How do you keep yourself organised?

I hope you enjoyed my previous post about de-cluttering. I’m really passionate about a few things: personal development, education and organising! I can see that all of these interests are strictly related to my love of books and stationery, so it is not a coincidence.

One of the things that is quite new in this decade compared with how older generations used to store their documents is:

1.    We are apparently more digital because of the Internet and emails so we should use less paper. However, going paperless doesn’t really work well as lots of office workers still produce enormous amounts of paperwork, since we have emails and printers everywhere – we have more bits of paper created, not fewer. Also, nowadays many families have printers at home too!

2.    We get tonnes of leaflets and business cards. And there are so many forms that need printing and completing on paper before they are sent back to schools, doctors and various organisations.

These are only some of the reasons why we get more and more papers to organise.

The author of The Paper Solution said that she likes to use her digital calendar on her phone as it can link with other people’s calendars such as her husband’s, so they can see their plans and appointments easily, for example. It helps her to feel more organised and limits her usage of paper.

Of course, it is a matter of what’s most convenient for everyone. I prefer paper calendars. I tried digital calendars and productivity apps, and apps that should help me to manage my projects but I really feel that paper works better for me for things like tasks. I like to use a pen and I like to handwrite some things.

I have one big calendar on my fridge. Every year I purchase the same one at the end of December. It’s called Do It All Mum Family Planner. It’s brilliant! It has a magnet for the fridge and a pocket where I keep some business cards or pieces of docs such as appointments, and a pen or two. You can see find this great calendar here: https://amzn.to/3nWUE8P

I also print an Excel spread sheet with my working hours and appointments every two weeks as I have a few part-time jobs and some of my working hours are quite flexible and change every week. I do part-time admin, and I’m a photographer. I also teach foreigners English online, and I design and sell T-shirts in my Etsy shop: shorturl.at/fAYZ8

And I also have Instagram and Fb pages called Paper or Scissors – with kids’ activities ❤️

So yes, with so many projects and work, I don’t like to skip from one workbook in Excel to another or from one folder to another although I have to have some folders for my photography work and material for my online student tutorials. I also have one Action plan in Excel but it just didn’t work for me for too long and I don’t like to use it.

I have separate drawers for different jobs and projects but I also have some lists where I jot down all my projects or create a mind map to see where I am, to ensure I don’t forget something important. Doing a lot of different tasks means that you need to be quite organised and have some systems that work well for you. If you tried something and it didn’t work don’t get discouraged. It took me quite a while to learn what sort of calendars and methods and solutions I can and should use. I tried many different types of calendars before. I decided I can’t use a paper calendar in the form of a notebook. It has to be big and clearly visible, on the fridge or on the wall. Such a calendar is great for appointments and important reminders, but it isn’t big enough to cover lists with tasks. There are so many notes in my calendar that no-one except me can read it easily in our home. So that’s way I do the spread sheet which looks as simple as this:

w/c 22.10MonTueWedThursFriSatSun
7am       
8am       
9am       
10am       
11am       
        
Up to 8pm       

I glue it on the wall in the kitchen where we look when we prepare breakfast – it’s so important things are not forgotten so easily! Most days I have exercises booked at 7am but it doesn’t mean it always happens. If I need to sleep longer and my children are still asleep then I listen to my body and sleep for a bit longer (doesn’t happen often though). If my children get up at 6am this means that I probably won’t manage to exercise much that day. So any work that I have to do this week, such as admin, a photo session, or English classes, is in this spread sheet. I also take French lessons with my daughter, so these are always there too. Additionally, I would put there any appointments or meetings, such as visits to the dentist, so my husband will know that I won’t be at home then.

To make it clearer, I highlight all admin work in red, all English lessons as blue and appointments and other important things like that in green or yellow. I’ve tried so many systems and this works just perfectly. It may look like a bit of work but it isn’t, because I save the previous completed spread sheet and only every two weeks make little changes to it. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

And then I have a to-do list that I update as regularly as I can. Sometimes I’d follow the method to write three tasks for each day but then it feels a bit robotic. Some days I feel I want to have more freedom and more free time, because when I don’t have any scheduled work such as admin it’s actually supposed to be… my free time. It is a huge challenge to keep this time entirely FREE because of cleaning, cooking and other responsibilities. I need to remind myself that some of this time has to remain for myself and my family or otherwise I get overworked and frustrated. I think I’m managing pretty well to spend some of this time on family time, reading, exercising, writing or whatever I need and want. There are days it doesn’t work perfectly but at least I have some system and many days I manage to follow it.

