the books and tools that they’ll be using on a regular basis.

Having a dedicated storage space for each student minimizes time spent hunting for lost utensils. Bonus: when each item has a home, children know where to return it when they are finished.

A bookshelf with cubbies and a chest of drawers in the main living space might be all you need to keep your homeschool materials organized!

5 Tips for Homeschool Organization in Small Spaces

2. Embrace Multi-Purpose Space

While homeschool rooms look gorgeous on Instagram, you don’t actually need desks, a school table, or wooden chests full of manipulatives, games, and puzzles to make homeschool work for you. 

  • The dining table can serve as a space to work on workbooks.
  • The kitchen is perfect for most science experiments.
  • Living room couches are a comfy place to enjoy Read-Alouds together. 
  • Shelves in children’s bedrooms or closets can house educational games and puzzles.

When living areas double as learning areas, rules about staying tidy are even more necessary. You don't want pencils, Readers, and learning paraphernalia strewn all over your small-but-efficient living space! Invest in habit training so children know to quickly return books and pencils to their designated storage locations.

5 Tips for Homeschool Organization in Small Spaces

3. Decorate with Learning Tools

Even when homeschooling in tight quarters without a dedicated school room, don't think you can't make use of fun educational decor! I say go for it!

Thankfully, we no longer live in the age when educational decorations were composed of garish primary colors and illustrations that few moms would want marching around their living rooms.

  • Wall maps can be stylish decor!
  • A framed periodic table might be a fun and quirky print to hang in the kitchen—your designated location for science experiments.
  • And if you have younger students, there are even tasteful alphabet and number charts that can double as home decor. 

4. Don’t Hoard Curriculum

There’s always a temptation to hold onto a curriculum that didn’t work the way you thought it would. You keep it, thinking one of these excuses:

  • You may want to use it with another kid down the road.
  • Some parts of it might come in handy someday.
  • You spent money on it, and it's a waste to get rid of it.

When you homeschool in a small space, you need to be much more intentional about what you keep and what you discard. You don’t have room for ten storage bins of books. (Unless that’s how you intend to furnish your master bedroom, which I don’t recommend. Storage bins do not a peaceful atmosphere make).

If you didn’t like using a certain curriculum and you don’t have a specific intention to use it again—get rid of it. Don’t keep homeschool stuff for the sake of maybe someday.

5. Develop a Portfolio-System

The sheer volume of creation that homeschool encourages is wonderful...and can be overwhelming when you live in a small space. You do want to keep some of the work that your children produce, but you are going to have to develop a system that works for your family.

  •  A digital portfolio — preserve memories of early school projects in photo form.
  • A dedicated binder per child— I suggest a rule that once the binder is too full, the child needs to get rid of less-favorite creations to make room for new ones. 
  • For older students, a targeted portfolio — examples of work to use for college, scholarship, and career applications. 

The thought of organizing a peaceful, thriving homeschool when you don’t have space to spare can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Being intentional in not amassing excess homeschool supplies, strategic in maximizing multipurpose spaces, and deliberate in dedicating storage space for each student will help your small-but-powerful homeschool run well. And when you feel like you need to get outside the walls of that teeny-tiny apartment...well, that’s what field trips are for!

Curriculum Checklist

Plan exactly what you need with this free Sonlight shopping checklist.

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How to Homeschool the Tactile, Movement-Oriented, and Sensory-Seeking Child

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How to Homeschool the Tactile, Movement-Oriented, and Sensory-Seeking Child

In a classroom setting, highly kinesthetic or sensory-seeking children are notoriously difficult to teach because they have a deep-rooted need to perform actions generally considered distracting for the rest of the classroom. Those actions involve moving and touching, and they don’t learn as well without this sensory stimulation.

Naturally, this situation can be hard for parents and teachers who just want their child to sit still and do the work. For these kids, though, sitting still actually makes it harder to pay attention. Limiting their movement hinders their ability to process what they are learning. 

As homeschool parents, we are blessed with the opportunity to teach kinesthetic learners outside the limitations of the classroom, and apply unique techniques to help our kinesthetic learners become great students. 

Kinesthetic learners can be broken down into three main categories. 

