New Story Coming Soon – Jumping the Hurdles – Jessi Learns Math

Horse by Eli-01_2 (1)

We are working on the final editing and artwork for our new release coming this summer!  Along with the story (Rounding the Bases – Chris Learns to Read) that is already in print, we are adding two new stories in this new e-book: Stories from Unlocking Learning Potential.  In Jumping the Hurdles – Jessi Learns Math, Jessica Marie Torres, a high school sophomore, recounts her life which centers on her love for horses and struggles with math through a homeschool assignment to write her story.


Reviewing Two Childhood Lessons – Memory and Rewards

1967 - 2016

1967 and 2016

By Maggie Dail

Some Background

In third grade, I failed penmanship and arithmetic. Apparently, the teacher told us that I had passed third grade by the skin of my teeth. Looking over my report cards reveals comments such as, “If Margaret would try she would get better grades.” In seventh grade at the DOD school in Madrid, Spain I was given the choice of moving to class D and get a “C” on my report card or stay in class C and get a “D”. Given my father’s value of high grades, I chose Class D. All of this was before 1975 when Special Education became a legislated part of the public school system. Since my perceptions of these memories indicate that I was trying, I likely would receive special education services if I were in school today.

At church, during high school, I was encouraged to memorize Scriptures to improve academics. So, I began to memorize long passages of Scripture, reciting them at church and at church camps. Also, during high school, my dad offered me $1.00 per “A” I earned on my report card. By the time I was a senior, I was on the High Honor Roll with all “A’s”. My first year of college was a challenge, getting a “D” at mid-term in Psychology. However, by my senior year, I was again able to get all “A’s”. I believe I was still probably working harder for those “A’s” than other students, but I was achieving better grades. Decades later, I want to review these lessons in light of what I have learned about how we learn.

Lesson #1: Memorizing Scriptures Develops Cognitive Skill

Yes, the old adage, “use it or lose it” applies here. When you exercise your brain it develops. Scientific Learning’s motto, “Fit Brains Work Better” reveals how this principle works. According to the neurodevelopmental approach, “Duration, Frequency, and Intensity” present three important ideas. Short, frequent, focused review of whatever is to be learned, locks into one’s brain. Today, I tell my students to put spelling words, vocabulary words, math facts or formulas, memory verses on cards. If they go through these cards between subjects, several times a day, they will learn it. Some need to review longer to get the desired results, but they will learn. Sometimes parents must give the input using these cards. Do all of my students follow my advice? No, I am afraid that it is a hard sell, but I am not going to quit telling them to do it. While this works for anything, when one memorizes Scripture you get an added benefit: Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Lesson #2 – External Rewards Encourage Learning

As a teacher, I would always prefer that students have internal motivation to learn – “for the love of learning.” It would be great for students to be diligent in their studies in order to please God. We can continue to pray and trust God for this. It happens sometimes, but often external rewards are necessary. It may be something as simple as, “Great job!” or a high five or a sticker on a chart. Twenty-first-century students would normally not be motivated by $1.00 per “A” on a report card as I was in the 60s. While a monetary reward may not be the best, it certainly works on the job for adults.

After reviewing these childhood lessons, I see that I need to remember to apply these in my life even today as I continue to learn.

Maggie Dail (Learning Specialist) operates Unlocking Learning Potential from her home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Maggie’s husband, Ronnie (Manager) and Laura Barnes (Brain Trainer) round out the team. ULP offers online services to homeschooling families. Maggie earned an Special Education from Adams State University in 1989 and certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists in 2007.

Check out this video to see how we can help.

