365 | Tips for Climbing Out of a Homeschool Rut (Sean Allen)

365 | Tips for Climbing Out of a Homeschool Rut (Sean Allen)

Show Notes:

Nobody ever said that homeschooling would be easy (and if they did they must be lying). How could it be? It's one of the most self-sacrificing endeavors that you could ever attempt. In this episode, we'll discuss how this often discouraging struggle against our selfish nature is the very thing our children need to see played out before them so that they too may be inspired to struggle against their lesser selves. And though this nature is constantly striving to press us into a rut, we'll discuss some simple but effective solutions to ensure that we don't stay there.

About Sean

Sean Allen is the founder of The Well Ordered Homeschool, husband to his beautiful bride Caroline and a proud father of eight. He has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and is passionate about creating materials to assist parents in the incredibly challenging, yet surpassingly beautiful, work of schooling and training their children at home.


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Show Transcript:

Sean Allen Hello. Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Sean Allen and I am one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Since you're listening to this, I'm guessing you already know that homeschooling is both incredibly challenging and incredibly beautiful. Every week we're here doing a little guidance, some helpful counsel, and a whole lot of encouragement your way as you navigate this busy, yet blessed journey of educating your children at home. Now, even though the show is called Homeschool Solutions, it should come as no surprise to you that we do not have the answer to every homeschool related question. But if you come away with nothing else, our hope is that today's episode will point you to Jesus Christ and that you will seek His counsel as you train your children in the way they should go.

Sean Allen Here's a riddle for you parents: Homeschoolers love them, enemies of freedom hate them. What are they? It's the Tuttle Twins books. With millions of copies sold, the Tuttle Twins helps you teach your kids about entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, the Golden Rule, and more. Get a discounted set of books with free workbooks—that's right, free workbooks—today at TuttleTwins.com/homeschool. That's TuttleTwins.com/homeschool. And now on to today's show.

Sean Allen Hello and welcome, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I hope that things are going well with your household. Things are going well with us. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring. But we are certainly keeping busy, as I'm sure you are as well. We're still working on our house project. We will be for the foreseeable future, but we're making progress. And so that's what I'm happy to report. My wife is happy too, and so that helps because we've got sheetrock going up in our upstairs of our farmhouse and that is a huge step. We're so excited. Every piece that the sheetrock guy puts up is just like an event. So we're so happy about that. We really want to be moving up to that place at some point in time. But that's just a little update on where we are.

Sean Allen And we're gearing up for conventions. Those are going to be here very soon, Sooner than probably I think, and I think about it all the time. It's just going to come up on us real fast. Second week in March we'll be in Saint Charles, Missouri, and that'll kick off our season. A few weeks later, we'll be in South Carolina. And then we'll be well on our way. So we're looking forward to those as well to see people, talk to people., meet people in person. So honestly, it takes us a little while—once we get to the end of the season we're dragging a little bit because it's work to travel, all the mileage, all the hotels, all the eating out. You know, at first it's exciting, but you get to the end of the year, it's like, oh well, I'm ready to go home and just stay home for a while. And it takes pretty well all winter long before we're ready to get going again. But we're excited. We've taken our rest and our break. And it's time to get back on the convention trail and we can't wait to see you all. So just a little plug again. Encourage you to come visit us at the convention. The GHC conventions all throughout spring and summer. Look for—go online, look for an event that is near you. There's a good chance there is one near you, but if not listening to this podcast can help because there's some people on here that are at the conventions. And so if you can find a way to make it to one, it's well worth your while. I think that you'll enjoy it and I just don't think you'll regret it.

Sean Allen So anyway, on to today's topic. So what I want to talk to you about today is a little bit related to the season of life that we're all in. And it is—we're in February here, we might be near to the end or into March by the time this episode airs, but, nevertheless, it's the dog days of homeschoo. For it gets a little wearisome and, like I said, we start to drag a little bit. I imagine that many of you do as well. You know what I'm talking about. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to recently or heard from, and they're all saying the same thing, like, "Oh, February, man, I sure would like to get on to the summer." And it really doesn't matter if they're home schooled or public schooled, I've heard the same thing for both. So there's just something about this time that's just a little heavy. It's still cold, it's still kind of dreary in most places. I know in Missouri where we live it's—we have a lot of gray, dreary days. Now the winter hasn't been as harsh as they said it was going to be, so that's a blessing. So we've been able to get outside a little bit, or the children have, and that helps a quite a bit. But, nevertheless, there's just something about this time, and I think it serves to remind us that this is really, really, really hard work. I'll just start with a stop with three reallys. I could go on—I could add probably ten more to that, but this is really hard work homeschooling.

Sean Allen I don't ever want to give you the impression that we think it's easy or that it's easy for us because it's not. And I've met some people on the convention trail and they've told me after listening to some of my episodes that I make this sound too easy, and I apologize for that if I do. That's not my intention. Again, I view myself as the resident homeschool cheerleader. That's what I do. I don't talk a lot about curriculum, but I'm just here to hopefully encourage you and inspire you and remind you of the vision that you have so that you can just keep on keeping on. So that's what I'm here for. Look, I am here to tell you things that I need to hear and that my wife needs to hear from time to time because we need reminded, we need encouraged, we need lifted up. And so when you get into late January, February, March, that's when it really hits. This is super hard work. And it's not just because of the the length of time that you are engaged in schooling your children throughout the year, the majority of the year, obviously, but there's more to it than that.

Caroline and I were talking about this here recently and I think really what it boils down to is homeschooling is hard because we're human. We're human beings, and by nature we are carnal, sensual and devilish. Well, I hate—that may sound a little harsh, but that's our nature. We're sinful creatures and we're selfish people, and that makes us really difficult. It's kind of like gravity, that's the world we live in. There's this constant downward drag weighing on each and every one of us, and it is constantly attempting to pull us away from our duty and our responsibilities. And that's also why homeschooling is not more popular than what it is. Because I think everybody pretty much understands, whether you homeschool or not, everybody pretty much understands that this is going to require a lot of me. The expectations, the demands on my time, on my emotional capacity, on my energy and so on and so forth are going to be great. Very great demands. That's why a lot of people tend to shy away from it. It's perfectly understandable because look—that's another thing is it's a little bit of a misnomer is that when people realize that we homeschool our children, it's easy for them to misjudge us or to think that we're misjudging them. They look at that and say, "Well, you're so much better than we are and you must be an especially good and righteous person for doing what you do." And you know, doing what's right is righteousness, but on the other hand there's certainly a part of us that says, "I don't want to do this. This isn't really what I want to do.".

Now, as you learn and as you grow in this role, it becomes something that you do enjoy and that you probably couldn't help but do from that point forward. But still, there is that germ of selfishness in you that you're trying to eradicate. And by the grace of God you will, and only by the grace of God you will, but that doesn't mean that in the meantime or in the process, it's very difficult and uncomfortable. It is hard. It's hard to come face to face with your own selfishness. It's hard to come face to face with your impatience and your anger and your frustrations and all of the things that set you off. And so, you know, your children could be doing—they could be representing the slightest inconvenience to your day, and it just sets you off. You just go off like a firecracker. And, you know, again, in those moments, you realize, well, there's something wrong. It's not my child, it's me. Because my response to what they did is is not equal to the thing that they did. So why am I yelling and screaming and, you know, getting all in a huff over a mess that they made on the floor. And so you're getting your taxed, your worn out. And selfishness is natural. So part of us feels guilty about it, but it's also very natural and is something that we've got to deal with. We've got to recognize it in our lives and we wrestle with it. When I say wrestle with it, I mean we're actively engaged in trying to subdue it. That's part of the job. [00:10:07]That's part of the job description of being a homeschool mother or homeschool father, you are expected to, on a continual basis, wrestle with your selfish nature and do everything in your power to subdue it. [12.2s] In saying that, we must also acknowledge that we do not have a sufficient degree of power to subdue it. We have to rely on the grace of God in order to gain the ultimate victory over who we are. And our souls not only depend on it, but the souls of our children as well, and what we're trying to do for them.

