Everything you've always wanted to know about Home Schooling and Home Business

Something old, something new.... Since we closed the Elijah Company bookstore last year, there have been a lot of changes in our lives. But one thing that will never change is our interest in helping others with home schooling and creating home businesses. So Ellyn has developed Home School Marketplace, a business that will continue serving the home schooling community, but in a somewhat different way than Elijah Company did. Like its byline says, Home School Marketplace will try to provide you with "Everything you've always wanted to know about Home Schooling and Home Business." Look for the new website in the coming weeks, plus e-newsletters like this one with articles, personal comments, interesting ideas, recommendations, rants and raves, and product reviews.
March 8 , 2006 EJOURNAL...

Home School Burnout and How to Avoid It
(Each winter I get requests for information about home school burnout, so here is an article I wrote awhile ago. Part I will be in this issue of the e-journal. Part II will be in the next issue.)

This time of year seems to be the hardest time of all for home schoolers. Winter weather has kept us inside, but now that spring is coming we've got too much to do to enjoy the pretty weather. The drudgery of routine has set in; work has piled up; and we've had a chance to fail miserably at reaching goals that seemed so easy to achieve when we started schooling in the fall. Add to that level of stress a series of small crises, and you have a recipe for homeschool burnout.

Gail Felker, in Homeschooling Today magazine, says homeschool burnout is a condition in which "the teaching parent is anxious, depressed, discouraged, overwhelmed, and ready to quit. Burnout is not uncommon. Special-needs schools, churches, and nursing homes, for example, have a large employee turnover due to burnout. Demanding, people-oriented professions are most at risk. For the home-schooler, it often results in sending the children back to public school."

Burnout and the 80/20 Principle

One of the most cherished tenets of business is the “80/20 Principle.” This scientifically proven principle says there is always an imbalance between causes and results, inputs and outputs, and effort and reward, and that imbalance generally assumes the proportions of 20% to 80%. In other words, 80 percent of the results you want to see will come from 20 percent of your effort. In business, this means that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your products; 80% of the important work will be done by 20% of your employees; 80% of the actual benefits of a project will be developed in only 20% of the time spent on the project, and so on.

The 80/20 Principle applies to other areas of life as well. For example, good students innately know that 80% of an exam usually covers only 20% of the topics from the course, and they have discovered how to find out which 20% of the material to study to make an 80 or higher on the exam. The 80/20 Principle even works relationally. 80% of the value of your relationships usually comes from only 20% of the people you know.

OK, so what does this have to do with “Homeschool Burnout?” First, we need to understand that a major cause of burnout is the feeling of being overwhelmed and under-supported. Here are some common ways this feeling is verbalized:

This isn’t fun anymore (in fact, it’s a real drag).

I feel like things are spinning out of control.

There’s not enough me to go around.

My life is fragmented (pulled in too many directions, torn into too many pieces).

I feel like I’m trying to keep too many balls up in the air (or spin too many plates).

I’m drowning.

There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it.

There’s too much to do and I’m expected to do it all myself.

I don’t feel anything but anger (frustration, irritation) or sadness (grief, depression, sorrow).

I resent having to be responsible for everything.

I am the one who has to pick up everything that “falls through the cracks.”

I am constantly disappointed.

Here are some common ways this feeling expresses itself physically: (1) a tightness in the throat, chest or between the shoulder blades, (2) pain in the lower back, (3) headaches or dizziness, (4) chronic fatigue, (5) numbness of certain parts of the body, (6) anxiety and tenseness, (7) difficulty swallowing, (8) nausea, (9) upset stomach or irritable bowel, (10) ringing in the ears.

Any and all of the above verbalizations and physical symptoms are a good indication that we are bogged down in the 80% of our lives that is non-productive and that undermine our sense of well-being. The good news about the 80/20 Principle is that there are a very few, key activities that will dramatically improve our happiness and sense of productivity.

What do I mean by "key activities?" Well, do you know the simple, key activities that distinguish thin people from people who struggle with their weight? If you ever went to a "Weigh Down" workshop, you know that thin people don't munch, they eat only when they are hungry, they stop eating when they are full, and they eat smaller portions of food. In contrast, people who struggle with their weight tend to be "grazers" who eat large portions of food and don't stop eating even when they feel stuffed. This means that becoming thin doesn't necessarily require a massive amount of will power counting calories, weighing portions, and developing meal plans. The average person can lose weight by sticking to the key activities of eating less and becoming aware of when they are hungry and when they are full.

What are the simple, key activities that distinguish financially stable people from people with chronic financial troubles? Financially stable people resist going into debt, they save, and they don't fill their lives with expensive doodads. So what does this mean? This means that becoming financially stable doesn't necessarily require keeping track of every expenditure to the penny, becoming a Scrooge, and denying yourself your dreams. The average person can become financially stable by following a few, key principles of money management.

Now, back to the 80/20 Principle. The book, 80/20 Principle says,

"There are always a few key inputs to what happens and they are often not the obvious ones. If the key causes can be identified and isolated, we can very often exert more influence on them than we think possible."

