Public Speaking and Homeschooling

Do your kids love public speaking?

Can you picture your kids being up on stage talking and presenting?

Do you picture your kids being good leaders one day?

How many hours a week, or a month or a year, have you spent in building public speaking skills with your children?

Running a clinic with multiple doctors and staff requires my wife and me to review countless resumes and interview many people. Many people flunk their interview within seconds simply because they were either not able to hold eye contact, were overcome by anxiety, or were not able to think critically under pressure when answering questions.

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking, and it is one of the most common phobias in the world. Whether people realize it or not, their career and life decisions are often decided by their public speaking skills. Some people may choose to pursue a career where they will interact with many people daily. Some may choose to do the opposite, where they will work in private, or have less interaction with people. If your kids learn to speak in public today, they can prepare themselves to speak properly in public, and to manage the fears of presenting in front of others for the future. To put it simply, your children’s future careers may depend on these skills.

We all want our kids to do well when they grow up. We want them to be confident enough to be on stage, especially when God opens doors for opportunities to influence others. We want them to be leaders. Our family intentionally decided to invest in public speaking skills and stage presence skills when homeschooling them on a daily basis. I’d like to share some ideas you may find useful in your homeschooling journey.

MEMORIZATION

There are three benefits of memorization. The first is emotional health benefits. Remember that the brain is a muscle that must be exercised. There is a part of the brain called the hippocampus which is in charge of making and keeping memories, and partly responsible for managing emotions. People with Alzheimer’s disease have their hippocampus fail first and severely before other parts of the cortex fail. People with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizoprenia have a hippocampus that shrinks gradually.  The hippocampus also is now known to control the hormone estrogen, which controls emotions and mood changes.

By training yourself and your kids to memorize things, it may prevent you and your children from depression, anxiety, mood changes, Alzheimer’s, and other mental illnesses!  

The second benefit of memorization is, as your children spend time memorizing passages, tables, and poems, they learn to focus. Studies have found that students who were required to memorize from an early age often go on to have more capacity to focus on educational tasks as high school and college students. Researchers from the National Institute on Health and Aging have found that adults who went through short bursts of memory training were better able to maintain higher cognitive functioning and everyday skills, even five years after going through the training. Practicing memorization allowed the elderly adults to delay typical cognitive decline by seven to 14 years!

The third benefit is increased confidence.  When a child learns to do something difficult, they earn a great sense of accomplishment. This is especially true where plays or presentations are concerned; children often receive praise or even applause after they recite a poem or act in a play, which increases their self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.

Start with a simple task such as memorizing short Bible verses. This is something you can even do with a two-year old. Ask them to do it while standing up before meals and during morning and evening worship times. Ask them to keep their eyes focused on you and to speak clearly with a smile on their face. I make it more personal and understandable by modifying some of the Bible verses so they can understand the meaning of them. Here are 12 simple verses that you can use for each month of the year or the first six months of the year (two verses a month, depending on your child’s ability to memorize):

    1. Numbers 6:24 The Lord bless you and keep you.
    2. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
    3. Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world.
    4. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey Mommy and Daddy in the Lord.
    5. Matthew 28:20 Jesus said He is with me always.
    6. John 10:11 Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd.
    7. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
    8. Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
    9. Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
    10. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
    11. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in Jesus.
    12. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Some kids who are kinetic learners will find it easier and enjoyable to memorize Bible verses while doing an activity such as running in circles, hula hooping, dancing to a song, doing signs or hand gestures, etc. Make sure to repeat these verses daily during dinner time or worship time.

Older kids can start memorizing a whole chapter of a Bible or a long passage. Have them present to you during morning or evening worship, or in the middle of homeschooling session in between subjects. Even better, parents should also memorize these passages and maybe even do a competition with the older kids!

This will not only help them understand important spiritual lessons, but also help their brain cells to handle large amount of information which improves their cognitive functions. Here are a few ideas of important Bible chapters or passages that older kids and adults should memorize:

    1. Numbers 6:24-26
    2. The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:1-17
    3. The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12
    4. The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15
    5. Psalm 23 & 46
    6. 1 Corinthians 13
    7. Romans 8 & 12

REGULAR GIGS, AWARDS, AND REWARDS

As mentioned previously, when children receive applause and praises, their sense of self-worth and confidence are also increased. Even better, treat them with rewards or awards every so often.  

