The baby steps we are taking so far are with our children, first implementing the 1-2-3 Magic form of discipline. This has taken all of our stress levels way down in just these first couple weeks! If you aren't quite sure where to turn next in parenting, this is not a Bible-based program, per-say, but it is so very simple, clear-cut, and quite compatible with the principles we seek to instill in our children, so it might be worth your prayerful investigation. My mom has commented several times that our youngest is "a different kid" and that the results are "like magic." We still are far from the perfect family, but this is sure helping with new post-stroke challenges. I wish I had known how to do all this before the strokes!
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It was highly recommended to me by my counselor, repeatedly. I kind of blew her off the first few times because I don't like any "counting" system I have ever seen applied (because it gives children multiple chances to disobey before obedience is required), but once she explained the concept of this particular program a little more in depth, it sounded plausible and interesting enough to get on the library waiting list to check out the DVD. If even I (physical limitations and imperfect application of the method) am seeing such significant results in such a short amount of time, I would say any parent might seriously want to try this balanced system of grace and orderliness!
We have had chore charts of various forms for years (not part of 1-2-3, just something else we are trying). The new one we just started trying is a free online game type system at Chore Monster. (Of course, they offer a subscription program with extras too, but the free one does everything we need. If you decide you would like to visit their website to have a look around, please email me at jsaake AT yahoo DOT com and let me know your email address and that you would like their system to send you a private e-vite, then each of my kids will earn a special cyber-monster pet just by inviting you even if you decide it's not for you.) So far, at least our two youngest are really excited about doing chores now. The 13-year-old isn't exactly "excited," but seems content enough with the system too. Praying this brings a new level of order to our home!
Having a regular gym/therapy schedule down pretty consistently really helps. Along with an afternoon that is regularly my counseling afternoon, knowing my kids and I will sort and get laundry going each weekend, my mom comes over to fold it all on Monday, and we have Sue coming to tutor our daughter on a consistent schedule, along with Kathy coming to help with the house every Thursday. Throwing homeschool co-op into the mix each week, gets a little crazy, but because it is always the same time each week, it is both do-able and worthwhile. That's a manageable schedule we can easily fit school hours into. The wild cards are still all the doctor's appointments, but an average of 2 or 3 a week is a lot more doable than 2 or 3 a day, like was often the case, in earlier months! A couple weeks ago there were about two appointments per day that week, while next week I can only think of one all week! My October (1-year anniversary appointments) calendar was so crazy you couldn't even read the page, and April (18-months, post strokes) is already looking pretty intense as well, but overall, we are trending into much more predictable waters!
Kathy, going through my kitchen, one cabinet at a time, to reorganize and simplify, is starting to really yield benefit too! Thank you. :) Now that we have sorted through my mountain of cookbooks that just overwhelmed me, I am getting much more use out of the few I hung on to. Eventually, my kitchen will feel like my own again. Eventually we will tackle other projects, but getting my kitchen post-stroke manageable again is an ongoing process that is finally starting to feel like we might get it accomplished one day.
I think we are all starting to get the knack of our oldest being in a traditional school setting. I'm sure there will continue to be ups, downs, and growing pains, but the initial adjustment seems to be settling into routine, for the most part. It looks like our daughter (10-year-old) will very likely get in next fall as well. The unknown is still our 7-year-old.
I have very mixed emotions about no longer homeschooling after this fall, but God has been very gracious in helping me emotionally cope with our oldest being gone each day. Honestly, my brain feels so strained each day, just in trying to accomplish the basics, that I feel something I never would have imagined without stroke damage, a profound level of relief that someone else is responsible for our son's education now. Having said that, I am absolutely treasuring these finial months with our youngest two still at home!
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33a (NIV 1984)