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Audio homeschool how-to’s by Renée Ellison on an 8GB flash drive.  More than 72 hours.  122 recordings;… more >>

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House clean your air

Wednesday, 02. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

Image Do you know about airing the house? I had a little German woman (the mother of one of my students) teach me about "airing" the house. Along with throwing back the night's musty covers and taking the pillows outside to SUN, you throw open the front and back doors and as many windows as possible for about 5 or 10 minutes. For greater effect, add a fan and blast out the house with good fresh oxygen. She would do it every morning, even in the winter....mercilessly. (She even came to the school where I taught, and aired out that building at the end of the school day when all the children had left...to the consternation of the janitors and the security people! But hey, who knows how many germs were attacked by oxygen that way!) Back at her home, she followed the "airing" immediately by hosing down the pine trees outside from top to bottom (picture huge trees with a little woman with a fire hose, bent on business) to minimize the pollen that got INTO her house! What a riot!

We ourselves are chicken in the cold winter weather, but we DO try to air out the house, at the WARMEST part of the day. Each time, we all feel immediately invigorated afterwards. Furnaces, fireplaces and tightly shut houses can do a number on indoor air.

P.S. Essential oils, when diffused into the air of your home, scrub your air even further. They are the ultimate antiseptics. In laboratory tests at Weber State University, a clove essential oil blend killed 99.2% and 99.3% of all airborne Micrococcus luteus bacteria in 20 minutes. Email us for more information.
Filed Under: Home management tips

How to shape and train ANY skill or domestic duty or talent in a child

Tuesday, 01. February 2011 by Renee Ellison

Image The solution to ALL ACADEMIC PROBLEMS is to back up a step.

For example, when working an alphabet puzzle, not only do we not start with the entire board, we might not even start with the entire first row, but only two pieces OF that row. Introduce only two pieces at a time, taking them out and in, out and in, until the visual discrimination of a young child is SURE. Then leave the first two pieces IN their slots and only work the next two pieces. Next, go back and mix up all four pieces until your little one can do them without hesitation ...then proceed as before onto the next two.

This is the way you teach a child EVERYTHING: how to change the sheets on their bed, or collecting the HOUSEHOLD trash, not just their own room's trash, etc. It begins with learning how just to put the sack in the trash can ...and before that, a mother must teach the child how to FIND the sack in the cupboard.

Whenever you meet a roadblock with your child, splinter the skill down to its tiniest part and begin there, and then you shall have good success with literally EVERYTHING you attempt to conquer. (Read much more about how to do this in our 12 Optimum Ways to Trigger the Brain with Any Subject Matter.)

Exercise for homeschoolers

Tuesday, 04. January 2011 by Renee Ellison


John Ratey has a book out called Spark! that shares recent findings about an experiment with exercise and the brain. (Find it at www.abebooks.com or at www.bookfinder.com.)

Apparently, 19,000 students in the Naperville, Illinois school district and beyond were put on 45 minutes of exercise a day WITH HEART RATE monitors.  It resulted in unparalleled happy results.  The incidence of violence dropped by 50% in one year, and the students’ test scores skyrocketed to some of the top in the nation!!!  While most school districts were cutting Phys Ed programs, this school district added it FIRST THING IN THE DAY.

In this experiment they deliberately changed P.E. from centering around team sports… where most of the kids sit on the sidelines watching the few superstar kids… and cutting out the most embarrassing class where they feel MOST rejected… to the daily use of fitness centers with climbing walls, tracks to run on, body recording devices with scientific printouts of their progress and a heart monitor for EVERY child.  The minimum P.E. requirement for every student?  At least one mile a day.  All team sports were changed to very small teams (only four at the most) so that there were actually more movement moments for each player and many more teams.  But the major emphasis was on personal fitness… developing a lifetime CONCERN and KNOW-HOW for managing one’s own body.

During running exercises, little overweight kids whom they thought were losers ‘cause they moved so slowly actually were doin’ terrific because they could see what their heart rates ACTUALLY WERE.

