Christian living- dealing with one 'oops' at a time…

Archive for June, 2012

Some Things I Learned About Getting A Home Schooler Into College

Before your child starts high school:
1. Look at the websites of colleges your child may want to attend. See what they require for high school. Make sure your child completes all the work necessary. Typically most competitive colleges want four years of Math, Science, History, English and a Foreign Language. Even if a student can graduate high school with less in your area, if you are thinking about college make sure your child takes the courses they require.

Sophomore Year:
2. Have your child begin practice tests and study guides designed to help them do well on the SAT or ACT. Most colleges will accept either test, but check to see what they prefer. Children who memorize well tend to do slightly better on the ACT. Children who like logic/ problem solving tend to do slightly better on the SAT. SAT or ACT scores typically determine whether or not your child is accepted, even if they went to public school.

Junior Year:
3. Early in the school year the PSAT will be given at your local high school. Call the high school and make sure your student takes it. It helps with scholarships. Your student may take it in the fall of their sophomore year as well, but it will be only for practice and will not count for scholarships. The PSAT must be taken in the fall of the Junior year for it to count.

4. Make sure your child takes the SAT &/or the ACT in his or her junior year. Do practice tests before hand and/or courses to improve your score. These scores, if high enough, ensure admission to many colleges. Your student can take these tests as many times as they want. Colleges only look at the highest score so don’t be afraid to take the test over to see if a higher score is possible. Make sure you have an official report from the SAT or ACT sent directly to the college. If you do not send each score to the college, they will not see it. Colleges do not ask for scores; they expect you to have them sent. Scores sent from you to the college do not count, even if you send them the original. The SAT or ACT website will explain how to have the scores sent.

5. Visit the colleges. Talk to the admissions office and ask lots of questions so you are comfortable and know how to apply. Each college also has its own ‘feel.’ Make sure your student feels comfortable on campus. I loved the hustle and bustle of a very large university. Some of my friends transferred because they could not stand it and wanted the more intimate feel of a smaller college.

6. Do not try to get your child into a college they do not qualify for. If your child scores significantly lower on the SAT than the average student at the college, they will struggle there and are more likely to drop out.

7. Before November 15th of your student’s senior year, apply to more than one college. Most colleges choose students on November 15th. After that you are admitted only if they have spots left. Some colleges accept applications even earlier, and if your student’s ACT/SAT scores are high they may guarantee a place for your student even earlier than this. Your student should know where they are going to college in early spring of their senior year. Most competitive high school students have applied to more than one college before the end of their junior year.

8. Do NOT send more information than the college asks. Look on their website, or call the admissions office. Colleges are used to dealing with home schoolers now and know exactly what they want. If you send more, the admissions office will put it into a file to look at later, and will have to sort through everything to get what they actually want. They will put this off, and you have just decreased your student’s chances of getting in. Keep the scrapbooks etc at home unless specifically asked for them. Unless your child is going to an arts/performance school, you will likely not be asked for examples of their work. Most schools just want a list of courses taken and the grades they earned. Some want to know what each course consisted of so keep track of this as well, but do not send it unless they want it.

9. Make sure you send everything the college does want on time.

10. If the college wants a GED have your student take it. There is no stigma for a home schooler in taking the GED. They just want to know that your student can pass a basic skills test, or some of their funding requires this. Two of my children have taken it, and one of them has a FULL scholarship to a very prestigious college. It’s okay. Do not try to convince the admissions office that your ‘accredited’ home school diploma is a ‘real’ diploma. They do not have to accept courses taken at other fully accredited colleges, so they most certainly do not have to accept any home school or private school diploma. Arguing with them only decreases your chances of acceptance. If you want in, play by their rules. The only exception to this is if your student may go into the military if they do not finish their college degree. They can still get in with a GED, but it is a factor. Talk to a recruiter. The military too understands home schoolers. One of my sons went into the Marines right out of high school and just completed his four years. If you do finish a college degree no one really cares how you got through high school. Did you ever ask your doctor about his high school degree?

