390 | What To Do When Everything Changes (Janice Campbell)
Sometimes life changes abruptly in ways we can’t control, and it can leave us feeling tired, anxious, or sad. As I’ve read the daily newspaper over the last few months with its grim news of weather disasters, fires, political instability, and war, I thought it might be time to revisit some thoughts I shared at the beginning of the Covid-19 event that changed many of our lives for at least a year or two. I hope you find these thoughts helpful as you navigate whatever uncertainty has touched your life.
Janice Campbell, a lifelong reader and writer, loves to introduce students to great books and beautiful writing. She holds an English degree from Mary Baldwin College, and is the graduated homeschool mom of four sons. You’ll find more about reading, writing, planning, and education from a Charlotte Mason/Classical perspective at her websites, EverydayEducation.com, Excellence-in-Literature.com, and DoingWhatMatters.com.
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Hello and welcome to The Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Janice Campbell and I'm one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Each week we bring you an encouraging conversation from this busy and blessed journey of educating our children at home. While the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we don't pretend to have all the answers to all the homeschooling questions. It is our hope that this podcast will point you to Jesus Christ that you may seek his counsel as you train your children in the way they should go. Parents, here's a riddle for you: Homeschoolers love them, enemies of freedom hate them. What are they? It's the Tuttle Twin books. With millions of copies sold, the Tuttle Twins series helps you teach your children about entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, the Golden Rule, and so much more. Get a discounted set of books with free workbooks today at TuttleTwins.com/homeschool. And now on today's show.
Hi, I'm Janice Campbell. And today I'd like to share some thoughts on what to do when everything changes. Sometimes life changes abruptly in ways we can't control, and it can leave us feeling tired, anxious or sad. As I've read the daily newspaper over the last few months with its grim news of weather disasters, fires, political instability and war, I thought it might be time to revisit some thoughts I shared at the beginning of the COVID-19 event that changed many of our lives for at least a year or two. I hope you find these thoughts helpful as you navigate whatever uncertainty has touched your life. So it was 2020 and I was at the first Grade Homeschool Convention in Texas when the first wave of COVID-related closings occurred. The conference ended early and I drove home to Virginia wondering what the next few weeks or months might look like. I knew that many people would be at home together all the time, and while this is nothing new for homeschoolers, it would be a big change for a lot of families. The Internet was filling rapidly with articles on what to do if you're stuck at home. These offered an overwhelming number of ideas and some even shared a helpful resource or two. But, you know, I'd like to offer something a bit different. Some ideas on what not to do and some things you might do instead.
But first, guard your heart. Think about whether you've been spending more time than usual absorbed in news or social media. How does it make you feel? If news is playing repetitively in the background, or you scroll endlessly through social media channels or news articles, pay attention to what your body's telling you. Is your heart beating faster than usual? Do you feel tension in your shoulders or neck? Or do you unexpectedly find tears in your eyes? Are you feeling more frightened than you did when you woke this morning? If so, please stop. Turn off the news. Turn off news notifications on your phone. Close your social media apps and take a deep breath. For now, you're home. You're not stuck at home, but you're simply at home. If you are with your loved ones, that's something to be thankful for. Today you are wherever you need to be. In this difficult time when we cannot do what we usually do, we must be mindful of what we should do. And in order to do that, we must guard our hearts against the things that drain hope and courage and against anything that seeks to sow discontent, discord or division.
Stop and think. What is the next thing you can do? What does your family, neighbor or community need from you today? How can I love others and what can I offer? So many times we have lists of things we'd do if we had time. We'd write letters to our elderly relatives. We'd call that lonely, talkative neighbor that goes on and on. We might do craft projects with our children or try new recipes, teach the kids to cook or sew, clean out the closets or inboxes—oh, my goodness. What a job—wash the windows or plant a garden, maybe organize the photos from the road trip we took a decade ago. We'd clean house and get it so organized that we'd hardly recognize it. We'd even start making Christmas cards and gifts. If we had time, we'd do all the wholesome, normal activities of living that have been displaced by busy schedules. Most of us are now people with time. How can we create an atmosphere of hope, courage and love for those around us? The big question is how shall we then live? Rather than focusing on things we can't do, where we can't go or who we can't see, think, What can I do? What kind of memories do I want to create for myself and for my family? And what kind of a presence do I want to be in our home? How can I be love for those in my life? [00:05:34][90.7]
As you keep in mind who you want to be for your family and what we want our children to remember, here are five small things you can do today. Number one: be kind to one another. Stress in close quarters can be hard for everyone. And there will be moments when you or someone you love is not who you want to be. Apologize freely. Forgive immediately with tender love. This will make everything easier. And sometimes forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. You might have to offer forgiveness mentally many times before something big is forgiven. But for small things, forgive immediately because we all do things that need forgiveness. Number two: read good things. To read is to embark on a journey to elsewhere. During this season, when you can't physically go anywhere, reading can transport you and your family to other times and places. Faith reading can strengthen your soul. The classics can cultivate wisdom and virtue. And just plain old good books can delight your spirit and offer healing, companionship and perspective. I have reading lists of historical fiction and fiction that boys like on my Excellence-In-Literature.com Website, and there are many other good lists available from AmblesideOnline.com, Sonlight.com and others. You might even start reading some of the books that C.S. Lewis mentioned as the list of ten books that most influenced him.
