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The Better Late Than Early debate for teaching young children

Sunday, 14. December 2008 by Renee Ellison

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A mom wrote: “At what age did your daughter start learning piano?  I think it said four years on the Quick Piano description.  Is three too young?  One of my aunts was talking to me about a book called, Better Late than Early.  Michael and Debi Pearl seem to advocate that approach as well (their children didn’t read till they were 8-10, if I correctly remember reading that).  My three-year-old LOVES learning as much as I can teach her, though, and thinks age three is a great time to start reading.  So, does the same go with piano?  She also wants to learn to type, but I do think learning to read and write first could have its benefits.” smile

I replied,
Yes, I’ve read all that “better late” stuff…but they didn’t have your daughter or mine as a child!!!  I finally came down to “you’ll know WHEN to do WHAT by the child’s response.”  If you have a child who shows no interest, and doesn’t respond when you feed them beginning tidbits in any area then you don’t bother going down that road, just yet.  But if you have eager beavers, trying to read cereal boxes, and street signs, then you go for it!  You could start your daughter on BOTH piano and typing programs from us, right now.  She could just learn her alphabet letters right off the keyboard, which by the way, a young child we taught did…it was amazing.  She learned the letters in her FINGERS..just multi-sensored it one more level from the get-go.

Now here is the rub.  It is really a question of the MAMA’s fatigue level.  To teach children at very, very, young ages extracts a pound of flesh out of mama.  If you wait, you can teach the very same thing in three hours that took you three months to teach when the child was younger.  BUT, it does make the days very exciting for the child to nick away at all the topics, just inch by inch, from wee ages.  If you have an eager child, they absolutely LOVE this stuff…and beg you for Wal-Mart workbooks, etc.  Always only do a little bit, quit before they really want to, and you’ll have them lathering at the mouth to learn.  AND we DID find that the early neuro-networking patterning catapults them into success later, far beyond their years.  For example, we patterned our infant daughter everyday in ballet positions; her Dad moved the feet while I moved the arms into those positions.  When she took ballet, she was a natural, far ahead.  Same with all sorts of plant and animal flash-cards, etc.  Ten years later she pointed out an Indian paintbrush to me on a hillside—and she had never seen one since she saw me show her a picture of one on a flashcard when she was six months old.

The opposite of Better Late…is all of the stuff out of the Better Baby Institute in Philadelphia.  But that’s a topic for another time…

Problems of grading children (or grownups, for that matter)

Sunday, 26. October 2008 by Renee Ellison

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How does God judge in the end?—taking into account original IQ differences, sweat factor, family upbringing, physical and mental handicaps, motivation, parameters of unique personality, circumstances, and the moral unshakable law of God.  Then we have King David, neck deep in sin, being called a man after God’s own heart because he refused self-delusion when finally confronted (almost none of us are capable of this, even WHEN confronted) and came to the right and only table for help, etc.  Whew.

During my many years as a teacher in public and private schools, I used to have such a hard time giving out grades.  They were a nightmare for me.  Keeping a gradebook was a tyranny.  I literally had sleepless hours at night about what was and wasn’t in my gradebook, and why.  And when it WAS all in there, mechanically recorded, I later sometimes fudged—wanting to motivate rather than to clobber a student. 

I COULD have given out grades the FIRST day of school as the children walked through the classroom door (“that is an A student, that one an F student”)—just by the way they walked and carried themselves.  It was a foul arrangement from the get-go.  How do you grade a five-year-old who can’t even find the front door of the new building, because his one room shack/home was quite a bit smaller?  Rue the day it was ever invented.  It turned school systems into labeling agencies, and industrialized institutions of straight-jacketing, where nobody fit.  “To grow” is the only thing that matters, and sometimes even that is impossible, for a child in the grip of autism or an older person in Alzheimer’s, for example.  A job for God, to be sure.

Coping with cold weather: tips for chilly women

Wednesday, 15. October 2008 by Renee Ellison

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Up north here, winter is coming, so batten the hatches!  When you weatherproof a home, you cover the holes.  So, too, the body!  The main place heat escapes is through the head (especially if you have a small brain) and the feet (especially if you have holes in your toes).

The head: Wear stocking caps to sleep in, or Polar Tec hats that cover your ears.  (Warms up your dreams and blocks out all sound…add eye-patches for a total blackout.)  Wear them inside during the day, too… the stocking caps, that is, not the eye-patches.  (Warning: if someone comes to your door, they’re apt to say, “Oh I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize that you were just leaving.”—to which you answer ?????).

For outside daytime, think “Russian Czar hats” with fur that sticks out in front of the hat.  I used to rip this off from hats, considering it a nuisance, not knowing what it was for.  In a less aesthetic moment I discovered that the added fur moves the cold further out in front/away from the face by about two inches (one of the few splendid ideas the Russians have had).

The feet: Wear two layers of socks: a comfortable non-itchy thin inner sock, covered with a heavier wool sock (unless, of course, you LIKE that itchy feeling).  Wear flat-heeled thin tall leather boots all the time (high heels were invented by men); this adds additional warmth UP the leg.  Or, wear ankle-high tennis shoes with thicker insulation, or any thick shoe.

Wear socks to bed.  Fill hot water bottles and place them at the children’s feet as they go to sleep.  My mom used to sleep with a hot brick from the fireplace wrapped in a thin towel during cold Wisconsin winters.  (Heroically, you could use older, iffier, hot water bottles in your OWN bed.)

Stay warm at night (this is a time when you don’t need to heat your entire house):  Sleep with two pillows.  Set one pillow against the wall standing wide-ways at the head of your bed, providing another thick layer of insulation against the wall.  (Move these extra pillows to the center of the bed if you’re having a marital spat and need a demilitarized zone for awhile.)  Wear long underwear for pajamas, to cover with a quick robe when the children are around.  (Forget about looking attractive at night.)  Silk long underwear can’t be beat (SierraTradingPost.com has it for about $18 for top or bottom.  For reasons mentioned below, we recommend just getting the bottoms).  And switch to flannel sheets when chilly nights have arrived!

Create your own heat:  Become a heat combustion engine yourself.  Exercise vigorously under the covers, sing vigorously, clean house vigorously, do daily vigorous walks and callisthentics, chop wood.

Stop the leaks in your house: Sew heavy curtains to put over your doors and windows…i.e. add shower rings to your spare thick blankets or sleeping bags and hang them over doors and windows.  This makes your house look ghastly, but it drops your heating bills HUGELY.  (Now is the time to come face to face with the fact that people always care more about how their OWN home looks, than yours.)  Insulate windows with Reflectix® Bubble Pack Foil Insulation ...it comes in large rolls at most major hardware stores, in the plumbing section.  [Email us if you’d like to read our price comparisons for this insulating film and look at pictures of the panels in place.]  Cut it into sections that you can reinforce with yardsticks stapled or taped on as handles to set them into the window at night and remove when the sun is shining.  Work with the elements, to take advantage of solar gain on sunny days; caulk around the exterior of your windows and check for leaks around doors (beef up the draft excluders if the cold air is sweeping under the door).

Stop the leaks in your bed:  In Medieval times, people in cold climates hung thick canopy drapes around the bed (that is where the decorative frilly foo-foo thin things that warm up no one got started) and all the family members slept in one bed (that is where glee clubs got started).

Bathroom survival:  Line your toilet seats with fur.  Bathe in large Tupperware containers, storage bins, INSIDE the tub…using the tub only to catch the splatters.  (Cold porcelain tubs COULD make you violent.)  Preheat your bathroom to 350 degrees with a small electric heater before disrobing.

