Every day this week we are taking a look at a concept from one bestselling business or productivity book and seeing what we can learn from that concept as homeschool moms. Can we take these books designed to help CEOs in the boardroom and use them to help us be better CEOs of our homeschool? I think we can!

How Five Business Bestsellers can Help a Homeschool Mom: Smell the Cheese

Sometimes it takes me a few hits over the head before I finally get a message. Anyone else like this? As a new mom (note: I did not say “young mom” because I never was that) one of the realizations it took me a while to come to was that things were going to change.

I don’t mean big change like kids growing up, getting older, having more ability. I mean the little change that sneaks up on you — the routine that once worked like a charm but does no longer, the bedtime that needs to be made later, a school-aged child’s ability to work more independently.

Truth is, we are so close to our lives each day that we sometimes fail to see that something is not working anymore, and we end up frustrated without knowing why.

Who Moved My Cheese

Change like this is what the book Who Moved My Cheese is all about. An allegory, this quick read is about two mice and two tiny humans who live in a maze. Everyday they go to their cheese station and eat cheese. (The cheese represents any good thing in your life — a job you love, a relationship, or even a good daily routine.) They have done it many times before.

They know the way and what the cheese tastes like. Then one day the cheese is just gone. The story revolves around how each one of these creatures adapts to the moving of the cheese and lessons are learned from their successes and failures.

Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.

As each lesson is learned, it is written on the wall of the maze — a series of take-away points for the reader about change and how to best adapt to it. The lesson we are going to focus on today is “Smell the cheese often, so you know when it is getting old.”

The truth is change is often predictable and can be anticipated. Frustrations are lessened when we see change coming and begin adapting before it gets here.

How Five Business Bestsellers Can Help a Homeschool MomSmell the Cheese

If we want to know if the cheese is going bad, then we have to smell the cheese — regularly. The main way to do this is with a periodic taking stock of our situation, plans, and how well things are working. How often we need to do this often depends on the situation.

With younger kids, we may need to reevaluate skills, abilities, procedures and goals as often as once a term. It seems the younger they are, the quicker things change. Families with older kids may only need a seasonal or six-month review.

Sit down (I’ve made you a planner below.) and take a look at what situations are working well, what areas are starting to work less effectively, and come up with a few changes or action items to make the poorer ones work better.

Are chores being left undone? Is math taking until dinner time to finish? Are library fines adding up? Whatever the problem is, identify it and then create a solution to solve it before it gets so out of control you are completely frustrated and become angry, which often hinders effective decision-making.

Read the Book

Who Moved My Cheese?

Author: Spencer Johnson, M.D.

From Amazon: “With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change–an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.

Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.”

More For You

Mystie’s Switch series – More on dealing with change in a productive way.

Action Steps

In order to smell the cheese we must constantly reevaluate. We can set up systems and have them in place, but only by regularly reassessing will we save ourselves the frustration of the cheese going bad while we were not looking.

To that end, I suggest putting a date on the calendar at least every six months (maybe more often with younger kids) to take a look at what you are doing, what is working, and what is not, and planning some changes. To help you out, click on the graphic to download this free printable periodic evaluation form and never be surprised by bad cheese again. Clipart by mycutegraphics.com.

How Five Business Bestsellers Can Help a Homeschool Mom: Who Moved my Cheese?
iHomeschool Network Hopscotch July 2014This post is part of the Hopscotch Series with iHomeschool Network. Be sure to click over to the landing page and check out the other fun 5-Day series the bloggers of iHSN have in store for you this week!

Pam Barnhill

Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.
Pam Barnhill
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