Adopting a Teenager: I Want Him.

Note: I wrote this shortly after the story came out in October.

A simple plea by a foster child.  I want a forever home.

A home that will let me be their child till the day I die.  Where I can call them mom and dad.

A home where I can make mistakes and spread my wings.

A home where I come on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Grandparents for my kids to call grandma and grandpa.

A forever home.

Last week that plea was make by a young man who has knocked at the hearts of many families.  Over 10,000 families stepped forward to say, we will take you.  Be your forever family.

I know what it is like to fall in love with a teenager needed a home.  We had that happen.  Oldest of the 9 siblings, he just wanted to be with 1 of them.  We had the baby of the 9.   After praying about it, know what the history was-we opened our family.  I remember the first day he walked into our house.  He is our forever child. We are his forever family.

10,000 families.  WOW  I pray that there families don’t stop.  That Davion knocking on their hearts opens it to fostering and adopting other older children waiting for forever homes.  Most age out of the system and spend the rest of the lives alone.

Adoption isn’t about just getting kids.  Kids grow up.  Move out.  Get jobs.  Make their own mistakes.  Have families. Build their traditions.  Adoption is about family.  Forever.  Adoption an older child isn’t easy.  We all know that that teenagers are just a hard stage of life.  Young adult hood even more so.  There are no guarantees that they will make all the good choices in life or not end back up where they started.  But if 10,000 people are willing to take the risk on this one kid-then why not take a risk on 10,000 other kids needing homes.

I pray that Davion finds the home he is looking for.  A forever family.  I pray that these other families


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10 Commandments and Their Meaning: Memory Card Game


10 Commandments Memory Game

It was my goal this Lent to create more faith building activities from Luther’s Catechism. This was not as easy as I thought! We made the Morning Prayer Poster . My next idea was making a game for the 10 Commandments. I had the kids draw pictures of each commandments, thinking I was going to use them in the game. After thinking about it, I decided to just use the commandment’s and their meanings.

So we made a simple memory game. 10 cards have the 10 Commandments on them, the other 10 have their meanings on them. There are 3 ways you can play

  1. Traditional Memory Game. The is great! I had Robby read the cards each time-as well as I did. The first time I played-Robby won cause I could not remember where the cards where!
  2. Matching game-Have them match the commandment with the meaning.
  3. Put the 10 commandments in order. Simply use the 10 commandment cards.

I made a sample of these memory cards. You can use mine or make your own. I find the kids love to create their own cards and it helps reenforced the facts.

backside of 10 Commandments MC

10 Commandments MC

10 Commandments Meanings MC

10com

 


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26 Jobs You Could Get with a Computer Science Degree

Jobs you can get with a CSD

As my senior son is getting ready for graduation and the future is sitting on his door step.  Talking about college, Army, Police training, and other options come up often.  I just did a review for TeenCoder: Java Programming and Android Programming (don’t forget to check out the giveaway!) which got me thinking-what jobs can you get with a computer science degree?  So I polled some friends to see what are some jobs you can get with a Computer Science Degree. Here are 26 jobs that got listed.

  1. Analyst
  2. Computer programmer
  3. Software developer
  4. Cyber security
  5. Network support
  6. College professor
  7. Mathematical modeling
  8. Modeling & simulation
  9. Control logic
  10. Avionics Programming
  11. Database management
  12. Video game programmer
  13. Computer designer
  14. Actuary
  15. Software Architect
  16. Software Engineer
  17. Computer Networking
  18. Information Technology Consultant
  19. Start your own company
  20. Write iPhone/cell phone apps
  21. Computer Game Development
  22. Office Administration
  23. Freelance Computer Programming
  24. Writing/Blogging about Computer Science
  25. Medical Imaging Scientist
  26. Data Mining Specialist

 


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Teen Coder: Java and Android {Curriculum Review)

I learned computer programming in high school over 25 years ago. We didn’t have windows. We didn’t have Internet available to use. No Facebook, Twitter or other social network. I learned on trash 80 computers. Line by line. My favorite project was writing code to the game of Life. I didn’t follow through anymore on programming after I finished High school.

My husband, 8 years older than I am, was writing programs to translate English to German for his science fair project in high school. He continued on with computer engineer degree from Perdue University and has a good job in the field.

