Daddy’s Thoughts about Homeschooling

dadandbunTranscript of an interview with Rick Hopkins (my husband)

Q. What was it that first got you to consider homeschooling your children?
A. My wife Diane was the first to feel impressed to begin homeschooling. She saw the problems our children were having in school; she investigated, and she didn’t like what she found in the public schools. Several of our children were having trouble with the school environment, their peers, the expectations, the school procedures, etc. At the time I was out of touch with our children’s emotional state. I felt open to change and the desires of my wife. I was involved in working as a design engineer and was very busy in my own life and, like most fathers, did not have contact with the children during the day. I became very supportive of our homeschool from the beginning.

Q. What wrong attitudes or beliefs did you have to give up or work through to do this?
A. I thought that school was the same as it was 20-30 years ago when I went to school. I assumed that the schooling I received was really good for me (I had never even thought about it before). We hadn’t considered that there was another way to meet the needs of our children. Although I always believed we could do anything we were inspired to do, I just had never considered the avenue of “homeschooling” before. We accepted this eagerly after having it confirmed in prayer. We had no idea who else homeschooled, we had no support group, we didn’t know how our church felt about homeschooling—but we knew the Lord approved of this decision for our family.

Q. How do you perceive your role as father these days?
A. I have a great responsibility to teach and train my children and bring them up in the right way. Education is a vital concern in my effort, and I think it should include the following four areas:
1) Gospel centered teaching, based upon scripture.
2) I believe that I need to teach and train them in the U.S. Constitution and American patriotism. I believe that our liberties are being severely eroded.
3) I feel a responsibility to teach basic life skills. My sons need to learn to be good providers and stewards. I do this by working side by side with them as often as possible. The work ethic is paramount; scouting and survival skills are needed to become independent. My daughters similarly learn domestic skills from Mom, as well as helping out in our business. I also want to expose my children to other basic life skills: gardening and working the land, using the computer, raising animals, building and constructing things, cooking, child care, giving service to others, etc.
4) Next is the responsibility to teach them academics. The foremost of these are reading and writing. Basic math skills are next. I believe other subjects are important also—science, language, geography, etc.—and I encourage them explore their interests in each. My object is to spark their interests in the area of their God-given talents and help them prepare for their life’s contribution to society. We make regular visits to the library, take many field-trips, and experience hands-on activities. I take the lead in teaching our scripture study, and I do what I can to help them with life skills. My wife tries to cover the rest in homeschool.

Q. What changes do you see in yourself since you began homeschooling your children?
A. My views on what’s really important in life have drastically changed. I am more sensitive to the heartbeat of the family now. We began homeschooling our children eight years ago. This was born out of a sincere desire to save their souls and come closer as a family. We began our bookstore business ten years ago. I had worked as a Mechanical Engineer previously. This changed my daily work to be more service-oriented. We all work very hard together in this business, which helps family solidarity and our need for each person in our family (we depend on each one for the business success). We are better able, I hope, to teach our values to our children now that our lives are more interwoven.

I feel I have increased testimony in my life now more than ever before. I try to question everything I do to be sure it is consistent with the Lord’s will, and not just accept a habit because that’s the way it’s always been done. Instead I truly want it to be the way God would have it be.

Q. What is your long-range goal for your family? What is your dream? How are you working to bring it about?
A. Here is my dream—to please God and to fulfill my life’s mission. This includes living righteously, helping my family do the same, and being involved directly in service to God. I want to overcome my personal problems and false traditions so that I will continue to repent and change in the direction He wants me to lead. I want my children to see that this is what they too should do (by my example). All of my goals are centered along this dream.


May I recommend:

Soak in the Joy!


A House United

Would you like to share this?


Sweet little Abigail

Sweet little Abigail


I have a progressive illness that keeps me from doing as well in homeschool as I’d like to with my children. The medications I must take make me very sleepy, and I am hospitalized at times. We’ve done school around my bed many days but I am worried that my children are falling behind academically and I feel like I’m slowing sinking. I just feel so far behind, and wonder if I’m doing the right thing to keep them home.


