Friday, 03. January 2014 by Renee Ellison
Children who are abandoned, constantly farmed out, delayed, put-off, down the list for years on end, sloppily educated, unskilled, chronically babysat by the screen, etc., become less and less likable, and more and more of a discipline problem. Let us be very clear: it is simply counter-productive to parents themselves, for parents to abandon their children, either incrementally or wholesale.
Conversely, children who are invested in, carefully groomed to be “royalty” of every sort, become more and more likable, irresistible, legendary. Children delighted in and hovered over become less and less of a discipline problem. The potential irritation surrounding them goes away poof….gone…because they are launched with marvelous social skills, strong goals and vision and live with meaning and purpose, i.e. they aren’t just hanging out somewhere in the universe wondering what color to die their hair or where to put their next tattoo…loitering. Instead, they are influencing the universe. They live contented lives as settled well-defined people—little repositories of the reflection of the glory of God.
Parenting is a hundred yard dash across time. No parent who clearly understands the eventual outcomes wants to pass through this chapter forever preoccupied. Parents won’t like their children if they don’t train them. Parents love their children if they train them and attend to them vigilantly as they develop. Good parenting is like becoming a gleeful miser who gets to finger his gold after he has collected it. You’ll enjoy your investment more , not just tomorrow, but for the rest of your life.
Friday, 27. December 2013 by Renee Ellison
Brain development is a scary, fragile process. If you, as a parent, load it up with disapproval, anger or impatience, your child’s brain may well misfire or shut down. At that point, you’ll have to start all over again. Academic pressure and stress will have dive-bombed any mental advancement you were hoping to gain. Negative emotions over academics can raise an impenetrable wall of resistance in your child that can seem like a concrete blockade that is never coming down. If that sets up hard, you’ll be looking at weeks and months of patiently and artfully diffusing it. Habitual patience makes your job just that much easier. If your child’s lower lip is quivering over academics, back off.
All intellectual growth must take place incrementally. It should never be overwhelming. (To gain a sense of what your child feels like when he is in over his head with some new concept, you can go stare at a screen of Japanese letters for a moment.) Get the task bite-sized enough—a slight stretch—and you’ll make steady progress with no resistance. If there are tears, you are pushing too hard.
You’ll get the fastest results if you’ll surround academic endeavor with your own cheerful attentiveness. Studies have shown that when classroom teachers leave the room during an academic session where the students are concentrating hard, the students’ focus goes all to ribbons. Just your presence helps the child stay on task. Internal discipline is always learned by many, many experiences of external discipline, i.e. a tutor directing the student’s mind through the task, inch by inch.
If a teacher steadily walks up and down the rows of student desks, the academics prosper profoundly. Likewise, if you as the parent will simple sit next to your child, pointing to each new thing, this will focus the child in an incredible way. Parental focus on the child and on the task is the single most effective tool in your toolbox. If when the child frequently looks up at you for encouragement, he (1) finds you there and (2) finds that his flailing, beginning efforts are met with your warm, loving eyes, you will have success.
This is why tax hikes for public education are worthless. The more money we throw at public education, the worse the test scores become. It’s an inverse graph. Why? The public sector focuses on academic trinkets, and more glitzy curriculum and equipment—while retaining indifferent, preoccupied teachers, or too many students per teacher. We know from history, however, that the Pilgrims’ children (with virtually no tax money allocated for schools) were taught in bare one-room school houses, but got twice the education out of their children as a modern child does—because the teacher was “on it”, with one book. The Puritan teachers gave meticulous attentiveness to the process. If you hover over every stroke of the pen in teaching beginning handwriting, or shoe-tying, or teeth-brushing, or math flashcards, you’ll embed the right way to do it in your child for a lifetime. It is all about hovering over beginnings. Don’t turn your back too soon.
If you observe academic stress in your child, do one or more of the following things to remove that emotional resistance:
1. Shorten the task; less is sometimes more.
2. Splinter the task into even more bite-sized pieces.
3. Go wide when you can’t go forward; enrich and stabilize what is already known.
4. Leave it alone and try it again in a few days.
5. Change your teaching approach—try another angle.
6. Go back to the concrete level and proceed slowly to the abstract.
7. Teach it at a different time of day—right before bedtime, perhaps.
8. Teach it in short spurts, with spaced repetition.
See our 12 Amazing Brain Triggers e-book for much more about these and other strategies for the easiest ways to get information into the brain of your child.