If your child does not get into the college of their choice, or struggles once they are there:

11. If your child does not get into a four-year school, don’t panic. Going to a community college is not the end of the world. After they prove themselves at community college, they may then go to a four-year school. Many of our friends who are pharmacists, doctors etc did two years at a community college to save money, then finished their degree at a four year school. No one asks if you did your first two years somewhere other than where you graduated. Just make sure the four year college they wish to attend accepts the courses they are taking at the community college before they take them.

12. Some colleges do have an alternate achievement test for students who did not take, or did not do well on their SATs or ACTs. Others may have an alternate way to be considered for college if your child does not meet the typical criteria. This is where your scrapbooks may come in handy! Most colleges do not have this option, so do not count on it. Additionally, a student that does not fit the standard requirements typically does not do well at that institution. There are exceptions though, but it is best to put your student into a college that is a good fit academically and that they feel comfortable, and excited about going to.

13. If your student struggles with college they may want to take fewer classes each semester. It will take longer to graduate, but they will have a better chance of succeeding.

14. If your student does not do well at one college, consider transferring to another. Each college is unique. One environment may be better than another for them.

15. If your child struggles in college it may be because they have a difficult time where they are living. Most people suggest living on campus, but if your child finds ‘partying’ too distracting they may do better living at home. If they are home, they may not be studying as much since this is where they are used to playing video games and relaxing. A dorm room may then provide the environment they need to do better. I loved living in the dorms; my husband spent time in the dorms but lived at home for the last years of his undergraduate degree. We both did well.

This is not hard. Most colleges want a transcript (course names and grades) and the student’s SAT and/or ACT scores only (in addition to application fees and their forms filled out). As long as your student takes the required courses in high school, and does fairly well on their achievement tests they should be fine.

Most of the ‘horror’ stories I have heard are the result of:
1. Not sending things in on time. If you miss the deadlines, you may not get in.
2. Not sending some of the required items in at all.
3. Sending so many things that were not asked for that the admissions office could not tell what had been sent in.
4. Not taking the necessary courses in high school and then expecting to be admitted.
5. Not providing the college with what they wanted (a GED or a more complete transcript) because they went to an ‘accredited’ home school program and the parents feel that their child’s diploma should be viewed as a public high school diploma.
6. Not having high enough SAT or ACT scores for the colleges applied to and not wanting to consider other options.

Remember, the people telling the ‘horror’ stories typically leave out why it is actually their fault. Keep them talking and you will eventually figure it out. Most colleges love home schoolers because they typically do well. The biggest problem most home schoolers have in college is remembering to put their name on their paper!

By the way: If your child is going to a competitive college for something like Engineering, they will want to take Earth Science and Algebra in 8th grade so they may take Calculus & AP Biology, Chemistry or Physics their senior year. Some of these classes may be taken at a community college or on-line. Make sure your child does their science labs or the courses are not ‘high school’ level courses. Also make sure they take a Health & Nutrition Course, a course in Public Speaking and do their State Study.

I hope this helps.

Gluttony- Why is it a Sin?

Have you ever wondered why gluttony was a sin? Most people have, and, since many, many Christians are overweight, it is obviously not a sin that really convicts us, and causes us to change.
Here’s the problem with gluttony. (And it’s two-fold.)

1. It causes you to be less productive. Being overweight causes you to be more tired, less energetic, have more health problems etc. These problems lead to poverty, so they are to be avoided. (Scripture even says so: Prov. 23:21) Gluttony therefore either leads to laziness because you are no longer able to do things a more able person could do, or is a result of laziness (ie. You have nothing better to do than eat, and/or not enough to do to burn off the calories you consume.). I am not saying it is easy, some jobs are highly productive, yet burn little fat while being done. But being ‘fat’ does effect your health and decrease your lifespan (the time you have to teach and influence your children and others) and your productivity (even if you have a desk job, being over weight makes you want to sleep more, and be sick more often, so you get less done).

2. This was an agricultural society where famines were frequent. People who ate more than they needed were taking the chance that, by the end of the season, or if there was a famine, there would not be enough food left for everyone to survive. Food was a precious commodity, not to be wasted. Today, in the US food is plentiful, so we do not feel like we are causing the less fortunate to starve by having an extra serving. But this principle can be applied to any resource in short supply. For example: If you insist on washing your car, or watering your lawn when there is a drought, you are being a ‘glutton,’ using more than you need for your pleasure without concern for the future needs of others.

