Category Archives: General

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!

Try Harder?

I expect all of us have reactions of impatience, frustration, or even anger at times that we would rather not have. Here’s what likely happens after the reaction. We are unhappy with ourselves because it isn’t a reaction that is godly and loving. So, we determine that next time we will be more aware, more careful, and avoid that negative reaction. Try, try, try again. The reality is that such a plan simply doesn’t succeed because we are doing it in our own strength.

This scenario might even be upmost on the minds of the homeschooling moms who began their new school year recently and are in the midst of all the time pressure, child craziness, and stress that brings. 

If trying harder isn’t the solution, what might be? 

Really See It As Sin

For me, my wrong reactions had to become more than just something I wished I didn’t do. In my struggle with anger, I minimized it as sin and excused it as normal based on stress, lack of sleep, or perhaps being the other person’s fault. I had to view my sin as an offense against a holy God and another person and stop making excuses. 

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalms 51:4).

The remedy was to ask the Lord’s forgiveness, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And then also ask forgiveness of the person I offended.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

I remember those years when my children were younger, and the Lord was teaching me this path. I asked their forgiveness when my response to them wasn’t right, and every time, the child said, “Yes, Mommy, I forgive you.”

Pray 

Next pray, yielding to Him, acknowledging need and inability, and asking for His help. God tells us His strength is sufficient and that His grace is made perfect in weakness. 

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

He wants to aid us, but if, in our pride, we tackle it on our own, He leaves us to that muddle, “ . . . and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (Peter 5:5b).

Find Scripture

Finally, use your daily time in the Word to find Scripture that applies to the areas you most often find yourself frustrated or angry in. Then write the verses out on a notecard that you can carry around with you. Review them regularly and pray when you do. When you hit one of THE situations, pull it out, read it OUT LOUD, and pray right away. This can become your new, good habit. As you practice, with the Lord’s grace and strength, it will replace your bad habit of the negative reactions. If you do this, you will be amazed at how quickly you memorize the verses you are using. Soon you no longer need to read the card. Instead the verses are there in your mind.

Simple but Powerful

You might tell me that this is simplistic. Perhaps it is, but that’s the beauty of our walk with Christ. In addition, simple isn’t always easy. I personally found these truths from God’s Word to be powerful in my life. They grew me away from those negative reactions. Could I encourage you to try them? 

If you benefited from this month’s Mom’s Corner, we have a couple of resources that will be of additional help.
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey

If you would like to read about baby Maddy coming home from the hospital and our recent family news, go to our blog.

Blessings in Christ,

Teri

Empty-Handed

God forewarned Joshua that any remaining nations would affect the Israelites. Their influence would divert the Israelites’ love and worship of God to the other nation’s gods. 

The same is true today as professing Christians fall in love with what the people of our world worship. Few will go to the extreme to deny Christ as they know that would clearly be sin. However, they don’t think about the tears of remorse they will shed when standing before Christ empty-handed. Each will give account for all the wasted hours that were devoted to completely worthless, but exciting, entertainment idols. 

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day” (Joshua 23:7-8).

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you;” – We must live in the world, but what we embrace is a choice.

“neither make mention of the name of their gods,” – Seems like the number of idols today are endless. It all becomes the topic of our speech and the love of our hearts.

“nor cause to swear by them,” – They become a person’s identity.

“neither serve them,” – With your precious time

“nor bow yourselves unto them:” – They are devoted to them.

“But cleave unto the LORD your God,” – Be joined with God, and pursue Him hard with all your might.

Schedules and Chores

August heralds the start of a new school year for most homeschooling moms. While your focus has necessarily been researching and choosing school books, there are two other practical foundations that play a major role in how successful your school year turns out to be. 

Those stabilizing pillars are a solid schedule and chore system. Without these, you both fritter and waste time that is critical to keeping up with school. You bog yourself down in daily household up keep rather than having big chunks of time for education. 

The homeschool mom doesn’t have the luxury of starting through her day one task at a time, hoping it all gets done. She needs to hit the floor, knowing what should happen and when, not only for herself but for her children as well. With a plan, she can be as efficient as possible – with time and chores. She is no longer simply cook, housekeeper, and laundress, but also school teacher. That is a full time job added on to another full time job.

Some try to muddle through without a schedule and chore system, but they are usually the first to say that it is truly a muddle. I believe that the schedule and chore system is the undergirding to a powerful and satisfying homeschool year and well worth the investment in them on the front end.

The Schedule

“Schedule” may be an intimidating word and thought to you. It might bring back memories of your experience in public school with bells ringing and tardiness noted. Be assured that the homeschool schedule isn’t as rigid as that, but a written plan that is followed setting aside time for the vital parts of your day. 

