From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


11/17/2011 11:22:50 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Twelve Tips for Happy and Productive Parenting

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
November 2011--Twelve Tips for Happy and Productive Parenting

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Dear Friend,

In this season of Thanksgiving, we count our
blessings--especially our children, these little treasures on loan
from the Lord. In the days of the Pilgrims and the Puritans, the
family elders served up sage parenting advice as readily as we serve
up the turkey and dressing. If you sometimes wish you had a Titus 2
grandma to share her nuggets of parenting wisdom, you're in for a
treat this month!

Mary Rice ("Ricie") Somerville, homeschooler/mother of former HSLDA
Staff Attorney Scott Somerville and grandma of many, offers a buffet
of parenting gems; this month's newsletter is adapted from her
Facebook Notes for parents:


Ricie's Twelve Tips for Happy and Productive Parenting:

1. Effective training. While it is sometimes easier to do things for
our children than to teach them how to do them, we do our children a
loving favor by teaching them to be responsible and self-disciplined,
and helping them to be part of the team. Treat a child as if he were
well worth the most careful supervision. Avoid the humiliation of
getting into an argument with a child. Implement consistent,
appropriate consequences or correction. Head off an impasse. Present a
solid front with your mate, agreeing in advance that you will not
tolerate sass, picky eating, laziness, disobedience, whining, etc. Be
reasonable and listen to honest complaints, giving the children a
chance to be heard in "court." Use your tongue for teaching and

2. Lots of laughter. Try for a "light" disposition and happy manner.
Puns, jokes, silly questions, songs, contests, games, and funny stories--all make
for laughter-filled memories.

3. Balance. For preschoolers,
include some time with the group, some time alone, some time inside
and some outside, some time of work and some of play. With older
children, add the time they need with peers (you make that
determination based on their maturity and social disposition).

4. New interests at home. Delight together in bulbs coming up,
knitting lessons, photography, kittens, "camping trips" on the living
room rug, new recipes, parties, painting something, or whatever might
interest your family.

5. Good relationships. Use lists instead of nagging. Respect privacy
and belongings. Avoid critical remarks in public. Be generous. Don't
read personal mail or eavesdrop. Be polite to their friends. Keep
relationships in perspective--it's easy to let our relationships with
our spouses or children overshadow our relationship with the Lord, but
we are first children of God, then spouses, then parents. During those
seasons in which our children may need more of our attention, let's
still nurture those other relationships, as well.

6. Diligence. Embrace the weary task of "pick it up, put it back, wash
your hands, please. . . " ad infinitum. Try to stay cheerful and hopeful. There seems to be
no better way to "train up a child in the way he should go." Consider
yourself a Child-raiser. Clarify your goals. Let home decor go for a
while, if needed. If magazines and other media breed discontent or
distract you from your mission of child-raising, limit your time or
save them for another season; find people and resources that reinforce
your aims. If you have a computer, be sure to keep a timer nearby and
use it!

7. Order. There is so much
more peace in a home if you can find things and if the clean socks are
ready, floors are clean, rooms are somewhat tidy. The old nursery
rhyme helped me have a framework to hang all the interruptions: "This
is the way we wash our clothes, so early Monday morning." Allot one
task to each day of the week, with a real try for rest on Sunday. Sort
all clothes during spring break and Thanksgiving break. Or whatever
plan works for you!

8. Sanctuary. Home is where children should feel the safety of no
put-downs or name calling, no premature teasing or pressure about
romance, no unfavorable comparisons with siblings or peers, no "final
judgments," no peeking at bodies , no heavy religious "trips," no
heavy pressure about grades or sports success. Give your chickens a
place to peck in peace!

9. Help. Find help where you can: A good church family, a little old
lady who will pray for you, a neighborhood play-group, a friend who
will hire your teen while you hire hers, a good Scout troop, a live-in
single person who will exchange helps for benefits, grandparents. Take
advantage of a big yard, or a nearby park or library. Swap out with
your mate for time alone to pray and think.

10. Manners. Teach young children a signal (hand up, tap on shoulder)
when they need to interrupt your talk to another. Teach them to play
quietly around your feet when you need to use the telephone, or think,
or pray, or rest. Insist that they ask you before inviting friends,
opening a new box, turning on appliances. Show them that you are
already mentally occupied when reading or writing. Teach them that
cultures differ. Try to be the example that they will follow in every
sort of social grace.

11. Education. First, do your best to exemplify correct English usage
and intellectual curiosity. Then, provide the best schooling you can,
but don't rush too soon and burn them out.

12. Cooperation. Work together--for togetherness and productivity, not
isolated punishments. The dishpan provides a great outlet for young
heartaches, with Mom beside and no one else listening. "See how it
shines!" can be a thrill. Set the standard for your children in
thorough work, and enjoyment
of a job well done.

Years ago, my in-laws had lost two fine sons in their twenties. I was
struggling with our three little boys.

"Dad, why do people want to have children?"

"For toys, for work, for pride."

"But not you, Dad."

"No, daughter. To give them back, whenever they are called, early or
late. Scrubbed and taught."


May Mrs. Somerville's words encourage you and bring you joy in the
"scrubbing and teaching" of these precious gifts we call "our

Next month: Homeschooling on a Shoestring: Spotlight on Language Arts

Gratefully yours,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens consultant

About the guest author:

Mary Rice ("Ricie") Somerville didn't realize homeschooling was legal
until after five of her six sons were already grown, but she jumped at
the chance to teach her youngest son at home for seven years. She
raised her boys "for Heaven, not Harvard," but got both--all six sons
love the Lord and have served as pastors or lay pastors, despite (as
her son Scott says!) six scholarships to prestigious prep schools,
three Ivy League degrees, and one Ph.D.--with another on the way.
About her sons:

> Ed trains Latin American workers for overseas service in Ticuman,

> Scott was staff attorney at the Home School Legal Defense
Association for 14 years and now helps produce the Tapestry of Grace
homeschool curriculum.

> Jim is senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Richmond,

> Greg is currently a pastor in Gaithersburg, Maryland, but his family
will soon be homeschooling in Africa.

> After years as lay pastor in a Presbyterian church, Gray co-founded
and now helps run Telogical Systems in McLean, Virginia.

> After years of music ministry and service as an assistant pastor,
Bill is pursuing a doctorate in psychology at The New School in New
York City.

> Read more notes from Mary Rice ("Ricie") Somerville at Facebook"


"Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not." Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

More parenting helps:

HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens "Organization" section (articles, links,

HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens "Encouragement" section

Resources for single parents or parents homeschooling through illness

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

"Deliberate Devotions" by Vicki Bentley

"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"

"Modifying Strategies for Each Child" by Amy, guest blogger at Tommy
Nelson Mommy blog

"Seven Ways to Teach Family Responsibility through Chores" (Teaching

"These Things Should Be Done Before School" chart

"Start Service Learning" ("Home School Heartbeat" with Billie Jo

Service Opportunities Chart from Doorposts

Holy-Spirit-Led Homeschooling (blog)

Habits for a Happy Home (blog)

Heart of the Matter Online (blog)

Resources by John Rosemond:

> Love and Leadership, from Tots to Teens

> Parenting by The Book

> The Well-Behaved Child

> Parenting According to Grandma

Parenting is Heart Work by Turansky and Miller

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

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

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
-> Can you call your attorney at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning?

Our members can get in touch with their attorney even after
business hours, when they have a legal emergency. Wouldn't you
like this level of service?

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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