By Peggy Ployhar


My series on childhood depression continues as we explore the warning lights of helplessness and hopelessness and contrast them with the guiding light of eternal hope. If you would like to reference any of the past articles in this series, you will find links at the bottom.


Warning “H” – Helplessness and Hopelessness


Helplessness can lead to both physical and mental paralysis.  A child feels out of control when in a state of helplessness, and therefore stops moving forward.  In his book Overcoming Depression, Neil Anderson says “Because [individuals] have no control over certain events, they start to believe they are inadequate, incompetent, and powerless.”


Children can develop helplessness either through a major traumatic event or through a series of smaller events leading toward a downward spiral.  Whatever the cause, the process of helping a child move upwards is the same.


For a child who is ready to give up, it is best for a parent to first break up their child’s tasks into smaller and more manageable steps.  Once the steps are determined, then a parent should give lots of encouragement and support as the child works through the process of making those small upward strides.  Celebrating every victory and navigating the balance between pushing too hard and not pushing enough, will eventually help your child start a forward momentum.


Hopelessness is basically taking helplessness one step further and proclaiming that life is not worth the effort because change is impossible.  When a child hits this point, an internal shutdown begins.  Children who have sunk this low into their depression often verbalize their hopelessness by saying things like:  Why try”; “It’s no use”; or “I wish I was dead.”


Hopelessness is a changeable state, though the child cannot see that.  A hopeless child does not struggle against what is real.  Instead, this child struggles against a false construct which seems real. In this state, a parent can’t argue a child out of being hopeless.  Instead, it is better to come alongside the child and walk towards incremental change, as described above in the helplessness section, reassuring your child that what life holds around the corner is magnificent and worth the walk.



Guiding “H” – Hope


In his book, Overcoming Depression, Neil Anderson states “Research has revealed a link between brain chemistry and hope.  When hope is restored, depression leaves.”  He also goes on to state “…hope in God is the anchor for our soul and the answer for our depression.”


Finding A Pathway of Hope
But, how can a parent help their child find hope in God, when a child is in a state of helplessness or hopelessness?  The answer dates back to the Old Testament, and a command God often gave the Israelites to keep from taking similar downward spirals.  It’s called placing spiritual markers, which in their times were often altars, pillars, or stones of remembrance.


Each time God did something significant in their history, they were to place a marker to remember God’s provision.  Later, when they saw these markers, they were to recall how God did something great in their midst.  And, when their children asked about them, they were to tell the story to their children about God’s great provision.  This way they would never forget, and they would understand that God did not change and would continue to fight those battles in the future.


Putting Down Spiritual Markers for Your Child
Helping children see God’s past provision creates a bridge to the His future (and hopeful) plan for their lives.  By using a timeline, or actual physical objects as spiritual markers, a parent can help a child mark these events.  As a child starts to see God’s hand of provision in their own life, an understanding begins to develop about the personal reality of God at work and a greater purpose in pushing ahead.


The Silver Living of Hope Restored


Hopeless but not Abandoned
To hide my social anxiety over not knowing how to naturally relate to people, I felt the need to constantly maintain a false persona.  But, the pressure of hiding behind my “every is fine” mask, while inside being torn apart by my inability to relate and connect with others, was an incredible burden to bear.  Even though I clearly remember how I had determined to end my life, and why it made so much sense to me, I also remember how much I still wanted to live.  It is hard to explain how death makes sense to someone who is depressed, but in the midst of hopelessness it often seems like the perfect route to escape the inertia they experience.


As I started the long process of setting up spiritual markers in my own life, there were places I couldn’t fill in for a long time because I had blocked them from my mind.  Over time, I uncovered the good with the bad.  But, through it all, I came to realize God had been with me every step of the way and He never gave up on me…even when I told Him out loud that I didn’t want Him in my life anymore.


Giver of Hope
At first, I was only able to walk through those markers with God.  But, as I started to share my journey with other women, when speaking at women’s events, retreats and conferences, God started to show me how my spiritual markers were not just intended for my own healing, but also to help others find God’s healing in their lives.


Too often we try to make sense of what God is doing by focusing on ourselves, and our loved ones, and not on Him and what He is doing to show us He is working in our midst.  When I was finally able to see God’s hand on every situation in my life, I was no longer paralyzed by helplessness or hopelessness.  I came to realize I didn’t have to be powerful, competent, or even adequate.  Instead, God had all that covered in my life, just as He has it covered in your child’s life.


