Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Doodle

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Doodle

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Hyacinth

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Bull

Doodle:

Bull, you have reminded of something super important!

We offend each other. And we do it often.

My children offend each other every day. I don’t believe they wake up each morning and premeditate, “I am going to do my best to offend my siblings.” But offense, by golly, just happens. They live together, share bathrooms, bedrooms and parents. One of my “munchkins” (I can’t bring myself to call them jerks) look for that last piece of cake only to find that his brother has already helped himself. A borrowed item was broken or lost. An older brother puts his younger brother (I won’t mention names) into a headlock in which a rolling and tossing of tangled bodies ensues and it’s all fun until someone gets hurt. You get the picture, offense is an everyday occurrence when you live with people.

My husband and I spend much of our parenting training our children how to get along with each other. First of all, we remind them that “being friends with their siblings” is the expectation, not the exception! Do they always get it? Nope. Frustrating? Yes! Tiring? Of course! But as the parent, we use these moments as opportunities to teach and train them in an invaluable life skill: forgiveness.

These “munchkins” were given to me for a reason. We make it our goal is to teach them to be humble, forgiving and loving. Imagine with me for a moment: what would the world look like if we all did so? Could this help their future relationships at work? What about their marriages? Could this one conscious act of parenting make the world a sweeter place? I think so! So let’s get started…

The simplest place to begin is to teach forgiveness to our kids when they are young, but don’t worry, it is never too late. I concentrate on helping my kids recognize and then admitting when they have done something wrong to their siblings. Simple, yes, but it is not always easy to admit our faults, especially to each other, is it? And what happens when they’ve been wronged? We walk them through the steps on how to be a forgiver. Asking forgiveness and then forgiving is a sign of a healthy individual.

We must model it for them, not only by our instruction, but even more importantly by our actions. Here is a typical scene from our family:

Graham (age 6): “Elliot, forgive me for punching you.. I was wrong, will you forgive me?”

Elliot (age 4): “Gammy, I ‘give you.”

We then have them seal it with a prayer and they give each other a hug (or a kiss on the elbow or rubbing noses…you get the picture). Then it is done. It doesn’t take long before they are really good and practiced at asking forgiveness, and also being the forgiver.

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

Love,
Dood

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 – Bull

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Bull

Quick and Dirty Tips from the Brain Trust – Hyacinth

Bull:

Dear Readers,

I am offering a response to Hy’s post from yesterday….

In my defense, I offered our more sensitive readers the synonym “sinners” to replace the perfectly good noun “jerks” if they preferred. And my inquiry into the details of the alleged “punch,” was nothing more than good detective work. The details matter, people!

Let’s say the future prizefighter executed a sucker punch. Oh my! Just typing the words “sucker punch” causes a chill to resonate down my spine. I mean, that’s dirty. The “precious baby” possesses some serious skills. Something you just can’t teach in a kid. But, that’s another post. In Bull’s Book of Parental Punishments, the consequence for such a filthy assault is not even in the same chapter as a punch the recipient knew was coming. I mean, a punch thrown in the heat of anger, preceded by a primal war whoop to alert the victim of impending danger, is still wrong of course and yet different. It perhaps merits a 3-paragraph essay, while the former warrants an essay the size and scale of a doctoral thesis.

Now, as to location, I was merely trying to visualize the scene… take it all in, if you will, so that I could empathize with my pal, Hy. I’m just not one to rush to judgment, folks. I like to have all the facts before dishing out the just desserts. The possibility that I might have been slightly entertained by such a visualization is irrelevant — I can’t successfully strategize without all the gory details.

For what it’s worth, I like the creativity of Hy’s imposed sentence. Not only was it punitive, but edifying. Good work, comrade!

Bull

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?

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?

