Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

“Beautiful Boy” And A Thought On Parenting

IMG000013“Our children live and die with or without us.”

I cringed when I first read David Sheff’s quote in “Beautiful Boy.” I mean, why else do I make my kids eat broccoli, go to therapy and introduce me to their friends?

Because I think I can somehow save my children.

Now, I know they’re still young, and I have parental responsibility. I have an obligation and desire to guide my children in a path that’s healthy and whole. Mr. Sheff knows that, too. However, there comes a time when we have to let our kids go.

Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.

But that’s in the future. My children are still young, and right now, I plan to do everything I can to help them be godly, honest and balanced kids who grow up to be productive adult contributors to society.

Ultimately, I know my kids will have to make decisions and choices for themselves. They will also have to deal with the good and bad consequences that come with their decisions.

David Sheff’s son chose a drug addiction to meth and other substances.I hope and pray my kids don’t go that route. I pray they make different choices.

Until then, I’m here walking with them every step of the way. And until we’re separated by death, I pray they know that their mama loves them always and forever no matter what.

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Jamberry Nail Wraps: Who Knew A Girl Could Have So Much Fun?!

0925141449 0925141450 Painting my nails is something unique I enjoy doing. With nail polish, I can customize my look, match my mood and look my best. I guess I passed on my hobby to my daughter because she loves to paint her nails, too.

The fumes are a major downside to looking beautiful, though. The men in our house don’t like the fumes, either. In the past, we’ve sat outside to paint our nails. But who wants to be banished outdoors now that the weather’s growing cooler? Even with steaming hot pumpkin coffee, the days are growing too cold to polish our nails outdoors!

So, I was thrilled when my friend Ruth Hope introduced me to Jamberry Nail Wraps. She assured me that they’re easy to apply, fun to enjoy and gentle to remove. Plus, she showed me pictures of how I can apply Jams to all my nails or just one or two nails. I can even mix and match different designs and colors.

I  jumped on the chance to try Jamberry for myself. Getting the hang of applying the wraps took a bit of getting used to, but the learning curve didn’t take long. My daughter still occasionally has trouble getting hers to stick, but we’re solving that problem with alcohol wipes, plenty of heat and bedtime application so the wraps really adhere.

I love the fact that doing my nails now takes minutes rather than an hour. I don’t have to apply a base coat (wait for it to dry), apply the first coat of polish (watch the paint dry), apply a second coat (more waiting) and then apply a top coat (am I done waiting yet?). And they won’t chip, peel or smudge the minute I stand up (like my purple nails in the picture did).

If you’d like to try Jamberry Nail Wraps, check out the wraps on Ruth’s Jamberry page. You can buy three and get one free, plus each page does two or three manicures/pedicures. Place your order and check out under my (Jennifer Turner) party, and post plenty of pictures of your gorgeous Jamberry nails!

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Let the Music Calm You

Ever have one of those days where anxiety, worry, anger or stress sit just under the surface of your “I have it all together” mask? Do you ever feel like those ugly emotions are waiting to bubble up and spew out at the slightest provocation?

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Scream (Courtesy Mingo Hagen, Flickr)

Okay, you don’t have to admit it.

But I will.

Parenting a kiddo with special needs takes more emotional strength than I can muster sometimes. Although, to be honest, just navigating a busy grocery store, parking at Walmart or paying bills can be enough to set my internal thermometer rising.

And when I feel the internal frustration begin to bubble and threaten to spill over with ugly and hurtful words or mean glances, I try to turn to music.

It soothes and calms me like few relaxation techniques can. And believe me, I’ve tried tons of relaxation methods!

Listening to this song by Hillsong United is one of my favorite ways to restore peace and calm to my soul. I simply close my eyes and let the words and the song’s truths pour over me. Sometimes, I have to listen to it a few times before the truths sink in, but I remain incredibly grateful for the calming lyrics and peaceful message.

What is your go-to relaxation method? You might not need one today, but in case you ever experience one of those days where you’re frazzled, angry, anxious or unrestful, give this song a listen and let the music calm you.

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Corn on the Cob Fan, Fanatic or Frump?

I have a confession to make.

I’m not a big corn on the cob fan.

Delicious Corn on the Cob

My parents, who have grown rows of sweet corn on their farm for at least three decades, don’t understand my lack of enthusiasm for their favorite summer meal. They wonder if all the years of corn harvests affected my current taste buds.

