Raising Independent Learners

Raising Independent Learners - vicki-arnold.com

One of the most important goals we have in our homeschool is to raise independent learners. I will not be there to hold their hands through everything their whole life. This is why my educational philosophy lies heavily in the “teach them how to think, not what to think” category.

We are in the throes of raising our kids. I don’t have packaged success stories for you, but what I do have is a game plan and some theories. That’s what I’m sharing today, how we are planning to raise independent learners.

4 Thoughts on Raising Independent Learners

Teaching vs. Doing Things For Them

Have you heard the term helicopter parent? This is the type of parent who is constantly hovering over their child to “keep them safe” or to “help”. The problem is, this kills a child’s self-confidence. The parent is effectively communicating, “I don’t think you can handle this” to their child.

Our goal is to teach them the things they need to know and then let them actually DO them. We aim to give them the tools, resources, and confidence to try and succeed or fail. We WANT them to learn the natural consequences to their actions, good and bad. Big and small.

This can be hard to walk out because my natural instinct is that I don’t want anything bad happening to my baby! But it is vitally important that they learn that they can try things and that we will be there when they fail and to celebrate with them when they succeed.

One way this worked out in our life was with piano lessons. In the beginning, I would remind them to practice a couple times a week. Then I dropped off my reminders and let them take ownership of that. One child wrote it down in her planner and did it (almost) daily.

Another did not and ended up “forgetting” to practice each week. This lead to a slowing of progress that rather frustrated that kid. When we had a discussion about this, the lightbulb clicked that it was his responsibility and he never complained about the slow lessons again. He also didn’t practice very often, but his progress returned when he took ownership of the situation.

Using Student Planners

This is a relatively new one for us. We started using a student planner for my oldest two students last year (4th & 5th grade). We started with the Ultimate Student Planner, but my oldest has moved to the Student Planner that matches my Well-Planned Day family planner this year.

The way we currently use our planners:

  • I write down our lessons in my planner. I include all three students work for all subjects. I did this for the full semester this year. Not sure what I will do moving forward.
  • Every Sunday night or Monday morning, my two oldest take their planners and then copy their week’s independent work into their planner.
  • Through the week, they are to use their planner to complete their independent work before 3:00 p.m. each day. They are not allowed to use my planner each day.
  • I check their planners periodically and make suggestions.

My goal is to eventually hand off subjects and have them plan out how they complete the lessons. For example, next semester I will probably give my oldest her science book, tell her what she has to cover in the semester and let her plan out how she completes it.

Encouraging God-Given Talents

My children will also have increasing input into what they learn about within the subjects. I want to allow the Holy Spirit to guide my children in the path that God has laid for them. Not dictate my own plans.

I hope to give them the tools, resources, and confidence to do this. God has given each one of them special talents and giftings for a purpose. I want to encourage them to follow His guidance to find that purpose.


Truthfully, saying I want to raise independent learners is kind of a lie. I do want them to not be dependent on me for everything, but what I ultimately want is for them to be fully dependent upon God. He is the only one that will be there for them every single moment of their lives.

I pray that they will know that to their core. That they will trust Him and seek His guidance in every thing they do. I pray that my life’s example can give them some glimmer of that. And then I rejoice and praise Him for His infinite and merciful grace.

Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum

Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum | Vicki-Arnold.com

One of the most frequently asked questions I get when people tell me they are considering homeschooling is “Where do you buy curriculum?” or “What curriculum do you use?” And I get it. I was rather unaware of what was available when I first started.

Thankfully the world of homeschool curriculum has improved greatly in the time since my husband was homeschooled. My mother-in-law had to get quite creative when sourcing curriculum in the 80’s. Now, there are so many choices, it can make your head spin.

One of the best things to do is to go to a homeschool convention. The curriculum/exhibition hall is a great place to explore the many options available. If you don’t want to wait until convention season or the thought of a crowd makes you anxious, fret not. There are many other places to find curriculum.

