Leo at zenhabits has a great post on 72 ideas to simplify our lives. He has a short list first:
The Short List
…there are really only two steps to simplifying:
- Identify what’s most important to you.
- Eliminate everything else.
That’s what it all boils down to in a better education. But I’d also add, “and what’s important to the kids” in step 1.
Ok, 10 ideas for a better education at home:
10. Evaluate what you are doing with an objective eye. Are the work/projects/things your kids are doing making their lives better? Do the elements in your life promote relationships? Do they promote a love of learning? Do they represent the true values that your family stands for? Or does it fill a bucket, tick off a list, make everyone feel like “something” is being done? Evaluate what you fill your day with, and take out anything that doesn’t meet your very high criteria: things that make your lives better right now.
9. Get rid of everything that makes you or your kids feel trapped. Whether it be a curriculum, a class, a family obligation or a volunteer position, get rid of anything in your lives that make you feel like you have no choice. Doing things that put us in a virtual cage reduce the quality of life and create stress. Stress turns off our brains. Feeling trapped is a surefire path to burnout. When we don’t feel trapped, then we are choosing life.
8. Turn the focus away from the family too. Volunteer, offer a class, participate in a group activity, help a friend move…find ways to take everyone’s focus and turn it to helping others. In helping others, we help ourselves. But don’t be a martyr. Do it without asking for or expecting anything in return.
7. Give yourself permission everyday to do “nothing”. A real super-homeschooler is one who can sit still and be happy. Find balance between doing things and resting.
6. Be present in what’s happening now. This is the main practice of the zen philosophy – be where you are. When we are present in the moment, we experience it fully. Be in the moment when things are good, and when they are bad. (And remember, “good” and “bad” are entirely created by our own expectations.) Being in the moment gives us more time, more energy and more objectivity. It also helps us slow down and appreciate what we are doing more.
5. Create routines that match who you are as a family. Routines and life rhythm are important. Having a routine that everyone can count on grounds us. But make it one that everyone feels relaxed and happy in it, not stressed or feeling like they have to struggle to keep up with it.
4. Take a real interest in what the kids are doing. Especially their passions. If it’s Pokemon, or cars, or movies or girls – whatever it is, devote lots of time getting to know about the things the kids like. Doesn’t mean you have to like it too. This is good advice for spouses too, BTW. I have found this out through personal experience that involves a Harley-Davidson.
3. Find inner peace as parents. The more at peace we are with ourselves, the more we’ll be able to have peace in our homes. One of the greatest gifts we can give to the kids is to like ourselves, trust ourselves, know who we are and to be comfortable in our skin.
2. Save our stress and anxiety for only the things that really matter. The list of things that really matter, should be really, really short. Everything else, let it go.
1. Say “good morning” every morning, with a big hug to everyone. And “good night” to everyone, with another big hug. This says, “no matter what happens today, I love you” without saying a word. And then, at night, watch the kids when they sleep for just a bit. There’s nothing like watching a person sleep that reminds us that they are human and vulnerable. And that it’s a great responsibility to our loved ones for us not to abuse the fact that we know them at their most vulnerable state.
You got anymore ideas that I should add to the list?