Parenting with Love-and-Logic Part VII



Pearl 29 – Sassing and Disrespect

  • Remember that when there is much emotion coming from your child, the best way to defuse is to suggest without emotion that he go somewhere else until he is calm. Sometimes it takes repeated suggestions for him to leave.
  • Once both are calm, try to find out what is bothering him. You may suggest possible reasons and see if anything fits his situation. P. 192-194

Pearl 30 – Sibling Rivalry and Fighting

  • Unless there is danger, parents should allow siblings to work out their differences.
  • Attaching a consequence to fighting (such as cleaning behind the refrigerator with a toothbrush), can stop fighting in its tracks. P. 195-197

Pearl 31 – Spanking

  • Use spanking as a last resort for “Basic German Shepherd” issues.
  • Use spanking for your child who is under three years old.
  • Use spanking only in a painful way.
  • Use spanking only if you can do it without speaking any angry words. (no emotion as reward)
  • Use spanking only if you can do it guilt free. (no emotion as reward)
  • Use spanking as a choice – “Would you like to go to your room with a smack or no smack? ….with one or two…etc.” Do not carry child to room. Make him make the choice. P. 198-1

Pearl 32 – Stealing

  • For early stealing as part of a stage, don’t reward it with emotion, rather reward with emotion the act of putting it back where it belongs. “Janice, honey, Mommy doesn’t like it when you take her earring. Now, take it back to the box. Thank you. (Then, very excitedly) Oh, thank you for putting it back. That makes Mommy so happy. What a good girl.”
  • For chronic stealing – avoid it becoming a power struggle – find out the underlying cause or causes. Use sensible, not emotional consequences. P. 200-201.

Pearl 33 – Swearing and Bad Language

  • Move the problem away by saying something like, “I’ll be happy to talk with you when you can speak civilly to me and use clean and mature language.”
  • When both are calm, you might suggest that people use that type of language if they don’t feel good about themselves or if they don’t have a good vocabulary.
  • Then drop the subject. Usually the problem will go away. P. 202-203

Pearl 34 – Teacher and School Problems

  • Rather than going to the school with an attitude, approach the teacher with your “description” of the situation at home and get the teacher’s description of the situation at school.”
  • If the situation is not resolved with the teacher ask the teacher if she would go with you to the principal to see if he has some additional insight. P. 204-205

Pearl 35 – Teeth Brushing

  • Modeling and talking to self or spouse goes farther than direct commands: “I just finished eating, and I think I will protect my teeth from cavities by brushing.”
  • Or a mom may say, “I pass out things with sugar in them to people who protect their teeth by brushing. … Noelle’s been brushing….Jill’s been brushing…and Claudia, well Claudia we’d better hold off on cookies until I don’t have to worry about your teeth anymore…” p. 206-207

Pearl 36 – Telephone Interruptions

  • When on the phone, the best way to get a child to stop bothering you, is to ask the caller to hold on a minute, ask the child to go to his room and if the child is not compliant ask the caller if you can call right back.
  • At another time, help the child understand that you can spend more time with him when you are not on the phone. P. 208-210

Pearl 37 – Television Watching

  • Recognizing that too much TV watching is harmful is the first step.
  • Parents must model controlled use of the TV.
  • Talking with the child about what watching can do and what it cannot do is helpful.
  • Encourage other activities, especially those you do with your child and those that provide physical activity in the out of doors.

Pearl 38 – Temper Tantrums

  • We usually have some warning – big frown, flushing of face, balled up fists, lips twitching.
  • Remember “One, any kid worth keeping will probably throw a fit from time to time.
  • Two, kids will through tantrums only as long as they work.
  • Whatever conversation during the tantrum from the parent MUST be free of emotion.
  • Some parents may want to rate the tantrum as if it were a sporting event – without emotion.
  • During this non-emotional conversation give the child choices: In basement or room? ; With light on or off?
  • The goal is to remove the child from your audience – without an audience the tantrum stops.
  • Another way to distance yourself is to take a wide giant step OVER your child as you leave. P. 214-215

Pearl 39 – Toilet Training

The facts:

  • Some children really train themselves and it is easy.
  • Some children are really difficult to train.
  • All children develop at their own rate – some are ready at two and others not until 4 ½.
  • Keep the toilet training mood fun, exciting – even gleeful.
  • “It is all too easy for a vicious cycle of negativism to swirl up and around toilet training because we have a vested interest in their potty habits. We really do want them to go into the pot. For the first time in their lives, we really want them to do something for us.”
  • Suggestions:
  • Avoid, “you sit there until you go routine…”
  • With girls, the mom and draw pictures and talk about how the kitty and the dog do their business and how happy they are. Then model how happy it is to do as humans do. Allow the child the opportunity when she asks.
  • With boys, the dad can make PT boats and battleships (out of toilet paper) and demonstrate how to take aim and sink. Boys will want to follow suit. P. 217-219

Pearl 40 – Values: Passing Them on to Your Kids

  • Bad news: More difficult than before
  • Good news: still possible
  • “Eavesdrop value setting:” Allowing children to overhear conversation between parents – one telling the other how he/she had showed integrity and did what was right and “feeling good” about it.
  • Modeling how we spend our time when not required to work. P. 220-222

Pearl 41 – Whining and Complaining

  • Children will whine and complain as long as it gets them what they want.
  • At another time, explain that when you ignore them it is because you don’t want to hear unless they speak appropriately.
  • Give multiple choice: “Do you suppose I’ll be able to understand you better when you’re whining or not-whining?” p. 223-224

Parenting With Love and Logic – Part III


Love-and-Logic Pearls

Part II

While Part I provided 23 Love-and-Logic Tips, philosophy can go so far when you are in the middle of a parenting crisis.  This second part provides some specific guidelines, scripts and counsel for those who have read part one. Here are 41 Love-and-Logic Pearls especially for parents of children from birth to twelve years of age. You will find here a summary of these pearls, but for best results you will need to read the book yourself.

Pearl 1 – Allowances/Money – teaching responsible use of money

 Rule 1:  Allowances are not pay for doing their chores because every family member needs to do their fair share to keep the family operating smoothly. You may choose to pay them for doing YOUR chores.

Rule 2:  Allowance must be provided at the same time each week.  Sample Invoice for 1st Grader:  $1.00 allowance; $6.00 lunch money; Note: “Because we love you. Spend it wisely and make it last.” Signed: Parents

Rule 3: Best way for child to learn to save money is to allow him to reach his own “economic depression” by first wasting his own money.

Rule 4: Except for illegal activities, allow them to spend it the way they want.  For example:  pay someone to do their chores; pay for babysitter if they don’t want to go somewhere with family.  BUT the catch is, when it is gone, it is gone – until the next “pay day.” No bail outs.  P. 109-112

Pearl 2 – Anger: When It’s Appropriate

Rule 1: When your child’s mistakes hurt them only, commiserate with them.

Rule 2: When your child’s mistake hurt you, let them know how it affects you and give them until bedtime to decide how they are going to make it right.

Rule 3: Use anger as a rational choice and sparingly. P. 113-114

Pearl 3 – Bedtime – Turn Over Control

Usually the battle of bedtime is over the control.

Rule 1: Take away the power struggle by telling the child you need about 8 hours of sleep and 2 hours of alone time with your spouse.

Rule 2: Allow the child to choose when that 10 hours begins by giving them two choices that suit you. You can offer a bedtime story or other family routine prior to that time.

Rule 3: Allow the child to choose how they spend that time as long as it doesn’t interfere with your 10 hours. The child occupies himself in his own bedroom.

Rule 4: Allow the child to suffer the natural consequences of living his day without proper sleep.  P. 115-117

Pearl 4 – Bossiness

Rule 1: Do not interject emotion in response to bossiness.

Rule 2: When the child is bossy toward you, respond something like this, “Nice try, Tammy. Nice try. What do you think happens in this family when people get really bossy?” Then walk away.