My first thought in response to your question (if you are doing the right thing to keep them home) is that only God can answer that question, and it may be different today than in the future. We really have to rely so much on his inspiration to us. It is challenging to deal with what life dishes out to us, and yet, God knows what He is doing. We can only trust Him.

Your love for your children is the most important ingredient for raising a successful person. But there is a point if we are not doing well, when we do them a favor to put them in a situation where they can progress more. Explore options, not just public school. I do not know if you have reached that point. Give to your children the things that only you can give—love, caring concern, a listening ear, moral values, feeling they are special . . . and that is enough. You don’t have to do all the teaching load in order to homeschool. You just have to be the one that makes the decisions about their education, whether it is at home or elsewhere. And that may be possible even if you are not feeling well.

One thing that I may suggest if you continue to homeschool is to use all the help you can afford.  There are marvelous computer programs, online educational games, even online curriculum programs that can sub for you being the teacher. One computer program I have been using is DIVE  along with Saxon Math. It is such an effective tutor and I

Granddaddy helps

have been “retired” now some years as far as teaching my kids math. The computer tutor does such a good job of it, they really don’t need me anymore. They are progressing marvelously on their own with the DIVE program and their Saxon books. If you live near a university or college, you may be able to hire a college student who will tutor your children in any subject you choose.

When I have been in difficult pregnancies, I have taught my children to school each other somewhat, and been amazed at how capable they really are. They can give each other spelling tests, do flashcards with each other, etc. When times are rough, you can move into a supervisory role, rather than the teacher. They can even take turns reading aloud and you can be the recipient, and put in your 2 cents of wisdom or word definition when needed and you can all still enjoy read aloud without you doing the reading.

Get things as automated as possible so they can go on “cruise control” without needing you ever present. Make using their student planners a daily habit. You can write up the whole week’s assignments and gather the needed extra books, videos, or supplies for the week (or assign them to gather them) and then you have them just bring the planner to you at the end of each school day and you can check that they’ve done and corrected their work. It is fun to be involved in all of the reading, school learning, etc. but it is not essential. You can oversee things in short, manageable sessions, and they can work daily on their own. I have worked with my kids through rough times healthwise, and been amazed to come downstairs to the schoolroom at 11 a.m. on a “bad day” for me, only to find them all dressed and working away diligently on their math or English. I’m surprised but when I question them, they say, “Well, this is what we have always done every day. We didn’t think of doing anything else!” Of course, the younger they are, the less likely this is, but over age 10 or 11, I have found them to be “trained” and pretty self-motivated.

imageRather than using your voice and energy, rely on electronics. The kids can learn states and capitals through geography CDs and they can practice math facts on the computer or with other self-correcting “games” such as Wrap-Ups. There are lots of “mom extender” products that I rely on. They can be a blessed assistant when Mom is not feeling capable of doing the teaching. There is a time and a place for these, and it may be now for you.

Don’t underestimate the fact that there are very meaningful lessons to be learned from being close to someone who faces challenges. I felt sorry for my children the year I was pregnant with Louisa, as my pregnancy (at age 42) nearly incapacitated me and my homeschool was far from ideal. But looking back, my children grew in ways I could never stretch them with math facts or geography studies.

May the Lord bless you to have the courage and strength needed!


May I recommend:


Learning Language Arts Through Literature

Curriculum Kits

Would you like to share this?

Homeschooling on the Cheap

Rachel in a puddle!

Rachel in a puddle!


I want to do homeschooling but I am afraid that it is going to cost a lot of money. When I start homeschooling am I going to have to go somewhere and buy expensive books?


I know it can seem like it will take a fortune to homeschool well . . . especially if you look at my store…hee hee! I just keep finding better and more fun learning products, and if you have the money for them, they can really enhance homeschool! But, you can do a wonderful job of educating your children without spending much.

A wise homeschool mom once told me that it only takes “a paper and pencil” to homeschool! I am sure she was right. I would add to that: “a paper and pencil plus a mother’s love”. I think that is the crucial ingredient, and no school teacher, however wonderful he or she may be, can ever replicate that!

