How to Raise a God’s Girl

The Importance of Fun – MBFLP 224

Who said school can’t be fun? This episode, we sit down with our friends Roger and Jan Smith, long-time homeschool parents and leaders in Louisiana. The topic is simply, “Fun” – what it can do to create memories, bond family members, and make learning a lot more enjoyable for parents and students alike!

Recently we visited with Roger and Jan Smith, leaders in the Louisiana homeschool community and dear friends of ours. One evening our family and our friends were playing a fast-paced game together, laughing hysterically, and thinking about what an important, bonding thing that is.

We were noticing how well our teenagers interacted with the adults in the room, and the obvious respect going in both directions, and we were talking later about how the shared experiences build that sort of relationship. They’re more and more important as we all become more individualized and isolated, focusing on our work and entertainment through private screens—even when we’re in the same room, we’re not interacting.

That’s one reason we love audiobooks when we’re driving or working together, because the whole family can share that experience and have a basis for conversations later. It’s a good reason for reading aloud together, even when the children are reading well on their own. We try and make intentional choices to do things together so in later years, our adult children will have memories that draw them back to their family home.

Another thing we do is make a big deal over family holidays. Birthdays are an example. In our home, the one we’re celebrating gets to choose the family menu for the day. At supper, we center the conversation on memories of the birthday person. Afterward, we take turns sharing things we love or admire about them. It’s really touching – everyone loves being appreciated, and it’s very easy to overlook the chances to communicate that respect.

A Sense of Humor

Shared humor is another thing we look for. A study of newlywed couples noticed how they interacted, especially the moments of humor in the midst of a problem. It defuses situations and reduces tension if we can refer to a shared joke or inside story. It’s a sign of a healthy relationship if you can still smile, if you can still laugh, if you can lighten up in the midst of your stress. That applies to your kids as well as your mate!

In fact, that study really pointed out that our relationships are formed from the moments we share. Little things count. It’s not like you have to learn a new language to really score points with your kids. Instead, you just need to  hear when they speak, make eye contact, and come back with a positive response.

And that’s something you get a dozen times a day to do. If you miss one, just determine to catch the next. It’s something you can build up without feeling like you have to make a huge investment before you see any benefit.

(Listen in for more great ideas about building memories and relationships with your family!)

Parenting Beyond the Rules with Connie Albers

Parenting Beyond the Rules

Parenting Beyond the Rules with Connie Albers

Podcast #68

Connie Albers joins us today to talk about Parenting Beyond the Rules, which happens to be the title of her new book! We discuss the book and more specifically, how to deal with apps and children. What to look for and why it is important to know what your children are doing on the internet and their devices.

About Book:

 

Parenting teens is one of the most challenging seasons of parenting, isn’t it? While this can be a difficult time of transition for parents and teens, there is hope. You can parent well and build a stronger relationship even through the teen years.

After 30 years of parenting five children and 20 years of working with teens, Connie Albers has witnessed the negative impact of well-intentioned but misguided parenting styles; all focused on managing teens rather than guiding them. But through learning to focus on the hearts of your teens, you can avoid those pitfalls and build relationships that last beyond the transition years as you intentionally learn about, connect with, and listen to your teens. In a world filled with distractions and devices, it is possible to guide their hearts and remain the primary influence in their lives. In Parenting beyond the Rules, you will discover how to raise a teen according to his or her strengths, talents, and personality type, as these things equip teens to manage life.

Join Connie Albers in discovering practical solutions for every parent trying to raise a responsible, godly teenager.

Connie Albers  ConnieAlbers.com

 

Connie will be one of our Keynote Speakers at Convention this year. She will be speaking on these topics and more during the 3 day weekend. Learn about our event and register at www.fpea.com/2019Convention

 

Join us January 4th – on the Carnival Magic

www.FPEA.com/Cruise2020

Join our Facebook Group

Call Carnival 1.800.764.7419 Be sure to use Group# 6GHW24Refresh FPEA Marriage Cruise #cruise #fpea #florida #homeschool #podcast

FPEA Members, Download Your Florida History Adventures+ Bundle

When Adult Kids Move Back Home – MBFLP 219

What do you do when the adult kids move out … and then come back?

It’s not uncommon – the Census Bureau reports that more than one out of three Millennials (ages 18-34) are living at home with their parents. (In some states, it’s nearly 50%!)

This is not unusual historically – when we look back in our family history a hundred years or more, we see it was common for adult children to be living with parents and sharing the work of farm, forge, and kitchen – or for newlyweds to be living with their parents or in-laws for a time, too.

But this has become more common in recent years. Why?

Young people are getting married later – age of first marriage is approaching 30 for men and 27 for women

  • In 1976, 75% of men and 93% of women were married by age 30
  • In 2014, it was half that – 32% of men and 46% of women
  • More Millennials live with their parents than with a spouse

Student loan debt is a serious burden to many, too. The average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school with nearly $28,500 in debt

And this all happening in the midst of a long, sluggish recovery from the financial crises of 2008 and beyond.

So it’s not surprising or rare for parents to find themselves with a twenty-something son or daughter moving back into their old bedroom.

The question is, how can we make this work for all of us?


This episode is brought to you by

The subscription box that builds your skills!

www.CraftsmanCrate.com


Long Distances with Little Ones – MBFLP 216

Long Distances with Little Ones

The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest time of year on America’s highways, and you may be driving long hours with little ones on board. How do you manage this so you all arrive at Grandma’s in good spirits? We hit the road in 2010 with seven children in the van and we’re crisscrossing the country for six months every year. This episode, we’ll share what we’ve learned about covering long distance with little ones!

You’re Not Alone

Last year, AAA estimated 51 million of us would be on the road for Thanksgiving. That’s like the whole population of New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota on the highway at the same time! It’s hard to guess how many of those millions were riding in booster seats, but you can bet it was a bunch.

There are some practical ways to make this more manageable for everyone: 

Long Distances with Little Ones

Making It Work

    1. Remember kids are kids – you’ve got make allowance for them. When Jacob met his brother Esau on the way back to his home country, Esau urged him to come along – but Jacob reminded him, “the children are weak,” and told him to go ahead, “[and] I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock …, and the children, are able to endure.” (Genesis 33:12-14)
    2. Take it easy on the mileposts. The fact that Dad the Road Warrior can handle 700 miles a day may not be the best plan for Mom and the kids. We were much happier when we slowed down our itinerary.
    3. Be sure that kids who sleep all day will be alert and active when Mom and Dad are ready for bed! We’ve done a few trips overnight or in the wee hours, but it made the parents grumpy the next day – and no child needs that! It’s tempting to pile on the miles while the crew is napping, but you’ll all be happier if you get out and get some exercise during the day. Which leads to our discovery,
    4. We all need regular breaks. On doctor’s advice, we make a brief stop every couple of hours. You’re going to need gas and rest rooms eventually, why not just plan on it? Modern travel plazas aren’t like the seedy truck stops of old – we find they’re usually clean, well-lit, and have large rest rooms. Which reminds us,
    5. “Mandatory Bathroom Stops” make it efficient. We just require everybody to get out and use the rest room, even if they “don’t need to go.” (We found the teenager who insisted he didn’t need to get out was the one who would have an emergency thirty minutes down the road.)
    6. Don’t miss the field trips along the way. We’ve had some great stops at National Parks, state historical sites, or even just picnic areas with a view. Go ahead – you might learn something, and if nothing else, the kids can run around and use up some energy! (Keep a ball or Frisbee handy to encourage some activity). A little research beforehand can highlight neat stuff ahead.
    7. Do like the airlines – distract the passengers with changing activities. You can hand out a snack, then a little while later surprise them with some new crayons or a book, then sing or play a car game, then maybe start a DVD or pop in an audio book (we’ve got some suggestions below!) Older kids might be able to do some schoolwork along the way – but if it’s a short vacation, you might want to just take the days off from book work and let them learn what they can from the travel.

In the old days, an education wasn’t considered complete until the student had experienced some serious travel. Now, it’s so much easier to get around, we tend to rush through it and miss the good stuff along the way. Slow down a bit, let the kids out of their car seats some, and enjoy the journey together!

 



Looking for some entertaining audiobooks that help build character, too? Check out the growing line of classic stories at RaisingRealMen.com, and for a limited time, use the coupon code audioholiday15 to take 15% off! Brought to you by our publisher, Great Waters Press!


Best of HIRL: The Educated Parent

Free homeschool podcast about maintaining an education as parents.We home educators spend a lot of time educating our kids. But what about us? Are we taking the time to learn more, discover more, and be curious?

This episode of Homeschooling in Real Life is dedicated to you, the homeschooling parent. We want to see you grow and thrive in your role as parent educator, and to that end we’re talking about the reasons to educate yourself as well as the how-to. Let’s get learning!

 


SHOW NOTES:

Recommended Resources:

Hoopla – Library digital borrowing

Khan Academy – Free education

Follow Fletch/Kendra:
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Follow the Studio Dogs:
Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website

Previous Episodes Mentioned:

Episode 91 – Is Me Time Necessary?

Music clips used on this episode:
School Boy Heart by Jimmy Buffett – Buy it here on iTunes


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Change is in the Air Movie

This story embraces the imperfections that make us human, offers a way to set ourselves free and asks us all to take a good, long look at the wild birds in the sky.

Watch the trailer here!


Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers – MBFLP 212

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers

We homeschooled from the very beginning, which meant that we’ve always had babies and toddlers in the mix. We’ve always had multiple ages to deal with!

What’s the number one thing we wish we’d known?  That it gets easier!

The struggle is real. When you have little children, the burden is mostly Mom’s. It takes two hours to get ready to go anywhere, as you fight through the necessary clothing changes, diaper changes, baby nursings, and so on before you depart. When you have three little ones and only two hands, that’s reality. Don’t be surprised that you’re overwhelmed – give yourself some grace!

We wish we’d known that having an eighth child at 45 would be less of a jolt than having a third child at 31. We didn’t realize that as new babies joined the family, the older children were growing more and more capable and helpful. With some training, even your six- or seven-year-old can take some of your load off! Don’t miss out on that help – make the investment to teach them household skills, and you’ll be training them for life as well as getting a hand up on your present-day stress.

Don’t Freak Out!

If you’re just starting homeschooling, you might be worried – can I really do this? What if I mess them up?

With the younger ones, you really can’t wreck their education. Preschoolers and toddlers need you to read them stories and let them play, pretend, and explore. Don’t try and push them into academics too early – if they’re not developmentally ready, it won’t work, and it will only convince them that school is unpleasant. Don’t destroy their natural curiosity and love of learning!

What about babies? We never centered school around the kitchen table or a row of desks. Rather, Melanie found a comfortable chair (she liked the recliner) so she could nurse the baby or cuddle them while they slept. A book case on one side held the school materials and a child-sized table and chair on the other kept everything within arm’s reach. Homeschooling isn’t like a classroom and doesn’t have to look like one. We found babies really weren’t disrupters at all.

Toddlers, now, are disrupters, and no mistake. Remember little ones have little attention spans. Don’t expect them to sit still for long at all. When they run up to you and interrupt the formal school, it’s best to let them – don’t try to say, “We’ll be done in 20 minutes, Sweety,” because the one thing they can concentrate on is whining. Instead, tell the older students what to do for a few minutes, then take the toddler in your lap, give them three or four minutes of eye contact and interaction, and then let them go play again. First attention is the fastest!

In fact, they’ll learn what they need at the early ages if you just keep them nearby and talk to them. You can teach colors, numbers, and other basic facts just in the course of family life. Keep some quiet toys in the school room, buy them some child size household tools (brooms and such), and let them help with tasks like folding towels or sorting the silverware.

And when you’re starting your primary students, don’t push them too hard either. Whatever you teach them at six years old, they’ll be seeing and practicing over and over for years to come. It won’t hurt if you need to skip a day or go back and repeat something. We’ve had four graduate homeschooling and go to college on scholarships; there’s a time to step up the academic game, but it’s not in primary school!

Be sure you adapt your household expectations. Your family is on a mission from God, and that mission probably isn’t “Be ready to welcome the camera crew from Architectural Digest.” If your home is occupied 24/7 instead of empty all day, and doubles as a school, laboratory, and business center as well as dormitory … then make the house work for you, and not you for the house!  Disposable products, simpler menus, and children’s help on the chores (i.e., not up to Grandma’s skill level) can give you the time and energy to do more important things in the lives of your family, church, and community. (And Dad – don’t expect angels to sing if you help out around the house. It’s just the right thing to do.)

Want to know more? Need more practical ideas? Then listen in!

RESOURCES WE MENTIONED

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Interested in having Hal or Melanie speak at your event? CLICK HERE for information!

Come Away Weekend – our marriage retreat and giveaway – Flat Rock, NC – October 19-21

Special Needs Conference for Gifted and Struggling Learners – Orlando, FL – November 16-17

Middle Schoolers Online – MBFLP 209

Should your middle schooler be online?
When’s the right time to get your middle schoolers online? Researcher Jean Twenge (iGen) says that people born since 1995–that’s the class just starting to graduate from college, and their younger siblings–have basically grown up with round-the-clock Internet access. It’s not healthy, and it’s causing some specific, traceable problems … and yet, the world our kids are graduating into demands computer literacy … and expects to find a current social media footprint. How can we both protect our younger kids and prepare them for the real world just a few years ahead? This episode, we’ll start the conversation on middle schoolers and the online world …

 

Should your middle schooler be online?

Some Announcements … We are still celebrating the release of our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope … and we are getting some fantastic first-reader reviews! CLICK HERE to see a sample … or to order your own copy.  Background information: This week’s episode is in response to several of those reviews!

We’re scheduling upcoming events … We’ve recently finished agreements for events in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida … and we have plans to be in Maryland for a private event, soon, too. CLICK HERE to see our newest plans … and if you’d like to have us speak at your church, retreat, conference, or other event, VISIT OUR SPEAKING EVENT WEBSITE HERE.

Big HELLO to our new listeners on iHeartRadio! Be sure to come here to check out the show notes and links we mention on the air …


So what about middle schoolers and time online?

Dr. Twenge says that studies indicate the average high school senior now spends six hours per day online – including two and a quarter hours in text messaging, alone. Where is this time coming from? She shows that it comes from less time in homework, less time in extracurricular activities, less time working after-school jobs, and much less time just hanging out with friends “in real life.” This is undermining their social and emotional developments in many ways that explain the alarm and hysteria coming from college campuses these days!

There is also some correlation with the rise in teenage mental illness, including self-harming behaviors, and obsessive use of social media.

So it should be obvious that we don’t want to drop our pre-teens into that mix when they are in their most uprooted, emotional, hormonal, and generally unstable time of life. It wouldn’t be wise, it wouldn’t be prudent, and it simply wouldn’t be kind.

Instead, let’s hold off on social media for young people until they’re back on an even emotional keel – maybe 15 or 16. At that point, we recommend starting them off with lots of supervision and advice. Why? Because like it or not, social media has replaced the front porch and casual relationships in church, neighborhood, and community for establishing a basic public reputation. It’s expected. That means we need to coach our young people in appropriate online behavior, just like our parents or grandparents coached us–what’s appropriate and how we should act where the neighbors can hear or the community can see.

What about other uses of the net?

We need to recognize that the old “electronic babysitter,” the television of our youth, has been supplemented or replaced by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the rest. Screen time is still screen time, with all its differences and similarities. Is there a place for simple entertainment use? Yes, and sometimes you need that “babysitter” – to calm an anxious child quiet in the doctor’s waiting room, or maybe to keep fidgety kids in their seats on long car trips. But let’s be honest about it and recognize it for what it is–don’t just drift into habits we’ll regret.

Meanwhile, think about boundaries and limitations you need to establish, and put them in place early. You’ll get a lot less pushback and complaining if your pre-teens have grown up knowing these boundaries, like accountability software, supervision, and time limits. They’re good guardrails to have, no matter what age you start–just realize it’s easier the earlier you get them in place.

Want to know more about middle schoolers and wisdom in technology use? Check out chapter 7, “Media, Gaming, and Discernment,” in our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope.

Middle School Q & A – MBFLP 208

Real life Q and A from parents like you with middle schoolers

Nobody told us what to expect … babies and toddlers we read about, and people warned us in hushed tones about the dreadful teen years, but nobody told us, “Just wait till they’re in middle school!” This week on Facebook Live we took questions from parents of pre-teens, asking them “What are you having struggles with?” That’s the meat of this week’s podcast – real live Q&A about dealing with the challenges of tweens!

Real life Q and A from parents like you with middle schoolers

Whether you call them pre-teens, tweens, middle-schoolers, or something else, your child will go through a transitional period between “clearly a little kid” to “definitely a teenager.” That catches most of us by surprise. Why is that? Probably because we’re anticipating the physical changes – his voice cracks, she starts her cycle, he’s got a proud new whisker, she is starting to get a figure. Before those outward changes appear, there’s a tidal wave of hormones that start the body’s transformation, and those hormones cause all sorts of effects in their thinking, their emotions, and even their spiritual lives.

What’s more important, our families stumble into a relationship minefield at this point. If we don’t recognize what’s happening and handle it right, we can end up with strained, bent, or broken relationships with our pre-teens.

But it’s also an opportunity. If we can come alongside our sons and daughters during this time and give them understanding, guidance, and encouragement – as well as discipleship and discipline when needed – we can lay foundations for a great relationship during the exciting years ahead!

Questions we addressed … 

7:21 – They’re so addleheaded in school
11:21 – Highly emotional but lacking in perspective
13:03 – They make wild assertions with no basis in reality
14:16 – The personal challenge of discipleship
14:56 – How to manage a changing school situation
17:37 – What about transitioning to adulthood – even with special needs
20:32 – Suddenly, there’s social anxiety
23:36 – He’s struggling in school and hates it
26:35 – A normally friendly boy growing quiet and withdrawn
28:01 – Tips for overcoming shyness

Resources we recommended …

Our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope

Read reviews here

Dianne Craft’s Brain Integration Therapy Manual

Our growing selection of classic, character-building audiobooks

Teaching Kids Self-Control – MBFLP 207

This episode we deal with a perennial problem in parenting – how in the world do we teach our kids self-control? The entertainment and collegiate culture may celebrate raw emotion and thoughtless self-expression – if it’s “authentic” it’s immune from criticism – but the Bible says differently. What’s more, every parent knows that what you might laugh about when they’re two, can wreck their lives when they’re twenty … and make your home intolerable when they’re sixteen. So what can we do to start – and continue – teaching the critical habit of self-control?


 

New
by
Hal and Melanie Young
CLICK HERE to find out more! 

 


What Does the Bible Tell Us?

The Scriptures warn against being led by our impulses and appetites. The Proverbs are full of warnings about the outcome of anger, drunkenness, laziness, gluttony, lust … TLDR, it doesn’t end well for the person “whose god is their belly, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:21-22 list “self-control” alongside love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in someone. That says it’s important, and it also should encourage us to pray for it – for our children and ourselves!

Our children are our disciples and they learn from our example … whether good or bad, and as Jesus said, “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV).  That should encourage us to try to be the kind of persons we want our kids to become.

Some Practical Ideas

Feelings are real but they may not be accurate. The Lord tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things …” (Jeremiah 17:9) so we can’t trust every feeling that comes up.  Talk with your kids about what they’re feeling and why they think that is. Help them discover whether there’s really a reason to feel so angry or weepy or fearful.

Realize there are times when they really can’t control their emotions.  The pre-teen years are so filled with hormones, it is nearly impossible for the young adolescent to handle them. When they’re in an emotional storm, you may need to comfort and calm them before you can have a rational conversation again. This will pass; when they settle down, it’s good to have that discussion with them.

Help them see that self-control (and self-discipline) offers many rewards. A child who can keep his temper or his tears in check is not as likely to be bullied. If they learn to rein in emotional outbursts and blurted observations, they can save themselves a lot of embarrassment and apologies. And learning to defer their immediate desires in order to finish a task or reach toward a goal will be great preparation for a useful adulthood.

Encourage them to reach up to adult roles early. When ours are 12- or 13 years old, we make a formal transition – they’re no longer “little kids” but now “young adults, in training.” We encourage them to take more responsibility for themselves and contribute more to the work around the house – with more freedom and privilege granted as they take on more responsibility. And our parenting has to transition from “direction” to “advice” as they mature – we want to them to be ready to step into full, independent adulthood sooner rather than later, and that means a lot of coaching and advice to get them prepared.

Teaching Self-Control is a Long Process

It starts as soon as you teach them to dress themselves, go to the potty, and come when you call. It won’t end until they’re fully capable and on their own! But as they grow up, keep the goal in mind – a fully matured, self-disciplined, responsible man or woman after all those years of discipleship. With that goal ahead, you’ll be ready to capitalize on every opportunity to encourage and guide them.