Monday, January 16, 2017

Book of the Week "The New! Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children"

"The New! Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children" by John Rosemond

John Rosemond is an old-school parenting guru and psychologist. His book is full of advice and stories of how using his advice has played out successfully for other parents. And I'm happy to say he has helped us when we were at our wit's end. That said, I don't always agree with him, but most of the time, yes, he is spot on.

I do recommend this book if you're looking for parenting advice, but only if you're committed to following through. One of the biggest mistakes we parents make is looking for the easy solution. We try a method for a day and when the results don't come right away, we give up. Or we get distracted and lose focus. I know I do.

Child-rearing should be simple and it's temporary. The marriage is forever. Raise your children to be adults, and keep your marriage front and center.

What are you reading?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Children and Sports

An excerpt for discussion from John Rosemond's "The New! 6-Point Plan for Raising Healthy, Happy Children."

     "Organized sports would seem to be an ideal complement to the needs of this age (6 - 10 y/o), the perfect medium in which to nurture both the inner and outer self. Not so. The primary problem is adult involvement. Adults organize these programs, raise the money to fund them, and draw up the playing schedule. Adults pick the teams, coach them, referee them, decide who plays and who doesn't, give out awards, and make up the biggest share of the audience."

     "I'm aware that children rarely play pickup games anymore. Somewhere along the line, someone (big business) got the brilliant idea that sports would be more of a meaningful learning experience for children if the games were managed by adults. The adults could see to it that rules were followed, that play was fair, that the children's skills improved through proper coaching, and that conflicts were resolved properly. The end result of all this well-intentioned meddling is that children don't have the opportunity to discover and work these issues out on their own.
     I voice my objections, but people respond by saying things like, "I know, I know, but, John, sports are so competitive these days that if you don't start the kids out young, they won't e able to  make the teams when they get to high school." Hogwash! The same lame argument is used to justify teaching reading skills to pre-school children. Studies show that the earlier you push reading at children, the less joy they bring to the task and the less successful they ultimately are. I suspect the same may be true of organized children's sports. Let's face it. Joy, not parental pressure, is the essence of success, whether that success is in the classroom or on the athletic field.
     I say let the kids have their games back."

(Parenthesis and emphasis is mine.)

Organized sports for children younger than 10  y/o benefits no one other than big business. Big business supplies the uniforms, equipment, water bottles, snacks, fuel, transportation. Small children grow out of all the equipment before it is barely even used. Many children who are joyfully playing soccer at 10  y/o drop out by 13 y/o because they are burned out. I've even read accounts of a year-round soccer 13 y/o soccer player headed for the high school varsity team his freshman year who dropped out to take up snowboarding because his dad couldn't yell at him from the sidelines when he's on the slopes.

Let the children be children. Allow them to play their own games at the park, in your backyard, even at the rec center. They can't learn how to manage themselves and their relationships if the adults are always in the way.

What do you think?

Book of the Week: "Wonder"

"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio

A novel chosen by my book discussion that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, didn't start out liking, but ended up being a pretty good read. It's from the young adult section and as expected, the main characters are middle school age, but the parents play an important role too.

The story is of a boy who up until this point, 10 years old and heading into 5th grade, has always been homeschooled, but not for the reason you might expect. He was born with a cleft palate combined with some other genetic facial deformities which even after multiple surgeries have left him with deformed facial features. And now, Mom and Dad have decided it is time for him to enter public school since 5th grade is the beginning of middle school and all the children are changing schools.

"Wonder" tells the stories of the challenges he faces, friends he has, makes, loses, and recovers. It also tells some of the stories of his sister and friends, how they each have their own story, their own experiences, and how they are each having their own struggles.

"Wonder" is a good story, and I will probably read it again, this time out loud to my 7 y/o daughter so we can talk about what it has to say about friendships and what it means to be a friend.

What are you reading?


Monday, January 2, 2017

Book of the Week

"Learning all the Time" by John Holt

Our public school system and mainstream culture wants us to believe that children can only learn what they are taught, by teachers, preferably in a classroom setting, but when we sit back and observe children, we can see that they are, in fact, learning all the time. They were learning long before we enrolled them in school, preschool or started teaching them at home. We don't have to teach a child to sit up, to stand, to walk, to talk, to hold a spoon. They are born as natural learners. They observe and copy. They self-teach. Our role is to model, to facilitate, to encourage (but not overly much), and to observe and do our own learning.

Great book. I highly recommend it to teachers and parents, well to anyone who has anything to do with children.

What are you reading?


Monday, October 3, 2016

Our Homeschooling Plan for the first week of October 2016

Isabelle and I will be visiting Italy, France, Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica, and Vermont this week as we gather ingredients for our apple pie as we read "How to make an Apple Pie and See the World"!

