Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My favorite books... everything from homekeeping, to parenting to homeschool

I love to read. I really do. It takes me away from everyday reality and into a fantasy land. I need that. A lot. Today, though, I want to talk about some of my favorite self help books. These are the tried and true books that I turn to when I have a question about a "phase" my kids are going through or something that I'm struggling with in my daily life. I will try to keep them somewhat separated into categories because some of them are vastly different.
I'll start with parenting. *Please don't dismiss these books because of the behavior of my children! :)* I think my children are well behaved. Usually. But they are children. I've learned the hard way to never say, "my child would NEVER do that." It's not true, folks. As soon as you say that, you will have to eat your words. I do, however, make a promise that when my children do things that aren't what I expect out of them, it will be dealt with. That's all I can do. So, here are a few of my favorite parenting books.
Obviously, the Bible is the number one parenting book... but let's face it. Sometimes it's hard to make applications from the Bible to every day situations. I think the principals taught are the basis of great parenting and should be put into play in our every day roles, but sometimes we need good, Biblically based books that help us with situations we deal with.
I love this book! It has just the right amount of humor and real. Some of my favorite chapter titles, "Inconsistency- or how to raise a yo-yo" "Pull the rug out and let the little buzzards tumble" "DANGER-Super parent at work" I love the real applications this book offers. It gives real "if this, then that" sort of situations. It's probably my favorite. I have read it cover to cover and I think I'll start again.
People either love Dr. Dobson's books or they hate them. I love them. I also recommend "The Strong Willed Child."
And I would like to say, I think all children are strong willed. I have three very different children. But they are all strong willed in their own way. People are pretty strong willed in general, wouldn't you say?
Dr. Dobson also offers ways to cope with discipline and hard to handle issues. He shoots it straight, though, so be prepared to feel like he's stepped on your toes.
I have not read this one through, but I like the way it's broken down into easy to flip to categories. Some of them include: rebellion, guilt and confession, the correct use of chastisement, the child's nature, God's promises to parents... etc.
I think it's a good one to flip through, but I found it hard to read straight through. Maybe I should try again. :)
I love this book. It talks about the joys of parenting and finding the joy in parenting. I need to read this more often. So often I find the everyday tasks of keeping up with children and the home and being a wife are so overwhelming, I don't find the joy in any of it. I need to do better. Some of the chapters in this book include, "Developing intimacy with your children, it's a matter of priorities, the worth of a child, building character." Now I think I might need to read this one again, too. ha!!
That's it for today in the parenting section. There are others that I like, but I these are my favorites!
Moving on to books for the home.
Let me start by saying, this book struck me as sort of weird when I first picked it up. It begins with telling you to go on a prayer walk through your house. I've heard of this through a neighborhood (which I think is a great idea). You walk through your neighborhood praying specifically for the families in each home. I know our minister has discussed doing this for every country specifically. But walking through my house asking God to show me things in each room that need changing just felt strange. But I did it. And I did find myself with new ideas for each space. The basis of this book is finding ways to make your home and it's layout work for you. For instance, we rarely use our front door. I mean, Adelaide comes in the front door after school, but that's about it. Our cars are parked in the back and that's our main way in and out. So... that's where all the shoes and backpacks end up. It's not a very big area. When you first come in from our garage, it's just a hall... like a normal width hall. There's no room for a stool to take off shoes or anything like that. So, I moved some junk out of the coat closet and put a couple of bins and a shoe organizer in it.... it's now the shoe closet. Now that our girls are in preschool/kindergarten, I have put hooks and message boards up. So... the hall has started working for us instead of being a dumping ground that collects clutter. See what I mean? The house still doesn't clean itself, but the book teaches you to use the home and make things easier for you depending on how you live... not living based on your home. Does that make sense?
Lastly, I don't really feel like I'm capable of writing much in the way of home schooling since we only really did it for a year full time... but we still dabble in it and the kids love it, so I'll share my favorite curriculum and let you take what you will from it. There are several reasons why we decided not to homeschool (for now) and I would love to share those with you later if anyone is interested.
"Before Five in a Row" and "Five in a Row" are by far my favorite homeschool curricula for little ones.
These two programs (before is more for preschoolers but can be adapted for older kids. Five in a row volume one is really best for Kindergarten/first grade because the stories are a little longer and more in depth) are based upon Children's literature. So, in the beginning of each book is a list of books that you will study. Some of them are books you have on your shelf at home and some you will have to search for in the library or online. Each lesson is broken down into subjects. You read the same book every day for 5 days. Get it? Five in a row!? When we were doing it, we tried to hit one subject a day... sometimes two depending on the book... then we usually took a "field trip" one day. The subjects in BFIAR are: Art, Math, Bible, Character, Safety, Science, Social Studies.... and more.
I loved the way the kids asked questions and were really interested in the books... especially after a few days of reading the same one. It was amazing to see them learn and watch their little brains develop. We still use these books some and I hope to use them even more this summer when things slow down a little.
This is how I taught Adelaide to read and it's what I'm planning to use for Lucy and Julianne as well. It's a great, easy way to teach them the basics of language and it works! Adelaide was reading like a champ before kindergarten started.

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