Typical Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

What I consider a typical source are direct from the publisher or places that specialized in homeschool curriculum (or have a section dedicated to the niche).

Publisher Direct Sources

These are places you would buy a single subject or maybe a couple subjects as you piece your own curriculum together. This is no where near an exhaustive list. There are so many different curriculums, it literally makes my head spin sometimes. Ok, so not literally, but you get the point.

This is just a sampling of the ones I know of and some my fellow homeschool blogging friends shared with me to help round things out.

Box Curriculum Sources

These sources sell “complete” curriculums. Some cover every single subject and some may leave off one or two for you to place your students at their own level. Typically those are meant to teach multiple grade levels for subjects like history and then leave out math so your students can work individually as needed.

Homeschool Specialty Stores

Other Sources With Homeschool Selections

Unusual Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

Not all of my homeschool curriculum comes from your typical homeschool sources. I have found curriculum at the following places, too:

  • Ollie’s – I’ve sort of fallen in love with this discount chain. We have two relatively close to us and I like to stop in when I can. I usually check out their book selection (which is huge) and then look for organic snacks. In the book section, I have found math workbooks, puzzle books, and books for literature.
  • Goodwill – I am not in these very often, but love when it happens to fall on half-price books or toys days. I have found lots of books for history, literature, and even science. My favorite find though was probably the set of games that I picked up to go with some history lessons.
  • Dollar Tree – This is a great place to find homeschool supplies and even curriculum. I have found workbooks, books, and items for sensory bins.
  • Costco – I’ve been in love with Costco for a long time. There is almost always workbooks on their book tables. I have also picked up nice maps and saw nice globes there this back-to-school season.
  • Half-Priced Books – My favorite location even has a homeschool section now (and it seems to grow each time I am in). My favorite though is the clearance section. I always start there because sometimes I will find a copy of a book that is still on the regular shelves for half off, marked down to $2 simply because it had been there too long.
  • Yard Sales – This one is kind of rare for me, but I have seen homeschool curriculum at yard sales.

Keep your eyes open and you never know where you will come across homeschool curriculum. You might just save a bunch of money, too!

Teaching a Biblical Worldview

Teaching a Biblical Worldview | Vicki-Arnold.com

Everyone has a worldview. It is the perspective from which we view, process, and analyze our life experiences. It is a culmination of what we’ve been taught and what we’ve experienced. There is no avoiding having a worldview. It’s like a brain, everyone’s got one. It’s how we each use it that varies.

The way I see it, we have two options. We can choose to look at the world and make decisions about right or wrong, how we treat others, etc. based on our own feelings and experiences alone. Or we can look at it through the lens of what God has to say in the Bible.

I am striving for the latter. I am also attempting to guide my children in this way. By the infinite grace of God, it seems to be working bit by bit. Change is hard, yo.

Obviously, I am still in the process of raising my children so I can’t give you a bullet-point list of sure-fire ways to raise kids with a biblical worldview. However, I don’t think I will be able to do that even when my kids are grown, so there’s that.

What I can do is tell you why having a biblical worldview is important and share the resources I’m using to prayerfully achieve that goal.

Why is a Biblical Worldview Important?

If you aren’t a Christian, having a biblical worldview isn’t going to be important to you. If you ARE a Christian, it should be very important. As a Christian, you are professing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. You are a representative of Him to everyone you meet. How you respond to situations, how you treat others, how you live your life will have an impact on how others view Him.

That’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?! Thankfully, it isn’t really about us, it is about the grace of God. Our lives can either be a hinderance or a help to His work. I’d rather be a help.

Now, if we are professing to be Christians, don’t you think we should actually know what directives He left us? Shouldn’t we know how He expects us to represent Him? We are only going to know this by reading His words. It is important to read, meditate on, and desire to live out.

But, what about worldview? Why does it matter if our worldview is biblical?