Conversely, make no mistake, moral training requires you to exercise tight, firm, unflinching resolve. When a child is misbehaving, the parent must level some sort of consequence. The most effective consequence is to devise something that is seen by the child as against his own self interest. Do not match energies with his fits. Remove yourself from the fray. Pit him against himself, not allowing him to think he is irritating you at all. Pick some consequence that costs him emotionally and you’ll turn that behavior around, prontito.
Most parents have this all backwards. They are rough on the academics, but the child is swimming in self-indulgence in his character. Teach the child self-denial, putting his own will under for the good of another, not once, but over and over throughout the day. Then if you want to make over your child with your own gushing love impulses (what parent can resist) go ahead at other moments, when you are not engaged in a toe-to-toe conflict of wills. You can endlessly initiate love activities, but make sure that you have not descended into a “respond-a-thon” with your child. If you are giving in to your child, contrary to your first commands and wishes and hunches for what is best in the situation, you are creating a future problem for yourself. Nip it in the bud now while he is young, and you can put your feet up, eat bonbons and take a snooze later. If you don’t, you may be battling that immature, indulgent will all the way to your grave.
Tuesday, 17. December 2013 by Renee Ellison
It is appalling that a recent national survey of over 3,000 adolescents (from all walks of life) revealed that their most prized possession is their freedoms. “Don’t take away my cell phone or my car. I’ll hyperventilate if you do; I’ll go ballistic.” The survey shared anecdotally about an undergraduate high school class being released on the last day of school (for just that year) where the students ran from the building shouting like a bunch of warriors, or a scene from Braveheart...FREEEEDDDDDOOOOOOOMMMMMM. But what is more to the point is that similar scenes take place everyday in the homes of teens, demanding to escape from their parents, and the house itself. This is routine. The struggle to “get free” is growing in intensity.
In light of this statistically-verified psychological state of teens, i.e. it is what really lives in their heads these days, parents were encouraged, as a result of the survey, to walk delicately and not to step on this fragile dynamic. Restrain your adolescent if he gravitates toward evil, but not by taking away his cell phone or his Internet connection, nor by clogging up his social pipeline. Huh?
Upon some reflection, one might ask, what is it that these articulate and desperate teens really want? “Freedom FROM what, and freedom TO DO what?” Historically, people have shouted (or rather meekly, exhaustedly, unbelievably, whispered) “freedom? at last?” if they have just emerged from a Siberian work camp, or a German concentration camp. But we have none of that here. Freedom has not been a pressing urgent word in American for over 200 years. But now it emerges as an insistence, a veritable air-hose for the adolescent. In America?
So what is really going on here? Teens want to escape their homes and their educational institutions, desperate to do what? To smoke weed and cut themselves with peers…asserting, with a hamburger in their hand, “aahhh, freedom.” But what they really mean by the word “freedom” is lasciviousness. They want unbridled lasciviousness. They want no responsibility, no work, no personal production quotients, no input from people who have lived life several decades ahead of them, no have to’s, no context at all that they don’t generate themselves, sometime in the middle of the night, in a dark alley.
The majority of teens desperately want to escape to an unbridled world of their peers. Peers these days are increasingly sought-after to replace the home, the parents, in an absolute sense. But let’s get some clarity here. Peers do not have enough of an experience base to mentor other peers. It ain’t gonna happen. What happens is that adolescent peers, left alone, descend into a pool of iniquity together. And peer pressure becomes a demon in their life they hadn’t counted on.
All of this is a non-issue if one carefully, diligently, lovingly homeschools. A child never runs from a homeschooled high school “class” wanting to get away from learning, because long ago they realized that there never is a last day, that real learning goes on forever, and that to be involved in it is the human’s happiest state. For by it the child finds himself actualized, invigorated and thrilled to be alive. He has no struggle with a deep search for identity, because his unique identity has been under close surveillance and pumped up from the time he was born. His parents have meticulously groomed his academic prowess, skills and talents from the get-go. Homeschooling parents are daily launching their child into what God made of him, and that feels good to the child. It is exhilarating for any human being to be made more ME, and to find God’s calling for ME. A parent realizes early on that his child cannot run in all directions and get anywhere. Thus, restraint and discipline become the loving “hands” used to make over the child. As a result, a maturing discipline becomes the child’s settled expectation and ever-growing satisfaction.
So what is the problem with secular teens, not so trained? Why do they want to escape? What are they running from? They are running from parents who are constantly preoccupied with something other than their own child—be it work, their own social life, their own hobbies and projects, their own baseball games, and their own emotional traumas. So the child wants to escape being ignored. The child wants to escape educational institutions because they taught him the what of life but never mentioned the why. It was 12 plus years of a mental life that ignored God at best, and grew increasingly irritated with Him at worst. So the school strutted forth to became a surrogate God from which the child now looooooooooooongs to escape. Secular education is not God’s equal. It is not even close. The secular teens are right after all, but deluded. They are running not toward freedoms but from meaninglessness—and now are searching in the wrong places. Only you, as a parent, can reverse this.
