After choosing to homeschool, several realities and questions began to surface about the upcoming school year.
Where will we do school?
In the kitchen?
Make a school room?
What will our day look like?
What will I do with them ALL DAY!?
What if we all hate each other by Thanksgiving?
What kind of structure needs to be put into place so I don't become a bitter, haggard woman?
How will my house stay clean with the kids home all day?
When will I have time to teach, clean, cook, and do laundry?
I knew our family would do best with some structure, and where I needed the most help was with discipline. My former method of discipline (becoming frustrated and yelling threats about hell) not only wouldn't work, it never did. Like the verse on the chalkboard above, the word of Christ was not dwelling in me richly, and I was most certainly not singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I had the admonishment part down, except that it was not in wisdom or with thankfulness in my heart. God was revealing to me some sin in my life in regards to mothering. I was being selfish, discontent, impatient, angry, no self-control, basically the opposite of all of the fruit of the spirit. What struck me hardest was realizing what example I was being to my daughter. Was the way I was parenting encouraging Addie to one day want to be a mom? Would she know that God created motherhood to be a joy and not a burden?
So if mothering wasn't a joy, where did I go wrong?
He showed me that places where I would get frustrated are a good place to start changing. Why was I getting angry when the kids were disobedient? Why did my heart want revenge in discipline? I realized my sin came from the attitude of "you have gone against MY rules and here's what I have to say about it" when it should have been "you have gone against God's rules and let's see what He has to say about it".
To help me in the heat of the moment, I wanted to have a list of common offenses laid out with scripture verses that guided what our actions should be and consequences that fit the crime all ready agreed upon so I could have guidance when my patience was thin. Tony and I spent a weekend working this out and came up with a discipline chart. We had it printed and it is posted in our kitchen. We spent several meal times going over it with the kids so we were all clear on what was expected, and what they could expect if they disobeyed. I must say, when we are consistent with sticking to our chart, mothering is more joyful. My teaching and admonishing was coming from wisdom.To take the time and think about how our actions were wrong and what God says about it in His Word and taking the time to give our kids the gospel and grace goes so much farther than "why can't you ever pick up your toys when I ask you to!"
Here's one example from the chart:
Complaining/Whining -Philippians 2:14-Do all things without grumbling or questioning
Psalm 19:14-Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Additional work / don't receive what was whined for
The way this plays out in our life is let's say Isaiah colors on Addie's doll. It is brought to my attention, I establish the facts, and I lead Isaiah over to the chart. I would ask, "Do you know what you did wrong?" If they pretend to not know, I will help them know that they were abusing someone else's property. Then I would say, "Let's see what the Bible says about this. It says in Matthew that whatever you wish others would do to you, you should do to them. Do you wish Addie would color on your truck like you colored on her doll? Do you think coloring on her doll was right?" Once they come to the point of genuine repentance an apology would be made and the consequence is that one of Isaiah's favorite toys gets to go to Addie for the day with the hopes from Isaiah that she will treat it better than he treated her doll. And next time he may make a better choice before wanting to color on her doll.
Some of the consequences make us laugh because they feel corny for an 11 year old, but it's great because it causes him to change his attitude quickly. Instead of causing trouble with his sister, they are now giggling at holding hands and speaking kind words to each other.
I've had some inquiries about purchasing these charts. If you are interested I have made some available through my etsy shop for $10. They are 11x17 full color posters printed on glossy photo paper.