Every summer, we picked row after row of corn and husked all those dozens of ears. I occupied myself outdoors or with a good book when my mom and grandma shooed me out of the kitchen. Here, gallons of water boiled on the stove, and every available surface was covered with cut off corn kernels and sprayed with corn juice.

I might never know why I don’t enjoy corn on the cob, but my kids sure did jump on the bandwagon. As soon as the season starts, they’re itching to sink their teeth into a juicy, sweet cob that’s loaded with melted butter. (I think rolling the freshly boiled cobs in a stick of butter make eating this vegetable even more appealing for my kids).

0802141209Despite my lack of love for corn on the cob, I bought some at my local farmers market, husked it while our four kittens watched and cooked it up for my family.

They dug right in.

I on the other hand, ate one cob so that I could say I ate fresh corn this year, and then I eagerly grabbed the dental floss. Once everyone had their fill, I cut the corn kernels off the cobs we didn’t eat and now have a nice side dish for dinner this week. Now that I’ll enjoy!

Do you have any corn picking, prepping or eating memories? If so, let me know. I’d also love to hear if you’re a corn on the cob fan, fanatic or frump.  :)

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For All the Wounded Mamas

While driving my son to his therapeutic camp the other day, I spotted a mama duck and her five duckling. Stranded alongside the road, they battled speeding traffic to find a way across the road.

This mama duck wasn’t any ordinary duck, though.

Mama Duck and Ducklings

Mama Duck and Ducklings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She walked with a limp.

As I briefly debated stopping the car in the middle of the road, stopping traffic and helping the duck family cross the road safely, my heart broke.

Would this mama duck survive against much heavier cars and trucks? Would she be able to guide her babies to whatever they wanted on the other side? I’ll never know the answers to these questions, but I do know that duck taught me a lesson.

All mamas are wounded.

We don’t sign up to be:

  • Ignored
  • Yelled at
  • Neglected
  • Sleep deprived
  • Prematurely gray
  • Forgotten on our birthdays

But many mamas experience these challenges at least once during their mothering careers.

There is Hope

We all have choices. I admit: I wallow in the woundedness too often. However, there’s always a silver lining and hope.

1. Self-care: An escape into a good book, a warm cup of coffee, a quick chat with a good friend and even a moment of cloud watching can refresh our souls before we reenter the real world. Whether you have one minute or an hour, prioritize self-care as you heal from woundedness.

2. Gratitude: Your child’s smile, an early bedtime, an empty washing machine and a brief hug are all blessings. Can you find other things to be grateful for in the midst of your parenting challenges?

3. Prayer and God’s Word: I’m amazed by how God knows exactly what I need. And as I pour out my heart while I scrub the toilets, wash endless sinks of dishes and fold laundry, He always shows up. He heals broken hearts (Psalm 147:3), provides comfort (Psalm 119:50) and offers hope (Psalm 31:23-24) at all times, including when our parenting job is overwhelming.

We can’t get through this parenting gig without feeling wounded at least once in a while. However, we don’t have to stay there. What’s your favorite way to heal from the wounds you experience?

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A Ten-Month-Olds Letter to Santa

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThis wish list is too cute not to share.

Merry Christmas to all you dads and moms, and your kiddos young and old, out there!

 

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Your Child’s Disability Isn’t Your Fault

As I cope with the possibility that my son has a learning disability, ADHD, etc, I can’t help feeling a little bit responsible.

  • I should’ve had his ear tubes inserted sooner. Then he would have heard sounds clearer, which would have helped his language/reading ability.
  • I should’ve pursued testing sooner. I wonder if we’ve waited too long and if permanent emotional damage is done to my son.
  • I should’ve fought more when the insurance company denied the initial eval. It took an educational battery from a school psychologist for us to get permission to do the testing we need.

I could go on and on, but I have to come to terms that my child’s disability isn’t my fault. I’m grateful for my friend D who reminded me of this truth today. I needed to hear her wisdom, and maybe you do too.

We can’t change the past. And just like we can’t control our kids’ actions, we can’t cause or take away their disability. But we can do something about the disability.

I’ll be calling first thing tomorrow morning for the next eval we need. And I’ll be pushing until my son and our family gets the help we need.

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Mommas Need Friends Too

As a home schooling parent, do you ever hear questions about how your kids receive socialization? I’ve been lucky/blessed/hiding under a rock and in four years have only heard one person question the social aspects of my decision to home school. However, I question why people never ask about socialization for parents.

