Homeschool leaders · Homeschool Question · Homeschool Summer

Are Your Children Homeschool Active?

Active? How?

Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

Back in January our homeschool group, P226 Innovative Homeschoolers, had the amazing honor of hearing from a local Chick-Fil-A owner. He spoke to our group about leadership. This young man was not yet 30-years-old, and he was locally homeschooled, so it was a great joy to have him speak to our homeschoolers.

He shared a lot of wonderful leadership tips with our students, but he said one thing I was very surprised to hear. He said; one of the best attributes of a great leader is staying active. He didn’t just make that up. He learned this from a leadership book he read called, Extreme Ownership. I was very excited he shared this with our students. In addition to our homeschool group we also own a homeschool physical education program called, Gifted Athletes Homeschool PE, so our passion is keeping students active and to hear a young local leader share this with our homeschoolers was very inspiring.

Their Mood

Here’s a question for you as a home educator; do you keep your children active? If no, why not? There have been many studies that show living a healthy active lifestyle is vital to a healthy mind.

Physical activity is important for everyone. Not only can it reduce the risk of some diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, but it keeps our bodies at a healthy weight and benefits our mental health as well. When we exercise, our breathing increases and our heart starts pumping more oxygen-filled blood to our muscles. The increased blood flow also benefits our brain, allowing it to almost immediately function better. As a result, we tend to be more focused after exercise of any kind. Therefore, exercise is one of the best prevention and treatment strategies for depression. Physical exercise actually changes the level of serotonin in the brain by increasing the levels of the “feel good” hormones, or endorphins. Endorphins are well-known for their role in mood control.

Reference; MSU.edu

How often do we get on our children for being “moody?” Why are they moody?

Maybe take a walk with them or go on a jog with them and together you can both have healthier bodies and healthier minds.

All of our children have always been active, and our younger children who are still in the home are all very active several times a week. In addition, me and my husband go to the gym and/or on jogs with them to keep them motivated. As I type this post, we recently were on a Saturday morning, 6:30am jog with a workout group my husband Omar is working with for a local homeschool basketball team. I tagged along, including my 7-year-old and 17-year-old.

Jaden our 17-year old

The Wrong Type of Activity

Unfortunately, however, most of us get plenty of “physical activity” using our phones all day long, looking at social media, TV and video games; yet that time spent wasted on such things can be better utilized by being active as a family. You can impart something so amazing and special into your family by being active together.

School

Studies have also shown that children who are active have a better advantage in weight control and staying focused in school.


According to the American Council on Exercise, the obesity epidemic among children ages 6-19 has reached 15 percent, almost quadruple what it was in the late 1960s. By spending extra time on the playground or participating in a sport, children reap the same benefits resulting in more focus at school and better outlook on relationships and school overall. Physical activity will prevent youth from becoming obese or help them lose weight, as well as teach them healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Reference: MSU.edu

The only issue with this is most people believe any type of activity is good physical actively which is not true. I have seen plenty of students on organized sports teams who are overweight. Sport teams are generally not trying to work on your overall health. Their focus is the team sport and fundamentals- so simply putting your child in soccer, basketball, volleyball and so forth will not truly work on their core body for better health. Students need to be in a directly focused intentional physical education regimen to have a healthier body overall. If children are simply put on a sports team and they can see their bodies are not getting better developed they won’t be motived to continue – and thus – this could make them demotivated in other areas – including their school work.

All four of our younger children play organized sports. In addition, they are a part of our homeschool PE program three times a week. In addition, the older ones, go to the gym three times a week. In addition, the two who play basketball also workout on an off season core body development program for their basketball team!

Be a part of this with them!

Don’t simply put your children in something just to keep them busy. Don’t simply tell them to go outside and play! (Although nothing is wrong with being outside to play)

But don’t simply get rid of them so you can get stuff done. Be on this journey with them for their overall health and yours!

