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Free Sugar Creek Gang CDs, Advice for a Sticky Situation

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, September 01, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 70 September 1, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!


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Notes from Heather
-- Free Offer and Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Cranium Safety Object Lesson
Reader Question
-- My Friend's Whiny Child
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Sugar Creek Gang and a Little History about my Bookstore


Beloved Books is the name of my brick-and-mortar store in
Michgian. Back in 1996 we opened Beloved Books online to
offer second-hand 'living' books to other homeschoolers.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered and fell in love with the
Sugar Creek Gang audio stories and arranged to bring them
back into production to share with other Christian families.

Little did I know this project would become so important to
our family! Around 2002 I could see that the audio business
was beginning to take over our home, and I began looking for
warehousing/office space in a local business district. My
husband suggested that I consider looking at retail space
and open a bookstore -- since I loved books and had boxes
and boxes of 'rescued' ex-library books to get started with.

In 2003 we opened our store in 800 square feet of rented
space in a beautiful log cabin-like room in Westwind Milling
Company, a local organic mill and store. We have always
offered exceptional quality new books at half price and also
thousands of used books -- biographies, historical fiction,
classics, and more -- for homeschool families building home
libraries -- and then cookbooks, craft books, gardening and
how-to for the local browsers. (As you many assume, we are
not your usual used bookstore with trashy romance novels!)

Over the years it has been our dream to do some of our audio
duplication in-house, especially for new audio projects in
development. The set-up is finally in place and I'm happy
to announce that we have gotten our prices SO low on Sugar
Creek Gang CD sample stories (the first full story - "Swamp
Robber" on 2 CDs), that I can offer it FREE for only the
cost of postage and mailing supplies!

If you would like to try the Sugar Creek Gang audio stories,
you can send $2.00 via PayPal to belovedbks@aol.com -- or
visit this page: http://theselittleones.com/freetapes.htm

Or you can mail $2.00 to:

Beloved Books, PO Box 878, Fenton, MI 48430.

If you are able to visit our store in SE Michigan, I would
love to meet you! See the website for details on our location
and hours -- and to read all about the Sugar Creek Gang stories:



Reader Feedback

(This is for Phyllis -- who asked about her children taking
music classes at the local public school)

"Hi Heather -- I noticed that no one mentioned teaching her own
children or allowing them to learn on their own. My daughter,
now grown and gone, took private lessons from a local teacher and
learned absolutely nothing from him. We spent so much money and
yet he spent most of the time exposing her to music forms that we
might not necessarily approve of and never seemed to get around
to much real instruction. I am now allowing my 12 year old son
to learn guitar on his own with Roger Evans's How to Play Guitar
and Alfred's Teach Yourself to Play Guitar, both of which were
purchased from Amazon for a very small cost. My son is doing
very, very well and has spoken to an experienced teenager at a
local music shop about lessons once he has the basics down. The
teenager is very willing to help with that for a nominal fee. My
8 year old has been using The Violin Book series by Eden Vaning-
Rosen for about six months. Though I have no strings experience
whatsoever, this series is so easy that we are actually successfully
doing it! A friend of mine did hook us up with a young woman from
her church who has played violin for years and is willing to tutor
us anytime we get stuck. However, Eden and her husband are so
accessible and so eager to help your child succeed long distance
that I don't see us needing the local girl's assistance. I highly
recommend this program." -- Lisa H.


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

A Cranium Safety Science Object Lesson!


"Since my boys first started riding bikes, I've insisted on them
using bike helmets. Of course, not all of our neighbors insist
that their children do so. Lately, my 9-year-old boys have been
balking at having to wear helmets... especially since I make
them wear them for rollerblading and skateboarding, too.

This morning, while making scrambled eggs, I had an idea. I
had each of them drop an egg into the big bowl, from about a
foot above it. What happened? Of course, the egg broke. Then
I had them drop the styrofoam egg carton (with one egg in it)
from the same distance. The egg didn't even crack.

They were curious why I was having them do this. I explained
that the eggs were like their head -- hard shell on the outside,
soft in the inside. The carton was like their bike helmet. Did
they want their head to hid the pavement with or without a helmet?
They both agreed that they would rather hit the pavement wearing
a helmet.