Links to All the Blogs in this Series

Looking Into the Face of Childhood Depression

The “L” Factors of Childhood Depression

The “I” Factors of Childhood Depression

The “G” Factors of Childhood Depression

The “H” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “T” Factors of Childhood Depression 
The “S” Factors of Childhood Depression




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The holidays are rapidly approaching and sometimes our schedules fill up before we know it.  However, for parents of children with special needs; specifically those with sensory differences, the holidays can be an especially stressful time.  What can you do to make them better?


Keep as much routine or rhythm to your day as possible
Often times due to holiday closings, parties or family commitments, many of our days are not “typical” during November and December.  However, if you can, keep some routine in your days.  Try to keep meals, naps and sleep schedules the same, if at all possible.  Even if the times are a bit off, having the same routines (reading a story, brushing teeth, praying before bed) can make a big difference in how your children react to the holidays.


Consider preparing your child for new events
This looks different for every child.  But if your child needs to know what is going on, consider making a visual schedule or a social story to introduce them to new people, events, or new sensory experiences.  Talk about the event, show them pictures, or even pick out a video (YouTube is fabulous for this) to show them what the event will entail.


Put yourself in your child’s shoes
As you schedule your holiday plans, try to step back and really look at how much you have scheduled. Think through what your child typically has trouble with or what triggers problems or meltdowns?  Are there modifications to be made?  If you have children who love something, and others who don’t, could part of your family participate?


Don’t be afraid to say NO!
This is probably my best tip: Don’t be afraid to say no.  Though the holidays are special, we tend to over schedule and cram every social event into a month’s time.  It can get overwhelming, even for adults who are extroverts.  Sometimes we just need to say no.  This involves prioritizing what is really important to us and our families.  We don’t have to do everything in order to make memories.  In fact, some of things that make the best memories, are those we do at home and without planning.


Let go of your expectations
In this fabulous of age of Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, we tend to want all our memories to look “picture perfect”.  Guess what?  That’s not real life.  Sometimes the greatest triumph you will have is keeping your children alive or getting everyone a bath.  Remember, when you see pictures of perfection that is literally one second of that person’s day.  I can guarantee you that the other 86,399 seconds in their day do not look that way.


Embrace simple family traditions
Reading Christmas stories, playing with a nativity set, singing Christmas carols, decorating a tree, baking Christmas cookies, coloring and decorating the house all are fun ways to celebrate.  You don’t have to be out at light shows or at a party with 100 people to make memories that your children will cherish.  Just as you can do school “outside of the box”, you can do Christmas “outside of the box.”  You can do it any way that works for you and your family.  Don’t be afraid of embracing new traditions or trying different things.


Whatever you choose to do this year, we at SPED Homeschool pray it is an amazing time for you and your family.


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By Jan Bedell, PhD


Why do so many children in America have symptoms associated with labels like, ADD, ADHD or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?  A mystery has arisen around the epidemic of children that struggle with:

  • following directions
  • the ability to attend and stay on task
  • distractibility
  • understanding the big picture when in a situation
  • social immaturity
  • reading comprehension
  • the ability to use a phonic approach to learn to read
  • and many other symptoms


Solving the Mystery from Within

These struggles are the cause of many challenges in school and often produce labels resulting in medication.  The NeuroDevelopmental Approach says, “let’s solve that mystery by finding the root cause of the symptoms.”  In other words, “Say NO to labels and YES to hope!”  Change the brain at the root cause and the symptoms can be eliminated. After all, the labels of ADD, ADHD and CAPD are symptomatic labels.  A symptomatic label comes from a list of symptoms. If there are enough checkmarks on the list, then the person is given a corresponding label.  The bottom line for us in the NeuroDevelopmental field is that each symptom is caused by something in the brain.  The good news is that the brain has plasticity, which means it can change and grow even where there are current struggles.

Many years ago when our educational system was developed, we were an auditory society.  We ate together as a family 2-3 times a day and TALKED. In contrast, we often eat on the run while the videos are flowing through the backseats of our cars.  In the past, we read as a family in the evenings or listened to radio broadcasts for hours.  We were an auditory society, and we developed our auditory sequential processing ability by the practice of intense, frequent listening.  In more recent times, we have transitioned to a more visual society.


“…the brain has plasticity, which means it can change and grow even where there are current struggles.


