‘Tis the Season…

We started school September 15. We had a few solid weeks. Ok, two solid weeks. And then…BAM! ‘Tis the season…to get sick. I don’t know if it was a cold or flu, but these days I lean more toward some mutated, hybrid. It started off as a cold, with serious nose drainage.

dripping faucet

And then turned into muscle aches, head aches, and stomach aches. For the past year or two, I have been using essential oils and homeopathic medicines to heal us of these dreaded plagues. But this time, I struggled to determine the appropriate combination of therapy, because I simply didn’t know what I was treating. My daughter was hit the worse this time around.

I began by treating all of the kids for a cold, using my go to formula…SnifflesSneezes4Kids_Large

Along with…

esberitox

 

And of course…

eucalyptus

This combination clears up a cold in a day, and it didn’t fail this time either; however, after a day in the clear, my daughter either came down with a second virus attack, or she wasn’t really healed from the first. This time, her head hurt, her legs hurt and her stomach hurt. I was perplexed, but went to my trusty flu care solution…

flu care

 

lavendar IMG_3198

So far this has kicked the flu in a day or two, but this time… alas, five days later and she was just starting to feel better. And then, I got hit with the nasty bug. It also started as a…

dripping faucet

But then quickly turned into body aches and stomach pains. I immediately treated my symptoms with the flu solution and added…

NutriBiotic-Nasal-Spray-with-Grapefruit-Seed-Extract-728177010508 zinc

I cannot get my kids to spray anything in their nose or take zinc lozenges, but with these two products added to my personal treatment, the virus only lasted 3 days. When my oldest son, 18, came down sick, I gave him the same therapy that I took. He was only sick for one day. The twins and my drummer boy only had the…

dripping faucet

and were cured with…

SnifflesSneezes4Kids_Large

by the afternoon. Thankfully, today, we were all well enough to do this…

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‘Tis the season…until we are completely healed!

Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22:2

I’d love to hear what you do to remedy your kid’s sicknesses.

 

 

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The Point System

In keeping with the theme of grace in my disciplining methods, I have implemented a points system inspired by the leader of Titus Ladies, Mrs. Margie Harryman. The idea, as explained in her book, “Letters to Krista,” is that each child 4 years old and up is freely given 25 points a day. “They cannot earn bonus points for good behavior, but they can lose points by bad behavior. The points are lost in 5 point increments, so it takes five episodes to lose all 25 points.” (Letters…pg 55) I have given this system a hands on approach and it is working quite well for us.

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First, each child decorated a yogurt container which would hold 25 popsicle sticks bundled in groups of 5.

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When the child misbehaves, he or she puts a bundle on my desk. This very act of going to his desk and taking out a bundle of sticks gives the child time to process his behavior and is usually all that is needed to correct the behavior. So far, no child has ever lost all of his sticks in one day. Turns out that this is also a great math reinforcer. My 5 year olds are great at counting by fives.

As Margie also suggests, each stick is worth 1 cent, so they can earn 25 cents a day just by having good behavior. In order to keep track of their earnings, I use an excel spreadsheet and at the end of each night, I quickly enter in the amount of points each child has earned that day. The sticks on my desk remind me to log their earnings and if they don’t loose points that day, I don’t log. My spread sheet has 16 columns, so I just back log their earnings once I see sticks on my desk. It’s obvious that if I haven’t logged in a while, that means they haven’t lost points in a while, so I know they have earned their full reward for the days that I have not recorded.

At the end of 16 days, we get together for Pay Day. The kids have calculated that in 16 days, they should have earned 4 dollars. I calculate each child’s earnings using the sums function in the Excel program. I do not have the kids calculate their own total earnings yet. I’m sure the process will evolve, but for now I want them to focus on counting money and figuring out how much money they have lost. This turns out to be a great lesson in counting change, since their earnings are usually amounts such as $3.95, $3.65, etc. Here is 5 day example of my Excel spreadsheet.

