The Power of Praise

In my days as a private school administrator, I cannot guess how many times I heard parents tell me that their child was gifted and they thought… once enrolled, the child would simply need to be advanced a grade. It is funny, but most of those children were just good, healthy, “normal”, yet wonderful children. However, in the eyes of those parents they were so much more.
It is only natural for parents to feel that their precious little one is a “child progeny.” I am personally thrilled when parents think their children are special (in a healthy way, of course). There are so many children who live life with no encouragement or praise from their parents. Parents who cherish their children and give them healthy praise are rare, and definitely give their children an edge by doing so. Many research studies support the fact that children who are encouraged are more confident and determined than other children who are not encouraged or praised.
Yet, praising children is more than just a pat on the back and the obligatory “Nice job!” Many child psychologists say we need to praise our children, but if it isn’t SPECIFIC praise then it may be harmful. That’s interesting isn’t it? So, praise and encourage your children, but identify the specific behavior that they are doing so well. It is the effort that matters most – not the innate gifts that we have such as intelligence, strength, or beauty. Isn’t it true for all of us, “It isn’t what we are given that matters, but what we do with what we have been given.” Give it a try – praise your children for the effort that they put forth, a good attitude that they displayed, or even good personal discipline that they exemplified, and that will encourage them to keep at it.
But wait – can there be too much of a good thing? These same psychologists seem to think so. I guess that would compare to chocolate… I love chocolate and could (probably) eat it all day long. Yet a complete diet of chocolate is not good for me. In the same sense praising a child too much can lead to serious problems. Research has shown that children who were excessively praised were less confident and less determined to face difficult challenges.
In our personal lives we are often very busy – yet we try to be as involved in our children’s lives and education as possible. This moment by moment influence is truly one of the core reasons why we homeschool. Yet, in the midst of all of that, it is common to lose sight of the “big picture.” Whether they are doing handwiriting, spelling, or even their online schoolwork there are always opportunites to encourage them, especially in areas that they have had struggles!
This little study into praise has made me more determined  (and I encourage you also) to be a proactive parent and to foster admirable qualities in my chidren. I plan on doing this by first, praising them and encouraging them; second, being there for them; third, spending quality time with them; and finally, by letting them know just how special they are to me!

This post was reposted here from my personal family blog, faith and a full house.

Helpful Tips for Beginning to Homeschool Mid-Year

Starting to homeschool is never easy, but it isn’t any more difficult to start in January. In fact, it’s a great time to start.

Homeschooling Mid Yearsummer homeschool

I’ve noticed over the years that many people take the homeschool plunge in January. I know, some of you might think… Really? Well, it’s not so weird when you stop to think about what they might have gone through last fall. Usually, those who start in January have just endured something that causes them to not put off homeschooling another minute!

Just a few pointers…

  • Check with your state guidelines for homeschooling to see that you have complied with everything that is expected
  • Take time to find out how your children learn. Ask their previous teachers, sit down with them and do a few “worksheets” or watch an educational video. Perhaps you could even find a few online homeschool sites and try them out. Discover how they learn! (auditory, visual, kinesthetic(hands on)
  • Decide on how you want to homeschool. If you are new to this you might want to start with something that does most of the work for you like an all-in-one curriculum or perhaps an online homeschool program.
  • Research the different curriculum options that fit your child’s learning needs as well as the needs of family
  • Purchase the curriculum
  • Set learning goals for your children – what do you want to accomplish this year?
  • Set your schedule – decide on how many days that you want to homeschool and then divide up the lessons and assignments to reach your goals in the allotted amount of time.
  • Set a side a place where your kids can learn comfortably.
  • Get learning!!

 

Easy to Make Children’s Christmas Gifts – Part 1 Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I love this time of year, even though it is so hectic and crazy. Why? So glad you asked… there are a few reasons.

1) I love the Holidays because for a few weeks each year millions of people are celebrating the birth of our Savior. Christian or not, saved or not… most people recognize this holiday as the birth of Jesus, and I love it for that!!

2) I love giving… I find great joy in making and giving gifts… I think I inherited that from my grandmothers. Both of which loved giving… one always made the sweetest little hand made gifts and the other would give and give – especially food!!!

I have really tried to encourage my children to make and give gifts to those people that they have on their hearts. Each one of them has learned various types of handicraft skills by doing this for Christmas each year. My son even helped me make the item that I’m sharing today. I’m sure you’ve seen these all over Pinterest the past few months. Turns out…they are pretty easy to make.

STEP 1 Gather your materials – paint, sandpaper, mason jars, mason lids, caps, plastic soap dispenser (dollar tree), clear matte spray, and rubber washers (from hardware section at Lowes).

