I’m happy to announce Homeschooling1!

Comp-1I’m excited to announce the launch of Homeschooling1, a website for secular homeschooling families that are educating one child at home. There aren’t enough resources out there for only child homeschooling families, especially secular homeschoolers so I decided it was time to make a website just for families of singletons. Maybe you have multiple children but are homeschooling only one of your children, regardless this site is for anyone who is looking for homeschooling resources, advice and information.

There will be loads of information about getting started homeschooling, resources regarding homeschooling laws, freebie printables and even a forum so everyone can come together and support each other and share advice, celebrations and concerns.

I’m launching the site on September 1st, 2016 and wanted to give everyone an opportunity to sign up to Homeschooling1’s newsletter for some fun giveaways and updates. I may even toss in a couple of my children’s books as a freebie giveaway in the future 🙂 After subscribing you’ll be sent a free printable planner for the 2016-2017 school year!

Please share this post with anyone who you feel would be interested in this new site!

Don’t worry about my children’s books. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my next release about two feathered friends who spend a fun filled day together at the fair! Here’s a little sneak peek into the world of Ducky and Quackers!

ducky and quackers promo - Copy

Meet Ducky and Quackers! Coming soon from Courtney M Jones!

Thanks so much for being part of this fun and exciting journey and I look forward to connecting with everybody!

Please visit homeschooling1.com to sign up and join this homeschooling community!

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Raising Our Children With Love and Respect

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(Photo by Anita Peppers)

 

“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods.”     Pam Leo

  That quote really got my mind working this morning. I took a moment and reflected on my own childhood and it really is true. I was raised by my grandparents and I understand that their ways were the “old school” ways but to this day I still have a lot of emotional issues based on the methods of discipline and lack of approval I received as a child. I still have a lot of baggage that I have carried since childhood but over the years I’ve been getting a lot better about letting it go and not allowing my past to dictate what happens in my future. A couple of things DO still bother me to this day and as nervous as I am about it for the sake of knowledge and information that may help other children I wanted to share them with you:

– My grandfather always commented on my weight and put me down because I wasn’t a thin girl and I have always been self-conscious about my weight and my looks, no matter how many times my husband tells me I’m beautiful I’m always secretly rolling my eyes, wishing I could believe it for myself.

– I was punished as a child by spanking. There was a leather strap that laid on a table in the dining room and my brothers and I always had to walk by it. Every time we got in trouble the strap was picked up and we went to our rooms, crying and sore. That made me grow up with quite a temper and lifelong resentment to authority that I always have to work hard to control. I thank my daughter every day for being here because she helps me to see the world so differently.

   I grew up constantly questioning myself and my abilities and I never feel I have the confidence to do everything I have dreamed of doing, mainly because growing up I was never told that I had the ability to do anything I wanted if I wanted it bad enough. It took me years of self-discovery, books and the support of my amazing and caring husband to convince myself that I AM worth the risk because I want my life to be full of wonderful moments, memories and I don’t want to leave this earth with a laundry list of regrets.

  Because I was raised that way I swore to myself that I would never treat my child like that and I would raise her the opposite way. I will not use fear to get her obedience and I will not put my child down because I don’t see perfection. My daughter just turned three and I love that when she is having a tantrum and pushing my buttons the situation always ends with a hug and a moment of peace than a scared confused child who doesn’t understand why mommy was so cruel to her.

  It breaks my heart that every day there are so many children who are growing up with families that will set these kids up for a future of uncertainty and self-esteem issues, mainly due to the fact that parents aren’t armed with the proper information that could help them to guide children through their youth, instead of controlling their decisions, using unnecessary punishments to get their points across, yelling more than talking and not providing the protection from certain situations that could make or break a child’s self-esteem. So many young spirits are broken and that pain will haunt them and affect the decisions they make for the rest of their lives. The worst part is that all of this can be prevented with a little knowledge, support and a better understanding from the child’s perspective.

