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Friday, November 15, 2019

You are not the perfect mother for your kids



I am about to make a lot of people mad.

I can't stand the "God made you the perfect Mommy for your kids, so stop guilting yourself" mentality. You are the perfect mom for your kids,  because no one is.

Let me start off saying that I get this is a reaction to the world of MOMMY GUILT (which I also hate). If you are drowning in Mommy guilt, please don't let that paralyze you, but there is a difference between condemnation and conviction.

Condemnation is shame and "mommy wars" of who is better at breast feeding. It leads to paralyzing shame and hurt. Condemnation is the voice of the world saying you are NEVER going to be good enough. Condemnation drains your soul. It is nit-picky and seeks to make you feel wrong; your clothes are not right, your kids are too loud, your school choice is wrong.

Conviction is a gift, inviting you to do better. Conviction isn't necessarily pleasant, yet somehow fills and feeds your soul. What a beauty to be given the opportunity to repent and do better for your kids. Conviction is inspiring.

Conviction needs to be embraced, not thrown out with shame of condemnation.
Do you feel convicted about your yelling, or your day drinking? Do you feel convicted about your language around your children. Embrace it! Do better for your kids.

I was raised by a mother with a personality disorder (BPD). She did not embrace conviction.

When a child of an abusive mother hears, "God gives every child the perfect mommy for their needs", we ask ourselves, does that mean I deserved what I got in my mom? Did I need the screaming and belittling? Did I need the unpredictable rage alternating with manic moods that could be fun, productive, or scary, depending on the day. Did I need to be in an environment of trying to always be the good girl so that I could make her feel loved? Did I need to be pulled out of the car by my hair for arriving home 15 minutes late? Did I need to never get unconditional love from the person designed to give it to me?

She felt conviction, I assure you, but pushed it away as "people judging her". She would project the conviction onto me, saying I never loved her enough as a mother, meaning she expected unconditional acceptance just because she was my mother.

If you want to get into the theology of it, I do believe that God worked it all for His Glory to become the woman I am today. I was in a house that would make me have to FIGHT for healing. I was given the opportunity to see a marriage of constant strife so that I could deeply appreciate, to my bones, the servant leadership of a GOOD AND GODLY husband.

BUT that doesn't mean she was the "perfect mother for me" and didn't need to grow. Who knows what would have happened if she had embraced conviction, and tried to change. What glory that would have brought to God, and healing in my heart if she has tried to discern condemnation from conviction. Maybe I wouldn't have been almost 30, with two kids, before I truly TRUSTED unconditional love (my poor husband had a lot of years with a deeply insecure woman). Some of the scars she inflicted on my heart may be there until I go home to Heaven. I fight every day to be the mother I want to be. The next time you see "stop feeling guilty because God made you the perfect mom for your kids", stop and think, is the guilt condemnation or conviction?

You have the POTENTIAL to be exactly who your kids need to be, but no one has arrived.

Are you drowning condemnation of mommy guilt world? Ok, ignore it. Is it the conviction that leads to a new and better life? EMBRACE IT. Seeking healing, seek a counselor, seek repentance.

You are not the perfect mom for your kid, but you do have the perfect God.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Learning Cursive with Proverbs

Learning Cursive with Proverbs

Bible Based Cursive Workbook


You asked and we listened!

 After publishing Learning Cursive with Narnia and Learning Cursive with The Hobbit, I had several people ask for a Bible Based Cursive Workbook. Prayer and discussion led us to the choosing the book of Proverbs as an appropriate copy work. We chose proverbs we felt children could understand on their level, and apply to their own lives.

The translation we chose  for the quote copywork (Part Three of the workbook) is 
New International Reader's Version (NIrV) Early Reader's Bible because it written on a third grade reading level, making it a perfect fit since many children begin cursive in third grade. 


Proverbs Cursive workbook is designed to give meaningful handwriting practice for elementary and middle school students. It can be used as a first introduction to cursive or penmanship practice for older students!

