Monday, April 16, 2012

Review of Time 4 Learning

Thank you to Time 4 Learning for this chance to try out your website for free. It was very fun!

Although we really enjoyed Time 4 Learning, I don't believe I could ever use it as my only curriculum. It just seemed too light. Maybe we didn't do enough of the program to actually get into the bulk of curriculum. I'm not sure.

The games my kids played were all fun and educational. I had all three of my boys play around quite a bit. My 7 year old figured it out well enough on his own. My 5 and 4 year old needed help navigating, but it was quit easy once they knew where to go. I, on the other hand, had a difficult time figuring out how to navigate the parent part of the website. I wanted to assign my children tasks and I could not figure out how. Oh well, I've never claimed to know all there is to know about computers.

All in all, I think it's an okay site. I'd probably give it 3 stars out of five. Only three due to how much a person has to pay and the fact that it's not a complete curriculum.

This is all my opinion, so take it for what it's worth. If you use and love Time 4 Learning, great! Once again, thanks to Time 4 Learning for offering 30 days free in exchange for this review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Child Training Bible: My Review and Changes

It seems that the web is on fire with this "new" Child Training Bible idea. I have to admit, I had mixed feelings when I first found it. After prayer and talking with my husband about it, I decided to order it, so I could check it out. I was not asked to review this product, nor was I gifted this product. I bought it and decided to share my thoughts, that is all. I am in no way affiliated with this company.

First off, I am not in the training your child camp with Michael Pearl, Ted Trip, Gary Ezzo, or any of the other so called Christian child "experts." I adhere to a more gentle approach. You can find more information at Gentle Christian Mothers or Arms of Love Family Fellowship.  Honestly, whenever I hear someone say "train your child" my stomach does a turn. There are so many "experts" out there that have taken God's word and distorted it to make it seem as though we need to beat our children into submission. In my opinion, this is absolutely backwards. God sent Jesus Christ to take that punishment for us. THIS INCLUDES OUR CHILDREN! Okay, off my soapbox and onto the review.

Upon opening the package and reading the various categories, I was not happy. They are mostly negative categories like selfishness, unforgiveness and fighting. Upon looking through each scripture reference that is given, I was pleasantly surprised that they were not all negative like the category titles would've lead me to believe. The scriptures themselves, were mostly positive, telling us what TO do, instead of what punishment God was going to reign down on us every time we did something wrong. That's when my light bulb went on. I thought, "I can spin this into a very useful tool."

I changed the titles of some of the categories, skipped some of the more punitive verses and made sure to highlight enough so that each verse would be read in context. My categories are: Anger, Positive Speech, Respect, Patience, Contentment, Encouragement, Fear, Obedience, Peaceful Living, Laziness, Truthfulness, Listening to Godly Advice, Friendships, Forgiveness, Gossip, Stealing, Selflessness, Humility and Making Excuses. I really liked how the creators of the Child Training Bible broke the Gospel up into four categories, so I stuck with that. Instead of using the cards that were sent, I just colored blocks to match the tabs and labeled them, right on the front page of the Bible.

Just changing the category titles is not going to totally spin this into a positive tool however. Most of the work is done in how the parent approaches this and talks with the child. If you still come after them and say, "See, here's what the Bible says you have to do. Get to work and do it!" with a negative and shaming attitude, it's not going to work. All you are going to to is create resentment in your child. What I do is use it all the time, not just when they are doing something they shouldn't be. I make sure to use it during a neutral time, not in the heat of the moment. It's another "tool" in my "parenting toolbox."

Here's an example of how we have used it recently; Lightening has started to have quite a mouth on him lately. I understand that this is developmentally appropriate, and I do want my children to express their opinions. However, I do not want them to do it in a rude and hurtful way. After a few times of telling him to "try again" with his words, I sent him to our comfort corner to calm down. (A comfort corner is just a safe space they can go to regroup. They are free to get up at any time, as long as they have calmed down. This is not a time out, in the most common definition.) Once he was calm and decided to apologize for his hurtful words and actions, we brought out the Bible. I let him pick which category we would go through. He chose "Positive Speech." The verse we talked about was Ephesians 4:29 ~ "Don't let any foul language come out of your mouth. Only speak good things which will encourage someone. Let your words be a benefit to those who hear them." I just discussed this with him and asked him what he thought it meant. Then we talked about how this verse is for Mom and Dad also. We finished with talking about how it's not the fact that we mess up, it's what we do afterward that matters. Do we make amends and try to do things differently next time? This is what's important.

This may not be the perfect way to handle this situation, but it's what has worked for Lightening and it didn't include shaming or spanking. I hope this helps you too.