Ok so after that question (which totally does not make any sense to me, at this point in my life), the other question I get as an homeschool parent is “Do you plan to continue homeschooling in high school?“…with a grin on my face…I answer with the info below.
I remember my friends and family as well as strangers asking me this when my kids were still in kindergarten and 2nd grade. I always wanted to answer “well… no. I think I want to try 2nd through 8th grades first.” People seem to be obsessed with the idea that high school is some how too difficult for parents to teach, especially algebra and science
my 2 highschoolers and I are just finishing up 10th grade year and it is really going well and less stressful than most people think( remember am still homeschooling my 7th and 1st grader too). We are learning, planning for their future, and enjoying it all ( and also keep in mind I never went to college and am from Ghana West Africa). The transition to high school has been pretty smooth for us thanks to lots of info on college board page and also our current homeschool program Abeka academy….would not have it any other way right now. And also signed them up for IXL programs and also RAZkids. we are well on our way to success.
Lately, I have seen lots of questions on social media from nervous parents about homeschooling high school kids. Some of their questions are, How do I know what curriculum to choose? How much math and science do students need? What if I can’t teach math?
I am glad to give any suggestions and the program we are currently using now, I am in the 2nd year of homeschooling high school kids myself and can only share what has worked to prepare us for high school.
START PREPARING WELL BEFORE HIGH SCHOOL BEGINS
The end goal of high school is not a piece of paper. The goal of high school is to prepare your student for life after high school. For some students, that will mean college. For others, that will mean work or internships. Whatever their path. They need to be prepared.
We started teaching our kids to homeschool independently in elementary and middle school. It started with me being there while they are homeschooling then I slowly started giving them the mantle to sit and listen and do their assignments. We also had them write book reports for every single book they read and also any trip to a museum was to be turned into a book report. that alone is teaching them writing skills and also reading and being able to express themselves.
By the time we reached high school, my daughters were both self-learners. they are responsible for their studies and getting assignments done. My duty has gone from teacher to facilitator and grader thanks to ABeka academy. they now have the ability to find information out on their own.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
As we just talked about, the goal of high school is to prepare students for life after high school. To reach that goal, you are going to need to know what you need to reach it. Here are 4 things to keep in mind:
- your state graduation requirements
- college entrance requirements
- career goals
- necessary life skills
You can look up your state’s graduation requirements by just Googling them. These are the minimums you need and are usually quite easy to attain. Keep in mind that if your student is planning on attending college, the minimum will usually not meet most college entrance requirements.
When we started planning for high school, my daughters was unsure of what they wanted to do when they graduated high-school.
CREATE A ROAD MAP
Once you determine the amount of credits and other criteria necessary (volunteer hours, internships, etc.), you need to create a road map. You have a goal. You just need to figure out how to get there.
Your road map will include each year of high school, each subject area, and the required number of credits. For instance, if you know your student will need 4 years or credits of English, then list English under each year of school. We use Abeka academy and they actually made it easy to create this road map.
Do the same for each subject. If you know you need several electives or just 2 years of a foreign language, add them in where you think it would work for your schedule. Remember, this is not set in stone. The idea is to help you visualize the steps that you need to take to get to your goal.
Many people create an excel spreadsheet, use a printable, or just use a notebook to make their road map. Do what ever works for you and your student. Yes, don’t forget to get your student involved in this entire process. After all, they are the ones who have to do the actual work.
Once you have your road map created, start planning the 9th grade year. We started this process in middle school. We used middle school as prep years for high school, so that when 9th grade rolled around our daughters were ready for high school level studies.
It looked like this: with our girls we had time so we decided to do 2 electives since in 8th grade they did algebra 1.
- English – 1 credit
- Math – 1 credit
- Social Studies – 1 credit
- Foreign Language – 1 credit
- Electives ?
with our girls we stick with one accredited curriculum which is Abeka academy and they still love it. they said the chemistry teacher is boring but hey he is getting the lesson done and they actually enjoy what he is teaching, they just want him to tell more stories like their math teacher.