  I know there are a lot of parents who say that they were spanked as children and they grew up better because of that form of discipline. Everyone is different and everyone raises their children differently. I’m not trying to start a debate about spanking, I just wanted to write about my view on the subject because I went through it and that was how spanking affected me. In the end I just want every parent to know that their children are beautiful, special and full of so much potential. Love them with all your hearts and do everything in your power to give them the best start in their lives. Every parent has their own ways of doing this and in the end if you know in your hearts that you’re doing everything you can possibly do to ensure the best future for your children, then that is MORE than enough.

  We are all born with a blank canvas and it’s up to the parents to paint the proper background so that the children can then complete the picture and grow up to become confident, empathic, responsible and grateful adults who will make a difference in this world. If we fail to put maximum effort into our children and to go the extra mile to do the right things for them instead of the more convenient “this will put an end to this for now” mindset, everyone wins and the family is much more secure and trustworthy of one another and that, in my opinion makes for the perfect future for everyone.

  Do you have baggage from your childhood and has that affected your parenting for the better? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Your input may help other parents looking for advice or information.

 

I came across an excellent article that has a lot of useful information that goes into more detail about this subject. The article title isn’t my favorite but the information is very helpful and thought provoking. If interested please feel free to visit the page by clicking the link below.
CLICK HERE

Raising Caring and Compassionate Children

black-baby-girl-clip-art-gtipgelo (1)   I’m a fairly new mom. My daughter is 2 1/2 years old so I’ve only had 2 1/2 years of experience of raising a child. I love being a parent more than anything.

All parents have concerns. Lately my daughter has been a complete “terrible twos toddler” and she has been in the hitting, throwing and tantrum phase for a little while now. When the transition from that sweet, clumsy and giggly baby morphed into a screaming, throwing, hitting mommy and daddy terror began I did panic a bit. I have read more parenting books than I can count since pregnancy so I felt that I was going to be prepared for this phase.

Mentally, I was prepared. I knew what to do, how to prevent the situations that caused a meltdown, how to keep cool and calm so the situation wouldn’t escalate further, all of that.

Honestly I’m more hurt than angry when she has an outburst. I truly feel for my daughter when I deny her that toy at the store, when she tries to escape from her car seat and I firmly tell her to stop, when she doesn’t want to go to bed or take a bath. I feel for her because if I were her and 60% of everything I did was always being corrected or redirected I’d feel like I wasn’t my own person. That would truly drive me up the wall!

I’m pretty sure she’s beginning to understand why her daddy and I are correcting her all the time. It’s because she needs boundaries, she needs rules and she needs to be able to trust her parents to make the big decisions that will enable her to be self sufficient and decisive when she grows up. She needs guidance in this incredibly confusing and overwhelming phase of toddlerhood.

Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s feelings and respond with kindness. Raising an empathetic child requires intentional efforts to teach the desired behavior. Sometimes this can be quite a challenge. You’re trying to keep your cool and your child is screaming at you, throwing toys on the floor or flinging themselves on the floor while crying and looking at you like you’re the meanest parent ever. For me personally, to kneel down to my daughters level, look her calmly in the eye and cupping her cheek in my hand gently while saying in a soft voice “We don’t hit. Hitting hurts,” or “I know you’re upset because daddy took your bear away, but we do not throw Blue Beary,” it can be quite difficult.

It’s hard to remain cool and calm but it needs to happen and that’s what I tell myself when I want to run to MY room and throw pillows on the floor when she’s pushing my buttons. Children need to be told why they are being corrected and what the proper response should be when they’re feeling an intense emotion that they can’t quite get a handle on just yet. I know I’m doing something right because just the other day my daughter was getting frustrated with a puzzle and normally she would stand up and kick and throw the puzzle pieces everywhere if she couldn’t figure it out on her own. But as I was sitting there watching her become frustrated, something happened. She looked over at me and looked at her puzzle. She did this a couple times and then she got up off the floor and ran over to me “Mama mama, help.” She took my hand and pulled me over to the puzzle that was on the floor, sat down next to me and handed me a piece and pointed at the puzzle: “Mama, Mama.”