  • Have them present what they just learned from science or history lessons in the morning to the rest of the family during evening meal.  Ask them open-ended questions: “What did you learn about amphibians this morning? What did you learn about the Egyptians today?”  
  • Morning and/or evening worship times are perfect for them to present a Bible verse or chapter.  
  • Have the kids present what they memorize in front of church as part of the worship program or Adventist Youth program.  
  • Challenge other kids in their Sabbath School class to memorize verses and passages as well, and have them present during church service.  
  • Have your kids present their school project or what they learned this past week to their grandparents or family friends when they visit.  
  • Make a calendar with goals of which passages to memorize for the month and for the rest of the year.

USING VISUAL AIDS AND PROPS

Just like with a science presentation, help your kids with their speaking presentation using visual aids and props. I have been invited to be a judge at the local schools’ science fairs, and it’s always interesting to watch how some kids with average project can shine because of their public speaking skills, while some kids with average or amazing projects end up not winning because of their presentation skills. Younger kids can start with simple objects, while older kids may use slideshow software or props.  

Have your children be involved in a play at church or school where they get to do speech as a character. Preparing for a role, and preparing visual aids and props — both of these activities teach them to be prepared for their presentation in advance, which will help lessen their anxiety.

JOINING A PUBLIC SPEAKING CLUB

Toastmasters International or other local groups are often found in local libraries or churches. Look up Toastmasters International to find a local chapter. You’ll be surprised how much you and your older children can benefit from attending this weekly meeting of various people from all walks of life who simply want to improve their public speaking skills.  They will give you constructive criticisms, and they will help you to be a better speaker.

Our children at the time of this writing, are eight and four. They do fairly well being up on the podium or on stage with other kids at church or at a dance recital.  However, they still have some stage fright when they are up there by themselves. They are getting better at it, though. The oldest one actually recently asked when she could do special music all by herself. And, both of them enjoy doing mini presentations during evening dinner from what they learned in the morning.

I hope this article is helpful to you and your little ones. We have the responsibility to train our children to be pillars of the church and to be leaders wherever they go in life. Leaders are not necessarily bosses. Leaders are influencers. Everybody is a leader when you can influence others around you.  With the Great Commission as our task, we must equip our children with public speaking skills to reach others and to spread His love.

Maranatha!

Arthur P.

Wanderlust and the Great Commission

 

Kids resting after hiking the Upper Javalina Trail, Marana, AZ

Have you and the family caught the travel bug? My wife and I love to travel, and our kids are happily infected as well. To date, we have visited 46 states, and more than a dozen countries. Our two children, ages eight and four, have been to more than two dozens states.  

Many parents argued that they would rather wait until their children much older before they travel, “because they won’t remember it anyway.” I disagree. That’s like saying “don’t cuddle or don’t spend time with your kids anyway because they won’t remember.” One of our favorite Friday evening activities is to watch slideshows of “old” pictures and videos. We are often surprised by the details that our kids remember from many of our trips. They will mention things we don’t even remember. If traveling is something you dislike or are not accustomed to, allow me make a case for it and shed some light on why wanderlust is essential to your family growth, to your children’s development, and to your spiritual growth.

As homeschoolers, you should already know that off-season traveling is one of the prime benefits of homeschooling. You can travel to places that are usually packed during school breaks and make the most out of it without long queue lines, and the fees are often cheaper when it is off season. There are lots of great deals online during off season — flight, car rental, hotel rooms, tourist attractions, museums, etc. In most places, car rental includes unlimited miles (read: leave your car at home).

Grand Canyon 


This year we had a blast at Six Flags and City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri; saw the amazing Niagara Falls; hiked to see the gorgeous cascading waterfalls of Glen Watkins,Max Ringling Museum New York; marveled at the eclectic art collection at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida; and then explored Arizona’s truly Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Utah’s fantastic Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. These places were beyond amazing! Words and pictures cannot explain the feelings when your mind is blown by the beauty of God’s creation, the scale of the Grand Canyon, the stunning sunset view from Bryce Canyon and Siesta Beach, and all the wild animals we encountered.

Budgeting with focus. Some people complained their budgets won’t allow for much traveling, but their closet is busting at the seam, they always shop for clothes every few weeks, either online, at Goodwill, or at the mall; eat out several times a week; have the newest gadgets, phone, games, new cars, or nice gently used cars with hefty payments; travel with kids’ sports teams frequently; or spend quite a bit on online gaming every month. The issue truly is not just budgeting, but focus or priority. 