Drink hot drinks: Put warm water in a thermos before you go to bed at night, so that when you drink water during the night it isn’t like drinking ice.  (This procedure prepares you for nocturnal picnics, too.)  Be sure that it is only WARM water…test it on your wrist before putting it into the thermos.  If it’s too hot, waiting for it to cool off THOROUGHLY awakes you at a time when you’d prefer to be thoroughly asleep.  I’ve burned my tongue on HOT thermos water, before.  Makes for parched dreams afterwards, and a foul day following.

Drink something hot first thing in the morning…tea, coffee, hot grease…  Just have hot water ready in a thermos all day long.  If you need variety for tea choices, just use drops of essential oils in hot water all throughout the day.  Forget those tea kettles that have a one inch hole and whistle; they get rusted and filthy inside, because you can’t see inside and can’t reach in to clean them properly.  (They were invented by a fastidious neurotic.)  A lid on a pan works fine; you become an expert at pouring it with no spout over time.

Focus the heat:  We have two little portable electric RADIATOR heaters.  Where we live, they only cost about 15 cents an hour to run.  We use these in addition to (often, instead of) the furnace for the whole house.  We take this focused heat WITH us—moving it from area to area wherever we are doing our actual living.  We set the heaters under or near the dining room table when we eat, move them to the living room right by the couches when we read, etc.  In the morning I turn them on when I first get up, and drink hot tea and sit right next to them.

Wear layers: Top of the line are down vests and cashmere sweaters (a treasured find in thrift stores).  Wearing TWO vests works wonders.  Layer one over the other.  This frees your arms to wash dishes without dipping your huge thick coat sleeves in the water.  If your torso stays warm, the rest of you will, too.  And of course, layer layers underneath that.  I have found that I don’t like long underwear on the TOP because of the moments off and on throughout the day when I occasionally warm up.  I don’t like having to take EVERYTHING off just to cool down in these sporadic hotter moments.  If I take everything off down to a regular blouse, then I’m always modest and don’t have to leave the room to change clothes entirely.  Then ten minutes later I can quickly grab the external layers and put them all back on again.

Read and have couch time in sleeping bags up to your armholes.  (When you walk around you’ll look like inch worms.)

Think hot thoughts—grateful thoughts.  Join sympathies with Eskimos and Siberians.  And be utterly thankful, if you’re one of the fortunate women who got to spend the MAJORITY of your earth-life in warm places.  You’ll soon forget having had to pay these dues at the low end of the thermometer for a portion of the year.  Some people have had to spend their ENTIRE lives cold.  (I’ve found this particular gratefulness test hard to pass, myself…but ‘tis a good goal to strive for in valiant moments of nobility…i.e., when the children are watching.)

If all else fails, cave in and move to India.

Filed Under: Home management tips

The reason for commitment in marriage

Tuesday, 05. August 2008 by Renee Ellison

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One must enter marriage with the single eye of loving the other one, not getting loved.  Dashed expectations ruin marriages.  This single disorientation about what marriage actually is has caused the skyrocketing divorce rate around the world.  Marriage is the last chance to grow up…to face one’s OWN ability to get outside one’s self and love lavishly and unselfishly, expecting nothing in return.

If one hunts for joy in marriage, it will always be elusive, like trying to catch a butterfly.  But if one’s focus is on serving and loving the OTHER one, then you will find that you are surprised by it.  The butterfly will repeatedly come and sit on your arm.

This is why commitment in marriage is so important.  Merely living with one another results in a daily rejection at a profound level.  Commitment is what enables one to have the safety to uncover one’s own selfishness and grow beyond it.  Otherwise, without a lifetime commitment, one is always plotting how to get OUT of the relationship, for every cantankerous day between the two.

For more on this topic, order Renee’s book, Growing Marriage—and listen to Kevin Swanson’s interview of Renee on Generations Radio.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Art in homemaking

Tuesday, 05. August 2008 by Renee Ellison

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Have you seen the movie Babette’s Feast?  I think it conveys a strong message about serving our families with excellence and artistic sensitivity.  One of my favorite parts, early in the movie, is watching the old man’s reaction to the one bowl of soup Babette kindly placed in front of him.  That kindness was spread THROUGHOUT the soup by her CARE with the spices.  Food can be a carrier of meaning…as ANY endeavor can be if one elevates it by one’s care.

