Thursday, 28 June 2012


This week it's easy.  I'm thankful for my gorgeous, handsome, loving, fun, intelligent, happy, smiley son!!

Tomorrow he is six years old. I can't believe six precious years have whizzed by. I am so grateful for him in my life. Everyday he makes me smile. His laugh is infectious. He asks the most amazing (sometimes hard to answer!) questions. His love is unconditional. He makes it clear he adores me and for that I feel so lucky. Our relationship is so easy going, yes he can press my buttons! But we love each other so much that most days we spend time giggling, cuddling, snuggled up and reading.
 Being a parent can be labelled (a can seem) so tough, but taking five minutes to be thankful for your children reminds you how wonderful being a parent can be. Be thankful for your children today........

I've really enjoyed reading a post from a blogger friend Julia at classroom free. She talks about ansering that all time favourite home ed question 'What about Socialisation?'. Take a look!
What about socialisation?!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Loving our Kids on Purpose..... Step 3.......


This is the final step in the review of the parenting book written by Danny Silk- Loving Our Kids On Purpose.

Step 3- Protecting and Building a Heart Connection
This step does what it says on the tin! It teaches parents the importance of building a 'connection' or relationship with their children. When you communicate to children that their needs matter and are valuable your developing a healthy self-concept within them. If you give them no choices your communicating the only needs that matter are your own. However, to some adults children used to choices can come over as disrespectful (in their tone). Danny Silk advocates that this is not the case. They are assertive!
So training your child to handle freedom and choices is a top priority.

As a parent you wear many 'hats'! If your wearing your 'tax collector' (think back to last weeks post about consequences) hat you are showing and enforcing practical consequences- you chose not to clean up so this is the consequence. If your child show's you disrespect you must introduce relational consequences- a consequence that makes them reflect on how their behaviour effects others.
Danny explains the method he calls the 'Think-it-over-chair'. This is a space/chair/rug/mat etc and time for your child to think over an issue and how it has effected others and themselves. While the child is thinking it over it is your role to ask questions to facilitate the thinking. Unlike other 'time out' methods I have read about in which the parent is expected to leave the child the think for themselves. These methods have the problem that some children need help unpicking their behaviour or some children left alone become more and more angry! So questions like 'So, what's the problem here?' and 'How's that worked/working out for you?' can help. Danny states 'Asking good questions is a far more powerful tool in leading children to a solution than telling them what you think.'
Your goal, as parent, is not to figure out the answers, assign blame or antagonise the situation. Your trying to teach them to solve their own issues and take ownership of the problem.

Discipline V Punishment-
When a child is involved in making a decision is is 'discipline'. When an adult makes all the decisions in the situation it's 'punishment'. The nature of punishment is fear and control. But as we have discovered throughout this series 'Love casts out fear'. We want to love our children without the need for fear and control.

Three important things, as a parent, you want your children to learn from their mistakes/choices is-
1- choices on the outside can create pain on the inside.
2-Learn to create solutions to their problems themselves.
3-Parents are a source of wisdom and help, not punisher's!

Many parents fear their child becoming an adolescent. What with all the hormones, peer pressures and culture raging against you! But in reality, they just need the protection of your heart. If your relationship has been damaged it's going to be difficult to withstand these outside and hormonal pressures. So in many ways it's worth taking the time to ensure you have that heart connection with your child from early on. They need to know how the choices they make can cause you pain and how this pain can have consequences for them.

I hope you have enjoyed this review as much as I have enjoyed reading the book! I urge you to take the time to read the book in it's entirety. It has really changed the way I parent my son. It has taught me to value building a foundation of love and honesty, not fear and control.
Let me know how you get on.........................................

Follow this link to purchase the book from amazon Loving our kids on purpose by Danny Silk

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Home Ed update & Thankful Thursday.......

The Queen's Jubilee has been a focus for much of our Home Ed tasks over the last couple of weeks. Jacob made a crown for our Home Ed group 'Jubilee Garden Party'. He came second!! As you can see for, the picture above the competition was stiff! He really enjoyed the garden party. We sang the National Athem accompanied by the 'teenagers orchestra', we ate cake and we played 'pass the crown'. Thankfully the weather held, rain arrived on the journey home!

It's that time of year when, as a Home Ed  Moma, I'm thinking about our next school year planning tasks and activities. I have been working on some new planning formats, which I will share on here soon in the form of a 'resources' page. I have also been developing my own curriculum, based on the Charlotte Mason model, but with a less 'hectic' schedule. Again I will share this on here soon. 

June is 'birthday season' for my family. We have 10 birthdays, fathers day and wedding anniversaries. So it's hectic, expensive and party filled, but fun! Jacob's birthday is at the end of the month so he spends the month building anticipation to his big day. It's great to watch as his excitement bubbles over day by day. Will he survive the next 9 days???????