Thursday, 12. December 2013 by Renee Ellison
Some of you have decided to depart from Christmas after finding out that it has just too many pagan roots for your comfort level. Others of you still participate in Christmas but try to keep Christ/Yeshua up front and central, while wading through the materialism, somehow, someway. Regardless of where you are with respect to the holiday in general, it is not hard to observe that there are some emotional expectations during this season that sometimes become difficult to manage. For starters: no one’s family can measure up to the ideal Christmas family advertised on the billboards and magazines. Yet we are continually bombarded during an entire month to measure up to some imagined perfect family, lest we become downcast.
So this is just a reminder to wake you up to the fact that there ARE spirits of depression released at this time of year—so stabilize your spirit and your family’s against them. This is not the time to evaluate your life, for example! Just put one foot in front of the other and work harder at anything, improve something, sort, clean, organize, create—and think of little ways to give of yourself to others—as you just get through these two weeks. Think deep thoughts later . One experiences the same phenomenon when one is sick and gets depressed. You can’t think straight or see straight when under a fever. Just get those days behind you anyway you can. So sometimes we just have to get through holidays—get them and their extended family complexities behind us.
In my immediate family, we always work harder at this time of year. I always used to work my students harder this entire month in the classroom, too. My students would skip down the hall with “accomplishment joy” because we did consuming additional projects and learned exciting new things while all the other students moped around and dragged their feet because their bodies were loaded with sugar and their minds with indulgent parties that didn’t change their real lives one iota. They were, I think, sick of idleness and sick of themselves in such a sloppy daily condition.
So remember that the spirits of depression are legion right now over the next two weeks. Bouts of depression are even reported in the newspapers. It is part of the pagan satanic design for this time of year, to detract from the Incarnation (even though that probably happened during the Feast of Tabernacles when shepherds were not out in the snow watching their flocks).
The enemy’s modus operundus? Always paint a perfect family—which no one ever has—and in comparison with which everyone will be depressed. Conversely, Christ/Yeshua says “I’ll take you where you are, not checking any short week’s worth of naughty list, and will love you deeply and you’ll find all your satisfaction in ME, not in your family.” Great saints throughout history have discovered this, even in a prison cell or solitary confinement. Jesus/Yeshua says, in effect, “I can make you immeasurably happy with just MYSELF!”
Only the God of the universe has such true persuasion over the soul. That is how much spiritual power is wrapped up in HIM. To make the soul utterly content in all situations is a feat, indeed. To have a Savior who can deliver us from soulish discontent for all eternity is amazing. He can lift the soul to ecstasy to the degree one meditates upon Him and His scriptures. Conversely, Santa Claus makes a furtive dip to the earth on one day and abandons you the day after; he is the consummate master of abandonment. His demons traumatize people with visions of perfection in everyone else’s lifestyle. T’aint there. It is all taunting and jeering. Ignore it. You are loved. You are worth blood. You are irreplaceable. Don’t forget it in the midst of torn wrappings and wadded up tinsel, and others’ sometimes impossible expectations. Operate in the opposite spirit and be a champion of love for “all seasons.”
Sunday, 24. November 2013 by Renee Ellison
When most homeschoolers begin homeschooling the most frequently asked question from relatives and friends is “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” At first such a question makes a newbie homeschooler quake. But upon a closer examination and a little more time a homeschooler grows in her unclouded perspective to such a degree that she answers CONFIDENTLY: “Yes, I AM worried about socialization. That’s why I homeschool!”
Peers do not make good role models. Peers do not make good missionaries. Peers do not have enough of an experience base to make good mentors of other peers. They don’t know what wisdom IS yet.
The Bible says, “Those who walk with the wise WILL BE wise” (Proverbs 13:20). So, the only thing we have to find out is WHO ARE the wise? The answer: they are spiritually mature Christian ADULTS…i.e. PARENTS, and some grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other mature Christians. The MORE time your child can spend with these people, the more refined they will become. Their association with wise elders will keep your children out of multitudes of temptations, and they will learn from their observations of hours and hours of spiritually mature responses to all of life’s vicissitudes, which then become easy to emulate and imitate.
When children are taught that their SIBLINGS and other close family members should be the focus of all the great majority of their social yearnings, they CAN create LIFETIME BEST friends for themselves. Children can’t figure this out by themselves. They need parents to tell them, show them, and emulate it for them. Children so trained will be comfortable with ALL age groups. Conversely, children who have been socially indoctrinated in the public schools can ONLY relate to peer ages with ease. Most of them won’t even look adults in the eyes when speaking to them, and they often show disdain for those who are much younger than themselves.
Public education has its mincing inroads into the heart. Therefore, watch diligently at the DOORWAY of socialization bonding with families whose children are public-schooled. Public education is 12 plus years of training children to ignore God (at best), and to become irritated with Him (at worst). Is this the influence you WANT for YOUR child? If not, hover over BEGINNING peer relationships. Who ARE those peers, what do they spend the majority of their time doing, and WHERE are they getting their influences FROM?
Strive to raise a HOLY child. A holy child gives you NO REGRETS in your golden years. If we spend the bulk of our lives content with athletic and academic training of our children that is largely secular and pagan, going through the motions of child-training without a FOCUSED deliberate eye on raising up GODLY seed, we CAN find, sadly, later that we have wasted our finest energies on that which is not eternal. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real deal.
It is most interesting to note that John the Baptist emerged a LEADER of men from a totally isolated childhood, raised with no siblings and only elderly parents; the same was true of Joash. Joash RULED all of Israel—presto—from the get-go—right out of isolation. You, too, strive for a private life full of character training and endless expressions of sacrificial love within a family, and your public influence LATER will be immense. Do it the other way around and your life can fall like a house of cards.
Godly seed is FRAGILE. Roaring lions crouch at the door, seeking to devour it. The remnant has more than once dwindled; historically it has become breathtakingly thin. At one point it only consisted of Noah’s family of 8. There is a REAL war that we were born into. Keep watch. Be vigilant. Don’t let down your guard. Arrive on the other side of the Jordan at least with your own offspring. Present to God YOUR godly seed.
Sunday, 24. November 2013 by Renee Ellison
Our recent podcasts have been focusing on teaching the principles of personal financial management. The current broadcasts have been addressed to adolescents. This blog post contains some quick tips for how best to teach financial soundness to younger children.
Give each young child a GLASS jar (gotta be able to SEE money accruing in there—as opposed to an opaque piggy bank, which is like dropping money into a black hole). Write the child’s name on some tape and affix it to the jar. If the jar is skinny, like a spice jar, the child could fit it into his or her school box, along the edge, if they use a box to house their textbooks.
Then you, as the parent, go to the bank and trade in dollars for rolls and rolls and rolls of NICKELS. Nickels are BULKY, so that makes it look like the children’s money is accruing FASTER. Also, nickels are also easily divisible in small increments for dividing later, at the end of the week when they divide up their nickels between tithe, savings, spending money and taxes. (Taxes are the money that is given BACK to the parent. This shows the child in spades that he NEVER gets the whole dollar of what he earns.)
Then tell your young children that ANY TIME THEY WANT to earn money you will pay them a nickel for every ten minutes of work. You have to start with small increments with small children, because you have to have room to INCREASE their pay over time. If you start paying them too much, in the young years, you’ll find the raises unmanageable later. If the children are wasting time, or squandering it on media, TV, or computer, pull them off and say this is EARNING MONEY time—we will never get today’s hours back. We’re building a FINANCIAL FOUNDATION and you never get a second change to build a foundation of savings so that money can begin to EARN money—e.g., buy tools or whatever to make MORE money. FOUNDATIONS are everything. Imagine building a house without a foundation. Your children’s financial goal is to secure a nest egg. The more visible their progress toward that goal, the better.
For much more on this topic, check out our additional resources here.
Thursday, 14. November 2013 by Renee Ellison
Is everyone in your household (age 5 and older) touch-typing, without looking at the keys? If not, check out Zoom-Type, the fastest and best way to learn how to type.
How about some fun practice ideas, to improve your typing speed? You probably already know that this classic sentence (or some variation of it) uses all the letters in the English alphabet: The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. The sentence is a pangram—a series of words that utilizes all the letters of an alphabet. The word pangram is derived from the Greek for all letters (pan = ALL + grámma = LETTER). Read more about it here.
Pangrams are great for typing practice because they require you to use every letter on the keyboard. Here’s another one, that you may enjoy practicing after you’ve learned how to type in just five days using the Zoom-Type course: God created zebras and foxes to walk, jump and hide very quickly. That pangram uses 50 characters, so it isn’t as efficient as the quick brown fox classic sentence (which only uses 33).
By the way, the Word of God contains a pangram of the world’s first and oldest language, Hebrew—in Zephaniah 3:8:
“Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD,
“For the day when I rise up as a witness.
Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,
To assemble kingdoms,
To pour out on them My indignation,
All My burning anger;
For all the earth will be devoured
By the fire of My zeal.”
Interestingly, the verse just after it (Zeph. 3:9) may prophesy the revival of the use of Hebrew: “For then I shall turn unto the peoples a clean lip, so that they all call on the Name of the Lord, to serve Him with one shoulder.” To give yourself a boost in learning the original language, order our Hebrew Zoom-Type course.
Also, see these links to a number of free online typing tests and keyboarding games.
Thursday, 31. October 2013 by Renee Ellison
Want to teach phonics in a way that gets your child reading faster? Want to make teaching phonics easier, too? Here’s how.
Most phonetic programs are loaded with way too much tedium, bells, whistles, and games. In the public school it takes about a year (most of first grade) to conquer the reading skill. Many commercial phonics programs take six to eight months to wade through. However, if you’ll proceed with THIS FIRST STEP—in exactly the following manner—your child should be able to read significantly in a matter of weeks instead of months. This method kaleidoscopes the task down into “bare-bones-speedy-minimums”. This less tedious task translates to more energy for Mom, and quicker reading joy for her children.
Begin with this first step and then follow with whatever phonics program you currently own. If you do not own a phonics program, either Samuel L. Blumenfeld’s simple 8 1/2 X 11” thin book: Alpha-Phonics. A Primer for Beginning Readers or Siegfried Engelmann’s 100 Easy Lessons are both simple, succinct programs to teach. The difference will be that you will zoom through WHATEVER program you have, given this IMPORTANT, TRANSFORMING, first step that I will share with you. Stay tuned here for the notice of our new ebook or Kindle book, Teach Phonics Faster!
Wednesday, 30. October 2013 by Renee Ellison
An educational principle: Whenever some concept is over a child’s head (for example, a youngster lacks a sense of time), move back to the concrete level and splinter the skill down to a more bite-sized piece to conquer.
Let’s say you want him to understand the passage of time. We’ll assume that you want to conquer the concept deliberately; some things are learned through osmosis over a longer period—not to worry—but if you want to get it conquered now, this is how you would proceed. Find yourself a little sand timer (an egg timer), and teach him that this shows the passage of three minutes. Have his clothes all laid out on the bed, and then turn the sand timer upside down and challenge him: “Can you get all these clothes on in three minutes before the timer runs out?” This teaches him to scurry—to understand that time is passing. Next, move to a real clock (not a digital clock—use the kind that has arms). Using this clock, you’ll teach him how to count the three little black sticks or dots that denote the minutes. Now repeat the challenge: “Can you get dressed before this long arm gets to ....?” and then progressively lengthen his challenges. You can apply this strategy to any concept.
So, the principle? For every abstract concept that is too difficult, you move back to the concrete level (something the child can see) and splinter the skill down to a small task. Continuing with our example, you might challenge him next: “Can you brush your teeth ahead of the sand timer?” See how this helps him to finally, eventually, get up to the concept that he has 90 minutes to get ready for school? Go back and build it up step by step, and you’ll have good success.
Tuesday, 29. October 2013 by Renee Ellison
Watch and Do is the key to whizzing through teaching your child to tie his shoes or to do anything tactically that he hasn’t done before. Children are impulsive. To slow that tendency, use the phrase “Watch and then do”...over and over. You will see faster, more accurate results that way.
To teach him how to tie his shoes, reduce the stress totally. Don’t teach it at the time when it is needed. Just do it for him, at those times. At other times while you are together without anywhere to go, get cuddly on the couch and have one shoe in your lap, and the other shoe in his lap, to practice on together. Here’s what you say:
1. Watch me (do nothing, just watch). [Have him put his hands behind his back if he is tempted to try to do it while you are showing him the first step of tying a shoe.]
2. Now you do just that one step.
3. Now just watch me; you do nothing. [Repeat doing the first step.]
4. Now you do that.
Watch and do, watch and do—do just one step at a time—undo just that step and then repeat that one step three times—then add a step.
You’re done—and he’s a whiz
Incidentally, is your young son having difficulty getting his shoes on the correct feet? Put two little dots on the inner matching sides of his shoes—above the arches, where he can see them. Tell him to make the two dots KISS, when he puts on his shoes. You can use little pieces of electrician’s tape, or dots made with permanent marker, or masking tape. Eventually show him that the toes kiss—they lean toward one another. Easy, peezy