The focus for students’ involvement in P.E. was on topping each individual’s PERSONAL BEST, and not about competition.  As a result, the school became electric with better self esteem, happiness, cheering FOR each other, rather than avoiding having to pick losers for their teams, getting off medications for hyperactive and depression conditions, etc.

Further, all of that raising of the heart rate every day was for not so much for the body but for the brain!!!  By training the children to monitor and buy into improving their OWN scores, the children took ownership of WANTING to get more physically fit.  “This is YOUR LIFE” was communicated loud and clear.  Simply amazing results are documented in the book.

A few tips for managing the things your preschooler works with

Wednesday, 08. December 2010 by Renee Ellison


A good way to control children’s toys that have little pieces to them, or puzzles (to keep the pieces from migrating under the furniture) is to put a large bath towel on the floor and tell the children they must play ON THE TOWEL and keep the pieces on the towel until they are finished with that game, puzzle or toy.  Children like boundaries


Also, if you want a larger area for the children to work on in your home ...for projects involving paints or glue or play dough, for instance…. purchase a vinyl picnic table tablecloth and plop it down over your coffee table or kitchen table or desk every time you want them to be free to play without worrying about it getting all over your furniture.

In managing your children, staying ahead of them with wholesome activities is one of the finest ways.  Our booklet, Preschool Pizzazz, is chock full of ideas to that end.  It gives you

a plan for using special boxes to manage all of the things your children play with

.  Each box contains the stuff for one type of preschooler activity.  Don’t think you have to actually DO everything that’s described.  The booklet may trigger your own ideas, or make you aware of many ACTIVITIES that you might not have considered before.  The purpose of that booklet is to EASE your load as a mother of young, not to burden you.  One method for DOING the boxes, if you want to fully implement the use of them, is to ask BOTH grandmothers if they ever WANT to help you fill the boxes; over time one grandmother gets the things for 25 boxes, the other for the other 25.

Also, in relation to larger “stuff” for open-ended activities for your children (like

playing an instrument

), you might want to read our booklet about training your child to master a musical instrument, as it will show you where you might be headed with a young child’s musical experiences after working through our Quick Piano course.

By the way (having mentioned play-dough), here’s a new and improved recipe for Wonderful Home-made Old Fashioned Play Dough:
2 cups boiling water
Add: 6 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
10 teaspoons cream of tartar
4 Tablespoons oil (use the mildest SMELLING vegetable oil you can find)

Play-doh tips:

  • Store in yogurt containers in the fridge; do not store in plastic bags…the chemistry of gallon plastic bags breaks down the dough.
  • Use CHEAP/inexpensive white flour, cheap salt, and cheap oil.
  • This play-doh feels marvelous to the touch…super smooth…not sticky.
  • Watch how your children or grandchildren LOVE to play with this stuff.  ‘Taint no play dough like it available in any Wal-Mart.

    Wholesome things to buy for your preschoolers

    Thursday, 02. December 2010 by Renee Ellison

    Image If your relatives want to know WHAT to buy for your children, here are suggestions of things that are WHOLESOME, not junk:

    AVOID things that require batteries, and avoid toys that do all their thinking FOR them. Instead, obtain things to expand their minds.

    • Only three board games are needed all through childhood. All three of them work the brain. Preschoolers can learn the beginning moves in all three of these games very early on.
    1) a good larger chess set (not a tiny travel size) with simple, easily distinguishable pieces
    2) a basic old fashioned set of checkers
    3) Scrabble™

    • A large beach ball for dribbling and soccer-type footwork INSIDE the house.

    • A plastic bowling set to use indoors when your children need ACTION. Actually, just a ball and tin cans will work great, or large soda bottles.

    • A good old-fashioned small electric TYPEWRITER (still obtainable from Office Depot) will absorb gobs of time and divert attention away from the alluring computers with the dangerous effects of EMF's on a young developing brain. Office Depot's cheapest $125 typewriter, with the fewest bells and whistles, is plenty adequate. For best results, do NOT allow your children onto a computer at all until they can type at least 40 words a minute. The Zoom-Type course can teach them how... faster than any other system out there in the marketplace...with NO keyboard even needed at first.) Otherwise children will have to UN-learn bad neuron-networking to achieve maximum speed in typing later in their lives.

