From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


11/18/2010 9:36:16 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
November 2010--Raising Kids Who Help at Home

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Part One: Laying a Foundation

Dear Friends,

Parents often confess to me that they could concentrate more on
homeschooling if the house were in better order, but they just aren't
sure where to begin. We know the children could help, but it's just so
much easier to do things ourselves than to teach someone else how,
isn't it? In the next few newsletters, we'll look at training our
children in diligence and thoroughness, also known in the Bentley
household as Home Management 101.

Some of you are thinking, "But my kids are little. If I assign chores,
I'll just be the one who ends up doing them all." Hmmm--valid point.
But if you don't implement some sort of home management training, the
children aren't being mentored in responsibility and skills, and
you'll still end up as the one who does all the work. With character
and chore training, there is hope that you will eventually reap the
reward of delegating some of the tasks.

First Things First

Child training is the first step to successful home management
training. The purposes of implementing a family chore system are (1)
to train your children to be responsible members of a family and to
diligently serve one another, and (2) to disciple or apprentice them
in living skills. Serving and honoring one another--and God--is at the
heart of the success of any home management training "system."

Envision your children at 12--or 18--years of age. What living skills
would you like them to have acquired? What sort of attitude should
they demonstrate toward work? Authority? Serving one another? How will
they get to that point?

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over
you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will
be a joy, not a burden...." Hebrews 13:17 (NIV). This is a great
verse to put on the refrigerator door!

As God's children, we must model in our relationship to Him the same
behaviors we would like our children to display toward us. As parents,
we should:

> Submit to authority without rebellion. (How do I respond to God's
leading or my husband's requests, especially in the presence of my

> Apologize and ask forgiveness, if needed.

> Do everything without complaining. (Do I work willingly and

> Work on skills and character (theirs and ours).

> Work ourselves out of a job!

Four Basic Principles

If your children don't obey you or honor your family rules, you'll
have a problem when they encounter tasks (or lessons) they don't care
to do. While this is obviously not a complete guide to child training,
there are some basic principles--a foundation upon which the methods
or ideas in any home management training (a.k.a. chore system) must be
built. These include:

> Have realistic and age-appropriate expectations.

> Establish rules or standards.

> Have a working knowledge of family discipline.

> Tie strings to their hearts.

Have Age-Appropriate Expectations

> From ages six months to about 5 years, children are learning
cheerful first-time obedience and basic routines. They need life to be
very concrete and hands-on. They often can and want to help you, but
they need lots of modeling and supervision, so don't expect the
results to be the same as if you did it all yourself! Be appreciative
of their efforts.

> From ages 5 to 12, they are being better trained in consistency,
respectfulness, deference to others, diligence, thoroughness, and
cheerful obedience.

> From 12 to 18, they earn the privilege of independence and
responsibility by showing their faithfulness to accomplish a task and
to be accountable for their actions.

Have Realistic Expectations

When a police officer rises each morning, he rubs his eyes from the
dream of a world in which everyone drives the speed limit and stops at
all the traffic lights, nobody takes anything that isn't his, all the
neighbors get along, and banks don't need guards. Then he smells the
coffee, and reality sets in: Someone, somewhere today is going to test
the limits (literally!); it just comes with the job.

Imagine this scenario: As you pull out of your driveway and start
toward the gas station, you momentarily lose track of the speedometer,
and you suddenly are jolted into awareness when you catch the flashing
blue lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over to the side, and
the officer approaches your window. As you roll it down, meekly
smiling, he starts in--and it's sure not a whisper--"How many signs do
we have to put up before you realize that 40 MPH means 40 MPH, not 50,
not 45? For crying out loud--do you think I have nothing better to do
than look at your driver's license? It doesn't look like your car has
been washed in months! And how many french fries are on the floor back
there, anyway?"

No, it is more likely that he will quietly ask you if you know why he
stopped you (and you'll hope you give the "right" answer!). He will
point out what rule you have broken, and may ask if you understood
what you did that violated the law. He will then probably mete out the
consequences (which are pre-designated, so he doesn't have to
arbitrarily make them up), any protests or excuses or explanations
notwithstanding. All calmly. It just comes with the territory. He
hopes you'll learn from it. Then he gets back in his cruiser and pulls

Back to real life: Maybe you awakened this morning, still drowsy from
the dream of a day when everybody gets himself up, makes his bed,
tidies his room, speaks gently to the siblings, offers to take the
smallest cookie, bundles the trash, folds the laundry, finishes his
schoolwork by noon--all with no reminders. Then you smelled the burnt
toast--and reality set in.

Someone will very likely test the rules today. It is just part of the
territory when you're a parent. You can prepare yourself in the family
service arena by having age-appropriate expectations and
pre-determined consequences (and a sense of humor!).

Start Where You Are

Start where you are and simply do the best you can, remembering that
those "interruptions" may very well be God's actual plan for your day!
You may not make quite as much progress as you'd hoped on the house,
but you are making an eternal impact on a little heart.

Next month: Basic principles 2-4

Gotta go mop some floors,


Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto
men." Colossians 3:23

More on child training and chores:

Don't Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman

Doorposts--Bible-based parenting and character resources, including
For Instruction in Righteousness, The Blessings Chart, The If-Then

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by Jim
Fay and Foster Cline

Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Child-Rearing by Doug

"How to Make the Most of Each Stage in a Child's Development" by Inge

What to Expect from a Twelve-Year-Old by S.M. Davis (audio)

Christian child-rearing information

"Using the Word of God to Lay the Foundation for Family Relations and
Child Training" by Katherine Johnson

Our 24 Family Ways by Clay and Sally Clarkson

"Children and Chores" by Marc and Cindy Carrier

The Everyday Family Chore System by Vicki Bentley (includes a life
skills guide by ages)

"How To Establish Child Training, Discipline, and Family
Responsibilities" (Teaching Home e-newsletter No. 45) Includes: "10
Elements of Child Training" and "Seven Ways To Teach Responsibility
through Chores"

401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home by Bonnie McCullough

Parts of this newsletter are adapted from The Everyday Family Chore
-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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