Friday, September 28, 2018

Homeschool Hesitations: Happiness

Last week, we began this series on Homeschool Hesitations and today I'm talking about happiness.  Somewhere along the way of keeping the peace in circles with vastly different lifestyles, I lost permission to be happy with my choices.  In an attempt to not stir up conflict, I find myself being the wallflower especially when it comes to homeschooling stuff, but it ends up being pretty lonely.  It's never wise to rub someone's nose in your own satisfaction, but it is good and right to be content and joyful with aspects of your life.  Dare I say, it is down right commanded in the Bible - Philipians 4:8.  As I've said before All Roads Have Rocks which simply put means no choice is without difficulties.  Still, sharing successes and joys should always be a regular part of any relationship!



It's not that different than our lives as Christians.  We are happy with our decision to follow Christ, but do you ever catch yourself NOT sharing that joy simply because you don't want to incite conflict with a non-believer?  Maybe your lifestyle in Christ absolutely prevents you from the trouble they are having, but you hide your success or joy to prevent an awkward conversation?  I find myself there a lot.  How many times have you complained about your mother to someone who lost their's when they were young?  I've itemized the struggles of marriage to the unhappily single person more than once.  Or complained about pregnancy to someone who can't have any?  We know of many, many friends with children that are sick, challenged or even haven't survived that immediately puts whatever struggle my children are having into the trash.  So, the need to be sensitive and aware of other people's feelings in conversations is very, very real.  Even still, that doesn't mean it is wrong for me to ever share the joys of my life.


The differences we possess (either by choice or circumstance) often brings this polarizing effect when, if we were wise, we would use it to learn.  I have a lot of (public) teacher friends that have all sorts of approaches and techniques that I can potentially learn from, depending on my needs.  My brother is an orchestra director at a local high school - his experiences are a wonderful resource for me, especially as my kids get older.  With all of the reviews I'm able to do and the experiences I'm having teaching my kids various subjects, makes me a potentially good resource for someone who's public teachers may not have enough time to address their child's specific needs.  

This morning, I slept in until 8, woke up to J reading in his bed and miss Z coloring, got everyone fed, J and miss Z worked on school stuff for about an hour and half and then played with the outdoor/mud kitchen for the rest of the morning.  I LOVE that we can spend our time that way without car drop-off lines or frantic morning routines.  That makes me happy and you should be able to share whatever makes you happy.  

The bottom-line is this: When you find something good, don't hide it.  

Always consider others' feelings and be gentle and kind with your words.  Always.  But continually hiding your joy is not being kind to your family and especially the God who has blessed you.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I Know It: A Math Practice Site Review

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade

My son got a couple of new books of a series he's reading from the library and (as usual) ever since, all he wants to do is read.  I'm not complaining about that, but it does make him even less motivated to dig in to math practice than normal.  It's not that he can't do it, he's just not motivated.  Thankfully, he loves trying new things so when we got the opportunity to try a new math practice site, the gap between his motivation and successful engagement was filled!  I Know It is the newest thing from the creators of SuperTeacherWorksheets.com, a great printable website we reviewed last year.  I Know It is an interactive supplemental math practice site for elementary ages K-5 that provides skill practice across grade levels.  





How It Works

For this review we were given a family subscription that allows for 4 users, of which we used 2.  As the parent/admin user, I choose what skills/assignments each student is to work on including how many problems and they can then complete them in whatever order they choose.  This program is only a practice site and NOT a full math curriculum.  Skills are not taught, but merely practiced.  Each question does allow for a hint, but that is the extent of instruction.  Since miss Z is still learning to read, that is sometimes a hindrance for her with online programs set up for K and older.  However, each question was accompanied by an audio option that would read it to you.





When setting up each user you provide a grade level, but as the teacher I can assign practice skills across any grade.  That feature is one I really appreciate and have not seen in previous math programs we have used.  J really enjoys multiplication and division, but gets weary of multiple digit addition and subscription.  It helps to start him with things he finds easy and work up from there.  That covers 2nd grade AND 3rd grade.  

