Thursday, April 28, 2016

Summer Reading List Christian Books--Incomplete List--Help Add books

A while back I posted a summer reading list for middle school aged kids. But consider it a reading list for you because it's important for parents to keep reading to their kids even into their teens. Or get the book on CD and listen to it as a family at dinner.

That list is HERE. Those books are secular, although a few are inspirational such as the Chronicles of Narnia. They are still worth reading, although you'll need to use discretion when deciding if they are right for your family.

 Below is a list of Christian books to read to your upper elementary and middle school children as well as making them available for your children to read. Check amazon or Christian books to find the suggested age for each.


Horse Dreams, Dandi Daley Mackall

Vanished, Kristi Holl

True Friends, Stephanie Perry Moore

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Boy and His Horse, C.S. Lewis

Dragons in Our Midst, Bryan Davis

Girls Only Series, Beverly Lewis

Grandma's Attic Series, Arleta Richardson

Here's Lily, Nancy Rue

Asking for Trouble, Sandra Byrd

Mandie Series, Lois Gladys Leppard

Heart to Heart, Sandra Byrd

Sophie's World, Nancy Rue

Just Claire, Jean Ann Williams

8 Notes to a Nobody, Cynthia Toney

There You'll Find Me,  Jenny B Jones

Bash and the Pirate Pig, Burton Cole

Hear No Evil, Mary Hamilton

Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle,    RK Mortenson

On the Scene,  Robin Caroll    


Anything But Normal, Melody Carlson                                               

One Realm Beyond, Donita K. Paul

The Door Within, Wayne Thomas Batson

Non Fiction:

The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book, Katrina Cassel

Everyone Tells Me to be Myself But I Don't Know Who I Am, Nancy Rue

A Girl After God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George

A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls, Dannah Gresh

A Girl's Guide to Making Really Good Choices, Elizabeth George

Heaven for Kids, Randy Alcorn

The Middle School Survival Manual, Katrina Cassel

My Mini Dream Room, Karen Whiting

A Boy After God's Own Heart, Jim George

A Young Man's Guide to Making Right Choices, Jim George

This list is very incomplete. Please thing of books that would really captivate middle school kids and list them in the comment section.

Whenever possible, shop at your local Christian bookstore.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is Your Child Ready for Competitive Sports?

     Millions of children participate in organized sports each year, some of them as young s four.  Sports participation for four- and five-year olds may include T ball, soccer, basketball and football. Involvement in a sports program offers positive benefits for children, but not every child is ready for team sports at the same age. Before launching your child into team sports, make sure you have examined the pros and cons.

Positive aspects of involvement
     Sports have the potential to build up your child in a positive way. Sports allow your child to develop physically. Sports allow your child to develop physically. They build up muscles, improve the cardiovascular system, balance, tone, and coordination. Once the season is over, these gains are lost unless physical exercise continues. Sports help a child develop the habit of regular exercise.
     Participation in sports allows children to learn to work as a team, solve problems together and cooperate with each other. It allows children to bond together through a common interest. Being a member of a team gives a much needed feeling of belonging.
     Large motor skills develop and are mastered through sports activities. Children build self-esteem and confidence as they master kicking, hitting, catching, throwing, and other new skills. These skills are the foundation for other skills they will learn later.
     Sports allows children to experience success and significance. Every child needs to  feel he is good at something. For some children this feeling is achieved on the ball field.

Negative aspects of involvement
     Although participation in sports should be a positive experience, it has the potential to harm a child. Competitive sports may be characterized by a "winning is everything" attitude. Imagine the anguish of a child who fails to hit the ball that could bring in the winning run or who is tagged out at home plate. This competitiveness also robs a child of the fun of being on a team.
     When the emphasis is on winning rather than fun and skill development, children are often unfavorably compared to other children. They may not be allowed to play in the game as much as the better players. Childrens' self-esteem is damaged when they fail to prove themselves a winner.
     Sports can bring out the worst in people. Adult friends with children on opposing teams may sacrifice their friendship in a dispute over a call or team conflict. Parents may alienate their children by driving them too hard to win and overlooking personal achievements.

Parental involvement
     The key to making sports either a positive or negative force on your child is you.
      Parents can help take the emphasis off of winning by encouraging new rules for young players. Many T ball leagues are being organized that don't count strikes or outs. They don't keep score so children are not divided into members of a winning  or losing team.
     By reorganizing the structure to eliminate the competitiveness children can concentrate on skills development, working as a team and having fun. This doesn't mean that children shouldn't develop a spirit of competitiveness, but at this age it can be channeled into a desire to improve their own skills and in wishing the best for everyone.
     Parents can be involved in choosing coaches and officials who support a non-competitive approach to sports for beginners. Parents may wish to become involved as officials or coaches as time and abilities permit.

