As parents that home educate, homeschool activities may be the one thing we seem to have covered. Although, if we take a closer look, how much are the activities really helping our children? Can you say that your activities are helping your child become a mature individual
I've come across a wonderful new program I believe will enhance your child's curriculum. Many of the activities for children covered in this program, can easily be adapted as homeschool activities. And because it is such an empowering course for kids, they are learning skills to solve problems, and succeed in life.
Annie Desantis is a Parent Coach whose mission is to empower parents to raise inspired children. I came across Annie when I found out about a home-study program she has developed called Super Skills 4 Kids. I asked her some more questions to find out more about her program.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: Annie, what started your journey as a Parent Coach?
Annie: Coaching Parents was something that developed out of my Playcentre days when my children were small. Playcentre is a wonderful pre-school organization in New Zealand, based on the Free Play model. Similar to the Montessouri method, a range of activities are always available for children, and Parents are seen as being the primary educator of their children. There is a huge amount of parent education in Playcentre, and because of my background in Early Childhood education and in Psychotherapy, Playcentre was a perfect fit with my preferences for early childhood education.
The early years of child rearing are so important. If society put more resources into supporting parents in early childhood education, then I believe more parents would also take up the option of home schooling.
I became the Association Leadership Coordinator, so had responsibility for setting up training programs for Parents. In my many years in private practice as a counselor/therapist, I have predominantly worked with women or families and Parent Coaching became my specialty.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: Did you home school your children?
Annie: Actually no, I didn't. I really wanted to, and thought very hard about it. I did masses of research particularly because after the first six months at school, my eldest child was miserable.
If I was starting again now, I most likely would home school, as the resources, support and homeschool activities available these days are fabulous. Back then, there was hardly any help unless you lived in an area close to other homeschoolers.
Plus I was a single Mom for most of the early years with my children, so my priority had to be working to pay the bills. I have mostly been self employed so had a reasonable degree of flexibility with my hours, but still, I really needed the time when they were at school to work.
My compromise was to move to an area with a tiny school and a wonderful very progressive Principal who the kids adored. I was so lucky to have found this school, because until then, both my daughter and myself were increasingly stressed out with the limitations a large school system has.
I had great flexibility with this school, and often used to take the kids out of school for the day for mental health days. We would go to art exhibitions or events or spend the day at the beach. I doubt many schools would support parents to take their kids out of school, but I highly recommend taking mental health days, instead of kids getting sick.
Parents often have to compromise to balance their lifestyle. As you would know, homeschooling is a big commitment, but these days there are so many more opportunities for women like yourself to earn an income while staying at home with their children.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: What made you start a website?
Annie: I started playing around with blogs and my hobbies and started building a website around my art.
But then when my son married an English girl (I'm in Australia) and they started a family, I realized I needed my income to be more flexible. Being tied to one location for work is really difficult when you have family on the other side of the world.
So Inspired Parenting Tips was born! I am slowly developing some of the courses I have run for years with parents, into online courses, and the first one I have launched is Super Skills 4 Kids. As we have discussed, the whole program or even the separate activities for children, could easily be run as homeschool activities. That way I can work anywhere in the world. My mother is elderly and in New Zealand, and I usually spend a couple of months each year with her as well as being available when my grand-babies were born in London. (leaving my husband to take care of my little furry babies!)
After extensive research I was very lucky to come across SBI, which you and I both use to build our websites. I couldn't believe the amount of information, training andwebmaster tools are all available in one package. It has been a steep learning curve, but it has been so worth it.
Super Skills 4 Kids is one of the programs I run with parents, children and classes (quite a few teachers use SS4K). As a parent myself, it was really hard sometimes to know how to empower your child to solve problems and find constructive ways to get their needs met. And I could see with the many parents I worked with, Parents need tools to help their kids. If kids learn these tools as children, then what a huge head start they have in life!
My Natural Motherhood Journey: How could home schoolers use Super Skills 4 Kids as homeschool activities?
Annie: Super Skills 4 Kids is a down-loadable home-studycourse, and comes comes with a comprehensive workbook to help parents work their way through the course. The program itself is full of tools and ideas to help parents. The whole program is broken down into separate activities for children, so you could work through the whole program as a homeschool activity. By adding SS4K into your homeschool curriculum, you are helping your child to develop strategies and skills they can carry over into any situation.
We also have a parents forum available as part of Super Skills 4 Kids, where parents can get peer support and celebrate their child's achievements. That would be a great place to discuss with other homeschoolers, how they have used Super Skills 4 Kids as homeschool activities.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: You say in the course it is child centered, can you tell me what you mean by that?
Annie: For a child to be motivated to work on learning a skill, particularly a behavioral skill they have to have a good reason for doing so. Kids don't misbehave just to annoy you. They usually are misbehaving because they are not getting a need met. If they can learn to get that need met by controlling their reactions and behavior using the activities for children included in the program, then they have learned a very powerful skill.
One of the biggest challenges with the Super Skills 4 Kids program is that parents have to let the child choose what they want to work on. Of course parents always have their own idea of what they want the child to learn!
However, it's amazing how often behavioral issues seem to drop off when kids get success in mastering one skill, and learning tools they they can apply in other situations.
Sometimes simply spending such quality time with a child is the catalyst for a behavior change.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: Can parents manage the course themselves? I would think attending a class with you would be very different from doing a home-study course?
Annie: Great Question! Yes it is different, but because I have so much experience with parents using the course, I knew what would work without ongoing inputfrom me. And of course there are plenty of instructions and ideas and casestudies to illustrate how Super Skills 4 Kids worked for other children.
I also structured it differently to make it more suitable for a wider range of children.So, parents can adapt it to suit their family and their own issues. Andofcourse the Bonus Workbook has loads of ideas for applying the course.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: It sounds like Super Skills 4 Kids would fit perfectly into homeschooling.
Annie: You are right, it is a great fit for homeschooling parents. Many of the processes in the course could be used as stand alone activities which would be fantastic for building self esteem, setting goals etc. It has also been used in schools, so is very suitable for use with small groups of children.
My Natural Motherhood Journey: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us, and where can my readers find you?
Annie: I'd love to give your readers a complimentary copy of one of my e-books,Inspirational Parenting Tips
You can visit my website Inspired Parenting Tips.com and look around. I run a free parenting questions section, so if your readers want advice from a Parenting Coach, they just need to ask!
My Natural Motherhood Journey: Thanks for your time today Annie. I've enjoyed talking with you about how Super Skills 4 Kids could be used in homeschooling, either as a program or using it as individual homeschool activities. Empowering our children to solve problems and set goals and learn new ways of behaving are great skills for a child to master.
Annie: My pleasure Chante, it is always wonderful to connect with inspiring work at home Moms like you. Wishing you every success with it.
Just click here to get Annie Desantis' free gift to parents, her comprehensive e-book, Inspirational Parenting Tips: