Podcast: Dealing With Heart Issues of Tweens

Podcast: Dealing With Heart Issues of TweensDonna Reish, of Raising Kids With Character, Homeschooling With Character, and Character Ink publishing, answers questions readers have been posing about handling 4 D types of behaviors (heart behaviors) in children ages eight to fourteen or so (primarily tweens). Donna emphasizes the need for parents to take responsibility for their parenting mistakes first. Then focus on taking the behaviors from gray to black & white so that misbehaviors are clear and can be handled. She gives an important order/protocol to make things very black and white with this age group for three typical misbehaviors, disrespect, disobedience, and fighting. Additionally, she gives suggested signaling words and phrases to use when these behaviors come up so that things are crystal clear as to the family expectations and handling of these things. (Listen to the prequel to this podcast episode, “Understanding The Four D’s of Behavior.”) Subscribe to Character Ink! in iTunes


Continue reading

Make Sugar-Free Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar) and Brown Sugar

Make Your Own Sugar-Free Powdered and Brown Sugars

I get asked fairly often what a person can do to have low carb/low sugar/sugar free powdered sugar and brown sugar. I get asked often enough that here is a short post about it (so I can refer people to it).

While there are things that simply do not taste anywhere near the original when it comes to low carb/grain free/healthier/sugar-free baking and cooking, there are things that do. Some of these (like cream cheese based desserts made with powdered sugar and more “maply” tasting desserts with brown sugar) NEED these substitutes. You really can’t make apple (or celery) sweet dip OR sloppy joes without brown sugar, in my humble opinion. :)

So here you go!

Continue reading

A Writing Tip for Every Year: Second Grade

A Writing Tip for Every Year: Second Grade

Second Grade: Pen for your student for as long as necessary.

Children often think they cannot write because they do not have the penning skills to compose sentences or paragraphs or the spelling skills to spell the words they want to use. Right off the bat, the young child grows to dislike writing. He feels inadequate (and thus, the many “I don’t know how to write” or “I’m bad at writing” mentalities of this age group).


Usually a child’s creativity and thinking processes are way above their small motor and spelling skills. That is, a child can think (and orally compose) way above what he can write (spelling-wise and writing mechanics-wise) or spell (encoding; just because a child can “decode”—sound out words—does not mean he can ‘’encode”—spell the words). This is where penning for your student (especially for dyslexic/dysgraphic ones and/or “late bloomers”) makes the difference between your child seeing himself as a writer or as a student who is “behind.”

Continue reading

Podcast Handout For “Understanding the Four D’s of Behavior in Our Children”

4 D's of Behavior Podcast Outline

 (Click here to listen to this podcast!)


FOUR D’s OF BEHAVIOR: Heart-motivated behaviors that should not be grouped with childish behaviors but should be tended to in a consistent and heart-affecting manner.

D-1: Disrespect
D-2: Disobedience
D-3: Deceit
D-4: Destruction

Continue reading

Podcast: Understanding the Four D’s of Behavior in Our Children—and Why You Need To

Podcast: Understanding the Four D’s of Behavior in Our Children—and Why You Need ToDonna Reish, from Character Ink (home of Raising Kids With Character, Homeschooling With Character, and Language Lady), answers listeners’ questions about the Four D’s of children’s behavior: (1) Disrespect; (2) Disobedience; (3) Deceit; (4) Destruction (purposeful breaking or harming). This episode lays the ground work for next week’s episode about punishing and disciplining tweens (especially ten to twelve year olds). Donna expounds on the Four D’s as foolishness and heart-motivated (which necessitate punishment and serious handling), contrasting these with childishness/character issues (which require training, rewards, and consequences). 

Continue reading

Introducing The Spelling Notebook

Introducting The Spelling Notebook


Fifteen years ago I began writing my complete language arts program for second through twelfth grade students (what is now Character Quality Language Arts, CQLA). I based that program, loosely, on six programs (language arts, editing, writing, vocabulary, spelling, etc., programs) that I had been using for a dozen years with my older children. I wanted to take all of the best “part language arts” books and put them together in one. And I did that!


Continue reading

A Writing Tip For Every Year: First Grade

A Writing Tip for Every Year First Grade


First Grade: Don’t rush “writing” when a child is learning to read.

I haven’t taught first grade in ten years. I have missed teaching a child to read—so much that I have actually considered trying to get some hours at a tutoring center just to be able to teach beginning reading again. (I know; I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to teaching!)


Notice this tip is in the first grade paragraph—not the kindergarten one. My children learned to read in first or second grade (okay, um, two in third).

Continue reading

One Thing That Makes All of the Difference in Productivity

One Thing That Makes All The Difference in Productivity


I have been juggling a lot of balls around here lately—as I know many of you are doing as well once school starts.

The funny thing is that when I had all littles, and I didn’t have a lot of kids “in homeschooling,” I was swamped. When I had six kids in homeschool at one time, I was swamped. And now that my youngest only does college his senior year of high school, I am swamped (with writing and teaching cottage classes).

Continue reading

A Writing Tip for Every Year: Kindergarten

A Writing Tip for Every Year:  Kindergarten

I have loved teaching writing and language arts to nearly a hundred students a year for the past fifteen years (started out with eight students!). Through that process, as well as through writing fifty thousand pages of curricula, books, blog posts, and more over the past fifteen years, I have learned so much about teaching writing—and also about the expectations and goals that we have for students at various levels. Sometimes these expectations are extreme, but sometimes they are not adequate. In this series, I hope to give you an *encouraging* writing tip for each grade level. Keep in mind that I am talking here about the act of writing/creating/composing, not the act of penmanship (or even spelling). Here we go…

Continue reading