               Today is the longest day of the year- Summer Solstice or Litha (Pagan name)


I really like this picture I found online today. I live close to Stonehenge and would love to visit one year on a Solstice/Equinox.

Today I'm thankful for the extra hours of daylight. Those extra hours cheer me up (I'm a S.A.D sufferer) and make me hopeful summer (and warmth) is on it's way.
This weekend we enter the second quarter of a waxing moon. This is a time to build, create and use our positive energy. How will you use your positivity this weekend?

What are you thankful for this week????

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Loving Our Kids on Purpose- Step 2 .......

It's Sunday- Father's Day! Happy Father's Day! My Daddy is my absolute hero. He is what all men should aspire to be. I'm so grateful to have him as my father. In the picture above (with my mum) he looks so happy and smiley. This is how he always is! My parents have taught me so much about being a parent. My dad is calm, fair and patient. He listens to our point of view and gave us the freedom to make (some!) decisions but reminded us of consequences. This leads on to part 2 of the 'Loving our kids on purpose' book review.

In my 'Fun or not fun!' post I shared with you Danny silks idea that
'Our goal as parents is to teach our children about and how to have healthy relationships and at the heart of these relationships is love. Love requires choices. So our children must be skilled in making choices and realising consequences of those choices.'
In order to achieve this he sets out a 3 step rule. In 'Fun or not fun' I discussed step 1. Today I will share with you my thoughts on step 2. 

Step 2- Setting and enforcing healthy limits.  
According to Danny, 'When we give our children choices we validate them by recognising that they need power in their relationship with us.' I have found, when working with many families, that problems often arise when there is a struggle for power between child and parents. I also think it is important to practise letting children make choices (such as what they have for a snack, clothes they wear etc) so when the arguments/power struggles start you are used to the dynamics of giving choices. Offering good choices creates a culture of empowerment in your home. It also helps sets rules and boundaries. 
An example given in the book is ' Do you want to speak respectfully while you are upset or do you want to talk about it in an hour?' 

I have found in order to develop the notion of allowing your child choices you must ensure you fully understand how 'choices' will work in your home. Danny Silk set out the following three principles. 

1- It is important the choices you give your child are things you are happy with them doing. Giving an option we want them to do and an option we don't want (e.g the punishment option) gives chance for your child to feel powerful. 'Go ahead, ground me for a month! I'll make your life hell!'

2- You need to ensure your child understands the choices they are being given and the choice they make. For example when asking your child to clean their room, do they have the same 'picture' as you of a clean room? One way to do this is to ask questions along the way. 'What do you think about your bed? Is is messy or neat?'

3- Finally, you must enforce your choices with consequences. If you offer choices A and B and then they choose C, what will you do???
Here's where the power struggles and potential headaches start!! It can be so infuriating when your child actively deifies you! 
So what to do?? Here's what Danny suggests, see what you think....
C is chosen. Best to make no fuss, appear to allow C to happen. But then a little later impose a sanction for C. Below is an example. (blue is parent)
'Clean your room or pay me to do it?'
'Hhmmm how much?'
'Hmm, I'll think about that price....' OR any further discussion/negotiation on price'
Go ahead and clean your child's room! Without comment/fuss or row. Then a little after cleaning, just as your child thinks 'great mum cleaned my room!' Request payment!
'I need my £50 I cleaned your room'
'Huh? I didn't ask you to clean my room? I can't/won't pay'
'Ok, I'm sure I can earn £50 for your Xbox on ebay!'

Here is the IMPORTANT thing- you must be 100% willing to go through with the sale or you're teaching your child not to believe a word you say! This is what some describe as tough love! But the reality of this is you are just teaching your child how the world works. For example, you get a job, hard earn pay check arrives, but you must pay tax! If you choose not to pay the tax you will have a consequence, a penalty to pay! 

My conclusion of 'Step 2- Setting and enforcing healthy limits' is that we, as parents, must make sure 'love drives out fear'. We are taking a risk by allowing our children to experience some consequences. Some consequences are painful for us all! But being a parent is tough! We must show sadness and empathy towards their choices but we must strive not to give choices filled with anger and punishment. It is important that children take ownership for their problems and learn how to solve them. This is how the adult world works (most of the time!) and we are teaching them about this in the safety of our home. 

Next Sunday will conclude our in depth look at 'Loving our kids on purpose' by looking at step 3- Protecting and building heart connections.....

Thursday, 14 June 2012


For all you regular readers I have decided to post three times a week- Tuesdays will be our home school updates, Thursdays will be 'Thankful Thursdays' and Sundays will have a parenting or book review flavour.

So today being Thursday it's 'THANKFUL THURSDAY'. I thought it would be great to reflect on something that has happened during/occurred to me/been part of  my week. All too often we get caught up in the negative, but life is full of positives even if we have to search for them! I'd like you to post your thankful moments in the comments box below, so I can share your positives too.

This week I have been thankful for...................................... RAIN!