And what about you? Do you prefer a paper or digital calendar? Do you have a system that helps you with your to-do lists and tasks

Dear Decluttering Addicts!

If you are like me – a stationery and books addict and love to do lists, and organise your home, life, ideas, projects and whatever else you may think of – you may want some great advice to learn how to better manage all your papers, documents and lists with ideas or tasks.

Did you ever lose an invitation, some post notes or an important bill? Were you wondering how to keep your children’s artwork and school-related things organised neatly? What papers you should and shouldn’t throw away? 

That’s what this newly released book can help you with: The Paper Solution by Lisa Woodroof. The author felt there was a lot about decluttering in general but not much help or many tips available for people who struggle with floods of papers. She had to deal with boxes of documents, and all sorts of albums and notebooks belonging to her father after he died. There was so much of this, she felt overwhelmed and left the task for a couple of years. At some point she felt that she didn’t have a good working system for herself to deal with her papers as well, as there were so many coming via the post every week.

“The average American receives 49,060 pieces of post in their lifetimes. One-third of it is junk mail.”

As well as the mail, we bring home business cards, invitations and forms from work, school, the doctor’s and other places. There are also often tonnes of photos that we keep, some souvenirs, magazines, recipes we may or may not use one day… And of course, there are always some reminders and notes to ourselves, and shopping lists, and so much more if you think about it for a little bit longer! She has the perfect name for it, the paper tsunami, and she believes it will come sooner or later to most of us.

Lisa created a system that worked well for her and then started to help others to deal with their papers. She quickly found out that 85% of all papers we keep at home can actually be shredded and recycled.

Would you like to find out more about some of the tips from the book?

A story about survival – an interview with the author of the book Being Krystyna.

A story about survival – an interview with the author of the book Being Krystyna.

This time of the year we have many World War Two anniversaries starting with 1st September when in 1939 the Nazis attacked Poland and began the war. I think it’s the perfect time to sit with a book such as Being Krystyna – a story that connects the war times with our modern world, and two very different generations. A beautiful but also sad story. An account that gives hope even in the worst circumstances that one may find oneself.

What is one of the most surprising facts is that, had I eaten breakfast and not fainted in a gym a few years ago this book wouldn’t exist! No, the moral isn’t that unhealthy habits can sometimes be good for us. ;), it’s rather that everything happens for a reason. An ambulance was called to the gym and I met Chris Porsz, a paramedic and photographer who was born in the UK and had Polish parents. We spoke a bit about Poland where I come from and he suggested that I may want to visit his mum who lives in a local care home. He thought she would enjoy the company of a Polish-speaking person. She did still speak Polish but hasn’t used this language for years. I agreed and visited the lady a couple of times. Once I met Christ there and he said that he wrote some notes down when his mum used to tell him about the war, her move to England and life here. He said he isn’t a writer but would love someone to write this story down so it could become a book one day as he felt it’s really special and should not be forgotten. I love writing. However, I didn’t really feel up to the challenge! I knew someone who could be just perfect for this task! And that’s why and how I ended up telling my writer friend Carol all about this story. She decided to take it on. 

1.    Carol, what sort of books did you write before Being Krystyna and why?

I had written an epic fantasy trilogy before Being Krystyna. It came about following a day dream I had many years ago in which I saw the main characters and decided to write their story. I have always liked reading nonfiction but never thought I would write in that genre one day.

2.    Was the decision to write the book about Chris’s mum surprising? I know you had doubts whether you should write this book. What has persuaded you that you felt you should do it?