The other thing that I found most memorable about the movie was to see ordinary people caught up in art, finding to their surprise a part of their own humanity that they didn’t know existed.  In this case it was the art of dining...several courses…savored…eaten slowly (we would omit the alcohol) caused another part of them to wake up…communicating lovingly with one another on another level…not just knowing one another in a one-dimensional functional setting of work.

These sorts of momentary aches, brought on by art, teach us that there is another existence somewhere, of which this is only the prelude.  The German philosopher Goethe said, “There is so much in us that longs YET to be developed, even when we are old, that it indicates that we were created ultimately for a life beyond this.”

Filed Under: Home management tips

How to relate well with a difficult husband

Sunday, 27. July 2008 by Renee Ellison

Submission is about OUTCOMES, not INPUT.  A wife needs to communicate openly, frequently and honestly with her husband.  What he DOES about it is his own dilemma, to eventually be judged by the Lord.  She is not to insist or control…but she IS to give input.  She is not to argue…but simply state the scriptural principle that she thinks is being violated, and then quickly return to loving him with NO EXPECTATIONS.  She is to let her husband know that his behavior is having such and such of an emotional impact upon others in the house, which he may be clueless about.  She can say “That statement hurt,” and then quickly return to treating him with respect as if the incident never happened (no brooding, and no letting a root of bitterness develop).  She could also say, “We feel abandoned by your _____ [golfing, web surfing, studying, preoccupation with work—whatever it may be]; could we talk about that?  You might not be aware of how this is affecting us.  Perhaps we could arrange a time when you could connect with us and then you could go back to [whatever he feels he must spend considerable time doing].  We don’t need MUCH, but we do need SOME.”

The man may have every right to his focused activity, but he needs to know that if his wife and children could count on his relating to them every so often—for example, that he would spend ten minutes connecting with them relationally, hugging them, manifesting interest in THEIR interests, etc., it would represent the heavenly Father (the caring shepherd) to them and as a result, would make the family bond more with him.  If he chooses NOT to, he needs to know that he puts them at risk of looking to find their emotional needs met somewhere else.

If he does NOT change, then the wife needs to do some CHEERFUL self-management and not sulk and not FEEL OPPRESSED.  No one MAKES us unhappy…we ALLOW it.  We can be fearless in our own homes and be cheerful in the Lord’s tender companionship all the day.  “Perfect love casts out fear.”

A godly wife can live with even an “impossible” husband, by making positive spiritual choices.  She can carry inner thoughts like “I’m divinely picked to represent the Father’s steady love to him.”  Or, “There are reasons he acts like this, perhaps stemming from his early background and training.  I will lovingly and steadily pray for his healing.  I will model the Lord’s nature to him.”  No doubt, this is a big job for the wife, but it is one that will bring about her OWN sanctification, changing her complaining about HIM, to working hard on HERSELF.  Or she can think an uplifting thought like: “This is an exciting challenge that the saints of old have also encountered with other ‘impossible’ people and have found VICTORY.  They learned to deepen their relationship with the Lord via the struggle. I shall choose to do likewise!”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote (On Prayer), “Holy love bears with the most disagreeable for Jesus’ sake…the most trying and unlovable.”  And, “It is possible to see the will of Him in everything and to receive it not with sighing but with singing.”

Admirable Mennonite behavior

Wednesday, 23. July 2008 by Renee Ellison

When people ask WHAT we are, we often answer that we are Messianics THEOLOGICALLY and “want-ta-be Mennonites” in home life!