    • Similarly, our Quick Piano course can be used with children as young as four years old. If you don’t already have a piano, buy an electronic keyboard that has full size keys; five octaves will do. Save yourself money and trouble by reading these ten steps for choosing the best piano for your home.

    • A nice large set of Lincoln logs – it provides endless play opportunities.

    • A CHILDREN's encyclopedia set. You won't be able to find this new; find used ones on Bookfinder.com. The Golden Book Encyclopedia and the Treasury of Knowledge are good sets. Parents, rapidly go through them and black out the lies about evolution before giving these to your children.

    • We highly recommend the Uncle Arthur [Maxwell]'s Bedtime Stories series, and his Bible Story series. Those have been pivotal in shaping many a godly child’s young heart. Also, The Picture Bible by Iva Hoth. Find them at Bookfinder.com (if you’re in a dry climate, look for books that have been in a dry climate, otherwise you’ll be sneezing from an outbreak of mold spores that arrive on the pages of your books).

    McGuffey Readers are priceless in their content, and start with FIRST grade. They’re a series of primers that were the textbooks for millions of children in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. According to Wikipedia, “It is estimated that at least 120 million copies of McGuffey's Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster's Dictionary. Since 1961 they have continued to sell at a rate of some 30,000 copies a year. No other textbook bearing a single person's name has come close to that mark.” They are what the GREATS of our country (Thomas Edison, Ford) were raised on. They teach character values at subtle decision-making levels... and are tremendously compelling. I've been reviewing elementary readers used in schools in the past fifty years and they have all been rewritten and are milktoast in comparison. The modern stories are all twaddle. You could live without all of that.

    • Something else that teaches character is our character traits coloring book and songs. While you're washing up the breakfast dishes, your children are getting a handle on 48 character traits that will shape their lives in a wonderful way.

    Classical music CD's...Baroque, harp, harpsichord type....not bombastic symphonies. Also, Be Still, My Soul, the soothing new CD of piano music with cello and viola.

    • A full-circle swirl-out fancy skirt or dress for your daughter to put on and dance in the living room to the classical music. It could even be fancy taffeta, swishy-sounding, but any full-circle fabric will do.

    • Read Preschool Pizzazz for more ideas.

    • A Needak soft-bounce rebounder and a chalkboard (contact us for best sources for both of these).

    Stick with these sorts of things rather than any of the battery-operated everythings and you'll produce happy, contented children.

    How to recognize, and handle, a gifted child at preschool age

    Wednesday, 24. November 2010 by Renee Ellison


    The obvious signs of giftedness in a preschool child can include an unusually strong tactile grip, fine motor skills and keen auditory discrimination skills …i.e. the child can mimic pronunciations of words he or she may have never heard before.

    If these and other obvious signs of giftedness are there, the way you as her parents manage it is critical.  Here are some tips.  As the child grows, never speak of his/her giftedness directly to him/her.  Praise the child liberally and encourage frequently, yes, but don’t let on that this is out of the ordinary.  Don’t draw his/her attention to comparing himself/herself with others their age.  Just act like this is normal.  Never speak of the child’s giftedness to each other or to friends or relatives IN FRONT OF the child.  Praise the child MOSTLY for CHARACTER QUALITIES, not for intelligence.  “You were so KIND, PATIENT,” etc.  Through all the coming years, praise the child for examples of godliness in his/her behavior.

    I once saw a gifted Romanian ten-year-old play cello in a concert hall of thousands in a large city.  I noted that after the concert all of her relatives surrounded her in a tight circle so that none in the audience could get to her or remark to her.  She had no idea how gifted she was, and she remained humble and precious because they shielded her from needless adulation.  It was the relatives’ priceless love for her as a developing WHOLE person that made them take this unusual precaution.  A gifted person needs to progress all the way to the edges of his or her capacity but never shift from the love of God to the love of self as he or she grows.  We as adults have to escort such children wisely to make sure that devotion to the Giver of their gift is kept untarnished.