I did ask several people I knew if they wanted to write a book about Krystyna Porsz, but no-one seemed interested. It seemed a shame that her story would never be told because I knew such wartime experiences were valuable and important, and something compelled me to try and write it myself. I doubted my own ability to do the story justice and you have to be very careful when you are writing about real people. It’s a completely different discipline from writing fiction – you are using the same tools but you need to approach the subject matter with much more sensitivity. It is even more important when the person or people you are writing about are dead or unable to communicate -as in Krystyna’s case with her having dementia. This was one problem that I found very daunting. I wanted to be as accurate as possible regarding the facts while also showing Krystyna in the best light as she was not only the main character but a real human being too. Fortunately, it seemed to work out really well!

3.    I’m one of the characters in the book! How great an honour is that! It’s an amazing feeling that my name can be in the book out there for decades or perhaps even centuries. However, it’s also a weird feeling when I know that I didn’t really do anything special to deserve to be in such a book. Did you have the idea to use my character in the book from the beginning? If not, what other ideas did you have for the plot of this book?

It took me ages to come up with a structure for the narrative. I didn’t want to tell the story where you just go from A to B and then the end, like writing a list of what had happened in a person’s life. I felt it was very important to show the importance of the lessons of history by comparing Krystyna’s past with the present-day. I can’t pinpoint the exact day that the idea for seeing the story through the eyes of another person came to me, but it was a magical moment! The whole book seemed to create itself around that idea. It also allowed me to contrast the different life experiences of two Polish women. I think it added depth to the narrative. Using the real you, Agnieszka, also felt right because you had met Krystyna on several occasions so what followed in the book was an embellishment rather than a fiction.
 

4.    What do you like most about writing books? Is the process or the final step – when the book is finished – the most pleasant?


Every book is different. Usually, I only write when I have inspiration. If the inspiration is powerful and I have plenty of ideas, the writing comes easily. That is when I enjoy the whole process. Getting lost in the physical act of writing is what I enjoy the most. If I lose all sense of time and even any sense of who I am or where I am, then it is the best feeling.

5.    Writing a book is a great challenge! Writers get tired, overwhelmed, fed up at different stages. How was writing Being Krystyna for you? Did it take you long? And have you experienced any obstacles while writing it?

The only obstacle for me with Being Krystyna was having to go out to work! Once I had the idea for the structure of the book, I found the writing came fairly easily. I made sure I planned what I was going to write in each chapter as I like that kind of discipline. I’m not what they call a ‘pantser’ where you just start writing and see where you end up. I wrote like that when I began the first draft of my first book and it was a dreadful mess that needed lots of work afterwards. The only thing that held me up with Being Krystyna was the research for the historical details. I did a lot of reading and also studied documents and personal accounts of wartime online. These details allowed me to add depth to Krystyna’s own accounts of her life. I don’t recall how long it took me to write. Probably four months. I worked on it every afternoon. It’s a novella, of course, and I would expect a novel to take twice as long.

6.    What do you feel is the most important message in the book?

Stories like Krystyna’s show us how quickly hatred and bigotry can infiltrate society, and with the resurgence of far-right ideology in the present day we need to know these lessons from the past. Krystyna always feared the Nazis would return after the war and I think she was right. That fascist mindset has never gone away and no-one should be complacent about it. Krystyna herself would say her message was ‘Just be kind’.

7.    While writing the book you had to do a lot of research on WWII. You surely learnt a lot during this process. Did you find anything surprising or shocking about the war that you didn’t know about before?


I read many personal accounts that were profoundly shocking. I knew there was absolute horror in the camps but the facts are even worse. There were things I read that I’ll never be able to forget, try as I might. But there was great heroism too and time and again it surprised me how much some people can endure and yet still survive. That Europe in particular was able to rebuild itself after all that destruction and carnage amazed me – and to find that normal decent human feelings still existed even more so.

You can find more about the book in the description and reviews on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H1Oxzx

How to survive homeschooling? PART 3

INVEST (MONEY OR TIME AND EFFORT) 

If you can, invest some money to help you with homeschooling and I’m not talking about a fortune but literally a few pounds a month. Unfortunately, different clubs, activities and classes are closed at the moment but instead you can use this money to do things online or get some things delivered to your home! 