It boils down simply. Is God right or is man? If it is man, then which one? Aside from Jesus, can you name a perfect human being? I can’t.

Biblical worldview = God is right, He is Truth. Man’s worldview = a matter of opinion, truth is relative. Which of these seems more stable? Which one is a reflection of Christ?

Tools to Teach a Biblical Worldview

If you have made the decision that you want a biblical worldview, here are a few resources I am using or planning to use, along with the reasoning behind them. My goal is that these will be a good foundation of training for both our kids and myself to look to the Bible for answers in easy and tough situations.

  • What We Believe series – We have started with Volume 1 – Who Is God? this year. The series is aimed to build a foundation of a biblical worldview for kids aged 6-14. We are using the corresponding Notebook and Jr. Notebook as well. The book is written in an conversational tone and my kids have found the stories used to illustrate key points to be funny, which keeps them engaged. We have enjoyed going through this and it has presented us with many opportunities to discuss our faith and why we believe what we believe.
  • Child Training Bible – I’ll admit, I haven’t used this one as well as I should. It isn’t intuitive to me to bring out the Bible when correcting the kids. However, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The Child Training Bible is a great tool for this, you can read my full review for more information.
  • Virtue Training Bible – This is the other side of the coin, the Child Training Bible addresses behavior that needs correction. The Virtue Training Bible is focused on the behavior we should be attempting to live (through the strength of the Holy Spirit, not our own).

Beyond these three resources, we are utilizing curricula that connects this world with it’s Creator. Our science books start from the position that God is Creator and then explores his wonderful creation from there. Our history weaves both “biblical” history and “secular” history, connecting them together in the time line of the world. You know, like they happened.

Do you have any tools that you use or have seen for teaching a biblical worldview to kids? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Choices - 6th, 5th, 3rd grades and a toddler

This school year we have 6th, 5th, and 3rd graders and a 2 1/2 year old. We have a bit more structure to our school year this year. Before I dive into our curriculum choices, I think it would be beneficial to give you a little insight into the way we homeschool. Sort of a short, crash course in our educational beliefs.

When the kids are younger, we believe in the letting them be kids. We do not use curriculum for every subject. I use a curriculum to teach them to read, we use workbooks for math, and they practice handwriting with workbooks, but that is easily done with free printable worksheets now. Those are the planned subjects up to 3rd grade. We cover history, science, art, and everything else in a more delight directed manner.

What is delight directed? It’s a fancy shmancy way of saying we follow the kids’ interests. We check out lots of books from the library, watch documentaries, and generally explore topics as they come our way. They explore, I answer questions, and introduce them to ways to find answers as I have to search out how to answer their questions.

In 4th and 5th grade, I introduce them to using a planner, and we added some specific group study subjects (history and science). They are responsible for their Bible, math, and handwriting (these are assigned curriculums).

This year our group study subjects are worldview and history. They are individually studying science and I have added some critical thinking skills curriculum. They are also doing a more formal language arts program. Since we are not doing science together, it means they are doing it on their own this year.

Another thing I should note is that we are not overly concerned with our kids performing “on level.” I have seen them be far “behind” in things and after a few months, they will suddenly click and fly through concepts. Our main focus is to create good learning habits and foster a love of learning. To us, that is more important than them learning XYZ by Nth grade.

Basically, through 3rd grade, their formal workload is pretty light as we explore things of interest. We add some structure to 4th grade, upping the ante at 6th grade, with the goal of independent learning for high school and beyond. That’s the plan anyways.

So here are our 2014-2015 homeschool curriculum choices!

Our Group Work Curriculum

I use the Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner to keep our homeschool organized. I reviewed it previously.

6th Grade Curriculum Choices

Our sixth grader is using the Well Planned Day student planner this year. I will be sharing more about it in a full review later.

