Thursday, December 8, 2011

Benefits of Sports and "Extra" Curricular Activities

As a homeschooling parent, it has always been important to involve my kids in sports. That was their way of getting to know other kids in town. They have both been involved with swim team, basketball, football, cheerleading, softball/baseball, soccer, Taekwondo, bowling, dance, and gymnastics. They have also participated in art and choir with a homeschool group. My intent in having them participate in numerous activities would be to allow them a variety so that they could pick which one(s) they wanted to stick with. After about five years, my daughter has narrowed her focus to competitive dance, art, and learning guitar as well a singing. My son still enjoys all the activities, and plays sports year 'round at the Wichita YMCA.
Over the years, I have seen a definite benefit to having them try out different activities. First, they obviously are more active, using various muscle groups and learning various skills. This keeps them fit, while they enjoy spending time with kids their own ages. Second, they are mentally challenged learning the various rules of the sports they play. I find this very important since I did not have this opportunity as a child. I began competitive swimming very early on, and made time somehow for softball from the ages 10-18. But I do wish that I was able to learn different sports so that it would be easier to help my kids with them.
Finally, and this is my most important point, sports and activities allow a child to gain self esteem in natural ways. I have seen my kids grow immensely by trying new things. Even if they aren't the most athletic kids around, eventually they will gain new skills, and when they do, it really makes them feel good. They have learned that the more work they put into something, the more they will get out of it. They have learned not to fear new things, and not to be embarrassed if they don't get something the first time. They are more confident kids, and they know their strengths and weaknesses.
I felt led to write on this topic because I have seen kids who have not been involved in activities outside of what they do in school. There is such a vast difference in these kids, and it is really sad. It is almost as if their personalities have not been allowed to flourish and their self esteem is just waiting for something to bring it to existence. Often parents use money as an excuse. Especially in today's world, with so many divorces and dual-home families, finances are tight. I have found a way around this by taking advantage of programs at the YMCA, where children will NOT be turned away. You can apply for financial assistance, which is provided on an as-needed basis. Some things are outrageously expensive, such as my daughter's competitive dance at the YMCA. But sports, which are non-competitive, are affordable and enjoyable (most of the time...sometimes there are crazy parents that are out for blood). Money should never be a reason to exclude your kids from trying different activities. If you imagine their futures, I believe you will see what a positive impact it will have on them, by providing things that you can't do effectively at home. To me, it is a worthwhile investment, even if it means that I will have to go without things myself. I still remember to this day some of the amazing catches I made in games, and the goals I reached in races and the praise I received from coaches and parents. It is one thing when our parents tell us how great we are, it is TOTALLY another to get that praise or encouragement from outside the family. Let your kids be praised; let them be encouraged, and let them spread their wings, while you watch and enjoy. Sit back, and let them thank you. Because they will!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nintendo 3DS Causes Headaches

While in GameStop shopping for multiple children, I was able to try out the new Nintendo 3DS game on display. Within three seconds of looking at the image, my eyes felt like they were crossing, and my head hurt. I couldn't imagine playing with it for any extended amount of time, and I imagine it can't be good for kids who will. Even if they don't get an immediate headache, I wonder if it can cause other problems, or even migraines after playing it for a while. A few days after thinking about this, I did what any normal parent would do...I Googled it to see if I was the only one. I was not! There are numerous complaints about the 3DS causing headaches, dizziness, and even nausea. They say it only affects "some" people. If you are thinking about getting one for your child, have him try it out in the store. Also, you can change the 3D effect to 2D with a slider on the console. But heads up...if your child is having frequent headaches and you have recently purchased a are welcome...I have just put two and two together!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Keep a Healthy Child in Fall and Winter

It's almost like clockwork. If you pay attention, parents start complaining about sick children the week following Halloween. It isn't because it's colder. It isn't because they went out half-dressed when it was 40 degrees. It IS because of CANDY. Logically, we know that candy is really bad for children. Sugar wreaks havoc on our immune systems (and FEEDS cancer!) but we give our kids a pass on Halloween where they go crazy for a couple of days, taking in most of their calories in sweets. My son, whom I thought was old enough to handle the responsibility at age 10 of not gorging himself on the candy, went crazy this year, and sure enough, he was sick within a day or two. So I heightened my vigilance, and made sure we all stepped up our vitamin usage, which usually keeps us healthy throughout the year.

If you were honest with yourself, you would probably have to admit that your child takes in too much junk. Whether it's cookies, cakes, candies, ice cream, pop, hot dogs, white bread, etc... I bet there is a lot more of these going in rather than fruits and vegetables. Kids also don't get enough protein. If you are feeding your child fat-free products, he may not be getting enough fat! Thankfully, we can work on changing dietary habits while providing them with vitamins and minerals that keep them healthy.

Best of all, we can do this without spending a fortune! How does $.37 per day sound? Learn more!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Treating Eczema

I don't think I've ever blogged about eczema, which is kind of weird. But neither of my kids suffered from it, so I guess I had no reason to think about it. An older child I know does suffer from it, however and I'm writing this because I think I have figured something out. I'm certain that doctors give parents way too much credit. The doctor of this child told her mom that the child should only take short, warm (not hot) showers. That advice is accurate. But the mom makes the child shower daily...which I think is CrAzY. And if the doctor had known this, he may have told her not to. Then I saw the lotion that the child was being slathered in and really grew concerned. It was some Vaseline lotion with a really strong scent. While it smelled good, thankfully I knew that it wasn't good for her eczema. I promptly got a bottle of unscented all natural baby lotion from my stock and handed it over. While lotion doesn't necessarily treat eczema, it does treat the dry skin that is more prone to eczema breakouts. And fragrances and other miscellaneous ingredients are too harsh for children's skin, especially those with eczema.
While what a child uses on her skin is an important factor in controlling eczema flare ups, equally as important is treating the condition internally. Omega-3 oils have worked wonderfully for this, in children as well as adults. You have many options, from flaxseed oil (or whole or ground flaxseed) to fish oil and krill oil. There are others, and each has it's pro and con, but that is something each parent needs to investigate because there are allergy concerns, texture/taste concerns, etc. and every kid is different. I personally use ground flax seeds and can say that they don't have a bad flavor. I would describe them as "nutty." The key is to figure out which one will be taken or consumed the most consistently, because if the kid won't take it, it's not worth it.
Take a trip to your local health food store and check out your various options, or check out the natural foods aisle at your grocer. Flax seeds should be widely available there if you are interested in trying them. Hopefully these suggestions will benefit you and your child in some way. Too bad doctors don't know these things! ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Herman Cain Misquotes the Constitution

