Homeschool Growth is Surging

Welcome to this episode of Homeschool Growth is Surging. Today, I’ll explore the reasons behind the remarkable rise in homeschooling with a special guest – Jim Mason, who has witnessed this surge firsthand. As president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association and father of seven, Jim and I will shed light on the factors driving more families to choose this educational path. So, get ready to delve into why parents choose to homeschool their children!

Homeschool Growth is Surging

Why Parents Homeschool

People often ask me why there is a sudden surge in homeschooling. While there are many reasons homeschooling is surging, below are some of the more common reasons:

Concern about school environment: Many parents are choosing to homeschool their children due to concerns about the school environment, including issues such as bullying, safety, or a lack of personalized attention.

Desire to provide moral instruction: A significant number of parents opt for homeschooling to have more control over the values and morals imparted to their children. They believe homeschooling provides an opportunity to instill their own beliefs and principles.

Dissatisfaction with academics and family values: Some families choose homeschooling because they feel dissatisfied with traditional schools’ academic standards or curriculum. Additionally, homeschooling allows families to prioritize and incorporate their own values and beliefs into their children’s education.

About Jim Mason

Jim Mason is a highly experienced attorney and advocate for homeschooling families. He has been an integral part of HSLDA’s litigation team since 2001, setting precedents that expand homeschooling freedom. Jim succeeded Mike Smith as President of HSLDA in August 2022. As a U.S. Navy veteran and Regent University School of Law graduate, Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

Subscribe to Equipped To Be

If you find this podcast helpful, please subscribe and leave a review. It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds.

Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

Do you have a question about homeschooling? Would you like to have Connie speak at your next event? Contact Connie here.

Making Family Traditions

Have you wondered if making family traditions matter? Are they worth the time and effort that goes into planning them? Yes! Making family traditions can have numerous positive impacts on individuals and the family unit as a whole. That’s why we are re-airing a popular episode from the vault today.

Embark on a heartwarming journey with our latest podcast episode, where we dive deep into the art of making family traditions. 🌟 From the chaos of holiday celebrations to the simplicity of intentional moments, we explore how these traditions weave the fabric of strong family bonds. Join us as we unravel the beauty of simple yet impactful rituals, discover the “why” behind each tradition, and get inspired with creative ideas for making lasting memories. 🎄✨ Tune in to our podcast and start crafting your family’s unique story through the beauty of traditions! 🌈 #MakingFamilyTraditions #PodcastJoy #ConnectThroughTraditions 🎧

Making Family Traditions

Embracing the Chaos: The Importance of Family Traditions

The holiday season often feels like a whirlwind of plays, parties, and gatherings, intertwined with the chaos of decorating, shopping, and wrapping. Amidst the hustle and bustle, reflecting on the unique and repeated traditions that define your family’s holiday experience is essential. The significance of these traditions becomes evident over time, shaping strong family relationships and fostering a sense of connectedness.

Making family traditions do not need to be extravagant and expensive. The simple and budget-friendly traditions are where kids grow to love and appreciate traditions.

A Journey of Traditions: From Few to Many

Reflecting on my own childhood, my family’s holiday traditions were minimal, centered around the annual visit to my grandparents’ house. In contrast, my husband’s family embraced a plethora of small yet meaningful traditions. These were anticipated events, eagerly attended by everyone, forming a tapestry of shared experiences that enriched their holiday celebrations. Over the years Tom and I decided to replace certain traditions that didn’t align with our family goals by adding new ones.

Extravagance Not Required: The Beauty of Simple Traditions

Contrary to popular belief, family traditions need not be extravagant or expensive. The simple, budget-friendly traditions leave lasting impressions on children, cultivating a genuine love and appreciation for the rituals that define each holiday season.

Unveiling the Why Behind Traditions

When embarking on the journey of making new family traditions, consider these guiding principles:

  • Make it Fun: Infuse a sense of enjoyment into your traditions. Don’t worry if one child isn’t as enthusiastic as the other kids. That can change from year to year.
  • Have a Why: Every tradition should carry a meaningful purpose.
  • Ensure Understanding: Make sure your children understand the significance of each tradition.

Ideas: Inspiration for Making Family Traditions

Service-Oriented Traditions are an excellent way to make family traditions fun.

Initiate a tradition of service projects, such as:

  • Wrapping gifts
  • Organizing a toy drive
  • Serving the homeless
  • Shopping for families facing challenges
  • Spending time with seniors at a local center

Encourage your children to focus on something beyond themselves, fostering a spirit of generosity that extends beyond the holiday season.

