Thursday, April 26, 2012

Convention notes

Our annual Homeschool Convention was this past weekend and I enjoyed the time away and time spent learning from all the experts!  I wanted to share my notes with you all.

Susan Kemmerer - Homeschooling Distractible Kids Who Don't Like School
Practical Ideas for school
1.  Don't compare 2 Cor. 10:12
2. Work side by side with your child Col. 3:23, 1 Thess. 5:18
3.  Don't dumb lessons down
4.  Allow energy escapes between lessons
5.  Use large whiteboard - removes distractions from the page
6.  Give him time to answer 1 Cor. 13:4-5
7.  Encourage your "reluctant reader" to read
  • Read to them often
  • Make time time special - let them play with something
  • Use facial expression
  • Stop at exciting parts - leave them to finish reading
  • Have him tell back what was read
  • Be an enthusiastic, expressive listener
  • Be a reader yourself - model it
  • Give them a reading lamp - read after bedtime privilege
  • Don't be concerned about delayed readers - they'll catch up
8.  Be encouraging 1 Cor. 13:1
  • The distractible child through the lens of our flesh is annoying, a pest, foolish, lacking sense, dumb or stupid, slow, exasperating, irritate, and unmotivated - Luke 16:5
  • The distractible child through the lens of God's word is exuberant (Ps. 150), creative (Prov. 31:13-22), strong (Joshua 1:9), brave (Joshua 1:9), enthusiastic (Col 3:23), visionary (Prov. 29:18), inquisitive (2 Tim. 2:15, Ecc. 12:12), a doer not a hearer (James 1:22-25), joyful (1 Thess 5:16), and worshippers (Ps. 19:1)
9.  Build relationship and show lots of love - even if you are not interested in what they are saying.  Remember "It's not about me, it's about them."
10. Throw out the workbooks - use hands on curriculum
11. Relax
12. Allow adventure

Zeph. 3:17 - Remember he/she is a gift from God.  God didn't put them in my life to show my sin.  Am I demanding something of him that I'm not demonstrating?  God doesn't define us by our short comings.  He delights in us - the way we are.

Book list for distractible kids:
  1. Frank Peretti kids books
  2. Little Britches
  3. Wally McDoogle series
  4. Ted Dekker books
  5. Sign of the Beaver
  6. My Side of the Mountain
  7. Farmer Boy
  8. Light in the Forest
  9. Left Behind kids series
  10. Hardy Boys series
  11. Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
  12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  13. James and the Giant Peach
  14. Lord of the Rings books
Crystal Payne - 25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (

1.  Shop at the dollar store, but remember, not everything is $1.  Keep in mind what you pay for things at your regular store, because it might be more expensive.
2.  Don't be brand dependent - base your purchase on the price
3.  Buy in bulk, but remember, the big package doesn't always equal the good deal.  For a warehouse membership to pay off, make sure you save at least 3 times what the membership costs.
4.  Use your crockpot
5.  Have a meatless night once a week - breakfast for dinner, veggie bean soup, bean burritos, lasagna, beans and rice
6.  Bake your own bread - use the bread machine to make the dough and bake in the oven
7.  Shop at the bread outlet - shop once a month and buy enough to store in the freezer
8.  Look for marked down groceries - make sure you'll use the items before they go bad
9.  Use less - detergent, shampoo, cleaning, etc.
10.  Serve meat as a condiment, not the main dish - soups, casseroles - Replace 30-50% of meat with beans, lentils
11.  Sprinkle with simple meals that use inexpensive ingredients - make a list of 30 meals your family loves and cost next to it.
12.  Eat from the pantry - challenge yourself to skip shopping for a week.  Go to, or
13.  Use bone in chicken breasts (usually costs 30% less)
14.  Price match at Wal-mart - bring ad to make sure you get correct size/brand - then don't buy impulse purchases
15.  Order groceries on-line - Amazon has good deals for natural and organic foods or will give you an e-mail alert for prices you want to pay on products
16.  Use your freezer for marked down groceries - have 1 hour or 15 minutes cooking sessions for extra food, or double/triple your recipes to freeze some
17.  Don't throw out leftovers
18.  Make own homemade cleaners (baking soda and vinegar work for many things)
19.  Eliminate paper products - cut paper towels and dryer sheets in 1/2
20.  Ditch cereal for breakfast
21.  Invest in reusable water bottles
22.  Shop every other week
23.  Buy roast on sale and have it ground
24.  Buy produce in season and on sale - buy extra & freeze,
25.  Plant a garden - freeze or can

Remember - Pick one new thing to implement every 4-6 week.  Focus on the best return on your investment of time.  Give yourself grace.