     My son is currently learning about the founding of our country in history class. I can say this because I homeschool him and know exactly what he is reading everyday in his history book, Build Our Nation. I point this out because if your child is in public school, there is a chance that s/he is not learning history on a daily basis, if at all. I've heard numerous complaints (and have seen some evidence myself) of the lack of teaching of this very important subject to our youth. Much of the focus in public school is put on reading and math, even to the neglect of teaching writing skills! This is no accident, as the schools ARE run by the government, and I'm sorry to say, the government has NO incentive to educate our children on history. The dumber we are, the better.
     Yesterday we read about the Declaration of Independence, and how it lead to the Revolutionary War. We learned about treason, and I thought about how that word is thrown around so much these days in regards to our political "leaders."We learned what a Patriot was, and we discussed what a Patriot would do in today's times. We also learned about Liberty, and how even in the days of fighting for our Liberty, our founding fathers neglected to see the Liberty for ALL, including women and people of color. After our lesson, we discussed the lack of history teaching in schools. I pointed out to my son that many of his friends are not learning what he is learning, and our country will suffer for it. I was able to tie in how lack of education can make you look ignorant in the future, similar to how many of the GOP candidates look ignorant when they "quote" the Constitution, but have no idea what they are talking about.
     Case in point, Herman Cain in a speech about how everyone should re-read the Constitution, actually quoted the Declaration of Independence, giving credit to the Constitution. It's not as though these speeches are given on the fly...these things are planned. So Cain and anyone else involved in this speech did not catch the gaffe. Yikes. I have to mention also, that Cain did not realize that China had nuclear weapons...since 1964...and this happened during his lifetime!
     When we do not know history, we cannot look back. It is not that history won't repeat itself, but it's that we will better know how to handle it when it does. Or we will know better how to navigate our decisions in life or politics, should any of our children grow up to become leaders of our country. (And by the way, SOME of them will, because they have no choice!)
     So do your kids a favor, and put some maps up in your house. Get a globe and place it in a visible area. I can't tell you how many times we have had to pull our globe down for discussions outside of school time. Talk about the leaders of countries, where countries are located, economics, and even about human infallibility and its role in mistakes our leaders have made. Your kids should know definitions of capitalism, fascism, socialism, communism, and how to recognize them. They should know the history of different religions. They should know the history of our military. They should even know about the history of our existence, still debated today.
     When our children grow up, they will either understand the world, or they will not. Hopefully they won't grow up and make a fool of themselves in a televised speech, but would you prefer they make a fool of themselves in a public conversation amongst peers or co-workers? Remember, too, that when you get older, it is YOUR child's peers that will make decisions for you. And if nothing I've said matters, THAT should matter to you most!

Teach your kids good money habits with FamZoo's Virtual Family Bank.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Do you have cellulite?

A few years ago, I lost about 20 lbs. during one month. That might sound good, except that I am 5'6" and had dropped to 100 lbs. It took me a couple of years to put the weight back on. I added back muscle first, because I was literally exercising all day. I did my own workout, then played soccer or basketball or baseball, or whatever, with my kids. But then things changed and I wasn't able to work out regularly for a while. And I noticed that I was getting "fluffy" and I wasn't so healthy anymore. But that wasn't the worst of it!
I also noticed that dreaded dimpling in fatty areas, where I wasn't used to even having fat! Uggghh, I thought, must be from turning 40. So I've gotten more active, and I've been more aware of what I've been eating and making sure I'm not overeating for my metabolism. Thankfully, I came across an article that explained WHY the dimpling (also known as cellulite) occurs and what I can do about it. Thank the Lord! Instead of feeling like there is nothing I can do but blame my age, I now know that the habits I once took part in are exactly what I need to do...rebounding, detoxing, drinking lots of water, and massage. You can read the article yourself, to learn as much as possible about getting rid of cellulite and being healthier overall. You will notice that cellulite isn't just not pretty, it is a sign that you are not healthy, and that is more important than worrying about looks! I want to be around for my kids until I can make them take care of me, so I'd better start taking care of me, too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Capitalism for Kids

I bought this book a while back, when my kids were too young to appreciate it. They are now almost 9 and 10.5, so I am giving them an allowance bonus if they choose it for one of their weekly books. Because I work at home, my kids already have a different perspective from the kids who attend school all day. They are already asking about starting their own businesses and setting up their own websites. So having them read Capitalism for Kids by Karl Hess is step one in moving in that direction. In my opinion, ALL kids should read this book. It should be required reading in the classroom, whether at home or at school. The problem we are having in the United States is that too many children are growing up thinking they must get a job. So now we have a lot of people without jobs because of our poor economy, and people who don't know how to go out and start their own businesses. While some people believe that people are either born entrepreneurs or not, I do not believe this is true. We either learn it or we don't, and if we aren't exposed to entrepreneurship while growing up, we are less likely to view it as a viable option. This book helps both kids and adults see the value in keeping it as an option, and simplifies capitalism for kids. Get your copy today and watch your view on starting a business change as your mind expands.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to Teach Your Kids About the Middle East Wars When You Have NO Clue

If everything you know about the Middle East is what you have seen on the nightly news, let me be the first to break the news to have no clue what is really going on. You may have children old enough to question you, or older children who really need to know because they are old enough to get it, but if you don't get it yourself, THEY NEVER WILL. Unfortunately, not even teachers really know what's going on, except in rare cases, and then they may not have time to discuss current events, which is sad but very true. But don't worry, because there is a way to get the information you need so that you can bring it down to your kids' level and you can share it with your older child to learn and dissect on his own. All you need is The Thousand Year War in the Mideast: How It Affects You Today (An Uncle Eric Book). This book explains how events on the other side of the world a thousand years ago can affect us more than events in our own hometowns today. The events of the Thousand Year War have been the cause of great shocks to our economy and investment markets, including: the oil embargoes, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Iraq-Kuwait war, and the Caucasus Wars over the Caspian Sea oil basin. This is a great book and can be used for courses in world history, European/Mideast history, international affairs, government, economics, business, finance, and current events. In my opinion, it should be required reading for every student!