Arts and Crafts Adventures

Engage in simple yet intentional arts and crafts traditions, such as:

  • Making baked goods
  • Decorating cookies or gingerbread houses
  • Crafting ornaments and other DIY projects

Even mishaps, like burning the bread, can turn into cherished memories for future conversations.

Sentimental and Gratitude-Focused Traditions

Instill gratitude and the true meaning of the season with activities like:

  • Writing letters expressing thanks and gratitude to each family member
  • Exchanging special ornaments
  • Participating in an advent reading together
  • Hosting an ugly sweater party or white elephant exchange

As your children grow, encourage them to take the lead and contribute their creative ideas to the evolving tapestry of family traditions.

“Writing Little Stories on Their Hearts”

In the words of Connie Albers, “You’re writing little stories on their heart to let them know that they belong to this family.”

Whether celebrating the 4th of July, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas, take a moment to reflect on the traditions that define your family. Embrace the chaos, find joy in simplicity, and remember the why behind each tradition. The ultimate goal is to create a nurturing environment where your children can thrive, grow, and feel a lasting sense of belonging.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

Subscribe to Equipped To Be

If you find this podcast helpful, please subscribe and leave a review. It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds.

Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

Want to contact Connie with a question? Want Connie to speak at your event? Contact Connie here.

The Power of a Child

Imagine a national holiday tradition, an influence on a U.S. President, and the indirect catalyst for pardoning hundreds in distress—all sparked by the power of a child. Now, what if I revealed that this extraordinary child was far from perfect? Described as mischievous, a prankster, and a troublemaker, this less-than-conventional figure was also shunned by other children for looking and talking differently. Yet, within this seemingly imperfect child lies a story that unveils the profound impact parents’ unconditional love can have on shaping not just an individual, but the course of history itself. Join Raymond Arroyo and me as we unravel this captivating narrative about The Magnificent Mischief of Tad Lincoln on the podcast episode.

The Power of a Child

The Power of a Loving Parent

We can all learn a lesson or two about loving a difficult child from the former president of the United States. Instead of criticizing, Abe and his wife, Mary, chose to see what was good and right with their children. And we can too.

It is a choice. We can find good in our kids even when they act up and misbehave.

The Power of a Child

Frequently, we find it challenging to look beyond our child’s behavior to understand the essence of who they are as individuals. When we recognize our children as blessings, a transformative shift in perspective occurs. How do they exhibit kindness and empathy, and how can we nurture these qualities without diminishing their spirits?

Encouraging our children to embrace their authentic selves requires a delicate balance. Imperfection is part of their journey, and as parents, we play a crucial role in fostering an environment where they can grow and thrive without the burden of unrealistic expectations.

The Power of Listening and Learning to Our Child

While in the middle of a war, grieving the death of his son, Willie, Abe found a way to listen and learn from Tad. Abe found a deep sense of joy in his son. Many of Tad’s shenanigans made his dad laugh. And that is something we can do as parents. We can, and I believe should, delight in the child God gave us.

Though Tad was not like the other kids, it didn’t stop him from loving others and caring about their lives. Tad was just a boy, but his influence changed the lives of hundreds of people who were in great distress. And that is something our kids can strive for.

About Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo is an internationally known, award-winning journalist, producer, and New York Times Bestselling author of Turnabout Tales (Harper); managing editor, The World Over EWTN; Fox News Contributor; and former CNN contributor.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

Subscribe to Equipped To Be

If you find this podcast helpful, please subscribe and leave a review. It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds.

Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

Want to contact Connie with a question? Want Connie to speak at your event? Contact Connie here.

Taking a Break

At the end of July, it became abundantly clear that taking a break to recharge my batteries was greatly needed. I had been diligently toiling away, and the demands of speaking engagements, podcasting, looking after my grandbabies, and family issues had taken a toll on my energy. Yet, finding the time to take a break isn’t always a straightforward task. I mean, we can’t just hit the brakes, can we?

I distinctly remember a piece of advice I once gave myself as a young mother: “You can rest, but you can’t quit.” This simple yet profound mantra rescued my sanity on countless occasions. What I came to realize is that if I didn’t heed my body’s signals, I would risk burning out or, even worse, giving up altogether.

The same holds true for you, my friend. Our lives are incredibly busy, making it seem impossible to take a break. We mistakenly believe that everything will crumble if we stop. However, the opposite is true – neglecting to prioritize self-care and schedule breaks will ultimately lead to life falling apart.

Taking a Break ETB #190

When Taking a Break is Needed

Feeling the need to unplug and take a break is a common experience in today’s fast-paced, digitally connected world.

