How do you people do it all? – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

I need to know how veteran homeschool mamas do it all: schooling, groceries, house chores, keep order, and still have energy past 3pm? Help!

Needing a nap,
Tired


 

Hyacinth:
Dear Tired,
Oh, this is an easy one……here’s the good news: we’re not doing it all!For me, I’ve maintained my sanity by letting my standards slide a bit. Try it – it’s liberating! In general, I never shortchange the schoolwork, but I’ll let the dust bunnies run amok (I’m building strong immune systems around here). I have a few non-negotiable priorities that help me maintain my sanity: I like to keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, my bed made, and the dining room table clear. If those things are done, the house doesn’t seem like a complete disaster.Though I have my kids do a few chores around the house, I’m not very systematic, I must confess.
It’s an area in which I could use some help, so I’m going to stay tuned for this week’s posts myself. The other members of Dear Brain Trust run well-oiled machines – weigh in, Brain Trust!

Looking for more answers????

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Hyacinth

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Hyacinth

Hyacinth:

Dear Readers,

Remember last week’s post when we so passionately exhorted you to disallow fighting among the jerks who sprang from your womb (Bull’s choice term here; the other two BTers are personally offended by her calling of our precious babies “jerks.”)? Subsequently, at least one of us have had children who have engaged in an all-out brawl (okay, maybe it was just me). My fellow BTers thought you might want to know how I dealt with my little pugilist and his victim.

Normally, I can see the sibling storm a-brewin’, and as the BTers suggested last week, I take swift and certain action to diffuse it early. This brawl, however, was one of those pre-pubescent-outbursts-from-nowhere. My youngest, Phillip, age 8, didn’t comply with something his brother, Patrick, age 11, wanted him to do. The next thing I know, Patrick has punched him, and Phillip is wailing at the top of his outraged lungs.

(Side note: When I recounted this tale to my fellow BTers, Doodle and Snow empathized and strategized with me. Bull merely wanted to know how effective the punch was…….location, impact, etc. Thanks for your support, Bull.)

The consequence for this unbridled flood of testosterone? Bibliotherapy. Since he had a lapse in virtue, I thought he needed an example of heroic virtue, so I had him read a biography on St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who gave his life in Auschwitz so a father might live. He also had to write a paper on St. Kolbe’s life and how he inspired Patrick to be a better man. An unplanned consequence was that our little victim had a couple of sweet offers that the pugilist had to skip because he hadn’t finished his paper. Divine justice…..gotta love it!. I swear I looked empathetic, though.

Hope this airing of my dirty laundry helps you to feel better about yours!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Looking for more answers????

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

Siblings Fighting

Siblings Fighting

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

~ Losing it in Louisville


 

Hyacinth:

Dear Losing (not to be confused with “loser”!),

I’m going to sound pretty harsh here, but don’t put up with it. This is a problem you’ve simply got to commit to solving. Find a parenting book that addresses the issue, and make this issue a priority. For me, one of the surprise blessings of homeschooling is the relationship my kids have built with one another, but that’s not accidental. We place a high value on kindness, and when there’s a slip (and there frequently are!), I don’t ignore it. I think some parents think that fighting among siblings is inevitable, but I strongly disagree. Kids must be taught kindness, forgiveness, and negotiating skills. These are the most powerful, life-changing lessons we can teach during the natural course of the day, so embrace the opportunity (okay, maybe that’s a little naive……should I say, “embrace the horror”?). You can do it!

Dear Brain Trust readers, can you help Losing in Louisville with a recommendation for a book that addresses the issue of fighting siblings?
Or some tips of your own?

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dear (Not) Losing it,

You’re in good company! This problem of sibling “fighting” can be traced back to the beginning with Cain and Abel. That doesn’t give us much hope that we will be exempt, does it? But I do believe we can hope for better. Hy is right, we must be aggressive and ready to deal! The tools you give your children to handle conflict with their siblings will be one of the greatest gifts you give them! We must put on our big “girl/boy” pants to face these issues!