Includes:
  • Cursive Alphabet Reference Chart
  • upper and lower case practice
  •  Proverb related word practice
  • Proverb quotes for copywork from NIrV (New International Reader's Version).
Skills learned:
  • letter formation
  • letter placement
  • linking letters
  • word spacing



LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK

Part One: Letter Practice
Part Two: Word Practice
Meaningful word practice from Proverbs







Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Christian Books about Sex to Read With Your Kids



I always feel talking to my kids about big subjects is easier when the author of a good book starts the conversation for me. There are A LOT of great books on this subject, but I have not read them all.  Below are the books I have used myself as I teach my kids about sex and puberty. If you have any others, please comment and share!

WHY YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT SEX OFTEN AND EARLY
Sex education with your children should NEVER be just one conversation that begins at puberty, many call it "the talk".  Kids start learning about reproduction as they see animals  at the zoo mating, start with those conversations. Don't shy away, keep it simple with "That is how babies puppies are made."  Age appropriate organic conversations build on themselves so that when they are ready for the mechanics and emotions of sex ,close to puberty and beyond, they have a foundation of communication and trust with you. Sex is a wonderful and beautiful creation from God.

You should be talking to your kids about sex early and often because:
  • It helps then protect their bodies against sexual abuse.  Keeping lines of communication open and education are your first line of defense in the protecting your children from sexual abuse.  I am currently working on a video post with ways  to help children protect themselves from sexual abuse. Please check back soon.
  • It helps their future marriage by taking away shame and fear. Sex is a made by God and is a wonderful thing to be enjoyed. See my post on how to talk about Song of Solomon with your kids




PRESCHOOLERS AND ELEMENTARY

God Made All of Me: Helping Children Protect Their Bodies
Read it with children as young as 2 or 3 years old, up to late elementary and junior high. This book is NOT about mechanics of  sex, but about private parts and how children can protect their bodies, which is an essential part of the sex education. This is an amazing book that is no way graphic, but teaches children that no part of them is shameful. The theme to children is that they do have a power over their body, who touches it and where.  Learning healthy and appropriate boundaries for the private parts is your first step in sex education.  I honestly am not sure there is even an age limit on this book because I read it with my TWELVE YEAR OLDS and they learned something new. The information for parents in the back of the book is priceless.




UPPER ELEMENTARY
(4th-5th grade)
The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made 
I can not recommend this book more. It was a gentle approach to a very difficult subject of the mechanics of sex. I would not recommend just giving it to your child, but really take the time to read it one on one with each child.  It has alternating pages, one for a young reader and then for older children or the adult. Have your child read the young words and you read the older reading level.  It is starts the best conversations. My favorite parts that it doesn't end with an awkward note of reproduction, but on the redeeming note of adoption.  It really was a wonderful and essential resource for every family.




JUNIOR HIGH
Conversations about Sex and Puberty MUST BEGIN BEFORE PUBERTY BEGINS. You need to have conversations that PREPARE your children for this crazy time in life, not REACTIONARY  scrambling to help them in the midst of the crazy hormones.  Build trust and open communication with them before their brains and bodies fill with hormones.

Dr. Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence Audio 
We listened to these as a family. They are not all about sex, but the puberty CD that discussed sex  was, in my opinion, very well done. It covered the biological aspects of puberty that will enable girls and boys to eventually become parents. Boys AND girls need to know about menstruation, and Dr. Dobson covered it in a very age-appropriate way. He also conveyed that sex is not just for making babies, but for also for pleasure.
I appreciated he also talks about hormonal driven masturbation in these years, with helpful practical advice  on how to respond as parents. This opened up conversations for my husband talk to my sons about healthy non-shameful sexual urges they will experience as a young adult versus harmful lust of pornography. I would recommend listening to these as a family, not just giving to your child to listen to. They spark great discussions.




Guy Stuff- Body Book for Boys
This is not a Christian book, but it is very very well done.  We bought it when my boys were in 6th grade, and they read it often. Every issue your boy will encounter in puberty is covered, from late bloomers to shaving, to pimples. There is not morality issues discussed, but deals with he physical changes, like how to clean up after a nocturnal emissions. It also has great emotional help, like how to control your temper as your hormones surge.   See more and pictures inside the book with the review I already wrote on this great resource.