5th Grade Curriculum Choices

Our fifth grader is using the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students this year. I wrote a detailed review that you can check out, but the reason I chose this one for him is the larger lines for writing down assignments. He is not ready for college-ruled lines just yet.

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

Our third grader is currently mad at me for not getting her her own planner, too.

Toddler Educational Plans

This guy’s work isn’t easy, all the books from the library he wants, lots of building with blocks, and exploring outside with his siblings. It’s tough work, this playing business.

I do have a list of items that I would love to be able to fit in to our year, but these are the ones we are using throughout the year as of now. I have some items to review for you so sign up for email updates so you don’t miss those!

Other Curriculum Options

I LOVE seeing what everyone else is doing in their homeschool. Call me nosy, I’ll answer. 😉 The other Indiana Association of Home Educator bloggers have all decided to share our curriculum choices with you. You can find them linked below.

Back 2 School - 2014 Curriculum Choices Blog Hop from IAHE bloggers
Be sure to visit the other IAHE Bloggers:


Are you homeschooling in Indiana?  We’d love to connect with you!

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Should I Budget for a Homeschool Convention?

Should I Budget for a Homeschool Convention? - one perspective from Vicki-Arnold.com

Homeschool families around the country are gearing up for the new school year. Some have already started (like our family). Others are taking advantage of the freedom of homeschooling and not starting until after Labor Day. Still others school year round with smaller breaks throughout the year versus a long summer break.

You may be excited to use those new books on your shelf or overwhelmed at the costs you are looking at. Today I would like to encourage you to consider one more piece to your homeschool budget. Homeschool conventions.

Convention season is still months away so it may seem my timing is odd. I assure you, it’s not. Right now you are hopefully excited at the prospects of a brand new year. That’s great, it really is. Unfortunately, excitement tends to wear off after a while. This is where your homeschool convention comes in to play. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at why you should budget for a homeschool convention.

Why Should I Budget for a Homeschool Convention?

1. State homeschool conventions fund your state homeschool associations. Your state homeschool associations are your voice in the political world. Your state homeschool association monitors the legislation moving through your state government for anything that may impact homeschoolers. This is a HUGE job.

The wonderful lady who did this for our state organization (Indiana) personally went through 2,000 bills in 1 legislative session. And she wasn’t paid a dime because convention attendance has drastically dropped in the last few years and the organization can no longer afford paid staff.

Your family’s convention registration helps cover costs to keep homeschooling a safe, viable option in your state. Your presence at the convention gives your legislators a visual for the community the state organization represents. In Indiana, our legislators are invited to attend the convention so they can see this first hand. State organization conventions are important.

2. Encouragement, you need it. Homeschool convention speakers are wonderful people. I am happy to know a few. They share their experience and offer bother encouraging words and practical help. Sessions can range from specific subject help, homeschooling stages help (high school!), encouragement for parenting, and tips for homemaking or working from home while homeschooling.

3. The exhibition hall. If you have never been to a homeschool convention, you have really have no idea of how awesome this is. It can be very overwhelming (which could be another reason to choose a smaller convention…), but it is such a blessing to be able to physically look through a curriculum you are considering spending your hard-earned money on.

Check the vendor list of any convention you are considering to see if the companies you are looking for will be there, if they aren’t you can always contact the convention organizers and let them know that you would love to see them there. Most convention organizers are very open to hearing feedback from attendees and potential attendees.

Here’s the big secret that I didn’t know until I attended my first convention, there is so much more than just official curriculum in the exhibit hall! When we attended IAHE‘s convention this spring, our favorite vendor booths were the one full of science stuff (boxed experiments, state specific photo guidebooks, and much, much more), the traveling used book stores with loads of books at great prices, and the one that had so many microscopes in a variety of strengths and prices.

Ok, that and the Apologia booth. I’m a big fan of Apologia’s, but they are traditional curriculum so I left them out of that little list.

You can also find booths selling blank books, sketch books, and  paper. I’ve even seen booths selling kitchen items like wheat grinders, you know, because you aren’t an official homeschooler until you’ve ground your own wheat and made bread. 😉 (For the record, I’ve never done that either. Shocking, I know.)

Seriously, Homeschool Conventions Rock

In all seriousness, consider attending a homeschool convention this coming spring. If you only have enough budget for one, choose your state convention if at all possible. If you can afford it, do more.

After your state convention, I recommend Teach Them Diligently. It is a unique conference. The mission of Teach Them Diligently is to equip families to disciple their children for Christ. This means that a lot of their sessions and vendors fall outside of homeschool specifics.

Don’t get me wrong, homeschooling is a focus. It’s just that they focus on growing Christ-centered families first and homeschooling is a natural branch of that. Many of the sessions I saw on the docket last spring would have been relevant to parents with kids in other educational settings, too.

In summary, I strongly encourage you to support your state organization and their convention to help protect your family’s rights in regards to education. If you can afford to, I then encourage you to attend a Teach Them Diligently conference for more encouragement.

The Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner

The Well Planned Day (a family homeschool planner review)

It’s no secret that I reviewed and loved another planner earlier this year. It’s also not a secret that I like planners and lists. So when I was contacted to see if I would be interested in reviewing The Well Planned Day planner, me jumping at the chance wouldn’t be an inaccurate image.

Three things before I get into the review. I was provided a free planner so I could, you know, look it over and review it. I am a registered affiliate with HEDUA. Finally, this is a review of The Well Planned Day, not a comparison to any other planner (free or paid).

About The Well Planned Day

The Well Planned Day is a family homeschool planner created by Rebecca Scarlata Keliher. This planner was created to cover everything a homeschool family needed to track and plan. It is very thorough.


  • spiral bound with three-hole punch for inserting in binders
  • full color
  • includes year and month at a glance calendars
  • is dated for the school year, which runs July through June (copy I received is 2013-2014)
  • includes a short inspirational article for each month (titles in my review copy include 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling, Book Gluttony, and Let Your Kids be Kids)
  • planning/tracking pages for household management and holiday shopping included
  • track up to four students in one planner with class plans, schedules, attendance charts, progress reports, and perforated report cards
  • Bible reading plan included on the monthly calendar, scripture quotes throughout the book, and a weekly catechism focus

My Review of The Well Planned Day Planner

First, I did not take any photos of the inside pages of this planner for copyright issues, but you can see 90 pages of the planner on the preview page. And really, those are much better than any photo I could give you. Now, on with the review!

Oh, my stars. This planner is gorgeous! Each month has a subtly different color scheme that helps give a fresh look to your eyes, but keeps with the overall design of the planner. And normally, I’m not a floral type girl, but I LOVE the floral design of this planner. Also, purple is a very frequent color in this planner and you can’t go wrong with purple in my book.

The content? Seriously, I can’t believe how well this is organized. It has goals. It has menu planning. It has perforated shopping lists, six for each month! It has budgeting forms. It has a section each month for books to enjoy, field trips/enrichment activities, and monthly bills.

To be a little more helpful, I will take you through a few things.

First we have your basic information and a fun little family time capsule type page, followed by a staying in touch page where you can track monthly celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. Then we move into the household pages for things like monthly budgets, income, household duties, and emergency contacts.

Then there is something that I think is completely genius. There is a perforated page for your students’ responsibilities and educational to do’s each day. I intend to finally buy a laminator and laminate the filled out cards for a checklist for each student. After that comes your homeschool planning pages.

What I love about the homeschool planning pages is that each student is given a two page spread to include their personal information, subjects and books, expenses, and a student schedule. I find this particularly helpful since each student has their own activities to track and oftentimes, their own daily rhythm or routine. I like that I can help each student visualize how their time is or should be spent.

There are two semester goals pages (one before July and one before January). At the end of December, there is an attendance record and progress report for four students.