I decided to subscribe to the Twinkl website because I can download a lot of great materials there from PP presentations, posters and cards to worksheets. I also receive books on a monthly basis and I can use their educational materials on apps on my mobile, laptop or PC, so that’s a bit more variety than using just workbooks. What I liked on Twinkl is it also gives you many ideas on how you can use a messy play activity tray and I have one of those so the ideas can be used for my toddler. 

I also subscribed to Brilliant Brainz as they seem to describe important topics such as the body and mind, animals, the senses, and a lot more, in a very interesting way. The magazine is super colourful and attractive for children. And they cost only £3.99 a month! I read a bit about The Weekly Junior magazine and it looks great too as it covers different topics on politics, society and other serious and important issues, but is explained in rather plain language. However, this is something for slightly older children than mine but this may be useful for you. 

Another great thing seems to be subscription boxes. I never used them before but decided to try something that could help to make homeschooling more fun. There is a huge variety of topics and price ranges. Lots to choose from. I decided I will try an art & crafts box as we love these kinds of activities. There must be hundreds of art & crafts subscription boxes at the moment! In our first one there is a gift so we will get two boxes for the price of one. I could pick the topics and I decided to choose learning and doing activities about planets and also woodland animal puppets with a stage that my child can build to perform her plays. 

The other box I fell in love with is called Geo Journey and I really look forward to the delivery of this one! In the first box my child will get some nice luggage, a travel journal, a map, a passport and I think a few other smaller bits. Then once a month Geo the owl and her friend the puppy will send my daughter personalised letters. The animals travel the world and each month send a pack about one of the countries they visited. There is then a letter, photos, stickers, a souvenir and some cards with facts about the country. I saw some children getting packs about Egypt, France and Australia, and this really looked like fun and can teach little learners a great deal. Surely a better idea than reading about countries and trying to remember all the theories and facts. 

Of course, I understand that not everyone can invest in these things but then there are always a lot of free books (check out, for example, Oxford Owl website!) and online resources (education.com has many free resources) that you can use to make the homeschooling experience more interesting.

You don’t need to pay for Geo Journey if you don’t want to but you can borrow the idea and create a similar project! So you could decide that once a month or even once a week you make a themed day. Let’s say it’s Italian day! You could make some pasta for lunch and tell your child what Italian food is like. Find some interesting facts about this and surprise your child by telling them e.g. that Italians don’t eat their pizza with ketchup or mayo, or any other kind of sauce! You could play some Italian music and a video or two about Italy for kids on YouTube. You could also show what the Italian flag looks like and even ask your child to watch a basic Italian tutorial online and learn 3 or 5 basic words or phrases such as ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you’? Then you could give them a print out or read them facts about the famous people who come from Italy and what they are famous for. You can cover other topics such as what currency they use, how many people live in the country and perhaps a few facts from their history. You can actually make a pack with these facts and give it to your child in an envelope, just like in the Geo Journey style. Maybe you can also ask your child to do a quiz about Italy once the activities finish.

I’d like to finish this post with a beautiful quote I found in Forbes:

“(…) some parents may discover that learning outside of schooling benefited their children and strengthened their family. (…) They may realize that education without schooling is not a crisis but an opportunity” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerrymcdonald/2020/03/11/the-worlds-homeschooling-moment/#584aac7b550c)

How to survive homeschooling – PART 2

https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/

Many parents may be worried about their teaching skills, especially when most of us forgot almost everything that we learnt in school. However, nowadays there are plenty of fantastic, creative and interactive resources that can help you to prepare some simple and effective lessons for your child. You may be surprise how beneficial homeschooling can be. Hopefully, these statistics will make you feel better:

  • “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income”
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.”
  • “Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.”
  • “Research facts on homeschooling show that the home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development.”
  • “Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.” https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/
Photo from Pexels

HOURS AND BREAKS

Homeschooling doesn’t mean that your child needs to spend 4 or 6 hours a day studying at their desk. Most days 1 to 2 hours would be just perfect. I’ve read interviews with mothers who homeschooled for years and I even managed to speak to some of them; and they say that the best parts of learning take place not during ‘school hours’ at a desk but actually while visiting places such as a forest, staying in the garden, using a trampoline, reading a book, or discussing things during a car trip. 