Through the years we have had a number of touches with the Mennonite community in different parts of the U.S.  Here is what we’ve learned from them…

  • That the women are actually in the kitchen making dinner!  Sleeves rolled up, apron on, making biscuits, pie for dessert, a full dinner.
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  • That the children are groomed impeccably...so that when all 12 of them greet you at the curb, they communicate holiness to you before you even get out of your car…just by the looks of them.  Their shirts are tucked in and buttoned to the top; the boys’ hair is cut short, the girls’ hair is long and braided, etc.
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  • That the women take modesty very seriously—not wanting to cause their Christian brother (whom they will live with for all eternity) to stumble mentally, even moderately.
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  • That in whatever little free time they have they seek to nourish themselves in the Lord, rather than turning to entertainment coming from the media.  They will often be seen and heard singing hymns in the evening on their front porches.
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  • That they love singing hymns in HARMONY, and train their children in how to read music, all four parts, vocally, from an early age.
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  • That they see to it that they steadily redeem extra time by working productively with their hands.
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  • That they focus upon loving humans rather than squandering inordinate affection upon animals.  Seeking yet another neighbor to walk with, talk to, feed, an extra child to take in…a continual focus on eternal souls.
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  • That they universally extend hospitality.  They are taught it and reminded about it in some measure almost weekly from the pulpit.  Everyone, including all visitors, is taken into some home after church for the noon meal.  Not one is left to go home alone.
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  • They exemplify humility.  They don’t fight for pre-eminence or to be in authority, or to be noticed.  They regard the servant’s part as the higher part.
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  • The men share the leadership and teaching ministry in their church—a Biblical plurality of eldership.
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  • They are extremely capable domestically.  The men can fix anything.  The women have advanced sewing skills, and food preservation skills for hard times or winters coming up.  And they train their children to do the same from an early age. Their children routinely are incredibly well disciplined, and work hard in and around the home.
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  • They treasure children and believe in a full quiver.  They make their children sit WITH them in church, and see to it that they exhibit quietness and reverence.  The back rows are reserved for this child training.  There is a regular parade in and out of church during the service from the back rows of parents quietly taking their children out, administering justice to them and then RE-ENTERING.  They nurture their children’s HEARTS during the week and show continual interest and attention to them…and always introduce EVERY child as if they were showing you the full extent of their wealth.
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  • They are financially frugal for their own part, and they give generously.
  • Visiting Mennonite churches from time to time and eating with their families has done us nothing but good.  We’ve been influenced in countless ways, through the years, by just observing them.  We differ from them in significant ways, theologically (our statement of beliefs is online), but we think there is much to emulate in the personal day-to-day behavior of traditional Mennonite families.

    Filed Under: Spiritual tips

    Battling candida

    Sunday, 20. July 2008 by Renee Ellison

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    Candida is no fun.  Many adults and children have been in a chronic state with candida for quite some time, but because of their youth, their pH has fought to stay alkaline and sustained them.  But when a person’s pH starts to shift from alkaline (where it should be) to acid (where it shouldn’t be), a person will shift from a chronic state to an acute state and then recovery will become quite complex.  Some of the symptoms of candida are extreme fatigue and brain fog after you’ve eaten (especially if you’ve eaten some of the kinds of foods that especially feed candida, as we’ll note below).

    I have found medical doctors to be of little or no help in diagnosing and treating this condition.  For one thing, it seems that the great majority of them don’t know about this condition, or don’t believe in it, and/or, two, they have no way to alleviate it.  They will not talk to you about diet.  Instead, they will send you home with a prescription, and later, when it gets quite bad, they will start cutting things out of you.  So if you or your child has this condition, attack you must – relentlessly and consistently, all by yourself.  (You can find ample advice on the Web about natural approaches to fighting candida.)  You’ll have to face it head on, on a number of different levels.