Each user's homepage features their assignments, but also has access to all of their level topics if they want to explore or practice on their own as well. There is a Progress section that allows the parent to see the students' status in multiple ways, including Recent Activity, Individual Progress, and Assignment Progress.  If, for example, a skill was completed but still not mastered, I can assign it again.


What We Thought

Overall, it was a win for us!  Both kids were able to use it and enjoy it.  During each practice session there is an animated character that reacts to successfully answered questions.  As kids are known to do, they loved this part!  One minor thing that caused frustration was that it would automatically sign us out after we stopped using it and would convert to a trial version, which lets you use it for so many questions or so much time.  This would result in me having to log back in in the middle because their session would quit working.  Not a big deal, but it took us a while to figure out what was going on.
Other than that, this is a great resource for boosting those math skills!

Interested in trying it out?  Right now they are offering a free 60 day trial to homeschoolers and teachers.

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade

Follow IKnowIt on Social Media : 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iknowitcom/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/iknowit_com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iknowit_com/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iknowitcom/pins/

Interested to see what other grade level students thought?  Read more of the Crew Reviews below:
Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, September 24, 2018

Homeschool Hesitations



This is the first installment of the Homeschool Hesitations series.  As an active homeschooler that maintains relationships with many, many non-homeschoolers, I have found that I hesitate - a lot.  I hesitate to speak when I have a different perspective.  I hesitate to try things that seem right to me, but not exactly socially celebrated.  Even though I often know what I think and desire for my family, I still find myself hesitating.  The sad truth is that it's probably because I'm afraid of what others will think or disagree with.  Considering how opinionated I am, I'm sure that sounds foolish.  And in reality it is.  Which is why I'm creating this series.


The Difference You Bring Is Everything

The reason we hesitate is often tied to a difference.  The path is different.  The outcome is different.  The people are different.  In our culture of individuality, we don't digest difference very effectively.  Many of us have been conditioned to dodge being different because it invariably will bring negative attention.  The irony is that many of our favorite people or restaurants or organizations are our favorite BECAUSE they are different than the rest.  Why did you choose your spouse or your birthday dinner or a favorite vacation spot?  Because somewhere in all of your circumstances they were special and were/provided something most others could not.  They were different! The difference that you bring - whether it be in your personality, your educational choices or your favorite hobby on a cool afternoon - is what makes you YOU!  If that isn't important than what are we even doing in this free American society???  America isn't perfect and as a country we miss the mark a LOT, but we still have freedom of expression, worship, and pursuit of happiness.  Being different in whatever way you are is important!  

Homeschooling is Special

Like two kids barely over 18 deciding to get married - some of society thinks it is unwise to pursue the path of homeschooling.  And like many married couples gone on before us - some make a beautiful life and then some don't make a very good go of it.  But that could be said of all educational paths.  When you have the convicted desire and the blessed opportunity to pursue homeschooling, there is something very special that takes place.  Your family is witness to your difference in the face of so much sameness.  As those little souls grow and develop they instinctively know that their difference is a good and exciting thing. 

I'm no expert in anything, but I've been pursuing homeschooling in some form or fashion for almost 8 years.  I've hit road blocks and contemplated quitting.  I've also found success in teaching my big kids to read, play the piano, and love learning.  I have felt inadequate, alone, judged and very much a failure too.  I have hesitated so often and that hesitation can really hurt.  My desire is to encourage other homeschooling families to hesitate wisely instead of out of fear.  Over the next few weeks we're going to talk about areas we should and should not hesitate when it comes to homeschooling our children.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Average Over Time: Never Say Never

When Mr. Butler and I got married, I knew how to cook.  I could follow a recipe. I had fried things and baked things.  I knew the difference between T and tsp and why that mattered a whole lot.  So, I knew things. My family cooked at home a lot and being the oldest I, of course, helped a lot.  Still, when I cooked for Mr. Butler and I - or especially for other people - I got nervous.  Thankfully, my husband will try anything and usually clean his plate without complaint other than the constant suggestion that it would be better with bacon.  My nervousness led to hesitance in the kitchen which resulted in mental exhaustion.  I never wanted to try anything too hard or time consuming because I was afraid of messing it up.  It wasn't a huge thing, but I endured cooking more than enjoyed cooking.