Some of the mothers said that the freedom they have regarding scheduling learning time is precious and that homeschooling does not mean, as many people think, making sure that your child is at the desk between 9a.m. and 3pm. doing reading, maths and science. One mum said that she does 2-3 hours of school time a day four times a week and that her child learns a great deal because a lot of this time the child gets 1:1 attention in the form of teaching, feedback and discussions. 

The standard school hours don’t apply for homeschooling at all and can make things frustrating! And actually homeschooling can be a great opportunity for bonding and building a better relationship with your child. 

It’s a simple piece of advice but we may forget about regular breaks for our child if we are busy with our own work or with other children. If your child seems tired or not in the mood, maybe it’s better to take a longer break or to give them a day off so they can recharge their batteries or have a bit more fun. Be flexible and allow your child to study in places they like sometimes, like the sofa, kitchen or garden, rather than only at their desk. It can be very difficult for a child to sit for longer periods of time like that, with no friends around, and not have enough outdoor time and activities. 


LET YOUR CHILD DECIDE!

Let your child feel important and ask them sometimes what they would prefer to learn on a particular day; or if you print materials out from the Internet ask them which ones they would like to do. It’s good to involve your child in these decisions as much as possible. They will surely learn more and enjoy the experience. 

I also found it interesting being led by my child in terms of choosing some topics for learning. So she was not making plans but out of the blue she asked me or her dad why dinosaurs died, what slavery means, what the brain looks like or what’s inside the Earth, and I tried to use this interest in the topic she came up with to provoke some discussions and I showed her short videos to explain things even better. We have some great books about the Earth, nature and animals and sometimes I’d randomly pick one and tell her: Wow, did you know that… xyz? And most of the time she would jump up next to me excitedly and ask questions, and ask if I can tell her more about tornados, the penguins that visit Brazil every year, or the first toys that were found by archaeologists. 

How to survive homeschooling Part 1

When someone first envisions homeschooling, the first thought is often a family replicating the school environment at home. Lessons start promptly at 8:30am, with children working studiously around the kitchen table until a break for lunch at noon. After the lunch break, lessons continue until 2:30pm. Then the homeschool day is over. But, for a large and growing number of families, homeschooling looks absolutely nothing like this. For example, homeschooling families who identify as unschoolers make no distinction between living and learning. Children learn from the day they are born. You can’t stop them. Other homeschooling families believe in incorporating some structured academic activities into their days and weeks. Even so, these families tend to have a lot of free time to play, explore, and go on adventures compared to families with children in traditional schools.” ( You can homeschool in less than two hours per day)

Some parents seem to be quite frustrated with the homeschooling that they were suddenly asked to do during the lockdown. They don’t feel prepared, and sometimes not qualified, to do this and are not sure how to motivate their children to learn at home where they normally only had play time rather than school time. 

I must admit it was difficult for me in the beginning as well and I tried different approaches and made various schedules and I was wondering how many hours a day or a week we should do the homeschooling. I also wondered how to make it a bit easier, and more fun and interesting for the child. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Now, after weeks of trying out different methods and materials, I feel a lot more confident with this and most of the time we are actually enjoying our homeschooling experience. Therefore, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on this topic. I hope that it can help some other parents because, if I had more instructions and advice at the beginning, I think the transition and the process of learning at home would be a lot smoother and easier for us. 

The best thing about homeschooling is that there is just so much FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY and a huge room for CREATIVITY. There is no one perfect way to do this because different things will work for different people. And that’s beautiful about it!

According to a recent BBC article, approx. 50% of parents decided not to send their children back to school even though they were eligible to come back to their classes on 1st June (in England). This is of course a hot topic nowadays and usually whatever your side and opinion is on this there are always some that will criticise you. You are sending your child to school? Wait, that’s not responsible! The fight against covid-19 is not finished yet and we don’t have the situation under control! You are leaving your child at home? What? Wait, this is crazy! Fewer people die of covid-19 now than some weeks ago and we must go back to a normal life. How long do you think you can be hiding like that?

It doesn’t matter on which side you are – you won’t win. So why not try to respect the decisions of others? I know some of you decided to keep the children at home but you are still struggling with the homeschooling so I thought you may get some ideas for improvements after reading this post. 