Here are some signs that indicate it might be time to step back and disconnect, as well as what you can do to recharge: that you need a break to unplug:

Constant Fatigue: If you’re feeling tired all the time, even after a full night’s sleep, it could be a sign that you need a break. Remember the body can only go for so long before it starts to break down.

Lack of Focus: When you find it challenging to concentrate on tasks, and your mind constantly wanders, it might be time to step away from screens. There is a reason why we struggle to focus sometimes.

Increased Stress: If stress and anxiety levels are consistently high, it’s a clear indication that you need to take a break.

Irritability: If you’re becoming easily irritable and finding it difficult to manage your emotions, it’s a sign that you might be overwhelmed.

Decreased Productivity: When your work or daily tasks start taking longer to complete, and your productivity declines, it’s time to recharge.

Neglecting Self-Care: If you’ve been neglecting self-care activities like exercise, a healthy diet, or spending time with loved ones, you need a break. Digital Addiction: If you can’t go more than a few minutes without checking your phone or other digital devices, it’s a sign you need to disconnect.

Enjoying a Break

Now that you have decided to take a break you want to focus on three things:

  • Nature and Physical Activity: Spend time in nature, go for a walk, hike, or engage in physical activities that allow you to unplug and clear your mind.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep to restore your energy and cognitive function.
  • Digital Detox: Designate specific periods of time (e.g., a weekend or a vacation) for a complete digital detox, during which you avoid electronic devices as much as possible.

Before stepping back into your busy life, make sure you think about how you felt during your break. Simply paying attention to how you feel will motivate you to schedule more downtime.

Benefits of taking a break

During your break, pay attention, calm your mind, renew your interests, and schedule in-person connections.

A calm mind and reduced stress. When we spend time away from the noise and hectic pace our mind and soul have time to wonder and to what the Lord has for you and your family.

Renewed interest in hobbies. Time focused on interests and hobbies that you enjoy will help you stay balanced.

Personal connections: Time spent with friends and family in person, fostering meaningful connections that can provide emotional support.

Taking a break improves your mental outlook and emotional well-being

Always remember that taking breaks and disconnecting is like a gentle embrace for your soul, nurturing your mental and emotional well-being. It has the power to bring back your focus, ease your stress, and enrich the tapestry of your life. So, my dear friend, trust your instincts, be kind to yourself, and don’t shy away from those precious moments of recharging when they call your name. God will use that downtime to renew your mind.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

Subscribe to Equipped To Be

If you find this podcast helpful, please subscribe and leave a review. It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds.

Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

Do you have a question or prayer request? Please let me know. Contact Connie here.

Are you looking for a speaker in 2024 or 2025? I have a few speaking dates open. If you would like to have me speak at your next event, please contact me at [email protected].

Empowering Parents To Safeguard Children Online

Parents, we can’t leave kids alone to figure it out or simply hope for the best. That isn’t good enough, not now. That’s why today’s show focuses on empowering parents to safeguard children online. I’ve invited Detective Richard Wistocki to join me and discuss who’s responsible, child privacy, and the Golden Ticket rule. There is something you can do to protect your children.

Do you know how strangers find your kids online? We are tackling this topic, and you will learn steps you can take to shield your kids from harm. Children are naive and trusting, which is good until someone takes advantage of them. Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many moms and teens come to me with stories that break my heart.

Empowering Parents to Safeguard Children Online ETB 189

Parents Responsibilty

Most parents take their parenting responsibilities seriously. They want to protect their kids and keep them safe. But often, they don’t know what to do when it comes to online issues. They try to block sites, and they ask their kids if they are doing anything they shouldn’t be doing. While that’s a great start, that’s not enough these days. Why?

Did you know parents are responsible for their child’s devices? Your child doesn’t own the phone. You do!

Did you know your child can also be held accountable for what your child posts, even if a stranger screenshots something and uses it against them in a harmful way?

Did you know law enforcement can charge you and your child for what your child posts online?

What can we do to get our kids to understand that having a phone comes with certain responsibilities? We have to establish digital ground rules.

Establish Digital Ground Rules

As the parent who is responsible for your children, it is up to you to establish when, where, and for how long your child can be online. Because life is busy, we can forget to check on our kid’s online activity. So we need to remind ourselves that our kids need us to be diligent.

I’ve said many times that it’s not what you expect your child to do; it is what you inspect. That starts with having conversations and installing monitoring devices like Life360 or Family Link. It also means not allowing devices in the bedroom at night. I know kids want their phones with them at all times, but that is when they are the most vulnerable.