We will see if this helps the next time they want to rollerblade
without a helmet!" -- Chris, HomeschoolingBOYS.com member


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Reader Question

"We homeschool (starting our 2nd year) and I have a friend who
homeschools her three children. She is somewhat lax on discipline
for her children. Her four year old daughter is difficult to
handle. She whines excessively, cries over every little thing,
throws tantrums if she doesn't get to do something first or sit
in a certain chair, etc. She even asks her mother for a diaper
when she is ready to eliminate because she refuses to use the
toilet. The reason it bothers me so much is that after playing
together my five year old daughter regresses. She whines, throws
tantrums, is disobedient and cranky. It takes some time to bring
her back around to her usual self. And then we play with them
again and it all starts all over. I like my friend and I don't
want to jeopardize our relationship, but I just can't deal with
the turmoil it causes in my family. How can I approach her with-
out offending her? Is it even possible? Thanks." -- Jennifer

Our Readers' Responses

"Watch how this child reacts to small joys as well. God very well
may have created her a highly emotional person. God makes us all
different, and you are the major influence in your child's life.
Grace is needed in all areas." -- Christine E.


"If you can hang in there (in my own experience with my older
kiddos), all the behaviors ebb around 5th grade -- 10-11 years old.
We don't all parent alike and it can cause a ton of friction.
Maybe you and your daughter are both stressed out after they leave?
As long as this Mom is typically a great model in behavior then
there is a good chance this will all go away eventually. A four
year old playing in a playdate could be displaying these behaviors
as a result of just being a little stressed because it is a
'different' situation." -- Andra J.


"Our friends are our friends; we know only what they are willing
to share with us. We really do not know everything that goes on
in their lives. Something maybe triggering what you believe is
'lax discipline' or this just may be her way of being and raising
her family. I would not say anything to her. However, I would
concentrate on my own child. I believe a 5 year old can learn that
she must follow the rules her family lays out and not imitate what
others do. Praise her for being such a big girl. Find a million
and one things to give her praise for, and rewards. If the girls
are playing together, somehow get your own daughter to go potty --
and then praise her -- give her a small reward for being a big girl.
Encourage the other little girl to go to potty after your daughter
because she too is such a big girl. If she goes, also give her a
reward and tons of praise, and maybe even get your little one to
praise the other child.

Whining, crying and temper tantrums are all ways children attempt to
get attention, even if for the most part the attention is negative.
The best method I've found is not to reward them with attention.
It is better to distract them with something enticing. When they
are calm, have a little talk. Teach them the proper response or
action. When they do what you have discussed make a big deal of it
with verbal praise, hugs, kisses and celebration. They will soon
learn they get more of the attention they crave for doing it Mommy's
way than by crying, etc.

The bottom line, I believe, is not to interfere. If you do sense
that something is going on in the family, be a friend; let her know
you are there for her. And focus on your own child's way of react-
ing to the situation." -- Judy (5 children and 4 grandchildren)


"Tough questions, with no easy answers! Your daughter is old
enough to understand the inappropriateness of her friend's
behavior, and can help more than you might realize. Discuss
with your daughter the importance of setting a good example for
her friend, and encourage her to be responsible for her own
behavior, regardless of how the other child acts. You could
warn her that if she allows herself to be influenced by her
friend, that you will have to stop allowing them to play together.
You might also discuss ways that your daughter can encourage the
other little girl to grow up and act like a lady. This is an
opportunity for your daughter to learn leadership skills, and to
make decisions based on what's right, not on what others do.

Depending on your relationship with the mother, when her daughter
misbehaves, you could ask her whether it bothers her when the
child does those things. Her response should let you know
whether she's open to further discussion. If she is, you might
ask her if she would like some counsel or suggestions for helping
her daughter. Do you know of a book or CD message that might be
helpful for her? If there doesn't seem to be a way to talk to
her, you could -- at a later time -- tell her that you won't be
seeing friends for a while because your daughter has started
misbehaving, you're suspicious that she is learning it from other
children, and you're going to try to find out where the harmful
influences are coming from. You won't be pointing a finger at her
specifically, but she'll at least realize that you are serious
about maintaining your standards." -- Mary Beth


"I have faced similar issues over the years, either with other
homeschooling families or, more often, with neighbors that don't
homeschool. Keep in mind that your children are a higher priority
than your friendship with any particular person. If your daughter
is being negatively influenced by this child, you need to deter-
mine what your course of action will be to correct your daughter's
behavior. However, you do not necessarily need to lose the mother
as a friend. It may be that she could benefit from observing how
you discipline your daughter, and her daughter may eventually
outgrow this behavior. (Of course, there may be even more serious
issues in the future - just something to look out for.) My
suggestions would be to:

1. Pray and talk with your husband about the situation and see
what his thoughts are. It took me many years to learn this trick
(although it should have been obvious). My husband can see things
so much more clearly than I can because he is not emotionally
involved. He sees the facts -- and his insight can usually make
my way very clear. Review your priorities: God first, husband
second, children third, friends somewhere after that.

