Q and A; Homeschooling High School; Babies in the womb and sound; Overacting To Childhood Injuries

4moms35kids-1How do you homeschool through high school?

We use Amblesideonline’s upper years, and we have since they were available. Before that, (with our oldest two) we put together our own program.    It’s free, or as near as it can be, and there is a lot of support in the forums where other mothers using the same program and doing the same years as you share resources, ideas, information, and sympathy when that’s what you need.

Did you play music for you babies in the womb?

Yes, I did, but I am not sure that was necessary.  I also sang to them in the womb, and that, I think, is necessary.  My babies obviously recognized ‘their’ songs when they were born, too.  It was very lovely and goosebump inducing.

Studies show that children actually are born recognizing words they heard in the womb, so I think reciting Bible verses would also be lovely.  Here’s the article on the research.

Babies who had heard the recordings showed the neural signal for recognizing vowel and pitch changes in the pseudoword, and the signal was strongest for the infants whose mothers played the recording most often. They were also better than the control babies at detecting other differences in the syllables, such as vowel length. “This leads us to believe that the fetus can learn much more detailed information than we previously thought,” Partanen says, and that the memory traces are detectable after birth.

“This is a well-respected group and the effects are really convincing,” says Patricia Kuhl, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Combined with previous work, she says, these results suggest “that language learning begins in the womb.”

Developmental psychologist Christine Moon, of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, agrees. “I think it is a very good paper with important results,” she says, and it points the way to future studies that could break down the learning process in even more detail.

They are in the womb, cushioned and protected, for a reasons, so I would rethink the speakers on the belly, or any sort of intervention that wouldn’t have been possible for the previous thousands of years of human history.  But talking to your baby, singing to your baby?  Go for it.

What to do about a 3 yo child who wails and screams with minor injuries (like falling down onto his hands while running…no blood or scrapes)? Everything sounds like an emergency. At this point, I respond to everything calmly and briefly, almost dismissively, but I do need to find a way to curb his response. I want to be able to tell when I really should be running to help him. Anyone have any previous posts, experience, or wisdom to contribute? Thank you!

Sigh.  I will tell you what worked, but it’s not something I could actually recommend.  I had one of these who screamed like a fire engine’s siren whether she just remembered she left her book in the car, had a hang nail, or stepped on glass- I never knew what level the ’emergency’ would be when she started screaming.  I tried explaining, I tried discussing self control, I tried pointing out that every, tiny, little, annoying thing that happened to her was not the end of the world.

One day we were all out and about in town, shopping.  Somebody opened a store door as she was standing too close, and because she was in sandals,  it scratched the top of her foot, and she commenced the fire engine wailing.  Since it was her, I just briefly glanced over, saw absolutely no sign of injury whatsoever, and told her, “Oh, calm down. It’s not that bad,” and went on with our shopping.  She actually stopped her screaming and sniffled instead, which was preferable to me.  We continued shopping, and then went home- I don’t know how I realized it, whether somebody pointed it out, or I finally looked more closely because she was still sniffling or what- but…. I discovered that the door had actually scraped off a large patch of skin all over the top of her little foot.  She was bleeding, and it was obviously a nasty injury- not hospital level, but it definitely merited considerable attention, sympathy, and some painful cleaning and application of antiseptics and bandages.

What had happened is that I accidentally had looked at the wrong foot.

Since I had looked at the wrong foot, of course I saw no injury, and then ignored her continued fussing because that’s just the way she was.  I felt horrible, and at first, of course, I kept apologizing and just about groveled.  But then I also realized…. if it had been any other child, I would have looked harder and longer for the injury because they would not be crying for no reason- but she always cried for no reason so I had no reason to believe this was a big deal.  I told her that I was really sorry and I did feel badly, but that also, this was what I had been trying to explain to her.   Because she *always* screamed *exactly* the same way, and loudly, no matter what happened, I had no reason to believe that I’d made a mistake and she was really injured.  I pointed out that even though she was hurt, she had stopped screaming when I told her there was nothing there, so obviously, she had the self control to do this if she wanted to.

It wasn’t planned, but it also probably helped that when my best friend was at the house later that day and I was lamenting to her what a horrible mother I’d been, my friend said something like, “Yeah, but that’s the kid who screams bloody murder no matter what happens to her, so how could you have known?  You’ve been telling her why she shouldn’t do that, maybe she’ll learn,” and my child overheard that (and my friend was not a meany- she was an extremely sympathetic mother, much sweeter than I am)- and that had an impact as well.

Now, that child wasn’t 3.  I *think* she was about 5 by then- so she’d been doing the fire engine shriek for every injury for a few years.  And I can’t recommend that you pretend not to notice an injury that is actually real- this would have to happen by accident, naturally.  The thing is, it probably will because it’s bound to happen when a child over-reacts to every single thing- one day you will be busy, a little distracted, and since you’ve learned that 90 % of the time that noise doesn’t mean anything, you’ll not respond as carefully as you would if that noise actually meant something, and you’ll be wrong.  It’s regrettable and you will feel like a bad mom because that’s what moms do, but use it as a teaching moment.  You could also try telling this story to your child, that might help.




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  1. Frances
    Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    …rethink the speakers on the belly…

    Vision of tiny hands clapped over tiny ears!

    Very interesting, though. Thank you for the link.

  2. Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Each of my children have a special song. For my oldest 2, it was one that I just started singing to them after they were born and that they grew to love. With my youngest, I sang “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” quite a bit while I was pregnant with her because I was teaching it to the other two. Not even a week after she was born, she wouldn’t stop crying and so, without thinking, I started singing “Tis so Sweet”. She instantly calmed down and relaxed. It was so absolutely sweet and beautiful that she recognized the song. Needless to say, that became “her” song.

  3. mamaolive
    Posted August 31, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The story about over-reacting reminded me of the time I almost ignored an emergency-room-worthy injury. My boys were jumping on the couch when the dramatic one began his normal wail. I only poked my head around the corner to fuss about WHY I tell them not to jump on the couch, but cut myself off mid-sentence when I saw the blood gushing from his head. He’d landed on the radiator knob. Long story short, he only needed a couple of stitches and is fine except for the scar. The drama did not stop then, but it has slowed some.
    What really helps is having Dad involved. I try to be authoritarian sometimes, but get nothing like his results.

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