Rule 3: When the child is bossy towards other children, be the counselor – Asking if they worry about losing friends?  When he loses friends ask how they intend to resolve the issue and regain friends. Offer to help when they are ready to receive your ideas. P. 118-120

Pearl 5 – Car: Back-Seat Battles

Rule 1: Use these techniques when you are not in a hurry to get somewhere. Prepare with a book to read.  Can use reasoning like,  “I can’t drive safely with all of this noise.”  Or “It is difficult to be in a closed space with low oxygen levels.”

Rule 2: When the battle rages; explain the challenges of  being confined in a car with lowering oxygen levels; older children can be outside and resolving their issue and regaining oxygen levels while the adult drives up a few feet and reads (watching for safety).

Rule 3: When close to home and with a prearranged friend following close behind, these older children can be left to walk home.

Rule 4: With younger children, you can get out of the car leaving the children in clear view. You can appear to be enjoying yourselves in conversation or having an ice cream. P. 121-124

Pearl 6 – Chores – Taking the Hassle Out of Chores

Rule 1: Say that your child is “doing things with” because in reality she is no help.  However, she IS learning.

Rule 2: Model enjoyment doing chores.  Say things like, “Wow, do I ever enjoy doing things with you.”

Rule 3: Give age-appropriate jobs.  For example:

K-1st Grade: cleaning up own messes; helping to clean own room; making own bed.

3rd Grade: Wash dishes periodically; vacuum the family room; sweep out the garage; take out the trash; wipe out the fridge; help clean dirty windows and the car.

Rule 4: Place list of chores in a prominent place. After all have considered which ones they would like to do, have a family meeting to determine who will do what. If a child feels wronged, he can ask for renegotiation.

Rule 5: Set a time (deadline) for doing chores.  “By the time….you eat next” or “I take you play at your friend’s house when you finish…” p. 125-128

Pearl 7 – Church: When Kids Don’t Want to Go

Rule 1: Model good behavior and express positive attitudes about attendance at church activities.

Rule 2: Remember that you can’t force an individual to like church attendance or to believe what is taught in church activities. (Reviewer’s comment: Only God can make us willing and give us faith to believe.)

Rule 3: Talk it out with the rebellious child. Find out what about church attendance is unacceptable in his mind.

Rule 4: Have faith. (Reviewer’s comment: Trust God to do a work in your child’s life.)

Stay tuned for the remaining Love and Logic Pearls.


Parenting with Love and Logic – Part 2

Cline and Fay continue with their Love-and-Logic Tips as we finish looking at the first half of their book, Parenting with Love and Logic.


Love-and-Logic Tip # 13 Eat Nicely Here, or Play on the Floor – Instead of making demands; parents can give choices that tell the child what kind of behavior is necessary for sitting at the table with the family. Natural consequences for choosing the floor include being hungry before breakfast. Children react to commands either with Passive-Aggressive Behavior or Passive-Resistive Behavior, sabotaging the process.

Love-and-Logic Tip #14 Let Your Yes be Yes, and Your No Be Yes, Too – Two year olds use “No” and equivalents 77% of the time.

  • Fighting Words: “No, you can’t go out to play until you practice your lessons.” “No, you can’t watch television until your chores are done.”
  • Thinking Words: “Yes, you may go out to play as soon as you practice your lessons.” “Yes, you may watch television as soon as your chores are done.” P. 66

Gaining Control Through Choices

Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.