We also had the opportunity to use Rosseta stone Spanish and also traveled to a Spanish speaking country and stayed for a total of 6 months while studying.
with the above listed you should be able to enjoy the homeschooling process and also make sure your kids are getting all they need to move on in their life either in college or a work place….
There are a lot of things that can come into a marriage that can have a real affect on the health of the relationship. We think about financial issues, infidelity and growing apart, but another area that we can’t really control can leave a huge strain on even the healthiest relationships and that’s grief.
Each marriage is different, as is each situation so it’s important to evaluate what each of you need for your situation. Here are some ways you can help protect your marriage/ relationship through loss and grief moments.
Who passed on..
If your loss has affected both of you, like perinatal grief or the death of a child, you need to acknowledge that you both grief differently. Perhaps your partner is crying a lot and you’re not. Maybe you seek their affection and they’re drawing away. No one grieves the same — even with the same situation and the sooner you realize it, the healthier your grief will be.
Speak about it all..
You need to speak to your partner about your feelings, and they should do the same with you. Don’t assume they don’t want to talk about it or that you will hurt them more if you bring it up.
don’t try to protect your partner..
One of the worse things I believe you can do for your grief is to pretend it’s not there. Don’t put on a face of happy to protect your partner’s feelings. Pretending it’s not there is not going to make it easier for either of you.
Remember smiling will help..
There will be times in your grieving that something still makes you smile, and it’s not uncommon to feel guilty about being momentarily happy. Remind each other — but don’t push each other — that those moments are healthy, ok and not something you should ever feel bad about.
Don’t place Blame…
Blame is like a plague that can enter a marriage after loss especially when it comes to perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death) and the death of a child. Not only should you not blame your partner, but it’s important to not blame yourself either. If you find this creeping into your marriage, seek help fast.
Turn to each other and not away from each other..
One of the main things I’ve found that helps a person walk through the grief is to talk about it. If you’re grieving, turn to your partner even if they’re grieving too, and don’t seek that emotional support without including them. They want to help you and turning to each other (as well as others) can help strengthen your bond.
Don’t sweat the small things..
Grieving is hard work. It leaves you tired, confused and realizing and acknowledge you both need a little extra care and time can go a long way. Realize that emotions may be short, crying may or may not happen and try not to sweat the small things during grief.
Treat each other with care..
If you’re best friend was grieving or another family member, chances are you will be treating them with the care and respect needed. Don’t forget to treat your partner the same way, with the same love and care.
With love from my moments of Grieving…and now am sharing my lessons….
Before I start this blog, let me first share with you the meaning of that word “unconditional”
“Within the relationship itself, unconditional love is the ability to love the other person as they are in their essence. … Unconditional love within the context of a good relationship is a dance in which both partners participate. You begin with the essentials of self-love and mutual love and respect”.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way lets start with how that can help in your relationship and how it has helped me in so many ways when am just about to throw in the towel and let it all go…
Point one is ” Men Pull away” get use to that
Love… What is love? Love is to love someone for who they are, who they were, and who they will be.”
Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt it was the other person’s job to make you happy, to meet all of your needs, to understand you and know what you want without asking? I know I am very much guilty of this behavior in the first few years of my marriage.
Or have you been on the other side of this scenario? You were the partner expected to fulfill the other person and manage their happiness. And I have certainly been on this side before…at least that is how I felt.
Either situation is perpetually frustrating. One partner never feels happy and content in the relationship because they are looking to the other person to perform the impossible. Expectation is such a bummer..
And the other partner feels unappreciated and overwhelmed by the inexhaustible emotional demands and needs of the other.
Sometimes this situation plays out where both partners expect the other person to fulfill them and “make” them happy. They are in a perpetual stand-off of neediness and frustration leading to disengagement in the relationship.
Lasting relationships simply cannot be built upon a partnership in which one or both people are seeking a host organism to provide emotional and psychological nourishment.
Lasting relationships require unconditional love.