I think back often to the days of Jesus Christ and how they ate fish, dates, berries and walked everywhere! Wow! Can we imagine how healthy they lived! It takes tremendous motivation and effort these days to live that way, but it’s not impossible and it can be done.

Being active is not something we should blow off or make secondary like it’s something we can do if we feel like it or have the time.

Rethink your homeschool journey with your children. Of course we have to ensure they are properly educated in their school subjects, but it’s also extremely important to ensure their bodies are healthy too.

1: Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God?”

Leadership

So let’s put this all together. Studies show that children who are physically active have better self-esteem. I wonder if this is part of the connection with leadership. Connecting all the dots… physical activity helps you develop a healthy body, controls your weight, improves your mental health, improves schoolwork, and can help children have better self-esteem. These are all attributes of great leadership. Do you want your children to develop into healthy leaders?

Don’t neglect physical activity. I can assure you that sitting on your and their phone all day, looking at TV and playing videos too often will not accomplish this for them or you. Start something exciting and new on your homeschool journey and get active as a family!

3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

Homeschool Fun · Homeschool Hope · Homeschool Imagination

Celebrate the Homeschool Wins

Trust me… You’ve Had Plenty!

Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

So it’s the end of the school year and you’re super excited right!? Why are you excited?

Are you excited because the school year is over?

Um…yeah!

…Or are you excited because despite the many ups and downs, you can look back and see the wins!

So often I talk with parents in the homeschool community who doubt themselves tremendously. We all do it. We look at other homeschool families and we make assumptions. We assume other families are so much better than we are – so much more skilled than we are – and homeschool their children effortlessly.

One of the biggest mistakes we all make is comparing ourselves. We have no idea how detrimental comparing can be. On the outside most people have a great life. We all do, right? But behind closed doors you have no idea how life is for someone else – and truth is – you don’t need to know. When you focus too much on others you lose focus on yourself. And right now you need to focus on your wins – not someone else’s imperfect homeschool life. Your homeschool life is imperfect. My homeschool life is imperfect. Your BFF’s homeschool life is imperfect. But I have plenty of wins this year and so do you.

The Puppet Win

When I think back on this school year I can think of so many things that went wrong. However, when I intentionally focus on the good I can think of plenty of wonderful moments. For example; back in December, my second daughter Sophia, who was 12 at the time, had to create a costume for a puppet for a Biblical Christmas presentation she was in.

Win #1…She drew what she wanted the costume to look like.

Win #2…She found old clothes throughout the house.

Win # 3…She then spent a week sewing the costume onto her puppet.

She did this entire project by herself. She self-taught herself how to sew. This was a huge win! Sophia learned how to take initiative and learned patience. She learned she can create something her way with items inside our home. She did not ask us for money to go out and buy materials, which would have been okay, and she did not ask us to help her. That would have been okay as well…but she learned independently how to create her own project. This moment will carry over for many years to come. She will learn how to be resourceful as she gets older and into adulthood.

Sophia struggled a little in math this school year. Am I going to be upset about having math issues and allow that to ruin our homeschool journey, or be proud of her diligent creatively?

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

One thing we often forget is, it’s so incredibly easy to look for what’s wrong in every situation. Some people are seriously gifted at finding the bad – but it takes effort to seek out those things that are good. When we complain about our homeschool journey, and we put ourselves down, do we really think if our children were in a school setting we’d have no complaints, or struggles? Of course there would still be struggles, but just like being in a school setting, you have to purposely look for the good.

The Food Win

Another win for our family was with Sophia’s older sister, Gabi. She really took her baking to another level. She bakes on a regular basis. As I type this post, Gabi baked chocolate chip banana cake last night…

And birthday chocolate chip cookies the night before…

Yes, we seriously need to start a family bakery in our house.

Gabi thrives in baking.

Late last year she had to raise money for her homeschool basketball team. Me and my husband decided we would help her sell her cookies.

Win # 1…She learned how to plan and organize her baking orders.

