Tag Archives: Proactive Parenting

Character Q & A: How Can I Start Character Training With My Toddler?

So much talk about toddlers on Character Ink/Raising Kids With Character, you would think that I have a fifteen month old grandbaby or something! I wanted to re-run some old posts about toddlers to follow up the two Wondering Wednesday podcasts (Part 1) (Part 2) that I have done over the past couple of weeks about these amazing kids!

Character Q & A: How Can I Start Character Training With My Toddler?

Question: How can I start some of the character training concepts and habits that you describe with a toddler?

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Back-to-School Study Skills–Textbook Previewing With Your Kids Part I of III

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” Robert M Hutchins

Sitting down with your student and his textbooks (maybe one per evening) during the first week will go a long way towards his comprehension and ease of use of those books throughout the school year. Try these specific strategies for previewing textbooks with your student to help him or her get the most out of his or her texts this year:

1. Graphs and charts—Remind your student that charts and graphs usually restate (in another form) what is indicated in the text. He can use these for quick overviews, as well as for reviewing before tests.

2. Enumerations—If his text uses a lot of enumeration, it could be that this subject has a significant number of lists to be learned. Point him to these lists and show him that often what is listed in the margins or sidebars is also expounded upon within the text.

3. Section headings—The more headings a book contains, the easier it is to learn from. The student is constantly reminded, by the headings and subheadings, of what the section is about. Show him how helpful these headings can be as he uses the book during his reading and for test preparation.
4. Pictorial aids—Maps are always in included in history textbooks. If his textbook contains a large assortment of maps, show him how they can help him see the big picture. Maps usually show where something that is discussed in the text occurred.

5. Glossary—Books that contain glossaries give the student an easy way to find definitions that may be more obscure within the text. Teach him to use this for quick finds, but encourage him to use the text itself for most studying since students who learn vocabulary in context retain it better.

6. Tables of Contents—The Table of Contents can be used somewhat like an index to find where information is in a particular chapter. It is especially good for getting a big picture about a whole chapter.

7. Prefaces, introductions, and summaries—If a text has any of these three, some of the work is already done for the student. Show him how advantageous these are for quick previewing of a chapter.

8. Footnotes—If a student is in a class that requires research papers, footnotes can be a real plus. We teach our research paper students to use lengthy works’ footnotes to find other credible sources that they might use in their papers.

9. Appendixes—Appendixes are the “extra credit” of the book. I always like to thin of myself as a prized pupil, so I tend to gravitate to these right at first, since they’re usually for those who want additional information—and I always want to know more! Tell your students that sometimes the appendixes aren’t even used in the actual course, but they are good for learning more, for research-based reports, and for cementing what is found in the text.

10. Indexes—If a book doesn’t have an index, I say send it back and get a new one! Show your student how quickly he can find information with the index. The more specific the index, the better it is for the student.

11. Bibliography—The bibliography gives lists of books, articles, and documents relating to the subjects in the textbook. Like footnotes, we direct our research paper students to these.

12. Pronunciation guides—These guides give the phonetic markings to aid in reading unfamiliar words. Many texts do not have these guides, but they are helpful in a class where a student will be giving presentations so the can pronounce unknown words correctly.

Any signaling or sign posting that a book contains is that much more opportunity for the visual learner, especially, to learn and retain. If you have an auditory learner, you might have to record his vital info on cd or cassette! Smile…More study skills coming soon!!!

Developing Strong Study Habits for Younger Students

I have a lot to say about teaching our kids God’s Word and ways as we “sit in our house”! I just haven’t gotten my notes all together due to computer issues (just got the last computer back from the shop AGAIN,..). So, August has come upon us quickly…and so has “back to school time.” I want to re-run some posts from last August about helping our kids with study skills, back to school routines, etc. for those who may have missed them or those who were not with us on PP last August.

So…here is the first one….a link to many links about developing strong study habits for younger students. Now is really the time to get serious about implementing some of these schedules and ideas (before the day before-back-to-school!)….so, get your iced water with lemon and click and read! 🙂 Thanks for joining us!


When You Rise Up: Age Appropriate Chores–Character Building in the Mornings

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

We really are going to move out of the “when you rise up” stage of “teaching them diligently”–honest! However, we have found that if you get the first hour or two of your day down the way you want it, you will have a much more successful day later on. Also, success in the morning motivates us to more success later in the day–success breeds success!