The term “unconditional love” might imply that one does attempt to meet all of the needs of the other, to read their minds, to accept and overlook all of the partner’s behaviors and actions no matter how selfish or demanding. But am here to tell you that is not the unconditional love am talking about.
This is not unconditional love. This is co-dependent love. It’s not grounded in a healthy foundation of self-respect and respect for the unique individual sharing the relationship with you. so make sure to identify which one you are exploring and experiencing in your relationship.
What is unconditional love?
Unconditional love in a relationship begins with oneself. To set the foundation for a lasting, healthy relationship, you must first have a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence (you don’t need anyone or in this case any man or woman to tell you that you are beautiful..if you have to be reminded then write a note and paste it on your mirror and around your home). This doesn’t mean you never have emotional difficulties or don’t need support and extra attention at times.
But you do need to feel generally good about yourself, to like yourself, and to recognize the positive qualities you bring to a relationship. It also means you can stand on your own two feet as an individual without requiring a romantic partner to define you or complete you. You can be together with someone and still remain fully yourself — as a person you like and respect. this is what unconditional love truly means…you can only give what you already have.
If you need to improve your self-esteem or don’t feel confident in yourself as a capable, valuable person, then your relationship will suffer. Your insecurities will have an impact on your partner and on your mutual happiness. The best thing you can do for your relationship is to learn to love yourself and respect yourself. Offering unconditional love to yourself means you are able to view yourself as lovable and worthy — in spite of any perceived flaws or past mistakes.
Within the relationship itself, unconditional love is the ability to love the other person as they are in their essence. If you have fallen in love with this person and want to build a lasting relationship with them, then you must view them as a unique individual — not as an extension of yourself.
When you find someone who loves you as you are, and you are able to love them as they are, it is an amazing experience and I must say its easier for a woman to experience this than it is for men. They may be different from you in many ways. They may view the world differently and have habits that you don’t share, but you can embrace these differences because they are part of this unique person you love.
But is love enough to build a lasting relationship? And does unconditional love mean that no matter what your partner does, your feelings don’t change? No to both questions….
Unconditional love within the context of a good relationship is a dance in which both partners participate. You begin with the essentials of self-love and mutual love and respect. You see and embrace the core of the other, their innate personality and worldview. You acknowledge the influences of their upbringing, life experiences, and ingrained behaviors.
But . . . unconditional love within the context of a lasting relationship requires lots of wiggle room. As part of self-love, you know your own personal boundaries and the limits of what you find to be acceptable and healthy behaviors and reactions from your beloved.I am still learning what my husband behavior is as they seem to keep changing every time. When my husband “cheated” on me I thought I meant nothing to him and God knows I was so sad and my self -esteem just dropped. But then I asked myself….what changed? and when I looked back I realized nothing changed…I changed. he did what he may have done either way even if he was married to me or to the most beautiful woman in the universe. So I remembered my unconditional love that I knew I had for him. and that is what pulled me through. I did not do it for him, I did it for me “Mavis Francois” and it felt right. I loved me unconditionally and it rubbed off him. He benefited from my unconditional love to myself.
When both partners are aware of their personal boundaries and are committed to communicating them in loving and non-threatening ways, then the relationship can continue to re-calibrate and grow ever stronger over the years.
With the ability to communicate openly, negotiate willingly, and compromise and make adjustments, you can build a strong relationship in which unconditional love develops and grows more satisfying over time. Time makes it all work…
As I type this blog and thinking to myself…it has been 1 month and I have not seen my husband and he is not out working…he is out partying and living life…the life he chooses to live. he calls and talks to me if and when he feels like it. But does that change his love for me? you can see all the possible things that could be going through my head that can easily mess up the experience of a genuine unconditional love. the expectation of what a husband is suppose to do can be what can kill our marriage. so I do the best I can to love him from afar and unconditionally. trust me there are days I am confronted with the worldly expectations but since I am very much aware of my personal boundaries and my limit I make sure to remind myself that its all about me and not him. I am here with him because I choose too…and the same way I can choose not to be here with him.