1. Tactile Learners

Tactile learners need to touch and feel things as they learn. Feeling a flower as they learn about science would be more valuable to them than seeing a picture of a flower. Holding a baby bird would provide additional learning that a tactile student couldn’t get merely by looking at it. 

"Orion loves stories. He can listen to books for hours, but his hands are rarely still. He loves to paint, smack his baseball in his glove, look through other books, or play with action figures. Some would think he’s not listening but when I ask him questions, he usually remembers details I have forgotten. I’m thankful for Sonlight’s literature based approach to learning that allows my active, book loving boy the space to learn his own way." Sarah Z. of Clarkston, GA

2. Movement-Oriented Learners

Kinesthetic students need more than just touch to learn. They often need to be actually moving or feeling sensations to fully optimize their capabilities.

You’ll find them reading a book while hanging upside down from a sofa or skipping around during their spelling lesson. The thing you won’t find them doing very often is sitting still and being quiet.

Often kinesthetic learners also need an auditory aspect, and will therefore talk, sing, or hum to themselves, even when they are supposed to be listening to a book. They usually aren’t aware they are moving or humming until you bring it to their attention. 

3. Sensory-Seeking Learners

And finally there are the sensory-seekers—children who crave input to their body. You’ll find these children love to jump, climb, spin, twirl, run into things, and dance their way through life. They love loud sounds (including their own voice), bright lights, and flashes. For a parent who isn’t sensory-seeking, the higher energy requirements and loudness can be a bit overwhelming. 

Whether your child is tactile, movement-oriented, sensory-seeking, or a combination, the following methods will help you teach and help your child learn. All of these children fall under the kinesthetic umbrella and will benefit from a free homeschool environment that integrates motion into the learning.

How to Homeschool the Kinesthetic Learner

Children who need higher levels of sensory input or have a hard time sitting still will not do as well with traditional classroom methods because their bodies seek extra stimulation. Because I homeschool my two children who have ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) with SPD (sensory processing disorder), I have the freedom to let them move with almost every assignment. I incorporate the techniques below into our Sonlight curriculum, and they are easily able to concentrate and learn!

Kinesthetic learners learn best when doing projects or creating things. But the good news is, for most of these children, the activity they are doing doesn’t need to be directly related to what they are learning. They just need to be moving, feeling, or touching. 

How to Homeschool the Tactile, Movement-Oriented, and Sensory-Seeking Child

Here's a list of techniques that work well for kinesthetic learners in a homeschool setting.