The Care and Keeping of You. 
This the girl version of GUY STUFF, by the same authors. I have friends who have read this book with their daughters and highly recommend it. 



FOR ADULTS TO READ

I recommend Straight Talk with your Kids about Sex by Josh and Dottie McDowell. I personally think there is WAY TOO MUCH shame around the topic of sex in the Christian culture, which leads to children not speaking up if they are sexually abused or not having a healthy sex life in marriage.  You can read about my thoughts on how to share about sex with your kids in my post  Sharing Song of Solomon with your kids.  Josh give practical ways to open up this discussion with your kids.


READ MORE ABOUT HOW TO SHARE SONG OF SOLOMON WITH YOUR KIDS



Saturday, October 26, 2019

Preschool Discipline, Preventing Power Struggles



Many of you know me for my home school materials, but you may not also know I am Preschool Teacher.  I recently spoke to a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group about Preschool Discipline.  I have a degree in Early Childhood and have worked with preschoolers in some capacity or another for the past sixteen years, my entire adult life.

The information I shared was well received by the MOPS group, so I wanted to share it with you.  The video is a little long because it was a lecture I gave, but I truly believe it is worth your time to watch. Maybe listen while you cook dinner or fold laundry. The realistic expectations and and strategies I describe in the video have saved me from COUNTLESS power struggles with preschoolers (my child and others included).

Some topics in the video include:
  • How to find balance in the power of parenting 
  • Unrealistic Expectations of preschoolers that lead to power struggles 
  • Language of Choice= 4 steps to preventing and dealing with power struggles


PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to my You Tube Channel. 
Your subscription helps me keep this blog going!



Monday, October 21, 2019

What is truth? Teaching Critical Thinking Skills with History


What is truth?

The need to intentionally teach our kids about Historical Fact and Historical Opinion was brought to my attention the past few years as we studied American History.

Our curriculum, My Father's World (MFW), provides three different books to read for each time period of History. Some days we read all of them, and some days we only read one. The ability to read history from different view points and resources is one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. As you read multiple books on the same subject, it becomes almost easy to teach about historical bias to your children.

One of the books MFW provided for our past few years of American History is Exploring American History by D.H. Montgomery.  It has such an obvious bias that it stopped me in my track a few times. In some cases the writing went from subtle bias to flat out untrue. The overall theme of the bias is teaching American legend over American fact.

Page 91 Exploring American History

In the above passage Washington "never heard a complaint" from the brave men crossing the Delaware even though it was freezing and they had no shoes. This is an obvious example of teaching legend over fact. In every other book we've read about this time period, we learn how Washington spent most of the war dealing with deserters who were very vocal in their complaints of no shoes.

I almost stopped reading this book entirely after we encountered more of these faulty sentences, but I have chosen to use this book as an opportunity to help develop our critical thinking skills.

We read it with discerning eyes and alongside other resources, which is how all history books should be read. There is historical fact in this book that we need in each chapter but almost every chapter has a few sentences so obviously and opinions that it is hard to miss. These obvious biases are perfect opportunities to teach my children discernment and critical thinking skills.

I don't want my children to live in an echo chamber like most Americans today. I don't want them to see historical bias and a.) run from it or b.) accept it as fact.

The critical thinking skills we are developing are more important to me than the dates we memorize.


TEACHING OPINION VERSES FACT
As I was discussing my concerns of this book with another homeschool mom, she asked,
"How in the world do you know what is true and not true? It's too much and I just get overwhelmed and give up."
The fact is we can't find objective "truth" in history. We were not there. We CAN discern what is subjective opinion verses objective fact.

To help our children develop critical thinking skills, focus on less on "finding the truth" and more on discerning fact from opinion.

Even as an adult, there are sentences I can discern as opinion only because it differs from my own. Everyday I have to work on my own discernment. The key to critical thinking is discerning an opinion, even when the opinion is yours.

CRITICAL THINKING ACTIVITY FOR STUDENTS
I developed an activity to help my children discern historical opinion from historical fact.
I asked my children to skim a chapter of every history book we have, looking for any opinion sentences. I then challenged my kids to rewrite those sentences as a fact statement.

