The following was my response to an enquiry about a child who doesn’t know what to write during the writing part of the homeschool day.
Even though we don’t yet know the exact details (always best to find them out because each situation is different), I will throw out some additional thoughts to the excellent stuff several of you have posted.
In The Writing Course we explain how we can always write because everything reminds us of something. When kids don’t write it is almost always an issue of fear or control…not an issue of writing. If a child knows that he is just trying to write OK, and he knows that he can’t really think up what he is going to write before he writes it (this is in the course too), then all that is left is to learn how to make use of his own mind’s ability to associate. I show them how to use their own name.
I’ll use my middle name RAY (yes, I am Fred Ray…hey…born in Alabama) and come up with three words:
R – rollercoaster
A – airplane
Y – yarn
So, all I’ll do is start writing something OK involving those things.
Petula was always scared of rollercoasters. Even when she flew over the County Fair in her uncle Ceadric’s airplane and the rollercoaster looked very small and safe, she just couldn’t remember that feeling when she got near the ticket booth. Today was different. She was going to conquer the rollercoaster! Maybe it was the way the kitten played with the yarn, she couldn’t really say. But, she did notice that the kitten fell off the counter three times. After each fall it just climbed up again to win the prize. “If Tinker can keep trying for a ball of yarn,” Petula said in a squinted whisper, “Then I can ride a silly rollercoaster.” With that she grabbed her uncle’s hand and walked toward the booth holding a paper dollar she had gotten from her Hannah Montana wallet.
Well, you get the point. At the very least (if a child doesn’t know what to write) have him:
1. Do copy work (that will eventually motivate him to make up something more fun)
2. Write a description of something outside the window or of a couple of items in the refrigerator.
3. Use some of the other ideas mentioned in this group
From my book…The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child ChangeI have a problem with being consistent, and sometimes it’s just because I am too tired. How can I overcome this problem?
Inconsistency and tiredness are usually a sign that your child or children are somewhat “out of control.” I don’t mean that we as parents don’t get tired, but if the state is constant exhaustion, then something surely is wrong. Consistency usually comes when both parents participate in the child training process. With both parents, you are able to keep one another encouraged and accountable. Usually, the problem of staying consistent comes from a parent who is too consumed with meeting the child’s needs and making sure the child “likes” him or her. One of my professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks, has often said,“When you do something for someone when he can do it for himself, then you make an emotional cripple of him: Chances are, unfortunately, that if you are inconsistent, you are somehow being encouraged to be inconsistent and the real learning you (and they) need isn’t happening.
Remember, if you see it, it is encouraged. The best idea I have for consistency is for you to take the Four Magic Questions and apply them to your inconsistency. You may find a very simple solution such as telling your children that every time they get you to do something for them that they can do themselves, you will give them a dollar bill. I suspect, unless you think so little of money, that you will change your consistency problem rapidly.
So…what are your thoughts on Consistency?
Thanks for this question…I’m quite sure you are not alone. Writing isn’t connected to talking a lot (in fact, most of the studies give the advantage to the introverts…it seems the extraverts don’t won’t to write it down if they’ve gone ahead and told it to someone!), though there are exceptions everywhere. The problem when people are quiet is ALMOST ALWAYS that they are attempting to figure out how to say the right thing before they speak. This is really an impossibility since the mind can only plan about 7 words ahead (this is all in one of the lessons in The Writing Course ). Here’s my thought for your son (who does need to get talking more)…he needs to use both hands. Talking and quiet are both parts of our personality. Talkers need to learn how to hush, and quiet folks need to learn how to speak up. This is what I mean by using both hands. We are all basically either left or right handed…but we can learn to use the non-favored one. Emerson observed that the greater part of courage is having done it before…so, I’d just get him talking. If you know a book he likes, have him read it aloud to you some everyday. Have everyone at dinner tell something that was fun (or funny) from the day. Anything that gets him talking and learning that he doesn’t have to have the perfect words will help. He likely just needs to realize that the world doesn’t end when he talks. Of course, he will never be the talker you daughter is (I’m guessing here). With talking…some is good, more is better (in his case). As to writing…he needs to be doing copy work if he isn’t writing his own stuff (10 is still usually a little young for much writing). On the other hand, he can write single sentences that are OK (that he makes up). He must be pointedly discouraged from writing GREAT sentences. He must first learn to write OK…and get great later on. Is this a help? God bless, Fred Lybrand P.S. If you don’t make it a practice, please hug your children together at the same time (not separately as much)…this makes a big difference, but I’ll have to explain it some other time. www.advanced-writing-resources.com Grading Help:
Sadly this person is taking some flak for the following:
Unless you are a certified teacher then don’t even try and homeschool your child. It is abuse because I’m sure you, as the teacher, let your child have long breaks – start the day late and end it early. You don’t have anyway of comparing your child with how and where they are supposed to be in the spectrum. UGH ….I feel so sorry for home schooled children.
Of course, flak might be deserved, but not for saying it… you know, free speech, etc.?
The reality is that this IS what people are thinking. Yet, shouldn’t abuse be based on results? If kids are being left behind, then that is a tradjedy! Yet, the author is not fully applying the standard. Just because someone is a certified teacher, why does that mean the child won’t be behind?
What if we really went by what works?
Honesty admits that homeschooling is producing a better result (on average) than public school is producing. So, how about a fresh standard?
If you are not educating your child(ren) at home…then send them to school! But, if they are not learning at school, why not bring them home?
It is time to start being honest about out results and make a change!
Dr. Fred R. Lybrand
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This video is an example of how we think about things in our Home and School Success Club. Sibling rivalry, conflict, and fighting between children is something both parents and kids don’t have to suffer through. There is a commonsense approach…and here it is!
Well, what do you think? Is Rosemond overstating it?
“To me letting a child use the Internet unsupervised is akin to letting a child walk thru the red light district in Amsterdam without a guardian,” explained Rosemond. “It’s a very, very dangerous thing.” -John Rosemond http://www.live5news.com/story/14685559/parenting-expert-talks-about-facebook
Well yes, it is dangerous. There are lurking charlatans and obsessive addictions just waiting to happen. And yet, a wealth of knowledge is also at our fingertips. We can connect with old friends…or wind up rekindling an old romance into a destructive affair. We can save money or lose a fortune.
In my years of pastoral counseling, I have seen it all (I really think so…from the psychotic to the sublime); consistently, there are people who have not found the simple fact that if you make no provision for the “flesh.” They don’t know the power of avoiding a situation…the power of admitting you are not strong enough to resist. For example, I’m not strong enough to resist chips in the home. Yes, we have them, but Jody does not keep a constant supply on hand. If they were here all the time, I’d eat them all the time. Sorry, it’s just a fact (you know…the salt, the crunch, the dipping!!!).
Well, join the reality of the dangers of the internet. The fact is that you just need to stay away from the stuff that isn’t good for you. Get over the silliness of thinking you should be stronger. You are not.
Now, doesn’t that turn out to be twice as true for the kids? Yes, they need discernment and wisdom, but that will grow over time. Our simple solution was to trust the least-tempted-by-the-internet soul in our home; Jody! In researching it though, we concluded that an internet filter was the way to go. We decided on SafeEyes and have found nothing but good things (speed is unaffected and the customer support has been exceptional). Frankly, I don’t care which you use…but I do say, “Use something.” Basically, with 5 men in the household, our answer became easy. Jody is the only one who knows the “password.” Yes, if I get a site blocked that I need, then I ask her to log me in to use it. What an easy way for me to show some humility (and honesty) about the dangers. What an easy way for me to not have to think about looking at something tantalizing. Life is too short and the consequences are too lasting.
If you have gotten into trouble or need help, please check out my friend Jonathan Daugherty’s website @ www.bebroken.com
In the meantime, don’t run; use the internet for good. Redeem it, but respect it.
Get Safe Eyes Parental Control Software – One price for three computers!
You can’t really influence your kids, it’s all genetics…so have more and enjoy them!
A new book by Bryan Caplan is well-intentioned; he wants parents to lighten up, have more kids and enjoy the ride (because you aren’t in control).
Here are a few excerpts from Caplan’s book:
All of those “life lessons” we teach our kids? Don’t really matter, says Bryan Caplan.
All those talks about morality, and right versus wrong? Again, Caplan says, doesn’t really swing the pendulum either way.
“The idea that it’s the way that we are raising our kids that causes them to resemble their parents is mostly an illusion. Again, if no child was adopted, it would be hard to tell this.”
Caplan believes we as parents spend too much time worrying, fretting, and picking apart our parenting styles. He advises us to relax, be selfish, have more kids, enjoy them, and enjoy the ride.
“I cannot responsibly offer any guarantees, but still, the odds are good that your child is going to turn out to be just like you when he grows up.”
Of course, it is a silly proposition that is simply fatalistic. Genetics is an influence, but it isn’t a god. Environment is an influence, but it isn’t a god either. Caplan say that no one challenges him with data (he has flawed twin studies in his back pocket as proof.
I’ll say I’m proof. I come from generations of alcoholics on both sides of my family…but I am not an alcoholic. Oh…it could be a recessive non-alcoholic gene! We had 5 children who slept through the night from 6 weeks old and onward…5 in a row (what are the genetic odds?). You see, this is called unfalsifiable position, which means there is no way to prove it wrong. Of course, if you can’t prove it wrong, you can’t prove it right. It is easy to find credible sources challenging the validity in the twin studies: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=A0BDE8276F7814C3B660A475D5CACCCA.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=31667 .
In a way it is like Skinnerism– You have no control, no real will, no influence, and no learning. The Scriptures wouldn’t support it, nor does philosophy, or common sense. It seems the nature of humankind is to seek out and find excuses. If you are a victim then you must be a victim….but before you laugh at Caplan, how about what we do say about IQ and alcoholism, and ADHD. Are we really without choice?
Caplan wants to let parents “off the hook” by realizing they have far less influence than they think (and can take less credit). Of course, he is stripping credit from the individual for life choices. Moreover, following his premise…not much you can do about people at work either (or your cell-mate in prison). You get the point.
What a destructive idea in parenting…in one moment of deifying the human gene, we disempower both parents and children. Not me.
The Bible puts it this way:
…a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. (Proverbs 29:15b)
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proverbs 29:17)
I’d love to here your thoughts…and share this…let’s have a conversation,
Dr. Fred Lybrand
I just read a couple of articles about measures to hold parents responsible. Here’s an excerpt:
It was conversations about what to do with lousy teachers that led to some of the new parental measures.Linda Lawson, a Democratic state representative from Indiana, visited a local high school being threatened with closure for poor performance. “Any kind of problem in an academic setting, and people blame the teachers,” she recalled hearing over and over again. “They say things like ‘If teachers were more responsive … didn’t have the summers off … worked an eight-hour day …’ But no one looks at the parents.”
In Florida, State Representative Kelli Stargel, a Republican, was hearing the same things. “Teachers were telling us: ‘We can only do so much in the classroom. We have no control over what happens with these kids at home,’ ” she said. From Whose Failing Grade is It? in the New York Times
Well, it is interesting that people are now considering the need to legislate what should come naturally to a home. The truth is that the problem is SYSTEM problem…but, yes, the home is where the answer is going to be found.
Jim Taylor mentions the same article and adds the thought that education begins at the moment of conception:
As the noted educator Diane Ravitch suggests, “What we should be doing instead is giving a helping hand…Parenting education needs to begin when a woman gets pregnant.” Dr. Ravitch has it right. From Punish Parents or Failing Students?
So, the challenge is that in this SYSTEM (which people seem to recognize is broken), no one is quite catching on to the fact that we have been educating people for 1,000s of years; successfully, I might add!
I agree that the home is crucial, but I also think schools can actually educate students (you know, Boarding Schools seems to educated without the parents…not saying it’s a good idea…I’m just saying). The problem is that we have have been inundated with pseudo-intellectual theories about learning and self-esteem which are both perfectly and patently wrong. The breakdown began back in the 1960’s with the destruction of the In Loco Parentis doctrine (the school could stand in the place of the parents…speaking of discipline in particular) on the altar of civil liberties. The breakdown continued as experts told us we don’t know what we are doing as parents…so we gave away our responsibility to discipline as well.
If a homeschool has a poor educational strategy and lacks discipline / accountability…it is capable of failing just as gloriously as a school which lacks discipline / accountability.
The real problem with these measures is that we are now setting up a way to blame one another. Frankly, as long as we are blaming, we aren’t solving. I’ll tell you what history tells us:
1. Reading and Writing and Arithmetic are the essentials
2. A low student-teacher ratio is powerful
3. Socratic dynamics (discussions for older students) are genius-building
If we are going to pass a law, why not just require the child to learn or be fined (we at least have some responsibility put somewhere)? On the other hand, why not get back to business and return the right ingredients to both our schools…and….homes.
We already know it works.
What are your thoughts?
Dr. Fred Lybrand