I just want to acknowledge here once again, you're not alone. This is work. I know it, my wife knows it, you know it, most homeschool—I would say 99.9%. of homeschool families know it. Most of the people who are out there telling you that it's easy are either brain dead or lying, I don't know what to tell you. That's just the way it is. But you know what? It really can't be any other way. And it shouldn't be any other way. [00:11:14]It's hard because it's beautiful. It's hard because it produces amazing, incredible, unspeakably beautiful results. If you do it right and if you stick to it and see it through to the end, it can't be anything but hard. Beautiful things don't come easy and they shouldn't. [17.2s] That's just the nature of the universe, folks. What you're doing is one of the most beautiful things that you could and probably perhaps the most beautiful thing that you will ever do is sacrifice yourself for your children. It's not pretty. It's not always enjoyable. It is bone grindingly hard oftentimes, but the results, and yes, even the experience, is way worth it—far surpasses worth. I wish I had more descriptive language to convey to you just how beautiful and wonderful this thing is that you're doing.

Again, it's like gravity, this nature that we're fighting and it's working against you, constantly working against us. We become more and more cognizant of the gravity, the longer that the year goes on. It's kind of like homeschool conventions. You know, you've had your little summer break or however long it is, and you feel rested and rejuvenated and, hey, let's hit the convention trail again. We're excited and there's a lot of momentum going into the season. It's the same with homeschooling. I'm sure most of you get very excited, especially if you attend conventions throughout the spring and the summer, and you're looking at curriculum and you're dreaming about the next year and all of these wonderful laid plans that you have for your homeschool, and you jump into the year with all of this momentum. And then as the year goes on, it gets a little heavier, doesn't it? As time goes on, it's harder and harder and harder. And then you get to February and you're like, Whoo hoo, boy, I don't know how—you're just looking at the calendar every day and x-ing off the days. It's working against you, but you've got to work against it. That's the world that we live in.

It would be wonderful if we were all just floating everywhere, or we could just fly at will to get to where we need to go, if we were like a bird. But we don't live in that kind of a world. We're not like that. There's this gravity that constantly works against us and we have to work against it. We have to find a way to get around it or get below it or get get above it or whatever it may be. We have to work within the constraints of the world that we live in. [00:13:53]And so it is with your homeschool, you've got to find a way to work with the constraints that are currently exerting their will upon you. And at the end of the day, you just have to ensure that they don't claim the victory over you, that they are not the last thing standing at the end of your homeschool experience. [20.3s] And it is that struggle against your nature and also against the nature of your children—and boy, adding that in is a whole nother layer of difficulty, isn't it? There's all these sinful natures that we're vying against. But it is that struggle—out of that struggle comes this wonderful creation of God. It is that that refining process in the fire of that struggle that creates the most beautiful and praiseworthy results. So that doesn't make it any easier, but I just want you to remember that without the struggle, you could never get these precious jewels or this rich reward that you're seeking. There is no other way but to go through it. You have to go through it. You have to see it through to the end. You have to remain strong as you cross the finish line, lifting your head up high with the knowledge that what you're doing is acceptable in God's sight, that he's well pleased with your decision to rear your children at home. That pleases him.

