Archives for July 2012

S is for Stick Together by Laura Ann Huber

The follow is an excerpt from The ABCs of Homeschooling by Laura Ann Huber.

 

Letter writing-homeschool :)

 

My husband and I don’t always see things eye to eye. We have had many disagreements and arguments, mostly because I have what I like to call “Momma Bear Syndrome.” Momma Bear Syndrome is an instinctive, unthinking act to defend the cubs at all costs. If Poppa Bear disciplines more harshly than Momma Bear deems appropriate the claws come out, and Momma Bear is on the attack. Watch Out! This can cause confusion and disruption in the den.

Parents must quietly go behind doors if this happens and talk about what is wrong or right. Try to find middle ground. Sticking together is very important. Sometimes it’s hard because men and women see things so differently. Once a decision is made, go out and talk to the kids together. If a punishment is needed now is the time to explain it to the child. Let them see you are now on the same page. You must stick together.

Our decision to homeschool our children was not made overnight, nor was it blissfully blessed by both of us at first. The idea was first introduced to us when my husband met a colleague’s son, named Josh. The boy seemed so bright and outgoing, able to speak and talk to adults better than any other child my husband knew. Every day he would come home from work bragging about Josh and the fact that his mother homeschooled him. I was really intrigued, but in my own small thinking brain the thought that I could homeschool my children never occurred to me.

When it was time to sign our oldest child up for kindergarten I was having a very difficult time. He was still so little and young; I just couldn’t imagine sending him off into a world that didn’t include me or his family. I prayed and prayed about it without my husband knowing how I was feeling. The year I was supposed to sign Keith up for kindergarten happened to be 1999. On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, the unthinkable happened in a high school named Columbine. Two high school seniors went on a murderous rampage, killing thirteen students. It sickened every parent in America and frightened every student who heard of the horrific event.

My heart had been telling me for quite some time I should homeschool Keith, but being inundated with the culture and society we live in I just didn’t feel I was qualified. I felt that he needed to go to school. Even after the tragedy, I still thought it best that he attend school. After all, that’s what everyone else was doing.

But my spirit would not let the issue rest. I lay in bed every night praying for an answer. Finally, I expressed my feelings to my husband, “You are always coming home and talking about how well rounded and what a great kid Josh is. I thought maybe I should homeschool Keith.” His answer echoed my own feelings of self-doubt and he said, “But you’re not a teacher. Josh’s mom is a licensed teacher.” Sad and dejected I decided to sign Keith up for kindergarten.

I made arrangements to talk to some kindergarten teachers and visit some classrooms. First I would be going to the public school, and then to the private Catholic school I had attended as a child. Since my nephew, Ethan, was in first grade and attended the public school I would be visiting, I decided it would be fun if I could take him to school that morning. He took me in through the front doors of the school into what I perceived as total pandemonium. Having attended a Catholic school all my life, I had never witnessed children running from here to there in the hallways.

After visiting with a kindergarten teacher, I was more confused than ever. I told her I had been considering homeschooling and asked her opinion, expecting her to convince me sending my children to school was the best thing for them. She answered me honestly saying, “If you can homeschool, your children will be better off. My sister homeschools her children. She offers them way more than any teacher could.” This was a lot to consider.

Next it was off to my old alma mater. Here the children were treated totally the opposite of what I had witnessed at the public school. Discipline ruled as the kids walked out of church in quiet lines like little soldiers. Neither school was what I wanted for my children.

Perplexed and confused I went to a store before going home. As I was making my purchase the woman behind the counter asked me in a shocked voice, “Have you heard about the bomb threat at Brookville Elementary School?” All I could see was my precious, little blond headed, blue-eyed nephew whom I had just dropped off less than an hour ago. My heart aching and my stomach churning, I longed to go back into the school and pick him up and take him back to his safe home, but this was not in my authority. I had no right to do that. Only his parents could. I did, however, have a say about my own children.

That afternoon I called a neighbor who homeschools her children. She is not a licensed teacher and her children were learning just like everyone else’s children. It could be done. I approached my husband that night about how I was feeling. The shootings. The threats of bombings. The pandemonium. The discipline. The words of the kindergarten teacher. He took a long deep breath and said he would think about it. We were both unsure, but we both agreed that no matter what we decided to do, we would stick together on our decision. Supporting each other through thick and thin.

Finally we both agreed that we would give homeschooling a try, at least through Keith’s first year of kindergarten. After that, each year we would re-evaluate making sure we were doing the right thing. Back in 1999 if you were homeschooling your child many people questioned your motives and the well-being of the child. Some people were supportive, some were not. One thing is for sure, when you decide to homeschool your children, many people become experts in giving advice on raising them, even if their kids didn’t turn out to be successful well-rounded adults, they now know what is best for yours. Even if a person doesn’t have any kids, some still think they know what’s best for yours.