Women's Right to Vote

Whether you are teaching your kids at home or not, this is something about which you need to educate your daughters (and sons for that matter). According to this chart, only a little over half of the citizens of voting age in the United States actually votes in presidential elections. Other sites may show statistical differences, but the fact remains that the United States has one of the worst voter turn outs when compared to the rest of the world. This is disgraceful! I admit that it has been difficult for me to vote for the common "lesser of two evils" that we all talk about every four years, but I have voted nonetheless. In 2012, however, I have a reason for really caring about what will happen, because this time we have a real chance at getting a man into office who will not just go along with the status quo. Please visit his site to learn more about him! Your children's future depends on this vote, and he is the real candidate to provide them a future of promise!
If your children aren't aware of the privilege it is to vote in our country, I suggest you share this page with them. This is something kids are not really taught at school unless they have a teacher who sees the need. And I personally don't think we should just hope that they are learning these things...we should make sure of it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaching Monetary Responsibility at Home

Have you heard of ? It is a great program set up to help kids "earn" money from you, and spend it, save it, or give it. It is an online account that you can set up in a way that meets your family's needs. Each child has his or her own account, sort of like online banking. They can see how much they have, have saved, or jobs they can do to earn more money. I have had this idea in my head for a long time, and even set up an Excel spreadsheet years ago that was such a pain I didn't keep up with it. But this program is awesome. Now that my kids are older, they can log in and keep ME accountable as I teach them about earning, spending, and saving...all in the safety of our home before they venture out into the real world with real money and real debt. If only FamZoo could create a program for the government...
Teach your kids good money habits with FamZoo's Virtual Family Bank.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Amazing Product for Soap Scum

I can't even believe I'm blogging about this at 7:25 am. But I have to. I have three different cleaning products under my bathroom counter for soap and hard water scum and they are all useless. But when shopping for a new product that might actually work without killing me, I found the "Scotch-Brite Easy Eraser." I had used the Magic Eraser before, but had no clue that these could be used for soap scum. Duh.
It's a miracle! My tub was HORRIBLE. We have hard water, and the build up was bad. I'd put off cleaning it for way too long. I would have taken before and after pictures, but I was too embarressed. Nobody should see a tub like that! The scum came off like magic. I barely had to scrub at all. If you haven't tried these products before, they get just about everything off of any surface imaginable. And now you know they work on soap scum, too! Happy cleaning!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is it Puberty?!

I remember came early for me, so I might be a little hyper-vigilant looking for the signs in my kids. I was 8 years old when the changes started, and barely 11 when my first period came. So now that my kids are almost 9 (girl) and 10 (boy), while I'm hoping I've got a year or two, I'm getting suspicious that not only is puberty arriving, it's arriving for both kids at the same time!
I started worrying about my son because he was checking his temperature every night, sometimes during the day, and sure enough, his body temperature was elevated. Normally, his body temperature is around 97 degrees. But his were in the 99's and at first I thought he was sick. Then it just went on and on and I'm going to settle on puberty as the reason, because I'm thinking my only alternative is something serious like cancer! He has also been more tired, having nightmares, and more recently, has not been able to concentrate. He is having trouble focusing on his schoolwork and literally can't bring himself to sit down and get it done. This is very abnormal for him, and for the life of me I can't find a reason for the sudden change.
I can't find much information online about body temperature changing during hormonal activity in puberty, but I've noticed mine change during pregnancy, and now perimenopause. As I type this, it's 70 degrees in my house and I'm sitting here in a short sleeve shirt. Just last year I would be shivering at 70 degrees. I have a hard time doing a lot because I tend to get much hotter than I remember. So I'm thinking, maybe it happens during puberty, as well. I just can't find much documentation on it!
At this point, I'm hoping it's hormones, because that's natural. Illness is not, and if it is an illness I'm hoping it's nothing serious. If you have any experience with this, or if you have noticed the increase in temperature for your child, please comment!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My, How Time Flies!

I don't know when it happened, but at some point I realized how quickly time was zooming by. It started with realizing how quickly a new month came up and bills were due...AGAIN. Then, it was as if June came the day after New Year's eve...and quickly it was October. Before I know it, it will be 2012 and taxes will be due, and I will find myself trying to remember Christmas. Is this what getting old is like?

As if that isn't bad enough, I only have to look at my children to realize how quickly time is flying. I can't believe they are 10 and 8 (almost 9)! I look at my old posts on here and see how they have changed over the years. I remember all the fun we have had; the good times of laughing and just spending time together doing school or having fun at the park. I remember the camping trips and road trips, and going skating every weekend. I remember getting out the Easter decorations, coloring eggs, and hiding eggs in the yard. Or decorating the Christmas tree, and opening presents Christmas morning.

The more I remember, the more I realize as my children have gotten older, the less I have done with them. I spend a lot of time with the same room...but how much time I actually spend making these wonderful memories has diminished. It isn't that I don't feel it's important as they get older. It's more that time has gotten away from me and I always think we have "later" to take part in activities together. Well, later is now. Before I know it, they will be married and having their own kids. And when they do, I want them to remember all these things, and make memories with their own kids because they have such fond memories of their childhood. Right now they think a minute takes forever, but I'm sure when they have their own kids, they will see how time flies, too!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Imagine for a moment...

Imagine for a moment, a world where your innocent little eight year old girl is awakened from sleep by a violent pounding at the door. She runs to find you opening the door to armed soldiers, pushing you aside while they enter to search for weapons. Your little girl is shaking as she clings to you, and tears begin to fall down her face. She hears the men talking as they rummage through the house, in deep, mean voices, but does not understand what they say. Two days ago, she saw her friend killed on the street while they played. She is not sure if these are the same men. Imagine her fear, her heart pounding out of her chest; sweat pouring down her face, with the tears that you cannot wipe away. By her feet, there is a puddle on the floor...