Remove Fear from Sharing with Parents

Kids have told me when they get into trouble, they are afraid to go to their parents. They are afraid their parents will take away their phones – and rightly so. But when parents tell their children if something happens, they will not immediately take away their phones, kids feel a sense of relief. They are more likely to come to you because they trust you. You said it, and they believe it.

(Now, if the child continues to ignore or disobey the ground rules you’ve established together, then parents have to take a different course of action.)

Safeguarding Kids is the Goal

Empowering parents to safeguard children online begins and ends with being a shield. A shield protects someone from incoming danger. You are that shield. I know it’s hard and time-consuming, but when your children are more mature and able to understand you did this for their good, they will appreciate your efforts.

Like every season of parenting, there are ups and downs. Sometimes your child lacks sound judgment. Your faithfulness, love, and willingness to listen go a long way in protecting your child.

About Richard Wistocki

Child crime expert Detective Richard Wistocki has dedicated his career to helping children by tirelessly pursuing, apprehending, and prosecuting child predators.  As an active Cyber Crimes Detective, he educates Law Enforcement using cutting-edge investigative techniques and Parents and Students on responsible digital activity.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

Subscribe to Equipped To Be

Would you kindly take a few seconds and leave a review? It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a moment. Your kind words help others find our podcast. Thank you ~Connie

Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

Do you have questions about the show? Are you looking for a speaker for your next event? Contact Connie here.

Dealing with Changes – ETB #188

Dealing with changes in life can be difficult. Whether we like it or not, dealing with changes is essential to our personal, spiritual, and professional growth. We learn how to navigate situations by dealing with changes healthily. Instead of trying to avoid changes, we should learn to trust the Lord and embrace them. In this episode, we will address the common reasons that make change seem daunting and learn some ways you can navigate whatever change comes your way.
Dealing with Chnages

Why Dealing with Changes is Challenging

While there are many reasons we try to resist change, I want to cover the most common ones and provide ways to help you address them so you can move forward. Fear of the Unknown Habits and Behavior Lack of Motivation Past Failures or Trauma

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. It’s the idea that if you don’t know something, you’re missing out on some important knowledge or experience. Rather than feel paralyzed by this fear, use it as a motivator to learn more and become more comfortable with uncertainty. The uncertainty and predictability of change can be intimidating. And fear of failure can stop us from making changes. What can we do? Face the fear. Ask yourself questions like: What do I need to know? How can I get the answers? We often resist changes because we fear what we don’t know. So we can educate ourselves and list the pros and cons of a decision. Start by gathering information, then set realistic expectations, and ask for help from friends and family members. Part of dealing with changes is removing fear, not avoiding it.

Lack of Motivation

Most of us know change requires effort and can be uncomfortable. Indeed, we can’t predict an outcome or be in control, but that should not be used as an excuse to change. But if we lack motivation to change, we may struggle to try something new or continue making changes once we start. What can we do? Identify a compelling reason or purpose for the change. Understand the benefits it can bring to your life, and set clear, achievable goals. Breaking the change into smaller, manageable steps can also make it feel less overwhelming, increasing motivation.

Habits and Behaviors

People tend to stick to familiar routines and habits, even if they know they don’t serve them well. It’s common, but it is something we can change. With the right help and guidance, it can be easier to break away from old habits and create positive new ones. What to do: Start by identifying the habits that need to change and work on gradually replacing them with new, healthier ones. Consistency and repetition are key to forming new habits. It can be helpful to create reminders, set specific triggers, or enlist the support of friends or professionals to hold you accountable.

Past Failures or Trauma

Previous experiences of failure or trauma related to change can create resistance to trying again. It is important to recognize that change can be a scary thing, and provide ways for people to work through their fears before attempting something new. This could include encouraging them to talk about their traumatic experiences and helping them explore how those experiences have shaped their view of change, especially as it relates to trying new things. What can you do? Talk with a family member or trusted friend. If you don’t get positive results, consider talking to a mental health professional. Mental health professionals such as counselors, social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists can provide talk therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you work through your problems and learn new coping skills.

Dealing with Changes Builds Confidence

It’s important to recognize that these reasons for avoiding change are natural human responses, and they can be valid in certain contexts. However, addressing these concerns and finding ways to manage them is essential for personal growth and will help you gain confidence to embrace new circumstances. It’s also worth noting that while change can be challenging, it often brings new opportunities, personal development, and positive outcomes.

References and Links

The following may contain affiliate links.

    Subscribe to Equipped To Be

    If you find this podcast helpful, would you kindly subscribe and leave a review? It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds. I appreicate you!

    Have a Question or Want to Book Connie to Speak?

    Want to contact Connie with a question? Want Connie to speak at your event? Contact Connie here.