What this means is that there are a few key things that cause us to feel overwhelmed and under-supported, that contribute to that feeling of always being on edge and the tenseness in our bodies, and that make us want to throw up our hands and quit.

Simple measures to avoid burn-out

OK, what are some simple measures we can take? First of all, we can identify our "energy vampires." These are the people, activities, and beliefs that literally "suck" the energy and enthusiasm out of us.

People as Energy Vampires. Not only can groups be draining, but certain individuals can cost us a lot of energy. In our former church, there was a woman who was like a huge emotional vacuum. Her neediness and negativity would suck all of the optimism and energy out of me. I had to learn to let someone else try to help her.

When I first started homeschooling three boys, I tried to keep up with women's Bible studies, homeschooling field trips and other get-togethers, but it didn't take long to realize these social outings didn't provide me with enthusiasm, they only wore me down.

I also had to learn to say no. It's amazing that people will assume since you're home all day, you're available. They wouldn't dream of calling a career woman at her office and asking her to take the afternoon off to listen to their problems, but they will call you and assume you're free to help them. I learned to think of myself as a "career woman," only my career was managing a home and educating my children. I didn't just work a 40 hour week, I was on the job 24/7, so didn't have to apologize or lie when I said, "I'm committed this afternoon."

Before you know it, you can spend 80% of your time on social activities that have a pay-back of less than 20% in terms of what is really important to you. There are two key solutions to the "People as Energy Vampires" problem. (1) Pare down your involvement to only those 20% of social activities that have real meaning to you, and (2) Get an answerphone and let it take all calls for certain hours each day. If your household is like mine, just leaving an answerphone on most of the day saves me about 45 minutes in answering telemarketing calls.

Activities as Energy Vampires. One of the best pieces of stress-reducing advice I ever got was from a time management book. It said to mentally visualize myself going through a typical day. This meant visualizing getting out of bed, getting dressed, fixing breakfast, brushing my teeth, and so on...every little activity I typically did in a day. As I screened through my day, the book said to notice any time I felt irritation, tension, or resistance, and jot down that activity.

What an eye-opener! The first thing I realized is that it irritates me to be interrupted while I am in the bathroom. Sounds pretty stupid, right? But what this meant was that I was starting every day irritated because there was hardly ever a time I wouldn't be interrupted while I was in the bathroom. Stupid problem. Simple solution to eliminating that source of irritation: Always close the door when I go into the bathroom and tell everyone that when the bathroom door is closed I am not to be disturbed.

By the time I finished visually screening a typical day, I realized that there were dozens of annoyances like the bathroom scenario. None of them was significant enough by itself to ruin my day, but a day filled with 40 or 50 unconsciously irritating moments might have something to do with my being frazzled by suppertime.

Certain routine activities are always accompanied by some amount of emotional or physical pressure. What are your stressful activities? The laundry? Cooking? Shopping? I've never particularly liked to cook. Plus, taking a carload of small boys to the grocery store has got to be on my list of "Top 10 Ways to Torture a Tired Mother." So I had to experiment with getting the grocery shopping done without wearing me out (or freaking me out when I saw the receipt), and with developing some simple menu plans that didn't exhaust me after a long day. Plus, I had to be realistic about my limitations.

As much as I might want to provide my family with three, lovingly created, nutritious, home-cooked meals a day, it would be psychotic of me to think I could pull it off and still do everything else I needed to get done. So in my household, we have meals where everyone is on their own to fix something for themselves, meals that another family member prepares, and meals that I prepare, depending on everyone's schedule and what will give us the most family time around the table.

Another thing that can be done is to go through each room of the house and note anything that is irritating. Rooms have a powerful effect on our sense of well‑being. They can make us feel like prisoners in our own homes or make us feel gracious and relaxed. Are there certain colors that make you feel tense? That make you feel relaxed? Could the room be re-arranged so that the pattern of traffic flow is better? Could simple changes be made that contribute to a sense of peace and order?

Do the tools you have enhance your productivity? For example, I started out writing our catalogs on an old IBM electric typewriter ($25, second-hand), made photocopied reductions of the book covers, and had to cut and paste everything together. It was a massive, time-consuming, mess-producing job. So, guess how I began to feel about the catalog? I dreaded the thought of starting each new one, and the whole time I worked on one I was a witch. It was like trying to build a modern house with stone tools.

Then one day I heard Mary Pride say she always tried to invest in things that increased her productivity. I began to look around at all of the equipment I relied on. Everything from my vacuum cleaner to my typewriter was out-dated and difficult to use. So I began systematically replacing my "tools," starting with the equipment I used most and that caused me the most aggravation. I also began investing in skills that made me more productive. I learned how to use word processing programs and scanners and Adobe Photoshop. I read every household and time management book I could get my hands on. I tried to increase my knowledge and skill in every area that drained energy.

Another stressful area for home schooling parents is the "schooling" itself. In our desire to make sure we don't leave any educational gaps, we tend to overdo. We need to evaluate our homeschools by the 80/20 Principle. What are the key areas we need to be concentrating on? How can we eliminate the unnecessary and ineffectual? What simple changes can we make to decrease stress and enhance enthusiasm?