Let’s see: paper, pencil, mother’s love . . . I’d add: a library card.

The first few years that I homeschooled, I bought a very few carefully selected resources, and nearly wore my library card out. I found a wagon and took it to the library so I could wheel it around and gather my books. I’m sure I was a sight, dragging my wagon, carrying a baby on one hip, while my a-bit-older children struggled to push a stroller with a wiggly toddler in it.  They could definitely see me coming and going!

I have since graduated to a luggage dolly (my Christmas present!) onto which I strap 3 apple boxes stacked on top of each other. That way I can stroll around the library gathering books and DVDs and have an easy way to get them out to the car. I come armed with a well thought out schedule so I know exactly what topics we will cover in science, history and literature for the next month. I check out books that will serve to reinforce our textbook studies (or even replace them if you do not have money for basic books yet). For example, if “electricity” is your science topic this week, you can find many good picture books, and harder text-type books, that give you a overview of the topic from the simplest explanations to challenging reading. You might even find some simple experiment books and a good DVD to make science exciting.

Not having enough resources is not the problem nowadays. If you have internet access in your home, you will be overwhelmed with all the information, lesson plans, visual aids, etc. that are available online. The problem I have found is there is too much information for me to easily sort through. If you don’t have internet access, libraries often do.

There are some necessary items, it is true, depending on the age of your children, such as math books, a phonics program, writing journals, etc. Ask for those for Christmas and birthdays, if you have grandparents that are willing. I also stock up at the August and September “Back to School” sales, where you can buy a pack of pencils for 10¢ and other amazing bargains. I buy enough paper and supplies to last the whole school year at great prices.

. . . paper, pencil, mother’s love, a library card . . . plus I ‘d add to that, a sense of fun.

Learning is delightful! Being with your kids is fun! This experience is an adventure you won’t want to miss! Don’t let budget concerns bog you down. You can do it on a shoestring. You’ll have a wonderful time together. You will become best friends with each other. You’ll pass on your values and be rewarded with seeing your children accept your morals and standards.

And, Mom, you will be delighted to see that learning is deliciously fun (just in case you missed out on that fact while you were in public school those many long years). I have learned more, become better educated and found more enjoyment in homeschooling than I ever did in school or college, and I was a good student who liked school. Homeschool really teaches you to love learning, to be hungry for learning and growing.

To your success!


May I recommend:

A Library Card and A Willing Heart

Small  girl with the book
Make-it-Yourself Beginning Readers

Love To Learn! Homeschool Handbook

Would you like to share this?

A Child’s Self-Confidence: Handle with Care


Jennifer, a mom who reads my blog, wrote about what happened to her little boy:

My middle child went to kindergarten last year at what was supposed to the best public school in the best school district in Kansas, which is one of the top states in the country. He is a kinesthetic learner with incredible spatial skills, but is a slow learner when it comes to reading. Watching his classmates “get it” while he struggled, killed his self confidence. His teacher progressed through the curriculum according to plan, and my boy was left behind. Not only did he finish kindergarten not reading, but he did not believe himself to be capable of reading. His teacher never raised with us any concerns about his reading—I’m not certain whether she even realized that he was struggling, because he is not the type to ask for help. Here we are now, homeschooling, half-way through 1st grade, and he is just now becoming confident enough in his reading ability to read to someone besides me. He still insists that he can’t read, but he’s reading cereal boxes, and he can answer for me when his little brother asks, “What does that say?”!  Yes, he is behind where other kids with his same manufacturing date range might be, but he is a unique little person who is learning and growing every day and I am proud of him and the progress he has made!

My heart sinks when I read comments like hers, because I have seen this happen too many times. And usually to boys, as they tend to be very hands-on and reading and writing comes later for them.  Just the thought of a kindergarten boy struggling to grip that pencil correctly and manipulate it to form legible letters is distressing—for some little boys, it is just so difficult!  And the girls their age often manage it easily, which only magnifies their deficit in their young heart. What pains me about Jennifer’s story is what happens to that little person’s feelings about himself—that wonderful self—and his feelings of capability.  Too sad!