So sometimes when I say stuff like that, I think that it leads people into believing that again, I'm just—well it's because it's right, it's easy. And that's absolutely not the case. I don't know where anybody would get that. No, [00:15:42]because it's right it's hard. [1.0s] You know, here's a news flash for you folks, we don't really necessarily like to do things that are right. We're not naturally inclined to being obedient to the will of God. We find that very difficult. But by patient practice and by consistent application, we find by and by that this becomes our chief joy. And when you're going against yourself, when you're going against your own will, when you are struggling against your sin nature and you're striving to walk in the footsteps of your savior—you're looking to him, you're listening to him, you're asking him on a continual basis, What would you have me do? When you receive the answer by the leading of the Holy Spirit in some form or fashion, and you walk in accordance with the answer that you get, you're living a life of repentance. And that's a beautiful life. It's difficult when we acknowledge our sin, but when we try to more closely align our lives with that of our Heavenly Father we find that there is joy in this process. Yes, there is sorrow. There's absolutely sorrow. There's no way around that. But it is the beautiful fruit of righteousness that comes from this process that spurs us onward.

And let me say something else in that in that regard. When your children see you going through this process, there is an unspeakably powerful blessing that comes over their lives. You see, people need to see this process played out before their very eyes. And because this process is so hidden, if you will, or there are so few instances of this process in the world that we live in in this day and age–the world is dying. It doesn't know which way to go. There aren't that many good examples set before them anymore. They're out there, but there are fewer and fewer of them. So the world needs to see these examples. Your children most certainly need to see the example of a man or of a woman struggling against him or herself. They need to see you dying to yourself every single day. They need to see that it's hard.

Now, look, I've known lots of people in my lifetime who go through this process in a very proud way. You know, they cut this out and they cut that out and they refused to do this and they refuse to do that. And they're very vocal about it. They want you to recognize and to see the sacrifices that they're making in their life. And by so seeing, they want you to feel as if you were lesser in some way. Are you up to making the selfsame sacrifices that I'm making? You know, they talk about like, Well, we don't watch those movies or we don't watch movies at all or we don't watch that television show or we don't watch TV at all or we don't wear those clothes or we don't say those words or we don't eat that food or we don't frequent that place or whatever it may be. They go about it in a very proud, in a haughty way. And it comes off and it has the effect of making you feel as if you are lesser. Like there's something about this person that is superior to me, I could never walk it that way. But that is not the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ fully recognizes that this is a difficult process. Why? Because he walked that road. He came and stood in our shoes. And whereas he remained sinless, now there is forever the acknowledgment in the heart of heaven that this is a difficult way. He knows our struggles. He knows our trials and temptations. He knows how hard it is to get up in the morning some days and to to do this thing again. He knows how difficult you're finding it to deal with this one or these two or three, however many, particular children who are just giving you absolute fits and you're lying awake at night and you're wondering, what am I going to do? I don't know how to reach them. I've tried this. I've tried the other. I've talked to this person. They said, try this and that didn't work. And I'm afraid I'm going to lose them. And you have this aching fear gripping your heart that you're just you're watching your child—your child is drifting away before your very eyes. He knows those things. And he's the last person that is going to come to you and say, Well, because you're failing in reaching your child, there must be something wrong with you. Because, you know, I don't have any difficulty in reaching my children. Of course, he knows that it's difficult to reach children. Look at all of the difficulty that he has had throughout the ages when his children will not listen, will not hearken to his voice. He knows the ache of the heart better than anyone that overcomes us when we are witnessing our children choose a path that is less than true, less than just, less than righteous. And that is, in fact, a very dark and dangerous path. He knows these things.

So your children need to see that struggle. I'm not asking you to fake it. I'm not asking you to make it up. You don't have to fake it or make it up. You already know that It's hard. And they need to see that it's hard. They need to see you overcoming, by the grace of God, Your own selfish bent on a daily basis. The thing is, this selfsame gravity that we're speaking about, this selfish nature is also working against your children. You see it every day. You are all too familiar with that gravity and that selfish nature that exists in your children. You're trying every which way to counteract that or to give them the tools so that they may counteract it as they grow, because—that's another topic for another day. But when we take it upon ourselves to be the sole directors of our children's lives, and that the only thing keeping them from going astray is us—in other words, they only obey to avoid our wrath—then there's something terribly wrong about that. Now there's a period of time in which that can be very effective and it needs to be used to good effect, but you're always trying to move them away from that. To where the tools, the desire, the intrinsic aim of their lives is found within them and is borne in them by the Holy Spirit of God. Not by anything that you've said or done. You can lead them there. You can point them there. You can encourage them in that way. But you're always trying to get them to where they have this 1 to 1 relationship with their Heavenly Father, and so that you could die tomorrow and that compass, that internal director is there. That's another topic for another day.

