Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Home Education Week-Recipe for Success
I would say that my Recipe for Success, first and foremost, is spending time with the Lord, listening for His Word, and submitting to Him. Psalm 119:105 A daily quiet time is essential, to help me be the mother/teacher that I need to be for my dc. Psalm 47:10 He created my dc, who best to go to for advice? Psalm 139 I read and study His Word. II Timothy 2:15 I pray for insight and wisdom. Psalm 119:18 I pray for my dc, praying specific verses for them. Luke 2:52 I confess sin and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill me and guide me, so that He can do His work through me. John 16:13 I pray that I can be a good example to my children, through His power. Philippians 4:4-13 We begin each day with Bible time, looking to see how to apply His Word to our lives. Psalm 5:3 Throughout the day if a teachable moment comes up to instill God's Word, we take time to train in righteousness. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Of course, I am human. As in ruining a meal because I failed to follow a recipe, likewise there are times I don't follow this recipe from God. Sometimes I don't have the quiet time. Sometimes I don't confess the sin. Sometimes everything goes wrong. Now that's not to mean that just because I follow this recipe, everything in life will be perfect. However following this recipe helps me to withstand the storms of life. When I can't hang on when the going gets tough, and I realize it's because I am holding on to the wrong thing (not God), then it's time to regroup and return my focus to Him. Whereas I am wobbly, He is unchanging.
When my dc were toddlers, we had tumultous hurdles while learning to deal with Sensory Integration. I spent much time in prayer, asking God to help me train my children. My utmost concern was whether they would fully understand who Jesus is. Corrie ten Boom's work with special needs children greatly encouraged me, as documented in her book In My Father's House. In her experience, if anything was to be grasped by these children, it was God! Encouraged, I shared God's message with my children through flannelgraph, activities and books. One of my favorite resource books was Mommy Appleseed: Planting Seeds of Faith in the Heart of Your Child by Sally Leman Chall. Rejoicingly, I was blessed to lead each of my children to pray to accept Jesus into their hearts as preschoolers. Today they continue to grow and I am amazed at the work God is doing in their lives. He is a live wire full of questions and deep thoughts. Everyone knows him. He has collected future votes from ladies in all the gift shops in the cute little towns I like to frequent. Everyone gives my outgoing son a big howdy whenever they see him again in these stores, or passing through the halls of church. My 15yod has the sweetest spirit of God I have ever seen in anyone. She is quiet and rarely gets noticed. She wants to become a teacher for grades 3-5. Little does anyone know that if you are having a down day, she is the one you want as your friend. She can give you a big hug and comforting pat and pick up your spirits with her love. Thank you with how you created them, Lord.
When my children were little, I devoured all the books I could get my hands on written by Dr. Paul Warren, a Christian behavioral pediatrician. His books were a gold mine. I read his Stepping Stones Series for Christian Parents. My dd had major fears. I read Things that Go Bump in the Night. Wow, great advice! She learned to trust God for her fears! Kids Who Carry Our Pain was also instrumental in training me as a parent.
Then at church in our moms' group we studied Dr. Kevin Leman's (brother to Sally Leman Chall of the Mommy Appleseed book) Making Them Mind Without Losing Yours. Wow! This was a great tag onto the Dr. Paul Warren books. I now have a more complete book for all age levels (the other book is about toddlers), Bringing Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down: How to Raise Confident Successful Children. Yes, I could quite agree! The power of training our children to make their own choices (with our guidance). Giving them responsibilities. Using intrinsic motivation. Wow! Gone are the extrinsic rewards. They only worked about a week. Now that the children are learning to be motivated from within, they work as unto the Lord, instead of becoming greedy with what bigger reward can they recieve because the old reward is boring. Now we do fun things, because we are going to have fun as a family and do fun things, not because my children have to earn them. As a result, they feel better about themselves, because they don't have to prove themselves with rewards anymore. They are daily learning more about working as unto the Lord...something I think most of us struggle with anyway. ;) I now try to give my children grace in learning to work as unto the Lord, as the Lord has shown me grace, more than once! Colossians 3:23
Then I devoured all the books by learning styles author Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. She helped me gear my brain for teaching my children differently than I had been taught! I have also pondered her theory, that children do not have disabilities, their brains simply learn in a different way. Hmmmm, interesting.
I used to fear the teen years. Then I read Chuck Swindoll's The Strong Family: Growing Wise in Family Life. He wrote that the best tip he had for raising children was to listen to them. Parents often do all the talking and little listening. That's when the children leave the house to go find someone who will listen to them. Chuck Swindoll got into a habit of listening to each child at bedtime. He'd start with the youngest child and listen and let them talk about anything they wanted. After about 30 minutes he'd go to the next oldest child and put them to bed and listen to them for a while. And so on. Since I'm home all day, I have all day to listen to my children, so I don't lay in bed listening to them like Chuck Swindoll did. (Chuck Swindoll was often traveling or at church, kwim? The point is, he made time to listen!) I try to listen to what my dc are trying to tell me. If they clam up or get upset, I try to use tips I learned from Gary Smalley on opening them up, listening to them and restoring our relationship. Sometimes they have a valid opinion or fear. Other times there is a misunderstanding. Once in a while, the dc has to go through the situation, but they feel better having had a listening ear and moral support.
Those are my favorite books for spiritual guidance, which I think are the most important. I've also found some other wonderful resources, that I hinted at earlier this week.
The Out of Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz is wonderful! There is fun stuff in here for any child. So if any of you saw my SI pictures and wondered how you could come up with ideas, this book is full of them! She has another book too which I have not yet read.
I buy most of my personal books at the used bookstore. I found this gem: Brain-Based Learning by Eric Jensen! It is power packed with information on how the brain works. I studied a great deal about the brain in college and in continuing education classes for educators, and this book tags on to that previous information. This gets my own gears in my own brain turning on how to turn on my kids in school! For example, when ds does his math facts and gets stuck (which he always does although he really knows them) I have him cross the mid-line with his arms and/or legs to get his brain reactivated. In other words, raise the knee to the opposite elbow and switch. Do this a few times and suddenly his brain is out of the rut! I have done some brain research in the past and it is phenomenal. I think if I went back to do my masters and even doctorate (which I probably won't) I would do my thesis and dissertation on the brain and learning disabilities as well as the educational model of classical education. I have formed some opinions that we are putting to practice here at home with terrific results! Anyway, this book is loaded with snippets of bite sized information on the brain and how to use that information to make school more productive. He also has other books that focus on different learning disabilities.
I think exercise and a good diet are extremely important. After everything we've been through and learned about Sensory Integration Disorder, I see a lot of importance in moving! I have to keep motivating myself, because I am a quiet person who prefers to sit, read, write, sew, etc. But then my body gets all cramped up, I get stress headaches, my muscles all over get sore and cramped. Although I have to yank myself out of my chair to get moving, I feel better when I do so! ;) I found Fit Kids!: The Complete Shape-Up Program from Birth through High School by Kenneth H. Cooper MD for a couple of bucks at CBD a few years ago. Not that this is necessarily definitive or cutting edge, but it was cheap, thorough, excellent and motivating!