  • Add craft projects to whatever you're learning. Use Sonlight’s lapbooks, activity packages, and coloring book supplements.
  • Don’t require your kinesthetic learner to sit still unless it’s absolutely necessary. Standing on one foot while doing math, sitting on an exercise ball while doing a reading assignment, and writing spelling words outside in sidewalk chalk help a child to learn far better than learning with minimal movement.  
  • Let them roam. Allow them to walk around while you read, hang upside down from the sofa while they read, dangle from the swing while they practice spelling, or run around the house between subjects a couple of times. 
  • Allow them to move, bounce, swing, twirl, or wiggle while you read to them.
  • Have your child act out scenes while you read them or do dramatic play with LEGO bricks to keep their attention on what you are teaching. 
  • Let them use quiet toys and activities during read-alouds. Playdough, LEGO, squish balls, thinking putty, and crocheting can keep a tactile learner’s hands busy while they process information. Sanding wood; sorting buttons, socks, or screws; and drawing can be effective, too. 
  • Using music is helpful. If you’re learning about a particular country, try having them dance to ethnic music from that country. While doing math, addition songs may be more helpful than flash cards. Play music during quiet times. 
  • Allow them to touch and manipulate blocks during math, mini-figures during history, or letter tiles during language arts.
  • Use breaks wisely. Some kinesthetic learners need frequent breaks to aid their learning. Breaks cause others to lose their attention and make their day longer. Those students might prefer working straight through with as few breaks as possible, and having more time for movement and play later on.
  • Use alternate forms of print: number stamps and stickers in math, chalk, textured paper, or typing in writing.
  • Serve as your child's scribe for longer writing assignments.
  • Get outside. Swinging while listening to a read-aloud or bouncing on a trampoline while reciting Bible verses can help children learn more effectively. 
  • Use food. Chewing gum can help create a sense of movement. Cooking a meal from a culture or character in your studies can link learning to something tangible.
  • Get outside. Take nature walks while you discuss books. Go to the park and do lessons while your child is sitting in a tree or swinging from a hammock. Those little motions will help move the information from short-term memory to long-term. 
  • Go places. Child-friendly museums often let children touch things they see. Other museums have displays which teach as children walk through. 
  • Add projects. Build a fort or construct a pyramid out of sugar cubes. Don’t be afraid to add art and crafts
  • Use art where you normally wouldn’t. Allow your child to draw in the margins of their math book, doodle on their science activity sheets, and build with their math blocks. Even the simple act of highlighting words on a page adds a little bit of the kinesthetic aspect and can help improve concentration. 
  • Use different textures and sensations. Writing on a dry erase board, on a chalkboard, or on the driveway adds a unique tactile experience. Using a vibrating pencil can help settle motor neurons in the hand that want to be moving instead of holding a pencil. Typing, especially with a keyboard setting that provides for tactile feedback, can also offer a bit of stimulation. 
  • Musical vibrations can help. One of my sons who needs tactile feedback loves strumming on his guitar, as it provides a nice sensation when he has to be sitting still. He also loves coming up with his own songs and lyrics to what he is learning. Both the sound and the sensation of playing aid his retention. Other musical instruments can also be used to provide sensory input. Songs already set to music can be used, especially if the child is allowed the freedom to act out the lyrics, dance to them, or just wiggle around. 
  • Use deep muscle stimulation in work. Allow your sensory-seeking child to do chores which involve lifting, carrying, climbing, and use of the large muscles in the arms and legs. Vacuuming using a heavy vacuum is often a great chore for this type of child, because it gives them the sensory input of a loud noise, combined with the deep muscle motion of pushing the vacuum around.
  • Use muscle stimulation at rest. Weighted blankets and highly textured fabrics provide sensory input so your child doesn’t need seek it out as much. You can also have them try isotonic exercises while they do their schoolwork. These can stretching exercise bands, sitting on an exercise ball, playing with thinking putty, and even some light weightlifting. 

The more I use these techniques that provide stimulation for both mind and body, the more I find myself at peace, too. When I see my children thriving with these methods, I'm able to let go of the anxiety their sensory-seeking produces in a sensory-avoider like myself. Because we flex our Sonlight curriculum with these techniques, we can all enjoy our studies together. 

Considering homeschooling to provide more freedom for your kinesthetic child?

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Seven Tips for the New Homeschool Year

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Box Day came and went. You snapped that first-day-of-school photo (or not), and now you may be weeks into your new homeschool year. How is it going so far?

I know the excitement and trepidation a new year can bring. So as a mom who has been there, done that, here are some tips to help you settle into a great year.

1. Start Small

Remember this verse from Zechariah as you start. Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. (Zechariah 4:10)  No matter if you start with a lot of glitz or small beginnings, both are okay. God loves small starts … and small restarts.

Just like when a new baby comes home, I found it takes about six weeks to establish new patterns at the start of school. If your schedule now is a big change from your summer schedule, give your family some grace. You'll find your groove soon.

2. Allow Time to Deschool

For every year your children were in school, allow (at least) a week of homeschooling for them to get used to it.

3. Ask for Homeschool Help

You don't need to be a superhero. If you struggle with any part of your homeschool and want some fresh ideas, contact a Sonlight Homeschool Advisor at no charge or join and ask in the Sonlight Connections Facebook group.

Sonlight Connections Facebook group

4. Ask for Household Help

If you're feeling swamped, brainstorm ways to lighten your load in your non-homeschool duties.

  • Perhaps you could teach your kids to do more chores.
  • Maybe your spouse could cook dinner one night a week.
  • Could your older students work more independently in some subjects?
  • You might even hire a high school student to be a mother's helper and watch the kids at your house once a week while you organize, work or relax.

Asking for help doesn't mean you're weak, just wise.