Unconditional love is such a beautiful and freeing soul experience and must be experience by all mankind. I love my husband with all his floss and if and when that personal boundaries of mine is reached nothing can stop me to make a change.
so why not love unconditionally when you can and have the choice too…I hope this brings you closer to some awareness of that power you all have as a man and as a woman.
1. Wash their own clothes
“By the time kids are 13 or 14, there is no reason they can’t do their own laundry,” says Lynn, noting that any child who can operate a computer or video game can be taught to use a washing machine. “We’re not talking about wringer washers here.” Lynn suggests the groundwork can be laid early on — preschoolers can sort socks or fold underwear, for example. And it doesn’t hurt to add a natural consequence: Your teen may be more willing to pitch in when her favourite jeans have been lying in the hamper for two weeks.
2. Cook a meal
Do you remember hosting your first dinner party and suddenly appreciating how much preparation is involved? Most kids don’t have a clue how to put together a meal until they try it themselves. By the time Lynn’s son and daughter were in their early teens, they were each expected to cook dinner once a week. They didn’t have to shop, but they did have to think ahead and make a grocery list. Bonus: When they leave home, teens who know their way around a kitchen will be less likely to survive on fast food and other junk.
3. Earn their own money
Debra Schultz’s* 13-year-old twin boys are like night and day when it comes to money. Andrew helps with a friend’s landscaping business during the summer to earn extra money, and he’s diligently saving to buy a fish tank. His brother, Chris, is much less motivated. “Chris says he understands the benefits of saving money, and he’s tried,” says his mom. “But it doesn’t last long.” The Schultzes recently encouraged Chris to save for the new goalie pads he wanted, but eventually they paid for them. “We don’t want them to go without,” says Debra, echoing a feeling all parents can relate to.
4. Be in a healthy relationship
The patterns your teen forms in his early dating experiences will either help or haunt him as he gets older. Parents can’t control what happens in their kids’ relationships, but they can provide a model. “The first rule is: Look in the mirror,” Direnfeld says. “If you’re not in a respectful relationship, you lose your moral authority. Teenagers typically turn down the volume and look at the picture.”
5. Understand they’re not the center of the universe
The teenage mindset is summed up wonderfully in the title of a book by clinical psychologist Anthony E. Wolf, who has worked with teens for more than 30 years: Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? Teens need to appreciate that the world doesn’t stop because they need to be somewhere. “You may want to put this in terms of a deal,” suggests Ron Clavier, a Toronto psychologist and author of Teen Brain, Teen Mind. “I would say, ‘You’ve asked me to drive you to your hockey game, and that means I have to give up a half-hour of my life. I was going to do the laundry this afternoon, so if you want to do the laundry, that gives me back my half-hour.’” Clavier says this type of exchange helps teens understand they have a responsibility to others.
6. Mind their manners
While etiquette standards constantly change, basic politeness and courtesy are never old-fashioned. Teach your teen to take off his baseball cap in a restaurant. Get him to phone his grandparents to thank them for the birthday gift. Make sure he understands that the language he uses around his friends may not be appropriate at work. “There are so many stories about young people going into job interviews and not having a clue how to behave,” says Lynn. “We can’t blame them. Why don’t they know what’s appropriate to wear at an office? Or that it’s important to listen and be polite? We spend so much energy making sure they’re involved in all these activities, yet sometimes we’re not teaching them basic social skills.”
7. Be street-smart
Your teens are going to encounter all kinds of people — at their job, at the mall, on the street — and blanket rules like “don’t talk to strangers” no longer apply. “Most teenagers believe they’re more knowledgeable than they really are, so it’s difficult to protect them from all the dangers that may befall them in the community,” says Direnfeld. “It’s something most people pick up from experience.” This is why Lynn suggests we help kids hone their street smarts long before they’re teenagers. “It starts with teaching them how to walk to school, how to go to the local store, how to take the bus downtown. If you’re walking into a parking garage with your daughter you can say, ‘You know, it’s a good idea to take a look around and see who else might be here, and if something doesn’t feel right, trust yourself and get out, or call for help.’”
