What Every Parent Needs To Know About Spanking

If you’re ever at a loss for how to piss a lot of people off in one fell swoop, criticize parents for spanking. That will do it every time. I don’t exactly understand it, but there are a lot of people who are really, really attached to the idea that spanking is a good thing and no amount of research, data or reasoning will convince them otherwise. Because “I was spanked and I turned out OK!”*

I should say upfront that I’m not an anti-spanking purist. I have swatted a child on the bum a time or two myself and don’t anticipate that being what they end up seeking counseling for. However, over the last couple of decades we’ve learned an enormous amount about how our neural system operates that we were not aware of before. And whatever your current ideas about spanking are, we now know things that our parents and grandparents didn’t about the design of the human body which every parent should be aware of before they decide to use spanking as a discipline method with their children.

The first thing you need to know is that when you spank a child, you trigger their autonomic fight or flight reaction. It’s automatic and the child has no control over it. You can train them to suppress signs of this neurological state such as crying, pulling away or facial expressions of distress, but the underlying physiological reaction will remain the same. The thing to understand about the fight or flight response is that it is the same whether you’re facing off with a deadly viper or a large adult with a belt in hand. Whether you think that a fight or flight response is an appropriate reaction to spanking or not makes not one whit of difference. It’s the way our fearfully and wonderfully made neurological system works and is not under a child’s control.

What happens in a fight or flight state is that our bodies are flooded with stress hormones which increase respiration and heart rates. We often begin to sweat. Hormones stimulate energy to be released to the muscles. When a person’s fight or flight response has been triggered, their hippocampus – the part of their brain responsible for rational thought, decision making and learning – is no longer fully connected to the rest of the brain. The primitive, reptilian part of the brain takes over, allowing us to take in more information through our senses and respond quickly, without having to stop and think. All of this is designed to give us the best chance of surviving in a dangerous situation.

This fight or flight response is programmed and we do not control it. And it activates just the same regardless of the threat being faced is real or not. The fact that you’re spanking a child and not trying to hunt and eat them doesn’t make a great deal of difference to your child’s neurological system, which is, like the rest of their body, more delicate and less fully developed than in an adult. So although it’s likely not your intention, when you threaten or spank your child, you are putting them into a neurological state designed to protect them in the event of a saber tooth lion attack. Which may not actually be the relationship dynamic you want to foster.

But even if you are one of those parents who believe that making your child afraid of you is a good thing, there’s the practical implication of sending your child into a fight or flight state to consider. As I mentioned above, one of the things that happens in this state is that the thinking, learning, reasoning part of your brain goes off line. Obviously this is completely counter-productive for parents hoping to teach a child something. To the extent that you are teaching them, you are creating an aversion response. So the child may develop an aversion to whatever it is which triggered the punishment but it will not actually teach them anything deeper than that.

The other problem is that triggering this fight or flight response excessively will cause the response to be activated more easily. Which makes sense on two levels. One is that because of brain plasticity, every time you activate a specific neural pathway, you make it stronger. The stronger a neural pathways is, the more easily the brain defaults to it. And if you’re living in an environment in which your life is regularly endangered, responding to danger quickly gives you the best chance of survival. But when it’s a parent triggering this response, this adjustment is maladaptive. Children who experience it are going to be more fearful, more anxious, more hyper-vigilant, etc. If it’s happening often enough or over a long enough period of time, a process called kindling starts in which the neural pathways become so excitable that they will engage even in the absence of any perceived threat. All of this increases the likelyhood that the child will go on to suffer from disorders like anxiety, OCD and depression because their brains slip into fight or flight mode too easily.

Those people who advocate to spank until the child is fully compliant and repentant, as certain “Christian” teachers claim should be the end result of a spanking, are actually engaging the next step of the body’s autonomic response to danger: collapse/freeze. Collapse is what happens after the fight or flight response fails to resolve the dangerous situation. You see this in animals when they are cornered by a predator and they respond by playing dead. The collapse response is meant to be a deterrent (most predators won’t eat already dead animals). It also provides some psychic protection to the animal from the experience of being cornered and eaten.

The way collapse works in the body is this: as I mentioned above, when in a fight or flight state, our body is flooded with hormones which cause a surge of energy. When we cross over to collapse, the body essentially turns off its responsiveness to those hormones and shuts the system down. At this point, the hypocampus as well as the parts of the brain responsible for memory creation are almost fully disengaged. Cellular metabolism and responsiveness to hormonal signals slows. The child is working on auto pilot. This is a normal, protective response designed to protect us from traumatic situations. Dealing with your own parents isn’t supposed to be a traumatic situation. Even if the kid’s mouthed off first.

If collapse works and the danger passes, the body then sets about returning its neurological system to a normal state. Remember, a collapse state is characterized by the disengagement of significant parts of the brain which now need to be brought back online. There’s also the issue of all those energy producing hormones and the energy itself which are still coursing through the body. And at the cellular level, metabolic functioning is greatly reduced in a collapse state as the brain has signaled the muscles not to use the excessive energy created in the fight or flight state.So all that energy needs to be discharged, mental focus needs to be regained, and normal cellular functioning needs to resume.

In animals this neurological reset process looks like shaking, running in circles, jumping around and engage in other behaviors to work off the energy producing hormones created in the fight or flight state. In humans, this discharge will often look like sobbing hysterically, shaking, moving, screaming, throwing or slamming objects and doing other things that parents generally don’t let their children do after a spanking. This means that the child’s nervous system never has the chance to return to a normal state. Stress hormones remain in their bloodstream long after the event has passed, focusing and learning takes more effort and cellular use of energy and response to hormonal signals remains muted.

As is the case when a child’s fight or flight response is triggered excessively, when a child is pushed to the point of collapse, that strengthens the neural pathways responsible for executing the collapse state, causing it to happen more quickly in response to lower and lower levels of stimulation. Children who are brought to the point of collapse repeatedly may enter into a persistent state of collapse where all of their reactions are muted and they are no longer fully engaging with the world around them. Parents who discipline this way will often believe that because their children are quiet, compliant and still, these are signs that the “discipline” is working. Children who experience this are at high risk for Complex (Developmental) PTSD and dissociative disorders.

Now, some of you are protesting that this all sounds rather alarmist and cataclysmic in light of the fact that we’re talking about spanking a child. It’s not like parents are holding their children over a pit of hungry hyenas and threatening to drop them in or beating them with baseball bats, after all. (Hopefully) But we must not forget that just like children’s bodies are more delicate than adults and require special care, their nervous system are also more delicate and require special care.

At any rate, like I said, I’m not an anti-spanking purist. I have swatted my kids on the bum now and again. But people who are strong proponents of spanking generally don’t understand what it is they are actually doing to their children. Yes, you can get a quiet, compliant, still child by spanking if that’s your goal. However it comes at the cost of doing often permanent damage to this amazing nervous system which God gave us. There are many, many other discipline methods that parents can use to actually teach their children, help them develop self-control and proper behavior without running the risk of messing up the functioning of their neurology.

If you are a parent who would like to learn about alternatives to spanking, below is a list of resources compiled by Tricia Wilson that you can use:

Websites

Books

  • Conscious Discipline by BeckyBailey, https://consciousdiscipline.com/?sT…
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish https://goo.gl/9U9cHl
  • Scream Free Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Runkel https://goo.gl/gW6SVB
  • Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Collected by Susan Stiffelman goo.gl/qnCOeK
  • Parenting With Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids by Susan Stiffelman goo.gl/Mc7VTx
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn goo.gl/n57O2D
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Laura Markham goo.gl/RwPgFM
  • Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer goo.gl/8YYK6m
  • Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children From Birth to Seven by Barbara Patterson and Pamela Bradley goo.gl/BLJfMU
  • Time In When Time Out Doesn’t Work by Jean Illsey Clarke goo.gl/Z4OAqj
  • Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers by Deborah McNamara and Gordon Neufeld goo.gl/z7DOsY
  • 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan goo.gl/k30E45
  • The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis goo.gl/WecbdJ
  • No Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson goo.gl/HYYROi
  • Parenting From the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel Siegel goo.gl/3QAITW
  • Playful Parenting: An Exciting New Approach to Raising Children That Will Help You Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Confidence by Lawrence Cohen goo.gl/lUibDP
  • The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behaviour Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears by Elizabeth Pantley goo.gl/FK0tPb

*My 21 year old son has the perfect snarky response to the people who the “I turned out OK” argument in favor of spanking: “you think it’s ok for full grown adults to hit small children. Clearly you didn’t turn out that ok.”

 

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For All Your Dream Needs

Your old men will dream dreams ~ Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17

We moderns are too sophisticated to put much stock in the idea that God would communicate with us through dreams, but dream interpretation has a long and storied history in scriptures. There are numerous examples of dream interpretation and messages being sent via dreams through out the bible. Including the dream that solid, respectable Joseph had which convinced him to go through with his marriage to Mary.

Even today, odds are good that you’ve occasionally run into people claiming to have dreams about the future or which contain messages from God. For the rest of us it’s not uncommon to have the same dream repeatedly or which for whatever reason seem important and wondered why. And we’ve probably all heard some radio show where a person who is supposed to be an expert in dream interpretation blows callers away with insights gleaned from strange dreams they have had. So, although it’s not spoken about much or given much credence in “respectable” circles, dreams and their possible meanings continue to fascinate us.

Personally, I used to be prone to repeating dreams. One in particular involved tornadoes and various family members. I finally went searching for what it could mean and found an explanation of the symbolism of tornadoes in dreams that made perfect sense to me. Once I figured out what they meant, I stopped having the tornado dreams.

After that, I would frequently try to find explanations for what my troubling, repetitive dreams might mean. So I could stop having them. But most dream dictionaries were either so incomplete or so far fetched that they weren’t any help. They’d have entries with ridiculous things like, “snakes are a sign that someone is going to betray you” or “dreaming about the color red means that you have hidden sexual desires for frogs” or whatever.

A few years ago I stumbled across what is, without any doubt, the best, most complete, most helpful dream dictionary in existence. It’s the creation of a man named Tony Crisp and you can find it at his website Dreamhawk. An expanded, more complete version is also available on Amazon.

What sets Tony’s dream interpretation apart from others I have seen is that it’s grounded in reality rather than woowoo mystical ideas or Freud’s extremely questionable ideas about what’s lurking in our subconscious minds. Instead, Tony looks at the way a subject matter is used in our language, our common stories, archetypes we’re all familiar with and the like. For example, here’s part of an entry about cooking: Continue reading

Suffer Us Little Children

What parent doesn’t want to be a better parent to their kids?

And what Christian doesn’t desperately wish to be truly humble? (OK, almost no Christian actually wants any such thing, but play along with me here.)

What if I told you that I have the secret to attaining these two highly desirable goals all in one fell swoop? Well, I’d become a viral sensation and finally be discovered and recognized as the spiritual genius I am, of course!

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ah. Sorry, sometimes I just need a good laugh. (You may not find me so amusing, but from time to time I crack myself up. It always makes me happy to know that someone thinks I’m funny.)

Anyhow, in all seriousness, somewhere along the line I picked up a spiritual habit that actually does humble me far more than I want to be humbled. And it does make me a better, more compassionate parent. And I will share it with y’all in case any of you are stupid brave enough to want to follow in my footsteps and enjoy the horrible joyous spiritual misery benefits. (I’m feeling really up on life today. Can you tell?)

It goes back to something Jesus said:

“[Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Now, the bible is filled with references to God as father. Which would make us children. But it’s often not a particularly helpful concept because we tend to want God the Father to be a grandiose, super hero version of dad rather than a real dad.

So we think that being dad, God is supposed to protect us from all harm. Which, as anyone who has ever watched Finding Nemo knows, doesn’t actually work in real life. And we want God to be the dad who makes sure his kids have everything they need. Which is no doubt what the father of every child who has ever gone to bed hungry wants as well. We want God to move heaven and earth, changing time and the rules of life itself if that’s what it takes to make things all better. Even though heaven, earth, time and life itself all work the way they do because God made them work that way, presumably for good reasons.

The truth is that we don’t actually want God the Father. We want God the personal body guard/Santa Claus/magician.

In real life, dads do provide and protect, to the best of their ability. But mostly they tell you to stop jumping on the couch. They spin you in circles and tickle you and make fart jokes. They refuse to give into your temper tantrums and tell you to wait your turn and share with your sister. They teach you how life works and strategies for coping with its difficulties. They tell you stories and give advice and keep your secrets.

Once you understand this, Jesus’ teaching that we must become like little children takes on a whole new flavor. In fact, what I’ve learned is that when God is not responding to me the way I think he should, it’s because he’s dealing with me like a real father. And I’m acting like a real child. Which is hard to see when I think I’m the righteous heroine in distress and God’s supposed to be my father cum super hero/Santa Claus/magician.

For example, this spring, I realized that my ongoing anger at God was very much like when my kids would attempt to bend me to their will by throwing the world’s biggest temper tantrum. And that much of my time in the desert was basically God using my own super easy, super effective parenting trick on me. He was just standing by, waiting out my hurt and anger so we could both start to move forward.

And it makes me appreciate how much God puts up with from me. How rarely he chastises me for my anger and instead offers comfort and understanding. He bends down to my height and listens to my howls of pain and outrage and tells me I’m going to be OK. Then when I won’t be comforted, he withdraws a little to wait until I’m ready.

But he never mocks me. He doesn’t tell me to shut up and show some appreciation for everything he does for me. He never holds the things I say in anger against me. He doesn’t walk away in disgust. He doesn’t yell at me or tell me to pull myself together and grow up. He doesn’t get angry at me for not showing proper respect. He just loves me through it until I figure things out for myself.

Realizing how much pain I am in when I throw my spiritual little kid temper tantrums, forces me to look at my children’s temper tantrums with much more compassion. I can see how ridiculous they are sometimes being. But even when they know they’re being kind of ridiculous, they are in so much pain that they just can’t help themselves.

So I do for them what God does for me. I don’t mock, ridicule or yell at them. I offer comfort and if they won’t take it, I just stand by and wait it out. I understand that as annoying as a temper tantrum throwing little kid is, it’s much worse to be in that much distress.

Right now I’m in a period of waiting. My life is a disaster. Beyond repair, so far as I can tell. Yet I’ve had multiple people who I trust pass on messages telling me that it’s just a matter of time. God has very good plans for me. But he’s working on his own schedule and he’s not going to deviate from it, even though it’s painful for me.

This is very frustrating because every time I get upset and beg God to step in and help me and I get angry about my life, I am forcibly reminded of how my kids pester me when I tell them to wait. How they will come to me multiple times a day demanding to know why it’s not their birthday yet. Or asking, “are you ready yet?” over and over. Or wanting to know when their stomach flu will pass.

Frankly, my kids’ inability to wait irritates me like nothing else. Realizing that I’m in the same boat and that the waiting is unbearably painful both humbles me and gives me new compassion for my kids. I’m not sure I’ve really understood before how much I’m asking from them when I tell them to wait. Which has forced me to be more judicious about when I elevate my priorities over theirs and how long I ask them to wait.

It also makes me more cognizant of the burden of their trust. I cannot ask them to wait patiently if I cannot be trusted to do what I’ve said I will. I’ve learned to make very, very few promises or commitments with my kids. It drives them nuts, but then when I say I will do something, they can have full confidence that it will happen, no matter how long it takes.

I don’t honestly like the idea that my problems, which from a human perspective are not small, are so small in the eyes of God. It makes me feel less than. No one likes to feel less than. Like a lot of us, if you tell me that my problems are childish or my pain is caused by my immaturity, I feel angry and humiliated.

But this reveals a flaw in my thinking; God is not a man who would look on a child’s problems as foolish and inconsequential. The harm done to a child can stay with them for a lifetime. He’s not the sort of parent who demands that his child takes his perspective for their own. He respects our limits and doesn’t treat us with disrespect because we are not as mature, powerful and capable as he is. God asks us to be humble, but never, ever, ever wants us to be humiliated by our status as children.

We’re children. We have children’s problems. What Love knows, that we too often do not, is that children’s problems are real. The fact that we, from our vantage point as adults see them as foolish and unworthy of care or concern comes from our lack as parents. Yes, sometimes our kids frustrate us and sometimes the gap between their distress and the magnitude of the actual problem makes us laugh. But we should never shame them or humiliate them for seeing things from a child’s perspective.

Part of what I have learned from humbling myself enough to see that I really am like a child to God who really is like a father is how much is required of us as parents. We speak of child’s problems as if they are small, foolish things. But as I said, the harm done to a child can stay with them for a lifetime. And too often parents minimize the harm done to their children because they are unwilling to be strong, brave and sacrificial enough to help them.

Think of all the children who are abused by parents who believe they have the right (if not the obligation) to inflict pain on them for their own good, when really the parents are just too immature and out of control to handle the demands of parenting. Or the kids who seek help only to be turned away by adults who are unwilling to risk ruining a reputation or threaten a comfortable family dynamic. Or all the kids who are hurting and in trouble who get met with “tough love” or ignored by adults who want the child to carry all of the burdens placed on them rather than facing their own failures or disrupting long existing ideas about how things are done.

Then think of what God did for his hurting children on the cross.

When God asks us to humble ourselves to be little children, he’s not trying to humiliate us. He’s asking us to give him the chance to be the sort of parent that we actually need. To be the parent who is trustworthy and won’t turn away in our time of need. To be the parent who comforts rather than shames us. To be the parent who takes our hurts seriously rather than mocking them. To be the parent who lifts our burdens rather than telling us to buck up under them.

Which all sounds nice, but there’s a great deal at stake here. You see, it’s very hard to parent when you were never parented well yourself. No matter how much you love your children, when your back’s against the wall, your automatic response will come out of your brokeness rather than your love.

Children are vulnerable. It’s easy to hurt them without ever meaning to. And if you are unwilling to humble yourself, to allow God to parent you and show you the way, you may cause harm that can’t be undone in this lifetime. Which is why Jesus ended his words about becoming like little children with a promise and a warning for us:

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

The best of the week . . .

according to omnipotent me. ;p

If you twitter, you should go press that button over there to follow me on twitter.  If you don’t follow or don’t twitter or follow so many people that watching your twitter feed is like looking into the matrix, here are some of the highlights you may have missed:

How a Financial Pro Lost His House is a superb first person story of how one man, who knew better, got caught up in the housing bubble and the fallout that he and his family lived through.  I especially like his explanation of how his experience has changed the advice he gives and the way he sees the role of personal needs in people’s financial decisions.

Thanksgiving as Day to Shop Meets Rejection.  Retailers may finally have pushed Black Friday too far.  Yay!

I don’t know if I should be frightened or encouraged that there are more children like my sons out there: The Alternate Dimension My Son Calls Reality.

Know Yourself – Self Awareness and Change: “There is a famous Zen saying, ‘You are perfect as you are, and you could use a little work.’”

We Can All Be Job Creators.  I love Howard Schultz’s idea for creating a simple way for Starbucks customers to help provide money for loans for small businesses while picking up the morning latte.

And finally, I think I am in love with Les Floyd, a blogger I found recently.  Here are two great posts from him:

We Might Be Giants and With Friends Like These

If you have any good links you’d like to share, share! (And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.  The button’s right over on the left just waiting to be pressed.)

Much-Ado-About-Feelings

Much to my family of origin’s dismay, sometimes my life is weird.  And interesting.

For example, earlier this year I had a chance to learn massage therapy from a crazy, old, hippy, Christian massage and hypnotherapist.  He was a bit of a charlatan and con-artist, but a pretty sincere one.  If you asked him, he would tell you the color of your aura, how many angels were following you and that he saw numbers around and over people that told him if you were being true to yourself or not.  (Pretty easy to do – 90% of people aren’t true to themselves!)  His 3 most fervent beliefs would be (in this order):

1. That every human needs to be in relationship with Jesus.

2. That  everyone needs to undergo hypnotherapy (which he calls the deepest form prayer) in order to be set free spiritually and emotionally.

3. That Americans need to be freed from their government.

Did I mention that he spent years living in a nudist camp and believes we’ll all be nudists after Jesus returns?  (Although he never doffed his clothes at the shop unless he was getting a massage.)  And he has an IQ of 160 (according to him and I’d pretty much believe it).  There’s more, but really he’s not the main point of the post.  Its just that he is too weird and wonderful not to share!

The real point of this post is a book that he gave me to read while working with him by Carl Banyan (a highly respected hypnotherapy instructor) which I think is just genius.  It’s called The Secret Language of Feelings A Rational Approach to Emotional Mastery.  In it, Banyan provides the best explanation of our feelings and how to deal with them that I have ever read.  I really do recommend reading the book, but I wanted to share a couple of the core ideas from the book here.

Basically, Banyan explains that our emotions are like warning lights on a car’s dash.  They are there to tell us something, but most of us don’t know what they are trying to tell us.  (One of my sisters made my brother check her car once because there was a constantly flashing light on the dash and it was making her very nervous to drive the car like that.  It was the seat belt light.  Again, not really relevant, but funny.)  So we do our best to ignore the light or make it go away. Maybe top off the fluids and check the gas cap to see if that helps.

What we need to do and teach our children to do, Banyan says, is learn to recognize those feelings, understand what it is meant to communicate, evaluate if the feeling is pointing in the right direction, if there is a possible solution or if you just need to accept the situation, at least temporarily.  He says, “Emotion is pure motivation.  It’s a psychological pressure to act.”  In the book he goes through the basic emotional responses we have, what each is trying to tell us and how to respond productively.  Again, you’d need to read the book for all the details, but a couple of examples of the basic emotions and their messages are these:

1. Anger.  Could also be experienced as hurt or irritation.  Meant to alert you to the possibility that you are being mistreated and need to stand up for yourself.  When you are angry, you should first check if your anger is justified and if there is a solution.  If it’s not justified or you can’t change the situation at the moment, let it go.  If you can do something, do it.

2. Sad.  Sad is telling you that you have suffered a loss.  Sometimes the loss is obvious like the death of a loved one.  Sometimes its a bit more subtle like if something you believed is shown to be false.  Again, the questions are focused on making sure the matter is worth the emotion, seeing if there is anything to be done, and learning how to move on if not.

Emotions are so important to our experience of life.  Part of our culture’s obsessive quest for material prosperity is that demonstrating mastery of money and acquiring something new are quick-fix ways of distracting or comforting ourselves from emotions we don’t know how to deal with.  On  the other hand, a person who has mastered their emotions will be able to enjoy their lives in meager circumstances or in times of plenty.

When I read this book, I was rather stunned at the wisdom and practical instructions found in it.  This is one of those rare books that pretty much every human being would benefit from reading.  Parents in particular will be able to put the information here to good use by teaching their kids what all the lights on the dashboard mean and how to deal with them.  And if anyone needs a massage or some hypnotherapy, I know a very good, albeit rather kooky one just down the road! 😉

3.

The Homeschool Diner is Open!

My friend Julie, a smart, resourceful homeschooling mom has just opened the homeschooldiner.com. It’s a website devoted to spreading the word about homeschooling, helping people find materials, methods and curriculum which will work best for them and their child(ren). In our circle, Julie is the queen of info and always knows the best websites, resources and activities out there. If you or someone you know is thinking about homeschooling or you’re already homeschooling and thinking about shaking things up, her website is THE place to go.
Also, she has written a book aimed at younger kids called “I learn at home” which follows two children doing a unit study on Japan. This can be a great help as “everyone else” heads back to school to help kids develop a positive attitude about homeschooling. You can order the book off her website.
So, head on over and check it out!

Stuff to look at

I’m sure all my faithful minions are heartbroken that I haven’t been blogging more this week, but packing must continue. So in the meantime, I’ll direct you to some fun stuff to look through:
The Pig’s Tales: A 4th grade teacher blogging about life, school, kids and an outrageously terrible principle. I recommend starting here and wandering through older posts (the stuff on her main page right now isn’t as interesting as some of her older stuff, IMHO).
Generation Me: A new book which just came out about people born in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s based on lots of research which looks at the good and the bad of this generation. I’m going to blog about this at some point, but I just don’t have the time right now. Check out the author’s blog – older posts are better as she’s been very busy out promoting her book the last few weeks. I don’t agree with everything she has to say, but there’s a lot of good stuff to think about. (Site appears to be down right this moment, but hopefully this is temporary.)
Go Fug Yourself: Pictures and critique of terribly dressed celebrities. OK, this is not very Christian and actually down-right snarky, but I must share that there have been times when at the end of a very long, hard day I look at this sight and see something like this and laugh so hard that life seems a little easier to take. And the girls who do the website, while perhaps not using their talents for the highest purposes, are great writers whose commentary is often funnier than the pictures. And in their (and my) defense, they disapprove of people walking around half naked just as much as my mother.
There you go. Grab some coffee and browse. I’ll be back soon. I hope.

Websites about money management for kids

February’s issue of Black Enterprise Magazine has a great list of websites about helping kids learn financial management that I thought I’d share:

www.myownbizkit.com This Website offers business opportunities to parents and their children who are highly motivated and interested in learning about entrepreneurship.

www.youthventure.org This Website helps young people across the country start youth-led organizations that achieve a lasting benefit for their schools and communities.

www.youthinvestor.com This Website offers insightful information that introduces young people to the concept of investing.

www.fleetkids.com This website contains a wealth of knowledge to help parents teach their kids about money and investing.

www.bankingonourfuture.org Helping our children take control of their financial future, this Website offers the basics in banking and credit unions, checking and savings accounts, insurance, credit and investments.

www.jumpstartcoalition.org This site’s direct objective is to encourage curriculum enrichment to ensure that basic personal financial management skills are attained during grades K-12.

www.ncee.net/ea/program.php This organization provides materials and programs to help schools across the country meet state academic standards in economics, personal finance, and social studies.

www.teachingkidsbusiness.com This is a free online resource that helps kids in grades K-12 discover, explore and gain experience in the world of business.

www.ja.org Junior achievement uses hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life.
Source: Black Enterprise Magazine, February 2006.

BTW Black Enterprise Magazine is a WONDERFUL magazine which is directed towards African Americans but which does such a wonderful job of covering practical financial issues that I highly recommend it to anyone regardless of their race. I find it is especially helpful for anyone who may not have been taught how to build a solid financial foundation while growing up. It covers topics from very basic budgeting, use of credit, etc to starting a business, investing and estate planning. Not getting paid (wish I was), just wanted to pass it on!