Now, before we get too crazy with the diet and exercise there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. ‘Not fat’ in Biblical times was not super-skinny, heroine-chic, supermodel thin, less than 5% body fat etc. These were the poor, and they died early because when sickness, or famine came they had no reserves to help them fight. ‘Not fat’ was probably not overly Rubenesque either. (Google the painter: Peter Paul Ruben for examples. Caution: many of them are nudes.) Why? Because people in the Jewish culture at the time the Bible was written walked everywhere. They gathered in Jerusalem for feasts three times a year, which could have been a 100 mile walk for some. Now there is evidence that pregnant women were allowed to ride on donkeys (think Mary and Joseph) but for the most part people walked. It is hard to be extremely overweight and still walk everywhere you need to go. So how thin should we be? Thin enough to do everything we need to do without tiring easily or having health problems associated with obesity, and if famine does occur, eat only what you actually need to survive so the maximum number of people may live.

Caution: Over-exercising and attention to your diet can also be a problem. If your workout routine limits how much time you have for your family or work you are doing too much. Find activities that include your family, or maybe you do not need the six-pack abs so much? Dieting and exercise can cause the same problems as obesity when it affects your health (You are so thin you are weak, you have no ability to fight infection, you are so muscular you cannot get your cell phone to your ear or cannot bend in ways you need to etc.). Or when exercise causes you to have less time to do the things you need to do, but instead of sleeping, you are at the gym. Either way, productive work is not being done by you. In my experience, most of the guys who spend three or more hours at the gym to look ripped do not have time to be good husbands/fathers, and most of the women on permanent diets are rather cranky and do not make good wives or mothers. Keep it in perspective. Also remember that God loves to have His people get together for meals. Crazy diets that limit your ability to eat with others, or worse, make you feel superior to them, limit your ability to have the relationships God wants you to have.

Needing to be Everything…

I watched a rerun of the TV show Bones the other night. The lead male character was explaining why a teenaged boy who was headed to M.I.T. would all of a sudden drop everything and live homeless as a squatter in an abandoned factory. It was because he was trying to ‘save’ a girl. The female lead asked, ‘How do you know this?’ ‘Because I was a teenaged boy,’ was his reply.

This conversation tells us a lot about human nature. There is something in us that wants to be the savior of the world, but it is an immature something. It is a something that keeps us from getting help, or seeking advice. It is the something that needs to dominate and lord over another person. It is the something that makes us treat the person we are ‘saving’ as if they are nothing, and would have nothing if it were not for us. It is oppressive, not nurturing. It is not trying to help the person do better, confident that they can. It is thinking that they ‘need’ me, and always will. It may be ‘nice’ and involve sacrificing and doing much for another, but it is still looking at the other person as if they are somewhat helpless and cannot possibly survive without you. This may not be exactly what you think, but it is what your actions imply. It is the wrong way to help, or treat another human being.

The conversation also implied that this need to save was ‘immature,’ something boys grew out of as they became men, but how often do we see this attitude preached in the way a man is to be to his wife, forgetting that the Proverbs 31 woman worked and ran a vineyard? She did not need saving. If anything the verses imply that the man needs her. Through her competence she will cause him to be respected and make sure that his household does not suffer. How did this get turned around? She can buy things for herself, and take care of others. What she deserves from him is praise for doing so. She does not need a husband to ‘cover’ her. (He is not her husband yet, remember this is an instruction regarding what to look for in a wife.) Instead she needs a man who will appreciate her and everything she brings into the marriage.

We get into trouble when we try to ‘save’ people. We were not made to navigate this world alone, and we were certainly not made to handle everything for ourselves and another person without help. In Genesis we are told it is not good for man to be alone. Wait, on his own was not good, so what would make us think that him taking full responsibility for two was a good thing? (And I am sure God would have said the same thing about women who try to do it all themselves as well.) The woman is an ‘ezer,’ a help-mate, a strong person that has your back when things get rough. This is not doing it alone, and protecting her from anything that might come her way. This is her helping the man, her husband!