Proverbs 4:10

Love-and-Logic Tip # 15 You’ll Do What I Tell You to Do – Instead of issuing commands that are often ignored a child who is glued to the computer should hear whispered in his ear, “We’ll be serving dinner for the next twenty minutes, and we’d love to have you join us because we love eating with you. We hope you make it. But if not, just catch us at breakfast.” P. 72, 73

Love-and-Logic Tip # 16 The “V” of Love – Preferably a parent offers fewer choices to the toddler and as the child grows, he gets ever expanding choices. The arms of the “V” provide the limits needed – fewer as the child matures. All too often it is more like an inverted “V” with the choices being too many for the toddler and limits too many for the young adult.  P. 75

Love-and-Logic Tip # 17 Three rules for Control Battles

  1. “Avoid a control battle at all costs.
  2. If you’re going to get into one, win at all costs.
  3. Pick the issue carefully. Whenever we lose a control battle, it’s because we have not chosen the issue carefully.” P. 77

Instead of making threats that are difficult to follow through on, say “No problem. Our car is leaving in 5 minutes. There are two ways to leave with me: Hungry or not hungry.” No need to count down with put-downs. Quiet time for deliberation accomplishes more.  When the time is up, announce, “My car is leaving.” If he says, “I am not finished.” Dad can say, “No problem (see # 18), son you go “under your power” or “under my power.”  If the he chooses to not go under his own power, Dad must pick him up (yelling and screaming) without a word. Let your actions and his hunger teach.

Love-and-Logic Tip #18  No Problem

Using these easily understood words, gives the parents a few extra minutes to plan the best way to handle a situation. p. 80

Love-and-Logic Tim #19  The Brain Drain

Don’t let the child turn the table and make you do the thinking.  Cause their Brain Drain by making them choose from your choices and stick to it.  Instead of saying, “No, you can’t go until you sweep the garage,” say “Feel free to go once you sweep the garage.” Don’t back down; continue to give the options until he does it.

Don’t give choices that you cannot live with:  “Would you rather go with me or stay at the restaurant?” These choices turn into threats. “Non-threatening choices, offered in a calm, non-hysterical manner, give children a chance to take control over their problems.” P. 85

Rules for Giving Choices

  1. Only give choices you can live with.
  2. Only give choices that you are willing to let the natural consequence run its course.
  3. Only give choices that keep the child safe.
  4. Only give choices you can and will make if the child does not.
  5. Only give choices that begin with what the child can do WHEN he does what needs to be done or that allows the child to consider which choice is best for him. 85

The Recipe for Success: Empathy with Consequences 

My child, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.

Proverbs 23:19


Love-and-Logic Tip # 20 Warning: Good parents don’t give warnings.

Allow natural consequences to do their work while showing empathy. For example, since you cannot force a person to go to sleep, turn the responsibility of bedtime fall in your child’s hand.  Possible rules: 1. After 8:00 pm, we don’t want to see you; it is our private time. 2. Everyone will get up at 6:00 am.  Show empathy to sleepy child as you send them off to school. This is how the real world operates.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 21 A Real-World Bus Service

In the real-world a bus does not wait until you arrive; it operates on a schedule.  Train a young person to be on time by establishing the schedule and sticking to it.  “I will be at the store to meet you from 5:00-5:03. If you are not there, I will pick you up from 10:00-10:03 etc.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 22 Empathy, Not Anger

Parents must show empathy without backing down. After a child misses dinner, the empathic parent can say, “I know how it feels to be hungry, son. I’m hungry too when I miss a meal. But we will have a big breakfast.” P. 94

“When no consequences occur naturally, the imposed consequences must (1) be enforceable, (2) fit the ‘crime,’ and (3) be laid down firmly in love.” P. 94   If you need more time to think of a consequence, tell them that you will think about it and let them know.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 23  Messages that Lock in Empathy

Instead of being angry, say something like this, “That’s terrible. How are you going to handle it?” p. 97

Lights, Camera, Parenting

I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of righteousness.

When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will no stumble.

Proverbs 4:11-12

As you begin the process of becoming a Love-and-Logic parent, rehearse mentally what you will say and how you will respond to what you expect your child to say.  “It usually takes one month of love-and-logic parenting to undo one year of tacky parenting. So if your child is twelve years old, give yourself twelve months to help him or her learn responsible thinking.” P. 103

Next time we will begin learning the Love-and-Logic Parenting Pearls in Part II.