Your child's involvement in sports
     Is your child physically ready? Sports are a great place to learn skills, but if a child's body isn't ready it is a frustrating time for everyone involved. Practice hitting, catching, kicking, throwing, running, and jumping at home first.
     Does your child have the maturity required? Is your child able to follow instructions and understand rules? Is he able to work with others in a group setting? If he isn't ready, work on developing these skills at home by playing simple games together. Find places, such as the library story time, where he can learn to be part of a group.
     Does your child understand commitment? Teams are assigned for a whole season. Allowing your child to quit half way through a season disrupts teams and lets your child know he can quit things that he doesn't like. Encourage him to complete the season. Then he has a whole year to decide if he wants to play again.
     Will it be an enjoyable experience for your child? Is the emphasis on fun, team work and skills development? Do all the children get to play? Your child should enjoy practices and look forward to games, not fear them.
     Does your child really want to be involved in sports? Just because an older child loved soccer doesn't mean it's what your younger child wants. Sports has many benefits but so do art, music, and family exercise times.
     Can your family make the time commitment? Sports require practices and games. Often meal time is changed to accommodate the games, and mom begins to feel like a chauffeur. Sports should unite the family, and your child should feel your support.

     Involvement in sports can be a positive influence on a child's self-esteem, physical and social development. Sports programs should be investigated by the parents first to make sure it will provide the most benefits for children while encouraging fun and an attitude of cooperation among players. Look around to see what is available in your area. Contact your local Park and Recreation Office or YMCA for information about children's sports leagues.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Stinky Child

I have a situation that bugs me. I have child that stinks. Since she's adopted from Haiti, I don't know if this is a genetic thing or just poor hygiene or what. But she stinks almost all the time. I send her to shower, and I know that some times she only pretends to shower. She gets in just long enough to get wet so it looks like she's showered. It makes no sense because it wouldn't take that much work to actually shower.

Her whole room reeks, and it spreads to the whole house. It's worse after she exercises. She has wipes and deodorant for school for PE days. She has several kinds of soaps, body washes and deodorants for school. She is almost 11.

Here's the problem. She smells at school to the point kids don't want to sit by her. Her teachers are very pretty and it's obvious that looks and hygiene are priorities with them. Earlier in the year the school wanted to help someone with uniforms. They bought her two pairs of school pants and two school shirts. That about $100. We already have school pants, skorts and shorts in 12s, 14s and 16s. We have 14 shirts size 14/16. But she was wearing 10/12s. They felt her pants were too short. Shirts too. (But they weren't--no tummy showing when she raised her arms) But they didn't bother to say a thing to me. I could have easily moved her up to the next size, but they weren't really short. Same for shirts. I moved her up in shirt size so now they are baggy.

Then the counselor gave her a bag of shampoos, soaps. lotions and deodorants. Full sized products. She has all those things already. She says she uses them. 

I e-mailed both times to say she already has more than enough uniforms and personal products.

But a few weeks later they gave her another bag of stuff including a bag of pads, which she doesn't even need yet. 

Two days ago I took her to the doctor for med refills. I brought up smell. The doctor asked her if she uses shampoo, and she said, "Well, I did today," in a very sassy voice. She was pretty sassy and sullen during the whole talk. The doctor told her to shampoo her hair and wash her whole body with soap everyday. The child refused to look at the doctor, She looked away with a very sullen look, eyes dark. At least the doctor got to see that side of her. She can charm when she wants to.

Yesterday, very next day, I sent her to shower. She showered, then ran out the door to go to the bus. Rick drives her because she goes to a charter school, and the morning bus stop is a ways away. He texted me that she stunk even though I sent her to shower. He said to expect to hear from the school. 

Sure enough. They gave her a new shirt to wear and another pair of pants!!! An Ziplock full of both full sized and trial sized hygiene items. 

I sent another e-mail saying that she already has way more than she needs. I told them--and the child--that from now on I will smell check her and if she smells after her shower I will go into the bathroom with her and supervise her myself. I am interested in how they will respond.

But even if she starts out smelling good, it may not stay that way throughout the day. It's up to her to use the wipes and deodorant at school.

Does anyone have experience with children with unnaturally bad body odor or a school who buys a child things? I think that itself may be triggering some of it, because if she gets attention and free girly stuff for stinking, why smell good?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bonding Over Projects

Some of us have been taking advantage of the free building workshops for adults at Home Depot, and the ones for kids at both Lowes and Home Depot. We did them a couple of years ago, then stopped for a while, and then started up a couple of months ago. It's free fun and a shared experience to bond over.

Here are some of the projects.
Lowes had cars to make from kits the first three times. 

There's a patch for each completed project.

They made a butterfly house at Home Depot.

Jessica, her mother in law Lisa, Jasmine and I went to a women's workshop at Home Depot. We removed slats from a wood crate.

 Cut it in half with a power saw.

Put the slats back on and added legs to the two halves to make a vegetable stand.

Mine is actually right here in my writing area holding the books I'm using.
Then Lowes had a birdhouse project.

Tyler hung one of them in a tree.

In the next few weeks, the kids have an Angry Birds birdhouse at Home Depot. Jessica, Lisa and I have two womens' ones at Home Depot. Jasmine is joining us for one of them. Tyler, Jessica, Lisa and I are doing two general ones at Home Depot.

If you haven't tried the projects with your kids, give it a go. They may love it. And it's a good bonding thing. It's something Rick does with them. And it's free.

Here is the link to sign up for the Angry Birds birdhouse. You can check for it in your area by zip code. HERE

The women's ones are HERE

The general ones are HERE

And the Lowe's ones are HERE

Let me know in the comments section if you've done any of them or if you plan too.