Break The Cycle of Shrinking Family Time

Posted by Annie on Jul 28, 2011 in Activity, Parenting

Evangelical Pastor Offers Lessons Taught by His Dad

Best Family Game - Settlers of CatanSan Antonio evangelical preacher Matthew Hagee’s new release Response Able: What my father taught me about life and making a difference (Charisma Media) offers the insights of a lifetime on parenting, self-reliance and affecting societal change. The key to any significant transformation, according to Hagee, is a refusal of the sense of entitlement often associated with Gen-Y and Millennials.

Instead, Hagee argues that readers should embrace self-reliance and acknowledge the individual’s God-given ability to respond in a positive manner, regardless of the circumstances.

“One of the most valuable lessons my father taught me was to focus on what I can do, rather than what I cannot,” says Hagee. “If your life is on a course that you would indeed like to change, you can change it. No matter what.”

With some parents working two jobs or both parents working more than 40 hours a week, Hagee wants to help parents break the cycle of shrinking family time in America. To do this, he has issued a provocative challenge to the parents in his flock. He calls it the 707 Challenge and, beginning this month, he wants parents to sign up for the 707 Campaign that requires moms and dads to commit to spending at least seventy minutes per day with their children, seven days a week, for seventy days.

“The time has come for this generation to take responsibility for tomorrow,” says Hagee, “and the response begins with you.”

Hagee’s book offers faith-based insight and guidance on initiating powerful change in personal, social, financial, educational and political arenas. Hagee bases his premise on a conviction that principle should be the compass by which to guide one’s life, and not passion.

“Principles are powerful,” says Hagee. “They will make men out of boys and instill a foundation in future generations that cannot be shaken.”

Other foundational concepts offered in the book include:

• Responsible people submit to authority, namely God
• Declare war on the status quo
• Invest in others, primarily children
• Patience rewarded
• Gratitude
• The joy of giving

And many more concepts chiseled into his character by his father’s loving guidance. For more information on this remarkable man and his new book, visit: www.response-ablethebook.org — get a free digital copy of the first chapter.

Matthew Hagee, the son of global evangelist John Hagee, serves as Executive Pastor of the 20-thousand member Cornerstone Church founded by his father in San Antonio, Texas. The elder Hagee launched the church more than three decades ago, growing it into one of the most influential and charismatic Christian communities in the country.

The companion TV ministry now reaches almost 100 million homes in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. Matthew Hagee, the heir-apparent to the church and TV ministry, uses many lessons taught by his father as the framework of Response Able.

Part of Matthew Hagee’s rich legacy from his father John, included practical wisdom rooted in Christian principles. As Pastor of a large church in Texas, Matthew now applies this wisdom in a challenge to his congregation to responsibly change a disturbing trend in our country today – the shrinking window of family time at home. In his latest book, Response Able, Hagee offers workable solutions for five key areas that he believes are all connected, and encourages us to make the necessary changes in order to bring about a lasting transformation in our lives and the lives of loved ones.

 Additional Information

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Freestyle Homeschooling Tips

Posted by Annie on Jul 21, 2011 in Education, Parenting

We’ve all heard of traditional homeschooling where mom sits at the kitchen table, the children are gathered around, workbooks open and curriculum flows as if the children never left the public school system. Mom and dad believe if it’s good enough for Johnny, it’s good enough for my Henry, too.

Unschool Your Teen by Diane Flynn KeithDid anyone ever bother to ask Henry? Maybe Johnny has different goals and, more importantly, a different learning style than Henry.

Joe has been a difficult child from the beginning – he has a mind of his own. His parents have tried everything from public school, parochial school, private school, independent study, to charter school — but nothing seemed to fit and home was a generational battleground between parent and child. Finally, Joe’s parents stumbled upon Unschooling and a child-led approach to school – after all, not much was being accomplished anyway. Joe has no interest in education, period.

How does a parent decide? We all want the best for our children. However, many parents are too afraid of the unknown that they aren’t even willing to consider making appropriate changes in their child’s educational instruction.