I almost titled this, ‘Needing to be Superman,’ but then I realized that Superman had it right. He did not need to do everything. He saved the person from danger, and then deposited them, and the bad guys in front of law enforcement and left. He knew that his job was to face the extreme and do what he was uniquely suited to do and that was it. Taking care of the person after this was someone else’s task. He was in partnership with the police, doing what they could not, but not doing it all himself. This is more maturity than I thought to find in the ‘Man of Steel.’ Kudos to the comic book artists that understood that even super-heroes did not need to be self-sufficient.

How IQ Tests Work (& Don’t Work)

I first noticed a problem with IQ tests after we adopted our three oldest children. They were older when they came into our house, so the school wanted them tested. I was dismayed by the results. (They were not good.) As I looked at the methods used, I noticed a problem. Many of the questions relied on the children being aware of things that you could not take for granted my children would know. My children had been neglected, and did not have a history of paying attention in school. (One of my children, age 10, did not know how to untie his shoes. School had taught him how to tie a shoe, but no one taught him to pull the laces just so. My eight year old did not yet know all of her letter sounds.) Children who have been neglected will likely have lower scores, not because they are that ‘slow,’ but because they have not yet learned.
Through the years we also tested our other children. Different children have different issues with testing. Some are meticulous. They will have difficulty if any test is timed. We had to tell one child to simply put a mark in the circle, go on, then color them in later. He was spending so much time filling in the circles on the test ‘perfectly’ that he never finished!
Other children get stuck on problems they don’t know. If the test has more difficult questions early, they will do worse. Some cannot think once their confidence is broken. A tough question early can skew the rest of the test results.
Still others do not like to sit still. They are highly energetic. If the tests are broken up into sections, with adequate breaks they do better than if they have to sit still and stay on task for long periods of time. Since exceptionally bright children often jump from one topic to another and then back again in their minds, long tests are not good for them. They will test lower than they should if they are made to sit too long.
We also noticed that the IQ tests were not necessarily written by people with high IQs. There were questions that had more than one answer, if you really thought outside the box. Since IQ tends to measure problem solving and lateral thinking skills in the upper ranges, this is also a problem. What we found was the children who truly had great problem solving skills were not the ones who finished the fasted, but the ones who engaged the tester to explain why certain questions were wrong and could not be answered. (I have an uncle who only missed two questions on his SAT. He still maintains that one of them was their error!)
So what does IQ mean? IQ tells you how well you can problem solve. It means you can think outside the box. People with extremely high IQs do not think like an average person. They typically have trouble fitting in, and doing menial, repetitive tasks. You may want them for research, but not for repetitive, detailed things like editing, cleaning or laser eye surgery. You also don’t want them in jobs that require knowing what the average person likes such as advertising, marketing or public relations. (Unless you want to be known as avant-garde or cutting edge, or just odd.)
Different thinking styles lend themselves to excellence in different areas. An incredible artist who is a friend of mine is not good at anything even vaguely administrative. I cannot stand cleaning and housework, yet give me something to research and I will forget to eat. I have a son who has volunteered to continue doing yard work after the rest of the family stopped for the day who cannot stand schoolwork. Everyone is different. Unfortunately, if put in the wrong situations for too long these people are often labeled rebellious or lazy. (I know a brilliant man who ended up stuck in a menial job for various reasons. Due to not being able to fit in he became an alcoholic. Such a waste.)
In raising a wide variety of children (thanks to adoption) we have noticed that high IQ is not that best thing for all jobs. It has its drawbacks. One of my sons is very charismatic, but has an average IQ. He is excelling in his hotel career, being promoted three times in his two months of work. Another of my sons has an incredibly high IQ. He can build anything, and enjoys doing ‘science’ for fun. (Currently he is processing rough gems he mined, and wants to finish them himself.) We laughed at the prospect of him filling in for my son in his hotel job. My gem-cleaning son frequently rubs people the wrong way, even though deep inside he loves people deeply. He just feels the need to be very ‘exact’ when talking, and needs to correct people over minor points. People don’t like this. We often find ourselves telling him, ‘One step too far,’ indicating that the conversation was good, up until that specific point.