My daughter has a friend over for a play date today, and I’m listening to them play school together. I suddenly feel lonely.

I do have a companion all day. He wakes me up with a tap on my shoulder (and sometimes a kiss) before he rushes at full speed into the play room for Curious George. While I love my six-year-old and his conversation, I miss adult connections.

Sometimes, I miss out on adult time because a little one is ill and needs momma or hubby’s working late so I can’t leave the house. The other day, I tried to call a friend while hiding in the bathroom, but my hiding place didn’t stay secret for long. While I  sneak peeks at Facebook throughout the day to stay semi in touch, that’s not the same as personally spending time together with a friend.

Other times, I’m with women but thwart any attempts at friendship because of my introverted nature. I wonder if I have anything of value to say, I question how to start a conversation and I fear no one will like me. If I struggle with these thoughts as a grown adult, how must our young kids feel?

We owe it to your children to model friendship. Maybe your child easily makes friends but struggles to build relationships or deal with the ongoing commitment a friendship requires. Maybe your child is painfully shy and can’t even introduce herself to other children. Maybe your child hasn’t mastered the art of sharing and struggles when children come over. Perhaps you recognize one or more of these traits in yourself.

My only solution is to keep working at it. Friendship is a process. We don’t cultivate “best friends” in a day. By navigating the big world of friendship for ourselves, we help our kids learn how to be a friend too.

With that solution in mind, I’m off to call a friend. I think I’ll try hiding in my closet this time.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

My daughter and son finally had a chance to make an Apple Turkey food craft they’ve been wanting to try since last Thanksgiving. They embellished an apple with cereal, marshmallows and candy. Of course, after pictures, they ate it. :)

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Teaching Kids to be Thankful

Some kids naturally show gratitude and are content with little. Others crave more and more and more stuff. I think a child’s attitude is highly dependent on their upbringing and their parents’ attitude toward stuff. But that’s another post.

I woke up this morning thinking about Thanksgiving, since it’s tomorrow. Are my kids grateful for what they have? Do they appreciate how much they have? Will they be grateful for the presents or lack of presents they receive for Christmas about 34 more days?

We want our kids to be thankful. We want to be thankful too. It’s just way too easy to grumble, complain, envy and wish for more stuff, money, clothes, etc. Several tools teach our kids to show gratitude every day of the year.

1. A gratitude journal is an effective tool for teaching kids (and ourselves) to be thankful. In a simple notebook, write one word or a sentence that describes something you’re thankful for. Try to write something every day. In addition to teaching gratitude, this journal is a great tool for teaching handwriting and spelling.

2. Learn about other cultures. Billions of people live well below what we in the U.S. consider poverty level. It helps sometimes to have a reminder of how little other people have. Watch age-appropriate documentaries, read picture books or research countries together, and teach your kids about all the blessings they have, even if they’re have to wear secondhand clothes, don’t have the latest tech gadgets or can’t buy every toy they want.

3. Support a child through Compassion International or a similar organization. Your children receive a picture of the child they are sponsoring and letters throughout the year. The program gives your children insight into how fortunate they are, and it emphasizes the blessings of  having access to education, food and other resources that are easy to take for granted.

4 Raise money for a good cause. Hold yard sales, bake sales or Craigslist sales to raise money for a charity. Consider donating to a teen pregnancy center (baby supplies are appreciated), Operation Christmas Child (pack a shoebox for kids of all ages), Toys For Tots, Coats for Kids or a food bank. When your kids help raise the money, they’re personally involved in sharing their wealth with others and in making the holiday brighter for others.

5. Focus on serving others. The holidays are a great time to donate to charity or participate in a community service project. When your kids buy gifts for other kids, help prepare a meal for a neighbor or serve hot chocolate at a community event, they learn to appreciate what they have–a home, toys, a tree, family and other blessings.

6. Give stuff away. The holidays are a perfect time for your kids to purge their toys, books and clothing. Outgrown items can find a good home at a children’s hospital, family shelter or thrift store. When your kids help sort and take their outgrown and unwanted items to a donation center, they take part in making the world a better place for everyone (and as a bonus, your home has less clutter and is easier to clean).

Teaching kids to be thankful is something we can do every day. What are you favorite techniques for teaching your children to be thankful? May we as parents learn along with them.

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