I can remember when I was just a little girl, probably about 4th grade.  Our school pictures were coming up and I just wanted so much to have the “right smile”.  Back to that “norm” idea.  As if there is a “right” smile. I practiced in front of the mirror, trying to smile a movie star smile.  Is a 9-year-old girl even capable of a movie star smile?  No. “Too much television”, would be my diagnosis now, as a mother.  Too much of the world having an influence.  But I didn’t parent myself, so having that “right” smile was pretty crucial to me back then!  I practiced in front of the mirror, touching my face so I could memorize what it felt like to have that perfect smile.  When picture day came, and it was my turn to smile for the camera, I felt my face and made sure it was the “right” smile before the photographer snapped the picture.  Back in those days, you got one pose only—probably the same these days for school pictures.  When I got my pictures back, arrrrrrgh! They were AWFUL!  My pasted “right” smile was a facial contortion.  Plus, ALL my other classmates had a permanent record in their full sheet class picture!

The ache in this memory is the fact that a 9-year-old girl would even have the notion come into her head that she needed to try to be pretty, to have to try harder-than-possible to be acceptable.  I am sad that as a little child I had somehow picked up early to worry about it!  It didn’t come from my mother, as she always had positive things to say about how beautiful we children were, and how we should be grateful that we even had a body that worked. So it must have come from the culture, the school environment, the early training out of ear shot of my mother.

One thing I have been surprised about in raising my homeschooled teenagers is that they never were afflicted with the self-depreciating attitude that children often display in the teen years (…my nose is too big, I’ll too tall, I’m too short, I’m too fat, I’m too busty, I’m not busty enough, I’m a wimp muscle-wise, I need to lift weights, etc.)

Actually I think it starts quite young, even back in kindergarten.  The teacher, wanting to make losing a tooth a fun and special experience for the children, inadvertently rewards those who lose a tooth by having them come up in front of the class, putting their name on the “Lost a Tooth” chart, taking their photo, giving them a special award, etc.  Seems like an innocent idea, but the seeds of peer comparison and self-depreciation are sown very early. I’ve heard more than one 5-year-old lament that they still had their baby teeth . . . as if it was a sin, or a reason to be sorry.

Children think they are fabulous—in the absence of negative peer review, and in the absence of being compared academically or skill-wise to classmates.  It is amazing to me to see the natural feelings of a growing child!  I used to worry a bit about it with when my first children came of age—to hear and watch them assess their bodies and make positive exclamations about how fabulous their bodies or their talents or their minds were!  It made me laugh nervously and feel embarrassed because in our culture it is not acceptable to mention how wonderful our body is!  And yet, viewing it from God’s perspective, it truly is amazing to see a child’s body transform into a teenage body, with all its resulting capacities.  Bigger muscles for boys means they can lift things and work like an adult and be truly useful to the family in that manner.  And it is natural for them to be excited and to make positive comments about what is happening to their body. “I’m so strong!  I lifted as many hay bales as Dad did!” Those type of remarks are often discouraged—we think they are un-Christian somehow, as if we are not being humble enough.  But truly, I think they spring from genuine awe and appreciation of the personal miracle that God has wrought in their lives.  And it follows that poise and confidence are the natural results of feeling secure and thinking well of oneself.

Self-depreciation is taught by our culture of critique as being appropriate.  Perhaps it sounds more humble, but it does a wicked work on self-esteem. When children repeatedly compare and criticize their body, their intelligence, their capabilities—it does irreparable damage. Better to gently teach your children to contain their expressions of delight in public, than to nullify their appreciation for the beautiful work of God in their growing minds and bodies.

One of my young teenage daughters used to lay on her bed and hold up her adult-looking leg for review.  “Look how perfect my leg is!”, she would exclaim.  It made me chuckle, as I am a product of this culture of self-depreciation, and it seems odd to delight in oneself.  But when I truly looked at her leg objectively, I was amazed too!  How God transforms a child into a beautiful adult is amazing!