During the Race Car's pregnancy, I was a mess.  Sick, exhausted, and exhausted of being sick.  It got so bad that I couldn't eat anything but a chicken dinner from Braum's some days.  So, Mr. Butler was on cooking duty for a few months, which of course you might remember from this post that he excelled at it.  After the Race Car was born and we recovered to a new normal, I returned to the kitchen full time.  It still wasn't a joy, but I managed.  Thankfully, Mr. Butler is willing to whip up dinner when I ask, provided he has a menu and appropriate ingredients. 

Over the last year, something interesting has happened.  Deciding on a menu is still work.  Not forgetting ingredients is still challenging, but cooking a full meal for 5 gradually started morphing into this automatic thing I could do now without flinching.  The burden it was before shifted somewhere and now it's a skill.  I'm not a fantastic cook, but I was raised by two people who are.  My kids don't love everything I make, but I get a lot of "thank you for dinner, mom" that never gets old.  I'm still not in love with cooking - it certainly isn't a stress reliever to me.  But like a kid finally riding that bike and screaming, "Look mom! I'm doing it!" I have experienced a tolerance for it I never thought would happen.

As a young adult, newlywed or young parent, you often have opinions about things you know nothing about.  I would never do this and my kids will never do that.  Yeah, yeah.  I get it.  I think it's a right of passage somehow to say really arrogant and stupid things only to be 'educated' by life.  Whether it is perfectly behaved children, a marriage to be envied or questioning standards you thought immovable, we all have areas we just know will go a certain way and then they don't.  What I'm learning is that it is wise to look at the average over time.  Have patience with the struggles and never say never! We just don't know where the road will take us.

Alaska: A By The Way Review

By The Way book Serres
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This set of verses always reminds me what a blessing homeschooling can be.  As my children get older and a little busier, I can only imagine how sparse time with your kids is when they are apart from you several hours ever day.  Digging into our children's hearts isn't a one time event and doesn't always come easily.  It happens over time in a variety of settings and conversations. Organically, sometimes.   It is very encouraging when you find a company that understands that and works to facilitate a lot of opportunities for parents and teachers to reinforce these commandments.  Last year we were introduced to By the Way  and reviewed their Colorado book.  This time we were given another book in the By the Way Book Series: Alaska. 

By The Way book Alaska

"Discovering Biblical Truth in Everyday Life" is featured on every cover and sums up the book series' purpose.  What is so great about these books is that they are equally educational as they are encouraging.   This hard-backed book is full of colorful pictures and illustrations.  With Alaska having so many iconic images, the photography alone was just beautiful.  We have never visited Alaska so much of the information was new or unfamiliar and it seemed to keep our attention.  


The Alaska book is 49 pages long with almost every opening full of text so it isn't a light story book that can easily be read in one setting.  Depending on how much time we had, the kids and I would usually read 3-4 pages at a time.  This worked well because there is just so much information to digest and they ALWAYS had questions.  By design, there is a story - Lexi and Alex travel with their parents to Alaska - that introduces you to all the important wildlife, landmarks, and history.  Through this story, God and His creation is acknowledged for it's amazing beauty.  Lexi and Alex's mom  is especially good at pointing out God's goodness.  In addition to the story and factual information, the book begins with 10 small images that are scattered through the book for kids to look for.  


The factual information portions of the book are more than just interesting facts about the state.  The author does a great job of pursuing certain aspects just a little bit further, much like the natural conversations I have with my inquisitive kids.  This text touches on weather, life cycles, geography, sports, and even geocaching! This is one of the reasons we can only read a few pages at a time because the conversations that are prompted take up a lot of time too.  In one sitting we discussed tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and Russia's proximity to Alaska.  


The pictures and info on Humpback Whales was fascinating to me!


In an opening message to parents, the author promises that the books are Informative, Integrated, Intentional and Inspirational.  Through the process of reading together, presenting new and educational material, and pointing out God's design in everything, this By the Way Book Series does a beautiful job following through on their promise.  

Stay Connected and See What Books are Next: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bythewaybooks/

Other members of the Crew reviewed books on Ireland, New York City and Indiana so feel free to check out their reviews at the link below.

