Friday, May 27, 2011

So You're Thinking about Homeschooling

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Second Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It (Focus on the Family)My child is almost 2 and I know some of you may be thinking, why are you reading a book about homeschooling?  Well, I think education is very important.  Considering that I would like to have more than one child, private school may be out of the question.  Not that I have a problem with public schools, I have some wonderful friends who are awesome teachers, but there are some not so great school districts.  I am also a huge planner, I like to plan way ahead and research so I can feel confident about the decisions I make when they come up.  I have also met some wonderful people while living in Germany who homeschool.  Since I didn't know much about it I thought I would see if the library had any books on the topic and I picked up this one.

So You're Thinking about Homeschooling, by Lisa Whelchel, is a fantastic educational book about homeschooling. Whelchel's writing style is light and cheerful.  She takes you through the door of fifteen families and lets "them" explain to you how they homeschool and why.  You read about the mother of several children, the homeschooling dad, the grandparents who homeschool, a mom who takes her child with her to work and homeschools, and many other situations.  You also learn about the different homeschooling methods: The Charlotte Mason Method; The Classical Approach; Computer-Based Curriculum; The Principle Approach; using Traditional Textbooks; using Unit Studies; Unschooling; Video Schooling; and more.

Lisa Whelchel bluntly states that she is not trying to convince you to homeschool.  Nor does she believe that homeschooling is for everyone.  However, she is pro-homeschooling and I believe the purpose of her book is to teach you more about homeschooling to see if it something that would work for you and your family. 

I will tell you, after reading So You're Thinking About Homeschooling, I am truly thinking about homeschooling.  I have done additional research besides reading this book and there are so many positives to homeschooling.  If you are thinking about homeschooling or are interested in learning more, this would be a good book for you to read.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood

Are you tired of yelling at your kids?  If so, read this book.  Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D. is a wonderful parenting book.  This book is geared for parents of children from birth to age 6.  They have other books if your child is older and you want to try the love and logic approach.  However, if you start young, you will save yourself a lot of grief later on. 

I love how the love and logic approach works.  No more yelling, no more repeating yourself.  One of the first steps to this approach is making deposits in your child's life by giving them lots of choices.  This way they gain healthy control over their lives and learn to think for themselves.  The choices you give them do not hurt anyone else, are choices you approve of, and can be fun.  Such as, "would you like to go to the park or stay home and play."  "Would you like milk or water to drink for lunch?"

When it's time for you to make a decision, such as asking your child to clean up their room.  You give your child one chance, if they choose not to obey, then there is an age-appropriate consequence.  Such as, "feel free to pick up the toys you want to keep."   Then the toys that your child doesn't pick up, you pick up and say, "how sad, how would you like pay for your toys?"  If they need help deciding offer some suggestions.  Then they earn back their toys by helping you with chores.  Obviously, this example is for older toddler/preschooler, but you can start teaching your child how to pick up their toys early on by helping them and gradually letting them do it by themselves. Then once you are consistent with the consequences you will naturally eliminate many of the problems you are having.  What kid wants their toys taken away?  If they don't care or don't want to earn them back then get rid of them.  Also by only asking once and giving them one chance you are preparing them for the real world.  Most of life you only get one chance.  If you take your eyes off the road for a few seconds to look at your phone and a tire in the road comes flying at you, you may have lost your chance to safely get out of the way.  The police officer who pulls you over for speeding usually will not give you a warning but will write you a ticket, and so on.

To use the loving approach, first show your child empathy by stating something like "how sad" or "bummer" then state the the consequence.

If your child whines or yells at you.  Simply teach them that you do not listen to whining or yelling and will listen to them when their voice is as calm as yours.  Then ignore their behavior until they use a calm voice like yours.

You do not have to yell or raise your voice to get your child's attention.  Using a soft voice works wonders. Not losing your temper makes parenting a lot easier.  And you know what?  Your child will listen.  I have been using the methods in this book for a about a month and it is amazing how well it is working on my 22 month old.  If you want to learn more, read this book.  It is probably one of my favorite parenting books. Simple to use, loving, it builds responsibility in your child, and it works!