I can guarantee you that my daughter wouldn’t have that attitude towards herself if she’d spent much time in the culture of the public school.  I know that for a fact.  I had been hospitalized and was forced to put my youngest at age 9 into school for a few months during this time.  The drastic change in her attitude towards herself was alarming to me, and to her siblings.  In just 3 months, she transformed and it was not for the better. One trait she quickly developed was “social awareness ” (gotta be cool!)  Long before she attended school, she had been given a soft, furry, white, full-length coat that was her very favorite!  She felt like a snow princess when she wore it.  It was beautiful! She came home from school, coat slung over her arm, on a very frigid winter day.  “Why aren’t you wearing your coat?”, I asked. Because it made her have “polar bear hips” she confessed.  She didn’t even have hips yet! Whoever put that cutesy little barb of criticism into her mind prevented her from wearing her very favorite coat that made her feel beautiful . . . ever again. Though she never would part with it. I finally took it out of her closet recently and packed it away, and the feelings rushed back to me. So sad! So wrong!

Moms, academic training is important, yes.  But a child’s confidence and recognition of their own self-worth is crucial to their happiness and well-being their whole life long!  Children are able to hear the truth, that they are a beloved child of God and hear His approval spoken quietly to their minds, UNLESS the negative voice of their peers and the practices of our society’s critique system is louder. Which it usually is.

It is a good time in history to homeschool . . . to protect our children’s faith, tenderness, and self-worth.  God times the growth of their body and mind perfectly in His wisdom. He loves them. He speaks approving words to their heart about their wonder and worth. Why shouldn’t everyone else?

A child’s self-confidence requires gentle, tender nurturing.  Handle with care!


May I recommend:

homeschooling-lonely child
Lonely, Lonely Child

Double Vision

Communal Comparison


Would you like to share this?

Homeschooling a Struggling 18 year old


My son Ammon and the giant cantaloupe he grew!


My son is 18 and he has struggled through school , especially through high school. He wants to get a diploma and graduate but it is not looking like he will be able to do that through the regular high school program. What would you suggest that I do to get started, and how would I go about helping him to achieve his goal to finish school?


It is admirable that your son wants to finish high school, and quite wonderful that he has a mother who is willing to help him! His motivation and your help will be a great factor in his success.

First of all, I would go to the high school counselor and get details on what it is going to take to get a diploma. If he needs to do the coursework to finish up classes, he will have an advantage being at home where he can devote himself to study, with you as mentor to help him along. Explore the option of testing out of the classes with an written exam (or oral exam) rather than doing the assigned work. This is a faster method because learning the core requirements is not as laborious as doing all the homework assigned in class. You can get books on each subject, such as World History or Math, that help you study the basic facts for the proficiency exams.  In fact, getting children’s picture books are a good way to give a basic understanding of a topic, such as cell structure, before delving in further.

Taking the GED test may be a good option.  The GED is an easy exam that grants a high school diploma.  Because the GED exam is often taken by unwed mothers, high school dropouts, etc., it may possibly cast an unfavorable light on your son to a future employer or college, so that is a consideration. But some colleges now require it, so the tide may be turning.  If your son would be happy with this route, it will certainly be easier than trying to finish up difficult high school coursework.

A high school diploma is not an education, however. It represents putting in time at the local high school and doing passing work but there is a lot of leeway in there!  I would hope that your son would be able to learn the things he is interested in. Talk to him and see what gets him interested and enthused. Then go to the library together and load up on books, magazine articles, videos, and whatever else you can find on his subject of interest. You’ll be amazed at how focused he is when the subject is of his choosing. When he feels the thrill of learning, that perhaps has been dormant for far too long, you will have started something wonderful!

imageI would urge you to do some reading aloud of classic children or young adult literature that would interest him (Call it Courage, Night Journeys, The Giver, Sign of the Beaver, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, and others). These can be found in any library and are not hard reading, but they are inspiring and the main character is a young man who strives to achieve. Read them aloud (no one is too old to be read a story) and enjoy them together. There is something very bonding and encouraging about reading good books. I believe it is essential to an excellent education and a fun way to re-ignite a love to learning.  A high school degree is a good short time goal, but a desire to keep learning is the ultimate goal!