We have Come So Far….

Computer programming has come so far since I started programming. In fact, even when my father started working on computer as I was growing up. Those who were leaders in this field are the ones that designed the computers, games and electronics we grew up with. They are they ones who are inspiring the next generation of computer programmers. 20 years ago technology went from the size of a room to the size of a greeting cards. Now, it is smaller.

The future of technology is moving toward lighter, more solid, maybe solar based, unmanned, maybe trips to space on a commercial flight, to stay over night in space at a space hotel. Our technology is going to get us there. Screens will soon become bendable and flexible. Video games are becoming more and more realistic and there is an app for EVERYTHING!

As homeschooling parents we want to make sure that our children have a chance to learning programming. Living here in Huntsville AL we are surrounded by computer engineers, and this is skills that we wanted our children to have. When I first stumbled across Homeschooling Programing, I was excited, that there are courses that easily provide this for homeschooling families. Then I got a chance to review Java Programming and Android Programming along with 4 other great ladies.

The Java Program introduces 9th-12th grade students to the Java programming language, a highly popular technology with many applications! Students will learn to create graphical and console applications using object-oriented design concepts.

The Android Program students will use their Java knowledge and free Android Developers Tools for Eclipse to write their own mobile applications!

What You Need For Teen Coder

  • We used the Java Programming (1st Semester) and Android (2nd Semester) book.
  • A computer. MAC OS or Windows. I love my Mac, but do not suggest using this unless you know it well. Windows was better. But use what you feel best!
  • The Instructional DVD-Great for those that need to hear this first. (My 11 year has listened to these lessons for fun. He does not yet have the patience to do the programming, but we will try the Kid Coder Series for him.)

What We Liked About Java Programming

  • The chapters are set up very easy for mom and dad to follow as teachers, and for student to follow.
  • The instructional video was a big plus for us. While my high schooler is a good reader, hearing and seeing helps reenforces audio learning.
  • The book has many pictures and steps parents and student through each section.  A huge plus for moms who may not have a lot of knowledge in programing.
  • There is online support if you need it.
  • Even though we had to stop for a bit, we feel we can pick up without losing what we learned.
  • My husband reviewed the curriculum  and felt that it fit the needs our senior high school son well.
  • Each class is worth a 1/2 credit and can also be as an AP course for Computer Science.
  • Did I mention that when you teach a subject, sometimes you learn along with that child…(just a small plus)
.
The hardest thing was trying to figure out my MacBook and getting it set up. The book has it laid out well for both Mac’s and Window’s but was a little different that what I saw on my computer.  So I am glad we moved to the Windows on our desk top. Everything we needed was in the book, in the instructions DVD or through their online help.  They make it very easy for parents and students to get everything set up  and to start programing.
If my 18-year-old son wasn’t a senior this year, I could see him moving forward to the second course of Android Programming. He felt the book was laid out well for teens to read and learn from.  He also said that after he understood how to work the computer set up, he enjoyed reading, watching the instructional videos and programming.   He felt that the book helped him step by step to teach him the programming steps.  He is looking toward a career in the Army soon and sees how computer program could help him for future career choices.

Computer Programming courses for Kids and Teens!

What is the Story Behind Homeschooling Programming Inc?

I love homeschooling curriculum that is written by homeschooling parents. These are the parents who know what the needs are of the homeschooling families.

“As homeschool parents we realize what you go through trying to select the right curriculum for your students. You want something they will enjoy and something that will teach them crucial skills for the digital age.”

These great inventors of these teen coding programs, are everyday parents, just like you and me. They saw a need out there for a great curriculum for programing and designed these courses.

You can connect with them at Facebook and Twitter

Is Java and Android Programming Worth It?

My husband made a comment that computer programming changes so much that in two years things could be totally different. But the key to learning computer programing is learning the logic of it. Once you learn that, then keeping up with the changes isn’t so hard. Learning computer programming in High School gives the student an advantage in college of “knowing that logic” needed to program computers.

Is it worth it? Yes! We live in a time where many of the jobs in the future will be computer based. Starting a good foundation now will not hurt them. Learning to handle the computer responsible and wisely just gives them tools to secure the future they are looking for. Homeschooling Programming-Java Programming and Android Programming are two programs that would be great electives for you High Schooler to earn high school credit on.

