Category Archives: parenting

Tying Their Shoes ~ a book review

This product was provided to me as an ebook from New Growth Press for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions given are my own. This is being disclosed in accordance with FCC guidelines.

Tying Their Shoes Pin

Have you ever heard a parent comment on how they were unsure how to approach parenting? They are then inundated with tons of well-meant information that is not very practical. Think here about the “sleep when the baby sleeps” type of advice. The idea is great but in reality, it just doesn’t work that way. At least it didn’t for me.

Tying Their Shoes is different. It is a thoughtful, Christ-centered approach to parenting as a whole, knowing that parenting is the greatest of all stewardship opportunities God gives. Realizing that children are images of the living God should influence each aspect of parenting. The full title of this book is Tying Their Shoes: A Christ-Centered Approach to Preparing for Parenting. It is written by Rob and Stephanie Green, who have three children of their own.

The introduction is just that – introducing the reader to the Greens and their family and introducing what they are trying to accomplish with this book for parents. They recognize that the world is completely different when a child enters the family. “In fact, it is earthshaking. Two people who are used to caring for themselves bring home a little baby who requires constant care. . . It is a joyful, terrifying, exciting, and intimidating experience.” Recognizing how God grace is going to help them through each moment is what most parents struggle with the most and that is the hope of this book – to see how God walks with parents through their parenting little souls.

First up – know your identity. Knowing who you are and how all the relationships you are part of work together can make adding a child to the mix easier. But not everyone knows this. Identity is how we think about ourselves and so it is important for this to be solid. Where is your identity found? The answer should be in Christ. This chapter helps strengthen that understanding if you have it already and if it is one you struggle with, there are Bible verses to help you understand God’s love for you and His place in your life.

Next the reader is brought through a chapter designed to help you prioritize your marriage. Without this priority in place, the child can easily use up a lot of your time, leaving you disconnected with your spouse. This makes everything harder. This chapter helps you put your marriage in the place it belongs and keep God at the center of it.

Tying Their Shoes

Additional chapters help you see God through in the difficulties of each step in parenting. The chapters include:

  • The Lord is My Shepherd – Labor and Delivery
  • Be Prepared to go Home
  • Accomplish the Goal in Parenting
  • Work Together – Not Against Each Other
  • Stewardship of Sleep, Money, and the Heart
  • The Blessings of Parenting
  • Dad’s Involvement
  • All I Want Is “Me Time”
  • Sexual Intimacy as a New Parent
  • Learning to Teach and Discipline
  • Cast Your Cares on God

The advice that comes through each of these chapters is practical, honest, and centered on God. Not everything in the book is something that will resonate with every reader. But there is much good. So take the things that will help you and don’t worry about the rest. While the Greens try hard to focus on what God has told us in the Bible with their advice, this is not God’s word and we don’t need to treat it as such. So, take what you can use and move on. Don’t worry about the rest. It may come in handy at a later date and it may not. But I found there to be much good advice in here.

If you are looking for a Christ-centered parenting book that is not the same old, same old, this is it. Take a good look at Tying Their Shoes by Rob and Stephanie Green.

About the authors:

Robert E. Green, MDiv, PhD, is the pastor of counseling and seminary ministries at Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana. Rob wrote Tying the Knot and several smaller works on marriage and family issues. Rob and his wife, Stephanie, have three children.

Stephanie E. Green, RN, is a homemaker and heavily involved in mentoring women in Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana. She is the author of minibook Miscarriage: You Are Not Alone and worked as a registered nurse for over a decade primarily in the newborn nursery and postpartum units.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

Cultivating An Attitude

cultivating an attitude

So often we talk of cultivating a garden. Have you ever intentionally and with purpose cultivated an attitude? I am working on a plan for this year that will cultivate an attitude of appreciation. Or gratitude. Or gratefulness.

I chose the word cultivate because I want to be intentional about this. I don’t want it to be haphazard. I don’t want it to be something I think about once in a while. I want it to be something I try hard to do each day. Cultivate implies that you are conscientious about what is being done and working hard at it. When you cultivate something, it flourishes, grows, and becomes something that benefits everything around it.

So, I want to cultivate an attitude.

The attitude I want to cultivate is one that can have so many names – gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. There are probably more. These are the ones that came to mind while I was writing this.

A sermon I was blessed by at the beginning of the year mentioned a 1902 essay by William George Jordan. He wrote “Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” This is in an essay titled “The Power of Truth: Individual Problems and Possibilities.” You can find it through The Project Gutenberg.

The first part of my plan is to read this essay fully. I am also going to listen to some podcasts based on this essay. This quote struck me. It is so easy to think that I am not harming anyone when I don’t show appreciation or gratefulness but really, I am discounting what that person has done for me. When I do not intentionally show gratefulness, it is hurtful, even when I don’t intend for it to be so. And when I show gratefulness that someone is not expecting, that blesses the person doubly. Why wouldn’t I want that to be what happens daily?

The next part includes writing out passages from the Bible each day this year. I am starting in the beginning of Psalm for now but I do expect that will change after a bit. I have a goal of six verses a day.

I was blessed by a basket from the blog The Sparrow’s Home. I am going to use the note cards, pens, and pretty basket as a place to keep my materials so that I can write more notes of thanks this year. I have a goal of four a month, or one per week.

The final part of this cultivation, for now, is that I am going to be praying specific prayers of thanks. I am going to find something in particular each day for the purpose of giving thanks.

My hope is that I will see more of the good in everything. I also hope it will rub off some on those around me. But really, I hope it changes my heart in ways I cannot imagine.

So this is my “word” for the year. I am cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word for the Year Ahead link-up.

Today’s Motivation – Prayer ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

Dear Homeschool Parent

Dear Homeschooling Parent –

Look around you. Look at each of the faces you guide and teach and journey with. This is your motivation.

Lots of people ask us why we homeschool and we have plenty of answers. Are these precious faces and lives your top answer?

Today, as we begin this week of homeschool encouragement with the Homeschool Review Crew, take a moment to pray.

Pray for each of the blessed children under your care.

Pray for the guidance and wisdom to parent them with love and grace.

Pray for the inspiration to help each of them find their individual path and to walk it with courage and bravery and confidence.

Pray for each of the children – that they will grow in wisdom and knowledge and hope and love and kindness.

Pray for others who are struggling along this path, whether it be for medical reasons, lack of confidence in themselves, or a million other possibilities.

Pray for your homeschool and others you know.

God answers pray. God gives peace.

As we traveled last week, the girls put on a CD titled The Music Machine. One of the songs is about peace and one line in it has kind of stuck with me for a few days now.

Peace, peace, I think I understand.
Peace, peace, is holding Jesus’ hand.

Today, as you journey into another season of education, I am praying for you – that you may be holding Jesus’ hand and experiencing the peace that only He gives. May your homeschool be filled with peace.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Motivation Monday. I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

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Julie Polanco’s book God Schooling ~ a Crew review

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When you are making decisions regarding the education of your children, no matter the course you choose, there are questions and moments when you hesitate and ask yourself if you are making the right one. God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a book that will encourage you to continue the endeavor you have chosen if you are home educating your children. Julie Polanco has written this book from her own experiences and research.

Mrs. Polanco and her husband have home educated their four children, with nearly 15 years experience in this realm. She is the author of this book, as well as being a contributing writer for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and the Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is active in her local homeschooling community and the online homeschooling community.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is an easy-to-read, soft back book that is about 160 pages. It is broken into two parts. First is a discussion she titled “Dispelling Myths.” Part Two is titled simply “Practice.” With information from many experts interspersed with her own observations about how her children learn, there is much practical information.

Book cover 1

The purpose of Mrs. Polanco’s book is to encourage you to continue down the road of educational exploration and child-led learning. While I believe that much of what she does with her own children falls under the umbrella of unschooling, this is not the main thrust of her book. Following the lead of your children’s interesting and taking time to guide them in their learning is where her heart seems to be.

The first part of the book looks at what the Bible has to say about children, education, and parents. She also introduces the ideas of motivation, exploration, and how excellence relates to these ideas.

In the second part of the book, you will find age specific ideas about how to approach learning. There is a chapter about teaching children under age eight, teaching ages eight to twelve, and working with teens in their education and growth. There is information on different learning types, how to encourage them, and some ideas on how to get started. She has a chapter on questions and answers and one on structure and record keeping.

This second part include a lot of readily applicable practical ideas. Many of these are good thoughts to ponder and decide if they might work for you family. Regardless of whether they work for you or not, they have ideas worth considering. Each chapter also has study questions at the end that can help you formulate your own thoughts about the ideas in the chapter and gather them into a helpful structure.

MY THOUGHTS:

I did find that there are many very forceful statements in the book that can be discouraging if you did not choose the same path she did for her family. This can be very off-putting and I struggled to read the book. Not because there wasn’t good information but because Mrs. Polanco seemed to speak as though there were no other decent options that won’t harm children. I disagree; remember, there are all different ways to teach your children and every child needs something different. Take those statements at face value and move on. There is a lot of encouragement to be found in this book for the parent, reminding why you started the road and how to continue along it.

A SALE:

I received a note from Mrs. Polanco just a few days ago informing me that she is offering a sale on the purchase of this book until August 22, 2018. The cost of the book will be half-price until that date.

Blessings,
At Home.

A number of other ladies with a variety of learning styles in their homes have read this book in the past few weeks. I encourage you to go visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog and read what several of the other ladies thought of this book and find out what encouragement their received from it.

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Finding Mentors

Finding Mentors

I have been thinking a lot lately about who helps and encourages the girls. There are times when they need encouragement or guidance from someone other than me and At Home Dad.

Let’s face it – there are some things that I just don’t know about. So when I find those, I have tried to seek out others who do. Sometimes, though, those we have sought out just aren’t doing enough to encourage the girls. Sometimes, the girls become just another of the kids in the group being taught.

We are really blessed to have a sign language instructor for Miss E who not only knows about sign language and can guide her along a course of study that makes sense for her but strongly pushes her spiritual growth, too. She blesses us so much through her teaching and encouraging of Miss E.

The others, though? I have found myself wondering how to find instructors that really care about what the long term goals are. The dance school where they have attended for years is really a find place. But I find myself struggling to get answers to questions and seeing that they are not caring about Miss L’s long term goals. So maybe it is time to find a new dance school. That is daunting to me, to be honest. I really like where she has been but do want someone who cares to challenge her (and not just get more money from us out of it).

Miss J is a little young to have this same concern with but it does have me wondering about what she will need in the future.

How do you do it? How do you find someone who really, truly wants to encourage and challenge growth in your students?

Blessings,
At Home.

 

What Shapes Are Your Students?

I was going through boxes and materials today. Lots of them. (I have been so bless and now have two boxes to share with others!) In the process, I came across some notes from the first year we were home educating. We had attended a conference and I remember how much I enjoyed it and got out of it.

These notes really were a good timing kind of thing. I needed this reminder. Maybe you do, too. I wish I had written down who the speaker was so that I can give credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, I did not.

student personality shapes

This person listed five student personality types and they just resonate with me.

Square
Rectangle
Triangle
Circle
Squiggly Line

Square – This student is very task oriented. This student follows directions well and benefits from reflection time. Things that frustrate this type of student are imprecise instructions and changing directions.

Rectangle – This student is project oriented but benefits much from someone working with them. This student is frustrated by imprecise instructions or changing their directions.

Triangle – This student is goal oriented, wants to get things done quickly, and loves checks lists. I don’t have a specific list of what frustrates this type of personality but they love the spotlight and don’t like to have to prove their reasoning.

Circle – This student is your “people person.” They don’t like conflicts and they love to talk.  Things that frustrate this personality type include not being allowed or able to talk and being in isolation.

Squiggly Line – The squiggle personality is highly creative and loves to follow their ideas. They do not require completion of projects to feel highly accomplished and are high energy. They are frustrated by constraint, especially in their ideas, and when they absolutely must follow someone else’s directions.

I spent a bit of time today thinking about my girls and which type of personality each one is. I have a square, a circle, and one who is a fairly good combination of squiggly line and a triangle. No wonder I sometimes miss the mark of who needs what kind of a program to do their best learning.

As you embark on the next part of your learning journey, take a minute to think about the personality of your students. Recognizing some of what makes them frustrated and what helps them move forward allows you to better tailor their learning experience.

Reminding myself of this may perhaps make some of our choices more clear for this year.

Blessings,
At Home.

Parenting Made Practical ~ a Crew review

Being a parent is hard, so resources to help us along the way can be terribly beneficial. Parenting Made Practical strives to help parents raise their children well through materials such as the DVD and workbook combination  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?

parenting made practical

Parenting Made Practical was created by Joey and Carla Link. The Links are parent educators who have worked for many years in various ministries and educational settings. Much of the material they have created and share have been developed because of needs that they saw and dealt with during the ministries, as well as how they handled the parenting of their own children, now grown. The goal of Parenting Made Practical is to “encourage, equip, and empower parents to raise obedient, respectful, and responsible children in today’s challenging world.” I love this goal! This is what every parent I know wants to do and the Links have set about helping parents the best ways they know how.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? is part of the Parent’s Night Out workshop that the Links present. It is presented here separate from the rest of the workshop and is directed both at parents and at teens/young adults old enough to be thinking about dating, in any form.

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...What Works? DVD & Workbooks

The DVD and workbooks are set up in two sessions, each running approximately 50 minutes. The first session is titled Developing Your Dating Philosophy. The second session is titled How to Make It Work.

In Developing Your Dating Philosophy the Links present three different dating “philosophies” or ways of getting to know someone of the opposite gender. They share what they see as the pros and cons of each philosophy. After looking at Cultural Dating and Courtship Dating, the Links present Friendship Dating. This is, obviously, their preferred approach to dating. They spend quite a bit of time presenting the framework for how they approach this type of dating. They explain the four corners of growth and then define the levels of a relationship leading to marriage within each area. They also look at the areas of concern to address, and how the couple in the relationship take responsibility for growth in all of the areas.

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In How to Make It Work, the Links present ideas about how to approach Friendship Dating with young adults, and how to put this process into action. They review the four corners of growth and the levels of the relationship. Then they share possible goals for each area. This is the “practical application” part of the DVD and workbook. The Links walk parents and those in the relationship through setting up goals, putting a plan into place, and getting affirmation by parents.

Due to the background of the Links, I expected there to be a much more direct biblical approach and application to this workshop. I was disappointed that the biblical direction was not very strong.

As parents, we had really looked forward to this DVD, hoping that it would give us more practical information on how to develop a philosophy on guy/girl relationships before our oldest daughter reaches the age at which she wants to talk about it. The session about Developing Your Dating Philosophy did not actually guide us in developing a philosophy. Rather it was expected that you would adopt the one presented on Friendship Dating. We did not feel that there were any fresh, new ideas presented here and the guidance for parents to create their own philosophy was missing.

This DVD did not resonate with us and seems very difficult to implement. It is not realistic to expect a couple to begin their relationship by mapping out a series of goals and lists, ignoring emotion and feeling. When there are so many lists to check and goals to meet, the human element and emotion is missing. Yet that is what drives deep and meaningful relationships. Why would we choose to hide this part of God’s plan?

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If you choose to purchase this, be aware that it takes some work to use the workbook alongside the DVD. There are paragraphs of additional information shared in the workbook, which is good, but makes it difficult to follow. Not all of the important ideas from the video are shared in the workbook and they flash on the screen fast. The workbook is a useful resource and could be used without the DVD, though it doesn’t appear to be sold that way.

The video quality of the DVD is very good. The lighting, video quality, and camera angles were well done. However, the sound quality was disruptive. There were significant variations in the voice levels and I had to constantly turn the volume up and down, depending on who was speaking. I normally listen to things with our volume level at 15. I had to turn Mrs. Link up to 35 most of the time but immediately turn it back down when Mr. Link began speaking. Addressing this would definitely help make the DVD a much more pleasant workshop to view.

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This could be a good program for parents who are confused about what they want to present to their children about dating. The examples on types of dating and the issues/concerns about them are helpful. There are good examples of how to deal with questions children may have and ideas of how to guide students as they grow into the area of wanting to spend more time with someone of the opposite gender.

In closing out this review, I want to share a thought that has stuck with me since I watched the DVD. I think it is a highlight of their video, though it really doesn’t have anything to do with dating philosophies.

If a teen doesn’t trust parents for help in guy/girl relationships, the bigger question is this – will they trust God?

Blessings,
At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew was able to review several different materials from Parenting Made PracticalPlease take a look at some of their other materials, as well as find other families who looked at the DVD  Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?. The other programs reviewed include:
Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book)

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave (book)

Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (video)

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (Video) 

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book)

Click the banner below to read more reviews.

 

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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