I have four sons and one daughter. The competition, the wrestling, the one-liners and the sheer physical presence of that much testosterone is amazing. So, each morning I put on my game face. Yep, I am like a hawk waiting for their first move, and it doesn’t take long before one of my lovelies is throwing out “signs” that a conflict is brewing.

So this is how it works in our home: I watch for attitudes. A glare. A snarled lip. A comment that slights. A huffy response. These all reveal positions of the heart. An attitude, or a thought, gives way to action. I spend much of my energy and effort training attitudes. I find that if my work thwarts a sour or grumpy attitude, many times that will curb the inevitable, full-blown fight. Yep. I am attitude-buster. I don’t wait for the fight. Here is a scripture that fortifies my position from Proverbs 17:14, “The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.”

So, my recommendation is to look for the “start” of a quarrel and let training begin there. Teach forgiveness and how to turn a cheek. Train your children on how to serve the brother and sister when they don’t feel like it. Give them examples through scriptures, as well as personal and historical examples to fortify their hearts. Love always wins. Getting along with people is not an easy business, but this gift you are giving your children will live long past their time in your home.

Love,

Dood (not sporting a “tude”)

Bull:

Dear Losin’ It,

What a predicament for the ages! And one that is cramping my style at the moment as well. The bad news is: I don’t think there is an answer. Egads! Not what you hoped to hear from an advice guru, I know…. but I’d rather give bad advice than flat out lie. As Dood pointed out, sibling warfare isn’t a particularly recent phenomenon. And I’m afraid we could spend years trying to unearth the deeply rooted psychological reasons for the chronic bickering between siblings only to be left with yet another fire to extinguish.

So let’s deal with this head on: kids can be jerks. They can be jerks for no good reason. And they can refuse to express an ounce of remorse for it to boot. Why? Because they’re jerks — someone isn’t paying attention here. If you prefer church lady lingo, simply replace jerks with sinners and proceed. I’m going out on a limb here, but adults think the same thing kids do. The guy who pulled out in front of you in traffic is a “cutter.” The friend who didn’t invite you to her cook-out is a meanie doo doo head. The scarf you gave Aunt Edna is a tag, you’re it, no tag backs gift. The difference between us and them is “socialization.” We know better. We were taught better. And on our good days, we behave better. How, exactly, you teach your children to behave better is entirely up to you so long as it doesn’t involve child authorities. Every household employs different techniques. Maybe you make the juvenile offenders do hard labor in the vegetable garden. Or perhaps they give each other simultaneous foot rubs until they display a suitable degree of remorse and swear on their no-good honor to abstain from further squabbles. Use your imagination — you’re the parent for crying out loud. I personally try to enforce consequences that will keep my children’s future therapists entertained for hours. But I’m sure you’re a more civilized meanie doo doo head than me.

Bull

Snow:
Dear Losing it,

Bull makes me laugh! What she says is funny, but oh so true! Our children are miniature versions of us who lack refinement.

My girls fight everyday. Mostly, the oldest corrects the youngest… the youngest pesters the oldest… the oldest corrects the youngest… the youngest pesters the oldest. You get the picture. It is a vicious cycle. It is easy for me to be one of two extremes: hypersensitive to it, or completely ignore it. To be quite honest, this is an area where my consistency lacks!

When I am on my “A” game, these are some things I have found to be effective:

  • Stop it as soon as it starts
  • Point out the environment they are creating in our home. I often ask them how they would feel if their daddy & I spoke to each other that way? They always say it would stress them out… and that’s the point! It stresses people out, so take that into consideration!
  • Make them stop and serve one another… When they do that, their attitude is always terrible to begin with, but then it turns around. I typically have them clean each others’ rooms.
  • A year or so ago, we used a thankfulness notebook. Anytime there was hatefulness happening, they would have to write something in their notebook about their sister that they liked, but it couldn’t be superficial. It had to be a character trait or a gift they saw in the other. It was hard but good!

I think siblings fight in order to learn how to get along. Wish it was easier on us as parents, but I have hope that eventually it will bring about peaceful and loving relationships for them!

Grace & Peace,
Snow
Image courtesy of Amy Teague Photography, www.happilysituated.com

Looking for more answers????