This was a challenge my high school newspaper teacher used to assign with the whole class, and it helped me develop a more discerning eye to news. She would give us current event news articles and we had to find the opinion sentence(s), and rewrite them as fact.

Page 136 Exploring American History 

In the above picture, I asked my children to find the opinion in the sentence, "The Battle of Tippecanoe did much good because it prevented the Indian tribes from uniting and beginning a great war all through the West."

The phrase "did much good" changes this sentence from a fact to an opinion. I challenged my boys to rewrite the sentence as fact, and all they had to do was take out those three words. Changing just a few words can change a sentence from fact to opinion.

My kids can spot the obvious opinion sentences, but these activities are helping them spot the much more subtle opinions that are throughout our books.

Later on in the book Exploring American History, we read that after the Civil War, "Both sides now shook hands and  became friends."
Page 168 Exploring American History 

My sons correctly pointed out that the word "friends" is an opinion. What makes a friend? This was a good time to teach the vocabulary words of subjective and objective.

The context in this case helped my children spot the subjective sentence. The following sentence about Lincoln's assassination is quite contradictory because friends don't murder each other.

After reading several other history books on the same time period, we came back to the "became good friends"  sentence and rewrote it as fact: "The south surrendered to the North and Reconstruction began."


LEGENDS OVER FACT
Sometimes a historical opinion is taught in the more subtle form of legend. The most obvious examples of when legend is favored is in regards to the American founding fathers.

American Founding Fathers did do great things, and that is important to remember, but what definition of great are you using?

When you use the definition of "great" that means distinguished, these men did great things. Christopher Columbus did the great thing of distinguishing himself from the beliefs of his times, leading him to Europe's discovery of a New World. He also made many decisions in the New World that horrifically injured entire people groups.

To reconcile these opposing historical facts, I ask my children,
 "This figure may have been a great man, but he was he also good man?"
And I follow up this question with, "Figuring out if he is a good man is an opinion. It is a fact he did these great things [insert facts of whatever historical figure you are talking about]. It is an opinion if he was a good man or not."

These types of discussions will get your kids to engage in history, and eventually with current events, in a discerning manner.

I hope these activities and questions will lead to productive conversations with your children!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

We are not a drain to your church


My husband and I attended Caring Well Conference, a conference from Ethics and Religious Liberty Commitee, designed to care well for survivors of abuse in God's church.

I met a woman named Mary during a break, and I knew she was involved in the conference in some way because I'd seen on stage, so I told her I was praying for her. We chatted and she was lovely person. After she left I looked her up so see how she was involved with the conference, and then I realized I had been speaking with the amazing author of "We Too", Mary Demuth.

Mary was one of the last speakers of the week, and she shared a profound truth that God knew I needed to hear.

"We [survivors of abuse] are not a drain on your resources, we are a gift to you" -Mary Demuth
 
I have never been told that my story as a survivor of multiple forms of abuse was a GIFT to the church before. I've been told His glory is made perfect in my weakness,  but it was never worded that my weakness and trauma are actually an essential part of God's church.

I've always subtly felt that the people in church really liked my story, but only when I share the healing, the tidied up part that is wrapped in a bow of closure. When you share the pain that ends normal conversations, it is uncomfortable.

Thank you Lord for letting me know I am not valuable to your church IN SPITE of my abuse stories, but BECAUSE of my past.

I am NOT drain to my church. I am not a drain to my husband or my family. I am not a drain to my friends. I have believed this lie for too long.

Not only in my weakness is God strong, but in my weaknesses, others are made strong. When we walk with broken, we walk in the sacrificial love of Jesus. When we listen well to deeply uncomfortable pain, we walk in the groaning and grief of the Holy Spirit. When we get angry and advocate on their behalf, we walk in the love of a Father who hates the evil being done to his chosen children.

Welcome the broken into your church not because it helps THEM, but because it is how God has chosen to make you more like his beautiful beautiful son.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Weasley Is Our King Button

I am going to a Harry Potter trivia night with friends this week. Our team name is "Weasley is our King", so we of course needed our badges!

Materials Needed:
  • pencil
  • scissors

1. Gently press down on button top while rotating button to separate top from bottom.

2.  Using inner paper as stencil to cut our words. Put inside button.


3. Press edge of button together until they snap into place








Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Learning Cursive with The Hobbit, Cursive workbook


We had such great response from our Narnia Cursive Book, including many requests to make it into a series! Our second workbook, in what we hope to be a series of cursive workbooks, is based on the J.R. Tolkien classic, The Hobbit.

We had several requests for a "Lord of the Rings" theme, so we began with "The Hobbit" because it was more age appropriate for Elementary students learning cursive for the first time, or middle school age student reviewing their penmanship.


This Cursive workbook features over 90 pages of Hobbit related cursive learning and practice using D’nealian Cursive.

It was another family project, with my kids helping find words and my detail-oriented husband once again did all my editing.  We deeply appreciate every purchase, as you help me keep this website open, helping homeschool families from all over the country.


Age Recommendations:
  • For 2nd to 5th grade learning cursive
  • For 6th to 8th reviewing penmanship
Contents:
  • Suggested Use and Schedule
  • Part one: Letter Practice
  • Part two: Word Practice
  • Part three: Quote Copywork
Part One: Letter Practice
Each page gives instructions first with guided arrow letter, then plenty of tracing and copying practice.
 

Part Two: Word Practice
 A collection of words from "The Hobbit" gives practice for capital and lower case letters, and how to link letters.

Part Three: Quote Copywork
A Collection of over 40 Hobbit quotes will give your child the opportunity to practice penmanship, letter linking, and proper word spacing. 


Our plans for the next book with most likely be Scripture based, so please check back! 
Also follow me on Facebook for updates
TO THE ROCK HOMESCHOOL on Facebook


Don't forget to travel to Narnia after you leave Middle-Earth with "Learning Cursive in Narnia"



Friday, June 14, 2019

Learning Cursive in Narnia


NARNIA HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 

One of my boys struggles with his handwriting.  I looked all over for a cursive book that would peek his interest. I know that the best learning happens when connected to something meaningful, instead of just rote memorization.

We ordered a book themed workbook, based on another children's book series, but when I received it, I could tell it was not written by a teacher.  It was fun for practice, but not really for learning the formation of each letter and joining letters. As a homeschooling mother with a degree in Early Childhood Education, I wondered if I could do better.

The workbook we created has large illustrations with arrows on how to create each letter. Each page combines repetition of tracing and copying with the meaningful words and phrases from our family's favorite subject, the world of Narnia.


The words chosen for tracing and copying are found all throughout C.S. Lewis' beloved books, including all the letters of the alphabet.  My boys helped me find many of the words, including "voyage" when I stumped for a v-word. The quotes for copywork are some of the most beloved in the novels, with many of our personal family favorites.

PART ONE letter practice.

PART TWO Word practice

PART THREE Quote Copywork 

My amazing detail oriented husband did all my editing, especially the hours of formatting lines and quotes.

Once we completed, I wanted to share the book with more families. My workbook is now for sale on Amazon.  It is Cursive workbook features over 70 pages of Narnia related cursive learning and practice using D’nealian Cursive.



For 2nd to 5th grade, depending on if you want to teach cursive or just a fun review book. I am actually using it for my 6th grader , almost 7th grader, who forgot all the cursive he learned in 3rd grade.

Contents:
  • Suggested Use and Schedule
  • Part one: Letter Practice
  • Part two: Word Practice
  • Part three: Quote Copywork

BACK COVER
Book includes cursive practice of letters, words, and quotes.


The book is over 70 pages, including Cursive Alphabet Reference Chart, upper and lower case practice, Narnia related word practice, and Narnia quotes for copywork. This book is perfect for use in homeschool, classroom, during summer, or anytime your child needs handwriting practice.

 Skills learned:
  • letter formation
  • letter placement
  • linking letters
  • word spacing
Don't forget to travel to Middle-Earth after you leave Narnia with Learning Cursive with The Hobbit

Cursive Practice