    For more on this topic, read our booklet on Teaching Gifted Children.

    A vision for children crafted by the mama’s words

    Tuesday, 02. November 2010 by Renee Ellison


    Anytime you are working your children hard, give them a vision for it in a LARGER setting.  By regularly referring to the big picture, you end up lavishly praising them and getting them to higher ground with JOY!!!

    • “Just think: when you have finished reading the entire Bible all the way through, you will have read more Scripture than 99 percent of all the ADULTS in our entire STATE!”
    • “When you get done learning how to do this you can completely run a _____ business!  You’ll be the youngest person in America to know how to do this.”
    • “Just think: when you have to do this as an adult, you won’t have to learn how to do it THEN, you’ll already KNOW it…and will be free to show OTHERS how to do it.  You’ll be the expert everyone ELSE will NEED and look to.”
    • “When you can do this, the neighbors’ jaws will drop.”
    • “Someone will observe your character and your skill and go TELL somebody.  In no time you’re gonna be WANTED by customers from miles around.”
    • “After all these mistakes this year with this project, you will be that much ahead of everyone else who are only just STARTING to learn these things next year.  You are right up there with Edison, man!!!”
    The key: you fill in the sizzle, while they fry the steak.

    A mom’s applause can get children to the moon and back.  They soar on your words and the bigness of the future…and HEARING about their SIGNIFICANT place in it.  Visualizing themselves as LEADERS, whom everyone is hanging on, gives them the grit to do what has to be done today.  It gives them an edge of confidence and competence unequaled from children who grew up without such applause.  One of the most awesome things you can do today is build the semantic atmosphere of your home.

    If possible, work with your children in these endeavors, so they will know you’re united as a team and are not indifferent to their efforts.

    Whether it be learning to change a tire or cracking an egg, parents provide the forward inspiration to it with their words.  “We will now crack the whole DOZEN eggs so that we progress at MASTERING THIS SKILL.  We’ll get so that we can do this with no egg on the floor, no shell in the dish.  We’ll chip away at it this morning and again tomorrow morning and the next until it is conquered…and YOU become positively amazing at cracking eggs (or tying shoes…ad infinitum).  The parent visualizes the fledgling first attempts at all skill areas as they will be when the skill is fully mature and NEEDED in the adult world.  The parent transfers this vision of the END RESULT to the child NOW as a means to motivate him.

    You say to your seven year old:
    • “We will learn how to make this oatmeal!”  (It is a difference between the child sloppily doing work ONLY FOR NOW, and bothering the parent…to, instead, TACKLING the SKILL with gusto, and it becoming an art form, a challenge to do it skillfully…putting his heart into the skill and his rolled up sleeved arms into the effort.)
    • “We will learn how to make this oatmeal WELL and EARLIER than others, to the end that we will then be able to HELP the world in this area as soon as possible”.

    The parent saturates today’s otherwise “boring” skill, math problems, piano practice, writing challenges, with comments like: “I know a 60 year old mother who STILL can’t make oatmeal well.  You will do it excellently.  You will pay attention to the details.  You will be a marvel.  You will be able to help the family down the street when the mother is ill.  You will be CAPABLE.”  By your words you transfer the THRILL of working at being CAPABLE in as many things as you possibly can bring under your child’s dominion!!!  The parent’s job is to transfer to the child an appetite for the finished ability.  Both parent and child wind up immensely happy at every undertaking, if it is done in this spirit.

    [To read how to motivate your child to excel academically, order our booklet or e-book, Motivation: Academic energizer.}

    Bells, clangers and time limits on acquiring academics

    Thursday, 21. October 2010 by Renee Ellison

    Image John Gato, erstwhile winner of the New York Teacher of the Year award, is often quoted as being irritated at the junior high and high school pigeon-holing of education into time slots that are ended by gongs. I join him in the dislike of the rudeness of the gongs, those alarming bells, but depart from him in not seeing the necessity for the time slots required to learn academia in all of its basics...line upon line, precept upon precept, day in and day out.