By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Captain Sun Adventures: A New Comic Book Review


The Captain Sun Adventures

Even though I didn't just love dolls as a little girl, I wasn't exactly into comic books and super heroes either.  I was more of a Sunday paper comics type of girl with an affection for that kid and his stuffed tiger.  However, I married a nerd who knows a lot about the comic book world and God has given me two boys to raise, so I'm getting new skills in my wheelhouse whether I like it or not!  Today we're talking about a new comic book series called The Captain Sun Adventures.  Our culture has been enthralled with super heroes for years and as parents we have to fight to get the message out on what real superheroes look like in our lives.  This comic book series is a great step in shifting the dialogue.


We received Book 1, Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith which is half graphic novel, half devotional. There is a total of 3 books in the series. When my son read it through the first time, he *apparently* only read the comic part because when I pulled it out to begin this review he flipped through it and discovered that the newspaper pages were actually devotions, not just fake news stories.  Once he realized that, suddenly he was extremely impressed with the book!  Every other opening, there is a devotional that takes some aspect of superheroes and shifts it to a Biblical worldview.  For example, a talk about bad guys turns into a discussion about sin or a team of heroes mirrors the importance of the church and our work together. At the back, there are 16 questions coordinating with specific chapters and pages that could be used for family discussion, writing prompts or just personal review.



The book is thin, but the pictures are very colorful and the pages are good quality. The illustrations are fun and very comic-book appropriate.  The author generously signed our copy too!


There are times in our (parent/child) relationships when we aren't being paid attention to.  As kids and adults alike, it's common to get caught up in things that maybe aren't real or at least not very important.  This is a really neat tool to bridge the gap.  It is important to send as many positive messages into the hearts of our kids, simply because there are so so many negative ones to counteract.  If you have a child that really gets into action figures or super heroes, but finds it hard to take our reality as Christians to heart, this would be a great thing to try!  

Be sure to check out their website for VBS resources too!

Captain Sun Social Media Links: 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/itscaptainsun 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/itscaptainsun
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/itscaptainsun/vacation-bible-school-superhero/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/itscaptainsun

Rescue Me! What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of Faith {The Captain Sun Adventures Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Picta Dicta Natural World: A Roman Roads Media Review

Roman Roads Media
This summer I started my 7 year old (and my 5 year old smarty-pants by osmosis) on a Latin and English Grammar program.    Parents are encouraged to learn along with the students so I'm trying my hand at it too.  We're taking it slow, but it's been a lot of fun!  Little did I know that this review of Picta Dicta Natural World, a Latin vocabulary program from Roman Roads Media, was  heading my way.  The combination of the two has been perfect!  
Roman Roads Media

Picta Dicta is a self-paced online program designed to assist in learning Latin vocabulary in such a way that it is easy, useful and permanent. The Crew reviewed two of the Picta Dicta programs: Picta Dicta Natural World and Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder.  Each program comes with multiple difficulty levels so that every student can be successful.  It even appears that if you pick the wrong level, through the parent account you can go in and change it.  
PictaDicta Natural World
We received three subscriptions to Picta Dicta Natural World to review that I could set at whatever level I chose.  For miss Z (age 5 and still learning to read), I chose the English Level.  This level only introduces vocabulary in English, but uses the same images as the other levels.  This will make the graduation to the next level seamless.  For J (7 and avid reader), I chose Reader I that combines English and Latin vocabulary, ensuring proper usage and context.  The third subscription I set on Express and used it for myself.  This was similar to Reader I, but moved quicker and included a lot more reading in the form of history and informational stories.

As you can see in the picture above, they divide the lessons into categories (like Nuts and Berries or Land Forms and Terrain) and then teaches them in multiple different ways.  There are review sections regularly and they seem to build on what has already been taught.  This provides a lot of opportunities for solidifying memorization.  Once accounts are all set up, students are able to work independently with little to no help from parents/teachers.

What We Thought:

Since both of my kids did a different level, they often watched each other work through the program.  This really benefited miss Z, as she was only doing the English level.  This way she started picking up on the Latin too.  I started my subscription after the kids had already been working through theirs for a while so J would often come and watch over my shoulder.  The Express level was aptly named because it moved very fast and would show my weaknesses sometimes.  J would step in and start helping me.  Before you know it, it was a group effort.  For learning Latin, this is a huge tool.  It was simple to use and everyone enjoyed it while being sufficiently challenged.  