Joanne Calderwood - Self  Teaching 101

Self teaching - manage/develop habits of kids so that they can go somewhere besides you for help in a subject which will help them in college.  Provide them with the tools they need to learn, set expectations for them, give positive and negative reinforcements.

Benefits for mom
  • Take burden of homeschooling off you and onto kids
  • Have more time to run your home, connect with other people, have time for yourself, have more one on one time with kids
  • No burnout
  • Can raise extraordinary kids
Benefits for dad
  • Have a non cranky wife
  • Kids smarter - get more college scholarship money
Benefits for students
  • Children are happier when they are not being micromanaged (parent constantly looking over their shoulder)
  • Learn time management
  • Shows trust
  • Self-motivation - children are not motivated by lists
It's not about the curriculum you choose, it's about the attitude/motivation.   Don't be a slave to curriculum.
You are what you teach, you teach what you are.
Children will perform based on your expectations of them - trust your instincts.

5 steps to self - teaching success
1.  Provide - a planner or notebook for record keeping by the CHILD, they see where they're headed.
2.  Gather the curriculum - find the most challenging you can for your child
3.  Set short term goals - 1 per subject
Self motivating when the child can cross off the lesson when it's completed - they see their accomplishments
Divide text into quarters, quarters into weeks, weeks into daily lessons
4.  Monitor students' progress - not daily!  Ask questions from last month, not yesterday.  Testing is one way to monitor, but test for mastery, not for grades
5.  Let go! - Let child learn from consequences (crash & burn), Trust their abilities to master

Sonya Shafer - Laying Down the Rails

"The effort of good decision is the greatest effort in life."  ~ Charlotte Mason

Good habits are like railroad tracks.  They are not built in a day.

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children"  ~ Charlotte Mason  (underlines mine)

pains - takes work to build
endow - pay into now; reap benefits later

Tips for cultivating a Good Habit
1.  Concentrate on forming one habit at a time, keeping watch over those habits already formed.  Spend approx. 2 months per habit. *Nagging doesn't work because you are reinforcing the wrong path - waiting for mom to tell him what to do.  Instead, call him into the room and say "I promised I would remind you."

2.  Repetition - deal with detours immediately so it doesn't become ingrained
For littles - distract so it doesn't reinforce wrong path
For biggers - enlist the will of older kids - in  a neutral time, have a brief talk, lay out the habit you think will benefit him - explain the benefits and ask "Are you willing to work on it?"

3.  Motivation - find living examples of the people exemplifying those habits; use natural consequences (good or bad); have expectant encouragement - expect them to put forth the effort and expect them to succeed (not fail) using facial expressions

Top 3 habits to work on
1.  Attention
  Start with short lessons, vary the order of lessons, don't repeat yourself, set time limits that assume full attention, don't give them less time than they need to complete the job

2.  Obedience
  Expect obedience; ever give a command that you don't intend to see fully carried out; don't pester child with excessive or continual commands; when possible, plan ahead for transition times

3.  Truthfulness
  Require exact facts without omission or exaggeration; avoid qualifying statements with "I think" or "perhaps"; don't use excessive language for common situations; have daily lessons in truthful reporting
3 Reasons to lie
1.  deliberate intention to deceive
2. carelessness in gathering facts
3.  carelessness in communicating facts

God made our brains to form habits.  If we're not instilling good ones, bad ones are forming automatically.