Seven Tips for the New Homeschool Year
"Sonlight is such a wonderful program. We look forward to the start of each new year. Box day until first day of school is always hard, because we all just want to go ahead and start reading all the new books."—Kristin W. in Grand Isle, VT

5. Read and Learn Together

Don't know everything your kids are supposed to learn this year? That's okay! You'll learn alongside them and gain incredible knowledge as you go. It's wonderful to say, "I don't know, but let's look it up together."

You get to model the joy of lifelong learning.

6. Set Goals

If you haven't already done so, write down goals for the school year. When daily progress seems slow, long-term goals are key. If you write down physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual goals for each of your children now, you'll have something to evaluate at the end of the year. You'll be amazed at how they grew.

7. Keep the Long View

I love being a mom, but I don't love everything I've had to deal with as a mom. I loved homeschooling, but I didn't love everything about homeschooling.

In reality, there's not a job in the world where you'd love every single aspect. So keep the long view and remind yourself that there is no job more significant or important than raising and teaching the children God has given you.

Be encouraged as you adventure into the new year. I believe that God has equipped you to teach your children. We are here to help. You can do it!

Want more encouragement?

Sign up for Sonlight's bi-weekly e-newsletter

You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.

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5 Ways to Make Bible Memorization Natural in Your Homeschool

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5 Ways to Make Bible Memorization Natural in Your Homeschool

One of the most powerful aspects of Sonlight curriculum is the Bible memorization included in the History / Bible / Literature programs. When your child meditates on and memorizes Scripture, he is storing gold in the savings account of his mind—useful today and far into the future.

It is well worth our time and effort to help our children faithfully memorize Scripture. Consider these five ways to make Bible memorization a natural part of your homeschool day.

1. Use Music

Many HBL levels include and schedule songs from Sing the Word that teach each passage through music. Listen to, dance, drive, and sing along with the Sing the Word albums. If there's no album in your program, encourage your children to compose a melody themselves. If they can pair the song with rhythmic movements, all the better!

2. Use Car Rides

Write this week’s memory verse on a sticky note and affix it to your car or van's dashboard. Get in the habit of reading aloud the passage every time you start the engine.

Play round robin in the car as each person says the next part of the passage until it is complete.

3. Use Daily Moments

Review your Bible memory passage while eating breakfast, cleaning up lunch dishes, or getting ready for bed.

Your child may enjoy writing the verse on the bathroom mirror in erasable marker, then reviewing the verse while she brushes her teeth.

Write the verse on an index card and put it in a plastic ziploc bag. Hang the bag in the shower so that your child can review while bathing.

4. Use a Whiteboard

I've found this five-day system effective for memorizing Bible verses:

  • Day 1: Write the verse while saying it aloud.
  • Day 2: Read the verse aloud together.
  • Day 3: Erase a few key words. Then read the verse aloud.
  • Day 4: Erase a few more words. Then read the verse aloud.
  • Day 5: Erase the entire verse; try to rewrite from memory.

5. Use Index Cards

The same kind of method works with index cards, too. As a bonus, cards are much more portable, so you can tuck them into your tote bag and take them on your roadschooling adventures.

  • Day 1: Write the verse while saying it aloud.
  • Day 2: Read the verse at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Day 3: Read the verse at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Day 4: Cut the index card into pieces and put it together like a puzzle.
  • Day 5: Try to recite and rewrite the verse from memory.

Which of these methods are your favorite? Remember you can layer multiple options for even more repetition of Scripture memory verses. With repetition comes familiarity. The principles sink in, and eventually—with deliberate effort—kids can memorize them entirely by heart. What greater gift can your homeschool provide your children than to give them nuggets of Scripture, committed to memory?

Complete Christian Homeschool Curriclum

Sonlight's Christ-centered literature-rich curriculum teaches from the perspective of God's truth and his love for all people of the world. It gives parents tools to guide their children in the way of Christ as they learn about their own faith and heritage and interact with a wide variety of ideas and cultures.