But your children are also trying to find their way in this world. They also have this sin nature working against them. You have to be very, very careful in the way in which you handle that. You see, because they cannot lift themselves. They still do not have the material wherein they are capable of lifting themselves up out of this sin that they find themselves in. Now, I don't want to get into age of accountability and all of those sorts of things, because I have personal beliefs about that, about how you will how you view your children when they're two, three, four or five on up through eight even. How do you view them? You know, how does God view them and the sins that they commit, whether they're accountable for those? I don't want to get into that discussion. But what I do want to say is that it is incumbent upon us during that very formidable time in their life, that formative time, I should say, in their life is to help them do as much lifting as possible. See someone's got to do the lifting for them. And if and if all you can do is lift yourself, where is your strength to lift your children? All of these things that you're doing, not only are they perfecting you, but you're doing them to perfect your children. The process of God lifting you if done properly and if fully submitted to, will also in turn lift your children. They need to see it.

So the question is, who is lifting you? Is anybody lifting you? I'm sad to come across situations where there are mothers who they have they have no support system in place. Now we would all acknowledge, I think or I would hope, that the surest and most steadfast and most reliable uplift that there is in the universe comes from God himself. Outside of that, it's not a bad idea to have friends, to have support groups, to have conventions. You know, there's lots of different things to help lift your spirits and to encourage you along the way—things that will come along and help you think to yourself, I can do this. I'm going to I'm going to stick with this. Yesterday, I felt like quitting. Today I'm back at it. I'm back. And so, again, I ask you, who is lifting you?

So when we talk about homeschooling, there's all kinds of things that go into that, obviously, and one of the things that is missing from many home schools is that rhythm and order. It's very important. Rhythm and order are very important. It's important for us as individuals, it's important for our children. They respond very well to rhythm and order. Now, are there all kinds of home schools out there without rhythm and order? Absolutely. Quite frankly, I feel like ours is one of them many times. But here's the thing, we're always trying to get back to rhythm and order. We acknowledge that there is at times not a lot of rhythm and order in our lives, but we're not accepting that. We're not looking at that and say, Well, that's just the way it is. We're just disorderly people. It's like people who say, Well, I'm just a night owl. You know, those kinds of things. Well, you may be a night owl. You may find that it is easier for you to stay up late and you find it very difficult to get up early, but that doesn't mean that—it's better to get up early. It's better to retire early and to get up early because there's all kinds of studies and information and things that that prove that that is so. It's just generally better. So it is with rhythm and order.

As I just admitted to you, we've had periods where there's hardly any order in our home schools. We've known a lot of homeschool families where that's just kind of their thing, it's just kind of a crazy mess of disorder, if you will. And the difference is that there are people who submit themselves to that and suffer the consequences, and there are others who are constantly striving against it. So rhythm and order is another thing that is just like gravity's working against it. We're not naturally ordered, well-ordered. We're not naturally rhythmic. I mean, we do have rhythms, and we could submit to inappropriate or disadvantageous rhythms, if you will. I guess what I'm saying is, no matter what, there are there are rhythms in our lives, but the question is, are they good or bad? Are they are they positive or negative rhythms?