8. See the world in perspective
To a teenager, not being invited to a party isn’t just a bummer, it’s a catastrophe. “One of the ways you can help your teen deal with this on a practical level is to make sure she has more than one peer group,” Clavier says. “This might include neighbourhood kids or cousins and relatives. That way if one group is doing something and she is not invited, she has someone else to call.”
Parents can also help teens understand that flunking a quiz or missing a penalty kick will not have lifelong consequences. But remember: Putting things in perspective doesn’t mean trivializing her emotions. It doesn’t help to tell your miserable daughter she’s making a big deal out of nothing. Instead, show her you know how she feels by sharing a story about a time you recovered from a similar setback.
Hope this will help you in some ways
They do grow up fast and going through teenage years are probably one of the most challenging moments for any mom.
Not sure what we have done that is make it a little more pleasant for me handling my two teenagers. some how they don’t stress me out. while most of my friends are saying it because they are only 15yrs. Well I feel like its the same they said when they turned 13 (Teen).
We have 2 teenagers…Destiny will be 16yrs this year and Aasha will be 15yrs this year. And to be honest we have our moments which is usually them not cleaning their room and their Grandmother and I have to go in there to collect cloths off the floor.
And the recent one was about a dress they bought from Ross store. Now they both loved the dress but there are two different ones and so at the store we all agreed that they can get both dresses and share. Until we got home and the teenage hormones kicked in for our 15yr old. Who said she does not want to share the black dress anymore and that her sister should keep the other dress and that brought out some argument which I was first pretty mad about. But later realized they can and should be left alone to handle this. At the end of the evening the oldest decided she does not want the dress so her younger sister can take both dresses.
Well, whats the lesson here for me as a mother? let them buy the same dress if they both like and will wear it. instead of trying to save $7 and end up creating fire in between them for no logical reason and stressing me out too.
Now that I have shared my experience let me share what some experts are saying when it comes to raising teenagers
You aren’t imagining it. Battle days are increased during adolescence And most experts will tell you that Mom is the favorite target of her daughter’s anger and frustration. Why? You will forgive and forget. But there is a silver lining to these battles. Young girls actually seek arguments. They can be productive in defining and developing individuality. Of course, that doesn’t make them any easier to tolerate.
Watch Out: It’s Battle Time!
Researchers actually found a rhythm for the fights between moms and adolescent daughters. Battles normally occur when a mom and daughter come home at the end of the day. Mom tries to assert her control and daughter tries to maintain her free, out-of-sight-independence. Mom asks questions, perhaps too many questions. Daughter reacts in that singular-minded way adolescent girls do. She feels like she is suspected of doing something wrong and doesn’t stop to think logically that her mom may simply be interested in her life. Tensions arise on both sides and an erupting battlefield is inevitable.
Some of the most common battles at this stage are over…
- A lack of neatness, particularly in her room.
- Clashes over what she should wear.
- Boys and dating
- Selection of friends
- A variety of liberties.
Loading the Cannons: A Daughter’s Arsenal
Other sources of contention between moms and daughters at this stage that erupt into battles have to do with…
- Turning down Mom’s advice.
- A daughter’s attitude that she knows it all and Mom knows nothing.
- Frustration when Mom doesn’t validate her daughter’s budding new identity.
- A mom who forgives and forgets-her favorite target.
- Disappointment or frustration when a daughter feels as if she hasn’t won Mom’s approval.
- Blaming Mom for her unhappiness.
- What she is or isn’t allowed to do.
- A daughter’s desire to prove she can do something Mom doesn’t think she can.
- A daughter’s expression of a strong view of her own.
- A daughter’s attempt to lessen Mom’s authority.
- Her determination in trying to change Mom’s response to her.
Cannon Fodder: A Mother’s Constraint
Moms, you inadvertently give your daughter more fire power if you…
- Fail to restrain your own temper within reason.
- Have to be right.
- Want to make your daughter feel guilty.
- Don’t let her vent when necessary.
- Choose your battles unwisely.
- Fail to be silent and listen when it’s best.
- Fail to sympathize with her feelings.
