He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

Learning from teaching


All day long  -every Thursday - I listen and I teach and I demonstrate.  And I say the same things over again.  Every week.  And they ring in my own ears...lessons for my own busy life.

You need to breathe on purpose.
Your posture seems like a small matter to you, but it matters more than you realize.
If you let the tension creep in here, it will affect the beauty and impair your freedom to move.
When it's too hard, break it down into baby steps.
Practice it slow first.  You can't play it well unless you can play it slow.
Hands separately first, then together when you've mastered it.
Your piece is only as strong as the weakest link - Isolate, analyze &  fix the hard places!


But today I hear myself saying this one again and it sticks - playing back and back and making me uncomfortable.  "If this doesn't become YOURS - if you don't decide that you want to make this piece sound good, your mamma can't make you do it.  She's paying way too much money for that.  She's wasting her money if you don't decide you're going to do this right."

They pay a high price - these moms and dads.  Money and books and some of them even the time to be attentive to practice and to ensure discipline.  But kids are kids, and sometimes it doesn't sink in and practice is put off or not done with gusto and discipline.

And so I try to balance law and grace as a teacher....enough law  for the proper fear and respect, but enough grace to avoid burnout.

I think today about the price that was paid for me.  Am I doing it justice?  I am not under law that requires me to earn the price He paid.  I cannot.  But it does require a certain proper response.....that response being everything I can muster.  Am I playing this grace-music half-heartedly?  Taking His forgiveness and this peace and this freedom for granted? 





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The Well Behaved Child

(Post from the archives that never got posted)



I mentioned that I had started this book awhile back...and then got distracted.  Meanwhile, David read it and immediately wanted to implement some of the ideas.  However, I wasn't entirely on board mentally and that made it hard to implement effectively.  I hadn't read the whole thing, and we needed to have some more conversations to refine our ideas.  I am feeling more and more "on board" as we have narrowed some things down and my brain is more in gear.

Basically, we have implemented a "strike" discipline system for targeting certain behaviors and habits.  Each child has 3 target behaviors or habits.  If they violate the goal, they get a strike.  After 3 strikes something very bad happens to them (Rosemond is big on the punishment being bigger than the crime. It has to hurt bad enough to work.)   Currently, the punishment here for 3 strikes is complete loss of all electronic privileges for the next day.  (What?! No listening to adventures in odyssey during breakfast with the other kids?!  Oh shock! Oh horror!)   Another option is going to bed directly after supper (not our current choice because of schedule and logistical challenges of being consistent.)

 As I read things, I tend to read with the critical voice of others in my head.  (i.e.  “If you would just SPANK them with a switch or paddle more you wouldn’t have any negative behaviors to target!  Train them like you train a mule and they will always obey without hesitation”….etc.)  And perhaps there is always room for criticism if reading with a tunnel vision mindset, but it is proving to be a valuable tool for us for several reasons.  I have found myself in that mode before (with multiple little ones) where the only thing I could think of to do is spank bottoms!  Certainly a good and biblical option, but there are so many other creative and sometimes more effective ways of training that can leave spanking for some heavier things (in our opinion:  disobedience, rebellion, lying).   

One of the big things this system is helping me with is focus.   I tend to get overwhelmed by all the things I want to "work on" with my kids.  It seems to be a never ending process! Sometimes I feel like I’m slinging mud on the wall trying to fix everything at once (and wearing us all out) instead of purposefully & strategically targeting a specific behavior or habit until it is conquered. Issues like:  Saying "yes ma'am" and “no sir” without being reminded,   not leaving their room until it meets the clean standards we have set up, always speaking kindly, coming directly back to me if they need assistance to complete a command, using self control when a sibling is driving you bonkers, picking up after yourself, keeping a good attitude (including facial expressions and body language),  not dawdling during chores, etc.   This system is helping me to be able to focus with more purpose on the target behaviors we have chosen, knowing that consistency is the key and we will soon be able to move on to new things on the target list.