    1.  The psychological.   Right now, you’re not just you.  You are you, AND you are host to another entire microscopic kingdom.  Colonies of destructive microorganisms are multiplying inside of you that demand to be fed and WILL be fed—even if YOU are not fed.  The candida rudely jump to your table first.  They even tell you what kinds of food they demand (i.e., most simple sugars), which creates very toxic, strong addictions inside you.  This is why your resolves keep breaking down.  There is a fierce addict inside of you.  This is what they want—and this is what you shan’t give them!  You’re in a war, and you’ve got to starve off the enemy – cut off his supply lines.  They want SIMPLE carbohydrates – which all turn into sugars.  These may be found in (or are exacerbated by the presence of ) the following categories of items in the Standard American Diet:

  • White flour (including crackers, bagels, spaghetti, pizza, etc.).
  • White sugar (it takes many forms, frequently as corn syrup and is found in many processed foods).
  • White table salt (turns your system acid and they THRIVE in acid!—to say nothing of salt turning your arteries brittle and forming into rocks in your organs) (use celtic salt instead).
  • Caffeine – inflames the mucosal lining of the entire digestive tract.
  • Dead, processed, boxed, canned foods.  These make your system work with no pay – which puts you into a state of malnutrition – extremely taxing on your limited energy.
  • The flesh of scavengersClick here for a one-page fact sheet on the problems of eating pig and pork.
  • And finally, avoid all potato chips, corn chips, rice chips (even from the health food store).  Consider all of these to be lethal at this point in your battle.  They are ALL made with vegetable oils, which turn carcinogenic under high heat.  Instead, eat whole grain corn, and whole raw sweet potato slices or jicama for your chips (but do not eat even these if you taste any mold on them).
  • Bottom line: you’ve got to say with your mind and spirit, “I’m the boss, I’m in the driver’s seat, and I’m not going to fuel your party!”

    2.  The physical.    You want to feed your body real nutrition.  For more help on getting off of the SAD Standard American Diet, order our QuickBook on No-Nonsense Nutrition for Peak Performance.  Take barley green powder 3x a day – mark it off on a little chart – otherwise you’ll take it once and think you took it 3.  You’ve got to feed on COMPLEX carbohydrates.  “Pig-out” on bags of frozen broccoli, bags of frozen green peas, string beans, and cauliflower (you can make them into soup), baby spinach, brown rice, celery, avocados, chard, kale, parsley, spirulina tablets, nori, lentils and mung beans that you’ve soaked overnight to add to your diet daily, and grass-fed, clean organic meat (if you’re a meat eater).  Regular meats and all dairy products (unless they’re organic) are full of ANTIBIOTICS – which exasperates the problem.  It is undoing all the work you’re trying to accomplish…because it continually kills the good guys and feeds the bad guys.  Wrong scenario.  Antibiotic usage is one of the major reasons you got into this fix.  The only difference is that now they are floating in white liquid instead of clear capsules.  Oral contraceptives do the same mischief.

    3.  Your culminating attack.   Bring in the big artillery.  By diet alone, you cannot kill it off fast enough.  Diet will keep you from multiplying more of the stuff, give you the enzymatic fuel to keep up the fight on some level, and sustain you afterwards, but it can’t finish the job off.  Your own few good guys, on the ground, in the bush, can’t keep up.  They need several big bombs dropped from the air, to obliterate the stuff.

    Enter acidophilus!  Tadah!!!  Acidophilus, which is available at any health food store, will make it loud and clear that the game is over.  We’re under new management.  We’re shoveling out the junkyard and bringing in new dirt.  Loaded with 1,000’s of beneficial bacteria which we need them by the truckload.  Eating cultured veggies and Kimchee will do the same thing.

    Begin with one 3x a day on an empty stomach.  Take the first one right when you wake up in the morning.  Roll over and take one, so that you don’t have to wait to have real food when you DO get up!  Then in a few days up it to two 3x a day – sustain for a week – then up it as far as you can tolerate it.  Some have taken 15 a day, and in six weeks noticed outstanding improvement, if not total remission.  Also take enzymes.  (I can’t tell you what to do, dosage wise, and I take no responsibility for it; I’m just telling you what has worked for others in this condition.)