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Siblings Fighting – Snow

Siblings Fighting – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

~ Losing it in Louisville


 

Siblings Fighting – Hyacinth

Siblings Fighting – Doodle

Siblings Fighting – Bull

Snow:

Dear Losing it,

Bull makes me laugh! What she says is funny, but oh so true! Our children are miniature versions of us who lack refinement.

My girls fight everyday. Mostly, the oldest corrects the youngest… the youngest pesters the oldest… the oldest corrects the youngest… the youngest pesters the oldest. You get the picture. It is a vicious cycle. It is easy for me to be one of two extremes: hypersensitive to it, or completely ignore it. To be quite honest, this is an area where my consistency lacks!

When I am on my “A” game, these are some things I have found to be effective:

  • Stop it as soon as it starts
  • Point out the environment they are creating in our home. I often ask them how they would feel if their daddy & I spoke to each other that way? They always say it would stress them out… and that’s the point! It stresses people out, so take that into consideration!
  • Make them stop and serve one another… When they do that, their attitude is always terrible to begin with, but then it turns around. I typically have them clean each others’ rooms.
  • A year or so ago, we used a thankfulness notebook. Anytime there was hatefulness happening, they would have to write something in their notebook about their sister that they liked, but it couldn’t be superficial. It had to be a character trait or a gift they saw in the other. It was hard but good!

I think siblings fight in order to learn how to get along. Wish it was easier on us as parents, but I have hope that eventually it will bring about peaceful and loving relationships for them!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Image courtesy of Amy Teague Photography, www.happilysituated.com

Looking for more answers????

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Siblings Fighting – Bull

Siblings Fighting – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

~ Losing it in Louisville


 

Siblings Fighting – Hyacinth

Siblings Fighting – Doodle

Bull:

Dear Losin’ It,

What a predicament for the ages! And one that is cramping my style at the moment as well. The bad news is: I don’t think there is an answer. Egads! Not what you hoped to hear from an advice guru, I know…. but I’d rather give bad advice than flat out lie. As Dood pointed out, sibling warfare isn’t a particularly recent phenomenon. And I’m afraid we could spend years trying to unearth the deeply rooted psychological reasons for the chronic bickering between siblings only to be left with yet another fire to extinguish.

So let’s deal with this head on: kids can be jerks. They can be jerks for no good reason. And they can refuse to express an ounce of remorse for it to boot. Why? Because they’re jerks — someone isn’t paying attention here. If you prefer church lady lingo, simply replace jerks with sinners and proceed. I’m going out on a limb here, but adults think the same thing kids do. The guy who pulled out in front of you in traffic is a “cutter.” The friend who didn’t invite you to her cook-out is a meanie doo doo head. The scarf you gave Aunt Edna is a tag, you’re it, no tag backs gift. The difference between us and them is “socialization.” We know better. We were taught better. And on our good days, we behave better. How, exactly, you teach your children to behave better is entirely up to you so long as it doesn’t involve child authorities. Every household employs different techniques. Maybe you make the juvenile offenders do hard labor in the vegetable garden. Or perhaps they give each other simultaneous foot rubs until they display a suitable degree of remorse and swear on their no-good honor to abstain from further squabbles. Use your imagination — you’re the parent for crying out loud. I personally try to enforce consequences that will keep my children’s future therapists entertained for hours. But I’m sure you’re a more civilized meanie doo doo head than me.

Bull

Looking for more answers????

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Siblings Fighting – Doodle

Siblings Fighting – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My children fight from sun up to sun down and it’s driving me crazy! Help!!

~ Losing it in Louisville


 

Doodle:

Dear (Not) Losing it,

You’re in good company! This problem of sibling “fighting” can be traced back to the beginning with Cain and Abel. That doesn’t give us much hope that we will be exempt, does it? But I do believe we can hope for better. Hy is right, we must be aggressive and ready to deal! The tools you give your children to handle conflict with their siblings will be one of the greatest gifts you give them! We must put on our big “girl/boy” pants to face these issues!