Can you see her?

Now imagine the girl is an Iraqi.

Your brother is the armed soldier.

And you have supported this for the past ten years.

Now what do you do?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jon Stewart Destroys Media for Ignoring Ron Paul

For days since the Iowa Straw Poll and Ron Paul's close second place finish to Michelle Bachmann, the media has written off Ron Paul as a contender for the GOP nomination. Jon Stewart, and Ron Paul fans across the country, want to know why? This video is hilarious. Thanks to Jon Stewart for shining the light for your viewers, and helping those of us frustrated about this to at least get a good laugh. Our corporate media is a joke! People, start doing the research now before the media selects your "two evils" left in the end!

 The video we had posted here was changed somehow, and I can't find the video on Youtube. But if you search for Jon Stewart and Ron Paul videos, you will find some good ones still.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ron Paul is Shut Out by the Media

What is going on right now with the Republican presidential candidates for the 2012 election is beyond ridiculous. In all my life I have not experienced such absurd media bias! Here is a great video on how Ron Paul has been shut out by the media (unless of course they want to speak to an expert on the economy or other matters, because they know he is the most intelligent person in congress and the only one who has predicted exactly what has taken place for decades with 100% accuracy.) If you have children old enough to understand (maybe age 12 and up) I would let them watch this video. What a great lesson!

The video is here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Single Parent Homeschooling

I came across an excellent article about single parent homeschooling. Please read it here and then come back and comment!

As I read the article, I felt the author was speaking right at me. I realized there were others out there in the same boat and it made me feel like I wasn't alone in this. I also identified with feeling all alone, and feeling like I was "out" because my ex-husband and I divorced. I was even told by a fellow homeschooler to prepare to be turned away from some homeschooling co-ops because of my single or "divorced" status. I know she was only trying to be helpful, but it may have closed doors that I never tried to open.

I work from home, and currently receive no child support. That is a long story all in itself, and I can tell you that it makes for LONG days when you are working, teaching, doing household chores, driving kids to activities, all the while concerned that you might not be able to pay your bills that month. As a Christian I have learned over and over again that He WILL take care of our needs, but in the flesh, I worry, as well as have to deal with anger over a father who neglects to help me take care of OUR children.

I also fight jealousy over friends on facebook sharing about their vacations and all the fun things they get to do. I have tried to get my kids to the beach every summer, but have only made it once so far and that was because we were receiving child support. If I am not working, I am thinking about new ways to make money, or better ways to advertise my products or websites. I am constantly "on" and this does not result in anything positive (just ask my kids!) This is 100% because of my kids' father. I currently do not have health insurance. My kids are on the state insurance program, but I make too much to qualify for myself. I cannot put away for retirement because every penny I make goes into our bills. Sometimes I wonder how long this can go on, but all I can do right now is keep on.

Over everything, I know that homeschooling my kids is 100% the right choice for our family. If I do this right, they will turn out to be wonderful people who will take care of me in my old age and that retirement I can't save for will not be missed at all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My 10 Year-Old Got Braces

This child and his teeth...SIGH. It has been a topic of discussion since the day he was born. He constantly cried, and I wondered if two months was too early to teethe. There was lots of drool, but that was normal, right? The first teeth arrived at three months of age. By the time he was ten months old, he had ten teeth. By the time he was four years, he had his first root canal. His teeth were not healthy, and at age five, more (expensive) dental work was done. You can read about our journey here.

Last year, I noticed that his twelve-year molars were already erupting. He was nine! Once they came in fully, his bottom teeth began crowding. He already had an overbite and a tooth that did not come down fully, which the kids were beginning to pick on. He began asking me regularly for braces. I could not afford them. But even more, I was afraid that he would have to endure the same trauma I did: extractions, including permanent teeth. As an adult, I REALLY wish I still had those teeth, because they do come in handy! All together I had ten teeth pulled, obviously most of them baby teeth. I was not looking forward to dealing with that and making permanent decisions for my son's mouth!

Luckily, I did not have to make that decision. Though some orthodontists still pull teeth, it is usually only in extreme cases. A new system of braces, the Damon System, made it possible for us to rely only on the braces to move the teeth and make more room in his mouth. Here is a video that shows this system:

It didn't even occur to me to ask, until I was speaking with my neighbor, if my son had any baby teeth left. My son says he lost them all, but I can't remember! So I will have to ask the orthodontist at our next visit if any of the teeth remaining are baby teeth. It is odd that a ten year old would have all of his permanent teeth already, but this child's teeth have been odd since day one! The orthodontist did say that he saw tiny buds developing...wisdom teeth! Ugggghhhhhh!

Anyway, he is on day three with braces. Not going too well so far. He was not estimating the pain factor very well and was asking to take the wire off on the first day. I am running out of ibuprofen and he is likely losing weight he can't afford to lose because it hurts to eat anything. I'm pumping him with raw milk and Ovaltine, and anything else he can squish with his tongue on the roof of his mouth. We are already seeing a difference in his teeth. He's hoping it won't take the full 24 months, but I told him that's NOT what he wanted as that probably will mean more pain to move them faster. He has an overbite, and four of his brackets have hooks for future rubberbands. THAT should be fun.