Giveaway!!

The wonderful owners of Homeschool Programming would like to give away 1 (one) 1st Semester and Video Course of the winners choice! ($85-90 value!) You may pick from the Kid’s Coding Series or the Teen Coder Series. To Enter:

Leave a comment below of a career involving computer programing. Plus you can pin it on Pinterest, or tweet it on Twitter, Facebook it or Google Plus. If you do any of those things, leave a comment with the link to the pin, tweet or post. Giveaway closes in 5 days at 12am on Jan 15.  (Due to a Glitch in the Comment area, the giveaway will be extended till 12am Jan 17)  (A winner will have two days to respond after being contacted of winning. If the winner does not respond a new winner will be chosen.)

The Other Great Ladies:

Four other ladies also review some of the course offered by Homeschool Programming.

These Temporary Tents reviewed Kids Coder Series

Spell Out Loud reviewed Teen Code like I did.

See Jamie Blog reviewed Kids Coder Series

Jimmie Collage reviewed Kids Coder Series (Coming Friday!)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Teen Coder: Java Programmer and Android Programmer free of charge, but was compensated for the time for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review was coordinated by the iHomeschool Network.


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What the Father of a Student Shot at the Columbine Shooting had to Say.

At 9:30 we took a moment of silence and said a prayer today to remember those that lost their life last week at the horrible event.  People want to blame someone.  From the time of Adam and Eve, the blame game has begun.  I have heard it is the guns fault, the gun makers fault.  Now last night I hear people are hurting children who have Autism because the shooter had it.  I just want to scream, BAD THINGS HAPPEN…..somethings we can’t explain why.  Then I read this last night on Facebook. Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Joy Scott — a student killed in the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado — did make this speech during testimony on May 27, 1999 before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death.

Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

– Darrell Scott


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Our Family Rules

This summer while our oldest had run away my husband and I finally nailed down some family rules on paper.  We felt that they worked for all ages and that they were simple enough to understand.  It was some of the good that came from a hard time in our family.  Though we now have the rules, we all still struggle with the  consequences of those rules, especially the kids!

Family Rules

I have had many people ask me for a copy so I am sharing our list with you.  I do not remember where we got these from.  I researched a few different web sites, tweaked and simplified for us. (So if you know of any of those websites let me know cause when I did this I did it for our family at the time)

Our Family Rules are:

  1. Treat yourself and others with respect: the Golden Rule applied first and foremost in our family.  No put downs, hitting, kicking, pinching,  or name-calling.  This applies to what you say to others and what you say to yourself in the mirror.  Use manners and say please, thank you, sorry, you’re welcome, and excuse me.
  2. Be honest and trustworthy: integrity is valued in our family.  Tell the truth, don’t omit details to attempt to avoid consequences, mean what you say and say what you mean, and follow through with promises.
  3. Be responsible and accountable: When you make a mistake, own up, apologize and ask how you can make it better.  Then take action to correct your mistake and improve upon the situation, ask a parent.
  4. Clean up your own mess: If you take it out, put it back.
  5. Show respect for people’s property: Knock before entering, ask permission before you use something, put it back better than you found it.  If you break it, rip it, or mess it up, replace it or fix it.
  6. Do not argue or talk back to your parents in a disrespectful way:Voice your opinion but respect the final decision made by your parents who make decisions based on what is best for the family, you and your well-being.
  7. Ask permission before you go out somewhere: First, ask your parents if your can go.  Be sure to tell parents or whoever is in charge who you will be with, where you are going, how you can be contacted, and when you will be home.  Then do what you said you should do.  If plans changed, call and let someone know.
  8. Do what Mom and Dad ask you to do first time they request it.  Stalling, ignoring, tantruming, complaining, rolling eyes and grunting are unacceptable responses. (this shows respect when you do it the first time.)
  9. Show gratitude: We are a blessed family.  Take time each day to say thank you for what you have, the people in your life, and the opportunities provided to you.
  10. Actively seek out ways to be kind and helpful to others: You do not need to wait for be invited to help.  We live in a home together, therefore we all need to pitch in!  We are all encouraged to provided unprompted, sincere praise for someone else or a show of affection to ensure that every family member feels valued and loved.