Ted Tripp - Getting to the Heart of Behavior

Why do children do the things they do  The heart sets the course of life.
"Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life."  Prov. 4:23

The Bible uses other terms for the word "heart" - mind, inmost being, soul
Cognitive activities of the heart:
  • conceals
  • discerns
  • instructs
  • meditates
  • misses
  • perceives
  • plans
  • plots
  • ponders
  • thinks
  • weighs
Worship of the heart:
  • serves idols
  • loves God
  • prays
  • rejoices
  • turns to/from
  • seeks God
  • trusts God
  • yields to God
Emotional activities of the heart:
  • ache
  • cherish
  • desire
  • despair
  • despise
  • grieve
  • hate
  • fear
  • lament
  • love
  • lust
  • melt
  • pure
  • rebellious
  • rejoice
4 Activities of the Heart 
"How does the heart set the course of life?"
1.  The heart worships (Ez. 14:3-4)
  • Idols distort your vision
  • The set of idolatry is the heart
  • Idols lead to practical desertion of God
  • Possible to enthrone idols and still seek God
  • God won't reveal himself to idolaters
  • God's purpose is to restore idolators
2.  The heart treasures (Matt. 6:19)
  • your treasure owns you
  • your treasure controls your behavior
  • your treasure shapes your choices
3.  The heart desires (Rom. 13:11-14)
  • Pleasure seeking
  • sensual passions
  • relationship cravings
4.  The heart craves (Eph. 2:1-3)

All behavior is heart driven (Mark 7:20-23)
We can't go out and hang apples on the tree, we want the tree to bear apples.  Apples just hung on the tree will eventually rot.  They are not supported by the life giving support of the tree.  That's what manipulation does.  Guilt trips, shame, bribery, threats are all simply manipulation of behavior.

Behaviorism evaluated (when we manipulate behavior)
  • Real need is not addressed
  • False basis for ethics
  • The heart is wrongly trained
  • The gospel will not be central
  • Shows our idols of the heart - control, pride, ease, fear of man, convenience
Slippery Slope of Hypocrisy
  • If I manipulate behavior, I will hypocritically distance myself from my child
  • When I do that, the gospel will never be central
  • The goal is to stand beside him as someone who also needs grace
  • The goal is to ask questions that show his straying heart
Benefits of Getting to the Heart
  • Shows your kids the need for grace
  • Shows your kids the need for input
  • Shapes your ministry to them (Eph. 6)
When caught in a trespass, our job is to restore with gentleness, not a sledgehammer.  It's hard to restore something that's been smashed.  Don't restore hypocritically.   We need to recognize we have the same problems with the heart and relate to them.

Andrew Pudewa - Mastery Learning, Ability Development and Individualized Education

4 Pillars of Talent Education (The Suzuki method)
1.  Saturated by the thing you are trying to learn - get into their environment
2.  Right period - children learn better than adults - start early!
3.  Learn from the best teacher
4.  Right method - keep using what you've already learned while learning new things - build a good foundation "10,000 times: then begins understanding"

Workbooks cannot adjust itself to a child
Doesn't help to understand why math works, but you need to only memorize the facts.  Don't go faster than mastery will permit.  Understanding of how it works will come with mastery, but if the facts aren't memorized, you can fall behind very quickly.

Michelle Kauenhofen - Water in the Desert

Battling the 3 Ds

1.  Discouragement
  We're doing a good job and what's right for our children.  Love life - make the most of today - every moment is a gift from God. 
2.  Doubt
  If we believe God has called us to this place, why do we doubt?  It's just an attack from the enemy.
3.  Deception
  We will learn what we need to know when we need to know it.  Don't get hung up on "how am I going to teach  ______ (physics, calculus, etc.)"  If the child needs it for what they are studying, he will be self-motivated to complete it without much assistance from us.  When we believe lies, they are self- fulfilling.  Children won't succeed or fail only because of what I do.

A - Attitude
   Don't long for the next season of life.  Life goes by fast enough.  Embrace the season you are in because you don't get a second chance.
B - Build up the people around you
   When we serve, we're filled up.  We live in a world that likes to tear down.
C - Care for yourself (or you'll burn out)
   When you have mercy on yourself, you're free to give it to others.

I have put all the Kirk Martin sessions in another post.

From the above notes, I think the one most helpful to me was Sonya Shafer's Laying Down the Rails.  My boys don't have many good habits.  We are frequently repeating ourselves to get them to do regular chore type activities.  This is the session that I will try to put to practical use first - after practicing more of Kirk Martin's instruction.  See the next post for notes to the man who changed my view on how to discipline the boys.  Ryan also went to most of these sessions, for which I am grateful.  It makes it much easier to be on the same page.  Unfortunately, Ryan didn't make it to the Sonya Shafer session, but I think with gaining respect through our disciplining methods, the habits will fall more easily into place.


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