If you live in Wichita, KS, I suggest Trimmell Orthodontics. They have an office on the east and west side. They are great to work with, and were $500 cheaper than the first orthodontist we visited.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children with Anxiety

Whether your child is at home with you or at school all day, or even living with another parent, you may notice that he or she exhibits some symptoms of anxiety. After living a life trying to avoid anxiety, God blessed me with my own anxious child. I have worked very hard to help teach him how to deal with stress or how to cope without knowing what's going to happen next, and I think I've done a pretty good job. I sure wish I had some help with this early on! Some symptoms of child anxiety include:
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.
  • Being nervous, jittery, and hypersensitive.
  • Decreased school performance or a lack of concentration.
  • Avoidance of social activities or not wanting to spend as much time with friends.
  • Tics, nervous habits, or compulsive behavior such as nail biting or hair pulling.
  • Dangerous behavior such as cutting or drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Excessive moodiness or outbursts of anger.
  • Persistent worry that seems unjustified for the situation.
  • Sleep changes or activity level changes.
  • School avoidance or refusal.
  • Being unusually or overly self-critical.
  • A high need for reassurance.
  • Outbursts of anger or oppositional behavior, even though you know in your heart they’re a good kid, they just have all this anxious energy coming out all wrong.
My child had a lot of anxiety whenever he was going to something new. A new Sunday school class, a new activity, a new sport, or meeting new people...he always had to know how everything would go before he got there. Since often I had no idea, I went with him for the first few visits until he felt comfortable with the people there. I never stopped taking him to things or signing up for things. By the time he was six, he trusted that I would not bring him somewhere that would cause any problems for him, and his anxiety diminished. There are a LOT of other things that cause anxiety in children and sometimes the solution isn't so easy. The reason this subject has come up for me again is that there is a little girl in my life who was put on an anti-depressant for migraine headaches. She has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, which is likely where the headaches are coming from. But she started the medication at age seven, and the medication is known to help bi-polar disorder with a "side effect" of helping with migraine headaches. This concerns me. The child has still not been given any means of dealing with her anxiety, and now she is drugged. It makes me very sad. If I were starting over with my anxious child, I would check out this program. It is a much better idea than spending hundreds of dollars on ineffective counseling or drugs. Not only does it help with the core problem, the anxiety, but it also provides tools for the parent in how to deal with the anxiety. Most parents, unless they suffered from an anxiety disorder themselves, do not know how to recognize anxiety in their children or how to help them with it. But if you do recognize it, and don't know what to you do. Check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is your children's school making them sick?

When our schools are updated and technologically advanced, we think it's a great thing because our kids will learn things that help them make it in our technologically advanced world. Unfortunately, there is a drawback when it comes to these schools, or in some cases classrooms, when it comes to our children's health. The electrosmog generated by WI-FI and charging computers, not to mention all the other electronics that schools have been using for ages, is reaching a catastrophic level in classrooms, causing numerous illnesses, including cancer. Read this story about a school in La Quinta, CA and their increase in cancer incidences in teachers AND children.

The good thing is, you can choose to keep your kids at home. But then the question is, is your home much better? For more information and to learn what you can do at home, here is a great place to start: Worse than Cigarettes? The Silent Enemy Harming Your Health Today...
Make sure you read the readers' comments at the end of the article. There are often suggestions there from people who know more or what they have done to solve the problem in their homes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Should kids be allowed on facebook?

Short answer...NOOOOOOOOOOO!
I've been on facebook for a few years now, I guess, after trying to avoid it as long as possible. What I have discovered during that time is that it is NOT for kids. The minimum age is 13, but estimated figures show that 7 million kids under 13 (5 million of them being 10 and under!) are already on facebook. This is alarming.
In the last year, the number of accounts being hacked has gone up tremendously according to the pornography I have seen come through on friend's profiles. Just the other day, it came through on a 5th grader's page! The pornography is often in the form of a video, but you don't have to click on the video to be exposed, as the picture on the post is enough to be shocked. Sometimes it is "just" a picture.
I'm not sure how people's accounts get hacked, as it's not happened to me yet. I don't know if it's carelessness on their part or just bad luck. But what I do know is that it's happening, and our children should be protected from exposure to these images.
Recently I saw that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of facebook, is trying to lower the minimum age to allow all children on facebook. He thinks the age limit is ridiculous. He also does not have kids. Of course he wants to allow kids on facebook legally so that he has a completely new target audience to sell ads for. Duh. But even if this does happen, I caution all parents who will consider the age they allow their children on facebook. Sometimes it takes common sense and not laws to determine the age at which our children should be set free on a social website. Imagine also a child who accepts a "friend" he does not know. This happened recently to a friend of mine. His 11 year-old son accepted a friend request from a half naked 20-something year-old woman from California. That's scary enough. But what if this woman was really a 60 year-old man looking for a young boy to play with? His account has been deleted.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Hard Work Pays Off

My son has been swimming on a summer league for about four years. After last season's final swim meet, he was determined to figure out exactly how to do breaststroke correctly. He worked and worked. Asked for instruction. "Am I doing it right?"
Yesterday he swam in his first swim meet of the summer. He did great on backstroke. Then came breaststroke, which was once his WORST event. I watched his stroke. Then came the tears. He was doing it! Pull, kick, glide. Pull, kick, glide. And he was moving forward! I literally was so overwhelmed for him that tears came to my eyes. He got first in his heat, but only 14th overall. I told him now that he knows how to do the stroke correctly, he can practice, practice, practice, and get stronger and better and faster. I love it when kids learn that their work will pay off! Such a great lesson in perseverance!

(After the swim meet we went to the Y pool to start working on getting those swimming muscles. My son worked REALLY hard. I swam a lot, too, after not swimming for a quite a while. We were supposed to go back to the pool this morning, but when I asked him if he still wanted to go, he said, "NO! I'm sore!" I don't blame him. I am, too! Sometimes hard work hurts!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When Parents Don't Parent

I almost hit the roof today. I knew it was coming. I'm not sure why I let it get to me so. Perhaps the anxiety of whether or not I will be able to pay my bills has gotten to me. I don't know. But when my daughter came to me today and mentioned that her dad said he hoped that he could take her and her brother out of town for a week to see his parents this summer, I about lost it.