Travel is important to us, so we focus on it and make plans far in advance to save up for trips. We make adjustments in other areas of life. While we have a 2013 Honda Odyssey to haul the family, I still drive my fully paid for, 190,000-mile, 38-mpg-average favorite car — my super-hot, four-door, 13-year-old, 2003 Toyota Echo…that we have had since we got married.

Don’t make the common mistake of saving up for one big trip a year or one big splurge. That would be akin to fasting on water for days or weeks, and then binging on a big expensive dinner in one sitting. This is not fun, likely to cause more stress afterward, leaving people to often say, “I always need a vacation after a vacation.” Right? Instead, take multiple small trips throughout the year. Visit nearby national parks or camp grounds, and camp out “roughing it” or stay at their lodge. Look up “Things to Do” on TripAdvisor.com, read reviews, find kid-friendly activities to do. 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have you ever thought much about the fact that you only get to “have” your kids for 18 years? It somewhat bothers me that I only will “have” my oldest child for 10 more years or so. Making memories is an important goal in our family, which is why we spend more on vacations and experiences than on tangible gifts. We let the grandparents spoil them on birthdays and holidays, to a certain extent. Anything else they want, they must earn from their commissions (we don’t call it allowance) for completing their chores and schoolwork. Harvard graduate psychologist Matthew Killingsworth published his findings in the journal Psychological Science — that spending money on experiences “provide[s] more enduring happiness,” and that waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good.

Buy experiences, not things. Soon after we got married, we immediately made plans on places we wanted to visit and things to do, etc. That was 12 years ago! The cool part of looking back over these written plans, is that we have accomplished many of the goals, and visited many of the places we wanted to go to, and that has made us feel very grateful to look back and count our blessings. Did we accomplish every single goal? Nope, only most of it. Does it mean we failed? Of course not.

It’s easy to make wishes: “Someday I’d like to visit the Grand Canyon, Alaska, Australia, and Bali Indonesia.” But remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Even if you have money and resources to go, if you don’t make plans for it, it will never happen. So first, write it down. We write down our top 25 destinations. Then we break it down based on priorities: “I definitely must visit these five first, before the rest.” Then we divide and conquer: write down the 25 destinations over a 10-year period, and then break it down further into spring trip, fall trip, or winter trip. The next step is to figure out the cost to do each of those trip, and then start saving. Once they are written down on a calendar (use Google calendar for the next 10 years) and cost is figured out, it’s easier to see how it will happen.

As the years become months, start doing more research into things to do in that area (TripAdvisor will help you there), and places to stay at (rental homes at homeaway.com, home exchanges like hsneighbor.com, RVs, hotels, or even old friends you know who live nearby). Map out your route, and even find out which month of the year is best to visit, considering the weather, off-season travel, local events, etc. This will build up excitement for the kids and the whole family. There is one catch. You cannot explore the world with a poverty mindset. You must think big. You and your spouse (or your whole family) must write down these lists with an abundance mindset. If your mind gets stuck on the “how will we be able to afford this” poverty consciousness mindset, stop it immediately, and say this out loud: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want, I shall lack nothing.”

Would you want your kids to whine daily and tell people that their parents are dirt poor, and never dream to achieve anything great when they grow up?  How do you think your heavenly Father feels when you daily focus on being poor and defeated? Your present state does not determine your future state. Your past does not determine your future. Ask the woman at the well. Ask the lepers. Ask Joseph. Ask Moses. Ask Nick Vujicic.

The world is our classroom. One way to NOT grow and accomplish big things is to stay small, stay within the comfort zone, and be safe. Toddlers, innately, choose to fall hundreds of times a day in order achieve the ability to walk on their feet and explore the new worlds around them. We were made to explore, to wander, to move. What would happen if a toddler is chained to the ground for a few years and not allowed to walk?

Sadly, today’s kids are “chained” to their school chairs for almost 50 hours a week, and then their parents “chain” them to electronics (TV, computers, phones, video games), ensuring a less-than-bright sedentary future with forward head posture, degenerative disc disease, obesity, diabetes, prescription drugs, back pain, and arthritis. As adults, many choose to stay within the comfort zone, choose to stop wandering, choose to stop exploring, choose to stop getting to know and hanging out with neighbors of different customs, cultures, or economic class. Many adults choose to live in a safe bubble of hanging out with the same people who look like them, speak like them, dress like them, have homes like theirs, have cars like theirs, eat like them, and believe the same things they do.

Is this wrong? No. Would Jesus do this? No. Would Jesus and his disciples stay in their hometown forever, chill with the same peeps forever, and stay comfortable forever?