2. You may be able to maintain the friendship and still protect
your daughter. You could try to spend enough time with your friend
either without the children around, or through occasional phone
calls, to maintain the friendship without exposing your daughter
to this behavior. Or you could TRY to supervise VERY CLOSELY if
your daughter does spend any time with her. So many times we just
send the kids to another room so we can talk, and have no idea
what is going on with the little ones. Character training is a
continuous process, and much ground can be lost in this way. If
you are monitoring all of their interaction, you may be able to
comment in ways that won't offend your friend, but may let her know
that you think her daughter needs some training. This is a very
touchy situation and any direct approach will probably not be taken
very well. Keep in mind that we all, as parents, have our own ideas
about what behavior is acceptable. Her choices do not have to be
the same as yours, and that does not make them wrong or bad. She
is accountable to her husband and to God for the training of her
children, but not to you. Your responsibility is in the training
of your own, and so your choice comes in how much time you allow
with them, and how you handle the outcome.

3. If you can't find a way to protect your daughter and still
maintain the friendship, the friendship needs to go -- at least for
the time. This is a very hard decision to make, and it is easy to
find ways to justify not doing it. Seek the Lord on it and know
that He will bring other friends for you and for her, to encourage
and support each other." -- Karen in Michigan


"Jennifer -- Is it possible to get together without your kids, just
you and your girlfriend? I would definitely not hesitate to keep
my kids away from other kids who 'rub off' bad behaviors... at least
until they're a little older.

If they are together, perhaps if your daughter starts whining you
can deal with her whining while the other mom is nearby so she can
get a hint as to how to deal with that type of behavior.

The best suggestion I can think of is to pray for an opportunity to
talk with her about it. The Holy Spirit might use YOU to help her
deal with such a draining issue! Another thing to consider would
be getting a parenting book yourself, perhaps one by Kevin Lehman,
and reading it. Then you could recommend it to your friend, who is
probably struggling with the issues of her child but doesn't know
what to do." -- Vicki


"Jennifer -- All I can say is run -- run fast, and run now. You
have to decide what is more important to you -- your children, or
your friend. If she is a true friend to you she will understand
your desire to protect your children by not subjecting them to
behavior that obviously has a negative impact on them. Would you
even hesitate to keep your children away from kids that were doing
drugs, or drinking alcohol? Why should this negative influence be
any different. You will not change how your friend parents. It is
not even your responsibility to try to change her parenting. God
gave you your children and they are your priority. From experience
I would simply say, put your children first!" -- Rebecca in Oregon


"Hi Jennifer -- I had a similar situation with a friend and her 2
children. I explained that we parented differently and that it was
not about her children, but our parenting styles. She was offended
and we have mended fences but are not friendly -- it was much more
involved, but that is the gist of it.

Be ready that she will not take kindly to your feedback. Truthfully,
I could have just scheduled time with her, saying that is what I
wanted, etc., without getting into details. I did try this, but
my friend was persistent about everyone being together.

Your first priority is your daughter. If you are having trouble
disciplining her after visits with this woman then you could explain
that you are working on some issues with your daughter and that
playdates at this time are not a good idea for your her. That is
probably the least offensive way to go -- and it is truthful. No
one wants to hear anything negative about their child, no matter
how constructive." -- Michelle in Oregon


"How about scheduling some 'mom time' for just you and your friend
without kids? It could be to go browse the library, go for a walk
to get some exercise, or even splurge over a cup of coffee and a
shared donut or dessert. This might be a way for you to connect and
possibly give your friend an outlet in which to share her troubles
with her daughter. You can mentor her and be a godly example, so
don't shut her out totally.

Your daughter might be okay as long as she is 'prepped' ahead of
time when going to visit. We have to do that with our four kids --
'This family allows things that ours does not; make sure you obey
our family rules, not just the rules of the house'. They also know
that we do not tolerate certain behavior (whining in particular),
and that they will be disciplined if they follow suit. It is amazing
how the warning ahead of time really works. Stay strong!"
-- Wendy in MA


"Dear Jennifer -- We have at times faced this type of thing and
it can be very uncomfortable. I have learned over the years (6
kids ages 24 to 6) that the more matter-of-fact you are about
these situations, the easier it is (usually). I would tell your
daughter something like this:

'I know Janie is allowed to do that, but you are not. God put
you into our family, and I am to raise you as I feel is best for
you. Her parents are responsible for her.' This way you are not
criticizing the other's parenting skills or saying anything that
can be repeated to the other parents to embarrass you.