Auditory Sequential Processing Explained

Auditory Sequential Processing is the ability to hold pieces of information together in the order that it is communicated. An example would be being able to accurately retell a story that you have just heard in the correct order of events.  A good auditory processing ability is vital to reading comprehension as well as the ability to hold all the phonograms together to read words with a phonics approach. It is also important to picking up social cues, following directions and staying on task.  All these skills are needed to reach our full potential in school and in life. Good processing is necessary to avoid many of the symptoms previously mentioned in this post that cause us to suspect or label individuals. For a more in-depth look at auditory processing, listen to the Brain Coach Tip – The Best Kept Secret in Education, Auditory Processing






Auditory Processing and Behavior

Behavior is also greatly influenced by auditory processing, especially if the processing is weak. For example, if a 12 year old processes more like a 4-5 year old, he will act like a much younger child, causing much conflict in the home and with peers.  It boils down to this: you are expecting a 12 year old maturity level, but the individual is “developmentally” 4-5 years old.  This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the individual or a reflection of their IQ.  No, it simply means something has blocked the right stimulation from the environment to gain 12-year-old processing ability.

Since the brain is dynamic and ever changing, much can be done to increase the processing ability of any person, at any age.  The results can be dramatic!  One example is a young man named Aaron who had been labeled ADD and put on Ritalin from the 3rd-9th grades to cope with the demands of school.  After participating for one year in the home-based activity list from Little Giant Steps, based on The NeuroDevelopmental Approach, he was able to finish high school very successfully without the use of medications or modifications. Today Aaron is a dedicated Christian husband and father of four as well as a part owner in a successful small business.


Drug-Free Treatment Solutions

You have heard of preventative medicine right?  We promote ways to prevent children from being labeled with ADD, ADHD or CAPD as well as offering drug-free solutions to reduce or eliminate the symptoms if an individual has already been labeled.  Working on auditory processing twice a day for two minutes is one of the keys to both prevention and changing the symptoms.

If you exercise the brain with specific stimulation, it produces better function.  Learn more about neurodevelopment and get a free auditory processing test kit to start enhancing your families’ future here:  Auditory Processing Information.



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Fall is rushing by quickly and snow is already starting to fly up north. Before we know it, the holiday season will be upon us.

As you are thinking about how to add some seasonal fun into your homeschooling activities, here are some Thanksgiving learning ideas you can incorporate into any child’s homeschooling schedule.

20 Adapable Thanksgiving Homeschool Activities


  1. Build Your Own Mayflower Craft and Science Activity – Easy activity for building a boat and learning the science of flotation
  2. Thanksgiving “I Spy” Printable – Observation and simple counting reinforced through “I Spy” with a Thanksgiving theme
  3. Language Arts Games for Thanksgiving – Multiple Thanksgiving-themed games to reinforce language arts
  4. Thanksgiving Dot Painting Printables – Dot Painting printables with Thanksgiving themes
  5. Building Number Sense, Turkey Style – Counting and turkeys make early math skills practice fun
  6. Sensory Turkey for Thanksgiving – Learn how to make a multi-sensory turkey
  7. “I am Thankful” Lapbook – Printables for making a thanks-oriented lapbook
  8. Color in Thanksgiving Placemats – Printables for activity placemats to use for your Thanksgiving meal
  9. K-4 Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension and Inference Activities – Multi-grade Thanksgiving reading activities, including comprehension and personal inference questions
  10. Upper Elementary Thanksgiving Activities – Reading, writing and math activities with Thanksgiving themes
  11. Visual Thanksgiving Recipes – Recipes written with pictures so they can be followed by non-readers
  12. Fine Motor Turkey Math Game – Turkey, math, and therapy all wrapped up in one game
  13. 21 Free Thanksgiving Themed Unit Studies – An extensive list of free Thanksgiving themed unit studies
  14. Thanksgiving Videos for Kids – A variety of videos for kids with a Thanksgiving theme
  15. Fine Motor Playdough Turkeys – Building this turkey is fun as well as it can help develop fine motor skills
  16. Thanksgiving Mad Libs – Kids add their own words to these Thanksgiving themed Mad Lib activity sheets
  17. 4 Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities – Ideas for incorporating Thanksgiving into your student’s speech activities
  18. Thanksgiving Writing Activity Packet – Writing is always more fun when it includes a seasonal flair
  19. Fun Turkey Dance for Brain Breaks – A Thanksgiving brain break dance your kids will love
  20. 30+ Thanksgiving Craft & Food Craft Ideas – Cute crafts that use a variety of different materials, even food

For more Thanksgiving SPED homeschooling ideas, make sure to check out our SPED Homeschooling Thanksgiving Pinterest Board. There are new pins being added to the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards every day, so subscribe to all of them so you don’t miss a thing.