FUN AND VARIETY

Try to make it fun. Yes, as you read more of the post, you will see that it can be fun. I give my daughter some arts & crafts activities, nearly daily, and I also call them homework so she can associate this word with something that she likes – painting, play dough, drawing, making origami, etc. not only sitting and doing maths tasks. 

I think it’s important to change the formats of the learning materials to make sure the child doesn’t get too bored with the learning. So, worksheets are great but there are also a lot more methods many of which are interactive. There are documentary videos, themed songs, PowerPoint presentations (ready to use on websites such as Twinkl, or you can do some on your own once in a while; copying and pasting some images and information from different websites is quick and easy). 

Recently, my daughter had a task sent to us by her school about the animal kingdom and we decided to do some more learning on this topic. I played two videos for kids on YouTube so she could better remember the differences between reptiles and amphibians. I also asked her to cut out animals from magazines and some old cards that she had, and then to group them into animal group categories. We made a poster about different animal groups too and put it on a wall for some time so she could remember things better. 

Remember about PE too. It doesn’t have to be a 30-min workout with famous instructor Joe if your child doesn’t feel like doing it. Maybe you can make a deal that it’s okay to do five minutes skipping with a rope instead. This is a very intense exercise and can be done quickly. Trampoline, bike, scooter, Zumba or Yoga for kids on YouTube – there is so much choice for your child. My husband gives our child some taekwondo lessons sometimes. Maybe your child could join you for an online fitness class.  You could ask your child to do the exercises every other day and each time it could be a different type of exercise. It will surely make it more fun. 

How your twenties launch the rest of your life.

Finally it has arrived…

Released just a few weeks ago in the genre of personal development it’s The Rocket Years – How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life by Elizabeth Segran. I bought it as a present for someone in their twenties and I really hope they will read it. I wish I had got this informative and thought-provoking book when I was in my twenties! This period of our lives can really be challenging, influential and sometimes confusing. It can be a real roller-coaster. I love the message that the book sends out – that we have the power to create a meaningful life. 

The book discusses topics such as career, hobbies, fitness, family, friendship, politics and faith. So much variety for one book, isn’t it? The book draws on many recent findings and discusses each topic in combination with the author’s own personal observations of life. The writer explains why politics or friendships are important in one’s twenties and what impact they have later on our lives. It’s such an inspirational and interesting book. I actually thought – I’ve always loved to dig in various research findings about health, personal development, or fitness – why had I not yet collected the most important research findings from at least the last decade for myself and my family? It would be great to know some of these things years earlier, ideally… in my twenties!

If you are interested in the book, it can be bought here: https://amzn.to/30kc4mr

A few quotes from the book:

“I’d assume that an “exit to adulthood” sign would pop up somewhere in my twenties, pointing me to the moment when my decisions would suddenly matter. But that never happened. In the midst of all that carefree adventure, I made choices that shaped almost every aspect of my present reality. My life as a writer, wife, and mother is the direct result of how I reacted when my dream career went up in flames and my romantic relationships fell apart. And somehow, while I wasn’t paying attention, I built a tribe of friends, formed habits and routines, and cultivated values that will serve me for the rest of my life.

I wish there had been some sort of guidebook to help me navigate the choices that lay before me in those years… I wish I’d had a framework to help me wrestle with the existential questions that occasionally drifted into my mind, catching me by surprise…Is there really such a thing as a dream job? What about a soul mate? What will I do with my… precious life?… What will it take to create the life I… desire?

***

“…perception of my peers’ success may have been the trick mirror of social media at work; career twists and turns in your rocket years are actually the norm… But… the data reveal that most people will eventually find deeply satisfying work. It just takes longer than you might expect. The road there is almost always filled with turns, detours, and long periods of being stuck in one place, unsure of where to go next. If you persist, though, there’s a very good chance that you will nab your dream job.”

