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?

Responsibility

Responsibility

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,

Concerned


 

Bull:

Dear Concerned,

First, we model it. Get up at the same time every morning. Brush your teeth, face and hair. Require your children to do the same. Set a time for breakfast and keep it. Go about your daily life demonstrating the qualities of a responsible human being and when your kids ask , “Why?” which they will, because God wouldn’t have given me the only children to incessantly ask, “Why mommy, why?” you tell them, “We brush our teeth so our pretty , little teeth don’t fall out of our heads and we eat breakfast so we grow big and strong, etc. Second, we give it. Scary, I know,but we give our children things, tasks, and so forth in increasing importance and we allow them plenty of space to flub it up when it doesn’t really matter so that when it does, they will be less likely to do so. Practice. Lots of it. Requires patience. Pray for patience.

Bull

Snow:

Dear Concerned,

My husband and I have worked in youth-related jobs for forever… Therefore, this is one of my “soap box” issues! One of the things we saw increasingly frequently was the removal of natural consequences – parents bailing out their kids or making excuses for every little thing…..kids never owning up to their mistakes and developing a sense of entitlement that was unrealistic and selfish. With that said, one thing you can commit yourself to is not standing in the way of the natural consequences that follow your children’s mistakes. Just today, my daughter forgot something that she was required to bring to her dance class. Normally, I would let her just deal with it, but this time it affected someone else. I drove home to get it and then delivered it to her. However, she owes me for the gas money it took to make that extra trip! This has happened one other time… Both times have stood as a great lesson in responsibility. Life is full of consequences. Responsibility is the opposite of entitlement! Training our children to be responsible is a counter-cultural move that takes focus and resolve, but our kids will be so much better for it!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Doodle:

Dear Concerned,

I think we need to be concerned. Snow and Bull are right: teaching responsibility might soon be a lost art. I wonder if one of the biggest issues today is that we want our kids to “like” us. I think we are a bit misguided when we think that being friends with our children is the goal. While I do hope that I will have a friendship with my children, especially as adults, it is not my immediate goal. If I am their friend, who is the parent? It’s interesting that the Bible says that “He disciplines those He loves.” We don’t want our children to suffer. So guess what? We don’t let them. It’s like playing the guitar. When you first start playing, your fingers are soft and squishy. But the more you work through the pain of pressing on the steel strings the tougher your fingertips get, and you begin to develop callouses that enable you to withstand the pain of something that previously hurt. Discipline is that way. Responsibility is something that we teach and instruct and continue to develop. It can be painful to redo chores and take responsibility for our mistakes. Doing a good job and being faithful in a task takes time, instruction, and accountability. The buck stops with the parent. The pain of discipline and training is momentary, but produces a lifetime of a fruitful and productive life.

Concerned, you can do it!

Dood

Hyacinth:

Dear Concerned,

Escaping the Endless Adolescence is a recent book which describes a phenomenon going on in our culture where 25 (years old) is the new 15. The authors call this a “failure to launch,” where adolescents simply can’t make the transition to adulthood. I know that a homeschooling blog might be the wrong venue for my advice, but here goes: I think we may be too available for our kids. Even when we let them leave the house, we are always just a phone call away to help them solve their every problem. The authors of the above book hypothesize (and prove, I believe) that we are actually thwarting and subverting their ability to think when we don’t allow them to struggle through difficult decision and even (horrors) fail. I think my Brain Trust buddies are right – suffering and consequences are natural and right. Let the suffering begin!

Peace be with you (as you suffer),
Hyacinth

Looking for more answers????

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?

Responsibility – Doodle

Responsibility – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,

Concerned


 

Responsibility – Bull

Responsibility – Snow

Doodle:

Dear Concerned,

I think we need to be concerned. Snow and Bull are right: teaching responsibility might soon be a lost art. I wonder if one of the biggest issues today is that we want our kids to “like” us. I think we are a bit misguided when we think that being friends with our children is the goal. While I do hope that I will have a friendship with my children, especially as adults, it is not my immediate goal. If I am their friend, who is the parent? It’s interesting that the Bible says that “He disciplines those He loves.” We don’t want our children to suffer. So guess what? We don’t let them. It’s like playing the guitar. When you first start playing, your fingers are soft and squishy. But the more you work through the pain of pressing on the steel strings the tougher your fingertips get, and you begin to develop callouses that enable you to withstand the pain of something that previously hurt. Discipline is that way. Responsibility is something that we teach and instruct and continue to develop. It can be painful to redo chores and take responsibility for our mistakes. Doing a good job and being faithful in a task takes time, instruction, and accountability. The buck stops with the parent. The pain of discipline and training is momentary, but produces a lifetime of a fruitful and productive life.

Concerned, you can do it!

Dood

Looking for more answers????

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?