Win # 2… She learned how to create an invoice for her orders.

Win # 3…She learned how to package, deliver and to show gratitude to those who ordered from her.

She raised the money she needed and she learned some basic business skills.

Gabi struggled a lot this school year with Biology. But am I going to focus on her struggles with Biology or get excited for her win with business basics? Many people ordered her cookies and she gained a lot of confidence.

What’s Really Important?

Am I suggesting that math and Biology aren’t important? No…but we all struggle in some areas with school subjects. Sometimes as parents we ignore where our children blossom.

When we ignore our children’s greatest strengths while harping on their struggles we stifle their deepest passions.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Today, we can look outside and see nothing but bad. There is bad every single place you look. There is sadness, pain, hurt – fear – you name it. We bring what’s happening in the world into our homes on a regular basis.

Yes, there is much sadness, but I bet if you look intentionally into the world you will also see so much good; so many good people, so many good moments, so many good ideas…etc! Take that same intentional effort today and look for the wins you had this school year on your homeschool journey. Pray and ask God to bring to your mind all the great moments. Ask Him to help you focus on the blessing of home education.

Tell your children today how proud you are of them for all of their many wins this school year. And then go get yourself a treat because, with God – you did it this school year!

You won!

Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you do not, send me an email and let me pray with you to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Homeschool Economics · Homeschool Fun

Homeschool Blueberry Iced-Tea

When school is blueberry fun!

Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

Hey there! Yes it’s been a long while since I have graced this fun amazing blog. God is such a good God. He allows us to journey through the lands, on a quest to know where we should be – and then – He opens our eyes and He leads us back to where we belong. It feels so good to start writing homeschool articles again.

Well, enough about me…

What is homeschool blueberry iced-tea? It’s an amazing fun time of learning in the summer.

When our journey of homeschool began in the fall of 2010, I recall having this idea that I had to be tough with my children to get them to learn. The reason I thought this way was because that was the example I had when I was in school. Unfortunately, I had a lot of mean teachers growing up. There’s this strange notion that being mean will bring out the best in people.

I can assure you it did not bring out the best in me while I was in school, in fact, I was always afraid to ask questions for fear of being ridiculed so I did not learn much while in school. I became insecure and unsure of myself. The same thing can, and will happen to your children on your homeschool journey if you treat your children mean in an effort to bring out the best in them.

Here’s a question for the day?

How can being mean bring out the best? It’s the same idea that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said; “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

So in essence, being mean to our children won’t bring out the best in them, only love and encouragement will do that. Sure, there’s a fine line with ensuring our children get their school work done, but this can be accomplished – with love.

Jesus Christ was never mean to those He was trying to reach. He was never mean to the lost. He loved the people He was trying to reach and, therefore – they became His followers.

So what’s the connection with all of this, you ask?

As the years have gone by through our homeschool journey, I get more and more excited doing fun adventures with my children, rather than focusing so much on their school checklists. Rather than believing I need to be tough to bring out the best in them, we bring out the best through love, and creativity! I love long-distance field trips. (Yes, even though the gas prices are super high) because God is our provider and He values education, thus – He will provide even through the gas issues.

Our family has truly embraced learning in creative ways.

So the other day it was 90 degrees and we decided to have a fun summer dinner. Outside the main course we made a beautiful fruit salad and homemade blueberry iced-tea.

When I posted our blueberry iced-tea on social media, people were amazed and asked me how we made it.

It’s so easy to find recipes online and it’s such a great way to build relationships with your children by teaching them one; how to research online (in a safe manner). I usually don’t allow my children to research anything online without me. Then, cooking and following instructions is always a great lesson in science! Homeschool at its best! And you’ve accomplished something great – fun, creative learning in a loving manner that brought out the best in them – and you!

It’s summertime so take some time to regroup and enjoy the love of learning in fun loving creative ways…Never forget that Jesus Christ will always shine bright through your homeschool journey when you invite Him in.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give you glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS