November 21, 2018

Meet James Purcell – A Fellow Homeschool Daddy

The Purcell Family

My friend, and moderator of this blog, asked me to contribute some thoughts on homeschooling to this blog. I thought this would be fun, and hope to be a regular contributor. Therefore, I thought this first post should be a bit of an introduction to our family and experience as homeschoolers so we can get to know each other a little bit.

My name is James, and I have one wife, six children, two dogs, and two cats.  I have a few hobbies, most of which revolve around being outside either walking/playing with our dogs, playing with the kids who are young enough to still want to play with me, or just generally hanging out. We love to cook, and we love to eat. Our family also loves the water…so much so that we are hoping to relocate some day to a much warmer climate.

As for work and careers go, my career path has woven in and out of the insurance industry and healthcare, and my wife is a middle school math teacher for a public chartered virtual school.  We’ll talk more about that in a later post.

As I mentioned, there are six kids in the family.  Three boys, currently ages 20, 18, and 15. Then, three girls, ages 13, 8, and 6.  Yes, it makes me tired too. Many people ask us…”Why six kids?” I always answer with, “well, my wife wanted four, and I wanted two.  We both got what we wanted.”

The question about the number of children in our family usually leads to other questions, and homeschooling usually isn’t too far down the list. I’m sure we get the same questions you do….Why do you homeschool?  When did you start? When will it end? Are you a scientist/how will you teach chemistry? What about sports? What about what about???????

What is YOUR biggest question for yourself about homeschooling?  What fears, doubts, or insecurities cause you to struggle?

My single, underlying fear was AND IS….what if my kids grow up, and look at me someday, and ask….WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?????  What if my kids get to college unprepared, because we “forgot about” something SUPER important?

So, a little spoiler alert here…if you paid attention to the ages of my kids, you know two of them are old enough to be college students.  So far…they are doing great. Both earned academic scholarships to the University of Indianapolis, a private liberal arts college in Indianapolis. Our oldest is in the middle of his junior year majoring in business, and boy #2 is halfway through his freshman year majoring in classical guitar.  That points to a future post…how different our kids can be, and why homeschooling is AWESOME for that reason.

I will leave you with my greatest homeschool dad FAIL….I mentioned our son who is majoring in classical guitar.  Well, the University gave him access to a locker to store his guitar…with a padlock. But…since we don’t have a locker bay in the front room, we apparently never taught him to open a padlock!  Good thing one of his locker-mates was a public school kid who gave him a quick tutorial 🙂

Share the strangest question you’ve ever fielded about homeschooling, and share your greatest fear….remember, you are among friends 🙂

Positive Discipline for Toddlers

Toddler Next to the Lake

Almost every parent at some point will struggle to discipline their toddler. Once the ‘terrible twos’ have hit, you’ll sure know about it! However, discipline doesn’t have to mean telling your child off and yelling at them. In fact, many parents are now choosing the positive discipline approach, and are seeing huge benefits by doing so. Here, we will discuss some of the ways you can start to discipline your toddler in a more positive way.

1. Focus on good behavior

Toddlers respond much better to being told what to do, rather than being told what not to do. So, instead of telling them “don’t hit the cat”, try something along the lines of “we have to pet the cat gently”. Redirect their negative behavior into something more positive – toddlers love to please. It’s best if you can phrase things so you don’t even have to mention the bad behavior at all. For example, by saying ‘don’t snatch from your friend’, you will probably just reinforce the idea of snatching. By using a phrase like ‘use your words to ask for the toy’, without mentioning snatching or grabbing, your toddler is much more likely to perform the good behavior.

2. Give options, where possible

Toddlers love to feel in control, and in fact feeling like they are not in control is very often the cause for bad behavior. If your child has done something wrong, try and give them the choice over what to do next. For example, if they have hurt someone suggest they can either apologize or give them a hug. Or ask them if they would prefer to continue playing nicely or go and do something else to calm down. Simple choices are best for children at this age.

3. Prevent situations where bad behavior is likely to occur

If you have noticed that certain things or situations trigger negative behaviors in your child, try to avoid them, or at the very least be prepared to step in quickly. For example, if the child frequently fights over some toys with their friends, leave it out of sight the next time they’re playing together. Or if your child always has a tantrum in the grocery store, try providing distractions, or ask if someone else can mind the child whilst you go shopping. After a few weeks of not being taken to the store, you might find they are suddenly well-behaved the next time you take them.

4. Ensure the child understands what they are doing wrong

For older toddlers who understand most of what you are saying, and who are able to communicate well, this can be a great way to eliminate negative behaviors. Explain to them why they can’t shove their friends, or why they have to put on their coat to go outside. If your child simply thinks you are punishing them for no reason, they will probably keep repeating the behavior.

5. Let your child suffer the consequences

Of course, this depends on the situation, but it can work well under certain circumstances. For example, if your child will not eat their dinner, let them go to bed hungry. Don’t bribe them by saying they can have dessert if they eat dinner, or that they can stay up later if they eat dinner. Instead just use a phrase like ‘oh well, in that case you’ll be going to bed hungry. No more food until breakfast tomorrow.’. Using the ‘natural consequences’ of not obeying instructions is much more effective than bribing them with rewards which are not related to the behavior.

Hopefully, you have learned something new about how to positively discipline your toddler. Children respond really well to this kind of treatment, and you should notice an improvement in your child’s behavior almost immediately.

Links for Further Reading

A Brilliant Cross-Over From Real Life Fitness to Video Game Play

NBA 2K17 Screen Shot

I just read an article that I believe is an absolute brilliant type of cross-promotion and marketing between two companies.

Earlier this year my wife got me a fitbit HR as a gift for my birthday. I thought back then that the integration between the device and my phone and my online profile was a good measure. You see I can connect with my friends and family members that may also have a FitBit device and challenge them to certain levels of activity. The most common of these is just a simple step count. The somewhat standard challenge goal for most people is to get 10,000 steps a day.

Well, fitbit has partnered with video game developers for NBA 2k17 to give you in-game player development perks if you obtain a 10,000 step goal in real life. That’s right! Brilliant right? I know when I was playing Tiger Woods golf on the Xbox regularly, just about the only thing I could think of was doing whatever I could to get my custom player’s skills up as high as I could so I had an advantage on both the game itself and anyone I might play against, including my wife! The downfall to that relationship was that it required me to spend as much time as possible playing the game, sitting on my butt in front of the TV.

With this branding crossover, you start to reward kids with a direct exchange of being more active in real-life to gain something in the virtual video game. This time not just with gadgets from https://progamerreview.com/best-gaming-monitors/. What if we started finding more crossover promotions that promoted healthy activities instead of bad ones? Imagine Subway giving away power up codes for eating a low-fat sub and not ordering a soda? Granted, that’s going to go against their bottom line with the no soda thing, but you get my point.

What if parents could get little credit codes they could give their kids for positive behaviors that were directly related to health and fitness, or maybe even just good grades. Finish all your vegetables on your plate at dinner, here’s 25 booster points. Get an A in science this semester, here’s 1000 booster points. Imagine getting an extra life in the Super Smash Flash 2 game if you finish your term paper.

The biggest challenge once this became popular would probably be working on ways to keep people from gaming the system. Because whatever system is out there for rewards, people will be looking to game it.

What are your thoughts on this type of marketing cross-promotion?

Original Article: Here’s Why Harrison Barnes Always Gets in his Steps Before Sitting Down to Play