- Can’t see the positives in a fair fight.
- Don’t recognize your daughter’s rights.
- Fail to trust her judgment.
- Can’t seem to hold your frustration in check.
These lists ought to give both moms and daughters something to talk and think about. It takes two to fight!
Reaping the Spoils: The Positives of a Fair Battle
It may be hard for you or your daughter to believe it in the heat of battle, but fighting is and can be productive. Fair fighting can…
- Release tension and clear the air.
- Keep important issues from festering, growing, and erupting into major warfare later.
- Resolve issues and promote worthwhile change.
- Serve as a vehicle to express emotions and problems that need attention and keep mother and daughter close.
- Help your daughter build problem-solving skills.
So you see it’s not all that bad and like my mother in-law always say to me “This too shall Pass Mavis”
Hope some of my life lessons for raising a less stressful teenagers will help you create that for you and your family.
Meet Destiny Alberta Adjoa Manns, my fabulous 15yr old daughter who makes it all fun for me to mother her…
And meet Aasha Ruby Esi Manns…her smiles makes it all worth it for me as a mother raising and journeying through her teenage years.\
In the modern world, you are exposed to diversity everywhere you go. People share different beliefs, languages, traditions, backgrounds, and appearances. Diversity fuels the world, creates numerous educational opportunities, and keeps conversations interesting.
As a loving parent, you want your child to grow with an open mind, tolerant of all the differences out there and capable of making thoughtful decisions based on facts. If you want your kids to be open-minded, here are 10 important things to remember.
Open-mindedness comes from an open learning environment
However, not all schools can boast this type of environment. A lot of teachers are fired because they don’t teach to the tests, and sadly, fringe ideas are not part of the national curriculum. If you want to raise an open-minded child, don’t let them learn in the test-based environment where they just grow up knowing that all they need is to remember the right answer to pass a test.
Help your kids develop critical thinking and teach them to make independent judgments. When they ask for your help, don’t give them a ready-made solution. Instead, brainstorm different ideas together. Help them find the best one on their own by encouraging them to ask questions, slightly guiding them in the right direction. Stop saying things like “I know better,” or “Because I said so,” when they don’t understand why they should do it your way. Let them make mistakes and even fail sometimes. Yes, it might be hard for you, but to raise your child to be a successful, open-minded adult, they need to learn how to get over failure, analyze their mistakes, and make more successful attempts.
check our my E-book on how to start creating that environment for your kids education.
Always monitor your own attitude and open-mindedness
Kids are constantly watching you deal with different situations and people. If you want your kid to be open-minded, you should always stay alert about the things you say and the way you act. Avoid dropping even casual statements of intolerance, such as “Destiny’s mom isn’t right because she doesn’t accept evolution theory,” or judging anyone because of traditions they follow. Your kids should grow up knowing that if someone does the usual things in a different way, it doesn’t mean they are wrong and should be criticized. Difference isn’t bad— difference is what makes the world go round.
TV shows and movies are full of prejudice
You should explain to your child that not all Russians are cold-minded villains as the movies often show, not all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, and so on. Explain to your child that the world is much more complicated that it is shown on the screen and that there are lots of bias in the media. Instead, offer them raw facts about different cultures and ethnic groups so they can learn to make their own judgement. Travelling is one way to create that experience.
Check out my E-Book on travelling with your kids and homeschooling them without all the stress.
Teach them languages
Languages open people up to understanding of different cultures and their values. Yes, English is commonly spoken around the world, however, understanding another language exposes you to more possibilities to see things from a different perspective. Besides, your children will be able to access information presented from a different perspective and become more tolerant of other cultures whose language they can speak and understand. Intolerance and hostility often comes from miscommunication and misunderstanding of foreign traditions.
Expose your child to different activities and cultures
Watch documentaries about different countries, go to museums, visit exhibitions and cultural events organized by foreign organizations. Try various cuisines, read stories about different cultures, and see the world through photos. Choose books and movies where the main characters are not necessarily Caucasian. If your child’s friend invites you to Hanuka, accept the invitation and explain to your kid why he’s celebrating it instead of Christmas. The more your child knows about the world around them, the more they will be able to approach it with an open mind.