***

“A 2015 medical study suggested that hobbies could be an intervention for improving health and well-being in daily life, after finding that people who practiced them experienced more happiness and less stress...Surveys have found that 20 percent of the population have no hobbies at all. A quarter has a single hobby they practice regularly. And a little over half the population has multiple hobbies. [However] research shows that leisure time is effectively shrinking. Today’s twenty somethings are on track to have less time for hobbies than their parents and grandparents did. “

How to survive homeschooling? PART 4

BALANCE

While preparing tasks and lessons think how you can create some balance so you can spend some time teaching your child and explaining things to them, or checking their work and giving them feedback. However, it is also a good idea to ensure that your child can learn to some extent on their own – by reading, doing exercises, watching documentaries, creating projects or researching. They learn how to become more independent and you can have some time for your work, chores or for quiet ‘me time’. 

I think a more relaxed and flexible approach is working best for my family as long as we try to show our children that learning can be something that can be enjoyed, something that gives us satisfaction when we see our progress. That’s what personal development is about, isn’t it? It would be great to use a bit of this homeschool time to make your child enthusiastic about personal growth.

I did quite a bit of research about homeschooled children and… What surprised me a lot is that according to many different research studies, homeschooled children are doing better at tests such as GCSEs or A levels. They also seem to be more mature, think more independently, cause less trouble and have more knowledge than their colleagues who attended school. What’s more, homeschooled children tend to watch a lot less TV than children who go to school. 

Unfortunately, homeschooling parents tend to face a lot of criticism as the phenomenon is not very well understood yet. There are a few thousands families homeschooling in the UK (*and over 2 million in the USA) at the moment but many parents say there is little support from outside. One of the main criticisms is about socialising. However, studies show that many homeschooled children go to universities and do not have trouble socialising with others. Actually, they are more likely to vote, volunteer and do different projects for various organisations! The most important thing to remember is that homeschooling doesn’t mean sitting within four walls and getting weird.

There are many styles of homeschooling such as worldschooling, roadschooling, wildschooling, and the classical, eclectic or Montessori approach. I think if this is completely new to you, it is definitely worth doing a bit of research and reading more about it in depth. Some ideas are brilliant and can contribute a lot to your child’s well-being and help them to achieve their potentials. Homeschooled children actually learn a lot of practical things. They also have more time to go out on trips, and to do different classes such as dancing or martial arts where they meet lots of people and make friends.

One recent survey showed that 23% of British parents have noticed the benefits of homeschooling, which include being in control of what the child is learning and creating better family bonds, and consequentially they are considering homeschooling after the lockdown has finished.

Homeschooling can be challenging sometimes but it can also be turned into a great journey when you spend some really good quality time with your child learning things from each other. Children can also teach us a lot – 

– to care more

– to be more spontaneous,

– to be more passionate

– to worry less

– to forget about the phone, work and laptop sometimes and enjoy life more

– to laugh and smile more often

– to be kind

– to not be scared to ask questions and keep being curious about life!

And what’s also a great benefit of homeschooling is that we as parents tend to research different topics for our children and learn things with them.

I hope I persuaded you that homeschooling can be valuable and fun. Remember, you and your child are not at school so you can apply your own rules and schedules, and it is all up to you. You can control it and change things as you like. If you think it’s difficult and boring then it will be this way. If you believe it can be a fantastic opportunity and experience – then this is how it’s going to be!

Would you recommend any resources that have been helping you with homeschooling?

I’m aware that there have been some problems with leaving comments under blog posts recently. I will check if I can sort this out from my end but if you would like to speak to me or share any resources that are helpful for homeschooling please email me:  hello@mindset4progress.com

2020: New book releases in the field of productivity and personal development

Let’s have a look at a few new books releases that seem really interesting: 

1. 10 Days to Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by A. Andrews

10 Days To Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by [Alexander Andrews]

This book was published this month. I think sometimes there may be a fine line between recharging your batteries and procrastination. However, even procrastination can sometimes be quite good for you and, according to scientists, it is a natural and normal developmental stage in teenage years. It can lead to creativity and make our life better as we can find solutions to problems more easily, re-consider our goals, and so on. Of course too much procrastination isn’t good for us. 

In January this year 1,000 people participated in an online Google survey. Nearly 30% admitted that they procrastinate sometimes … which seems fine, right? A little over 22% said they do it often and approximately 20% of people do it every day. That’s a bit more than we would like, I guess. 