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Number three: you might take this opportunity to learn something new. Is there something that you've always wanted to know how to do? This might be a perfect time. On YouTube, you'll find videos of how to do every sort of handwork, including things you've never heard of, as well as instructions for building or fixing virtually anything. You can learn how to garden, budget, plant a garden, sew, change the oil in your car and so much more entirely free. Number four: how about teaching something? What do your children need to know? Not just academics, but playing for younger students. Because as some wise person once said, and I don't remember whom, said, the play is the work of children. And it's true. It's where they learn to work together, to solve problems, to comfort themselves when things don't go well and all of those things. Playing is very, very important for students older than you would expect, really. But how about life skills? There's a how to change a tire journal that offers 133 ideas and a place to record them, and it is a tremendously useful tool to help you remember to teach your kids all the things they need to know in order to be competent and effective and confident adults. And learn how to learn with living books and learning journals. I've got an article about that on my blog DoingWhatMatters.com. But those are things that people in times past did. And when you're at home a little bit more, you have time to try out these things. You can teach your children whatever you're learning or even skills that you learned from your grandmother. I learned how to crochet and do many types of handwork from my grandmother and have enjoyed passing some of those down to my grandchildren. A little bit sketchily, but at least occasionally have an opportunity to do that. But often the best way to teach these things can be to learn and do them alongside your students if you didn't learn them from a grandmother or someone else in your family. Through all of these activities, your attitude and spirit will be teaching too, because love and patience and kindness make even difficult times bearable.
So in the COVID days, people who were not homeschooling suddenly found themselves with children at home who had schoolwork to do. And if that happens to be the case where you are or you find yourself there for some reason, please try not to panic. The homeschooling community and Internet are filled with resources. Free things such as Khan Academy, that has lots and lots of free lessons that are very well done to help your students learn, and they can help them complete any of the homework that schools have assigned. And with older students, you're mostly a mentor. Simply helping your students find resources and making sure they turn their assignments in on time. Younger students, of course, benefit from lots of good reading and copywork. This can be time to pull out a world map and draw each country—have your children draw each country, that is. Ensuring that they won't be among those who think that Spain is the capital of Mexico and that New Mexico is a foreign country. And don't be intimidated by the idea that you don't know enough to teach. Many teachers aren't subject experts either. They might have a degree in education techniques, but just as you will, they rely on books and materials that are written by subject area experts like historians, scientists, mathematicians and literary authors for the things that they teach. So, when you find yourself starting homeschooling in a crisis sort of way, start with things you know that your students need to know and work outward from there. If your student is struggling with even gaining basic reading skills, it's a place to start, but you start helping with that by saturating them in great stories and things that invite them in and make them want to learn to read. That is a really good way to start. But, you know, lots of good curriculum available to take them beyond. And there's many articles on my blog that cover some of the ways to help teach things like that.
But number five is to remember others. Who's your neighbor? Who do you know of? Who's in a higher risk category or can't go out as much as they used to be able to do and can't drive perhaps because they're elderly, whatever. If you can set aside time each day to call or text or write an email or letter to one or more of these people, that could be a real blessing to the people in your neighborhood and help your family look beyond the challenges and difficulties that are currently facing them because they can participate in those communication touches as well. An elderly or an infirm neighbor might enjoy receiving, you know, a few cookies or help with mowing lawn or taking trash to the curb or whatever. Teens and preteens can be super helpful in handling little things like that. But finally, for those of you here who are sustained by faith, as I am, one of the things that was posted during the COVID time was a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, shared by S.D. Smith, who's the author of the amazing Green Ember Series for kids, and it seemed very appropriate for a time such as this crisis time, this time when everything changes. And here's the prayer: Increase, O God, the spirit of neighborliness among us, that in peril we may uphold one another in suffering tend to one another, and in homelessness, loneliness or exile befriend one another. Grant us brave and enduring hearts that we may strengthen one another, until the disciplines and testing of these days are ended, and you again give peace in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Despite everything that's going on in our world, there is kindness and grace and mercy, and we are still grateful. This may be one of the times that try men's souls (with apologies to Thomas Paine) but it can also be a time of learning and growing together in grace and love. May this difficult time be so for you and your family as well. Thank you for listening. Goodbye.
Thank you for joining us this week on The Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes 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/MediShare. 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 @HomeschoolingDotMom 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 topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there. Finally you can connect with me, Janice Campbell, at EverydayEducation.com where you'll find my Excellence in Literature curriculum, transcripts made easy and more, as well as at my blog DoingWhatMatters.com and my literature resource site Excellence-In-Literature.com. I wish you peace and joy in your homeschooling.