Okay, so, the good rhythms we find difficult to submit to, the bad rhythms those are very easy. Very, very simple. You just just kind of just like exist. You just kind of sit there and let those flow. And so it's a downward spiral. In our home, we've certainly experienced this—is we know that we should be more orderly, we know that we should have rhythms and have schedules in place that help our children to know what to expect next. Like we get up, we do this, we do this, we do this, and then after that we do these things. And then once that's wrapped up, we move on to the next thing. Like there's there's an order to that. And our home is always much happier and much more peaceful when we have those those schedules and those routines in place always. Does that mean that when we don't have those things in place, that we're just going to we just throw our hands up and give up and say, Well, we're going to wait until we get order before we get back to this homeschool thing? No, no, we keep homeschooling, we keep striving, but we're always looking to get back to that place.

I've already told you that we live in two properties. We have we have a little shop house and we have this old farmhouse that we're fixing up and we're—our family is actually separated like our children sleep up in the farmhouse with our older children and then Caroline and I, with some of the younger children, sleep in the little shop house because there's just not enough space. And that has greatly affected our ability to find rhythm and order in our homeschool. And we just we feel bad about it. We made this move because we felt it would be better for our family, but there have also been some there's been some negative consequences as a result of that decision. And we're trying to—we think ultimately it will be for the best, but for right now, it's tough. We're trying to get back there. It's kind of like a downward spiral when you know you should have order and you don't, it's discouraging, and because you're discouraged, it's very difficult to go against yourself. And going against ourselves in this instance would be trying to establish order. So it's just this downward spiral. The more discouraged we get, the less order we have. And the less order we have, the more discouraged we get, and so on and so forth. And eventually you've got to break that cycle. So how do you do that? I'm just going to go into a little bit of this real quick.

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So how can you break this cycle? I'm sure many of you all are familiar with this. You know what I'm talking about. You want order, but you just can't hardly lift yourself up out of this slow of despond. You know, to paraphrase—what is that—Pilgrim's Progress. Excuse me. So you're trying to lift yourself up out of that, but you're finding it very difficult. Well, first things first, and it's painfully obvious, but pray. For heaven's sake, pray. Get up in the morning and say a two minute prayer. A one minute prayer. And let it grow to 2 to 5 to 10 minutes, however long. But just pray, pray throughout the day. If you can't get up in the morning to pray, pray throughout the day. Pray all day long. My wife is has talked about that oftentimes how it is possible to be praying continually. God knew what he was talking about when he said that to pray without ceasing, to live a life of prayer. Doesn't mean that you have to be on your knees all day long, but the things that you do, your quiet moments, your moments where everyone's doing their own thing, you know, there can always be a prayer going up. And even if you can't find it within yourself to do that, just pray as much as you can. And ask God to lift you up. Again, the question who's lifting you? If you want to lift your children, you have to to discover who's lifting you because you can't do this on your own. You cannot do it. It's again—it's gravity. It's forcing us down and it will prevail. Our natures will prevail if we do not turn ourselves over to our Maker, to our Creator, and to our Savior. He will give us the strength to continue on and to go about this business in the way that he wants us to.

So outside of the obvious, the prayer, I've already talked about family meetings in a previous episode—you can look that up—but family meetings are something that can really help you. You get together, you talk with each other, you confess—look we've actually we did this recently, Like we're going through a rough patch here, folks. You know it. Children, you know it. You recognize it, don't you see it? And they're like, Yeah, yeah. And your mom and your dad they're not measuring up to even their own expectations. And so and we're sorry about that. But we want to check in with you on a routine basis and we want to let you know we haven't forgotten. We haven't forgotten who we know we should be and how we want to live our lives. We just want to let you know. And when they see that, I think it blesses them. Then they also do not feel alone because they're becomeing—particularly the middle age to the older children—they're getting to the place where they recognize, you know what, I really struggle with some stuff. There's some stuff about me that makes me very uncomfortable. I wish I wasn't this way and I want it to change. Then they see their parents and they're like, Well, my parents are like that, too. I didn't think that there was anything wrong with them. Well, we all get together when we acknowledge that we want to be better. We're not there yet, but we're going to keep trying. We encourage you to keep trying. You see, it could really be a blessing. So family meetings can be a way to kind of spur you onward. You might be sitting there and thinking, Well, I've already done this 15 times. Well do it the 16th time. Do the 17th, 18th, 19th—you're going to do this many, many times. How many times have you fallen? And pick yourself back up or allow God to pick you back up. Just keep getting up. Don't give up. And eventually God will give you the victory. If alone the victory is that you didn't give up. You see, that in and of itself is a victory. You may never have the home school that you dreamed of when you were younger or when you first started out. It may never happen, but by God, you're going to try. And if you keep trying and you don't give up and you keep striving and reaching for that goal, I say that you may have very well reached your goal. Even if it was not the goal that you set out for yourself at the first, don't give up. Do not give up.