I have recommended many of Diane Flynn Keith’s products over the years because I believe in her educational approach. As an educational expert, she has created many quality educational products that I have had the pleasure of either using or sampling personally. For instance, Diane Flynn Keith’s, Unschool Your Teen Audio-Seminar & Resource Guide is one of my favorites. Diane and her expert speaker panel make it all sound so easy — so doable.

I know that when most people think of Unschooling, Sandra Dodd’s, “Radical Unschooling,” comes to mind. Diane does not advocate a child-led curriculum in the true sense of the word “child-led”.  Her own philosophy (as I understand it) is more to my own way of thinking. I learned a long time ago that children don’t have a clue what they like and they don’t like. (But they think they do.) So, we might have to encourage them to try something new.

Diane has taught me to really pay attention to my son. We took her advice to find out his learning style, once we knew how he learns best, it helped us to expand his options. When you really spend time talking with your child and learning more about his personality, interests and goals, a parent can offer suggestions and encourage their child in avenues they might have never considered under different circumstances. [Discover Your Child’s Learning Style]

Diane has taught me to be more of a cheerleader, coach, parent and advisor all rolled into one. The Unschool Your Teen Guide is simply fabulous. Her sub-title is a terrific fit, “Rethink, Redefine, and Reinvent the Teen Years!” If the same old thing just isn’t working, what have you got to lose? Try something new. There are so many opportunities for young people these days. It would be nice to have a road map or instructional manual…but each child is different.

My son is like many young people I know these days, and to be honest, I had them, too; a fear of rejection, not fitting in and the worst fear of all — a fear of trying new things. (And parents are even worse than the kids at not being willing to try something new.) Diane knows how to make education fun! She knows how to get the kids involved and pique their curiousity. I wish I had half of her energy and creativity. She is one of the most generous and inspiring people I know.

I can’t tell you how many untold numbers of hours Mrs. Keith spends daily helping homeschoolers to find their way. I am positive someday my son will thank her personally. She believes in not only her own children’s ability to succeed but every child whose life she has touched. I am certain I am a much better parent because of her assistance.

Notice I didn’t say the best education money can buy. Money can’t buy an education, no matter how many times the NEA and the CDE tell us they do. Education takes time, devotion, dedication, perseverance and creativity. Diane has all that in spades. Diane has demonstrated a lifelong passion for children. She never hesitates to offer her assistance to a struggling homeschooling child.  She only recently began a coaching career that by all rights, she should have started 20+ years ago.

She also shares daily links with subscribers to her ClickSchooling e-Zine. More than 20,000 parents are already subscribed. Of course, those parents know a good thing when they find one.

Do yourself a favor though. Don’t call Diane until you are ready for change. She is straight-forward with her advice and somehow she always manages to get right to the heart of the matter. However, if you are ready and willing to really help your struggling teen to succeed — don’t wait another day. The advice she has given me over the past ten-years has been the most helpful to me as a parent, bar none.

Don’t let the term “Unschooling” fool you, this is all about giving your child the tools they need to succeed. If you are looking for a step-by-step instruction manual, keep on looking, this is not for you. Every child is different! Don’t let anyone ever tell you they know more about your child than you do — and Diane will tell you exact same thing. Her coaching is more about putting the parents on the right track — the children will follow in their footsteps.

I like to call what we do “Freestyle Homeschooling“. We homeschool as we live our lives, one-day at a time. We make plans but we aren’t afraid to change them mid-stream if they need adjusting and sometimes that means abandoning those plans all-together.