STEP 2 Draw a circle on the back side of your jar lids, and use a nail to punch holes around the circle. Once that is done, the circle should just pop out.

STEP 3 Spray paint your lids, caps, and soap dispensers.

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STEP 4 Assemble your lids, caps, and soap pump and then push the rubber washer up the tube so that it holds the pump to the jar lid.

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STEP 5 Make sure that your jars are clean and use a craft paint or latex interior paint to cover the outside of the jar.

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STEP 6 Let the paint dry and then do a second coat if needed. After that is dry take the sandpaper and lightly scratch up the surface especially the raised designs. Then spray with the clear coat and let dry.

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STEP 7 Fill with soap or lotion and assemble your Mason jar!

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Competition – Healthy or Harmful?

runMost of us are probably wondering the same thing… where does the idea of competition come from? and is it healthy for our children?

Competition is definitely not a contemporary idea. In fact, the downplay of competition in schools across America is rising. Many educators believe that competition is harmful and damaging to the young psyche. Let’s take a look at history…

As long as can be remembered competition has been a part of our society and our world. True competition in the historical sense is partnering with our competitors and pursuing excellence all while realizing that the experience gained in the pursuit is worth more than the outcome. This is where things get derailed. The importance of the “pursuit of excellence” is the key to competition. Not the base desire to just win. Take for example the Olympic Creed, “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

Taking it back even further into history, the Word of God instructs us to “run the race”, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” II Tim. 4:7, and Heb. 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” The idea here is not to win, but to run with patience… to acquire the lessons and experience and goals that the race brings with it.

Even the Latin roots of the word competition show us this – petere means to strive and the prefix com  means with. Thus denoting the idea that competition is to strive along side WITH not against! This is the pure form of competition, and thus one that is healthy and contributes to growth in our children. However, after the fall of man sin corrupted everything and thus competition became corrupted and degraded to the singular goal of winning joined by arrogance and disrespect.

The corrupted version of competition is the reason why so many people have shied away from incorporating competition at all. However, the pure form of striving together with someone toward a goal – all while pursuing excellence is meaningful and definitely motivating. Remove competition completely and students stagnate… everyone wins a blue ribbon for art – why try harder? Everyone gets a reward for the foot race – why give my best?

Keeping competition pure – is key to using it as a healthy motivator. Philippians 1:27, “that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  This verse in Philippians is talking about staying true to the Lord, however the idea of striving together for a common goal is fundamental. Notice that the verse talks of one spirit and one mind – again this idea of healthy competition doesn’t accept degrading one another – nor being lifted up in pride but having the same mindset – and the same GOAL. True competition will enable us grow and learn from the journey!

I Cor. 14:12 “seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church”

National Young Reader’s Week

Did you know that this week is National Young Reader’s Week? It sure is- and it’s a great time to focus your homeschooling on your young readers. In honor of that – the Pizza Hut Book It program has been posting free books for your kiddos to read. Here is today’s Book IT story.book it

Using the Video Project in Homeschooling

filmingVideo projects can be a huge way to cultivate an interest in the arts for your child. There are lots of reasons to try video projects in the homeschool.

1) This is a creative endeavor and your child will have to reach deep for ideas

2) Students spend so much time on electronic media each day – this is an opportunity for that time to be spent producing something meaningful.

3) Video projects can also teach students how to use language and film elements to influence people’s lives

I can imagine hearing most parents say, “But HOW?” It’s true most of us have no clue as to how to create a film, but with the extensive resources on the web… we can be fearless! But we need a few things…

1) Planning – as the guide for this instruction we will need to plan the project and set some goals. A three to seven minute video is probably a great start for Middle School to High School

2) Plan the content – You may want to use web sites that introduce the basics of filmmaking.

3) Determine the type of project such as a demonstration, narrative, public service announcement, or research.

4) Plan how the student will be graded on the project. Creating a rubric for this will definitely make it easier for both the teacher/parent and the student.

Once you’ve made your plans… it’s time to get started. However, that begins with you!

1) Introduce the concept to your student.

2) Teach them the basic premises of videography. Use a variety of methods, and make sure that they understand the process and the method of taking video, editing video, and exporting the video. You may have to have a video editing software.

Once you’ve passed along the information – it’s time for the students to begin!

1) Planning is always the first step in any great project! Plan the general concept and then share their idea so that parent/teacher can give guidance.

2) Scripting/Story boarding is the next crucial phase in creating a video project! The more organized and planned a project is – the better it will flow!