Yes, I really said rain! The unseasonal downpours have given me the excuse to hide away at home and catch up on some much needed rest after a busy week in Disney! I've also had plenty of time to get my housework done without feeling I was missing out on sunshine. I've baked and cooked, and had time to peruse blogs and websites researching for my blog and homeschool planning.

What are you thankful for this week???......................................

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

All the fun of the fair!!!!!!

We have just returned from a week in Disneyland Paris! We got quite a cheap price from booking early (last November!) having looked at recent prices it can cost over £1000 for a family 3 day trip. I have to say there is no way we would have paid that kind of money!
We headed out on Sunday on the Eurostar 'Disney Express' train, straight to the park from Ashford. The train was on time, quick and stress free. Jacob was fascinated at the fact the train went under the sea! Meaning he spent a lot of time looking out of the window, hoping to see a fish or shark.

Our package gave us the facility to ditch our bags at the railway station (they would be delivered to our hotel) and run straight for the rides! This was a godsend with two excited 5 year olds!

A few steps into the park and the sound of happy, childish, dreamy music filled the air- we had walked right into a parade! How lucky! Very magical start! Mickey, Minnie, Donald and pals floated by on a special 20th anniversary train. The boys were mesmerised!

Over the next few days we experienced so many spins, twists, turns, speeds, thrills and spills- all in the name of fun! Our favourite rides were 'Buzz Lightyear Blast, Star Tours and It's a small world'. Each of these visited at least twice daily!

We were quite lucky as most of the rides had 30 min or less queuing time. Which we found do-able with the boys, but some rides had a 'fast pass' system meaning we could get a time slot and come back then, with less queuing. But this system still involved some queue. My big issue with waiting in line was the fact that all people are expected to stand and wait their turn, an unwritten rule! We had to fend off many adults trying to push past the boys! I was shocked that grown men and women thought it was perfectly acceptable to push past children. Children who were waiting patiently for their turn! I realise it is very 'British' to queue, but turn taking and patience should be a 'human' concept surely???!! What example is this setting to your children if you are unable to wait in a line?

A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.
George Savile

A similar scene was seen when a character appeared in the park. Many children would rush towards the character for a photo or autograph. Now in my experience, children left to their own devices in this situation can sort out a system of fairness and turn taking. Occasionally there is a child unable to wait, but this child is usually put into place by the other children waiting! However, I witnessed adults pushing children out of the way in order to shove their child in front of the characters! I saw 'Dads' (male carers) arguing over whose child was first in line! And worst of all parents encouraging/commanding their child to 'push 'em out the way'! What are we teaching our children??!!! Step away parents and let the children show you how to behave!! In the above picture our boys had waited about 10 mins for their turn to meet the Mad Hatter. they did this by themselves with us (adults) just looking on from a distance ready to take a photo. I'm proud of them! 

Disney is a brand well known for putting on a show! The 'Disney Dreams' show is the parks closing finale last thing at night, around 11pm. The castle in the middle of the park is used as a 'screen' on which many familiar film scenes are projected. The fountains spurt in time to music, fireworks boom and flames ignite! We were lucky enough to get front row views (after standing to wait fending off pushing in parents! for an hour prior to the start). It was absolutely spectacular! We all enjoyed it and discussed it all the way back to the hotel! Despite the late start time, it is a must see show!

We had breakfast with the characters, meaning we got up close and personal to Mickey Mouse! We met other characters as we ate. Around the park we managed to spy a few other characters such as Peter Pan, Captain Jack Sparrow, Buzz Lightyear, Mad Hatter, Donald Duck, Pluto and Winnie the Pooh. Seeing the character got me thinking.........
Ask a boy what characters they'd hope/like to see in Disney and your likely to hear Mickey, Donald, Buzz, Peter Pan, Captain Hook. Ask a girl which characters they hope to see and I'm certain you'd hear Cinderella, Belle, Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Snow White. I realise this is quite stereotypical and somewhat sexist, but I think its fairly representative of children under 5! However, in the park the sight of a Disney female is rare. They are 'hidden' in the Princess Palace, which you have to queue, often for at least 2 hours to get into and have an audience with which ever Princesses are in there. No choice or prior knowledge of character. There is no 'princess, Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Minnie Mouse themed ride.
 BUT there is a 'Buzz Lightyear' ride, a 'Star Wars' ride, a 'soldiers from Toy Story' ride, a Peter Pan ride, a Lancelot Knight Carousel, a pirate ship and ride, a car stunt show and a wild west cowboy show. I realise none of these rides or shows are purely for boys, but the reality is most little girls visiting Disney long to see the characters they dress up as and love from films. I couldn't help but feel the park was very male orientated. If I had been a 5 year old girl visiting I would have definitely have wanted to see more 'girly' inspired rides and shows! 
As I said, I went with two 5 year old boys, they were absolutely enthralled with everything they saw and experienced, but I'd like to hear from you if you visited with a young girl!