We of course have other house rules such as no eating other than on the tile….while verbal house rules are good-we find that some of our kids are black and white and need things written down.  And even written down, they still can’t understand them.  My younger ones are learning.  The biggest rules we deal with is 2, 7, and 8.  From the oldest to the youngest they struggle with these, and many times they don’t see them as important.  Some of my kids can look at you and lie right at your eyes like it is an every day event.  How do you punish for that?  And is their background (remember 3 are adopted) an issue in some of following the rules?

We struggle with the consequences, oh we have punishments, like time out, spankings or something is taken away.  They get mad…but instead of just sitting quietly for their time out or time away, they make noise or scheme….making their punishment longer.  Sometimes my little kids will sit in a time out 5 times their normal length.  I am finding that doing other things, such as extra cleaning is working better for some.  Still a learning process.

These family rules at least give us guide lines to help us along the way.  They are not perfect, like any family is not perfect, but parents we all need some place to start or our kids will think they are in charge.

I would love to hear your family rules and any list of consequences you may have!

 


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Parenting is a lot like Ancient Map Making

Been thinking about being a parenting lately.  It is hard not to think about it when you have 4 kids and have parented over 20 kids.  I am not sure where the notion came into play that just because we have done that we have become better that those who parent 1 or 2 kids?

Parenting has been around since Adam and Eve.  It hasn’t gotten any easier or harder.  The situation different for each family.  It isn’t anything new.  No book came with parenting.  While 1000’s haven been written, it is not a one size fits all approach.  I have always said that.

Working as a DCE for the last 15 years or so I have helped many parents.  I have counseled, given resources.  I have listen to teens complain about their parents, listen to parents concerned about their teens.  I have taught countless parenting classes, and have read countless parenting books.

When I was pregnant, I thought I had it figured out.  Day one.  I was wrong.  I was a failure as a parent.  I couldn’t even give birth to my child, they had to do a c-section.  He didn’t want to breastfeed right.  Didn’t want to sleep.  But as the weeks went on, as the years went on, I started figuring it out.

Different things change.  He grows.  We make adjustments.

When you adopt, sometimes you don’t start with a baby.  I started with a 3 month old, a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old.  You just jump in and figure out your way.  It is like having a newborn.  Except some of them can talk back to you.  No need for diaper changes.  But you are learning rhythms and as they grow you have to adjust.  Sometimes quicker than you are ready to.

There is no right way to parent.  Sure there is 1000’s a books out there to help you.  My husband and I were watching Pawn Star on History Channel.  They where looking at an old map.  The comment was made that back then map makers just had to go out there and do it.  It was a hard job and took a while, but they typical did a good job in the end, all with out GPS’s.  I laughed and said that parenting.  We just have to go out there and do it.

We are still figuring out our territory, surveying it.  Each of our children’s map will be slightly different.  But what is going to be true is when we are done, our map is a picture of a beautiful young adult.  No, I guess parenting doesn’t really stop there.  There are different stages.  Just like making a map each part comes with a painful process of getting as right as you can.

As parents we trust in the One who gives us the peace that with Him by our side we can and will handle anything.  It isn’t easy.  Talking as easy as it seems isn’t easy.  You have to unravel things that were heard or assumed or told.  You have to back track to the point where something got off track, and stick it back on track.  That is what parenting is about.  Just like mapping, if something didn’t work right, they would back up and figuring it out.

 


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What is Going Through the Mind of Teens?

This is the question of every parent of teens.  What on earth are they thinking and why do they do what they do.  Here’s the deal, we will never fully understand.  Paying attention to their trends and what is going on is the key and trust me when you think you have them all figured out, something will change and you have to start all over again.

As teens make that switch from teen to an adult, their brian will go through many changes to as it continues to development.  A teens brain develops starting at the back and works its way to the front.   It isn’t till early 20’s till the brain finishes developing.