Seems like a reasonable statement if you don't know my situation. There are only a few problems wrong with it. First of all, why wouldn't he discuss this with me before getting her hopes up? Makes no sense. Secondly, he is about $10,000 or so (I have lost count) behind on child support. How can he afford to go out of town for a week when he is that far behind?! I can't afford to take a vacation...does he really think he's entitled to take the kids to his parents so that he can show off all the hard work I have put into them ALL BY MYSELF?! That's right...I have them 24/7, drive them to dance class, taekwondo, ball games and practice, doctor and dentist appointments...take care of them when they are sick, etc. I worry about keeping a roof over their heads, food in their mouths, and that they learn what they are supposed to. He does not parent them at all whatsoever. We have moved an hour away, but even when we lived in the same town he hardly saw them and didn't come to their games. I don't know...this just doesn't make sense to me. It's SOOOOOO frustrating.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Teaching Your Child to Swim

If you are a stay at home mom, chances are you look for ways to save money. And even if you don't, teaching your child to swim yourself is a great option as long as you and your child are both into it. Many parents are intimidated about teaching their child such an important skill. I can understand, since I was nervous about teaching my kids to read. Even with a teaching degree, I felt like I wasn't equipped to teach a child to read, simply because I had never done it before. And when there are people who are trained to do something, whether it's teaching someone to read or teaching someone to swim, we assume that in order to do it, it requires training that we don't have. Not true.

People have commented that trained teachers are better than parents trying to teach their child. This is a misconception. I mean, who trained your child to go on the potty? Or ride a bike? Or how to tie his shoes? A parent IS a teacher. And no matter what you want to teach, you can do it if you want to learn the skills yourself. Swimming is no different.

The most important thing to rememer about teaching your child to swim is that they MUST spend time in the water, almost daily, in order to become a proficient swimmer. I've seen parents take their kids to swimming lessons, and then never take them to the pool. Summer after summer, they still don't know how to swim. My kids taught themselves how to swim at about ages 4 and 5. The local pool was within walking distance of our house, but it was more convenient for us to have a pool in the backyard. We just happened to purchase an Intex pool on clearance the summer before for about $75. It was the biggest pool they made, and it was perfect for my children. I could adjust the level of the water. As they got better in the water, I added more water until it was at a level where it was quicker to swim from one spot to another than it was to wallk. Having the pool so convenient made it possible to go swimming multiple times each day.

Oddly enough, my younger child (girl) learned how to swim before my oldest (boy). Once he saw her swimming, he was determined. But he could not progress because he did not want to put his face in the water. If you have ever tried to swim with your head up, you know how difficult this is. So one day, I purchased a mask and snorkel for each child. My son put his on, looked into the water, and I could hear through the snorkel, "THIS IS AWESOME!" We were at the public swimming pool and he could see EVERYTHING under the water. Immediately, his feet came up behind him and he started kicking. He was swimming. If your child has an aversion to water in his face, I suggest doing the same thing. My son is now 10 and still HAS to wear goggles whenever he swims, but he's swimming! My children have been swimming on the swim team for 3-4 years and now know all four strokes!

So you might be wondering where to start. If you break down the lessons, you will need to go in this order:

1. Submersion
2. Floating
3. Kicking
4. Arm movement
5. Breathing

Techinically, by step 3, your child is "swimming." Steps 4 and 5 teach them how to do the front crawl, or "freestyle" as it is commonly called. Please remember that these lessons are slow and calm. The children in the video obviously already know how to do the skills demonstrated. Your child might be tense, panicky, and difficult to work with. Use a calm voice and help him relax. Take it slow. Work on one skill at a time and work at your child's pace. Also, review the skills each time you get in the water. For instance, once your child is able to dive for toys, start with that next time.

The links above are videos on how to teach each step. I hope you find these helpful and have an enjoyable summer in the pool. If it's as hot where you live as it has already been here this spring, you will be spending a LOT of time at the pool! Have a great summer!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Are You an Overprotective Parent?

As a parent you obviously want to make sure your child is safe from harm. You take precautions early on, as soon as your baby starts crawling and walking. You plug up all the electric outlets, block off all the stairs, lock the cabinets, and hunt for small objects hidden in the carpets. But if you are the type of parent who then hovers over your child even though you have taken all necessary precautions to keep him safe in your home, you may be an overprotective parent.

If your child is in kindergarten and you still hover over her, you definitely ARE an overprotective parent. Why does it matter? She will be safe, right? You can protect her, right? Wrong. As a matter of fact, an overprotective parent can stunt a child's development and handicap him for the rest of his life.

An overprotective parent is uncomfortable when her child is out of her sight. She does not want her to be involved in anything dangerous, even if it's dangerous only in her mind. She will not teach her child things that may result in pain, such as ironing, using the stove, or even a knife. On a playground, she will be ready to catch any fall and will hardly ever have both hands off her child. If her child leaves her homework at home, she will make a special trip back home to make sure the child does not suffer the consequences of not having the assignment. With an older child, this parent will lie to cover up something the child has done to avoid prosecution or legal trouble. See where this is going?

The problem is that no matter HOW much we try to protect our children, we will fail. And in our attempt, our children suffer. Children have drowned right in front of their watchful parents. They have fallen off the monkey bars the second their mom looked away. Horrible things will happen. And hovering over them is not going to make a difference. But hovering over them will keep them from expressing their natural desire to climb, jump, run, and slide because YOU fear that something will happen. Eventually, your fear becomes your child's fear, and he will not want to try new things because he now has a real fear of getting hurt, or even worse, of failing.

When children have freedom to explore and learn and gain independence, they see their own limitations, abilities, and consequences, which are all a part of life. Not allowing a child to fail on his own will turn into an adult who still needs you to bail him out of real, adult problems.
The younger you let your child be responsible for his homework, for instance, the younger he will be when he realizes it's his job to keep up with it and get it turned in. The quicker he gets that there ARE consequences in life, the earlier he will think about them before doing something stupid!

Personally, I don't get not wanting to teach your children things as soon as possible. The quicker they are taught things, the more helpful they are. Children who are not taught age appropriate activities are not given opportunities to gain self esteem in a natural way. Instead, parents feed them false compliments, even though their child really hasn't accomplished anything. These children are often less mature and less developed than their peers.

If you are wondering if you are being overprotective, ask your friends. Chances are, they have already seen it and will be more than happy to tell you. But be ready to hear the truth, and take steps to change what might need to be changed. Your children will be happier, and so will you. If you are unable to stop your overprotective behavior, you might want to consider getting help from a psychologist to help you figure out why.

When do children lose their baby teeth?