If you don’t write your plan down but try to keep it in your head, it easily gets lost in all the other things you store in your mind. Paper and pencil or a computer – either works for documenting a schedule. 

You could be surprised at how quickly making a schedule goes. Just sit down to the task and begin putting the various pieces in place. You are probably living a schedule already for bedtime, wake up time, and meal time. Write that down on your schedule. Next fill in personal Bible time, chores, and the details of school. Then see what time is available to plug in extras. Simple!

The Chore Plan

As a homeschool mom, you won’t have time for as many housekeeping chores as the stay-at-home mom whose children are in school. Plus it is critical that you have as much help as possible from your children. That means being purposeful, efficient, and delegating. A chore plan is your tool toward those goals.

To simplify your chore planning start by documenting what is already happening in your home as far as chore assignments. After that, figure out what other chores your children are capable of doing and assign them. Write it all down so that everyone knows what is expected of them and give chores particular spots in your schedule. Set standards for the chore work. Figure out consequences for not doing the work or not doing it to the standard. Don’t forget to inspect the chores. 

Starting with the End in Mind

Finishing a homeschool year having accomplished what you set out to do is extremely satisfying. Reaching summer with books unfinished is disappointing and discouraging. A schedule and chore plan will facilitate your homeschooling success. The effort you put into a schedule and chore system before you begin your school year pays off. You are likely to reach the end of the school year having achieved your academic goals. Make it your priority now!

If you need more help with a schedule or chore system, Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores is designed to walk you through those processes step by step. 

Posted in: General

Savory Sewage

Living in Florida I remember being fascinated any time I heard about a sinkhole event occurring, sort of like a modern Korah, Dathan, and Abiram moment (Numbers 16). Likely that single event of Numbers would hold the all-time, world record for sinkhole devastation. 

There is a costly, modern day sinkhole of another sort that impacts many (most?) men today. Sadly, few recognize the longterm consequences. However, I’m confident there is a horrific “cost” to God’s kingdom due to all the hours it sucks out of men’s lives and the negative impact to their souls. What is it? It is the news, and man’s insatiable “need” to be informed about every illegal, disastrous, scandalous, juicy, gory, and immoral event that the networks can find to keep their ratings up. 

Do I hear cries of “Heresy!” “Outrageous” “Insanity!”? Please extend me a bit of grace. Consider what the result of mentally “ingesting” the list from above? What profit is there? Does it build you up in Christ? Does it enrich your life or foster love, joy, or peace? Do you have a far greater hunger to read God’s Word as a family than you do to listen to or read the news? How many families are starved for the Bread of Life, while Dad is feasting on the sewage of the world?

Since it is a shame to speak of the works of darkness, it is certainly not good to listen or read them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). 

My Brothers, Scripture tells us what we are to feed on. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

Pedal to the Metal

There was an expression I heard and then used growing up when I was ready to be finished with a project or school report, “Good enough for government work.” However, once I was saved and began reading my Bible, I learned that God calls His children to a higher standard. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

May I challenge each of us to consider our walk with the Lord. I shared before about not being satisfied with being barely on the good side of the “line of sin.” That is a “good enough” mentality. There should be no “good enough” when seeking Him. “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore” (Psalm 105:4).

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-15).

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). 

My Brothers, may we give Him our all. 

Easy

The concept of “easy” made one man billions and billions of dollars because he played to the “flesh” of customers who wanted to buy online that way. Satan led the way by playing to the flesh of billions and billions of people, purchasing them and destining them to hell. 

Mankind likes easy. My flesh likes easy. However, Jesus’ command for us to follow Him isn’t easy. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

There is a young brother with a wife and two little girls serving as missionaries in the Ivory Coast. God graciously spared his two little girls when they were deathly sick the end of last year. In their December/January newsletter, when the girls were sick, there wasn’t a hint of self pity or blaming God. Seth is a church planter and also seeking to reach men in prison. I love their hearts. Their life isn’t easy. 

In their April/May newsletter (BTW the date at the top is wrong, November 2020), they mention the need of two computers. In all the years of sending out Seriously/Corners emails, I don’t think we have ever asked for your financial support, but now I am. Would you help them? 

Whatever you would give goes to them through their mission board, Baptist World Missions (baptistworldmission.org). You can give online. Scroll down to “Click to Donate Online,” then “Amount” and for “Designated to,” there is a drop down list where you can find his name: Seth Cuthbertson. Thank you so much. Note: that link doesn’t work in Chrome for me but it did for Teri. 

I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter as well. You can do that through the Subscribe link at the top left of their newsletter page. 