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You’ve been staring at the paper for what seems like hours. It answers your questions, but now there are so many more.


The diagnosis
Now you know the specific issues, but do you know what to do or what specific program and organization to choose? When you feel overwhelmed with the big picture, it helps to break it down into smaller pieces with action steps.


1. What are the specific needs of my child?

  • Testing shows specific areas of strength and weakness in our kids. The diagnosis is a jumping off point, a road map of where you are with goals of where to go.
  • Do you understand the diagnosis? It’s up to the diagnostician to explain the results. Many people leave the meeting not understanding what to do or where to go. There are people who can help. The Thinking and Learning Center and other SPED Homeschool partners offer consultation to help you decipher the results. 
  • Make a list of the specific areas where your child is struggling and what type of help you want for those issues. Be sure to also list the areas of strengths!


2. What are my boundaries?

Before you start any therapy, take a realistic look at where you are and what you can do. Therapy needs to be taken seriously by the child and the parents.

  • Will be there be work to do between appointments?
  • What is the time commitment, for actual therapy and driving?
  • What costs are involved?

List what you are willing to do and what you can not afford to do,  financially, time-wise, with travel, or emotionally. 

If you find a program you want to pursue, but think it is outside your set limits, ask the provider if there is something they can do to help you stay within your desirable boundaries. Some places offer payment plans or financial breaks to offset their costs. It doesn’t hurt to ask!


3. What aspects of this program would work for my child and which would not?

  • Make a list of what you want to get out of a program. Does the specific program offer it?
  • Put the list of your child’s needs next to the attributes of the program and write down what part of the program would specifically help each issue.
  • Are there any issues that the testing showed, or any that you or your student want addressed that is not in the program? Ask the teacher/therapist if the issue is addressed and how.


Before starting any program, make sure it is the right one for your child. You want a program that will set goals and reevaluate those goals periodically. Once your find a program, trust it. Some programs or issues take time for results to show. Be patient and keep in contact with your child’s therapist.





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My last blog focused on the foundational truths of fairy tales and how these truths help children with empathy, knowing right from wrong, and focusing on positive future realities for their lives.


Fairy tales are filled with educational treasures
With childlike simplicity, fairy tales punctuate independent action and personal responsibility.  The tales demonstrate not just what to think, but how to think positively about life’s difficulties and barriers, and what it means to positively influence others.  
I am excited to continue sharing how fairy tales can be even more useful in teaching and training your child.  In this article, we will explore how these old tales give children a patterns to apply in education, leadership, goal achievement, use of imagination, rational problem solving, opened-minded thinking, and disciplined character!  
“Once upon a time” is also about the here and now
There’s so much to say on the benefits of “ once upon a time” narratives.  Here is what some legendary notables have to say!


Einstein was once asked by the mother of very young aspiring scientist, how she could better prepare her daughter for academic excellence.  Einstein answered: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”   Surprising? Simplistic? Childlike? Yes, and he was one of the greatest, accomplished minds in all the world.

Now, before you write off this ridiculous comment, and chalk it up to one of Albert’s bad hair days (which we know he had many)  let’s look at a few of the characteristics found in fairy tales that inspire the young mind!


“I was acutely aware how far superior an education that stresses independent action and personal responsibility is to one that relies on drill, external authority and ambition. – Albert Einstein


Scholarly Traits Found in Fairy Tales

Fairy tales provide the launching pad for imagination to soar  
A very essential commodity for intelligence.  Well, let the man explain it himself…


Scholarly Traits Found in Fairy Tales

Fairy tales provide the launching pad for imagination to soar  
A very essential commodity for intelligence.  Well, let the man explain it himself…
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Fairy tales develop critical thinking for better future possibilities
By exhibiting the consequences of choices, both good and bad, critical thinking skills are engaged. The definition of critical thinking, from the Foundation of Critical Thinking, is ” A mode of thinking about any subject, content or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing and reconstructing it.  Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self monitored, and self-corrective thinking.