Take a look at your local online high school program. Most public schools have them as an option to help those who need to catch up on classes.  If not, there are many sources online for free tutoring.  Khan Academy is a good one! Many colleges have free “open courseware’, which are basic classes taught online by a college professor (for the sake of learning, not credit)

Best success to you!


May I recommend:

Get Your General College Education During High School

How do I Choose Resources?

To Kill a Mockingbird

Would you like to share this?

My Child is Behind in School


I put my son James in public school for a short time and the teacher said he was “behind”.  I was so upset, I cried for days!  You said he is so young, I shouldn’t worry.  At what point should I worry?


At what point should you worry?


Just pray and do your very best.  Children have their own growth path, their own maturation process.  Assisting them to learn what they are interested in, and providing fun ways to learn the things they have no interest in, but that are necessary life skills—is the best any mortal can do, including any public school teacher.  You are their very best teacher!  Your methods may vary, and you may explore and try new ones, but basically, it is YOU— your love, your caring concern, your energy to help them pursue their interests— not the academics, that makes a good education.

Your child is not “behind” or “ahead”.  He is James.  Period.  With all his varying skills and abilities—some areas higher and some areas lower than the “norm” (which doesn’t exist, of course).

I am so sorry that you felt bad and cried about the teacher’s opinion.  James is who he is. I wish you could see how it will work out—that James will grow up to become his own phenomenal person!

I think we underestimate the divine nature in our children.  They are progressing, opening like a blooming flower.  And their potential and final intelligence level is really not up to us, just as we cannot determine what color a blossoming flower will be.  We can assist, or retard their blooming efforts, but we can’t determine their talents, ability or intelligence level.

forge-550622_1280Make sure he has religious training. That is the biggest factor, because as kids get to be teens, their respect for God, and for you and others will make a huge difference.  Next, make sure he has the basics:  reading, writing and math—according to his time table—don’t put expectations on him to go faster, to be something he is not.   Make it fun, as I know you try to do!  Help him:  be his best aid in pursuing his interests.  Get books at the library, buy kits, find DVDs, travel with him, take him to science fairs, seek out mentors like the blacksmith at the county fair, that can answer his questions.  Kids are hungry to learn things that interest them. Feed him as fast as he can take it.  And don’t force feed him too much stuff that he has no interest in.

I used to stress, too. I think it is because I had the mistaken idea that I was the creator.  That how my children turned out  intelligence-wise, talent-wise was entirely up to me, somehow. I know that if you keep homeschooling the best you can, and you keep him out of public school and make sure he has religious training, you will be calling me in ten years to tell me what a fabulous, smart, achieving, amazing son James is.

Breathe deep.  He is God’s child first, yours second.  Do your best, and you’ll be amazed with the results!


May I recommend:

Public School or Homeschool?

Keep on Schedule or Let ’em Fly?

For the Love of Learning


Would you like to share this?

What to Do with Baby?




This will be my first year to homeschool my 6-year-old. What can I do with my baby while I teach? The baby is one year old. I did read your Best Homeschool Secrets (thank you for the valuable tips), but I don’t have other children to help me babysit, and the baby is too young to play alone for more than 5 minutes. Besides, my baby only takes about an hour nap once a day. What did you do when your babies were young? Help!


I just kept at the task of trying to teach while trying to help the baby be happy. With a 6-year-old, you can do lots of hands-on things, nature walks, exploring, drawing and art with different mediums—all interesting stuff for a one year old, too. Also, you can read aloud while sitting on the floor “playing” with the little one such as handing him puzzle pieces and pointing to where they go so he can put them in place, playing “pegs,” etc.

I never have used nap times for school time because I needed a break from the baby, too!