Allow your children to have friends who are not like them
Your child should realize that there isn’t a “norm” of how people must look. Encourage them to have friends of different backgrounds and ethnicities. Playing and communicating with other kids will help them realize that they are just like them, despite their color, religion, or cultural background.
Respect your child’s individuality
If you really want to bring up an independent, open-minded child, don’t try to push them into stereotypical molds such as, “girls should play with dolls and wear dresses.” If your daughter chooses wood work as her after-class activity — fantastic. Ask what she’s up to. Let your child grow outside the so-called “feminine” and “masculine” roles and try different things they like. Who said a boy can’t like cooking and judo at the same time?
Foster logical thinking
Open-mindedness comes hand-in-hand with logical thinking. Intolerance and racism mainly come from bias and false beliefs about different cultures. Don’t let your child grow up believing each and every thing they hear from their teachers, other kids, or their parents. They should be able to evaluate statements, analyze the facts, and create their own opinions about everyone and everything, rather than just relying on ideas presented by others. If you want your children to be open minded, they should be independent thinkers.
hope to share more ideas with you…
with love with gratitude
Take your time
The greatest thing you can take – whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B – is extra time. Toddlers love to explore and don’t care for the time pressures of travel, so you’re more likely to all retain your cool if you factor the faffing, gawping, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your time frame.
Whether you’re camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead. Trying to retain the spontaneity of travel BC (Before Children) doesn’t pay off if you arrive at your destination to find you can’t bag a bed or pitch and have to hit the road again with tired, hungry toddlers melting down in the backseat.
Give them a camera
Giving toddlers their own (robust, child-friendly) camera encourages them to observe their surroundings and focus on what interests them. You might be surprised at the results from their knee-high view. Amongst pictures of feet and wheels, my three-year-old has shot flowers, animals, helicopters, boats, rocks and rabbit poo.
Be prepared for the climate
It’s simple advice, but children dressed comfortably for the weather and terrain will be happier in a new environment. With all the gear available, there’s no excuse for dressing toddlers in ski-suits four sizes too big, forgetting their gloves, or leaving them barefoot on a beach where sea urchins lurk.
Pack Pull-Ups for potty training
Planes and public transport during the potty training days can be a nightmare. As if you didn’t have enough in your hand luggage, now you’re expected to add a potty, three changes of clothes and bags of wet, stinky pants. Potty-training gurus may disagree, but if toddlers are still having lots of little accidents then I’m all for putting them back into Pull-Ups on the plane.
Thanks to toddler-friendly apps, there’s no need to cram a toy box into your hand luggage when travelling by plane. By all means take a book and a magic scribbler (crayons just get lost down the side of seats), but the most compact form of entertainment is a device loaded with apps and games.
Keep bugs at bay
Whether you’re travelling to Bangkok or Peru, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer are handbag essentials. A wipe of the cutlery in restaurants where you’re unsure of hygiene, or a squirt of hand sanitizer when there’s no washing facilities, can zap a few germs and prevent toddlers catching some common bugs.
Keep the activities coming
If you’re heading out on a long journey have a collection of toys to be handed out once an hour. Handheld puzzles, tiny colouring books, stickers, word searches and even tiny packs of Plasticine will pass the time on a long flight or car journey.
Resist the temptation to keep them going on a long journey by feeding them sweets. Pack a mixture of savoury snacks like cheese cubes, breadsticks, fruit and bagels – anything to avoid arriving in a strange city with children in the middle of a sugar rush.
Encourage them to keep a travel journal
Get your kids drawing and listing things they’ve seen and interesting foods they’ve tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try different foods. Collecting postcards from places you visit and asking them to write themselves a message on the back means they can reach adulthood with a library of memories all their own.
Check your passports
Children’s passports only last five years and they have a habit of running out when you’re not looking. Allow at least four weeks to renew one. The cost of a last-minute passport is astronomical, and particularly galling if you only realise it’s necessary when already booked your apartment and bought your flights. Don’t ask us how I know this. I just do.
