P31 Wannabe

Home as a School September 16, 2010

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 4:31 pm

I was really looking forward to reading this chapter in Jill Savage’s My Heart’s At Home since we are planning on home schooling Haddie. I was hoping for some new insights and great ideas. While I was a little disappointed that it didn’t talk about the actual schooling part, it did give me some good ideas about how to train children in the different disciplines that are essential for a successful life.

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

People Skills

Kids don’t learn people skills by osmosis.  They have to be taught appropriate manners and relationship skills.

  • Introductions
  • Phone Etiquette
    • At our house you don’t answer the phone until you are nine years old.  That’s a rite of passage in the Savage family.
  • Thank-You Notes
    • Having a grateful heart and expressing thanks are two different things.  Kids need to be taught how to express written thanks when they receive a gift or someone goes out of their way to do something for them.
    • I was really excited about reading this one, because I had just coincidentally started having Haddie color thank you cards while I wrote a short note inside “from” her.  She has gotten really excited about making thank you cards and was even upset when we didn’t have any more to do!
  • Table manners
  • Being a host or hostess


Self-Management Skills

Kids learn by what they see us do, by natural consequences (if I don’t manage my time well, I don’t get my homework done, and then I get a bad grade), and by direct instruction.

  • Personal appearance skills:
    • Bathing/showering/washing hair
      • As a youth sponsor….I want to say please, please, please teach these skills to your children!!!  We have had too many awkward situations where we have had to force kids (mainly middle school boys…but it doesn’t stop there!) to shower and use deodorant and change their clothes.  Kids need to be taught these things!  Parents shouldn’t assume that they will automatically know the right ways to do these things.  My kids will be clean and smelling good as much as possible!
    • Deodorant
    • Hair care
      • Help your child to understand that choice comes with responsibility.  If your daughter wants long hair, she has to care for it every day without an argument.
    • Clothing care
      • At the Savage household, if I find clothes on the floor, they become mine for 30 days.  We have explained to our kids that caring for your clothes is really about stewardship–taking care of the things God has given you.  If you can’t be responsible, then you lose the privilege of having very many choices in clothing.
      • I really like the above principle.  I’ve seen too many kids leave their belongings all over our youth room and all over during our youth trips.  I cringe when I think about how they must behave at home.  I like my home organized and my belongings taken care of.  And I want to pass these qualities onto my family.
  • Personal Discipline Skills:
    • “The very last part of the brain to be pruned and shaped to its adult dimensions is the prefrontal cortex, home of the so-called executive functions–planning, setting priorities, organizing thoughts, suppressing impulses, weighing the consequences of one’s actions.  In other words, the final part of the brain to grow up is the part capable of deciding, I’ll finish my homework and take out the garbage and then I’ll IM my friends about seeing a movie.”
      • Oh, this explains sooo much!
    • Homework
    • Time Management
    • Money Management
      • TV Commercials
      • Grocery Shopping
      • Bill Paying
      • The tithe lesson
      • The saving lesson
      • The pay cash/no debt lesson
      • The budget lesson

Home Management

A parent’s job is to work themselves out of a job.  It’s a challenging predicament because everyone wants to be needed.  If we work ourselves out of a job, we won’t be needed anymore, right?  No, that’s not true at all.  We’re just needed in a different way as our children walk more and more toward independence.

A child’s first real effort at home management begins in the preschool years.  This is when they bring home school papers or Sunday school papers.  They also start collecting things, such as fast-food toys from kids’ meals and other trinkets of all kinds.  They also have toys they need to help manage.  During the preschool and early elementary years, the parent will do most of the managing, but the parent needs to ask the child to help much of the time.  This slowly introduces them to the concept that there are things in life that need to be taken care of.

A preschooler can help with the laundry by sorting clothes according to color.  As they get into grade school they can not only sort, but also help fold clothes.  By junior high, you’ll need to conduct some basic “how to do laundry” lessons to complete their education.  From then on, they should be able to either assist with laundry responsibilities or completely be responsible for their own laundry.

Saturday is home management day:

  • Strip bedsheets
  • Make bed w/ fresh sheets
  • Pick up, straighten, and organize your room
  • Dust your room
  • Vacuum your room
  • Ask Mom one thing she wants you to do in the house
  • Ask Dad what he wants you to do in the yard
  • When you are finished with your list, you are free to spend the rest of your Saturday however you would like.

Yes, it’s easier to do it on your own, but that is not what is best for them.

Make sure you don’t skip over actually teaching them how to do each of their responsibilities.  Often times we expect things from our children that we’ve actually not taken the time to actually show them how to do.

Our kids also have their basics (the five-finger responsibilities) and daily chores we call “family responsibilities.”  These are the tasks that need to be done every day, such as emptying the dishwasher, feeding the animals, collecting the trash throughout the house, and running the vacuum on the high traffic areas.  The family responsibilities are assigned by day with a chart on the refrigerator.


Spiritual Disciplines

As a parent, our goal is to encourage our children to transition from our faith and beliefs to making them their own faith and beliefs.  At some time they have to own it for themselves and find their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They too have to move from a religion to relationship.

Lessons to teach them:

  • Bible reading
  • Praying
    • ACTS pattern for prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)
      • I learned this pattern sometime while I was a kid and I still use it.  Helps me to remember to include more aspects than just asking (supplication) all the time.
  • Attending church and youth group
    • These lessons are the ones you teach with your life.  If you occasionally don’t go to church because you don’t feel like it, your kids will learn that going to church isn’t something valuable for your life; it’s just an option you can do whenever its convenient.  If you walk away from a church service complaining about the length of the sermon or how bad the music was, they’ll pick up that church isn’t really about being entertained and sometimes the entertainment just isn’t what it should be.


Character and Values

Jill included a large chart of the different character qualities, their definitions, scripture references and scripture location of Jesus’ example of these qualities.

When I was homeschooling, we chose one character quality each month to study and work on…We no longer homeschool, but most summers we focus on one character quality a week or even one a day as an overview to understanding the importance of character.

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