This question came up recently because I've come across a family with an eight year old who just lost her first tooth. Her younger sister is six, and has not lost a tooth yet, either. I remember having a neighbor who was the same way, and I started wondering if my children were weird...or were these other kids? My son lost his first tooth just after his 5th birthday. My daughter's two front teeth were coming in by age six (she lost them both in a fall early on). My son is only 10 and already has his 12 year molars. Of course his baby teeth came in beginning at three months, so he is odd...but what is normal?

Kids begin losing their baby teeth between five and seven years old. By around ages 12-13, all baby teeth should be replaced by permanent adult teeth. The process begins later for some children, and there seems to be some correlation between kids who get their baby teeth early and when they start falling out.

For more information on the care and keeping of children's teeth, here is an article I wrote about our journey with cavity prevention in children.

What to look for in a lifeguard

For most communities, summer began Memorial Day weekend, and at this point all public swimming pools and lakes should be open and active. But are they ready for you and your children? Good Guard Bad Guard will help you see what most parents don't- whether or not you should put your trust in the "guard" watching your child. A must-read for every parent!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life as a Dancer...

My daughter just finished her year in dance with a recital this weekend and her future plans include trying out for Company next month. I'm not sure how this is going to go. She will have to give up gymnastics and likely other sports like soccer and softball. She will have to eat, breathe, and live dance. I see visions of make up, bobby pins, hairspray and fancy costumes, not to mention lots of nagging to practice, practice, practice. I'm not TOO worried. She will be homeschooling this year, so she should have plenty of time for practicing as well as her other passions- art and music. Perhaps I'm more worried about how I will pay for all the necessities required for such a major committment. I guess I can worry about this after she makes the cut....wish her luck! Here she is in the front...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Paper Rollercoasters

My son's 4th grade class did an awesome project this week and I just HAD to share. Whether you homeschool or teach in a classroom, the $20 fee for templates is well worth it if you ask me. I talked to my son's teacher who said that the kids did a wonderful job working together. They did not get to choose their own groups, and yet everyone was engaged and got along. That is unheard of with 4th graders, isn't it?! Here is a picture and the link is below...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Well-Known Evolutionist States, "Creationist Critics (of Evolution) Are Right"

I have an interest in Creation Science and maybe some of my readers do, too. If you do not already subscribe to Ken Ham's blog, here is a great article, and while you're there, subscribe! If you don't know who Ken Ham is, but his name sounds familiar, he is the president/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, and the highly acclaimed Creation Museum. Click here for the article!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Socializatin Myth in Schools

Here we go again. This topic comes up in my life fairly often, because with two kids now in school for almost a whole year, well, it's going to. My kids were homeschooled through 2nd and 3rd grades, and were not "socialized" at school like their peers have been. I didn't realize it would even be an issue until my daughter was in first grade and would play with the neighbors when they would come home from school. She would come inside after a couple of hours, asking questions about why the girls were acting the way they were acting. That's when it occurred to me that the "games girls play" were being learned by these girls in school, and my daughter, without being "socialized" had no idea how to play them. You know those games...the manipulation, the cattiness, the, "I'll be your friend, IF..." The, "let's be mad at X..." and the exluding someone for whatever reason... It's just a big ol' ugly mess.
Most parents who were schooled or have kids in school think this is perfectly normal, or a rite of passage that every child encounters during childhood. Unfortunately, that's what leads to bullying. Kids left to fend for themselves, and choose their pecking order on the playground are either the top dog, the middle of the road kid, or the one who gets picked on. Often, these roles change daily. It could be because your child wore something unique that the other kids decide to pick on. It could be because your child got a haircut. It could be because your child did or said something that someone else wants to pick on. It could be the change of the wind...who knows?
So what is it about schools that lead to this socialization problem with kids? It is not lack of supervision.'s NOT the teachers' faults. Or the principals'. It's the entire system. That's correct...if your child goes to school, it is going to happen no matter what you do or say, no matter how much you grumble or complain; someone at school will be getting picked on and someone will be the underdog. The biggest reason mis-socialization occurs in schools is the fact that children are grouped together according to age. When you combine children into a group of twenty or so, all of the same general age, there are going to be problems. The "pecking order" commences when students play their little games to determine who is the top dog and where everyone else stands. If ONLY we combined children of different ages for a great part of their day, the socialization problem would practically disappear, since older child tend to naturally lead younger children, and younger children naturally listen to their older peers. The "games" no longer are necessary.
But there are other factors as well, that are inherent in schools. It is eloquently put here...
"Instead of being locked behind school gates in what some would consider an artificial setting characterized by bells, forced silence and age-segregation, homeschoolers frequently extend their everyday classroom to fire departments, hospitals, museums, repair shops, city halls, national parks, churches and colleges, where real community interaction and contacts are made."
It is interesting that most school administrators believe that homeschooled students have inferior social skills when compared to schooled students. In actuality, the opposite is true. And it's not even close. Schooled students are actually FAR more anti-social than homeschooled students. While parents of schooled students can make a big difference by using their time with their kids wisely, they first have to recognize the importance of their time and the influence they can have on their kids in the few hours they see them in the evenings. Unfortunately, many parents don't realize the value they possess and don't see the need in helping their children by talking over and working through problems kids have at school. Parents also should make sure to take their kids where they go, such as running errands. The more real world experience children receive, the better their understanding of it. And the less important those playground games seem to be.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Great Reason to Homeschool

After missing the first 3-4 years of schooling with peers, my kids are now in public school where they are catching up on all the illnesses they missed out on from K-2/3. Oh the horrors! My son has thrown up more in the last month than his entire life. I've lost count of the fevers, and the missed school days. This is crazy! My son stayed home today with a 102 fever and massive headache. His sister just recovered from the same this week. I found out that kids in my son's class have been diagnosed with influenza b virus, so I'm sure that's what he's got. It's like these kids are licking each other at school!

It doesn't help that I've neglected our diets and haven't been consistent with our Vitamin D supplementation, which has saved us until now. I've got to start feeding them better. But at the end of a long day, I'm exhausted and don't feed them as well as I should. I wish we could homeschool now so we don't have to deal with these illnesses. Funny thing is, I'm more concerned about them missing their gymnastics/dance class or basketball games than I am them missing school. School work can be made up, but the other stuff really can't. It's frustrating. But another motivating factor in bringing my kids back home.

