October 12, 2016 Edition 
Can I Teach Middle School? 
Because My Kids are 
Really Getting Independent
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Hey, Mama,
When it comes to teaching middle schoolers, as Dr. Mary Hood would say, "Relax." (Actually that's good advice no matter how old your kids are.) She recommends that you "keep your homeschool family-centered and treat your students as individuals. Don't worry that you will somehow mess up." Click the link to read her entire article,  Planning for a Relaxed Middle School.

And remember, if you're wondering what the IDEAL Mama looks like, you just need to look in the mirror and smile big. There she is!

Don't fall into Mama self-bashing today. It's a lie from the pit and will only slow you down. Are your kids perfect? No way. Do you want to raise kids who think they are? I hope not.

Raise those kids to be hard workers, kids who will, as adults, go easy on themselves when they drop the ball. Model the ideal Mama, striving to please Christ in all that she does. You're not perfect, and that's OK. No one is perfect but Christ. And yet, here He remains--with us, standing for us before the Father on our behalf. That's truth there, Mama, something worth passing on to our children.

And the Lord has called you for such a time as this: Raise those babies up to love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds. Keep walking the track He has you on. Don't try to run up ahead of yourself (and Him).

Look in that mirror, Daughter of the King. There you are.



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Raising Real Men    
We thought we were great homeschoolers. Our oldest son loved school. He was an early reader, good at math, really successful at everything we tried. Then he hit the preteen years, and the wheels fell off his train. Math started taking three hours. He complained about everything. School never got completely done.

And the distraction. The distraction! "Honey, go get me a glass of water."

"Okay, mom!" She comes back with no water.

"Uh, honey, could you please get me a glass of water?"

"Sure, mom!" She comes back with no water. Then does it again. Finally Melanie loses it.

"Mom, I'm glad to help you; you don't have to be mad!" She has no clue mom has asked four times! Their brains are changing and they struggle with focus, attention, priority-setting, and problem solving. That explains a lot, doesn't it?

The same hormones that are changing their brains also play havoc with their emotions. They climb on an emotional roller coaster and invite you to join them! Don't get on that ride, Mama. Between the emotions and the addle-headedness, school is just plain hard. It's hard for you and it's hard for them. Many kids just decide they aren't academically-oriented during the middle school years. That's not good going into high school. How can you both survive?

They may need more supervision. The child who could stay focused at eight years old, may need someone to stay on him at eleven.

Or, they may need fewer distractions. It's during the middle school years that our children usually start wanting to listen to music with headphones while they work. It helps them to avoid having their concentration broken by the younger siblings.

Try challenges and incentives. We usually time them secretly doing a math lesson, then say, "Hey, today it took you two hours and forty-six minutes to do math. If you can do it in less time tomorrow, you'll get a treat." The treat doesn't have to be big or meaningful; they just need a little help focusing.

Focus on the basics. This is the time to solidify their skills in reading, writing, and math, so that they are ready to take on high school.

Preserve the love of learning. This is especially crucial for boys, who hit their academic stride in high school. One great way to do that is to incorporate their passions. Kids this age tend to obsess about one thing or another. Grab hold of their current interest. and do a unit study; take a field trip, or incorporate it into their assignments. Help them remember that learning is a blast.

Most of all, protect your relationship during this challenging stage of parenting. It's going to pass, but if your relationship is rocky, the next few years are going to be harder. Build a trusting relationship, and the teens tend to get better and better.

Need a little more encouragement on how to deal with the emotional roller coaster, schoolwork struggles, and spiritual doubts? You can download our workshop, Parenting Preteens, FREE here!

Your friends,
Hal & Melanie Young
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The Familyman 
Greetings from the Walmart parking lot in Wilkesboro, NC. While we wait for a new tire, my wife is doing school in the RV. I love listening to them. It's a mix between giggles and frustration. I'll let you decide who is doing which. 

Since this is being typed on a phone, I'm going to keep it short. Here's the deal about homeschooling: You can teach any age group, no matter how old the child is. Don't ever believe the lie that you're not qualified to teach an older child. 

If you're struggling because your child wants and likes to learn independently . . . stop struggling with that. 

That's the goal of education. You WANT them to learn on their own. You want them to move in that direction. If you're worried that your child is too independent . . . don't be.  

Even if they get ahead of you, that's not bad. Even if they make mistakes and do it wrong, it's OK. They'll figure it out and have learned something bigger in the process (the ability to learn on their own). 

So relax and enjoy some of that hands-off time. Bask in the fact that your child is learning and doing it on his own.

P.S. Don't assume that when they say they're doing school that they are. Every child needs some accountability, and a child's idea of doing his work may not be the same as a parent's idea. 

Be real,

Familyman Ministries

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Building Faith Families

Steve Demme

Steve will be back in two weeks! In the meantime, make sure to check out his website, www.buildingfaithfamilies.org.

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Contest Corner 
For the month of October
Written for ages four and up, and designed to complement most reading curricula, The Reading Game is a supplemental resource for beginning or struggling readers.

The Reading Game includes the parent/teacher guide, six sets of memory playing cards, six sets of picture flashcards and six storybooks. Playing is fairly straightforward. Each set of cards is color-coded and is divided into six smaller sets of ten cards, for a total of thirty word cards per color set. Each subset is numbered, so you know exactly which cards to use as you advance through the game.

The Reading Game is basically a progressive memory game. Ten cards at a time, children will play memory in order to match and read five sight words at a time. After the student masters two sets of cards, or ten words, they read the matching captioned flashcard to practice reading the words in context and to recognize capitalization and punctuation. This continues through the entire color set until they've learned thirty words and can read all three flashcards that use those words. Then they are ready for the story book! The stories (and the words utilized in the stories) build on each other, so it is important to go in the correct sequence. By the end of the game, students have learned 180 words, many of them which are on standard sight word lists. (. . .)

I think this is a great alternative to drilling with flashcards, and I really love how the game allows children to progress at their own pace. There are also free materials online for parents and teachers to utilize. I can see this game being valuable for families, small groups and co-ops, tutoring, and classrooms. -Review by Brittany Rutherford

YOU can WIN this resource for your homeschool! 
TO ENTER: Email Kathleen at kconway@theoldschoolhouse.com with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "The Reading Game," for a chance to win it for your family! 

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