    Often a swashbuckling radical statement can be made by an engaging speaker and grabbed by audiences that don't have time to carefully work out the full implications, PRACTICALLY, of such a statement. Happily, however, even if we find a person's argument flawed we CAN apply the argument to OTHER applications and occasional forays, and still benefit by these rousing discussions!

    I believe this is such a case. Just because we study basics in the day at a pretty rigorous clip doesn't mean we may not return to linger over a topic in the evening. In fact, that is what lifetime education is all about...curling up with our books in the evenings so that they may enrich and direct our lives during the day.

    Now let us forge on to the incongruities of Gato’s statement:
    A piano lesson takes one hour. A ballet lesson takes one hour. A tennis lesson takes an hour. None of these are ended by gongs, bells, or high-alert whistles...our mutual irritation. But if the piano lesson were to take all day, attention would break down, and we would hate facing piano lessons tomorrow! Even if the piano lesson were allowed to linger until ALL our interest waned (which may be the real underpinnings of Gato's desire for all education) at two hours, what would we face tomorrow? Because we left no anticipation for tomorrow, chances are we would not be drawn to the topic as readily. Satisfying the emotions via this lingering diffuses the impetus for further study. In fact, Suzuki found that the exact OPPOSITE is true. The Suzuki system tantalizes the children by only letting them do things in short spurts; the instrument is taken AWAY from the student BEFORE the interest wanes.

    There is nothing in life that can exist and progress without time limits. Living life without time limits results in a life of chaos, sloppiness, and lack of personal discipline to command oneself to do what one would rather NOT do, and that includes even interrupting one's own mental curiosities and mental momentum....to gain maturity. Are we not irritated when business meetings RUN OVER? If the ticket agent reads a book instead of tends to our ticket? If the restaurant said they would open at 3 and they are not? There is a time and season to everything. To isolate children from real life and tell them for six long years encompassing junior and senior high school that their EMOTIONS rule the day, that even their MENTAL EMOTIONS are somehow so sacred that the responsibilities of life must take second place, is no gift to a child....to say nothing of what such a school would LOOK like with students sprawled all over the window sills and floors and even ABSENT because they are counting cows on the way to school, while professors run all over the place from one student to another, repeating themselves ad nausea, in pandemonium.

    Progressive acquisition of a WIDE academic alphabet of basic skills in as many areas as possible gives one the TOOLS to LATER (after all of one's responsibilities are met each day) linger and take advantage of momentum in a specific personal mental pursuit...on one's OWN discretionary time. The homeschooling movement has now SEEN the results of education via these radical and now "TRIED-out” theories of mental wandering, lingering, short seasons of a temporary and transient momentum (we're "good-to-go" for one day, but crash for three), unschooling, VS. the results of the British tutorial system where math was immediately followed by fencing, followed by Latin, followed by history, followed by literature, followed by lunch, followed by ascending the throne and taking up the crown. If you look carefully, behind every supposed child prodigy, you'll find rigorous massive daily training via time slots. [If you want so help in implementing a mother-easy program for making sure your homeschooling happens every day, order our booklet on How to Make Optimal Homeschooling To-Do Charts.]

    The snare of preparation

    Monday, 11. October 2010 by Renee Ellison

    Image Jane Addams wanted to help immigrants who were settling in Chicago in droves during the late 1800's. So she settled them into a large mansion called Hull House, relieving them of having to live in the slums and red-light districts. Addams was head resident of Hull House until her death in 1935. Seeing the desperate needs of throngs of immigrants from Europe, she wanted to house and train them in one of the kindest settings possible, the home. By the time of her death there were 13 such homes/buildings and literally tens of thousands of individuals were relieved during their disorientation of being jobless, homeless, family-less, and English-speaking-less. I read her biography 40 plus years ago. One chapter still remains vividly in my mind...

