Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Communication and Character

Yesterday Dennis came home showing me his loose tooth.  Actually, he has three loose teeth, but he only let me pull one after begging me.   He wants the tooth fairy to come for three nights-- not just one.  I tried to explain to him how the tooth fairy would probably bring one big gift for all three teeth at the same time but he wouldn't buy it.  I hope she remembers.  She did.  Dennis had so much fun showing off his tooth fairy present at school that he asked me to pull another one tonight.  I did.  But for whatever reason he said it hurt more tonight.  I think it's because he anticipated the momentary pain.  Now he says he wants to wait a while before he has another tooth pulled.

Nolan is so much closer to me now.  Since his surgery I have noticed a big difference.  He follows me around, comes and sits on my lap, and even fell asleep in my bed.  This is huge progress and I am enjoying every minute of it.  And I mean that with all sincerity.  It is so precious.

And he is trying to talk more.  In fact, he came up to me this evening trying to tell me something very important.  He was pointing and using the cutest facial expressions as he tried to form words.  I gathered that it was one of his brothers bugging him.  Sure enough, it was.  When I figured out what he was trying to tell me, Nolan seemed very pleased with himself that he communicated something successfully. 

Oliver is growing up so fast.  He is crawling so much and getting into stuff that I have to remember to put it up and out of his reach.  When upstairs he always beelines for the the boys' bathroom.  He wants to take a bath.  He is truly outgrowing his reflux, and he is eating foods like pasta, bits of pizza, and scrambled eggs.  He can clap his hands.  He dances to music.  And he is trying to pull himself up in his crib.  Needless to say, we are all enjoying watching Oliver grow.

A few of the girls took a test to see what their primary and secondary love languages are.  I explained that there are five love languages-- encouraging words, acts of service, quality time, gift-giving, and physical touch.  It was very interesting to see how the girls scored.  I was actually surprised with a few of the results.  But now I know. :)

Last week was a rough week for one of my boys.  He was lying about the silliest things and found just about every switch to turn off that you can imagine.  The outside power switch to the air conditioner-- check.  The cold setting for the garage refrigerator-- check.   It didn't help that he threw a book at his younger brothers head to wake him up.  What a way to start the morning!  Thankfully the last two days have been much better.

Homeschooling is going pretty well-- except for the cheating going on.  I did a big discussion on ethics just the other day, I set things up like tests and assignments with friendly reminders so they could make good choices and yet it still happens.  When I catch the same ones doing it over and over, I am saddened that this seems to have become habit to them.  They immediately become defensive rather than admit any wrongdoing. They act like it is more my problem that I noticed it.  It's hard not to when two kids miss all the same problems after me telling them to sit further away from each other.   Is this really the character they want to be known as?  Big sigh.  Is it somehow my fault?  That crazy thought actually runs through my mind as I address this with them.  At this point, I am now telling them how this will eventually catch up with them.  In a year or two they will be submitting tests for actual grades to actual teachers.  If they do not know the material, their grades will suffer.  And this goes for college too.  They just don't take this behavior seriously.  They think it hurts no one.  I remain hopeful that they will realize that cheating only hurts themselves.  Meanwhile, it is very hard to trust them.  Period.  Relationships with people in general suffer because there is always that lack of trust. I desire more for my daughters.

Here are some fun facts from this week.

* Nolan enjoys flushing the potty for me.  Since he is already in the bathroom with me I figure-- why not!

* Squished banana between the toes does not feel good.  In fact-- it feels very wrong.

* Simplait vanilla yogurt is nothing but creamy deliciousness.  I'm tempted to hide it from the kids.

* There is such a thing as eating too many jalapenos.

* Exporting Raymond is an enjoyable movie! 

* It is not very hard to convince a certain six year old that you did indeed eat his nose, and his foot, and his    ear.


  1. I always enjoy reading your blog, Christine. I fact, I catch myself waiting up for you to post! I am always disappointed when I have to go to bed without a smiles and trials post to ponder. I've been thinking about something you wrote days ago, about clean slating the kids. I talked to my own boys about it, specifically how God clean slates us when he removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. My six year old has been talking ever since about how God doesn't remember our sins. That is a good reminder to me to make sure my boys know that forgiven IS forgetting.

  2. Can you switch the schedule so the girls aren't working on the same thing at the same time or put one a couple lessons ahead of the other? It might mean more work for you but less chance for cheating with them. Or perhaps they have to take turns sitting in a different area of the house alone until they can be trusted. Have a big appliance box that can become an "office" for one of them? It is frustrating when they make the same wrong choices over and over. I don't home school but I have a couple who are choosing other wrong choices consistently even though it means loss of privileges and even though they know it's wrong.

