Friday, January 10, 2014

Time "In": Our Gentle Discipline Solution

Over the last few months, Robbie has been hitting and throwing things at me and Daddy.  It is obviously really frustrating.  It became much worse with the holidays as he was really overstimulated and was around people that he didn't know or didn't know well.  We would just say "no hitting" and remove him from the situation but it would happen again right after.  He wouldn't do it all day but when he was tired or frustrated, he would hit.
One night at home alone with Robbie, enough was enough.  I knew I wasn't going to spank him, especially since it would be me hitting him for him hitting me.  It didn't make sense to me to do that.  I'd heard of "time in" before on an Attachment Parenting Facebook page but at the time, he wouldn't have understood the connection between the "time in" and the misbehavior.  That night though, after he hit me one too many times, I laid a blanket out in a more quiet area of the house.  When he hit me, I picked him up and sat him on the blanket, sat down with him and said, "no hitting" very sternly.  He immediately stood up, which I was completely fine with, but as he walked past me, he smacked me on the back.  I sat him back down on the blanket and he started crying and stood up and hit me on the back.  I sat him back down and said "no hitting."  Thankfully Daddy came home at that point and Robbie ran over to him, without hitting me.  I told Daddy what I'd been doing and he wasn't sure it was a good thing since Robbie was so mad at me.  We also discussed that the behavior seems to start when he's tired and decided that we should start the bedtime routine when it starts.
The next day I went to work and Daddy said that he had to do "time in" twice but that Robbie hadn't cried and that he stopped the behavior after.  He even warned him asking if he wanted to sit down and Robbie had stopped without having to actually sit down.
Since then it has been going well!  He only cried that one day and I was sitting next to him offering love the whole time.  He will usually stop if we warn him that he'll have to "sit down" if he continues to hit or throw.  We also emphasize that it's okay to throw balls only and praise him when he does throw them.  We're not sure if this is confusing to him but he seems to get it.
All we expect with "time in" is for him to sit down.  That's it.  He can get up immediately if he wants.  We don't expect him to sit for 5 seconds or 2 minutes or anything.  As he gets older, if we have to use "time in," we will increase the time he has to sit.  I do also plan on teaching him the sign for "sorry" soon and maybe he will have to sign it to us before he can walk away.
He is hitting and throwing less and less!  We are so proud of him learning so quickly.  We weren't sure if we could encourage him to stop hitting without raising our voices or using other not-so-gentle means but we have!  The misbehavior still happens sometimes when he is tired but he listens and doesn't want to have to sit down.  We also judge whether he is tired at this point and start winding down if necessary.  Sometimes he gets wild when one of us comes home but if warned, he will direct it in a different way.
We haven't used it out of the house yet and I don't think Gran, who babysits once a week, has tried it.  I don't think he usually acts out with her much though.
This may not work for everyone.  Robbie, for example, would not respond to just warning at the beginning and we had to start "time in."  Perhaps a warning will be all he needs in the future!  I do hope that it will help someone, especially before resorting to less gentle means.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Is Homeschooling Crunchy? Or Part of Attachment Parenting?

We've made a major life decision that I consider crunchy for me, though some people who do this would vehemently disagree.

We will homeschool our children!

It's been something I've considered for a long time, I don't know how long, or why I became interested in it.  Working at a public library I see a lot of homeschooling families and although it obviously depends on many things, these families seem really happy.  
Both my husband and I are unsatisfied with our K-12 public schooling and we even have different reasons why.  School was really easy for me in elementary school and then pretty easy through middle school and high school.  I would look at the syllabus and calculate just how much work I had to do in order to get an A and then would do just that much work.  I was in for a rude awakening when I went to a public university.  Not only was I unprepared for how hard I was expected to work, I don't know how to write a paper that includes analysis or critical thinking.  And I was a tutor in my 11th grade honors English class!  For my husband, he is thriving at a public community college and is applying to a few public universities.  He didn't test very well on standardized tests in high school and he doesn't like "busy work," which is what we were assigned in each high school class after the teacher briefly "lectured."  He writes very well and has even been published in his community college political science journal!  So though I did "well" in public school, I don't have much to show for it.  My husband did not do so well in public K-12 and now he's doing great in college.  This shows us that public school does not prepare us well for life after high school, especially if you plan on higher education.
Academics are not the only thing children are exposed to at school though.  Though I'm not homeschooling for religious reasons, for many religious parents, they homeschool to keep their kids young for just a while longer and in some cases, to prevent "bad influences" that children are exposed to in school.  This may seem extreme to people but there are many things I learned too young from people at school that I would be devastated for my young children to deal with.  In sixth grade, when I was 12, I had classmates who were doing drugs and experimenting sexually.  I am not exaggerating.  It's true that children can be exposed to these things from neighbors or family members but this way, some of those influences can be avoided or delayed.  And in the case with neighbors and family, parents will have some control over who their children interact with.
All children are different.  Some need to wiggle or read aloud to learn best.  Some like to read or be read to or watch a documentary.  That's one thing I am most excited to discover: how my children learn best, and provide resources for them that fit best.
We plan to put our children in sports and art/ music programs and everything else other children experience out of school.  Our children will be able to do these things during the school day though!  We will also have a chance to visit the zoo or museums when we want and even visit famous places around the country when we want, without having to worry about missing school.
I will likely continue to work part-time while homeschooling for financial reasons.  Ideally, I would stay home but you do what you gotta do!  Since I normally work in the afternoons, I can school in the morning and my husband can finish up when he is not working.  And there's no reason that they can't do schoolwork on the weekends or evenings or year-round instead of having summers off.  There are regulations in some states about how many hours a day students must be schooling and even some regulations about what hours they are schooled.  But we will make it work.
We are hands-on parents and plan to continue to be hands-on with education as well and to us, that means homeschooling.  That doesn't mean it is right for everyone or that public or private school is an evil place.  In fact, depending on how it goes, our children may go to school if it is appropriate and we think that's best.  The funny thing is the vast majority of parents do homeschool for a while.  Your children learn so much from you in the early years and we wonder, why stop?  As they get older, there are more opportunities for them to learn independently if desired and there are many online programs.  We won't necessarily be teaching them ourselves 8 am- 3 pm through 12th grade.
There is so much information on the Internet these days about homeschooling but for secular homeschoolers, there's not as much.  An amazing place I found is  I've also placed a button in the right sidebar.  They have forums, secular curriculum reviews, links to secular homeschooling blogs and more!  It is really an amazing resource. 

These are some but not all of the reasons we chose to homeschool.  If you want more reasons, just ask!