    If I had known about this 15 years ago, I would have felt that heaven had arrived!!!  Wow!  A way out!  I’ll do whatever it takes, and I’ll start today.  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.  It’ll be way cheaper than your hubby having to hire a nanny and a maid later when you can no longer function.  The primary thing diet wise, remember, is to get off all sugar…start eating tons of real veggies, and drink salads…i.e. grind them up, add water and just get them down your suffering digestive track.

    If you’ll massively hit it now, you won’t have to sustain these costs very long.  If you don’t, sometime in the near future, it’ll break out like a brush fire, and you’re apt to go downhill fast – then it’ll cost you a fortune.  Digestive disorders are epidemic in the U.S., and Crohns Disease and colon cancer are a royal nightmare…scores of people are hitting the skids with these diseases.  This is hard-ball.  Onward and upward!

    Note: This is not medical advice, and cannot be construed as such.  This is merely sharing my personal experience.

    Filed Under: Nutrition tips

    The with-you principle: one of the best teaching strategies for homeschoolers

    Thursday, 10. July 2008 by Renee Ellison

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    A child with an undisciplined mind learns internal discipline by gobs and gobs of experiences of EXTERNAL discipline.  That is to say, lots of attentive time with Mom/Dad or tutor.  (Discipline here is not used in the punitive sense but rather as the ability to apply consistent, well-ordered thought to a project or line of study).

    A child’s immaturity to discipline himself, i.e. do that which he would rather NOT do either mentally (with studies) or physically (with chores) might be renamed “lack of internalizing ENOUGH external experience WITH someone”...i.e. being very unsure, fearful, overwhelmed (from THEIR perspective).  These children cover it up by laughter, antics, wandering thoughts, resistance, “I don’t care.”

    The traditional response from parents to laziness or undiscipline in a child is anger and/or upping the TIME spent on task or upping unpleasant consequences.  But all the child really needs is more attention, for a while, beyond what the parent was predicting they would need. They need more close time in a RELATIONSHIP with SOMEONE with whom they feel secure.  They desperately need lots of time with an uncritical person who will splinter the task into bite-sized pieces of success for them.  Sitting with the child doing EVERY problem with him for awhile, telling them WHAT to think for awhile, exposing them to how it is done over and over and OVER again…with encouragement, and patience is what will eventually diffuse his emotional resistance and feeling of overload to life.  This kind of time, even for an older child who hasn’t matured as quickly as others, is what will eventually build his own stamina with his own internal discipline.

    That is why it is OK for parents to do science projects WITH their children.  The child has never been down that road before and doesn’t know where he is headed or how to get there.  The poorly done projects of children who had no parental help nail the point.  Children learn by doing, and even just by observing.  They pass through the experience as a larger person, BECAUSE of the hand-holding. 

    When Susanna Wesley’s husband asked, “Why do you tell that child that [math principle] sixteen times?”  She answered, “Because, sir, if I do not go onto the seventeenth time, when he finally gets it, I shall lose all my beginning energy.”  The great surprise to parents is how MUCH focus the majority of children actually need.  But the great reward down the road is that they “GET IT” thoroughly and become far more disciplined than a child who is pushed to be on his own too soon…before his own maturity kicks in.

    That is why the Suzuki method of teaching music to 3-year-olds is so successful.  Mom or Dad is with him in executing EVERY measure, in the beginning.  Finally the child takes off like a rocket, needing no help at all!!!  It is the CHILD who pushes the parent away when they are ready, not vice versa.  Our modern culture leaves a child at day care (the baby dump) at an outrageously early age when the chid is still clinging to the apron strings for a REASON. 

    A child left to himself with a worksheet over in a corner will never become the tenaciously aggressively disciplined, confident adult that he could have been.  Approching life (in its minutiae) WITH Mom and Dad or a one-on-one tutor, incident by incident, builds a VERY mature and “can-do” adult.  Maturity happens when you aren’t going after the ( i.e. looking for) maturity but instead focusing upon providing a voluminous experience-base WITHIN a supportive relationship. 