  3. For the cheating is there a way to give different work/test so they do not have the exact same questions? Sometimes courses will have alternative test available.

  4. I teach Apologia chem and physics curriculum at a co-op, and cheating is sometimes an issue- even with really good kids (ok, so I love them all, and they are all really good kids...)

    Since I want them to be able to check their own homework after they make their best attempt at it, but the tests and solutions are in the same Solutions Manual, I just have the moms rip the book right in half. I tell them to lock up the test half because the kids are never allowed to look at that. I make them correct tests until they get it all right (open text book is ok, even, but not answer key...)

    I am thinking I need a locked file cabinet drawer as my kids get older, too...

  5. This won't be PC, but it has worked for us in areas like laziness, so it could work for cheating. We explain to the offenders that there are 2 types of jobs in this world--jobs that require education and book skills, and jobs that require physical labor. Since our job as parents is to prepare them to work in the real world, if they choose to not work hard and correctly on their school work, they need more skills in the area of physical labor so that they have job skills later on. Sometimes this is extra chores, but sometimes it is more meaningless, like digging a hole and filing it in, or moving rocks. When grades don't matter to them (common for homeschoolers), we have to be more creative :o)

  6. Love your fun facts!! Too funny.

  7. Hi Christine,

    I've never commented before, but since you brought up the subject of cheating, I just wanted to add my two cents... I have moved to US from Russia at the age of 15. I have always been a good student, definitely not a troublemaker, and while in Russia I attended a very selective school, the type of school that you had to pass many tests in order to get into. Before that school I have also attended a regular public school. So from the insider's perspective, I just wanted to share that among Russian schoolchildren there is definitely a culture of cheating on homeworks/tests. It is not viewed in a negative light by children AT ALL. It is not considered shameful, or wrong. In fact, it might be viewed as something of a challenge to the teachers, challenge to the authority. It's the "us against them" culture, where the students work together and hopefully don't get caught. It might have something to do with the political/cultural background that was unique to Soviet Union (regular people against the authority figures). After having moved to the States as a 15 year old, I was shocked and appalled to learn that the school administrators here encouraged and urged students to tell on each other and to point out the cheaters. Exposing a fellow student's cheating to a teacher in Russia would have been considered dishonorable, truly low, and frankly shocking. Even the teachers didn't expect it. So what I am trying to say here is your girls blase attitude about cheating might have something to do with their cultural background, and is in no way the fault of yours as an educator/mother. So while you of course want to teach them not to do it, you should perhaps not view it as a character flaw, but instead as a habit that they learned in the past and just need to unlearn now. It will not necessarily be easy.


  8. I just watched "Exporting Raymond" too and enjoyed it. And I'm also a fan of the Simplait vanilla yogurt. That's so cute you have your own personal toilet flusher.

  9. Nolan just sounds so precious. I can just picture that little grin waiting to flush. :)

    We haven't had the cheating issue. Everybody is on a different lesson.

    We too use Apologia science and it is the honor system to not look in the back of the book. If they have, test will tell. :)

    Our geography has some answers too, so we cut those out.

    I think Alena may be correct, if your girls were in school in Russia or Ukraine before they came home.

    Cheating in America, seems to be more and more norm and that is really sad.

    You are doing great with your kids. Home education is HARD WORK!

  10. Your family is so amazing, what a great mother. You could try having the two kids read the material seperatly. It worked when i was being home schooled.

  11. It is amazing the bonding that can take place after surgery. It seems that the kids are able to see that others may come and go, and their sibs love them, but their parents are the ones who rise to meet their needs when the going gets tough. So glad that it worked that way with you and Nolan, too. For our son, each trip to the hospital cemented our relationship.

    I have recently busted one of my children cheating in our homeschool. It was so discouraging to me, and I haven't quite gotten over it yet. Instilling good character takes T-I-M-E: far longer than just enforcing a no cheating environment (which is where it had to start for us). We've had some good conversations about the root of cheating, his motivations, and his goals. I know it is an opportunity, but it feels like a huge failure to me.

    Sending hugs your way!


  12. Just an idea, but hassle chores might work with the cheating.

    Hassle chores: If you hassle me about anything, or hassle your siblings, or, in your case, create issues with cheating, you have to choose a hassle chore out of the jar.

    These are the worst jobs that no one likes and are big jobs. Cleaning all of the baseboards, cleaning grout, washing and bleaching all of the trashcans, cleaning the garage, etc... There can also be assignments in there. Write a 5 page, typed, double spaced, paper on... lying, the importance of a good name, etc...

    If they hassle you about choosing a chore, they have to choose another. If they continue to do the same offense over and over, such as the cheating, they have to choose 5, or... they have to do all of the chores for all of their siblings. The idea is, it becomes such a hassle for them, they quit hassling you.


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.