Was the Great Commission really meant for us to reach only those around us? On past trips our kids tried new kinds of foods everywhere they went, observed and even played with wild animals, saw amazing human-built and nature-built landmarks, met various kinds of people with various kinds of manners and customs. They learned to enjoy bikcactsweating and hiking at 100-degree-plus temperature when we were in Arizona, and they also learned not to bike or play tag among cacti. They learned by falling on their bottoms (because they didn’t listen to Daddy) that greenish slime on rocks on the streams are slippery. They cried as they laughed as their eyes, noses, and mouths secreted watery substances as they chose to try different kinds of spicy peppers wherever we went. We have seen our kids being a lot more open to people than most kids, flexible to different kinds of food, cultures, and environment. They have also learned a lot about patience when traveling, about preparation, about handling stress — all which have helped them to be independent, confident, mature, resourceful, and compassionate toward others.

At the end of the day, it is all about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). There are two important words I would like to point out there: “go” and “nations.” It doesn’t say to stay where you are. It does say to go, to move, to travel. Nations, in plural form, means we are to reach out to those outside of our tribe, culture, custom. When that happens, when all eyes and ears have heard of Him, then he’ll come to take us home. Not before that has happened. How should we shape our children? How should we encourage their development and spiritual growth and prepare them for the Great Commission? How can they be comfortable talking to, eating with, and playing with people who look, act, and speak totally different than they do?

Remember that Jesus traveled a lot during his short years on earth. By one account he walked approximately 21,000 or more miles, which is to say, he walked almost the distance around the world — 24,900 miles (the distance around the earth at the equator). A certain woman by the name of Ellen G. White, who wrote some of the bestselling and most translated Christian books in the world, lived and traveled to Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Texas, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, Australia, England, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and more, from 1827 to 1915.

What have these two figures accomplished? Were these two figures financially rich? How did they travel? What’s holding YOU back? What are your excuses? How has your spiritual health been this past year or two? Need some shaking?

BecakGo out there. Let the kids actually go feral without electronics for days or weeks, let them interact with strangers and learn their cultures, let them learn to wait patiently. Yes, there will probably be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the beginning, but they will thank you for it. Let them catch frogs, donate blood to hungry mosquitoes, learn about self-sufficiency, recite Psalm 8 and Psalm 91 nightly under the stars around the campfire. You’ll be amazed at how much these trips will benefit you and your family, and others you meet along the way.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to stay at home. Families who travel together, stay together. Share with me your experience when your family catch the wanderlust bug at loveyourlegwarmers@gmail.com.

Maranatha!
~Arthur

What About Socialization?

handshake-1471563_1920

Scenario #1: Imagine standing in front of someone, with a smile on your face, extending your right hand to shake that person’s hand, and after 10 seconds or after 10 minutes or after 10 crickets died, that person does not extend his/her hand to meet your hand mid-air to shake it, and just gives you a blank stare or a weird smile. Cringe!

Imagine if that person is your child…at his or her current age…or 20 years in the future. Often times homeschooled kids have been labeled as socially awkward or simply weirdos in the eyes of “normal kids.” At least, that’s the stereotype. That’s also often the main question that we, as parents who choose to homeschool, receive — “What about socialization? Don’t you worry your kids will have trouble dealing with other kids or peers?”

I grew up attending public school K­-8, an Adventist boarding school for academy, and then an Adventist college for undergrad. My wife went to public schools K-12, and then attended a small Christian college. We definitely do not know what it’s like to grow up homeschooled. We have, however, had the privilege of working with and caring for hundreds of homeschooled children in our clinic in central Kentucky; and, for the past several years, we also have been homeschooling our two children, ages eight and four.

It is interesting to observe in our clinic that there is a clear distinction between homeschooled children and public-schooled children in regards to behavior, and the homeschooled children, bar none, are always the best behaved children we daily observed in our clinic. Ironically, families with four or 10 (yes, 10!) homeschooled children often sit and communicate in their best manners to our staff and doctors, while public-schooled children, very often, though not always, are some of the rowdiest kids, lacking in manners and discipline, according to our staff.

I also enjoy carrying on a conversation with most of these homeschooled children. Most are able to display critical social skills that many public-schooled kids rarely display these days: being actively engaging in two-way communication with involved responses, being able to maintain full eye contact, being able to shake hands and smile, having self-­awareness, having empathy, being able to manage emotions, etc. This is obviously a generalization, very subjective, and mostly from my own personal observation, my clinic team’s observation, and our team’s coping strategies while working with these children.