Just keep your goal in mind (for example, your day’s assignments or desired work: read aloud book, painting, playing number games, doing math, etc.—whatever you choose) and patiently work at it. It may take you all day to get done, but since it is meaningful time that you are enjoying with your children, there is no pressing need to get it all done between 9 a.m. and noon.

imageI still have a little one, and I still do have to keep her happy and occupied while I teach my other children. I read aloud to the bigger children while sitting on the floor with her puzzles or crayoning with her. I play math games with my children and give her a little stack of cards and dice to play along or let her roll for me and help move my piece. I also have a box of “schoolwork” for the baby, such as coloring books, crayons, peg puzzles, stacking pegs, lacing shapes, buttons or other little sorting things plus a spoon or tongs and a muffin tin to sort them into, a geoboard with rubber bands, board books, etc. I set up water color painting, playdough, or another fascinating hands-on activity that will keep the little one going for awhile. As baby gets a little older, there are more activities you can add: Practice for Preschoolers.

The baby can join in for singing time, pledge of allegiance, etc. I get her school box out when it is time for school and set the little one up at a “station,” and that buys me about 10 minutes or more, if I am lucky.

It can get hairy, and often does. Isn’t motherhood just about patience?! But, they grow up very quickly. So, we try to enjoy the baby, laugh at her antics, and keep plodding towards the goal of getting each day’s work done.

Little ones learn to live in the pattern of your school day, sensing when it is time to sing, read, get out the peg puzzles, etc., and it gets a little easier as time goes on. When the youngest one just gets too restless for school time anymore, I take him outside for a few minutes to swing or play in the sandbox, letting my other children continue working or come with us.

There are lessons your older child is learning by watching you love, care for, nurture, and be patient with the baby, lessons that are not learned any other way. You are tutoring your older child in kindness, unselfishness and love. That is an incredibly valuable lesson!


May I recommend:

Homeschool with a Baby

Big Bear Hugs

Soft, Squeezable Blocks

Would you like to share this?

Big Bear Hugs

My very sweet grandbabies: Abigial and Rebekah and their new baby brother Isaac

My very sweet grandbabies: Abigial and Rebekah and their new baby brother Isaac

We all need physical touch! It is essential to our well-being, just as much as good food and sleep and other components of health. Research has shown that monkeys will choose physical contact over food, if they are being “touch-deprived”. In another study, babies in overcrowded orphanages had a greater chance of survival if their cribs were near the doorway where workers might pat them as they passed. Touch is critical to our well-being.

Pestering, poking, tickling and teasing is sometimes just a way of begging for physical contact. It’s a way of inviting to be touched and touching others. We all need touch, but poking and tickling isn’t exactly the best method for getting our needs met. What is an acceptable way to get the healthy, nurturing body contact that we all need?

When pestering got to be a big problem at my house, I decided we needed to institute some morning bear hugs! So as everyone came out to our morning devotional, I had them line up and give the person across from them a big l-o-n-g bear hug. I told them to keep hugging until I said “stop”, which resulted in giggles. Then we rotated around until everyone had given everyone else a cozy extended hug.

I loved to watch my babies with my teenagers. A baby needs to be held and touched and played with. One of my sons would take the baby into his room regularly to just talk to and hold. Teenagers benefit so much from physical contact, and may feel awkward with hugs and kisses from parents, even though they still need them. A baby and a teen are a great combination!

What else have we tried in our family?

  • Letting the kids roll and wrestle
  • Hand massages (great while you are sitting together)
  • Goodbye and hello kisses
  • Arm wrestling (or leg wrestling!)
  • Family dancing together (boy with girl, or girl with girl or any combination works!)

Teach your kids some acceptable ways to get that much-needed physical contact, and the poking and pestering will diminish.

If you want to tone down the pestering, try starting the day with a big bear hug!


May I recommend:

First a Relationship

Mad Kids & Work

The 21 Rules
The 21 Rules of this House

Would you like to share this?

Please subscribe and I will email you a copy of my ebook: The Only School Chart that Survived 25 Years of Homeschooling!

  • Facebook
  • Google+">
  • Twitter
  • YouTube