Responsibility – Snow

Responsibility – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,

Concerned


 

Responsibility – Bull

Snow:

Dear Concerned,

My husband and I have worked in youth-related jobs for forever… Therefore, this is one of my “soap box” issues! One of the things we saw increasingly frequently was the removal of natural consequences – parents bailing out their kids or making excuses for every little thing…..kids never owning up to their mistakes and developing a sense of entitlement that was unrealistic and selfish. With that said, one thing you can commit yourself to is not standing in the way of the natural consequences that follow your children’s mistakes. Just today, my daughter forgot something that she was required to bring to her dance class. Normally, I would let her just deal with it, but this time it affected someone else. I drove home to get it and then delivered it to her. However, she owes me for the gas money it took to make that extra trip! This has happened one other time… Both times have stood as a great lesson in responsibility. Life is full of consequences. Responsibility is the opposite of entitlement! Training our children to be responsible is a counter-cultural move that takes focus and resolve, but our kids will be so much better for it!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Stay tuned the next two days to hear from Doodle & Hyacinth…

Looking for more answers????

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?

Responsibility – Bull

Responsibility – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,

Concerned


 

Bull:

Dear Concerned,

First, we model it. Get up at the same time every morning. Brush your teeth, face and hair. Require your children to do the same. Set a time for breakfast and keep it. Go about your daily life demonstrating the qualities of a responsible human being and when your kids ask , “Why?” which they will, because God wouldn’t have given me the only children to incessantly ask, “Why mommy, why?” you tell them, “We brush our teeth so our pretty , little teeth don’t fall out of our heads and we eat breakfast so we grow big and strong, etc. Second, we give it. Scary, I know,but we give our children things, tasks, and so forth in increasing importance and we allow them plenty of space to flub it up when it doesn’t really matter so that when it does, they will be less likely to do so. Practice. Lots of it. Requires patience. Pray for patience.

Bull

Stay tuned everyday this week as the rest of the Braintrust weighs in…

Looking for more answers????

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?

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Close in Age – Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Dubious,
This is a common situation with homeschooling families, so you’re not alone. As I mentioned in last week’s post, our own school experience can paralyze us a bit. We need to hearken back to the one-room schoolhouse, which none of us know about except through Little House on the Prairie. Here are a few ideas of how it works:

Grammar – we do a lot of dictation of sentences, and we start with a basic subject/verb sentence. My second grader can identify and/or diagram the basic parts of speech, and my fifth grade student adds clauses and modifiers and diagrams them. This also can serve as a handwriting exercise with the older students using cursive while the younger students print.

History – We like the Story of the World series, and I’ll read the narrative aloud to all the children, and the younger students can answer the most basic comprehension questions; the older students answer more in-depth questions. The older students can write a summary; the younger students can draw a picture and write a simple caption to summarize. I try to find
books at their level to correlate with the history we’re studying.

Science – all students can participate in a science experiment, and the older students can write up lab reports and research the scientific principles of the experiment. Younger students can dictate their results to their mom, and she can write down their findings, and they could even use this for copy work.

Dubious, you can do this!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Hear from Doodle tomorrow, May 30th

Bull lays out her thoughts on Thursday, May 31st!

Close in Age – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Snow:
Dear Dubious,

I cannot speak from experience on this one. I only have 2 kids plus one on the way, and they are fairly far apart in age… What I can say is that I see families doing it and doing it well! These families have a common thread running through them… They have a vision for homeschooling! They have a plan and a purpose. They have committed themselves and their family to something that they believe in 100%. I greatly admire each of them!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Spacing – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Snow:

Dear Confused in Cleveland,

Take Bull’s advice! Schedule, jobs, pass the buck… Sounds like a plan!
Spacing Day 2

My girls are 5 grades apart but we do more together than you would think. Anything that is on audio, we listen to together, mostly because we do that in the car, and they are trapped like mice! I have them read to each other, too. I have a schedule where I get one started with something and send them on their way. Then, I get the next one started on a subject. I juggle having them work on the things they can do independently while the other is doing the subject they need me to teach. I alternate back and forth. If I had more than 2 kids, I imagine it would work similarly. The older they get, the more I see them being independent for longer amounts of time. This all helps with my one goal in life: an uninterrupted shower!.

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Read what Bull had to say about spacing yesterday here

Hyacinth shares tomorrow, May 17th! Be sure to check back!

Spacing – Bull

Spacing – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

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

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Bull:
Dear Confused,

Three things instantly come to mind: develop an efficient schedule, treat it like the Holy Grail, and give those kids jobs. As for your schedule, put the most important subjects at the top of the list. What are the most important subjects? Heck, I don’t know – that’s your call! If you want me to start bossing you around, which is something I usually reserve for my closest pals, I’m going to have to charge something. So, let’s get back to the free stuff. When you’ve developed a schedule that works for you, stick to it. You don’t have time to waste, so don’t waste any! Stay off the phone, the computer, the TV, and allow your wisely-devised schedule to work for you. Then, give your kids a job. Your olders can certainly lend a hand with grunt work. Have them check the youngers’ math facts, administer spelling tests, listen to read-alouds. The thought of passing the buck on read-alouds make me g-g-g-g-giddy! ;)

Bull

Read Snow’s thoughts tomorrow, May 16th…

Hyacinth shares her perspective on Thursday, May 17th…