Burnout

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 

Bull:

pothole
Embers,

I haven’t home-schooled quite as long as you have, but I am very familiar with burn-out. In fact, burn-out is a well-established part of my personality. I’ve been accused of having two speeds: full speed ahead and burned-out. God knows this about me too, of course, which is why He directed me to Susan Wise Bauer’s book The Well Trained Mind when I was first toying with the idea of home-schooling. Somewhere in the pages of this masterpiece, the author said, “If you don’t want to quit at least 3 times per year, you’re not trying hard enough.” It made sense to me so I wasn’t surprised when the feeling came. I expected it. The term “burn-out” has all-too-often become a justification for quitting a difficult task. Don’t let it trick you into giving up on something you shouldn’t. You’re traveling a difficult path. There will be potholes, some of which feel more like craters. So take a breather… refuel your tank, then get back to work.

Bull

Snow:

Dear Embers,

Is 5 years forever? Feels like it:-) I hit burn-out every February. Like clockwork. Boom! It hits, and I need spring break several weeks ahead of schedule! If your burn-out is more than the fleeting, regularly-scheduled kind, my best suggestion to you is to change up your routine if possible. If you work on a two semester schedule, change to a trimester schedule. Switch your daily schedule around. Take a couple days off and read a good book. I’d say take a couple days off, but when I tell my kids we have a day off school, I end up with more work… so that isn’t actually something I regularly practice! If you can remember and grab a hold of the joy you had when you started your journey, maybe you can notice some of the pay-off of this long time investment and feel re-inspired!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Embers,

Sometimes, when I long for a different life (one filled with lunches with friends, pedicures, and shopping trips – ha!), I slap myself around a little bit and project myself into the life of a career woman. Generally, I wouldn’t trade even my burned-out life with the stress of trying to juggle the demands of a career with the pull of motherhood. I don’t know how those career women do it, and they remind me that even though I might feel burned out, I at least have the luxury of focusing entirely on the children God entrusted me with.

Sometimes, though, I still can’t convince myself that homeschooling is the above-mentioned “luxury.” That’s when I start playing the faith card with myself :) . I remind myself that this call to homeschool is not just another one of my optional ideas, but a serious call from God, not to be ignored. When that doesn’t work, and I’m really feeling sorry for myself, I play the ultimate trump card and hold my piddly little sacrifice of homeschooling up to the Lord’s sacrifice and say to myself, “Hy, do you think Jesus really wanted to die on that cross? Buck up and suck up!”

Hope this helps, Embers. We have all felt the “glow” of burnout, and it isn’t rosy!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Embers,

Great advice BT! Homeschooling is not a sprint but a marathon. The strategies for each of those races are completely different. I just finished my 15th year of homeschooling, and I can’t believe I am still here! Here are a couple of pointers that have given me stamina and helped me pace myself in this homeschool track:

1. Keep pure motives: Burn out for me comes when I am pursuing selfish ambitions. I know that sounds crazy, but I get bored pretty quickly when it’s only about me and mine. There is nothing like finding some people to help serve to get my heart pumping with life again and renew my energy to homeschool. So make your homeschooling about something bigger than just you and your family.

2. Run unencumbered: I watch for those activities that distract or wear me down. Strive for those things that breathe life and keep guard for those activities that deplete. A walk in the park, a bike ride around the block or breakfast on the patio can do wonders for a soul.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize: What kind of human beings do you want to send into the world? What virtues do I want them to have? With the cultural issues of today, I go back in history and look at the attributes of those who changed the world. It takes work to keep great ideas and thoughts within your sights and in your heart. Remind yourself of what is really important and stay focused on that. Nothing like a good dose of vision to keep my nose pointed in the right direction and wind in my sail.

4. Find like-minded friends: Sometimes I need a soft place to land and other times I need a kick in the “rear-end.” Like-minded, friends make the world go round and are a large reason why I am still here. The road of homeschooling does not need to be lonely. Work to be that friend to others and your friends won’t let you quit.

