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

Archive for June, 2012

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


For math it depended on the child.

My more ADHD children, who excelled in school enjoyed A Beka.

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

My more ‘social’ children like Teaching Textbooks.


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.


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

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?


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.


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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