My staff often have trouble getting sufficient information from public-schooled children (and their parents) during consult, evaluation, or treatments, as most of them would typically reply with short answers like, “Yes,” “No,” “Kinda,” “I don’t know,” or in many cases silence or blank stares.  There is a good chance that many were on behavior-modifying prescription drugs.

The New York Times best-selling author and internationally known psychologist whose books were translated into 40 different languages, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., made popular the term emotional intelligence (EI): “the capacity of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”

Another psychologist, Dr. John Mayer, developed the Mayer­-Salovey­-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), and found that high-EI people have better social relations; are perceived more positively by their peers; have better family and intimate relationships, better academic achievements, better work performance and negotiation skills; and have higher life satisfaction and self-esteem.

So, how does having better EI relate to homeschooling and the Great Commission, which is to “go and make followers of all people in the world,” Matthew 28:19? This is the question that repeatedly stops me in my tracks many mornings when I spend those precious times homeschooling our kiddos. How shall I, as a parent and as a teacher, shape the minds of my children to be stewards of Christ in reaching out to the world?

Scenario #2: Imagine attending a church service at a location you’ve never been to before — perhaps one you found on a phone book or your phone’s Google map during your road trip. You notice that even though everyone is smiling, chatting with each other, dressed up nice and fancy, with cool music playing, none of these people actually come to you, shake your hand, ask how you are doing, ask your name and where you are from, or pretend to show some interests.

Has this happened to you? Here’s a sad fact. This has happened to us quite a few times. Strangely, we felt so embarrassed for the church. Did we show up like beggars? No, we were dressed up nice and appropriately. Did we smile at all? Yes, we did. Did we try to greet people? Yes, we did, but there was no further communication than a brief smile, a brief handshake, and a “Hi.”  Thankfully, there were many more churches and members in other places who went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Not surprisingly, almost always they are the ones who attract new members and grow as a church in quality and in quantity.

Have you experienced this personally when you travel? What would you do differently? What would you tell your children? If you were the pastor of the church, president of the conference, president of the General Conference, what would you do?  Since we are already identify with the church, it is easier to dismiss the fact that as visitors we were being ignored.  But what about real visitors, non-members?  Visitors will be more likely to attend a church when they make connections with members within the first few visits.  How can the church reach the outsiders, the neighbors, the world, if the church does not have the proper communication skills?

Churches who are too busy with itself and not reaching out to the community around them on a regular basis are dying churches.  Families who are too isolated and not spending time interacting with other families and community around them are also unhealthy families.  How can we promise Christ that we will help the Great Commission if we refuse to deal with strangers, if we refuse to go outside of our comfort zone, if we refuse to interact with the world, if we refuse to let God’s light shine through us in this dark world?

I strongly believe that the communication skills and social skills begin at home. Obviously, there are growing numbers of children with autism or genetic or developmental issues that must be handled differently with specialists who are trained to assist them. But, in general, children copy what they see, not what they hear. If their parents are lacking in social skills, they will more than likely end up with similar social skills, and end up socializing with friends or people who are also deficient in social skills.

Many children and even teenagers are not familiar with standard communication manners, which obviously differ from one culture to the next. But, these nonverbal communication manners are critical in determining one’s progress in society. We have interviewed countless of people who have applied for work at our clinic, and often times people, young and old, “shoot themselves in the foot” within the first 60 seconds of interview because they were never taught or never developed and practiced critical communication manners such as proper eye contact, handshake, and posture, as well as managing anxiety, etc.

With these two scenarios in mind, I thought it would be useful to share some EI-­specific exercises that will help parents in developing their children’s social and communication skills:

1. Intentional Communication

a. When was the last time you actually sat down one-on-one with each of your children to talk heart to heart about various issues? Do you set aside time to do this on a regular basis? Does your family do a weekly team huddle to review the previous week’s and upcoming week’s agendas, challenges, and things to improve?

b. Take time to explain and show your children, even as young as age two, how to properly greet people, maintain eye contact, and give a proper handshake. You can practice this at church or when meeting strangers.  If you realize your own social skills are lacking, do not hesitate asking other parents with great social skills for help.

c. Explain and show your children (typically age four and up) the importance of proper body language during communication, and how certain body language or posture can lead people to think of you differently (i.e. “Which person looks like they are interested, and which one looks like they are not interested or not happy?” Person A: sitting with crossed arms and crossed legs. Person B: sitting straight, leaning slightly forward, hands on thighs, legs relaxed.)