Embers, don’t give up! One day you’ll find yourself jogging over that finish line. You’ll be so amazed at God’s provision for your race and the prize that awaits you!

Love,
Dood

Burnout- Bull

Burnout – Snow

Burnout – Hyacinth

Burnout – Doodle

Burnout – Doodle

Burnout – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 
Burnout – Bull

Burnout – Snow

Burnout – Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Embers,

Great advice BT! Homeschooling is not a sprint but a marathon. The strategies for each of those races are completely different. I just finished my 15th year of homeschooling, and I can’t believe I am still here! Here are a couple of pointers that have given me stamina and helped me pace myself in this homeschool track:

1. Keep pure motives: Burn out for me comes when I am pursuing selfish ambitions. I know that sounds crazy, but I get bored pretty quickly when it’s only about me and mine. There is nothing like finding some people to help serve to get my heart pumping with life again and renew my energy to homeschool. So make your homeschooling about something bigger than just you and your family.

2. Run unencumbered: I watch for those activities that distract or wear me down. Strive for those things that breathe life and keep guard for those activities that deplete. A walk in the park, a bike ride around the block or breakfast on the patio can do wonders for a soul.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize: What kind of human beings do you want to send into the world? What virtues do I want them to have? With the cultural issues of today, I go back in history and look at the attributes of those who changed the world. It takes work to keep great ideas and thoughts within your sights and in your heart. Remind yourself of what is really important and stay focused on that. Nothing like a good dose of vision to keep my nose pointed in the right direction and wind in my sail.

4. Find like-minded friends: Sometimes I need a soft place to land and other times I need a kick in the “rear-end.” Like-minded, friends make the world go round and are a large reason why I am still here. The road of homeschooling does not need to be lonely. Work to be that friend to others and your friends won’t let you quit.

Embers, don’t give up! One day you’ll find yourself jogging over that finish line. You’ll be so amazed at God’s provision for your race and the prize that awaits you!

Love,
Dood

Burnout – Hyacinth

Burnout – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 

Burnout – Bull

Burnout – Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Embers,

Sometimes, when I long for a different life (one filled with lunches with friends, pedicures, and shopping trips – ha!), I slap myself around a little bit and project myself into the life of a career woman. Generally, I wouldn’t trade even my burned-out life with the stress of trying to juggle the demands of a career with the pull of motherhood. I don’t know how those career women do it, and they remind me that even though I might feel burned out, I at least have the luxury of focusing entirely on the children God entrusted me with.

Sometimes, though, I still can’t convince myself that homeschooling is the above-mentioned “luxury.” That’s when I start playing the faith card with myself :) . I remind myself that this call to homeschool is not just another one of my optional ideas, but a serious call from God, not to be ignored. When that doesn’t work, and I’m really feeling sorry for myself, I play the ultimate trump card and hold my piddly little sacrifice of homeschooling up to the Lord’s sacrifice and say to myself, “Hy, do you think Jesus really wanted to die on that cross? Buck up and suck up!”

Hope this helps, Embers. We have all felt the “glow” of burnout, and it isn’t rosy!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Burnout – Snow

Burnout – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 

Burnout – Bull

Snow:

Dear Embers,

Is 5 years forever? Feels like it:-) I hit burn-out every February. Like clockwork. Boom! It hits, and I need spring break several weeks ahead of schedule! If your burn-out is more than the fleeting, regularly-scheduled kind, my best suggestion to you is to change up your routine if possible. If you work on a two semester schedule, change to a trimester schedule. Switch your daily schedule around. Take a couple days off and read a good book. I’d say take a couple days off, but when I tell my kids we have a day off school, I end up with more work… so that isn’t actually something I regularly practice! If you can remember and grab a hold of the joy you had when you started your journey, maybe you can notice some of the pay-off of this long time investment and feel re-inspired!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Come back tomorrow to hear from Hyacinth!

Burnout – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have home-schooled forever and I feel myself burning out, what do I do?