Remember the baby wipes
Even if all your children are long out of nappies, don’t forget the baby wipes. They’re useful for washing hands, cleaning toilet seats, and wiping down restaurant tables. In the same spirit, little bottles of hand cleanser can be a lifesaver in some countries, but check the travel regulations for liquids well in advance.
Engage and involve older children
The best way to avoid a soul-destroying sulk from your teenager is to involve them in the planning of the holiday and ask them for input on what they’d like to do. You might be surprised to hear it’s not spending all day on the internet.
You can sleep late, because there is no reason to wake up early- You create your own schedule for the day, so you don’t have to anything unless you want to. And if you decide to have family movie night or a date night and don’t get in early to sleep but it’s a Monday night, it’s not a problem because the kids don’t have to be in bed at 7pm.
You become a cyber mom from surfing all of the homeschool mommy blogs for hours each day- You will learn just like all the young generation, cool kids and no one will know your glow and smiles doesn’t come from chatting and liking pages on your Facebook account and other social media pages
You can teach your kids to make omelet and grilled sandwiches ( which is what I have trained my kids to do) and call it Home economics- And now you have yourself a private chef.. LOL!!
You will know more about the history than anyone else you will ever meet. Shock your guest at dinner outings with your knowledge of where the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner came from as well as the Pledge, and then look really smart as you start to talk about different cultures in Africa. with our travels for the past years this is what we see.
You get to go to the amusement park and the grocery store when there are no lines. And hanging out at the children’s museum all morning drinking your green tea while you explore with your kids. Totally counts as school. Now your kids are not just reading History but they are living it too.
Your kids have the rest of their day to take on a new hobby like Martial Arts. all my 3 older girls have black belt in shotokan Karate. They got their black belt at the age of 8yrs, 9yrs and 10yrs. my 2nd daughter who was then 8yrs old was the youngest black belt in Africa and tied in the world with another kid in the UK.
my kids when they where younger..from left to right – Aasha 8yrs old youngest black belt in Africa and the world at her age. Destiny 9yrs old our oldest also had her black belt on the same day and IMAHKUS 6yrs old our 3rd daughter…posing with their trophies they worn in a martial arts competition
When Travelling with your kids, one of the most stressful part of the travel will probably not be packing their homeschool books, but it’s applying for their visa for that county if a visa is needed.
When kids are younger than 18 yrs applying for a visa can be a bit hectic. But some of the many steps I take in other to prevent this strees are :
- Create a folder that you can have all your documents notarized birth certificated, marriage certificate, your birth certificate, your spouse birth certificat.
- Notarized bank statement or get it from your bank for at least 6 months till date ( which can all be done at the court-house)
- Ticket itinerary ( I don’t advice you confirm your tickets until you have applied and have been approved of your travel visa). Since the process of applying for a visa for your kids is different from for an adult.
- Make sure if you and your husband is available to visit the embassy, then I suggest you do so, since it eases the process time and makes it easier when they review your visa forms.
- Now here is the tricky part. Booking your place of stay. we usually use Airbnb ( if you decide to use a hotel ) just be mindful to check the cancellation policy.With airbnb which is what we have used the past 2 yrs. I usually just book the place for 1 month and I make sure to read their cancellation policy and if it’s not easy to cancel I ask the host and let them know am now applying for our visa.
- If your visa application can be done online then just make sure to send all notarized documents to the embassy and also make sure to apply for your visa at least 1 to 2 months before your trip, to make sure you don’t have any issues with the embassy since it’s an online application.
- Remember that after your visa is granted for most countries you will have 60 to 90 days to enter the country or the visa will expire. So make sure to read the fine line on your visa page when you receive your visa from the embassy.
- When applying for Visa I advice that you apply for multiple entry visa if that is an option. since you may decide to revisit the country again during that year.
Get set…apply for your visa and start Exploring the world with your kids…
And if you would like to know more about homeschooling and travelling you can purchase my E-book below.