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How To Have a Good Day After a Rough Night

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How To Have a Good Day After a Rough Night: A Homeschool Mom's Guide to Sleep Deprivation
Here, Miriam (12, HBL F) reads Science E texts to Jonathan (2) and Rebekah (5), while Cameron and Phillipa (10 and 7, HBL C) sneak in some educational swinging in the autumn sunshine.

"Our family has thrived with Sonlight over the past seven years! It was Sonlight that first gave me the courage to try the homeschooling adventure we felt God calling us to. As we added new babies to the clan, Sonlight provided just the right amount of structure and guidance for my poor, sleep-deprived brain to cope. Now, as we stand on the brink of high school, I feel confident I can trust the Sonlight material to grow and stretch both the kids and me through these potentially tumultuous years. And we just love rereading the old favourites, yet again, as a new crop of kids come through!"

Juanita G. of North Lambton, Australia

I’m the mother of six children, ranging in age from six-months to 14 years old. As you can imagine, I don’t often get a full night of sleep. I’ve discovered that the health and happiness of our home depends largely on how I respond to sleep-deprivation.

I imagine that most homeschool moms are in the same situation. We’re up feeding newborns, comforting toddlers, soothing coughs, cleaning sheets, talking with teens, planning for tomorrow, or praying through our cares and worries. How can you and I have a good day after a rough night?

How can we thrive during exhausting seasons of motherhood?

Sometimes after a rough night, I simply have a bad day. If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’m prone to be cranky… all day long. I lose my temper, I have no patience, I’m angry, I blunder through our school day, and it’s just ugly.

There are those days. But there are also days when God gives me the grace to thrive in the midst of this hardship. Despite sleep-deprivation, He helps me to lead and love my family well. Here are five things that I do to recover from a rough night of sleep and rejoice in the day that the Lord has made.

1. A Sleep-Deprived Mom Must Pray

Our all-powerful Heavenly Father sees us and loves us. He knows our situation and establishes the work of our hands for us. He ordains the work we do through the night and will give us grace for day ahead.

God’s mercies are new every morning.

The most practical thing we can do after a poor night’s sleep is turn to our Heavenly Father and say, “I’m exhausted. Can you please restore me? Can you please give me what I need to do this day well and homeschool my children?”

Time after time, God has saved the day for me when my brain feels so foggy and I feel like I’m dragging around a burden.  

2. Don’t Count the Hours that You Slept (or Didn’t Sleep)

There are certain things that we can’t think about too much. We could totally psyche ourselves out if we calculated our insufficient sleep. What we’d discover is that we got the same amount of sleep—and in the same REM-hijacked pattern—of a tortured prisoner.

If you’re tallying up those hours (or lack thereof) and they’re starting to get you down, move on. It is what it is, and you’ve got a day to live!

3. Instead of Complaining, Ask for Help

The days that I complain, “I’m so exhausted. I’m worn out. I’m tired.” are so much worse than the days when I choose not to complain.

I complain because I want pity, compassion, sympathy, and help, but it backfires by making me—and everyone around me—miserable. Instead of complaining, I simply have to ask for help. This is much more productive!

I’m improving at recognizing my need and asking my husband, family, and friends for help when I know I’m weak from exhaustion. They are happy to come to my rescue.

4. Do the Next Positive Thing

When I wake-up from a rough night’s sleep, I look for the first possible positive thing that I can do. Somehow, this starts me in a good direction for the day and puts some wind in my sails. It helps me to say, “I’m alive, and I have a day to live. I’m going to make good choices even though I’m tired. I’m moving forward!”

I make sure I get a refreshing shower in the morning. I add a squirt of fresh lemon juice to my glass of water to get my metabolism going. I take my vitamins. I open my Sonlight Instructor's Guide and get the lay of the land for the day, knowing Sonlight has already planned out my homeschool lessons (one less thing for me to have to do). I might go for a quick 10-minute walk to get my blood pumping.

What would get your day started on the right foot even if you’ve had a rough night? Maybe you’d feel encouraged after a rough night if you

  • sang a hymn
  • savored a 15 minute devotional time with the Lord
  • enjoyed a cup of coffee
  • flossed your teeth
  • put a load of laundry in the washer
  • read a chapter in your current novel

Whatever it is, take that step in the right direction and you’ll feel invigorated for the day ahead.

