Our middle son has puzzled me in some ways over the years; trying to figure out what the best way is to reach him and work with him throughout the day and in our homeschooling efforts. As I was "experimenting" with the children on their love languages and quizzing my youngest son as I mentioned in the previous entry, my middle son popped in and right away answered, "Monopoly with Daddy and you!" Startled at the fact that he had been listening to us, I asked him what he was talking about and he said, "I would rather play a game with you and daddy more than getting a present." Prompted by this little nugget, I proceeded to observe him throughout the week and watch how his interaction with us and his brothers stabilized as we began to spend more time together in the evening as a family. I began to see that it didn't matter what we were doing as long as it was together; reading, cooking, watching him do an activity, riding in the car, playing a board game, and so forth. As a result, I have been able to make purposeful efforts to ensure that he gets the time he needs both in a one-on-one and group setting with mom and dad. What a difference it has made for his heart and our home!
In preparation for writing this manual, one of the many books I have re-read this summer from years past has been The Five Love Languages for Children; based on the original Five Love Languages for Couples. As I refreshed my memory on the five languages (i.e. physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, and quality time), I decided to perform some "basic tests" in our home with our children serving as unwitting subjects. The first test came when I was chatting with our youngest child one night with questions like, "So, if you had a choice, would you rather get a small gift or piece of candy from Daddy when he comes home from work at night or would you rather play a game with him?" He answered without hesitation, "Oh! I would like the present, Mommy!" We went through several rounds of these types of questions and always the "present" won out. I had already suspected his was "receiving gifts" since he is constantly wrapping up things around the house and giving them to me or his stuffed toys; whoever seems the most interested at the time! Now on the surface, this "Love Language" seems shallow. However, the more I observed him that week, I noticed that he was the one to bring me a flower he had found in the backyard, to draw me a picture for no reason, and to share half of his Otter Pop with me when we were in the van going somewhere and he realized I did not have one to enjoy. Children with this love language not only love to receive but also love to give and see your reaction in return. In the homeschool setting, see if your "gift receiving" child doesn't respond better to you when you have even a small token to give to them for a "job well done"; pennies, tokens, tickets, or small pieces of candy are all suitable and don't take much to manage. Another great idea is to purchase a small Lego kit or some other multi-piece toy. Put it away and then over the course of the week or month, tell them that they can earn a piece out of their new kit each time they do a school assignment or a chore to the best of their ability with a happy heart. By the time that week or month is over with, they will have earned a new toy! Next time, we will chat about "Quality Time".
Recently, I came across this old article that I was interviewed for awhile back by Nathan Mueller with Independent Newspapers. Homeschooling was on the rise then and it's still on the rise!
The "B-Home" Blog is a short way to refer to The Balanced Homeschooler concepts we will be discussing here. It also reflects the idea that most of our greatest opportunities to minister to our families and train as well as teach our children will mostly happens within our own four-walls. So "B-Home" to make it happen!
Homeschooling since 2000, Carol shares in her blog observations, confessions, and musings that help provide perspective and inspiration for homeschooling moms.