February is often a time to reflect on relationships. Whether I’m trying to build connections with my kids, renew my spiritual life, strengthen my marriage, or nurture friendships, I find that I need to be purposeful—or life just gets busy, and those relationships get shoved to the “back burner.” But how can I be more deliberate or interact with intention? Here are eight ideas that help me focus:
1. Playing to learn. Make the most of the “togetherness” inherent in homeschooling—with some fun and games designed to build family relationships while reinforcing skills. Games promote family bonding while building math, language, and thinking skills. Game play reinforces both character and curriculum by encouraging children to take turns, follow directions, think strategically, and recall information learned or skills developed. So, make games part of the lesson plan!
2. Creating everyday family memories. “Once they leave home, will they come back again? What will they remember? And will they miss you…as much as you’ll miss them?” In her article, “How to Have Family Time Your Kids Will Love for Years to Come,” mom-of-eight Lisa Jacobson shares how she and husband Matt created close, meaningful family times.
3. Homeschooling when life gets crazy. For most people, craziness is like a season—it comes, and it goes. But if you’re a homeschooling parent, it may seem like crazy is a perpetual state of being. So how can you stay sane even when it seems like things are falling apart and you aren’t making and progress? Tune in to Homeschool Talks Episode 2 to hear from blogger and homeschooling mom Tiffany Jefferson.
4. Recognizing the gift in your child. Did you know that there are eight different types of intelligence? We tend to think of “smart” as those who are good with words or numbers—but if our kids don’t happen to be brilliant in those areas, we may miss how smart they are in other areas. In this short video, Diana Waring reminds parents that learning the different ways people are smart allows you to recognize and work with the strengths (and needs) of your kids! (For more information, check out “Finding the Gift in Your Child.”)
5. Finding spiritual encouragement. As a person of faith, I sometimes find that the busyness of my day-to-day responsibilities can overshadow my relationship with God. On those days when I wonder how I can fit even a brief moment of quiet time or prayer into my day, I appreciate ideas for “Deliberate Devotions.“
6. Connecting through friendship. Life gets messy—we need each other! A homeschooling mom recently expressed her confusion as to why so few families participate in local support group activities yet so many women lament being lonely. We may want to reach out in friendship—but what does that even look like? Check out “The Life Changing Gift of Friendship.”
7. Reading resources beyond homeschooling. Let’s be real. . . . Homeschooling is not a cure for all that ails our families. In fact, sometimes all that one-on-one time can really magnify shortcomings in our relationships with our children as well as with our spouses. I asked some of our staff members to recommend resources they have found helpful in growing healthy relationships—you can read some of their suggestions in this past newsletter.
8. Looking for more ideas? Jordan Page at Fun, Cheap, or Free encourages us to nurture those relationships—check out her free printables, calendar, and relationship “challenges” list for practical ideas to build relationship habits to last beyond February.
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