Freestyle Homeschooling Tips

  • Listen More – As parents, we should talk less and listen more. When our children talk to us it gives them a chance to learn to better express themselves. Being able to hold a conversation with someone for more than two-minutes takes practice. Let them use their words, and when able to, ask open-ended questions where a simple yes or no will not suffice.
  • Offer Suggestions – Parents often make demands of our children, when a simple suggestion would be well-received by our teen. All teens need practice making good decisions. We encourage our son to make as many decisions for himself as we feel he is able.
  • Be an Encourager – I am ashamed to tell you how many times I’ve been critical to my son, when what he really needed was my encouragement. Grandma always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes we need to hold our tongues if we can’t say something positive to our child. They will endure enough criticism out in the harsh world.
  • Try Something New – If your current educational program isn’t working out for your child, change it. Try something new. Do not live in fear, be brave and explore new educational options. Keep trying until you find something that really suits your child and keep in mind that what works for one child might not be appropriate for another.
  • Ask Questions – When I was a new parent, I asked lots and lots of questions. No parent knows it all. If you find you are in over your head, get help, ask questions and don’t stop asking until you get the answers you need. And don’t limit yourself to asking the experts. Ask your child for their input, as well.
  • Have Fun – And most importantly, as Diane would suggest, keep it fun. Education that is memorable is enjoyable. It doesn’t have to be a huge drag. Of course, some projects are more fun than others but Diane has proven to me over and over again that anything can be made to be fun.


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Graduating Failure

Posted by Annie on Jun 26, 2011 in Education, Seasonal

Earlier this month Diane Flynn Keith penned an article titled: Rites of Passage, in which she says in part:

Graduation FailureIt’s hard to escape the school calendar and its associated events. I am always surprised when homeschoolers follow the traditional school year, and even more miffed when they engage in the ritual of graduation (for each and every grade level) in June. We have shunned school, so why do we embrace this very schoolish tradition?

The idea that kids are automatically ready to advance to the next grade (or head out into the big, wide world) because the calendar says “June” is bizarre. Not once in my homeschool experience did the Graduation Fairy thump me or my kids over the head with her wand and proclaim they were ready to move on to the next “grade.” The kids simply moved on to a new or more challenging area of interest when they were ready. It didn’t matter if it was June,  December, or March.

The school calender is unfair to many children, namely the younger students. I know as a child I found myself struggling to grasp some concepts, while at the same time I was bored to tears with the annual months-long review of material we had covered the prior year.

I still have to laugh about finding myself in a remedial reading course, reading wasn’t my problem — I was the 2nd youngest child in my grade throughout my school years and I had to work very hard at times to keep up with my older peers. Yet, while in the 6th grade, I was tested at reading on a 12th grade level.

Malcolm Gladwell points out the problem in his book Outliers: The Story of Success.

Outliers (book)

Image via Wikipedia

“It’s just like sports,” Dhuey said. “We do ability grouping early on in childhood. We have advanced reading groups and advanced math groups. So, early on, if we look at young kids, in kindergarten and first grade, the teachers are confusing maturity with ability. And they put the older kids in the advanced stream, where they learn better skills; and the next year, because they are in the higher groups, they do even better; and the next year, the same things happens, and they do even better again.

The only country we don’t see this going on is Denmark. They have a national policy where they have no ability grouping until the age of ten.” Denmark waits to make selection decisions.

Gladwell, Malcolm (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success (pp. 28). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Many public school children find themselves held-back in their early school years due to the recommendation of a teacher, but what does this do to a child? It stays with them their entire lives. Instead of school building their self-esteem and creating a self-confident individual, it begins a pattern of failure.

We’ve all talked to children in our area.

An adult asks the child, “So, what grade are you in?”

The child responds, “I was supposed to be in 4th but I’m in 3rd grade.”

The student will repeat this over and over again during his school years, so that it becomes a part of who he or she is. Each time the statement is made, it cements the feelings of failure inside. We aren’t grading eggs here. Why do schools bother assigning grades in the early years?

The older children in school classrooms have a distinct advantage over the younger students, not because they are necessarily smarter but because they are more mature. It creates an unfair disadvantage for the younger children in a classroom that only continues to grow throughout their academic lives.

I can understand why Diane would be concerned about following the traditional school model. If parents recognize that children aren’t being given a fair shake in schools across the country, why would they follow their flawed model of instruction? We never assigned a grade to our son and I never understood why a homeschooling parent would pigeon-hole their child into a meaningless grading system.

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