I have four sons and one daughter. The competition, the wrestling, the one-liners and the sheer physical presence of that much testosterone is amazing. So, each morning I put on my game face. Yep, I am like a hawk waiting for their first move, and it doesn’t take long before one of my lovelies is throwing out “signs” that a conflict is brewing.

So this is how it works in our home: I watch for attitudes. A glare. A snarled lip. A comment that slights. A huffy response. These all reveal positions of the heart. An attitude, or a thought, gives way to action. I spend much of my energy and effort training attitudes. I find that if my work thwarts a sour or grumpy attitude, many times that will curb the inevitable, full-blown fight. Yep. I am attitude-buster. I don’t wait for the fight. Here is a scripture that fortifies my position from Proverbs 17:14, “The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.”

So, my recommendation is to look for the “start” of a quarrel and let training begin there. Teach forgiveness and how to turn a cheek. Train your children on how to serve the brother and sister when they don’t feel like it. Give them examples through scriptures, as well as personal and historical examples to fortify their hearts. Love always wins. Getting along with people is not an easy business, but this gift you are giving your children will live long past their time in your home.

Love,

Dood (not sporting a “tude”)

Looking for more answers????

What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Advice for Newbie

Advice for Newbie

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I’ve decided to take the plunge – now what? What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

With fear and trembling,
Intimidated in Indiana


 

Doodle:

Dear Newbie,

My encouragement when you first start homeschooling is to make a list of goals. What do you want to accomplish your first year of homeschooling? Educationally? Responsibility-wise? Character-wise? I tend to be over-zealous and want to do it all. A girl can dream, can’t she? But, this is where I get in trouble and get exasperated if my ideals are too lofty.

Second, keep your first year simple. Get your core subjects worked out: math, english, history, science and reading. Most of us try and do it all in the first year. We don’t know where to stop, and this can quickly wear out a homeschool parent. Go simple. For your first year, use a tried-and-true curriculum; no need to try to invent a curriculum!

Third, attach yourself to some experienced homeschool moms. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and lots of them. There is a plethora of resources available, so don’t get overwhelmed, but do your research. Learn homeschooling philosophies, and read, read, read.

Fourth, relax! Please know that it takes time to hit your homeschool stride. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your child be completely educated in a year. Education is a life-time process, and fostering a love of learning is the goal, and that love will develop over time .

Love,
Dood

Hyacinth:

Dear Intimidated,

I believe there are two main goals for the first year: 1.) Establishing your authority and the discipline that accompanies that. 2.) Helping your kids “buy in” to the idea of homeschooling. It’s a tricky balance, to say the least. Some moms tend to think that if they make homeschooling a boatload of fun, then their kids will love homeschooling, and they’ll be all set. Unfortunately, though, some moms equate “fun” with “undisciplined,” and that’s a recipe for future heartache. Your kids must obey you when it comes to doing their work, otherwise the schoolroom will become a battleground, and at some point, you won’t be able to withstand it.

Obviously, your kids will be doing some subjects that are challenging and require discipline, and they may complain that it’s not “fun.” Keep doing it. Daily. Don’t allow complaints. But, also work in daily at least one activity that helps you connect with each other, preferably something that they wouldn’t be doing in “regular” school. For us, that activity is a read-aloud; we love to snuggle in with each other and read a great book! Some artsy families do art projects; some families play with Legos; some play outdoor games. Just find something that you all enjoy – it will nourish your souls!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Snow:

Dear Intimidated,

I look back and chuckle at my first year. I was a deer in headlights! AND we survived! I honestly had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I learned. I spent the year pushing through a curriculum I wasn’t crazy about and learning what I did like. I talked to other parents on the same journey who were a few steps ahead of me and picked their brains. I visited their homes to look at their school space and check out different curriculum. I read books about education and learned about things that I thought were only meant for professional educators. It was a year of learning, inspiration, and perseverance.

Give yourself some room the first year. There will be things you don’t like. There will be lessons to learn about how much to commit to and what curriculum makes you want to pull out your hair. There will be moments of discouragement and moments of great triumph!