Each month starts with a month at a glance two page spread that includes an inspirational quote, Bible verses for reading through the Bible in a year, and a notes section. Then comes the page with the sections for books, field trips, and bills. Next are the six, double-sided, perforated shopping lists (brilliant!!) and the inspirational article.

Now, the nitty gritty pages you will be using every day. And a confession for you, I realized I LOVE the fact that this planner is dated because I don’t like the way my handwriting looks so different than the rest of the text on pages that I have to fill in the dates (or subjects). I told you, I am pretty visually picky.

Each week has a two page spread. Each day has a column that is broken down by rows for Bible, Math, History, Science, English, and two custom spots. I love that Bible is top priority in the list. On top of the page are the current and next month at a glance calendars; a Bible verse; and an inspirational quote. On the right-hand page, there are sections for weekly priorities, your weekly dinner menu, and a weekly catechism question. I also love that there is a box for both Saturday and Sunday so you can mark your weekend activities in your planner, too.

Other details: a holiday planner section comes before December (LOVE), fonts are easy to read and pretty to look at, and the planner ends with a year at a glance look at next year and a future plans page.

Overall, I didn’t think I could love a planner as much as the other one, but I actually love this one more (sorry, there is a comparison)! I love that it is a homeschool family planner, not just a homeschool planner. I love that everything I need is in this one planner. The planner costs around $26 and is worth every penny.

There are a few different options available, so check out the and see which one you would like! Next, I want to try out their On the Go planner. 😉

How to Use Pinterest for Homeschooling

How to Use Pinterest in Your Homeschool

I have professed my love for Pinterest many times before. Today, I want to talk to you about how you can use this tool in your homeschool. This is much better than your bookmarks folder, I promise.

We are going to cover setting up your boards, wise following, how to make it easier on yourself, and I will end with a word of caution. I am not covering how to register, that is pretty straightforward. Just simply go to the Pinterest website and follow the instructions.

When you register, they will prompt you to set up some generic boards and follow people, don’t stress about this. You can always delete the boards and unfollow people after you finish registering if you change your mind.

Note: I have used an affiliate link to an ebook about sensory bins in this post.

Setting Up Your Pinterest Boards

To create a new board, you will click on the create a board button and fill in the information. As far as how to organize and name your boards, you have several options. I am listing a few suggestions here and have included links to some of my specific boards in parentheses through this post so you can see examples of how my suggestions might look.

You can:

I would recommend using a combination. Here’s why and how you could use them:

  • a board for each child will help you pin things that are of interest for that particular child, like hobbies, crafts or life skills.
  • boards for subjects will keep information organized for multiple children; these boards would contain info that is relevant to more than one student
  • boards for specific grades can help you target activities for a specific age/grade level, again information that can be used for more than one student
  • boards by activity can help you cover multiple grades and subjects with things like sensory bins, unit studies, and handicrafts

Other Pinterest Boards to Create

I also recommend creating boards for you, the homeschool mom (or dad). Ideas for this include:

You Are Who You Follow

That may be debatable, but if you want to make the most of your Pinterest time, you want to pick and choose who you follow wisely. Your feed will be filled with the pins of those you follow. If you have no interest in wedding planning, don’t waste your time wading through pins about it.

How do you do this?

  1. You are careful about what profiles you select Follow All for.
  2. You follow individual boards.

When you come across a profile on Pinterest (like mine), go through the boards and see what types of items the person is pinning. If the majority of boards interest you, select follow all and then click on the unfollow button for the boards that do not interest you. If the majority of the boards do not interest you, just click follow on the ones that do.

When you search for something on Pinterest, you can choose between pins, boards, and pinners. The board search feature is quite nice if you want to look for other pinners who have a homeschool board or any other specific interest. Following a board will put anything pinnned to that board in the future in your feed. No need to check back later for new material.