Here's something else, try something new. I've said this many times—these are simple things, folks. Very, very simple. Praying, family meetings, try something new, try something different. It's very easy. I heard someone say one time a rut is a grave with both ends knocked out. I just think that's a very interesting saying. A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out. You get in there and you can't get out, or it feels that way, and the longer you walk in it, the deeper it gets and you might as well just die there. No, no, no, no. That's how it feels. But you can get up out of there. Sometimes it just takes a, you know, it takes somebody to come along and it kind of bop you on the head a little bit, somebody to slap you upside the face. I've had that happen to me many times. Just like what? Well, why in the world did I not think of that? It's so simple. And actually, I may have actually known that I'm just not doing it. You're in a rut. You can't see out of it. And you need to try something new. Move your homeschool to another part of your house. Try that. You're in the basement, go to the living room. You're in the living room, go to the basement. You're in the kitchen, go to the living room. I don't know. Move it around. You'd be amazed. I have your children—they do their home school in one part of the house, have them move to another part of the house. They do this one subject at one particular time of the day, have them do it another time of the day. You have a curriculum that you think it works and it's pretty effective but it's dull and they're worn out with it, try another curriculum. It's painfully obvious, isn't it? This isn't rocket science, but you would be amazed at how effective a change can be. You've been going on—you've had a long year of home schooling, you've been you've been very faithful, very consistent, you've had order, but it's just dragging. Take a day or two—take a week and go on some field trips, do some family reading, have have a tea party, go outside and run around. Do something new. Step up out of that rut and you'd be amazed how your perspective could change.

I've already said this, I'm going to say it again—I said at the beginning of the podcast, I'm going to say it again, go to a conference. Go to a homeschool conference. Again, these are so effective. When we were young, first married, Caroline drove me off to our first homeschool conference, and I—again, I was public schooled, I didn't know the first thing about them. I was committed to homeschooling, I wanted this, but I thought—it's almost too painful to say it—I thought, What are these people going to teach me about homeschooling? It's ridiculous. What am I? You know, I don't want to hear from other people about this stuff. I don't want to sit there all day and, you know—it's sad but true, but usually the men are not as excited about the homeschooling enterprise as what the women are. Because my wife, that's just one of her things. She just loves it. Loves it. Not that it's not hard. It is hard. And boy, she has her rough moments, but there's other elements or aspects of homeschooling that she absolutely adores. She loves shopping convention halls. She loves meeting fellow homeschoolers. She loves that. So she was already there. She was excited about. I don't want to go to this thing. What am I going to do? I got there, I loved it. I learned so much. It's just amazing, you you listen to somebody else with a different perspective—even though they're telling you stuff that you already know, that you've heard a hundred times or you've told yourself a hundred times, you hear it from somebody else's—just a slightly different perspective—or they have, you know, anecdotes from life that put a different spin on it, it just makes it that much easier to receive and to take in to your life and to adopted as your own. And furthermore, just in a word, it's encouraging. It's encouraging to be surrounded by people that are trying to do the same thing that you're doing. Go to a convention, and I would recommend a GHC convention. I think they're the best around. I really do. I'm not just saying that, folks. We've tried other conventions and there is a lot of good conventions out there. There are. I'm not saying that this is the only one. It's not. But I personally feel that these are the best. But we've been to others like state run conventions and conventions that other organizations put on and they're great, too. They are. Find one. There's certainly got to be one in your area, some kind of a homeschool convention. Go listen to somebody else talk about what you're doing. Just sit there and listen. Okay? You don't have to listen to yourself talk to yourself. I'll tell you what, I don't like listening to myself talk, okay? Because sometimes I go back and I listen to little portions of these podcasts—I mean, this is insider baseball, but I get tired of it. I just don't like hearing myself because I listen to myself all day long and I'm constantly talking inside my head and it gets a little annoying. But you hear it from somebody else that's like, wow, it's a breath of fresh air.