My Favorite Home School Resources

For Spelling I love Wordly Wise

I have tried many other spelling books. The kids memorized the spelling and then promptly forgot everything. Wordly Wise is different. It combines vocabulary and reading comprehension so that the children have more to associate the words with, and thus remember, and even use some of them. Further, the reading assignments are on topics that should be learned by the time they graduate. This reinforcement helps them to remember the things they should have learned in school as an adult.

http://www.wordlywise3000.com/

Science: 

For the younger years I like the Apologia curriculum. It is colorful and fact filled. Their later materials are heavy on memorization though, and my children are more of the logic/problem solver types.

http://www.apologia.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1

For older elementary school I like Real-Science-For-Kids. It is colorful, but explains advanced concepts so well that your child will have no problem tackling their high school courses.The author is a home school mom with a PhD.

http://www.gravitaspublications.com/

In high school the best place for lab materials is Home Science Tools. Their direction materials are incredibly intact and easy to use. They also have advanced science kits and chemicals at very reasonable prices.

http://www.hometrainingtools.com/

For high school I like to supplement their curriculum with the ‘coloring book’ series by Wynn Kapit. They are incredibly detailed, but make complex concepts easier. When I was a teaching assistant we used them in the Gross Anatomy lab in college. They’re that good.There are ‘coloring books’ for anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and geography that I know of.

http://www.amazon.com/Wynn-Kapit/e/B001IR1DXC

History:

We enjoy The Mystery of History, which can be used for all ages since she (another home school mother) has different activities for different ages.

http://www.themysteryofhistory.info/

For older elementary school, my children enjoyed watching Drive Thru History. It was one of the few DVD sets that they watched more than once without fuss.

http://www.drivethruhistory.com/

The children also enjoyed the Chester Comix Series. These are comic books packed with information on different historical topics. They are one of the few ‘educational’ things I could get my children to read on their own.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=chester+comix

Math:

For math it depended on the child.

My more ADHD children, who excelled in school enjoyed A Beka. http://www.abeka.com/

My children who needed a lot of repetition who like to do one thing at a time enjoyed Saxon.

http://saxonpublishers.hmhco.com/en/sxnm_home.htm

My more ‘social’ children like Teaching Textbooks.

http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/

Music:

The DVD set The History of Rock and Roll not only covered music, but provided an interesting way to bring history to life, especially with regard to civil rights.

http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=1816263

English:

Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton makes this Shakespeare play fun.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&oe=UTF-8&q=Taming+of+the+shrew+DVD&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=17369707598425568004&sa=X&ei=HevLT43YDYeU2QXCuMjaCw&ved=0CH0Q8wIwAQ#ps-sellers

Use Google to see if there were any modern remakes of the classics you are studying. For example: Did you know that The Lion King is a remake of Hamlet? That She’s the Man is Shakespeare’s 12th Night? Or that Clueless is Jane Austin’s Emma?

Extras:

There are so many things you can do in the community, and many of these resources have school discounts, special days etc to make them cheap. We have been to the opera, we take advantage of the tours at national parks, go to musicals and plays, use Groupon to find things like pottery classes, and local craft stores to take classes on things like cake decorating. We also have ordered basket weaving kits etc. Local colleges, planetariums and museums also have lectures that children may go to, as long as they are well-behaved. Recently we heard Rosylnn Carter speak at the University of New Mexico. Get Motivated Seminars are also good (and cheap) if you can keep yourself from signing up for the classes that are advertised in between the speakers.

Gym:

For gym and art I like things that will teach skills that last a life time. Martial arts, archery, horse back riding etc are things that many people do for the rest of their lives.

I’ll let you know if I think of more…

 

Why Men Leave the Church

Remember I grew up in a dojang filled with men. They talked. I have never seen any list or book on why men are not more active in the church actually cover anything I heard these men say. Their complaints typically fit into two categories.