Date 9/17/14 9/18/14 9/19/14 9/20/14 9/21/14
11 yo 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25
8 yo 0.25 0.2 0.2 0.25 0.25
5 yo 0.25 0.2 0.2 0.15 0.25
5 yo 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.2 0.25

We have been using this system for over 2 months now and the kids absolutely hate to loose points. Loosing points means loosing free money, and as we are going through the Financial Peace JR curriculum, they each have something special they are saving up for.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Col. 3:23-24

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8-9

Taking Turns

The twins have been in a constant battle over things. When it is time to brush their teeth, they race to be able to stand on the favored stool. Then, they proceed in a shoving match to determine who will be the king of the stool. They fight over who will wear the batman cape. They fight over the ball, the Star Wars ship, and the Lego men. I can’t keep track of whose toy is whose and they lie about it most of the time anyway.
My initial reaction to their selfish tendencies has not been any more helpful in resolving the conflict as their fighting has been. I resort to yelling and snatch the item away out of frustration. While brooding over this constant bickering, The Lord was faithful to give me a bit of wisdom. He showed me that I wasn’t teaching them how to resolve the conflict by taking the toy away, or by yelling at them. Sure it fixed the problem at that moment, but the behavior never changed and the fighting just resurrected when they became fixated on another item of desire. Looking at this now, I realize that I was just reacting out of my own flesh, because I was tired. I was being a lazy parent.

Now, instead of yelling or removing the item, I am teaching them how to share, the joy of sharing, and the peace that comes from giving. One twin gets the favored stool in the morning, and the other at night. The Sharpie has become my best friend and I use it to mark the owner’s initial on toys, in order to keep track of what belongs to whom. They can no longer lie about that. The child who owns a desired item has exclusive rights to whether that item is shared. Of course, they usually don’t want to share their toys, but with positive guidance through scripture and God’s gracious love for us, they eventually make the right choice. There are times when they just can not be moved to share, and if it belongs to them, I let it be.
There is an inner joy that comes with sharing. I can see in their countenance that when they give in to their selfishness, they really aren’t very happy. It is my intent to give this feeling a name, maybe guilt? They need to know the difference between these two feelings, so they will learn that God’s way is best, because of the inner peace and joy they will have when following Him. We are relational beings created to fellowship with each other and our Creator. My children are most happy when they play together. This is the environment I intend to foster, by the grace of God.

Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 Timothy 6:18
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

 

Certificate of Achievement

Pre cert

The twins have completed the All About Reading Pre-Reading course! They are so proud of their achievement. With this certificate, the twins will be able to pick out one toy, less than $15 each, at the toy store. I have been teaching all of the kids that toys, and other items they ask for, like tea at the coffee hut, must be earned. They may also opt to take the cash and save up for an item of their choice. The older kids will earn a dollar value for completed unit studies and other major achievements.

 

aar-full-level1On Wednesday, the anxiously awaited All About Reading Level 1 began. Already, in the first lesson, the twins have started to blend cvc words. It is intriguing to watch their minds work out this process. The pacing of the Pre-Reading program was just perfect. As we were going through it, I was concerned that the pace was too slow and that they should have been blending sooner, but now that they have actually begun to blend, I am finding that they would have struggled even more if we had started any sooner. Studies show that the longer you wait, especially for boys, the easier it will be. This is true for potty training and reading. This reading program is so complete, I am confident that they will be reading efficiently in their own time.

Teaching Them to Get Along

This last week, the twins have been arguing a lot and acting generally fleshly. The main source of conflict has been over toys, but they also need to be encouraged and taught how to play with one another. For this purpose, I have had them complete puzzles together. Of course lots of whining occurs at the start of this activity, but with a little encouragement and persistence, they get the job done. Just this activity alone seems to dissolve their self centered tendencies and promote cooperation and generosity during other play activities throughout the rest of the day.

Puzzle

In another attempt to redirect disobedience, I took out the cuisenart rods and had the twins link them into groups of 10. Some wonderful learning experiences came out of this activity. Not only did they have the opportunity to practice obedience in the tedious act of connecting the pieces, but they also discovered addition facts and learned how to count by tens.