Love,
Embers


 

Bull:

pothole
Embers,

I haven’t home-schooled quite as long as you have, but I am very familiar with burn-out. In fact, burn-out is a well-established part of my personality. I’ve been accused of having two speeds: full speed ahead and burned-out. God knows this about me too, of course, which is why He directed me to Susan Wise Bauer’s book The Well Trained Mind when I was first toying with the idea of home-schooling. Somewhere in the pages of this masterpiece, the author said, “If you don’t want to quit at least 3 times per year, you’re not trying hard enough.” It made sense to me so I wasn’t surprised when the feeling came. I expected it. The term “burn-out” has all-too-often become a justification for quitting a difficult task. Don’t let it trick you into giving up on something you shouldn’t. You’re traveling a difficult path. There will be potholes, some of which feel more like craters. So take a breather… refuel your tank, then get back to work.

Bull

Close in Age

Close in Age

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

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

Doodle:

Dearest Dubious,

I think the most overwhelming aspect of homeschooling is looking at the range the educational needs in your own home and wondering how you, the parent, can possibly serve each of your child’s specific needs. Part of the problem for me is that I am looking at modern education and using that as my model. While there are some great advancements made in education, parents have been educating their children since the beginning of time and the modern segregation by grades is a fairly new idea. Actually, it was birthed from the desire to bring education to the masses. Think: small “mom and pops” business to “corporation.” While more and more people grew in their desire to have their children educated, the sheer population of those needing education grew, which created the problem of “how to educate the masses.” Even though this was good problem to face, it does not mean that the old “style” of home education or the “one room school house” was a broken one. It just was not serving the masses, thus the breakdown of education by age.

I have five kids, but I have friends who homeschool with their 10 or 12 kids. Teaching a range of kids takes some creativity and patience. But, I actually feel that home education is more of an organic and natural approach to education. Our little “homeschool” gives my older children a chance to be reviewed on subject matter that may appear “beneath” them, but it offers them reinforcement on core elements that have become familiar, yet are essentials. My younger children overhear discussions on subjects that have not yet been introduced, but it provides them a beginning vocabulary that will eventually give way to understanding. My younger children are often reviewed by my older and sometimes my younger children review my older with vocabulary flashcards. So there is this natural flow of introduction, repetition and review.

I like to think of it this way: I can run my family through McDonalds or I can spend a little extra time, energy and focus to make them a home-cooked meal. While there is a valid need for a McDonalds style education in our fast paced world, I have chosen a home-catered education that is full of life-giving substance that gives way to a long-satisfying healthy education.

Love,
Dood

Bull:

Dubious,

I don’t think I can say it any better than Dood, so I’ll just summarize her key points in Bull lingo:

1) Don’t compare apples to oranges. Your school will be different than the factory model. It will look and function differently. And that’s good, because I doubt your true goal is to recreate the public school system at home. So, I think the first thing you need to do is determine, “What are your goals?”

2) Then, establish a routine and stick with it. With a little forethought and preparation, productivity abounds. Without it, days can be lost to good intentions. In the early stages of home-schooling, it’s easy to get excited about the possibilities: uber-smart, obedient children, well-disciplined teens brimming with maturity, and young adults filled with the character to choose wisely. All of these accomplishments are possible, but not without a lot of hard work on your part. Your part comes first, so focus on it first.

3) Recognize and accept that there are sacrifices. We’ve talked about this before, but you can’t maintain a model showroom home, cook every meal from scratch, linger over long lunches with friends, indulge in weekly mani-pedi’s AND oversee a high functioning home-school. Educating your children is a job and should be treated as such. You wouldn’t keep any job for long that you only attended to occasionally. Give it your best — it’s a deserving profession.

I hope you’ll choose home-cooked over McDonald’s. I’m certain you can and that it will be the most satisfying “meal” you’ll ever choose. Bon appetit!

Bull