So, we have gone over and over the “faith in the mornings”–private devotions, listening in the mornings, family devotions and read alouds, and more.

The other area that we like to tackle following faith in the morning is character training via chores and responsibilities. We did an entire month of chores, morning routines, chore charts, and chore schedules last year, so I encourage you to go to the blogspot, look in the index under chores, and have at it.

For today, I am going to post the link for the “age appropriate chores.” Summer is the perfect time to establish new chore schedules, morning routines, and more!

Chore Resources: http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-113-114-resources-for-chores.html

Age Appropriate Chores (starting here with littles for several days): http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-115-age-appropriate-chores-for.html

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Read Aloud Collections Part I of III

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

We have been asked frequently about the “collections” that we enjoy reading from during morning devotions, as well as other times of the day.

There are many reasons that I enjoy reading “collections” to my children:

1. The entries are usually fairly short. We can read from any one of our “collection” books in under ten minutes, for the most part. While I like to have a lengthy “morning reading” time (we sometimes call it Bible/Character/Creation Science reading) of forty-five to seventy minutes since we only do it three days a week (we only do it on my non-work {teaching writing to homeschoolers to test our books} days), with my “collections,” I know that I can just pick up two or three and be done reading in twenty to thirty minutes on rushed mornings.

2. It allows us to read about a variety of topics all at the same time. We run the gamut in any particular reading session (Bible character in “Character Sketches”; animal in “Character Sketches”; weather in “In His Hands”; godly hero in “Hero Tales” or “Cloud of Witnesses”); American history in “Patriot’s Almanac”; character story in “Great Stories Remembered II”; and much more!).

3. Each entry is self-contained. When we do ongoing stories, biographies, history text, etc., if one of my kids is gone, I feel like I can’t read those that day because someone will be missing out and will be in the dark when we have our next reading. With collections, it doesn’t matter if somebody is missing that day or we take off for five days to travel (though collections are extremely portable—see point four!). There is no “catching up.” This aspect also makes “collections” great for family read alouds, evening devotions, bedtime stories, etc. for Dad. If Dad is gone, we aren’t “reading ahead” without him; he missed an entry or two, but not part of an ongoing story, etc.

4. “Collections” make for great travel reading. If we bring two small collections, we have a variety of interesting reading at our fingertips. Thus, devotionals, story time, etc. can often be continued in some form while we are on the road. When my kids were younger, I would often keep an “Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories” book in the vehicle, so we had a variety of stories handy should we get detained for some reason. (I’m smiling fondly as I write this, remembering a couple of times in which we huddled under an overhang at a professional baseball game reading “Uncle Arthur’s” while the game was on hold for rain and while in a long line at Disney World gathered around our “Bedtime Story.”)

The next two posts will contain lists and links of the various “collections” that we have used with our kids for all types of reading. While we are still on “when you rise up,” I will include “all times of day” collections in these lists and specify how we have used them.

Also, I will break them up into two posts—one for “littles” (though my “biggies” often like these too!) and one for ages ten to twenty! Lastly, if you do not receive PP on FaceBook (by “LIKING” us), you might want to do so. I will be putting links, one at a time on that wall over several weeks. Thanks for joining us! Tell a friend about Positive Parenting!

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Children’s Personal Devotions Part III of III

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

I am going to make a random list of things I can remember our children doing for devotions, character, discipleship, etc. I’ll try to list them in a semi-chronological order by age group. (Books that are reviewed at PP 365 blogspot are marked with asterisk.)

*Early Readers’ Bible

Bible story book and audio sets, including “Stories That Live” (not sure if those are still out there but Joshua and Kayla used to love these!); NEST; and others that I picked up at the library (those little plastic bags with book/tapes or cd’s)

*Your Story Hour audios

Doughnut Man videos

*NEST videos

Patch the Pirate audios

Felt Bible lessons

*The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes

*Uncle Arthur Bedtime Stories

*The Picture Bible

*Family Bible Library

Youth Devotional Books

Key for Kids

Bible quizzing cards

Scribing—writing out a book of the Bible in a journal

Quote-ables—writing out verses, quotations, etc. in a journal

Biographies of godly heroes

Case for….books

Case for….books for kids

Psalm a day

Proverb a day

A Gospel chapter a day

Authors our teens have read widely:

C. S. Lewis

John Piper

A. W. Tozer

Ken Ham

Genevieve Foster

Martin Luther

Amy Carmichael

Hannah Hurrnah

Joni Eareckson Tada

John Bunyan

Josh McDowell

Lee Strobel

Elisabeth Eliot

Kay Arthur

Andrew Murrey

Charles Sheldon

R.A. Torrey

Henry Morris

Gary Parker

William Durrant

Franklin Graham

David Wilkerson

Words Make a Difference

The link below just came through on Facebook, and I automatically started running through the many applications of it. Writing (our son is speaking about word choice today at the APACHE convention in Illinois today during his Writing With Style session!). Marriage (oh yeah). And, of course, parenting.

How many times do we say, “You always…” When we should say, “I feel like this or that happened..” How many times do we say, “Why can’t you…” When we should say, “It would be so great if you could…”

And then there’s the whole thought of hurtful words. How many times do we use hurtful words to our children instead of words of peace; words of love; words of affirmation; words of encouragement; or even words of helpful instruction?

Watch this clip with those thoughts in mind…and let’s all choose the right words today!


“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings Part II of Many (!)

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

In keeping with a potential model in II Peter 1:5 as a basis for our how days would flow: “But also for this reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue, knowledge,” we started our kids’ days out with faith. This included private devotions, family devotions, read alouds, etc. through the years. Over the next couple of days I will give some ideas for this.

Today I will focus on Bible reading together in the mornings. I have expounded over the past year on much of the teaching that we received twenty-plus years ago from Gregg Harris (father of Josh Harris of “I Kissed Dating Good-Bye” and Alex and Brett Harris of “Do Hard Things”) in his “The Christian Homeschool Workshop.” One of the things that he taught us was to attach things that we want to implement in our homes to something that is already in our schedule, beginning with meal times.

We took his advice on this (and many other things) and came home and attached Bible teaching to just before breakfast—when we “rise up.” This has looked different all the time—some of the time Ray did it before work (and the kids went back to bed after he left!); some of the time I did it before breakfast; some of the time I did it during breakfast; some of the times we snuggled in my bed and read Bible and character materials before starting chores and the busy-ness of the day.

One of the downfalls of so many people out there telling us how to teach our children the Bible, how to have devotions, etc. is that it is often made to seem much more difficult than it is! (There are way more benefits, but this is definitely a downfall in our opinon.)

Tomorrow I will list many of the morning devotional ideas that we have used—some are as simple as reading a Proverb and talking! 

Character Quality Studies

Since the language arts curriculum that we write is based on character qualities, we have a handy little Character Quality and Overview “Chart” to help parents teach character in their homes.

This “chart” goes character-trait-by-character-trait (twenty-four in all) with some handy information for implementing character training in Christian homes–regardless of whether you homeschool or not and regardless of whether you use our language arts curriculum or not.

Here are some cool things these character quality overview charts have:

1. Character Quality listed at the top of each chart
2. Key verse that goes with that quality
3. Sermon on the Mount Scripture focus that points to that quality
4. Related character qualities–those that are similar and those that are opposite
5. “Detailed Areas of Study in This Unit”–this details some of the stories, characters, science and nature areas, historical figures, missionaries, Bible people, etc. that our language arts curriculum focuses on in that monthly unit–but for those wanting to use this as a character quality study/overview, it lists songs, books, topics, etc. that you might do during your study of that character quality (especially biographies, Bible characters and stories, books to read, etc.)
6. Bible passages–these are listed in the margin and are passages of Scripture that you may read together as a family, etc. for devotions
7. Bible characters-this is a list of Bible characters that did or did not exhibit that quality
8. Materials Available Through Training for Triumph–these are books and additional materials that we carry about that character quality

This is a great resource for gathering items to study character! Homeschoolers can print off eight of these for the eight qualities that they would like to focus on during the eight months of the school year, take this to conventions with you–and get read alouds, etc. to go with your character studies.

Non-homeschoolers can have verses and Bible characters at a glance to read from for quick devotions, etc.

When you go to the link below, be sure to scroll down a few pages to the first of the twenty-four qualities.