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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Home Education: Training In The Early Years

I was texting with one of my sweet nieces last night.  She has young boys and is teaching them at home.  They are learning so much, and having good times together, but this sweet Mama is sometimes overwhelmed with all of the training and teaching, and home keeping duties.

If you find that you are feeling the same way remember this:

"You are in the tough years.  Not enough sleep, constant training, making sacrifices of "you time" in order to meet their needs.  But you must remember that it is a season of life - one that does not last forever!"

As a Mom of six kids who all have been only home educated, I can attest to this fact.  I thought those days would never end, but guess what? They do!  My oldest is now 25 years old, is a Dad and works full time.  My second child is 23 and married.  She works full time too!  The third child is almost 21 and a full time student at a Bible school that is out of state.

I do have three still at home, and a granddaughter, that I am teaching.  But they are growing up too!  

Here are some key things to remember, if you are in the training phase of life with your children.

1. It won't last forever and the more diligent you are now in their training, the greater the rewards of cheerful, happy children later.

2.  It really is just a season of life.  You will sleep through the night again! 

3. The important thing is to have their hearts trust you.  When you have their hearts it is much easier to train them.

4. Even strong willed children can learn self control!  This is so necessary for all of us, but especially the strong willed child.  Self control will benefit them for their whole life!

5. God will equip you with everything you need to raise these children He has given to you!  Ask Him to show you what each child needs and how to best train each child.  No two kids are alike so it stands to reason that there will be different ways to reach their hearts.  God knows what they need, and He wants you to ask Him what it is!

When I am working with my three kids (grades 10, 7, and 4) I need my 4 year old granddaughter occupied and not being distracting. So I have activities that she can work on by herself during that time.

1. Drawing and Coloring.

 She really loves art, so sometimes I will get her set up with her watercolor paints, but most of the time she gets her coloring books out or just plain paper and then pulls this box of crayons, color pencils, and twisty crayons out.  She can be with us, but she needs to be quiet too, so we practice this while she colors and draws.

2. Hand Eye Coordination Activities -

 This is a cute plastic jar full of colorful beads in different shapes, sizes and textures.  She loves to play with these.

 She also likes these colorful poms.  She uses tweezers and picks them up, one by one, and moves them from the bin to a bowl.

3. Puzzles.
Now, often she wants to do puzzles with someone, so this activity is often for when the other kids don't need my attention.  She loves puzzles and they are good for her brain development.

4. Include Them In The Lesson.

Maybe you are doing science and you can include the younger one.  Take a Nature Walk and find bugs, or look at clouds, or do pencil rubbings of the bark on trees.  Watch a video about animals.  Sometimes this works well with multiple age children.

Once my kids are doing independent work, then I work with Kamryn.  We sing her Days of the Week song or work on learning her numbers or she'll work in a book of letters and their sounds.

Here is another important tip:

" Do short lessons with young children."

I cannot stress this enough!  We do not want to burn our little ones out.  Short lessons, that build one upon the other are the way to good learning.

So what do I do if Kamryn just will not cooperate and listen?  This does happen because she is strong willed and can redirect 'her' plans over and over to get what she wants to achieve.

I try to remember that she needs me to be in charge of her, and she must learn self control and that she can't always get what she wants.  So I try to present her options.  Mind you, I am not negotiating with her.  I am not trying to talk her into obeying.  Those things don't work in the long run and are exhausting.  All they do is to train Mama or in my case Grandma.  

This is how I deal with her.  If she is insisting on doing something I've told her she may not do, I give her the option of doing something else, perhaps she can choose between two things.  (Strong willed people like to feel as if they are in control of everything)  Since I am giving her the choices, though, I am the one really in control.  She just gets to feel as if she is.  Sometimes she keeps on with what she originally wanted and I have to deal out some discipline.  

You can decide what works best for your child, but allow me to give you some food for thought.

 Discipline is not to be given only when we have 'had enough!'  Discipline is for their good.  It should never involve embarrassing them in front of others, or shaming them.  It simply should be factual - "You did this after I told you not to. So now you are going to have to go lay on your bed (or whatever)."   I have learned (the hard way) that I don't need to yell at my kids (and I shouldn't - who likes to be yelled at?) to enforce them to right behavior.  What I must do is be diligent with following through with what I say I will do.  If they have to clean their room and you find them playing instead, then give them consequences.  Don't get angry.  Just met out the consequences.  Show them you still love them, tell them, and be kind but firm.  Genuinely smile at them.  Tell them, "I'm sorry that you didn't choose to obey.  Now you are going to have to ____."  And enforce it.

This teaches them to take responsibility for their actions.

You will find that if you are diligent during these early years, then you will have a peace filled home (most of the time anyway) and everyone will be happy and the learning environment will be fun.

Be encouraged Mamas!  Remember what God told Joshua as he prepared to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   This is true for us too!  He will be with you and will help you!


Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I find the fact that many gals in the US homeschool their children fascinating, pretty much unheard of in these parts. Do you have a past post Deanna that I can read explaining why you chose homeschooling over a public system, the advantages/disadvantages etc? I'm also wondering if the government provides a curriculum and exams? I hope you don't mind so many questions but I feel you can provide expert and informed answers.

sherry said...

excellent encouragements, deanna. :)

podso said...

Every season of life has its challenges but I think young homeschooling moms may have the most challenges … but then they have the energy of youth. Good words here and sage wisdom. I loved homeschooling and I love having a homeschool family living next door to us!

Cheryl said...

You offer young moms a lot of helpful advice here!

From this side of the journey, it has flown by. But at the beginning, some days seem unending. I think it is encouraging to young moms to know that it IS hard, but it's worth it!

Theresa said...

My Step-daughter is home schooling her children! I am going to send her a link to this post:) I know it can be over-whelming at times but SO rewarding! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

That's great Theresa! I hope she will find some encouragement here!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Thanks friend, that means a lot coming from you! And yes, it does fly by!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Judith, I'd be glad to explain, I don't think I have a post about why we homeschool. We choose home education over public because we want to be able to fully raise our children and not have them away from home for 8 hours a day, rush to lessons and through homework, so we can all go to bed and start over the next day. Students in the US will put in 14,000 hours of classroom time between kindergarten and grade 12. We want to be the ones to walk beside them day in and day out. To train them, to introduce material to them at age appropriate times. Basically to disciple them.

We can never get these formative years back, once they've lived them. We didn't want to miss out on it. So we have undertaken to educate them in their academics as well as the rest of their lives. Our kids volunteer, they work part time jobs and the graduates work full time. One daughter is at a Bible School now.

We found great advantage in our kids not becoming overly peer oriented. They love their friends but they also love their friend parents, if you get my meaning. They love to interact with all ages, because that is their norm, where in school it becomes the norm for you to only interact with those in your age range or grade.

In the States, each state has different requirements for home educators. Some have no oversight and some (like my state) have a lot of oversight. Students in both kinds of states, do quite well in testing and in fact score better than their public/private school peers. I believe it is because with home education it is nearly one on one tutoring. My kids also learn to work independently and so home schooled kids excel in college, too.

Our state will provide public school textbooks etc if you request them from your school district but most parents buy their own materials. We see the benefit of our kids being able to study the basic and the things they are interested in. We can really tailor their education.

I hope this helps you to understand! Please feel free to ask more questions. I love talking about home education and its benefits and challenges!


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