    It was titled The Snare of Preparation. Addams observed that it is possible to be so focused upon prolonged preparation that one can end up making very little real impact in the real world. She could have gone on, as a few of her friends did, to get a PhD, getting more and more formal institutionalized schooling. Observing others who had gone before her, she saw that prolonged preparation can become tempting to end up grooming oneself only for self-absorption. It was a stunning point. As a result of such thoughts, she took a fork in the road in her own life and set out to be effective NOW ... sooner than personal perfection would have allowed. The result? Thousands of lives ended up feeling this inner tilt of the heart.

    In the case of a talent, it is good to grow it forever, both publicly and privately. But be aware of the tilt of the heart as you do so. One may discover, too late, that there is no opportunity for "important impact" upon others at the far end of our personal preparation in the short life that remains. So, a good way to reconcile this tension of preparation vs. service to mankind is to become predisposed to being used by the Heavenly Father AS YOU GO, to be continually looking heavenward, yielded for how to give of one's life and or gift NOW. Thus, while you prepare further, be mindful of asking the Father to use you NOW as He sees fit, blessing others en route.

    What does this look like in practice? Today, this week, do not hide your light under a bushel as you prepare and wait for some major break or culminating achievement or the pursuit of just-out-of-reach excellence... waiting to get over just one more mountaintop. Be ever watchful to keep your heart to be used of Him, continually and ongoingly... in whatever measure He opens up. Just remind yourself that you are not your own; you were bought with a price and your gift is not your own. This transference of focus deep within the heart of what it is you are ACTUALLY doing and for WHOSE SAKE is consequential work for all of eternity. It is not WHAT we do in life, but WHY we do it that comes before the great and final bar of God. Seek Him and keep Him as the target and you'll have no regrets.

    Your own pharmacy

    Thursday, 16. September 2010 by Renee Ellison

    Image WANTA SAY GOOD BYE to your pharmacy and doctor for most maladies?!!! Progressively acquire and use Young Living's essential oils...no others compare.

    How to start?

    If you want to get started on essential oils, the absolute BEST ones are made by Young Living. From soil, to seed, to seal, everything is better, better, better. In other words, all their farms are organic (Young Living won't import oils from other places where they have no idea what soil/pollution they were grown in), they distill them at the very PEAK of EACH oil's powers, and they distill them at optimal temperatures and without using solvents. When an independent agency tested over 200 kinds, Young Living's was the best by far. Under the microscope, some of the other companies' oils retained their "smell" of oil but the molecular activity was dead. Young Living's oil molecules jumped all over the microscope slide with LIFE-FORCE and therapeutic chemical power. Oils from other manufacturers seem to be basically colored water in some kind of alcohol.

    In the long run, I've found Young Living oils to be very nearly the same price as the cheaper ones that are commonly sold in stores, because Young Living has a program where if you routinely purchase just $50 a month, you get reward points for FREE oils after every couple of months. When you average in these FREE oils, the price compares. Moreover, the healing power TOWERS over the other brands'. We have had personal experience using inferior brands, wasting our time and money and getting NO healing from them. When we switched to Young Living's we would knock out that SAME sickness RAPIDLY... sometimes within hours.

    To start out with... your best course is to get the basic oils (formerly the Essential 7 starter kit). If I had not been talked into this kit by my chiropractor I may not, to this day, have ever really known what these oils could do, having only tried one, and would not have gotten into the oils as deeply as I did. I have them in a cupboard on little wooden stair-steps so that I can see them all. This is my alternative pharmacy. This is my OWN healing hospital... which delivers me time and time again from the medical establishment. And I feel prepared for an emergency. There is hardly a day that goes by that my family doesn't use oils—even just to FEEL good, or to freshen the air!

    The easiest and cheapest way to start is to phone Young Living directly at 1-800-763-9963 and sign up under my member number 537850 for just $50 (which includes oil and info). This is a no-brainer because you qualify for wholesale prices from there on out. You'll never regret it! Oils HEAL. Or, get the whole shebang: the Aroma Complete kit of 125 bottles retails for $2,625 but you can buy it wholesale for much less, for the best health insurance you could have—to say nothing of smelling and playing with them all.
    Filed Under: Nutrition tips