What’s interesting is that around 22,500 people a month ask Google ‘How to stop procrastinating?‘. There are many others who look for answers in books or perhaps ask for advice from a friend or family member. It is a common thing, nothing to be too ashamed about but as with everything else we need a healthy balance. If we feel like we procrastinate too often, this book may be very helpful. 

2. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by Bj Fogg.

See the source image

It’s true, isn’t it? Many of us know that small changes can make a huge impact in our lives. This book will take you through various topics such as motivation, ability, emotions and other aspects that have an impact on creating habits. The emphasis in this book is on the word ‘tiny’ so it seems doable and not overwhelming. 

Most authors agree that we need 30-60 days to create new habits; however, it’s worth remembering that according to scientific studies (e.g. P. Lally) it can even take up to 254 days! I’m not saying this to discourage you, but rather so you bear in mind that quitting shouldn’t be the best solution if the new habit doesn’t seem to be formed within a month or so. We may give up for a day or two as it may be hard to continue doing something that is new to us. However, if it is important for us, we should re-consider if there are any other ways of doing things (maybe instead of running 30min every day it would be better to start with 3-4 x a week?).

3. The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by C. Aarsen

The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by [Cassandra Aarssen]

I’ve included this book in the list, because having an organised space and environment around you makes life so much simpler and work so much more productive that it can reduce your housework by… 40%! If you can’t find things you need, and you feel like you have a million things at home and many don’t have their proper dedicated space, then it will draw lots of your energy and you will often feel frustrated, angry, guilty, anxious and stressed! Organised space can make you feel much calmer and more energised. Think of all the extra time you’d have for your family, projects, hobbies, work or simply for yourself, your personal growth perhaps. This book by C. Aarsen is out since 14th May. 

4. TimeCrafting: A Better Way to Get the Right Things Done by M.Vardy

The author promises that time-management does not have to be complicated and complex. He offers a method focusing on Mindset, Method and Mastery. The book is filled with real life examples so it may be easier to identify with some of the scenarios and see how the method can best work for us. The title will be released on 30th July and it will cost £16.95; however, if you’d like to see what the author has to offer you can also check out his e-books which are only £0.99 (Beyond Trying and (Pre)Productivityism). 

Do you feel you may find one of these books useful? What topic in personal growth and productivity fields interests you most?

* Sources: organizedinteriors.com, amazon.co.uk, microbizmag.co.uk

Interesting statistics on organisation and de-cluttering!

concentrated-woman-carrying-stack-of-cardboard-boxes-for-3791617

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? I’m a big fan of her method which encourages people to … well, throw most of their stuff away and turn more towards minimalism (Of course, there are some rules about getting rid of things if you check her books out). I’ve partly tried her method (partly, because leaving only 30 books on my shelves would look a bit sad, so I still keep a lot more than that) and I got some great results. I find her series on Netflix and Marie Kondo’s Facebook groups motivating and inspiring! Seriously, when I think I should organise some space around me and clean my house but don’t feel like it and would prefer to procrastinate, then I watch or read a bit about Marie’s method – e.g. how other people deal with de-cluttering and what amazing results they achieve if they put in a bit of effort; it gives me a motivational kick. Marie’s method made such a big impact on my life that I like to see now and then what other authors offer on this topic.

For example, there is a new book release coming up soon. Found in the personal development/time-management section, it is Beyond Tidy: Declutter Your Mind and Discover the Magic of Organized Living by A. Brogan. I wonder whether this book may give me some new perspectives, surprisingly simple and creative ideas, or advice I haven’t come across before. Or will it just be a rehash of what I already know?Why is it so important to have an organised space? Of course because it makes us happier and more relaxed; but why would it make us feel this way?

Studies reveal that we only use 20% of what we own. Meanwhile, we will each spend on average about 3,680 hours in our lifetime searching for misplaced items. It is also worth noting that if we could rid ourselves of clutter we would eliminate about 40% of housework.

I’m wondering what you feel is the most problematic area of your home. What part would you most like to declutter and organise? Or have you tried this already and feel that it was successful?