So I'll leave you with those things. Pray, start some family meetings—some consistent family meetings, you know, do it in the morning, do whatever is best for you all. Start with 5 minutes. Move it to 10 minutes, however long you need, but do it every day. Touch base with each other, encourage one another, pray with each other, confess your faults to one another, read scriptures, sing hymns, you know those kinds of things. It's so simple, but so rewarding and so encouraging. And lastly, go to a conference or find somebody—if you don't have a conference in your area, find somebody that you know and love or get on the phone and find somebody that you know, love and respect—maybe you don't even know them yet, but you think you'd like to get to know them. Talk to them. Start up a start of a relationship there or maybe like a mentorship of some kind that you can bounce ideas off of each other or what have you. That would be incredibly encouraging.

And I'm going to I'm going to throw this out here, too, because this isn't very well known just yet—we're still we're still trying to get this off of the ground, but it's going to be very soon when we do. We are actually starting a monthly subscription. It's gonna be called the Willard Homeschool Monthly Subscription, and we're going to have two different parts to it—but I'm not good at selling stuff, folks, let me just tell you that. I say that at conventions all the time. I'm not because I hate selling stuff, but I say this because this is what we're trying to do, because we know that it's hard and we know that sometimes it's difficult to find that that encouragement that is kind of outside yourself and that strength and that will and that vision to go on. And so we want to try to help with that in whatever way that we can. So we're starting a monthly subscription where we're going to record videos and we're going to have recorded talks and we're going to have lots of information related to homeschooling, raising children, character building, parenting issues, parenting young ones, parenting middle age, parenting teens—all these different kinds of things because we've benefited from that kind of support in the past. And we feel like we're at a point in our lives where we want to return the favor. So that's something that you might look for in the coming months here—it would be just about a month or two is what we're hoping for to be able to launch that. It will be a small monthly fee, but you'll have access to all kinds of content that we hope will bolster you and support you in the wonderful work that you're doing in your home.

Sean Allen So I thought this podcast was going to be 15 minutes, but I always fool myself. There's so much to say and so much more to be said, but I'll stop here if you've made it this far thank you for staying with me today. And if you haven't you're not going to hear me say this, but I understand because life is busy and there's lots of other things to do. Thank you very much again for joining me. You're almost there. The summer is coming. Your break is nigh. In the meantime, if you can find a convention, do it. Find a GHC convention, find somebody to talk to, and it'll be well worth your time. But hang in there. You're doing great. It's wonderful. I don't know who you are or where you are, how many children you have, how you homeschool, I don't care. I know you're out there because I've met you before, and it's encouraging to me. It just cheers my heart to know that there are people like you out there doing what you're doing. We're doing the selfsame thing, and God willing, we will will reach the finish line and reap the reward. And frankly, folks, the reward is right there before us. We get to experience it each and every day—to see our children grow in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, to see how they're responding to the things that we're teaching them, and it's just so heartachingly beautiful. So thank you again for joining me today. God bless you all. And I look forward to speaking with you again soon. Goodbye for now.

Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find shownotes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve health care you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. That's GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @homeschooling.mom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the Homeschooling events of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topic, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I'll be there. I hope to see you there too.

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