I have told my kids (after they've gotten in the car after witnes-
sing the bad behavior of another child), 'I'm glad my children do
not act like that'. Or, 'I do not ever want to see one of you
acting like that' (depending on our child's age and temperament).

One time we were at a dear friend's house (who have very well-behaved
children), and when it was time to leave, my children decided to
hide. They had learned this trick from some beloved, but not well
disciplined neighbor kids. When we got into the car to go home
(after my great embarrassment), I told them that because they acted
like that, we were eating supper on the way home and they were going
to bed as soon as we got home. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon
and they never tried to do it again.

John Rosemond is an interesting psychologist and writer on parenting
topics who gives you confidence and ideas in the area of 'Mother
knows best'. He has written books, has a syndicated column, and
has a website at www.Rosemond.com . I have been reading his writing
for 20 plus years.

As far as saying something to the other mother, that is a very
touchy area. You could offer to share a new author or some parent-
ing tips you have found helpful for yourself. In these kinds of
situations, I have learned over the years to be ready with an answer
if the subject is ever brought up. I ask God to help me say the
right thing if the subject is opened, but I do not usually comment
unless it is." -- Jannell in SD


"Oh Jennifer! I think nearly all parents experience what you are
describing. My daughter is only 2 and I already want to hand-pick
her friends. But the bigger picture is that you won't always be
able to do that, so I have resigned myself to making those times a
learning experience. It may be difficult for our children to under-
stand that others behave in ways we feel are inappropriate. It is
also a tough lesson to learn that we can't always do what we see
others doing. For example, my daughter is not allowed to scream 'No!'
as an answer to Mommy's question or instruction to do something.
When she tells me that, at the library, another little girl did this,
I explain that some children have not yet learned that is wrong.
Then I praise her for being respectful when I ask her something. Be
specific in your praise -- 'That was very good that you answered my
question respectfully.' -- and 'No, thank you' was the perfect way
to say that you didn't want another cracker.' I also make her the
teacher. 'We can help Lisa learn how to share by sharing with her,
even when she doesn't share with us.' Those couple of days it takes
to get your daughter back to herself are such important learning
experiences. She knows mommy's expectations are not going to change
when she changes things up. Our children are very impressionable
now, but just remember that a parent's consistent expectations are
such a solid basis for children. They will push and push (some more
than others) but all they really desire is stability and security,
which they get in consistency of discipline. Discipline does not
equal punishment -- discipline is teaching -- and I know you will
conquer this beautifully, since learning is what home-school is all
about! There is no magic method for getting through this or any other
family or life issue; just be honest with your children." -- Alisha


"Jennifer -- I can understand your frustration. I have been there
with different situations.

One thing you have to ask yourself first (and you might not get
an answer to this) is -- does this child have a physical problem,
a fear, or some other issue keeping her from using the toilet? It
is a very strong possibility. I had a child who was tactilely
sensitive and we didn't realize toileting would be an issue (she
was 8th child in a line of 9). She started out okay but reverted
drastically. She just about turned 5 before she was totally
trained. She had seen a commercial for a toilet cleaner with
basically 'monsters' in the toilet and wouldn't go. It took
forever to figure out the problem -- then when she needed to be
changed I had to tell her I wasn't taking her upstairs to do it.
She decided on her own she didn't want to be changed downstairs,
especially if someone (even a familiar person) was there.

Also remember that for many home schoolers part of the reason they
do it is for flexibility, less stress and not having to be so

Try talking to your daughter first, explaining that you aren't
happy with what she's doing; that you'll have to change things you
do with her if it doesn't stop; and that possibly your friend's
child does it for attention and your child doesn't need to do that.
Tell her that as much as you loved her baby stage, your time now
together is so special because you can do sooo many things together
and enjoy each other's company.

I am sure you will make the right choice in this situation AND
save your friendship too! Good luck -- to you both." -- C.M.

Answer our NEW Question

"I have a young 'Thomas Edison'. My early elementary-age son
can't do enough experiments to satisfy his curiosity. Does
anyone have suggestions on chemistry kits, books, or other science
resources that I can use to channel his desire to learn about
science? And are there any things, in particular, that he could
use at his age with little adult assistance (I've got three to
teach!)? I have done the oil/vinegar, vinegar/baking soda, and
food coloring experiments -- and used a few experiment books --
but I am out of resources! Thanks." -- Diana


Do you have suggestions for Diana?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!


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