Why should you follow anyone? In short, teamwork. It is impossible to be everywhere on the internet and you shouldn’t try to do that. By following people with the same interests at you, you are sharing the legwork. They find something awesome, pin it, and it shows up in your feed for you to pin or pass. And vice versa.

Making Pinterest Easier

Pinterest is better than your browser’s bookmarks file for those who need a visual reminder of what the heck they were saving something for. To make it just as easy to pin something as it is to bookmark it, add the pin it button to your browser’s toolbar (it’s called the Pinterest Bookmarklet).

From then on, when you find something that you want to save, you just click the Pin It button and put it on the correct board. You don’t ever have to leave the page or pull up Pinterest in another tab to add the link to a board.

Have something you don’t want everyone else to see, but you want to save?

Create a secret board! You are limited to 3 of these, but it is a great place to store things like Christmas present ideas and such.

A Final Word of Caution

Pinterest is a great tool for organizing your ideas and resources visually. However, like anything else, it can become a source of contention if you let it control you instead of you controlling it. There are many, many great ideas on Pinterest, but they aren’t all for you!

I’ve spoken about this before, so instead of adding a few hundred words more to this post, I am going to point you to two other posts if you want more information.

Just beware of the big shiny squirrel that Pinterest can be and keep it all in perspective. It really is a great tool.

When Do I Actually Start Teaching This?

How do I teach oranization & time management skills when I have neither? Part 3: When do I start teaching this?

We covered why we want to change and we covered how to change. Now you might be wondering when you will start to teach these skills. Well…

You already are.

Your children are watching your example day in and day out. When we change, they see this. This will vary some with your child’s personality and age, but for the most part the saying is true. Actions speak louder than words.

You can take a few steps to help the trickle down effect move a little faster, but let me give you a little warning first. If you have tried many times or many different approaches to change something, you will likely be met with resistance to trying something AGAIN or disbelief. Do not let this discourage you.

Tell Them

Tell your family why you want to change, how you plan on changing, and ask them for help. This actually serves a two-fold purpose. It calls their attention to something that needs work AND it gives them the opportunity to serve.

Now, it is not likely to be this beautiful picture of butterflies and rainbows as you skip through your freshly cleaned kitchen on time. Change is rarely easy, even (especially?) when it is very much needed. You will likely have your moments when you are frustrated because the bad habits seem stuck like glue and it feels like you are the only one committed to this.

This is where you will discover that God is also working on developing patience, mercy, and grace in your heart as well. I will tell you from experience, the more you actively let go of the frustration, resentment, and bitterness…the easier it gets to react with patience.

Ask Them

Ask them how they think they are doing in the same area. Invite them to look at how their behavior effects others. Help them to think about their actions. Ask open-ended questions and let them know there is no right or wrong answer.

If you ask them how they feel in a cluttered room and they say “fine, doesn’t bother me,” then ask them to think about it from another person’s point of view. Try to think of someone you all know who is well ahead of you in this particular area. Someone who keeps their kitchen clean, for example.

When it came to keeping the house clean and tidy, I asked my children to look at it from the point of view of a guest. We talked about how we want guests to feel comfortable in our home, not worry that they are interrupting or taking away from the time we obviously need to clean the house. We also talked about feeling embarrassed by our guests seeing that certain things weren’t taken care of, like gifts the kids were given that littered the floor to be trampled.

Again, Just Do It

You can talk until you are blue in the face, but it really comes down to this…your kids need to see that you are serious about this change. Especially if you have tried this before and failed. There is tremendous value in your children seeing you work to better yourself. There is tremendous value in your children watching you overcome something that was an obstacle in your life. There is tremendous value in your children seeing you fail…and get back up.

Just remember, they will remember your attitude about the whole thing, too. So, as I tell my children, work at it with a happy heart!

Tomorrow we are talking home organization, seeing as home is where the heart is and all. See you then and don’t forget to check out the rest of the bloggers participating in the series!