Friday, January 7, 2011

K12 Curriculum

I've been shopping on-line for "on-line curriculum" and one that I have found is K12. I had heard of it from a facebook friend, and did the research to learn more. K12 is a FREE virtual school, with online coursework, books, AND hands-on material. Each child is assigned a teacher, and the parent is the "learning coach." This is a wonderful option for parents who don't feel equipped, or need extra help in certain subjects. It's also a great option for people who want their kids at home for reasons that don't include that they are unhappy with the curriculum in their local public school. What I don't know right now is whether or not the "learning coach" can remove or alter assignments for each child. I've read that it can take up to 5 hours to complete the work, so I asked my friend about that and she said her daughter is able to do it in 2-3 hours. So if your child works particularly slow, it may be more work than you want to try and tackle. If your child is a quick worker, it should be about right. One example of something I might want to change is spelling assignments. If there are lots of things that have to be done with spelling words, I might want to remove them. I have excellent spellers. Once you show my kids a word, they know how to spell it. So why do work everyday to get you ready for the test? But I might want to spend more time with them on math. I still want some control, but nothing that should ruffle any feathers. Before I choose this curriculum, I would ask about this.

You can learn more at K12. My take on this system is that it is the government's way of saving money on education. Instead of trying to work against homeschoolers they are working with them, and helping parents who have the opportunity, desire, or need to keep kids at home provide a balanced, thorough education. So far so good. As I learn more I will update what I learn!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How many cubic feet is my washer?

I always enjoy the, "I get to use the math I learned in junior high!" moments because I can use these examples one day when my kids ask, "Why do I have to learn this?!" Here is a great use of measurement, formulas, and figuring out volume...

My washing machine broke. It is over 20 years old, so I decided it was probably time to start looking for a new one. I looked them up online and kept seeing how many cubic feet the new ones were. Well, how can I know how big that is if I don't know the cubic feet of my current washer? Hmmmm.... So I googled, "How many cubic feet is XXX washer?" I had written down the model number, serial number, brand and anything else I might need off the washer so I could find the information online. But what I found instead was (GASP!) how to calculate your cubic feet. Not only did I have to know what pi was, I needed to use the ol' formula A=pi (r squared). THEN I had to multiply the area by the height of the drum, to satisfy the formula V = pi (radius squared) (height) or V= pi X r^2 X h . But it doesn't end there! I measured in inches and ended up with the volume in cubic inches. In order to compare to the new washers, I needed to know how many cubic feet it was.

There are 12 inches in 1 foot, 144 (or 12x12) square inches in 1 square foot, 1728 (or 12x12x12) cubic inches in 1 cubic foot. So to find how many cubic feet you have, divide the number you got in inches by 1728. Then, you will know how many cubic feet your washer is in. Do yourself a favor and write it with permanent marker somewhere on the machine! It might come in handy at some point.

Figuring this out was an eye opener to me of the things we could ask children to figure out that will help them use what they are learning in math. My 4th grader isn't quite at the point of doing this, but one day... and I can't wait to show him! If you have other "using math" ideas, please share them!

P.S. My washer was 2.5 cubic feet!

Monday, January 3, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

Today is the last day of Christmas vacation, and marks the beginning of the year for me in a way. It's also the first day of a 30-Day Blogging Challenge, where we are to blog daily as well as encourage others in the challenge to keep it up for 30 days. My resolution is two-fold and simple: blog daily, and bring my kids home.
Ironically, regular blogging brings more website sales. I didn't have to learn that in a class, I learned that through experience. So by taking part in the challenge, I will simultaneously improve my business...which will hopefully eventually lead to enough income to homeschool my kids again. Isn't it great how these things work? After being home for a couple of weeks, I remember how much fun it is to be home with my kids, rather than at work with someone else's kids. Well, maybe fun isn't the right word...but I can definitely see the benefits again of children being home.
My house will be put on the market soon, and we will look for a house about an hour away, closer to a bigger city where the kids' activities are, and more opportunities for self-employment income. I'm hoping to tutor for extra income, and even possibly take a few kids during the day whose parents have to work, but want to be homechooled. Heck, I'd even cut grass in the summer! I don't know how everything is going to happen, but I just know that it is going to work out somehow. I mean, it always has. One thing that I have learned is that God is going to work out the details as long as I keep working toward the goal.
I'm hoping that going back to work tomorrow and getting back to kids' activities isn't going to thwart my blogging plans. I have a number of blogs and a number of things I can write about, but my fear is that I will have little energy left at the end of the day to write. We shall see!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Click N Kids Coupon

I couldn't let this special go by without sharing with you! Enjoy!

Save 20% Off Code:CKIDS2011 exp. 1/31

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alpha Omega Homeschooling Products

While we are at home for Christmas break, I've been looking forward to bringing my kids back home by shopping for curricula online. Tonight as I watched the Sooners win the Fiesta Bowl, I spent a couple of hours on the Alpha Omega website checking out their numerous homeschooling curricula options. At first I thought the new Monarch was the cat's meow...until I read some online reviews basically saying that they are still working out kinks. In a year I'm sure it will be the bomb, but for immediate homeschooling needs, Switched on Schoolhouse is an excellent option... if you want to homeschool using the computer, that is. They also have other traditional book options, including a unit based curriculum that many homeschoolers love. At this point I'm more interested in something the kids can do on the computer. Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) is great for that. With SOS you have to download the CDs on your computer, whereas the new Monarch system is all online. (This is a great benefit for people who travel and don't want to carry their laptops everywhere- assuming people HAVE laptops.) Since Alpha Omega is a great company and dedicated to homeschoolers and providing wonderful curricula, I'm sure that Monarch will soon meet the standards their customers expect. But for now, check out their other options as well as Monarch, especially if you have a student in K-2 or even younger. Use this button, and don't forget to check out the link on their home page that takes you to a chart comparing all their curricula. It's very helpful!

Alpha Omega Online Curriculum