Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

Teaching My Kids About Politics

y-and-recorded-message-from-donald-trumpGrowing up, politics was a big deal in my family. My dad never missed an opportunity to vote, even if he had to leave work early to make it to the polling place on time. Usually, he took me with him. I learned early that voting is our right and responsibility as American citizens.

That’s why turning 18 was a big deal for me! I could finally vote! What an honor and privilege! And when my study abroad semester found me living overseas during the 1996 election, I eagerly signed up to receive an absentee ballot (I still have the Egyptian newspaper that announced the winner!).

Fast forward to this year. I’m now a mom with two kids. They’re both in middle school and definitely opinionated about all kinds of topics like their favorite music, cars, food, beliefs and books, so it makes sense to include them in our political discussions.

Plus, hubby and I are both very into politics. Even though we don’t always agree, we do often watch political talk shows and the news together, and we regularly discuss current events. In fact, everyone knew well in advance that I would be taking over the remote when the conventions aired. They’re a highlight for me since I love the patriotic stories. (And I also hoped that this year’s conventions would help me decide who to vote for!)

We’re now less than two months away from the election. I’m still not totally convinced on which presidential candidate will get my vote, but my kids have their minds made up, and their arguments for their candidate are very logical and convincing. My son even likes to listen to the recorded political phone calls we receive.

I finally captured his joy tonight. He listened to the whole message from Donald Trump with a highly animated look on his face, and was so excited!

Because it was a big deal to him, I decided to post the picture on Facebook. Some of my friends shared his enthusiasm, others commented on how handsome he looks and one  lady blocked me.

I actually laughed when I saw that she blocked me, then I deleted her comment. And that led me to consider whether I was right to post something political on my page.

Generally, I avoid controversy. Life is hard enough without starting fights online! But I am proud of my kids for being interested in politics and for making their own political decisions. I believe I owe it to them to teach them how to weigh the candidate’s words and actions, consider all the facts and decide who they will support. That’s why I shared my son’s picture. I wanted to support his right to his own opinion and share with my friends that he has been listening and learning and knows who he wants to win. I’m proud that he is willing to stand up for what he believes in, and I won’t apologize for that!

So whether or not you agree with him or with me, know that I will not unfriend you (unless you get obnoxious, rude or mean about it!). I welcome conversation and support your freedom to vote, live and choose as you wish. Those are the same values I wish to teach my children as I equip them to participate in their democratic right and responsibility.

God Bless America!

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Has Your Router Been Hacked?

A few years ago, a Facebook friend started sharing posts by Kim Komando. She’s a tech guru with tips on how to do everything from how to choose a new phone to how to secure your online accounts. I became a fan and have used dozens of her tips over the year. Today, I found a new one that I want to share with you.

Use this tip to test your router and find out if it has been hacked. It only takes a few seconds, and if there are any problems with your router, you’ll receive clear steps on how to fix it.

Happy surfing!  TPLINKrouter

Good to do: Test your router to see if it’s been hacked – Here's how

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Looking for the Perfect Decision?

Celestine Chua (Flickr)

Celestine Chua (Flickr)

 

I’ve been thinking about decisions lately.

And I’ve been putting off quite a few decisions lately.

 

 

Should I buy a smartphone for work access on the go or stick with my plain phone?

Should I sell outgrown toys on eBay or donate them to charity?

Should I toss the clothes in my closet that don’t fit or save them for “some day”?

Should I make chicken or hamburgers for dinner?

 

On the surface, most of these decisions won’t affect me too much in the long run. But I’m afraid of making the wrong one, wasting money or failing. Those are the reasons for procrastinating the decisions I need to make.

I’m very grateful to know that I’m not the only one who struggles sometimes with decision making. Lysa Terkeurst’s blog made sense to me, and maybe her words will encourage you, too.

So, what decisions are you putting off and why? Is there something you can do today to get started making at least one of the decisions on your list?

 

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When Your Kid’s Not Normal and You Just Want To Quit

Some days, I just want to run away.

My youngest takes a toll on my emotions, strength, patience and self worth. It’s draining hearing him scream because of a shirt that doesn’t feel right (he was wearing it cheerfully a second ago) or moaning as he looks for the paper he misplaced (he had it in his hand when I saw him last). I feel helpless as I hear him complain about his hair as he tries to play with Legos or fight with the blanket at bed time.