That happened to me a lot back then. I took most of the flack because I am the children’s primary care giver, and my husband is the bread winner. He always seemed to be at work or in another room when people questioned me. Sometimes I felt as if I had to defend my position like Grant defending the Union. But my husband, Bryon, always had my back, and if someone would sneak in from the left flank when my defenses were down—he was on guard and there to protect me. Everyone knew we had made a decision and were sticking together and sticking to it. This meant more to me than words can say. It gave me confidence in myself, our decision, and our marriage.

Each of us is a different individual raised in different home environments with a variety of discipline techniques and belief systems. When you marry and have a family you must take the best from both sides and leave the rest rumbling behind, creating new values and new ideas. George Washington once said, “I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one’s life, the foundation of happiness or misery.” Keep a loving and respectful open mind toward your spouse’s views and opinions.

Encourage him to do the same for you and you’re most likely to experience happiness and not misery. The country music song by Diamond Rio, Meet in the Middle, tells us how to stick together and avoid arguments. It goes like this, “I’d start walking your way, you’d start walking mine. We’d meet in the middle ‘neath that old Georgia pine.” Sometimes, it’s not quite the middle where we have to meet. Sometimes one spouse has to walk a lot farther than the other. Once a decision is made, stand by your spouse. Be proud of each other. Your family will be much stronger and you’ll create a home that no one can divide.

Laura Ann Huber is the author of The ABC’s of Homeschooling and the proud parent of three children. More information about their adventures can be found at: www.laurahuber.com.

Have you considered homeschooling or currently do it? While I don’t think it will be the choice for our (Jessie’s) family, I think everyone should be fully informed before they make their schooling decisions. How about you?

Olympics Activities for Kids

Are your kids into watching the Olympics? Mine are a little young for it, although my daughter likes anything to do with swimming. 

If you’re searchng for a few fun activities to go along with the Olympics, here are some I’ve come across.

Gold Medal Cookies 

 

 

 

Olympic Beach Party with Events

 

Olympic Ring Biscuits

 

 

 

Are you watching the Olympics with your kids?

Friday Links 7/27

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife.

Safety Alert: Big Stroller Recall

 

Over 223,000 Peg Perego strollers have been recalled. These are older, Venezia and Pliko P-3 models. You can find all of the detailed information on the CPSC Web site.

If you have a Peg Perego, please check out that link! It’s never safe to use recalled products. A kit to fix the stroller will be available to those who need one.

10 Books to Read with Your Young Children

It gripped me this year as school began that I only had three years left with Libbie truly under my wings; she will be almost 6 by the time she goes to kindergarten but still, it doesn’t seem long enough! We love reading together, and I try to make a point of choosing some books that open spiritual conversations with her. Here are seven that I love (including some series, so really, a lot more!) and three that I think I would love.

 

1. Gigi, God’s Little Princess series (and I would assume Will, God’s Mighty Warrior series as well) – I love the OH SO PINK illustrations in the Gigi books as well as the message. Mr. V tells Libbie every night now, "Good night, princess. Sweet dreams." I just love Sheila Walsh’s sense of humor that makes these books readable for parents, too.

2. The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs – A recommendation from Amanda (as MANY of these have been!), this book is an Easter parable by prolific author Higgs (see my review of Mine Is the Night here).  A daughter is given a gift that she finds pretty worthless: a flower bulb in a crate of dirt. But she finds out maybe it was the most beautiful gift of all.

3. Miss Fannie’s Hat by Jan Karon – More pink, more fun, great Bible verse to memorize, wonderful lesson about giving. See my post at Impress Your Kids with some craft ideas to go along with the book!

4. Just Like Jesus Said series by Melody Carlson – Melody Carlson is another author who writes for children, teens, and adults. This set of four books convey stories in rhyme and help teach basic Bible lessons: sharing, caring, giving.

5. My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt – We haven’t been real methodical about this book yet, especially since the stories are longer with only one picture. Plus, the Bible verses are in KJV. But it teaches practical lessons and I like the idea of doing letter Bible verses! (And we’re going to do these alphabet Scripture cards from I Can Teach My Child, definitely!)

6. Jesus Storybook Bible – Sometimes I wish that EVERY Bible story were in this wonderful Bible. But otherwise, it’s pretty perfect. Every single story points to Jesus and His salvation of the world. Stories are usually three to four pages long, perfect for bedtime. And having Libbie come up to me and say, "Will you read me the Bible?" is just … perfect!

7. God Thinks You’re Wonderful by Max Lucado – Libbie has yet to sit through this entire book, but it’s a sweet concept and I am sure she will with a few more months. It’s so Lucado – the line about "if God had a refrigerator, He would hang your picture on it" just makes me smile!