5. Look for Opportunities to Sleep

If you are caring for a newborn or for a child who is sick or having a series of nightmares, consider adjusting your schedule so that you can sleep longer in the morning, take an afternoon nap, or go to bed earlier than usual.

Seasons of sleep-deprivation call for a change in priorities: maintaining your own health is at the top of the list! Look for opportunities to sleep and care for yourself so that you can be strong to care for the ones who need you.

God cares about us when we’re up at night, loving and serving our children. Let’s discover the surprising ways He’ll strengthen and help us during the day.

Sonlight Instructor's Guides really do save you lots of time and energy... Learn how.

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5 Ways to Balance Work Life and Homeschool Life

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5 Ways to Balance Work Life and Homeschool Life

Whether you have a full-time job, a side gig, or volunteer in some capacity, that job takes a significant time commitment. Throw homeschooling into the mix, and your life may seem upside down very quickly. To create a lifestyle that isn’t engulfed in stress, I've found I have to be diligent to set boundaries and create order.

When determining how you will find balance in your daily schedule, there are five things I suggest you consider. These are the guideposts that help me juggle the plates of working and homeschooling.

1. Determine What Is Most Important To You

My primary roles right now are

  • to help my husband, a senior pastor, minister to our church
  • to maintain my blog writing ministry
  • to homeschool my children

There are a lot of plates to keep spinning, so I have to be diligent to determine what is most important to me in these roles and say no to everything else. If you are someone who has a hard time saying no, practice saying it and stick to your guns about what matters most to you. Otherwise you will find yourself taking cover from the hurricane of events bombarding you.

Make sure you physically write down what is most important to you, things that are non-negotiable, and keep them where you can see them often. This will help motivate you to stick to them.

Use this free printable journal to document what's important to you.

2. Make Each Job a Priority

Scheduling your time is important if you want to accomplish everything that is required of you. Pick a specific time for work and for homeschooling (and any other role you have), and schedule it with your family. Discuss with them what is expected of you in your various roles and what you are required to do. Having everything open on the table will help get everyone on the same page and help things run smoother. The biggest key here is that you show up to each job at your selected time and not allow other less important things to get in the way.

It helps to have a paper or digital planner where you can keep track of work things and homeschool things. Spend time each night writing out important tasks for the next day, as well as reviewing your appointments on the calendar. Or this task can also be done first thing in the morning. Keeping records is a vital key to balancing work and homeschool.

3. Set Boundaries in Your Homeschool Schedule

Sometimes my children and I get distracted during school time and lose track of time. When we all get behind, sometimes we neglect our other work. My children sometimes get stuck on a certain subject and take more time than normal, or they start daydreaming.

I have learned the hard way that I have to give clear expectations and set boundaries to make sure we stay on task. If one of my children gets stuck on a subject and I have re-explained something multiple times, we just put it aside and come back to it later, sometimes even waiting until the next day. This habit helps us stay on task and helps clear our minds so we can revisit the subject with clarity.

My Instructor's Guide serves as a foundation to maintain boundaries in our homeschool. While it's a flexible plan, it gives me ready-made goals for each week and day of the homeschool year.

4. Give Yourself Lots of Grace

I have a tendency to be really hard on myself and not give myself much grace when I get sidetracked and don’t complete my to-do list of jobs. God has shown me that there is so much more to life than a to-do list.

If our job is required to pay the bills, then we have to accomplish all the tasks, but allowing our self some wiggle room will decrease the stress in our life. Set goals, make lists, get your work done, but remember: we can only push so far before we give out. So grant yourself time, rest, and much grace.

5. Pray to God for Strength

God will grant you the strength to accomplish all required work and wisdom to be the homeschool mom your children need.

At the beginning of each day, we all have the same 24 hours to spend. We must look at each second of the day that is entrusted to us as a stewardship to honor God with. If we are wise, we will start each day asking God how to best invest the time He has given us. He gives us time to use for His purpose and His glory, so why not ask Him how to fit the important things into that time?

With Sonlight's Instructor's Guides, you won't have to worry about scheduling, comprehension questions, activity sheets. None of it. Because we've already done it for you.

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