2. Self Awareness: Ask your child to evaluate or label his/her current state of emotion throughout the day, while you mirror their facial expression or the state of emotion to convey the true meaning of certain emotion words that may be new to your kids. This will help increase their emotional vocabulary and help them understand the full range of emotions they experience throughout the day. This will also help your kids to express intimate, loving emotions which are essential to maintaining close personal relationships.  Ask questions like these:

  • How are you doing, Shawn?
  • What are you thinking about, Sarah?
  • Are you mad, Jack? (stiff lip, bulging eyes)
  • Are you excited, Lisa? (raised eyebrows, big smile, high tone of voice)
  • Why are you sad, John? (sad face, mirroring kid’s face)
  • Is she sad or happy?
  • What should you do to help you be happy again?
  • You can choose to spend the rest of the day whining and crying in a foul mood, or you can choose to forgive her and choose to be happy for the rest of the day. Which one?
  • Is he being nice or naughty?
  • Did Joseph feel like this when his brothers were mean to him?
  • Was Jesus happy after he shared bread and fish with all those people? How do you feel after sharing your things/food with your friend?

3. Managing Emotions: Emotional maturity, in biblical context, is about being in control of our emotions so that the fruits of our thoughts are in line with the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22,­23…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self­-control). Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But, to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.”

It is ridiculous to observe online drama on Facebook posts, or bloody digital wars among keyboard warriors, let alone in real life. People get upset over silly little things and crave for drama, for gossip, for attention. The bottom line question to always remember is, “Does this attitude, behavior, response, action, bring me and others closer to my God-given purpose or not?”

Check out these ideas:

  • Use the Unfollow button or even Unfriend button, on Facebook friends  whenever they post things that are not in line with the fruits of the Spirit. (This one is for yourself, but it sets a good example of personal boundaries.)
  • Hold your child or sit next to him/her during a tantrum or a stressful situation in silence. “I know you are upset. I will sit here with you until you are done crying. But, you can’t yell, hit, talk, or do anything mean. We will sit here until you are done crying and until you are ready to be nice again.”
  • Walk outside and get some fresh air or do 10 burpees with your child. If your child is depressed or fearful, his cortisol level is typically up and the oxygen level in blood is low. To counter this, do some aerobic movements such as burpees or jumping jacks or simply dance. Many times when my daughter was upset about something, I would just pick her up and dance with her, or we would do burpees together, and most of the time she would crack up or giggle and feel better, and we would be able to continue our day in a better mood.

These ideas will teach your children the concept of managing their own emotions and not doing or saying something they would regret later.

Dr. Mary Kay Clark wrote, “Homeschooled children benefit the community because they are not shaped by peers but by parents.”

American talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger observed, “…home­schooled students are able to successfully adapt emotionally, interpersonally, and academically to their first, and most challenging, semester in college. That is probably because, having had the consistent teaching and support of a family and a community, they have developed strengths and convictions that provide a bridge over the troubled waters of a multitude of challenges and temptations.”

E.G. White wrote in That I May Know Him, p. 39., “How interestedly the Lord Jesus knocks at the door of families where there are little children to be educated and trained! How gently he watches over the mothers’ interest, and how sad He feels to see children neglected…. In the home characters are formed; human beings are molded and fashioned to be either a blessing or a curse.”

A blessing or a curse!

This is where homeschooling shines! This is why we chose to homeschool. We want our children to have our values and beliefs, not their peers or teachers’ values and beliefs. We must ask ourselves these questions daily:

  • Am I intentionally equipping my children with tools for His services?
  • Am I managing my own emotions well? What are my excuses?
  • How many times a day do I spend time on my knees with my children?
  • Am I reading them stories from the Bible that they may understand how different people deal with different situations, and how they allow God to mold their characters?
  • In front of my children’s eyes, do I interact with my family, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers, showing fruits of the Spirit?
  • Do I post inappropriate un-Christian things on Facebook that I wouldn’t want my pastor or children to see or read?
  • Are the words that come out of my mouth and my spouse’s mouth full of blessings or full of curses? Do they build my children up or tear them down?
  • Am I preparing my children to be able to socialize with confidence, or am I shaping them to avoid strangers, to be remote, and to ignore the Great Commission?

May we all continue to communicate better and be a blessing to others.

Maranatha!

Arthur