Tales inspire a child to want to be the hero, not a scoundrel. Thus, a child begins to think like a hero and sees the possibilities of good endings and honor, developing from even the most frightening and difficult experiences.


Fairy tales provide life lessons in leadership and responsibility 
Characters who exhibit passionate, take-charge attitudes and  creative solutions to various adversities and situations can inspire children to take on life in the same manner  


“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Steven Covey


Stephen Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He also has a program for children called,  The Leader In Me, which was inspired by two of the United States’ Founding Fathers, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.


Gleaning from these giants, Covey developed seven habits he feels people should incorporate into their  lives to be more effective, goal oriented, and successful.


The first habit is to be proactive and take responsibility. Covey emphasizes that without adopting the first habit,  all of the other habits are pointless.  I think Albert Einstein would agree!  


If inspirational leadership, critical thinking  and imagination can be cultivated in our children, and help shape their pursuits of education, we need to provide our children with the seeds for this most important harvest…fairy tales!  


“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.” – Charles Dickens


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By Peggy Ployhar

Unit studies are a hands-on approach to learning.  Through multi-sensory activities and immersion learning, children relate to concepts, confront challenges, solve open-ended questions, and come face-to-face with the difference between knowledge and wisdom.


Our Family’s Decision to Use Unit Studies
When I made the choice to use unit studies for homeschooling, my decision was based solely on the fact my kids were willing to participate in the lessons, not because I loved doing teacher prep activities.  But, over our 14 years of using unit studies, I learned to embrace the intensive teacher prep side, because in the end, the prep made our lessons quicker and more effective. 


Teaching More in Less Time
The reasoning behind the effectiveness of unit studies is how they approach the process of delivering learning material to students.  The unit study approach allows parents to prepare specific educational encounters for their children based on how best their children will connect with the content.  These encounters contain a great amount of information, as well as practical knowledge, but moreover, they provide experiences which touch the hearts of children and help them synthesize difficult concepts into their own knowledge base.


In this video below, I explain how my children learned about communism through one of these planned encounters while we were doing a unit study on Russia.  This lesson is one we all still remember vividly, and which brings me to tears (I can’t tell you how many takes of this video I had to shoot before I captured one without bawling), because of how deeply the lesson impacted us all.


Knowledge vs Facts
Contrary to popular belief, real knowledge isn’t being able to memorize facts and regurgitate them on a test.  Instead, real learning of knowledge happens when a student is able to take the information presented to them and create ties with it to their heart and life. Facts are great to know, but if a child cannot synthesize those facts into useful tools for thinking and solving more complex issues in their everyday life, then they are of little use.  


Special Education Homeschooling Bonus
Kids who often struggle with how information is presented in traditional education models, usually thrive and learn concepts much quicker in this more interactive learning environment.  Part of the reason for this shift has to do with the fact that you, the parent, can choose specific learning activities/encounters you know your child will connect with.


In our homeschool I choose activities that focused on reenactments, building structures, making costumes, and taking field trips.  But, activities involving singing, dancing, and coloring were quickly crossed off the list of possible activities.  The beauty is you can pick and choose whatever you want from a unit study, and leave all the rest, which I give you permission to do if you happen to be one of those people who feels every activity must be done so your kids are getting the best education.


10 Unit Studies to Consider
If you are looking for some ways to incorporate unit studies into your homeschool, here are 10 free unit studies to get you started:


Little House on the Prairie “Farmer Boy” Study

Medieval Unit Studies – Castles, Knights, Church, Art & Music

Samuel Morse and Morse Code Unit Study

Owl Unit Study

Simple Machines Unit Study

South America Unit Study

The Boxcar Children Unit Study

Dinosaur Unit Study

Pizza Unit Study


Unit Studies in High School
And, for those of you who think unit studies are just for the elementary grades, you will want to check out this video on how unit studies can be used through high school.


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Are you homeschooling children that have been gifted with extraordinary energy like mine?  If so, you will relate to their behaviors:
  • Little patience for anything not involving movement
  • Constant climbing, running, wrestling, fidgeting and talking.
  • Energy levels that push them to engage in risky behavior
  • They have two speeds:  whirling dervish and sleeping

While these characteristics are slight exaggerations to make a point, if you are raising children with high energy, you will already be picturing how this plays out in your home. This type of child demands more than typical parenting strategies.   Here are some strategies I have learned that help embrace my children for who they are and have helped ensure we all survive their journey to adulthood.