1. The pastor’s a wimp. (This does not mean that the pastor is ‘feminine.’ It means he does not ‘do justice’ when he, and only he, has the authority to do so.) The man does not deal with problems, and when anyone does try to do anything about very real problems he shuts them down. He is more concerned with not upsetting people than he is with dealing with the issues in his church. Since these men have real jobs, with real bosses they assume that dealing with problems is a bosses’ job, and they see the pastor as a ‘boss.’ By not dealing with problems the church becomes essentially run by the people who don’t behave. If the men say or do anything they are labeled ‘trouble-makers.’ Real men do not like to stand around helpless while some people are being mean in front of them. They feel ‘neutered.’ This has nothing to do with the women. Usually it is the women they are trying to defend, but can’t, since pastor does not like controversy. Further, they do not enjoy seeing their wives abused, taken advantage of and looked down on by the ‘mean elite.’ They will not tell their wives not to go and do, but they will not watch it either.

2. The pastor is perfect (perfectly phony that is), and they are not. Many pastors give the impression that they are ‘perfect.’ They share only what they do right, and share it in a way that advises everyone to do it just like they do. The pastor never shares his faults, nor does he realize that his life is a lot different from a man who holds a 9 to 5 job with mandatory overtime. Now we come to the real problem. Because the pastor has been pretending to be ‘perfect’ (and his wife knows better than to say otherwise) the women in the church are in awe and spend much time talking about how great their pastor is. What the men hear is, ‘Why can’t you be more like pastor?’ They resent this, and are less likely to want to be too close to the man.

The problem is not women ‘usurping’ authority. The problem is men who either do not want to do the hard parts of the job they were hired to do, or pretending that they never do anything wrong, that their wife and children are glorious and that everyone would be awesome if they were exactly like them. ‘Too little’ and/or ‘over-the-top’ and the men leave. The women stay (mainly because they are invested in the children’s programs), and end up doing more. Then at some point someone starts complaining that the women are ‘taking over’ the church…

My Rules…

I have a different way of looking at life. It works for us. It may work for you, or you may already be doing things this way… But it is not the norm.