Whether you are looking for a stand-alone curriculum or simply a supplement to your already active Latin program, Picta Dicta is a great choice!

Roman Roads Media on Social Media: 



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanRoadsMedia   @romanroadsmedia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanroadsmedia/  @romanroadsmedia
YouTude: https://www.youtube.com/user/romanroadsmedia  @romanroadsmedia
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/romanroadsmedia  @romanroadsmedia

If you are interested in some of the other programs like Fitting Words or Vocabulary Builder, check out the rest of the Crew's reviews!

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kingdom Files: A Barbour Publishing Review

Barbour Publishing
Over the years, I have began many Bible reading plans that start in Genesis in January and then somewhere along the way - usually in Leviticus or Chronicles - slow down to a halt.  The noble effort leaves many of the minor prophets less read than the beginning.  Children's Bible curriculum can also only hit the highlights and miss some of the significant details in the name of giving a good overview of the Bible.

The Kingdom Files

My latest review is part of the Kingdom Files series from Barbour Publishing.  The entire set includes:

Who Is Jesus?
Who Was Daniel?
Who Was David?
Who Was Esther?
Who Was Jonah?
Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus?


These Bible-based biography books by Matt Koceich dig into the entire life of individual characters, giving a broad perspective and key details to their life and place in the kingdom.  For this review we received Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? The series is intended for ages 8-12, so my 7 year old book worm did just fine.  After he read Who Was Mary, I asked him what he thought.  His response was, "It was good.  You should read it.  I think you'll learn some things!"  It made me laugh, but he was on to something.  The manner in which it is laid out provides a very comprehensive way of learning, something we don't always receive through a lesson or typical Bible reading.  Too often we remember a big event clearly - like Mary giving birth to Jesus or Jonah getting stuck in the big fish - but so much more happened that we should consider.

Kingdome Files Who Was Mary Mother of Jesus



The books begin with a FACT FILE section that lays out key statistics and includes a miniature timeline of events specific to that character.  The middle section is called the ACTION FILE which consists of several chapters discussing the action or events of their life.  This section includes small Clues corners that are sprinkled throughout that helps the reader understand the importance or meaning of certain events.  The last section POWER FILE is filled with "Power-Ups" that are short devotions designed to study further some of the lessons taught through the characters life.  Each one includes a memory verse so that scripture is then connected to the reader's every day life. 


Kingdome Files Who Was Jonah

With my oldest child being 7, I have had a few years to experience a lot of children's Biblical resources.  There is a ton of basic children's Bibles and of course plenty of high school to adult level resources, but the stuff in between isn't always the most helpful.  As my children grow, I absolutely want my kids to learn to study the Bible not just remember some of the big stories.  Bridging the gap between the two is important and often challenging.  These books do a really good job of re-telling the life events and providing information like you would receive in a lesson at church and then applying lessons to our lives.  In Who Was Jonah, I really appreciated the large amount of context they provide for Jonah and the people he didn't want to preach to. Both books do so much more than just teach a Bible story.  For young readers, it's a good combination of scripture and devotion that can truly help them study the Bible more closely as a result.  I am excited to collect all of them and have them be a regular part of my children's curriculum as they advance in their reading.


Barbour Publishing on Social Media:

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Reading Eggs: A Workbook Review

Online Reading Eggs Suite

If you are a regular reader, you might remember our review of Reading Eggs last year.  Both kids loved the online reading and math program and still beg to use it.  It really is a great program, but - like many online programs - it doesn't take the place of pencil and paper.  That physical connection activates the brain in important ways that an online program can't do 100%.  This time the Reading Eggs program has a new workbook option that corresponds with the online lessons which provides for that in-hand element.  Just as Reading Eggs includes Math Seeds, there are both reading (K-5) and math (K-2) workbooks to choose from.  Miss Z is working through Kindergarten right now so our choice was 200 Essential Reading Skills for Kindergarten.  

