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,

 

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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

On Spiritual and Physical Training

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

It is so difficult for us homeschooling moms to find time among the laundry, the schoolwork, and the cooking, for spiritual, let alone physical training, but we must not neglect either. I have found that my spiritual and physical training is the most essential time of my day. I need this time to be alone and quiet, so I can listen and commune with my heavenly Father.

In order to find time to be alone with God, I have combined it with physical exercise. Four days a week, after school, I go jogging with my dog at my side and Bible verse in my hand. During my 45-minute jog, I memorize scripture, pray, and listen to the Lord.

Memorizing scripture has become absolutely dear to my heart. I don’t mean memorizing random scriptures that pertain to this problem and that, but I mean memorizing entire books of the Bible. The first book I memorized was the Book of Ephesians, mostly while jogging, one verse at a time. I am currently working on memorizing the book of Romans and keeping a goal of a four-chapter rotation in my head. As I jog, I recite (in my head) the 4 chapters that I have memorized and then repeat, at least 5 times, the new verse, which I have written on my sticky note. Memorizing whole books is the best way to understand the entire context of the letter, prophesy, or story. It is also an incredible way to commune with God. He talks to me through His words. I believe it is the closest thing to Adam’s daily walk in the garden with the Lord before his fall. I am convicted, called, and encouraged through this practice.

Memorizing scripture takes extreme mind discipline, and so does jogging up and down hills for 5 miles. Both of these disciplines keep me focused and self-controlled during the day. The scripture verses help when I really need to take my thoughts captive, while jogging keeps my immune system strong and my lungs and heart healthy.

This time alone with the Lord for my physical and spiritual well-being is a life long commitment and I let no excuse prevail. When my twins were infants, I jogged with them in a stroller. Sometimes I jog when my husband is home so that he can watch the kids, but most of the time, my oldest is home to watch them all. When it rains, I get on the treadmill. I do prefer to jog outside, so if it is not pouring rain when I am ready to run, I will go outside. My dog is happier to get out too, although we have been caught in a few hailstorms.

In other seasons of my life I have exercised to workout videos. It is also possible to commune with the Lord while exercising to workout videos. Once you are familiar with the routine, turn off the sound and memorize scripture. Pilates and yoga are my favorite exercise forms by which to memorize scripture.

Spiritual and physical training is just simply a priority. It is as important to me as eating. Building godliness while physically training benefits both the present life and the life to come. Disciplined moms train up disciplined children.