Tips for Raising and Homeschooling Very Energetic Children:


Tip 1 – When possible, start every day with physical activity  
Our two young men need to run every morning before school.  This began when they were three years old.  We used to live near a park and it became the venue for our morning running circuit.  Working out my boys’ energy before school, prevented many tears, lots of frustration, and saved time in getting them to focus.


Tip 2 – Find safe places for them to take risks and let them go  
This recommendation runs against the grain of current parenting trends.  As our culture over-shelters and protects children in many areas, they become stunted in their initiative, tolerance for risk, and problem-solving skills.  


Our sons have been risk-takers from toddlerhood.  For us, state and national parks provided a refuge where our children could be wild and not bother other people.  When younger, our sons ran miles of trails and climbed many of rocks.  Now, at 12 and 14, they climb 14,000 ft. mountains for fun.  My sons have tackled challenges usually reserved for older children.   At times, their daring feats have caused onlookers concern, but they have always operated within their abilities.


Tip 3 – Encourage exploration and experimentation
Overly active children’s abundant energy, often comes with inquisitiveness and ingenuity. These are wonderful traits that will serve our children well as they mature.  Encouraging these traits means you will have a messy house at times, often leave workbook learning behind, and won’t be in control of this aspect of their learning.  What you gain is worth every bit of the cost.


Tip 4 – Set strong boundaries around personal property and people
High-energy children can literally crash through life.  To help avoid the social problems caused by this propensity, we must teach our children firm boundaries.  This takes direct teaching, lots of repetition, and opportunities to practice.  Teaching our children to respect others’ property (not touching or grabbing things without permission), not rough-housing unexpectedly with other children, and to confine wild play to the outdoors can help prevent behaviors that overwhelm or repel others.


Tip 5 – Limit or avoid times they are required to be still
In our family, we expect our children to sit quietly during worship, funerals, weddings and in time-out.  These times teach them self-control and self-regulation which are essential skills. However, their ability to do this successfully was much less-developed than their peers.  We have had to closely assess what they could tolerate and not push them past their limits. When they do not have to be still, I try to let them move, fidget and chatter as much as possible.  As they have grown, maturity has tempered much of this overactive behavior.


Dyana with her very energetic boys
Tip 6 – Participate in shared activities with them
My husband has helped immensely in this area.  He started taking our sons running from a very young age and cultivated a deep bond with them in doing so.  It has been more challenging for me as the boys have grown into young men.  I cannot keep up with them on trails anymore and time constraints also make it difficult.  So, a couple of years ago, I did something absurd and wonderful:  I signed the three of us up for martial arts classes.
I am over forty, struggle with weight and health issues, and was frankly terrified of getting out on the mat.  However, two years in, we have grown closer to one another, discovered another great outlet for their energy, and gained a supportive and loving community.  This experience has also helped us stay connected as they are becoming young men.


It is easier to schedule things for our active children and watch from the sidelines to get a much-needed break.  I am not discouraging that altogether.  However, I want to encourage you to find shared activities as well. Close bonds develop from shared hobbies and wonderful, lifelong memories are made.




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Peggy Ployhar

Once again, I am using a letter in the word “LIGHTS” to highlight this third post in this series.  Today’s letter is “G” and the warning light subject we are going to address is Guilt, while the guiding light discussion will be focused on Grace.


Warning “G” – Guilt, and Continuing Shame

Guilt, if left to fester, can enslave anyone.  The two most typical ways a child will be swallowed up with guilt is:

  1. Reliving past mistakes or missed opportunities
  2. Taking on responsibility for being abused or taken advantage of


David, in Psalm 38, perfectly describes what festering guilt can do to a person’s life:


“For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”  Psalm 38:4


Guilt Over Past Mistakes or Missed Opportunities
Children who place stiff requirements on themselves for how they are to perform, how they should be able to act, or even how others should perceive them often heap guilty burdens upon themselves without even knowing.


Parents who realize they have a child who struggles in this area needs to work very hard on being transparent with their own child of how they mess up as well as people their child admires.  If a child can see how perfection is a facade and everyone, even the people whom they most admire, are fallible and miss saying or doing the right thing all the time, they are better able to set more realistic ideals for their own life.