My one fail-safe piece of advice is to make sure you have a community of other families around you for support. We were created to thrive in community. Community offers you encouragement, accountability, and refinement. I adore my children, but I’m pretty sure if they only had me and I only had them day in and day out, we would all get pretty bored!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Bull:

Intimidated:

I’m with Hyacinth: establish your authority! Your children know you as their parent, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to respect for you as their teacher. Your first order of business is to establish your expectations and instill the discipline of a daily routine. While it doesn’t take long to develop these goals and an accompanying game plan on paper, it’s likely to take a wee bit longer to implement the system. Let me remind you that those angels you will soon call students are not your ally. The moment you expect math facts over nature study they will turn on you like a loaf of unpreserved bread. So, set your rules and consistently enforce them — everyone will benefit!

Bull

Looking for more answers????

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

I have kids far apart, how do I teach them all?

Advice for Newbie – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I’ve decided to take the plunge – now what? What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

With fear and trembling,
Intimidated in Indiana


 

Advice for Newbie – Doodle

Advice for Newbie – Hyacinth

Advice for Newbie – Snow

Bull:

Intimidated:

I’m with Hyacinth: establish your authority! Your children know you as their parent, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to respect for you as their teacher. Your first order of business is to establish your expectations and instill the discipline of a daily routine. While it doesn’t take long to develop these goals and an accompanying game plan on paper, it’s likely to take a wee bit longer to implement the system. Let me remind you that those angels you will soon call students are not your ally. The moment you expect math facts over nature study they will turn on you like a loaf of unpreserved bread. So, set your rules and consistently enforce them — everyone will benefit!

Bull

Looking for more answers????

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Advice for Newbie – Snow

Advice for Newbie – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I’ve decided to take the plunge – now what? What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

With fear and trembling,
Intimidated in Indiana


 

Advice for Newbie – Doodle

Advice for Newbie – Hyacinth

Snow:

Dear Intimidated,

I look back and chuckle at my first year. I was a deer in headlights! AND we survived! I honestly had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I learned. I spent the year pushing through a curriculum I wasn’t crazy about and learning what I did like. I talked to other parents on the same journey who were a few steps ahead of me and picked their brains. I visited their homes to look at their school space and check out different curriculum. I read books about education and learned about things that I thought were only meant for professional educators. It was a year of learning, inspiration, and perseverance.

Give yourself some room the first year. There will be things you don’t like. There will be lessons to learn about how much to commit to and what curriculum makes you want to pull out your hair. There will be moments of discouragement and moments of great triumph!

My one fail-safe piece of advice is to make sure you have a community of other families around you for support. We were created to thrive in community. Community offers you encouragement, accountability, and refinement. I adore my children, but I’m pretty sure if they only had me and I only had them day in and day out, we would all get pretty bored!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Looking for more answers????

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Advice for Newbie – Hyacinth

Advice for Newbie – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I’ve decided to take the plunge – now what? What advice can you give a new homeschooling mom to help me navigate this first intimidating year?

With fear and trembling,
Intimidated in Indiana


 

Advice for Newbie – Doodle

Hyacinth:

Dear Intimidated,

I believe there are two main goals for the first year: 1.) Establishing your authority and the discipline that accompanies that. 2.) Helping your kids “buy in” to the idea of homeschooling. It’s a tricky balance, to say the least. Some moms tend to think that if they make homeschooling a boatload of fun, then their kids will love homeschooling, and they’ll be all set. Unfortunately, though, some moms equate “fun” with “undisciplined,” and that’s a recipe for future heartache. Your kids must obey you when it comes to doing their work, otherwise the schoolroom will become a battleground, and at some point, you won’t be able to withstand it.

Obviously, your kids will be doing some subjects that are challenging and require discipline, and they may complain that it’s not “fun.” Keep doing it. Daily. Don’t allow complaints. But, also work in daily at least one activity that helps you connect with each other, preferably something that they wouldn’t be doing in “regular” school. For us, that activity is a read-aloud; we love to snuggle in with each other and read a great book! Some artsy families do art projects; some families play with Legos; some play outdoor games. Just find something that you all enjoy – it will nourish your souls!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Looking for more answers????

In the world we live in today, how do I teach my kids to be responsible human beings?

I feel myself burning out, what do I do?