I wonder why he can’t just deal with it.

But he can’t. He’s got wiring that prevents him from coping with certain things.

And I have to accept and love him. I get to accept and love him.

That’s where I have a lot to learn. I’m way too selfish and unkind. I don’t want to be inconvenienced or patient.

Instead of demanding my own way, I can learn to stop and exercise compassion.

We have a long road ahead. Our first psych eval is Monday. No matter what happens next, I have to put on my big girl panties, grow up and remember—

There is no such thing as normal. We are all different, unique and special.

And we are made in God’s image. He can’t make junk. And he knows what’s going on in my little guy’s mind and body. And he knows me. He has a plan, and I can trust him.

So for today, I’ll take an extra breath, thank God for my son and smile as I keep plugging away.

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Thoughts on Sports for Boys

An Olympic fan, I eagerly anticipate the games every two years and sit glued to the TV.  This year is no exception, and I’m hearing amazing stories of athletes and their families. 

Two male athletes give me hope for my energetic, challenging son.

At age 9, Kieran Behan started gymnastics to use up excess energy.  He is now only the second male gymnast from Ireland to compete in the Olympics. 

Michael Phelps started swimming at age 7.  His mother sent him to the pool with his older sisters because he was energetic and rambunctious. He competes this week to become the winningest Olympian of all time.

So many parents start their kids in sports at a young age.  The consensus almost insists that kids must start young in order to succeed in their sport.  These two young men disprove that theory.  Yes, 7 and 9 is young, but it’s not 3 and 4.

My son took gymnastics two years ago and loved it.  He grew tired of it after 18 months, though, so we stopped.  He’d like to start up again, and his occupational therapist insists that he would benefit from a sport where he’s active and moving.  I’m seriously considering re-enrolling him.  Sure, it’s a time and financial commitment, but the benefits are worth the sacrifices.

Just ask our Olympians.

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What Do Housekeeping and Education Have in Common?

While cleaning up the kitchen today, I thought of my pastor’s sermon from yesterday.  He shared how evangelism is a process rather than an event.  As I pulled dishes out of the dishwasher only to immediately refill it, I realized that housekeeping and education are also processes rather than events. 

Just like doing dishes, sweeping floors and washing clothes must happen over and over and over again, our children need to be taught educational concepts, character traits and manners over and over again.

We can’t expect them to learn new concepts from a single lesson.  Like they can’t learn spiritual lessons or character traits with one Sunday School lesson, they need repeated instruction for school subjects.

The process grows wearying.  It’s hard to persevere, especially if a child struggles to “get it.”   Perhaps the mentality that it’s a process rather than an event will give us the strength we need to keep going, the motivation we need to keep teaching and the hope we need that one day they will learn.  May the process rather than the event help us as we educate our students at home.

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“No Coffee” diet

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m an addict.  The thought of percolating coffee in the morning motivates me to leave my warm bed and race to the kitchen for my favorite mug.  After lunch, when school is over and my children are ready for their free time, I savor a mug of warm coffee mixed with plenty of milk.  Instead of pigging out on chocolate every night, I make myself a warm cup of decaf or herbal tea to prepare me for restful slumber.

So why in the world would I sign up to test a diet with a “no coffee” clause??

In short, $$$$, but cash does not accurately portray the entire motivation behind this seven-day venture.  I also struggle with my weight and thought that maybe this diet would give me the kick I need to eat better or eat less.  I did keep my new year’s resolutions to drink at least three glasses of water every day and dance for five minutes after lunch with my children, but my weight has not changed since last year when I started working as a freelance writer. 

Today, I finish day four of the diet trial.  I have eaten more vegetables in four days than I ate during the entire last week of February.  While I feel better and fuller after eat meal, I sometimes crave that warm cup in my hand. 

I don’t know if I will continue this diet after the week trial is over.  I hope I will continue to eat more veggies and exercise more, but I’m not sure my motivation will remain as high when I know I’m not getting paid.  

I know I definitely will not continue the coffee fast.  Face it, that warm mug of addiction wakes me up, calms me down and provides a comfort no vegetable can produce.

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