Part II is coming next week! You'll learn about "Lifestyle Vampires," "Belief Vampires," "Reaching Ground Zero with God" and much more. Stay tuned....

Any article appearing on this website may be copied or forwarded electronically provided that proper credit is given and that the article is not substantively modified. No article may appear in whole or in part in a publication sold for profit or as part of any commercial endeavor without the written consent of Home School Marketplace.

© Copyright 2006. Home School Marketplace, 1053 Eldridge Loop, Crossville, TN 38571.


You might be home schooled if...

. . . you never get "snow days" off.
. . . "P.E." includes yard work.
. . . denim is a primary color.
. . . all your tennis shoes are white.
. . . you watch videos of singing vegetables.
. . . your house looks like a library inside.
. . . you come to school in your pajamas.
. . . the family car is a 15 passenger van.
. . . your first real date is on your honeymoon.


The Pride Financial Network Stock and Options Home Study Program
Many of you know that our middle son James spent the last year and a half in Idaho studying under Chris Verhaegh, a stock maven who is known internationally for his ability to successfully trade stocks and options and to train others to be successful at it too. Chris is offering his home study program at a special price and with a special money-back guarantee. Find out more about it HERE>>

If you've ever thought about learning to invest in the stock market, I'm urging you to do it now. There is some TIME CRITICAL news that there may soon be a set-up for an "oil tanker"-- Chris' term for a small trade that has the potential to make a year's income. Find out what this TIME CRITICAL news is HERE>>

The Big Seminar. I've been going to the Big Seminar for four years now and, as far as I'm concerned, it is the only seminar you need to go to if you are interested in developing any sort of business on the internet. I've supported our family for the past year by using the "how to" I've learned from the internet marketing experts at the Big Seminar, and you can learn the same things I have.

The top internet marketers in the world gather together twice a year to share information about what works on the internet. You'll learn how to create extra income at home by creating your own products you can market over the internet, by setting up sites that create income for you through Google Adsense, by selling on e-Bay, by writing e-books, and much, much more. The next Big Seminar is in April in Atlanta.

I'm telling you--if you or someone in your family has a bent toward the internet, they need to go to the Big Seminar. This seminar has changed the lives of thousands of people from all over the world, including mine--- now is your chance. Get more information HERE>>

Home School Resourcese

We have closed down the Elijah company mail-order store, but Home School Marketplace carries many of the products we created ourselves as well as products we publish for others. Here are just a few of our best-sellers.

30% off WIN books

After ten years of us publishing the Writing in Narrative program, the author has decided to publish them himself, so we are selling our remaining inventory at 30% off the retail price.

We have the following WIN books available: The Reluctant Writer,
Comprehensive Story Writing,
Writing Man 1 & 2,
Essay Handbook, Expository Writing Handbook
, and WIN Twin.

For more information and to place an order, FIND OUT MORE HERE>>

I Saw the Angel in the Marble

With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

The articles that appear in this book have been written over the course of many years. They represent a journey several of us “old timers” have taken since the early 1980’s as we have attempted to raise our own children and reassume the responsibility for every aspect of their lives. The articles have appeared in our Elijah Company catalog or have been sent to the over 20,000 families who subscribe to our electronic newsletter.

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Although we made an attempt to arrange the articles in some logical order, feel free to jump in anywhere—or ignore some altogether. Our hope is that what you read will offer real practical help. Check it out HERE>>

Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains: How Not to Teach Like the Public Schools (seeking a biblical approach to education); When Mothers Teach Resistant Sons and Daughters (what strains the mother-child relationship); Turning the Hearts of Fathers (why men have moved away from family leadership and how this affects both boys and girls); There is a Bigger Picture (home schooling is part of a total lifestyle); Identity Directed Home Schooling (finding God's destiny for each child and building education around it); Seven Habits of Successful Home Schooling; Charting a Course for High School; and Science in the Homeschool.

People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. If you haven't ordered your set, ORDER HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/
Davis Seminars Set

Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

From Home School to Home Business (14 CD Set)

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who have attended tell us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! It contains: There is a Bigger Picture by Chris Davis; Moving Away from School at Home; Developing Your Own Scope and Sequence by Chris Davis; Relaxed Home Schooling by Mary Hood; Teaching Elementaries by Mary Hood; Strategies for High School by Mary Hood; The Entrepreneurial Mind by Ellyn Davis, Creating Multiple Streams of Family Income by Ellyn Davis, Identifying Your Personal Dreams by Tim Lakey and Ellyn Davis; Business as a Vehicle for Achieving Your Dreams by Tim Lakey and Ellyn Davis; Creating A Business Plan, part 1 by Tim Lakey and Ellyn Davis; Creating A Business Plan, part 2 by Tim Lakey and Ellyn Davis; The Importance of Business Relationships by Tim Lakey and Ellyn Davis; and a BONUS CD: Redeeming the Markeplace: An Interview by Ellyn Davis with Bob Fraser and Mike Bickle of The Joseph Company.

If you haven't ordered your set, go HERE>> to order.

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