So we spent the next half hour assembling and dissembling the puzzle. She sat there next to me and from time to time rested her head on my shoulder and patted my arm. It was the most incredible feeling. For the first time my daughter was able to control her emotions and calmly think of a solution.

What does his have to do with empathy you’re probably wondering. Well, I’ve noticed lately, especially in the city I live in that a lot of parents don’t take that extra minute to talk things through with their child. I tend to hear a lot of rushed moms who use threats of no dessert or TV or a smack if they don’t stop “whining” or “put that back.” These are things I hear at the grocery store all the time. I’ll take a moment to watch how the moms interact with their children and the problem is blatantly obvious. Those moms aren’t treating their children with respect. They aren’t empathic to their children’s needs because their priorities overpower a teachable moment that would make this a much more enjoyable experience for everyone.

What is happening? I look at those children and this may sound corny but it’s hard not to get teary eyed. You can see it in their faces, they’re just dying to learn, to explore, to be guided by their mom. Instead they’re dragged around, being yelled at and toys and dessert are threatened, just because they’re kids being kids.

I have never had that problem with my daughter at the store. There are times when I get funny looks from parents because when I’m in the produce aisle my daughter will point and cry out “APPLES!” I’ll push the cart over, grab a produce bag and align the basket right next to the apples. “Let’s get four apples today.” I’ll hold the bag out and one by one, my daughter will reach over and pick up an apple and as she drops them in the bag she’ll count the apples out loud as she lets them go “Oooone, Tooooo, Treeeee.” I get a kick out of that every time. Since she was in a car seat at the store I was doing that. I’d explain what I was doing and count everything out while describing colors and shapes and I guess it’s just a special routine we’re always going to have while she’s young. Those moments are so special to me, and I’m sure they are for my little girl as well.

Raising an empathic child is one of the most important attributes that you can teach as a parent. Without that skill, children will grow to be uncaring of others feelings, selfish, pushy, bossy and possibly a bully who demeans and hurts others. The ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes and to see things from their perspective is something that I could not live without. Empathy has helped me to treat my daughter with love, compassion and respect. While other parents out there scream and drag their children around because they have their own agenda, I include my daughter in my agenda. She isn’t an inconvenience, she’s my daughter and she’s learning. She’s soaking up everything I do, everything I say, the way I respond to every situation she witnesses. “If mommy screams and yells and hits, than it’s okay for me to do the same, but when I do the same I get screamed at and yelled at.” Think about that one for a minute. Wouldn’t that confuse you to pieces if you were a child?”

Taking the extra minute or two to comfort your child when she’s afraid or angry, to explain why hitting and throwing is wrong, to tell them what is expected of them before embarking on the errands, to squeeze in that extra hug and kiss everyday, to focus on what they’re doing right and to make them feel good about it instead of only paying attention to them when they make a mistake or misbehave. Those are the building blocks for an empathic child. I will admit, some children will be way more difficult than others but remember, they’re just children. Children who need compassion, guidance, redirection at times and most importantly, unconditional love.

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and ask questions that encourage them to think about their feelings and the feelings of others. Model empathy in every way you can and with every opportunity you have.

Books are an excellent tool for teaching empathy to your child. Point out facial expressions and have your child label those feelings. Talk about emotions that are displayed with frowns, smiles, tears. It’s a very useful tool that has worked wonders for me. In fact, my latest book Fred The Frog Finds A Friend is all about empathy and my daughter and I read my book everyday. The beetle is her favorite character and she’ll point to his face because he smiles and frowns in the book and she’ll say “Maaaad, Apppy!” It’s the coolest feeling realizing that a book I wrote is teaching my daughter one of the most valuable lessons she’ll ever learn. Its my hope that other parents will want to share my book with their children as well.