1. I believe the ‘best’ I should look is in the bedroom for my husband. I have heard too many guys in the dojang complain that their wife dresses up for everyone but them, and by the time they get to bed she has no make-up on and stuff on her face they are afraid to kiss. I vowed never to be like this. Want to see me at my best, well that would be awkward!
2. I believe that my husband should have just as much of a say in how the house is set up and how the children are raised as I do. It is his house and they are his children too. I vowed never to act like I was the only one who knew anything about how a house is to be run and how children are to be raised. I married a good, intelligent man and vowed to treat him as he deserves by not disrespecting his wishes in these areas. I have seen too many men want to be a part of the household but give up because their wife corrects everything they do. Ironically, these men consider themselves to be the ‘head of the house!’ My husband can do laundry, load a dishwasher and feed a baby any way he wants. He can also do projects in the house, rather than the garage, put his feet on his furniture and stack things he is currently using where they are convenient for him. He lives here too.
3. I believe my children should do as much as they are capable of doing for themselves. Eventually my children will leave my house to establish their own homes. By the time they go they should be able to do their own laundry, cook, clean, handle money and take care of their car. By doing these things for them I am hindering their ability to handle the adult world. If these things are second nature then they will be able to get them done quickly in a way that won’t interfere with the other things they need to do in life.
4. We do not make young children tithe. Their money is family money and has already been tithed on, but more importantly they do not understand and are tempted to cheat, steal or become upset over their perception that their money was taken from them. Money that comes from outside the household is tithed on. When they are old enough to work for others (baby sitting, yard work etc), they are old enough to understand the concept of tithing and it is now that they can choose to do so. We teach about tithing and set a good example for them by giving our own tithes and offerings so my children have not had trouble with this. Arguments with a five year old over ‘their’ money are just not worth it. Tithing requires more maturity than a little one has. Heck, it is a tough concept for many adults!
5. We don’t do Santa Claus, the tooth fairy etc. When we first adopted our older children it was obvious they already knew and were testing us. We told the truth, and decided to give it up since we knew they would not respect our wishes and would tell our younger children anyways. This was the best decision we ever made concerning these holidays. Instead of the children thinking that some all-knowing being was going to bring them everything they ever wanted, our children knew that their fallible parents were buying the gifts. They did not get upset when everything they wanted was not under the tree and they were very appreciative since they knew we had done all of this for them. My older son recently came to me and said that, if his future wife agreed, he really did not want to do Santa Claus. Why? Because he wanted his children to know that he did this for them so they know how much he loves them. Yep. That’s what he got out of our doing it this way. Pretty cool, huh? (When the tooth fairy needs to come I actually ask my children if they want me to hand them the dollar, or try to sneak in and hide it for them. They almost always choose ‘hide it’ and even though they know, they have not caught me yet! By the way- if you do the tooth fairy thing and ‘forget,’ go into the room with a dollar hidden in your hand and ‘help’ them search. Chances are it just fell out from under the pillow onto the floor or something…)
6. Boys should learn about housework and cooking and girls should learn about cars and mowing grass etc. Why? Because even if they do end up in a more traditional marriage there will likely be a time when they are single, or a time when their spouse is not there to handle these things for them. It is also a blessing for a spouse to be able to ‘help’ when life gets busy, or they just want to bless the other person. It’s hard to have a ‘servant’s heart’ when you are incompetent when it comes to the type of ‘service’ that would help most.
7. I do not do anything I am paying someone else to do. If I am paying for chores to be done, the person getting paid should do them. Holding your children accountable teaches them to budget their time and get the things they need to do done. Too many parents have mercy in this area and their children are poor employees later. When they are older they will be responsible for all of the chores. Having them do one or two now is not unreasonable. (I consider the fact that a local pizza place calls our house when they need an employee to see if we have any more kids available to work a huge compliment.)
8. If you live in the house, you contribute to the house. No one who is able lives in the house without pitching in and helping with the work of the house. What you do is negotiable, but you will do something. Too many ‘adult’ kids sit on their parents’ couches, eat their parents’ food and use their parents’ hot water without working on getting any farther in life. This may be because it is too comfortable at home. If you are in an adult body, you can do adult work. I will not be working harder than you. (School and employment count in the total overall work the child is doing.) If the child has no job and is not going to any type of school then bonus, I have a live-in housekeeper! The Bible tells us that children are a blessing. I fail to see how someone whose only contribution is to sit on my couch, eat my food and use up my hot water is ‘blessing’ me!
9. A child is not an adult until they are fully supporting themselves. If we, as parents are paying for any part of your life then we have a say in your life. We want to know what we are investing in. So, if I am paying for college, I have a right to ask about grades etc. If you are living under my roof, I have a right to know where you are and what you are doing. This is not unreasonable. If I am paying, or in any way supporting something, there should be some accountability. I don’t care how ‘old’ you are, if you don’t like it, start supporting yourself- please!
10. I have boundaries, and if you cannot behave you can leave. I do not hang out with people who yell at me, start fights etc. I also will not make it easy on you to do the wrong thing. I do not help deadbeat dads be deadbeats, nor do I support abuse. If we need to move the girl and the children into our home to keep her safe we will (and have done so, more than once). And typically the girl is good company and helps with the housework, bonus for me!
11. We try to worry about what is right, and not what other people will think. Some days are better than others when raising children. If my child stole, we deal with it. We do not hide it so that we do not look bad.
12. Some battles are not worth fighting. When we first adopted children there were so many issues that we picked the top ones and worked on them, and only them (unless something became urgent and needed to be handled). This kept life manageable. There are ‘big’ issues that need to be dealt with now, and little things that should be dealt with, but can wait. Often, if you try to do it all, you end up focusing on the little things (they tend to be the annoying things) and you lose the big battles. For example: The child now knows not to sing at the top of their lungs in the house, but still steals everything that is not bolted down when you are out. Big things need to be dealt with first. We actually went on ‘practice’ shopping trips to learn how to behave. Since I had nothing I needed to buy, I could keep more of an eye on the children and focus on their behavior. Eventually we could all go shopping together without major issues arising. Even with children that do not have major issues, is it really so bad that she goes shopping in her princess dress? There will come a day when she does not want to wear it anymore, and at five it’s really cute. Too many little rules that do not make sense make for a very tense household. And heck, if she brings the wand she will be less likely to want to grab something off the shelf that she really, really wants and throw a fit since her hand is already occupied! (Or she may hit her brother with it…)

I hope this helps. Always remember, every family is unique. What works for me may not work for you. Talk to your spouse and modify things as necessary.

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