3) Film!!! This is the fun part… if your students have done all of their previous homework – this part should be easy. If your student is using a phone or ipad/ipod sound may be an issue – you may want to suggest a limited amount of dialogue. If this is the case the student will need to get their message across through the film alone.

4) Editing – this takes much longer than the actual filming. You may want your student to download a free video editing software. This article shares several of the best.

5) Submit!! Don’t let your students create a project that goes unnoticed. Help them find a way to publish their work. Easy places include Youtube, Schooltube, and even Godtube as well as Facebook – or even a video contest. Make the most of their accomplishment!

Homeschool Achievement Testing

For years, testing has been a great concern for many homeschoolers. In our state, Georgia, standardized testing is required every three years. If you are not part of a co-op that gives these tests, then you are faced with finding an organization or school that will let you test with them. Sometimes that is a pain!

I’ve recently discovered test point. This is an online testing service that makes it easy for homeschoolers to take their standardized tests. I would look into it if you are required to have a standardized test this year. I think that you have to register your own “home” school. However after that you can buy the number of licenses that you need and go from there.

I am not an affiliate nor am I receiving remuneration for this informational post…

Carnival of Homeschool – The Ages and Stages Edition

Homeschooling Elementary

These are the magic years…everything is new and exciting. Making the most of creativity and firsts… it’s an amazing part of life that is the foundation for lifelong learning.

Introducing our youngest children to learning in a way that is fun and exciting gives them a beginning we will never regret. With that said, let’s join Monique over at Living Life and Learning to get 5 Days of Teaching Toddlers and Preschoolers.

The Journey and Destination blog shares that it’s best to start homeschooling our children from the beginning. Her post about Large Family Homeschooling really points out the benefits.

Adventure Hollow lets us see just how much fun a typical home schooling day can be. In her post Back to School Smarty Pants she shares how much fun their first day of school was for them.

Life With Tourette’s is a post that exposes us to what it must be like to find out your child has a disability.

Why Homeschool leaves us with another great post for Elementary age homeschoolers. The post entitled Public School Would have Ruined Another Kid is encouragement to stick with what you value.

Homeschooling Middle School

This level of homeschooling has it’s own individual characteristics and definitely challenges. Middle School is the time when your child is changing and growing into the adult they will one day become. Teaching character, having fun, and beginning in depth study are all just part of the Middle School process.

My Own Mind shares how she educates her Middle School Son (13) using creative and alternative methods. Check out her post entitled Live Today: Inhabit this Moment.

At Home & School gives us an encouraging post for when we encounter the negativity of non-homeschoolers. Her post 9 Ways to Defend Homeschooling without Joining a Homeschool Organization has a lot of great ideas!

In this post post entitled, But… I HOMESCHOOLED You! Kelly talks about the struggles associated with a homeschooled child that isn’t making the right decisions in life. As we reach the Middle School years with our children this becomes more of a reality.

Online Education for Kids gives us some great ideas on how to teach Middle School Language Arts. The post, Tips for Teaching Middle School English is a can’t miss!

Homeschooling HIgh School

These years are often by far the most challenging for homeschool parents. They require us to dig deeper. Finding ways to inspire and encourage our young adults to figure out how they want to prepare for the future is one of the largest challenges. Couple that with keeping detailed transcripts and finding courses that match their career needs.

Let’s start this off right with a post from Letter’s From Nebby. School Plans 2014-15: The High Schooler shares with us just what Nebby and her homeschooling family plan to do this year for High School.

Laura Grace Weldon shares with us an amazing post. Successful Teen Homeschooling: Two Vital Factors lets us have a peek at what an experienced homeschool parent has done to educate her teenagers.

Dewey’s Tree House is back with another amazing thought provoking post. In When Just Playing Around is Not Enough we find out that math manipulative use doesn’t always “add up!” (Dewey’s pun…)

Here’s a great idea for your high school science course! Electric Conductive Paint Projects and Ideas gives us an inspiring post on how to use paint that conducts electricity.

Not trying to be self serving, but I feel like this article could be helpful to someone who is trying to graduate their first homeschooler! In the momSCHOOL article Tips for Graduating Your High Schooler you can find practical points that we followed in order to prepare our daughter  graduation and for college.

Here is an article that really gives you the “insider track.” You’ll find curriculum guides with free resources for creating your very own highschool homeschool courses for free. Don’t miss the Let’s Homeschool Highschool Curriculum Guides.


I’d like to thank each of you that submitted a post to this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. I really enjoyed reading all of the amazing homeschool insight in each article. Don’t miss the next carnival you can find out where it will be hosted at Why Homeschool. Thanks so much for stopping by!