Online Reading Eggs Suite
Online Reading Eggs Suite

The major attractive quality of Reading Eggs and Math Seeds is that it delivers a fun program that teaches your kids well.  Parents and kids BOTH are pleased.  So, when considering the workbooks, we have to ask if they will do the same?  Are they fun AND teaching students well?  Let's take a look! 


The online program does a great job of providing a variety of activities for the students to do that all point towards a greater understanding reading and math.   The workbook follows that example with pages of slightly different activities,  but an overarching path to, in this case, reading.  A lot of programs stick with two or three kinds of exercises, which can get boring to those busy minds sometimes.  The online program and reading workbooks easily utilize over ten different kinds.  The book itself is bright and colorful, just like the online program with appropriately sized words and pictures.  Miss Z can read some words already, but not everything.  The directions are short and simple, while the activities are easily understood without reading very much.

My educational approach in our home school tends to shy away from complete online curriculum because I feel strongly that my kids need to be grounded in offline activities.  Screens and online media have such a strong pull already, without online school creating more problems.  That being said, Reading Eggs and Math Seeds - especially with these new workbooks - are a great program that could be used as a complete curriculum if you chose to.  With your subscription, you have access to a section called Bonus Material which includes printable worksheets and an entire grade level lesson plan, like below:



Have you thought about trying Reading Eggs, but still find yourself feeling unsure it would be a good fit for you?  Right now, my readers are being given 4 weeks FREE of Reading Eggs which is plenty of time to decide if it meets your needs.  I'm also giving a 10% off coupon toward any of their new workbooks with the code WK10SGF5U04 It's a great time to take a test drive!
Follow Reading Eggs on Social Media: 


Interested in a different grade level?  Check out the other Crew member reviews on the different grades!
Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Kids and Boundaries

Before I started school as a kid, I was a challenge to my parents.  Strong-willed is the term, I think.  I'm told that once I started school, everything calmed down for the most part.  30 years later, it is a common sentiment I've heard from other parents.  Kids, especially those strong-willed ones, do really well with clear boundaries and structure.  That's not some new revelation, but it has been a lesson that I have relearned over the past year.

The homeschooling lifestyle can be very structured of course, but it doesn't have to be.  The advantages can also be the difficulties.  We don't have to scramble out the door in the morning or wake babies up from their naps to go wait in the pick-up line.  When other things happen in our life and we don't complete something, we simply keep going or pick it up later.  If someone struggles in a subject, we take as long as we need to work it out.  The flexibility is amazing! But that also means there is a lot of flexibility which won't look like the well-laid out public classroom that awaits the arrival of children.  My kids, for better and worse, have seen the woman behind the curtain and know the truth.  Sometimes things are nicely organized and sometimes we do that together.

So, when we talk about kids needing boundaries and structure, it probably looks a little different in our household insomuch as there is a lot of bleeding over between the various aspects of our lives.  J isn't a classic strong-willed child so I have often reserved the iron-fist for miss Z.  However, the past year he and I have struggled with being more structured and efficient.  I tried to be and he fought me a lot.  "It's too hard." "I can't do it."  "Why do I have to?"  Hearing this day in and day out makes you start to doubt yourself.  Am I being too hard on him?  Maybe it really is hard and I'm just making it worse?  And then there are lots of days when I just don't want to fight about it all.  That motivates more things than I'm proud to admit.

Over the summer, I tried to better organize and de-clutter various areas of our home and life.  With that came a refreshed attitude and higher expectations for our school days.  J had demonstrated more than once that most things were not too hard.  The truth was that he didn't want to slow down and do them.  So, typical yes, but nothing to feel sorry for him about.  We've been on a better schedule the last few weeks and things are going a lot better.  I've stopped reacting to his dramatics and they have decreased.  He may complain or at least share his honest opinion of it, but he still proceeds to accomplish things in record time.

Most issues with kids involves two major factors: the kids issues and the parents issues.  When you are in the heat of it, it is so difficult to know the difference.  Sometimes children have real behavior or educational difficulties.  Sometimes parents just tolerate more than they should.  The wisdom is knowing the difference before it's too late.  My prayer this year is to recognize my weaknesses better so that they might not be confused with the needs of my children.