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

The Productive Summer Schedule for Homeschoolers

A productive summer schedule can help homeschoolers (or anyone) toward desires or goals you have for your summer months. Perhaps those would include doing some homeschooling, accomplishing activities that don’t fit into a homeschool year, or simply relationship building. Whatever the desire, purposefulness in making a schedule should give time to work on various aspects that lead to its achievement. Often moms get to the end of their summer dismayed with their lack of productivity and disappointed that they didn’t accomplish what they had envisioned. Your schedule is a tool that will let you look back on summer with satisfaction rather than regret.

If you haven’t scheduled before, summer is a perfect time to learn scheduling because usually summer has a more relaxed pace than the school months do.

List and Pray

To begin, write your desires for summer accomplishments onto a list. Having these desires in writing means you can visualize the ideas all together. You have a limited amount of time and energy so what you want to accomplish will be mitigated by that. The list and then the schedule is a reality check for what is reasonable to try to do.

Before you work on the actual schedule, you want to pray and seek the Lord’s direction for what He would have you and your children accomplish this summer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). You may grow or shrink the list as you spend praying over it and also evaluating your available time.

Then pray about the actual planning and working out of the schedule since you want God’s help through that process. He is the One Who gives you direction and creativity for how to put the pieces of your schedule together.

Add a Few Notes

Now look at your list of desires for the summer. What needs to be scheduled to accomplish those goals? Start by making notes on your list since a particular goal might mean multiple spots on the schedule.

For example, your list says: summer school. But your note would be more specific – keep math and reading going during the summer by doing it daily. Your list could have: relationship building. Your note with it might say: weekly outing with one child rotating every week through the summer, assign a kitchen helper for each meal, have a daily game time. 

Assign Times

The next step is to put times with what you have on your list. It simplifies the schedule and schedule production if you use the same schedule for summer that you do for the school year when it comes to your normal daily needs. Then you don’t have to relearn that routine for the summer. School time is freed up to assign for your summer accomplishments, but the rest of the schedule remains the same.

If, however, you want to change the whole thing up, your schedule can accommodate! Just be sure to write it down. Trying to keep it in your mind is a setup for failure!

Then you use your notes to help you put what is on your list into time slots on the schedule. What is on it that you will do every day? Plug those into your schedule first. That allows you to evaluate the time blocks you have available for activities that don’t happen every day. If you want to have larger chunks of time for outings, try to group your daily activities together, so that you have several hours that can be scheduled for outings and the activities that don’t happen every day.

Finally what is on the list that you can do a couple of times a week or once a week? Put those into the blocks that are still open after the daily pieces have been entered into the schedule.

Make the Summer Schedule a Reality

Sometimes putting together a schedule seems daunting. That’s usually the case when it is all floating around in your head. Committing the details to paper or the computer, generally flows nicely once you take that first step to begin.

The productive summer schedule for homeschoolers will help you end your summer with a smile as you look back over all that you achieved through those months. 

If you need more scheduling help, I recommend our book called Managers of Their Homes. That book is full of scheduling information plus it walks you step by step through putting a schedule together utilizing the included scheduling kit. 

Here are some other articles on summer scheduling.

Times Have Changed

Are you concerned about the state of the nation and your children’s future? In our lifetime we have had the “good life,” but things have changed. Have you thought much about why the change?

God blessed this nation with everything a country could hope for: incredible climate, bountiful natural resources, a paradise of cropland, freedom of religion, a government founded with the concept of trust in God, and laws that paralleled a Judaeo Christian mindset. We have been blessed beyond measure and imagination. 

It is my opinion that the United States is God’s answer to anyone on earth or in heaven (Hebrews 12:1), who might claim God unfairly blessed and favored Israel. He brought a microcosm of all the world together in the US to represent the world. 

God can point to the U.S. and say “I gave you everything, if not even more than I gave Israel.  Look what you did with the blessings and freedom (Galatians 5:13) I gave you. I made the US a melting pot of the nations, but you followed the same evil path that Israel did. I judged Israel, and I must judge the United States as well.” Brothers, if God doesn’t judge the U.S., He would have to apologize to Israel, and that isn’t going to happen. 

What if we Christians had pursued our God wholeheartedly, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30) and fervently shared Christ (Matthew 28:19), bearing fruit, instead of the pursuit of our own happiness (fun and pleasure), might this country still be the Christian nation that it was? I think not only was but better. 

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).

More Fishing in The Boat

This week, like last, we are still fishing in the boat, but looking for those with different needs.

Brothers, many people are hurting who come to church (they came to the right place). Their pain may not be obvious, since they can put on a smile and make appear as if everything is fine. Your smile and caring conversation could be what communicates to them that they are loved, valued, and wanted. It is even possible that over time they will feel safe in your friendship and will let you see behind the smiles to the pain. Maybe it will be in the form of a prayer request, or it could be an invitation to meet for coffee. But it starts with looking around and reaching out to someone you don’t know rather than stoically sitting in your seat at church. 

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Philippians 1:9).