The parts of the adolescent brain which develop first are those which control physical coordination, emotion and motivation. However, the part of the brain which controls reasoning and impulses – known as the Prefrontal Cortex – is near the front of the brain and, therefore, develops last. This part of the brain does not fully mature until the age of 25. (A Parents Guide to the Brain)

This would explain why so many parents what to pull their hair out the at this stage of a young person life.  And just as a reminder-we all went through this with our parents.  It is a rite, we went through this, so one day our kids would go through this and we in turn would say to our parents “we are sorry.”

homschool High school


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Launching them into Driving: A List of Resources for Parents and Teens

Every teen dreams of it.

Driving.

Freedom.

To be able to go off on their own.

Part of getting ready to lauch teens in the world is driving.  For many teens that is coming later than earlier now.  It may be new technologies, parents waiting due to cost of insurance, or teens just not interested.  This could be a good thing.  The new Graduated licensing laws in effect are delaying different driver privileges at different ages.  While some are not finding this fair, the more than 500 lives saved could state it fair enough.

The general stages of the new Graduated licensing is

  • Supervised learner’s phase.
  • Intermediate phase in which you earn a provisional license.
  • Full license – depending on age, there may be conditions

 

There is a lot of information for you and your teen to weed through, here is just a small sample of what is out there.

Graduated licensing

Driver Education

Decal of New Driver

Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

Insurance company sites for teen drivers (and their discounts)

Videos to make you want to squirm in your seat and close your eyes

Texting and Driving

 

Now as for buying a car, you are on your own for that one!

 

homschool High school

 


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Transitioning into Summer

Memorial Day weekend typically is the signal that summer has started.  Pools open, BBQ’s are being dusted off and the sprinklers are coming out.  For most school is out and lazy summer days have begun.

In our house, we have not hit this point.  I still have two in school.  My little girl will be done with public school tomorrow!  Alleluia!  A soon to be Senior will be done…soon hopefully.  Tension arises there everytime I bring up ending the school year.  And momma breathes in and out.  I want school to be done.

It is hard having this stepping into summer schedule.  Robby was done two weeks ago.  He is now in 5th grade and school work is different from 11th grade school work.  Isaiah is 5 and just does his thing now.  They are mostly free to play and watch TV this week.  I really can’t start a summer schedule till all are done with school.

Things to help us start transitioning into summer

  • Routines-create a morning and evening routine.  This differs for each of my kids because of age differences.  My two little ones have charts for the Target $1 section that just have chores and personal care items on them.  Robby I created one last night so he knew what he needed to do before running off with friends or jumping on the computer.  Jeremy my oldest, it is more about teaching him to mange his personal calendars with his work schedule.
  • Talking about all the things we want to do this summer!  Our 100 things to do this summer gets them all excited!  We have done some of items like 17, 23, 63, & 98.
  • Summer Food-Dan made BBQ ribs yesterday that were AMAZING and I am not just saying that cause I love that guy a lot!  They really were good!  Mix in watermelon, sweet tea, baked beans and homemade ice cream and we are talking summer here.
  • Scaling down clothes-I am going to hide/give away most of my children’s clothes other than the ones that will get them by this summer.  I hope by doing so it will make it so much easier for them to keep up with their wardrobe with would be just their bathing suits if I allowed it.  Not to mention how much easier laundry would be!
  • Keeping our house simple.  I know I have too much-everywhere.  It is overwhelming.  So putting as much away/give away stuff for summer gives us a more carefree area.  School as so much stuff with it.
  • Putting away school stuff.  I am sooo bad about this!  This year I already have a handle on it.  So once everyone is done, reports will go in and school stuff away.
  • Summer morning board.  I have thought about this.  I use a school morning board and think I could make one up for summer.
  • Finish baseball.  Robby and Isaiah still have tournaments to play in the next two weeks.
  • Schedule.  I have to keep a schedule for our days, weeks and months.  Everything fills up to quickly.  Kids want to know what are we doing?  They know the next two weeks schedules.  My 5 year cannot wait to do VBS at a neighboring Lutheran church next week.
  • Not stress about it.  As a mom I want everything perfect.  I want my kids safe and happy.  And I want a clean house, meals ready, laundry done, blogs to finished, yard looking perfect, garden growing…..I get too wound up I can’t even enjoy the moment.  Step back and breath.  Your kids are little only once and dust last forever.

These next two weeks will be our transitions weeks.  In total there will be like three of them for us.  Then summer will begin, full force ahead!

How are you transition into summer?

 


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