Of course we'll locate those locations on our world and US maps and read about their cultures and languages. We're learning Italian this year. I will have to see how many of the other languages we can find on Duolingo. In our language studies, we'll touch on humor in writing, repetition, and pantomime. In art studies, we'll learn about drawing street scenes, humor in art, and contrast. For math, in addition to the math learning loop I am setting up away from our Five in a Row studies, we'll see subtraction in action and learn about liquid and dry measure. And finally in science, we'll play with salt and evaporation and learn more about fresh food for health.

In my own reading last week, I came across a teaching method called looping. In the example, the student had about 12 different math activities listed (saxon math curriculum, math games, online learning sites, etc) and she would spend 10 - 15 minutes on each activity or until a certain goal had been achieved, then move on to the next activity for an hour designated the math hour. By doing all different types of activities, she doesn't get bored and experiences math in different contexts. I'm excited to set something like this up for Isabelle because, let's face it, worksheets are boring, learning 3d geometry figures on the computer doesn't work, and movement makes everybody happy.

Last week, we finished up "Little House in the Big Woods" and will move onto "Little House on the Prairie" this week. Isabelle is solidly reading level 2 readers and of course we have a whole basket of picture books that go along with our FIAR book.

As always, Monday is our library day, Wednesday is Park Day, and we'll be visiting friends on Friday for our standing play date. Special projects this week include making and canning applesauce, baking an apple pie, incorporating music and movement into our days, and finding constellations in the night sky. This is a combination of things I want to do and things Isabelle has talked about wanting to do.

  Why do we homeschool? Freedom!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

And so it begins...

.... the transition to a minimalist lifestyle.

My husband has recently been reading some books on simplifying and minimalism, and he came to me (big grin) about embracing a minimalist lifestyle. He spoke about less stuff requires less maintenance, less cleaning, less space for storage, and costs less. We would pay less for housing since we need less space, which would reduce our utility bills. I was hesitantly excited. Could this really be happening?

This morning, we sat down together for breakfast and I asked him if he was certain he wanted to go down this path of minimalism, and he responded with all the right answers. We talked about what it would mean for us, individually, and as a family. And in the end, we added it to our list of characteristics which define our family.

Coincidentally, I am reading, on my kindle, the ebook "Adopting the Minimalist Mindset: How to Live with Less, Downsize, and Get More Fulfillment from life" by Ben Night, which includes an overview of minimalism and then steps and tips for adopting a minimalist lifestyle. It is one of the many free books I've picked up off amazon for my kindle.

One of the topics in the book is the big purge vs removing one item from your home daily. And he makes a good argument for the latter over the former. The last thing I want to do is all the work of a major purge only to over time bring it all back in again. I truly, want us to learn to live with less, so one item at a time, on a daily basis.

I'm kind of excited because I already know where I'll start.... in the kitchen. It is just so easy to accumulate stuff in the kitchen, especially when I can buy it all so inexpensively at the thrift stores. PYREX/Corning for $1.00?! Yes, please! And so today, I will select one of my covered dishes and a pie plate (I have made 2 pies in my entire life and have 3 pie plates.) to keep. The rest I'll either sell  or donate back to my favorite thrift store. Oh, the irony!

Keeping just the one with the handles and decorative edge.

Keeping the clear, round set on the left.

And these unlidded smaller dishes can go with the large one.

And because we're adopting minimalism as one of our family characteristics, I'll be introducing the concept to our daughter through the Children's Bedrooms series of photos. Afterward, I will help her select her first toy to pass on to another child.

I am so excited as we go together toward our new minimalist lifestyle.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Parenting Book Club

I got the ok from the library to start a new discussion group, and I've decided to go with Parenting as the topic! I'm sooooo excited!!

Meetings will be the last Tuesday of the month, 6:00 pm, at the Wapakoneta Library, downstairs.

Our first meeting will be Tuesday, June 28 and will be a meet and greet for everyone to come in, share some of their parenting successes and challenges, and help set the direction for future books.

The first book up for discussion is The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. I came across this book recently on a random stroll through the parenting books, am so  inspired by it, and am looking forward to discussing it with other parents.

"In The Secrets of Happy FamiliesNew York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler has drawn up a blueprint for modern families — a new approach to family dynamics, inspired by cutting-edge techniques gathered from experts in the disciplines of science, business, sports, and the military.
The result is a funny and thought-provoking playbook for contemporary families, with more than 200 useful strategies, including: the right way to have family dinner, what your mother never told you about sex (but should have), and why you should always have two women present in difficult conversations…
Timely, compassionate, and filled with practical tips and wise advice, Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More should be required reading for all parents."

Books will be checked out at the first meeting for reading and discussing at the next meeting. Performing "experiments", trying out the methods suggested in the book are highly recommended! Let us know how it goes. 

Future books include:
How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen & Listen so Your Kids Will Talk
Bringing Up GEEKS (Genuine, Empowered, Enthusiastic Kids)
Raising a "G" Rated Family in an X Rated World
Boundaries With Kids

and other books as suggested by club members.