I’m sure I will think of a zillion other books as soon as I hit publish, but that’s all I can think of for now … but here are three more I haven’t read but think would be great:

 

8. Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer

9. What Is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams [UPDATE: I bought this book before Easter in 2012. While it’s not very "in depth," it’s a good, short read that helps the kids understand what Easter is about.]

10. Heaven, God’s Promise for Me by Anne Graham Lotz

What are your favorite Christ-centered books to read to your kids?

 

Originally published at Vanderbilt Wife, October 2011. 

Friday Links 7/20

 

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife.

Summer Parenting by Jessie Weaver

libbiebeach.jpgI love summers, I really do. As the stay-at-home wife of a teacher, summers are a great opportunity for us to spend a lot of time together as a family. We travel, which we can’t do much together during the school year. We visit parks and museums and try to get outside when it’s not a trillion degrees. We swim and play.

But each year I also realize how difficult it is for my toddlers to adjust to our no-schedule summers.

From a fairly rigid week – two days of Mother’s Day Out, one day of Bible study, church on Wednesday nights, and 8 p.m. bedtime – to a lackadasical schedule that has us darting here and there, being with family often, and leaving no expectations of what might happen throughout the day. This spells TORTURE to a toddler/preschooler who thrives on knowing what’s happening each minute of every day. (The first thing my daughter asks in the mornings is, "Where are we going today?")

And every summer I find myself struggling with disciplining our strong-willed girl (now nearly 4), yelling in anger, wishing for an hour to lay down and read a book. As Libbie’s brother, David, is learning to talk now at 19 months, we’re entering new territory with him as well.

davidpool.jpg

My husband and I are very laid-back, which makes it feel like we’re in constant conflict with our schedule-craving wee ones. I don’t want to plan each day during July. I don’t want to explain to my child yet again why daddy is home and not at work. I don’t want to answer questions about when Christmas is coming again when it’s 103 outside.

But I find, as always, that our quality of life almost always comes around to my attitude and my behaviors more than it does my childrens’. If I stay calm and in control, they will settle down. If I’m willing to make a plan, they are 900% more content. If I write out ideas for three meals a day and shop for the groceries, meal and snacktimes are less harried and happier – and produce much more pleasant kids.

Perhaps you’re nearing the end of your summer … or maybe you are out of school ’til Labor Day. Do you find parenting harder in the summer? Or is it all bliss on your end?

S-S-Stuttering by Christi McGuire

Portrait of Little Confused Girl

 

Q: My 4-year-old stutters. What should I do?

A: Children between the ages of 2 and 5 often struggle with stuttering because their brains think faster than their language skills allow. According to the National Stuttering Association, the majority of children who stutter stop doing so within a year after its onset. If your child stutters, encourage him in the following ways:

  • Downplay it. Don’t draw attention to his stuttering; instead, let him know you are interested in what he is saying. Give your child extra time to communicate what he wants to say. Don’t frustrate him more by demanding he “hurry up.”
  • Show support. Your facial expressions and body language are as important as what you say to your child. Be patient with him.
  • Slow down. Be a good role model by talking more slowly and enunciating your words.
  • Ask only one question. Allow your child to think about and respond to one question at a time. Answering multiple questions all at once can jumble his thoughts and speech.

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Spiritual Development for Little Ones by R. Scott Wiley

little girl

At a young age, your child cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. To him everything is real and true. As he gets older, he begins to understand more about real versus pretend.

Encourage him to think about the difference. When he tells you a story, ask: “Is this a pretend story or a story about something that really happened?”

Gather a stack of books and videos. Help your child create two stacks–those that tell pretend stories and those that tell things that really happened. Include a Bible. Stress that stories in the Bible are true and really happened.

Thriving Family magazine suggests the following questions for some follow-up dinnertime or bedtime conversation with your child:

 

  • How can you tell the difference between an imaginary story and a true story? 
     
  • What’s your favorite movie? Is it true? (Even if a story is based on a true incident, talk about how movie writers change things to make a better story.) Where do movie writers get their ideas?
     
  • What is your favorite Bible story? Is it true?
     
  • Who wrote the Bible? Where did these writers get their ideas? (Explain that men wrote what the Holy Spirit told them to write.)
     
  • What is the difference between a good story from a book and an event in the Bible?
     
  • Is it possible to know for certain that God’s Word is true? How?

 

Repeating short phrases from Scripture will acclimate your child to Bible memorization and implant the truth in her heart! Here are some simple ones for preschoolers. 

 

  • Love one another. 1 John 4:7
  • God loves us. Psalm 117:2
  • Help one another. Galatians 5:13
  • Jesus loves you. John 15:12

Scott Wiley is a curriculum editor, kindergarten Sunday School teacher, and student of many subjects. He blogs at Brick by Brick

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Friday Links 7/13

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at&
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