Rosemond has also helped me to remind me of the ever-present most important thing:  stay calm & be consistent!  And to think my way around some other ideas….you don’t always have to discipline the same offense with the same punishment.  You just have to discipline consistently.  And…you don’t have to do the punishment in that very moment (except for younger years when they need immediate results).  Rosemond says, ‘Do what you can, when you can.’   This has helped.  If a kid is unkind to their siblings at a busy time (before church or at the store, for instance) when we can’t exactly administer a discipline, later when everyone else is doing something fun or when they ask to do something, we can say….no…you were very harsh with your brother yesterday at the store, so you won’t be having that privilege today.

Another thing I really needed was the “alpha talk” talk.  Be matter of fact.  Speak what you expect – with authority - like you mean it, then walk away.  Short and sweet, administer without emotion. Less explanation.  Fewer words is better.  Not exactly my forte.  : 0 But I am listening and learning.  : )
As with any reading, you have to read with a sifter in hand.  Sift out what doesn’t apply to you and keep the good nuggets that can help you to think better.  Some of this book is about severely out-of-hand or rebellious children.  (A good tool to know about when a friend or someone at church or school comes to you desperate with a rebellious child.)  Not all of it applies to us, but there is enough good to be gained and applied in our own way.

Another good book (our first Rosemond book) is the Six-Point Plan.
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Middle of the Night Daybook

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW::
Snow!  It has stopped snowing, but there is a light dusting.  I am honestly, seriously craving a good big cozy snow.  The kind that makes the world quiet and the house cozy.  I even prayed for it today.  Haters gonna hate, but snow is magic to me.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO::
The sound of Caiden's story playing quietly and the incredible comfort of our big, noisy box fan.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO/DREAMING OF ::
I am dreaming of taking sailing lessons for my 40th birthday this summer.

THANKFUL FOR :: 
Hope.  And Joy.
PONDERING :: 
The brain (again).  This time, particularly the mystery of memory and how it works.  I often have completely random memories pop into my brain.  The lake by my Grandma's house.  The sound of the diving board in the neighborhood pool outside my window.  A comment from someone from years and years ago.  Weird, random, non-related snippets of memory that come up while I'm teaching or sitting in church or doing life.  The mystery is:  what triggers these memories?  What determines when they pop up? I need to get a book about it.

REMEMBERING :: 
Speaking of remembering....the memory of sitting on the front step with my Grandma Parsons taking tiny sips of her early morning coffee after checking on the dew-damp garden.  Precious.  Priceless. Random.

READING ::



TO LIVE THE LIFE :: 
I have been sitting here for a long time, fingers on keys, trying to decide what to write for this section tonight.  This is the section where I reflect on things God is teaching me.  Weak areas to tackle.  Going "farther up and farther in."  But I honestly don't know where to begin here tonight. I am thankful for spiritual peace.  I am convicted by Truth and comforted by Grace.  One of the things I am trying to do is make reading the Word a more consistent priority.  I am enjoying reading the Chronological Bible (above) in NIV.  This is not usually our translation of choice, but the language is bringing out so many things to me this time. Questions.  Lots of questions.  Thankfully I sleep with a PhD in Theology who values the Word more than anything else in His life and knows it precisely.
 
TOWARDS RAISING HUNGRY LEARNERS ::
I consider myself an "afterschooler".  Past preschool and kindergarten, it has never been the right decision for us to homeschool.  But we have homeschooler hearts.  I used to have nature notebooks and all sorts of grand plans.  These days my biggest learning goal for my kids is pretty simple:  READ GOOD BOOKS!

A FEW PLANS FOR THIS WEEK::
David has been gone to the Phillippines, speaking at Pastors conferences for a couple of weeks.  He comes home on Tuesday night! 

Friday (Homeschooling & Family Day):  Eye exams for kids, homework/reading/practice time, and something fun. The kids are saying they want to stay home tomorrow.  So I'm hoping to do some Valentiney activities.
Saturday (Cleaning and Church Prep)
Sunday:  Worship with our amazing Church Family.  Love them. so much.
Monday:  (Date Day):  No hubby here to date, so I am spending these Mondays he is gone trying to make some serious headway on my desk.  I am not good at paper management.
Tuesday:  (Errands Day):  I am thinking of trying out a new Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays.  I don't like doing my errands on Wednesdays because Wednesday nights are cray-cray around here.


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