I've never claimed to be an artist

I don't ask for much.  I just want a happy family.  This is loosely what we're going for:
Full of smiles and love. No screaming, crying, fighting. Is that really too much to ask for?
Lately though, we look a lot more like this:
(note the frowns, tears, screaming, owies, broken hearts.)

Using these illustrations, over dinner last night we had a serious discussion about love, unity, and screaming. 
We talked about how differently the boys in the second picture react (to frustrations, no's, disappointments, accidents, bed time) than the boys in the first.  It was a good reminder and it seems that it sunk in a bit.  I'll point to the pictures and say "which little boy are you being right now?...How does that make us all feel?" And so far, it's helping a lot.

Thank goodness.  Because you see that mom in the second picture?  She was about ready to call it quits.


  1. How do they react when you ask them that question, "Which little boy are you being right now?" Do they seem to take more time to think for a minute? Can you see their little minds working as they make a choice to have a better attitude? I'm curious what results you see, or the process of how it's all sinking in. Nice pictures. I like them.

  2. Oh, and is the smoke above the boys' heads a representation of frustration and anger? Heh heh.

  3. I'm surprised at how Jack and Taylor can recognize when they're being horrid. They'll point to one of the "bad" little boys and I'll ask how that makes them feel, how it makes me feel, how it makes their brother feel. Then we always turn our attention to the happy family and talk about what we want in our house...a happy family with big hearts. It was really just meant to be a catalyst for change, just to get things moving in the right direction. Jack has really been resisting good behavior lately, and the others follow his example. I've tried more one on one time, encouragement, sleep, discussion...but it wasn't changing things. I think this has helped him to see that he really does want to be good and happy and contribute happiness and love to our family. He really does like to make me happy. I hope it sticks.

    The "smoke" is actually supposed to be noise, whining and yelling=)

  4. Giggle...The smoke is noise...hilarious!

    I get the feeling that Jack is a very visual learner. If auditory learning (discussion, encouragement, etc.) haven't worked on him yet, then it makes sense that viewing a picture as a learning tool DID work on him. He sees the unhappiness of the second picture, and the serenity of the first, and it probably just clicks for him. He can visually recognize that his actions really do make a difference and contribute to harmony or disharmony in the home.

    I really like what you did as a catalyst for change. You are awesome, Natalie.

    By the way, I'm curious...did you do homeschool up until middle school, or through middle school? Why don't your younger sibs do homeschool like you did? Just wondering.

  5. Must be something in the air around here, bc I need to draw those pics for Leah too. I'm feeling like the mom in the second picture! Time to figure out a catalyst for us too. I love reading about your little family, don't ever stop!

  6. Love this! I'm a big believer in family meetings. And I think your drawings are perfect for their purpose.

    Also, loved your post on the yard sale. What a darling photo! You have to frame it.

    And you made me want to read "Siblings Without Rivalry"...the other day as I was making dinner I heard Maggie going "Mine", snatch, "Thank you Kate"...haha. I just finished "Raising Children Not By Force, But By Love."

  7. What a great idea! I may have to try this myself. (((hugs))) and hang in there!

  8. We have periods of lots of peace and then times of lots of arguing. You're doing a great job teaching your boys and I hope you move into a period of peace!

  9. 4 year old, going on 5 year old boys are difficult. I remember with each of my boys thinking when they were little that I could never let them go to school and be away from me for a few hours a day. Then they would turn 4 and school in the future was looking mighty good to me. I think it's all part of the growing up and away process for males:(((
    What great charts!!

  10. cute idea! i've been feeling a bit like that lately too...perhaps it's time for a similar object lesson.

  11. Gotta love visual learners! I had a student after class tell me once "you should draw more pictures" after I had diagrammed the setting in a novel.

    Try figuring out how to "incorporate more pictures" in high school English...


what do you think?