Guilt Over Abuse/Bullying
On the other hand, children can also take on the guilt of someone else who has abused or mistreated them.  This type of guilt, a child should not have any reason to take ownership of, but it’s often how most children who have been victimized react. Usually it is not enough for a child to be told that their assailant was in the wrong and they are not to blame because the root for their guilt lies deeper than those reassurances can reach. 


Instead, a child needs to slowly heal through a repetitive forgiveness process…one that takes much work on the part of a parent, and sometimes a counselor.  As a child lets go of the hurt little by little, the healing begins to repair their heart and heal their soul.  Truly it is a work that God must be part of and it is not something to be rushed.  In the end the goal is to help the child see the sin, heal from the hurt, forgive the person who hurt them, and eventually understand the purpose God had in allowing them to go through the experience AND the healing.



Guiding “G” – Grace of God

Being completely forgiven by the grace of God is sometimes a fact taken so simply by Christians that we often don’t break it down as we should so we can fully em


A method I developed to help myself and my boys when they were younger, is called the ABCD Grace Method.  In using this method, my children and I learned not only to accept God’s grace for our shortcomings, but also how we must move forward freely in the grace God provides.


ABCD Grace Method
A – Accept
Accept that I am a sinner and that my sinful act was a result of my natural inclination to seek the things of the flesh instead of the things of God
B – Believe
Believe the work Jesus did on the cross, His perfect sacrifice and shedding of blood for my sins, was all that is necessary to wipe away my sin
C – Confess
Confess to God that I can’t do life on my own.  I need Him and I need His forgiveness and I need His help as I keep on going
D – Decide
Decide to learn from my failure, move forward leaving the sin and guilt behind but taking forward the lesson God allowed me to learn about myself and the fallen world I live in



Silver Lining of Guilt and Grace


Learning to Give Grace
As a child, I was a perfectionist and I didn’t give myself any room for error.  I constantly beat myself up with my thoughts and expectations for how I didn’t handle life as well as I felt I should have.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I first encountered the word grace and how God’s grace applied to me.  I was overwhelmed at the idea that I had been perceiving life from the wrong perspective for so long.


Over the years I have learned not only give myself grace, but also give grace to others realizing they too suffer from the same sinful condition I do…and they too are just trying their best.


Burdened for a Purpose
As I look back at the contrast how living in guilt versus living in grace has affected my life, I realize how much lighter my life feels now. But, in carrying those guilt burdens for so many years, I know I can more greatly empathize with the great heaviness those without Jesus carry.


Be encouraged parents.  Your child who is struggling with depression may not yet understand how much they need grace, but God will not allow them to carry their unnecessary guilt any longer than they need.  His grace is freeing and it will come into their lives at just the perfect timing.


Links to all the blogs in this series:


Looking Into the Face of Childhood Depression


The “L” Factors of Childhood Depression

The “I” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “G” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “H” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “T” Factors of Childhood Depression 

The “S” Factors of Childhood Depression



I taught in public school for ten years and the one thing I looked forward to every year was the field trip. I loved to see the excitement in my students eyes to get outside of the classroom to do some hands on learning. When I went from public school teacher to homeschool mom, I decided that it was my chance to provide as much hands-on learning as possible.

Field trips can be simple days at the zoo or planned-out trips with activities and assignments attached. Studying about Egypt can be exciting but going to a museum and seeing a mummy in a sarcophagus makes a lifelong impression on young learners. In our homeschool, with two learners who struggle, field trips are a must.

Three advantages that I have realized by providing field trips with my children.

1 – Field Trips Connect Learning with Reality
Reading about art in books can give a learner background, but going to a museum and actually seeing a Monet painting sets up a real memory. My daughter  still talks about the colors, Monet, and the waterlilies. Now when we see water lilies  in other ponds, she can tell me about Monet. I know the learning has been made meaningful and long-term.

2 – Field Trips Make Learning Relevant
Learning about physics in a science book can be exciting, but being able to go to museum and build a car and watch it race other cars allows the learning to become physics in action. When you refer back to the laws that were learned during the field trip lesson, it helps your student apply the concepts.

3 – Field Trips Inspire Learners
Field trips can help your child figure out what school subjects most interested them, or even a lifelong career. You never know when a field trip to the zoo could inspire your child to be a zoologist or a veterinarian. If you talk to museum or  zoo staff about your child’s interests,  they may even have a way to extend that learning.

We plan field trips every 5 weeks to change up our learning environment. Check into local venues there are ways to get group rates, homeschool days, and maybe even free admission.

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