    By the way, the marvel with the ACE homeschool curriculum is that you can sit with an older child (one who is past phonics) to just get him launched and for many it is only three days, or merely a week before “maturity” sets in!!! 

    Just more thoughts for your hopper!
    Much love,
    Renee

    How to motivate lazy children

    Wednesday, 02. July 2008 by Renee Ellison

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    We received the following from a mom, who wrote: “Hello, first let me just say thank you for all God is doing through you to minister to others.  I have many questions, but for today I was wondering if you could help me with motivating my two boys, 9 & 11, with getting ready in the mornings before homeschooling.  I try to make sure they get enough sleep and they are to get up at 7:00 during the school year and have their morning chores done by 8:15 (easy stuff - empty dishwasher or take out trash and feed the dog).  I even have incentives if they’re done on time, but they still come downstairs goofing around with the dog or each other, hair nappy, crusty eyes, ugh!  We’ve practiced our morning routine for years!  I even have a check off chart.  HELPPP!  My boys get x-tra chores if they’re not done on time (pull weeds,or etc.) but they don’t care!  Thank you.  Weary Sheri”

    Surely, this mother’s situation is not unique to her home.  In hopes of encouraging other moms whose children need motivation to get through the day, this is what I shared with her:

    Dear Sheri:

    Your boys are fortunate to have parents who care about them!  Here are some thoughts to consider:

    First of all, if your boys are getting to bed early (i.e. not partying til midnight) they perhaps need more sleep.  Adolescents especially need more sleep…their hormones are changing, their cells are growing to produce height and weight and they need TIME to do this reorganizing and growing.  The public school routine makes allowance for none of this. Our daughter often needs 10 hours of sleep.  She is easier to live with when we let her get what her body needs!  But once UP, that’s a different matter.

    Soooooo….we don’t run life by the get-up time but rather by the task.  Once up, she has a chart with 15 minutes slots for virtually all of her schooling, practicing and domestic duties.  We couldn’t care less the exact time of the day these things get done, just THAT they get done…and steadily until they ARE done.  No computer, no free time, nothin til everything is checked off the list. Often this can be completely done by noon even with a later get up time.  Now all that is just about gettin UP and the structure…lolligagging is another topic indeed.

    In regard to not tending to business and playing with the dog and not washing face, etc., they need to be put on a SHORT LEASH.  That means surveillance 24/7 by the mom for a while.  Become omnipresent…like God…everywhere all the time.  You do this by stopping whatever you’re doing and just cruising through their area.  This is how I controlled high school basketball players twice my size when I taught English classes.  I was constantly cruising between their desks.  No one could be lazy or try any mischief because I would have seen the BEGINNING stages.  So once they are up…

    ...you go stand in the hallway.  And cross your arms and tap your foot.  And glare at the bathroom.  Put hand on your child’s shoulder and pivot him in the right direction…no words needed.  You can do it all with your eyes.  Children learn internal discipline over a long period of time by EXTERNAL vigilence.  This seems like oceans of work for the mom in the beginning, but it means sooner TOTAL freedom.  You spend a lot of time NOW, to spend almost no time later over these same areas.

    Keep them on a SHORT LEASH.  This means you aren’t waiting frustrated in the kitchen, you are drill sergeant in the hallway until they get to the kitchen.  Take a book to read, and just stand there.  If they don’t get a move on, come along behind them with a switch, then return to your book, with eyes peering over the top.  Let them know you mean business.  Hand on shoulder and on top of head…subduing their lazy flesh.  After each accomplishment—no matter how basic—alternate exaggerated smiles and happiness: “Ohhhh, Lazarus looks so much more presentable now; I think I want him for my best friend.”  Etc.  Alternate fun and encouragement with “don’t mess with mom” and you’ll get the job done in a matter of days.  Then you give them a little longer leash and see how they do.  If they cave in, go back to the shorter leash, you get the point.

    In and through it all, never lose sight of the SHORT LEASH!