Sunday, June 24, 2007

Self Government #1 Utah Homeschool Convention Review

Teaching Self-Government by Nicholeen Peck

This was a wonderful class and gave allot of information on raising a self governed child. I liked the ideas of using SODAS (Situation, options, disadvantages, advantages, solution) to practice and review every day life events and improve child actions in these situations. By helping the children discuss the situation, the options the child can choose, and the advantages and disadvantages in the situation, then letting the child choose a solution. I want to use brain storm situations in which I would like to help my child consider their actions through SODAS.

Being board and waiting (in church, at the doctors office, etc.)
When we wake up (early morning work)
I am annoyed with my sisters and I want some alone time
I am sad and I want some extra attention from my parents
Mom and Dad are leaving me at the babysitter
I need help and am having trouble getting someone to help me.
I am jealous of my sister and feel like she is getting something better then I am.
I am hungry
I want to get my mothers attention but she is talking to someone

The Four Basic Skills- Nicholeen talked through 4 basic family relationship skills and the step by step instructions on how to act in situations that help children learn appropriate behavior. We feel these skills are skills of self control.

Following Instructions
Accepting Constructive Criticism or Accepting No for an answer
Accepting Consequence's
Disagreeing Appropriately

I liked the method of detailing out appropriate behavior like this. I think there are more skills then these four and would like to consider them.

Asking for help
Asking for something you want
Waiting for help or other things
Saying Thank you
Resolving emotions that feel overwhelming

To help our children become Self Motivated Learners Jeff would like to cover these topics.

Finding which direction or area of interest to pursue
taking initiative
discerning right and wrong in choosing a direction

I also think we need to cover
Learning methods and resources to find information

Nicholeen covered the ever popular LDS and Thomas Jefferson Ed idea of Family Council Meetings. In her hand outs was a meeting sheet that outlined the basic elements of a family council. I really like the ideas she gave on family council and believe that they will be great to implement in our home.

In Dr. Mel Levine's Feelings and Motivation guide he stressed the importance of creating a safe environment in the home or classroom where the child can make mistakes but their self confidence is not broken. Helping avoid humiliation and feelings of failure help the child feel more confident. Nicholeen also covered this. She feels that the home should be the safest place for a person to make a mistake. Our children have a short time where they can learn and make mistakes in total safety and we should create that safe environment while we can. Remembering not to judge or label your children. Always assume the best in your children, rather then assuming the worst. Making instant judgement calls and giving instant consequences does not teach our children life skills. I have always loved these ideals, but I am glad for the review in order to help me refocus on this.

Teaching Styles
1. Praise - Praise your children 6-10 times for every 1 time you correct them.
2. Preteaching - Teach your children ahead of time what they need to know in order to behave the way you want. I.E. tell them what you want them to behave like before you go to an event. or teach them good behavior patterns. Practice good behaviors in mock situations.
3. Corrective Teaching - This is when you tell the child what they have done wrong. This should be done with a spirit of understanding.
A. Reaffirm to them that they are loved or good
B. Explain the problem like "just now you made a mess" without any titles.
C. Show empathy or praise them for things they have done right before.
D. Explain the consequences of the child's actions.
E. Explain the benefits of cousing right in their terms.
F. Practice doing it the right way.

When a child is out of instructional control (I.E. Throwing a tantrum)

1. Preteach - I am going to give you an instruction because right now you seem like you are out of instructional control. If you choose to not follow my instruction I will give you consequence x. If that happens then I will give you a second instruction. If you choose to not follow that instruction then I will give you consequence x and y. If that happens then I will give you a third instruction. If you choose not to follow that instruction I will give you consequences x,y and z.

2. Give them the instruction - Like "close your mouth and stop talking". If the child does not respond then wait a few mins and give them the second instruction. Do this three times.

3. Show you child the rewards of being in instructional control. If the child is still out of instructional control leave the child and their bad behavior. Take the rest of the family into another room. Have fun with the rest of the family, read books, eat ice-cream, spend special time together. Check back with the misbehaving child every 10 mins or so and ask them if they are ready to follow instructions. If they are start over with the preteach. If not wait and come back again in 10 min.
4. Enforce all consequences earned. Write down every consequence the child has earned. It may be allot but the child has chosen each of those consequences. When the child finely comes out of it, even if days later, enforce all the consequences the child has earned to the letter (if you do not then you loose credibility). If enforcing the consequences causes the child to go out of instructional control again start back up at the top at the preteach.

Tips - Nicholeen says that eventually the children learn to dislike the phrase "out of instructional control" and the consequences that come with it and will many times quickly correct their behavior so as not to go through it.

Other tips from Nicholeen.

Don't ask why your children are misbehaving. They will only tell you what they think you want to hear. And you will not like what they say anyways. Pointless.

Make time for family activities at least once a week. Scheduling the time out makes it an extra special event. Anticipation makes more special. Placing an high importance level on this helps others schedule their lives around it. This is essential because it helps create feelings of unity and togetherness. This is an opportunity for the family to show each other love. A Child should NEVER be excluded from the family activity for bad behavior. All behavior problems are left behind during the family activity. This way you communicate to the child that you love them more then you care that they obey, that the love is the most important. But consequences should return to normal after the family activity.

We should choose what we want our homes atmosphere to feel like. We should set goals for what we want our home to feel like in 20 years, and set goals for getting closer to that in the short term.

Seek to understand then to be understood.

If you make your children do what you want, you will loose them. If you let them choose what they want, you will keep them.

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