If you and your children had teachable moment that you would like to share I’d love to hear it and I’m sure that other parents would love to hear about it as well!

Courtney M Jones New Release

I’m happy to present Fred The Frog Finds A Friend! A new release that is now available on my website courtneymjones.com and amazon.com
This story is about a little frog named Fred who embarks on a journey to fill his belly and along the way makes a friend while learning the importance of empathy.

Stop By My Fan Page For A Chance To Win A FREE SIGNED Copy Of My New Release!

*Giveaway*Giveaway*Giveaway*

In celebration of my new release Fred The Frog Finds A Friend I am offering a fun giveaway! 

I just started a fan page on Facebook for Fred The Frog Finds A Friend and between now and December 15th if you LIKE this new page you will be eligible to win a FREE signed copy of this fun and educational book before the paperback is available in stores! 

5 Books will be up for grabs!

Thanks and Hope to see lots of new faces on Fred’s Page 🙂

(Click the Cover Image Below to be redirected to Fred’s Page, a new window will open)

 

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Cheese Danishes Completely from Scratch (Of Course!)

This is by far the greatest recipe for cheese Danish on the Internet! Everyone roll up your sleeves and create a slice of heaven 🙂

scone and kettle

Good afternoon! While casting about for ideas for this week’s post (I say as though I consistently post each and every week…), my wonderful husband recommended doing something with a laminated dough. Since this is something I haven’t touched since that one day in culinary school, I thought that this was a marvelous idea! While puff pastry is a laminated dough and I could have made croissants, I prefer the sweeter, richer Danish.

I started out this post by stopping by a nearby bakery and picking up some of their danishes, partly because I wanted to see how theirs looked and tasted, mostly just because I wanted a danish. It was delicious with a moderately dense dough and sweet cheese filling, but I think, as you’ll see, mine came out somewhat different in texture, so I don’t think we’re working with quite the same dough.

The recipe I used for…

View original post 1,212 more words

Dreaming of Doing? Or Doing What is Dreamed

  Times are changing, just as they always do. Every decade we have new trends, new revolutionary products that make our lives a little better, a little easier, a little more comfortable. The next generation is born and every new parent looks down at that beautiful little miracle snuggled to their chest and they watch this new life sleeping in their arms and suddenly, visions of the future take hold and this beautiful blank canvas has been stretched onto it’s frame, and over the years it’s like a work of magic, the colors blend, the shapes begin to form and the final picture comes to light. The question remains, will dreams inside this young individual become reality? Will the hopes and goals become a road map to success and to everything they’ve always wanted, or will those dreams turn into a skill that someone else will take hold of and use to make their own dreams a reality because the bravery wasn’t there? The road map was never completed and was left blowing in the breeze? Or maybe they were told it wasn’t possible and society talked the good game and convinced you that you should just go through the motions and work for someone else, because it’s safe, because that’s the conventional and traditional way to live. What happened to that innocent miracle who could do anything, be anybody, change the world?

No matter what anyone tells you, that person is still there.

It doesn’t matter how many years have come and gone, how far you’ve drifted from those days of innocence and the idea that everything is waiting to be discovered that anything is possible. You may think you have lost it. Just asking yourself if you still have it is proof in itself that YOU are still there. Those aspirations are alive, screaming at you from within to open the floodgates so that they may rush out and sweep you away to the life you’ve always wanted. What you saw in your youth is what can still be seen today.

Why is it we look at our children and say “I want my children to have better than what I had, I want them to succeed, they will never end up like I did because they deserve everything this world has to offer?”

As the years go by and your children grow, what do you think is the better picture; a parent or parents who constantly encourage their child to be the best, to do their best, that they can and will succeed because they can. You never made it to what you truly wanted because of some reason, the money wasn’t there, the opportunity never presented itself, or perhaps you got caught up in the current moment and just never had the time to go go go with it. That’s why your children must succeed, you want them to be where you never were, where you couldn’t go, what you dreamed of doing or becoming but didn’t or couldn’t.

OR

As the years go by and your children grow, your children are witnessing daily, the strength and determination that their parent or parents have to work tirelessly, to never give up, to go for what it is they want because failure is not an option. You’ve pushed hard to get there and you’re living the dream you saw yourself living as a child, only now it’s not pretend play. You’re there! You’re living it!  You don’t bear down on your children to never give up, to go for it, to be the best, because you don’t have to. Your children are there everyday, they see in you what they see in themselves. They too can and will make it, simply because they grew up witnessing and sharing with you the joy you felt daily, to do what you love, to jump up and scream with delight when another bridge has been built and you’ve made it to the other side.

Families are happier and children more stable when everyone has a sense of peace. If you hate what you do everyday, if you leave at sunrise, dreading the day ahead and sighing in relief when you get home and you’re too burned out to do anything but sit, eat, shower than sleep, is that truly the memories you want your children to carry for the rest of their lives? My mom/dad loved me but was always so sad or mad. They would look at me with this empty gaze, their faces wrinkled with exhaustion from their unproductive lives and beg me to do better, to be better. Now I’m simply here serving up the legacy that I never want to end up like my parent or parents.

There’s one problem.. Where’s the direction? You struggle to climb up that hill, hoping against hope that you can make your parents proud and succeed because they couldn’t or didn’t. Now stop and ask yourself; WHY am I going in this direction? Is it for myself? Is this what I really want? Is this what I want for my children?

In my opinion, this country is is a state of peril because of the decline in numbers of great thinkers, innovators, the ones that had an idea and went with it, not sure where it would take them but they knew what that final result was going to be, because they would not accept anything but that. In other words, our society is falling apart because we are losing our dreamers. They are slowly disappearing and slipping back into the shadows, submitting to any type of income because they feel they have no other choice because there are financial obligations, current events in your life force you to delay it. Before you know it, another decade has come and gone, new innovations have been once again introduced and there’s new trends up and out and for all to see.

Everything is different, but nothing has changed. Is that truly what you want to leave behind as your legacy? Or do you want to say the hell with it. I want this so bad, I need for this to happen, I want to make it. I want my life to mean something and most importantly, I want my children to look at me and then themselves and tell themselves every single day that they can be anything, do anything, make a difference, change the course of history in whatever way they can contribute.

I can give you a list fifty miles long of people that have done just what I have described. To be something or someone great doesn’t mean you have to be part of the elite class, to be rich, powerful and famous. Power corrupts and the elite see everyone else as sheep. To be great is to be what you’ve always wanted to be.

Maybe it’s owning a business, maybe it’s service to others with your vision at the forefront. No matter what it may be, it’s the world you want to live in, the life you want to live. Money and power only get you as far as a number on paper, maybe a statistic. To have financial freedom IS the American Dream and it is my hope that everyone can and will find a way to achieve it. Whether it’s owning a Lamborghini or a Chevy as a reward for your hard work and determination, it’s your dream.

Reach down deep inside yourself. Resurrect that child who is still in there and pull those dreams back out onto the table. To accomplish those dreams consists of a simple formula, just start doing something to make that dream a reality. Start that business plan and begin making the plans to execute the formula. Write that first book, build that house, find that niche. But you have to start doing it to start seeing it. Don’t just read this, feel empowered and then check your email and forget about what you just read. Please just go out there and give it everything you’ve got. Your children will thank you, your friends will thank you and society will thank you.

Once you make it happen, you will be proof that anything and everything is possible. The word will begin spreading that we have the power to be who we truly want to be and before we know it, everyone will be doing it.

Step outside, look up at the moon, gaze into the sky, find that child within. Remember what it is you truly wanted. “When I grow up I want to be __________.”

I only ask for one thing; Reach for the stars and never stop.

Now I leave the rest to you.