Math rods

Activities such as these have always been my go to disciplinary measure for the kids. If they are not playing well together, I take out an activity for them to complete in my presence. The activities promote obedience, and cooperation which extends into their free play time. Some days several of these activities are necessary for them to complete, while on other days they are able to play together well without any additional encouragement, or disciplinary measure.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

The Little Bug that Bites

The other day, a little bug told me that a 6 year old was working on a higher math level than both my 7 and 10 year old. I thought it was such a cute little bug that I tucked it away in the corner of my heart, all safe and protected, appreciative of the message, for I was truly impressed with the child. Slowly, this little bug began eating away at the peace in my heart and yesterday it took a big chunk out of my patience.  cute bug

My 7 and 10 year old have been transitioning into level C of Right Start Math for what seems like forever. We are only 2 lessons away from beginning this level, which at our rate will take at least 2 weeks. Today, we spent 30 minutes on just the warm up section. They just don’t seem to be retaining the addition strategies and every time I go to review, I end up teaching it all over again. Today, I became so frustrated with them, that my voice could be heard in the basement. They were laughing and giggling while I was trying to teach something that I had taught 100 times! How dare they try to have fun while learning!

But at the heart of this frustration was this little bug. As this little bug ate at my peace and patience, it became fat with envy. I should have squashed this bug when it was small. 

We love Right Start Math. My kids are transitioning from Math U See because I felt it left a lot of holes in regards to place value, and just wasn’t enough all around practice. The mastery of one step at a time, was keeping my son at one level for entirely too long, and he became frustrated and bored. The curriculum just did not meet the needs of my intellectually disabled son. With Right Start Math, my kids are having fun playing games while learning math concepts. The math foundation they are getting is complete and solid. They really like it. But they really like it when Mom is on their side. They like it when Mom has fun with them, whatever level they are at. They like it when Mom laughs with them and does not get hung up on where they must be and how much they have accomplished. stickyegg

On my jog that day, the Lord showed me how big that little bug had gotten. It was so creepy looking that it took great courage to approach it in order to squash it. With the Lord’s strength, I was finally able to, but it had left a big hole in my heart…. a hole that only the Lord could fill, so I prayed:

Lord thank you for the children you have given me. Thank you for the gift to homeschool them, so that they can flourish at their own pace and become exactly who You have designed them to be. Lord fill this hole in my heart with an abundance of patience to work with my kids at whatever level they are on. Lord give me peace to accept each child for who they are, not comparing them with any other child, but seeing and loving who they are and the gifts you have given them. And Lord, most of all, remind me that those little bugs get big and that they bite hard. Remind me to squash it and not to feed it, so that my heart will stay Holy filled with You. Amen heart

Teaching Children to Give

A teen in our church youth group went to the city tree lighting ceremony last year and her heart was moved to provide for the homeless people she had seen there. This year she rallied her fellow youth group members, and the church body, to stock bags full of items to feed and keep the homeless in the city warm during the winter.

I took this opportunity to teach my younger children the value of giving. I had them do some chores around the house in order to earn money with which to purchase items for the bags. All was going well, until we got into the car with the items we had purchased. One of the twins began to put on the beanie he had purchased for the bags. I turned to him and said, “You do know that the beanie is not for you?”

His smile turned upside down really quickly, and he almost started to cry. The other twin looked sad as well. I explained that they already had their own beanies, but there were people that did not have any beanies at all. These people did not even have any homes and they had to sleep on the streets all winter. I had already explained all of this to them before, but it obviously needed to be restated, with beanies in hand. I asked them how it would feel to sleep on the street all winter. The older kids also explained to them that it would be very cold. I am not sure if they truly understood, but they sadly put the beanies away.

Each child then put the items they had purchased in the Christmas bags, which were to be handed out on Black Friday. We prayed as a family each day that the Lord would prepare the people to receive the bags and that each person would get exactly the items that they needed.

On Black Friday, we headed down to the city. Each bag was handed out in a matter of minutes.  While hanging out in the area to witness, a man came up to us and said, “I have been out here for a while and know these guys and I wanted to let you know that each one of them got exactly what they needed in those bags.” Praise God!

My 4-year-old twins may still believe that being in need is not having a Nintendo DS or the latest Disney toy, but this experience was one step closer to giving the taste of reality beyond the plush life they live at home. It has become more and more prevalent that more of these “learning to give” sessions are necessary for all of them.  The Goodwill trips are too abstract, and there is no sacrifice in giving up extra toys. Having to work hard for the money it cost to purchase necessities for those in need is a start in instilling Godly character, but ultimately I pray that caring for those in need is a quality that will come from each of their hearts as a result of God’s love for them.

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

 

How do you teach your children to give?