The Beauty of the Perfect Picture Book at the Right Moment December 15, 2018 By Bekki Leave a Comment This content may contain affiliate links.Inside: A familiar tool to help you when your kids fail in school, at home, or in life. I hate the word pissed. I mean really hate it. It is too harsh, too negative, and downright gross. Yet, in this case, it’s the only word I can use to describe how my sister felt. I had royally pissed her off. What made it so bad, was that I was clueless. One day, we were laughing and talking, the next day she cut me off completely. I spent months trying to figure out why she never answered her phone and was never home. I thought she was simply busy. Boy, was I wrong! photo by Mathyas Kurmann I opened my mailbox to find the Sister’s Version of a Dear John Letter. In perfect English, she informed me that I was a terrible person, a lousy Christian, and a worthless sister and that for her “health and well-being she was cutting me off forever”. I sat there stunned. Have you ever unknowingly hurt someone’s feelings? Me too. I am guessing your kids do this to each other all the time like mine do. Kids can be so cruel. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons we chose to homeschool. Not to hide from the world, but to have more control of “how much of the world” reaches our sons. It’s paid off beautifully. To date, the people who have hurt my sons the most have been one of their siblings. Stinky boys. Sassy girls. Kids can be so cruel. Honestly, who farts in your face because you pissed ticked them off, other than a brother? photo by Brandon Morgan Homeschooling and Life are Inseparable. It’s why you step over a pile of laundry to help your 7-year-old with her math and then trip over the trash bag on the way to get your baby up from her nap. If your kids went to school, you would do the laundry while the baby slept, but that is a different life- not yours. If you are like me, you are balancing a million things today. photo by Kristopher Roller Maybe… ~You have been sick for 6 weeks, but the kids still need to learn to read. ~You have movers coming next week to move your family across town and are trying to pack the house while teaching a high schooler and two middle schoolers. ~You have 3 kids who all need help with different levels of math, like me. ~You are out of clean underwear because you delegated laundry to your forgetful teen. ~Your baby is teething. Do we need to go on? Can agree that parenting and homeschooling are wonderful, but really, really, really, really messy? But you are not alone. You can find help right in the comfort of our own home. But before I share this help, I have a confession. I am an archer. Like, carry an awesome bow and arrow with a quiver hanging from my hip archer. I know it’s not so much a confession as a statement of super-coolness. Being an archer makes me feel incredibly cool. But like my sister being pissed-off, “super-coolness” is the only phrase that honestly describes the feeling of carrying a bow and arrow and hitting the target. I’ve never battled with a bow, but I have competed against my sons- sometimes I even win. When you fight a battle with the proper weapon, it is empowering. When you find a weapon to help you simultaneously fight two battles, it makes you feel like Robin Hood when he rips the feathers off one side of two arrows and shoots two bulls-eyes at the same time: Super-cool. (today’s world would say something that rhymes with add-bass. I’d write it, but then I’d lose the standing agreement I have with my sons. “If you catch me swearing, I’ll pay you $50- so far, my money’s been safe and sound for over 4 years) Parenting and Homeschooling with a Secret Weapon. When our kids fail, we want to rush in and help them. If they are being bullied, we want to rescue them. If they are lying, we need to correct them. If they hurt someone’s feeling, we need to teach them to ask for forgiveness. Seems like obvious parenting, right? But how do we help our kids when our words fall flat, or worse when our kids can’t seem to hear our wisdom? We need to Use our secret weapon, come at the problem sideways, and look for the moment our kids lower their defenses. What is That Secret Weapon? Children’s books. I’m serious. Photo by Annie Spratt My friend Natasha is a pro at this. She pairs children’s books with parenting challenges like a chef pairs a bottle of wine with a creative meal. You’ll want to check out how she handles lying. You know, in case you have a “friend” who has lying children. I have always loved children’s books. The goofier the better. As a teacher, I learned the magic of reading a story to strengthen a concept I am teaching no matter how old the student is. Yes, I read picture books to high schoolers! It works like magic. Reading a relevant children’s book brings “boring to life”. Books allow you to: Make the un-relatable, relatable: Like Life on a Prairie or The Holocaust Broach embarrassing conversations: like boys vs. girls body parts and surviving “the talk”. (Oh, I wrote a script for this) Bring history to life: Ancient History, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Civil War. Make sense of the odd, like Greek Mythology Books and Parenting There is a whole world of children’s literature available for you to be a super-cool parent. The hardest part is finding the perfect story and having it ready for when “Your friend’s child” messes up, implodes, or hurts someone’s feelings. I suggest building your parenting storybook library and incorporating these precious books into your daily routine. Read them for fun, for cozy-time, and at bed time. When an issue crops up, and your friend calls you, you will know exactly which book to read to your kids, I mean recommend for her to read to her kids. Short List of Books to Have Handy. photo by kazu end Pick your “issue”, grab a copy of the book, and read. Lying Cheating Bullying Laziness Disrespect Gratitude Poverty Make a Difference Teasing Meanness When you have Different perspectives on life than others Worrying Depression Heaven Death Looking for topics like honesty, responsibility, and compassion? Children’s books make life more approachable. Using a children’s book to reinforce a good behavior, correct a bad behavior or teach a topic is absolutely a secret weapon. It’s how we reach the hearts of our five sons, and it is what restored my relationship with my sister. I couldn’t get my sister to respond to any of my calls or visits so I did the only thing I could do. Pray and write out my thoughts in my journal. Eventually, those thoughts turned into a story. My sister loves fairies, so I started there. In my book, Bekki is a little girl who dances with butterflies. To the delight of her heart, she discovered that she could lure butterflies into her garden with freshly plucked flower petals. In her haste to collect the petals, she accidentally plucks the wings off of a fairy. That’s what I did with my hasty words. I plucked the wings off my sister with my carelessness. The day my sister moved out of state she came to say goodbye. I hadn’t seen her in months and I was shocked as I opened the door. She said she was still mad at me, but didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye. I asked her wait, “I have something for you…” I grabbed the copy of my book and read it aloud to her. I will paraphrase her response. As my sister wiped tears from her face she said, “Gosh darn it, Bekki. How can I be mad at you after that?” (She actually would have owed me $50 with what she actually said.) We hugged and were restored. All because of a children’s book. I would encourage you to get a solid collection of amazing children’s book that cover all kinds of learning, parenting and relationship topics. Line your bookcases, get more bookcases, have your children build you bookcases, but build your collection. Line your bookcases, get more bookcases, have your children build you bookcases, but build your collection. You’ll be how wonderful reading the right book for the right occasion can be. Happy Reading! Print this free homeschool mom reminder. This post comes with a free printable reminder list to help keep your heart focused on the heart of homeschooling. I always have the hardest staying focused. This printable simplifies it! Here is a sneak preview… Download Your Free Printable Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join 9,000+ homeschool moms who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas!Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.Place it on your refrigerator as a helpful reminder. Looking for more? MORE FROM BEKKI So, God made YOU a homeschool mom Choosing a chore system that works for your family Inside Out Homeschooling A Better Way to Homeschool Enroll in the sneak peek class here.