Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Latter Day Learning Retreat 2017

It's coming!  I'm so honored to be giving the morning keynote address at the LDL Retreat 2017.  I've been prayerfully gathering information and I thought I'd link the sources here as I write my presentation.  There have been so many wonderful talks to read about this, and I've been studying the life of Christ and have learned so much.  I'm getting super excited to bust some myths with my amazing Mom (and Dad) friends!!

You Are Enough: Motherhood Myth Busting

"A Plea to My Sisters"

"Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?"
J. Devn Cornish (Oct 2016)

"The Ministry of Angels"

Elder Bednar “The Character of Christ”

"Winning the War against Evil "
Elder James J Hamula

Dallin H Oaks “Joy and Mercy” Oct 1991

Richard G. Scott “Finding Joy in Life”

“Charity Suffereth Long”

"The Comforter"
Henry B Eyring

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Teacher for All Ages Recording

Yay! Here is the recording (FREE!) from the Latter Day Learning Retreat Presentation.  Happy Listening!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

LDL Retreat Presentation Resources and Links

Here are the links and info from the LDL Retreat.  I'll add more posts in the future with additional resources.  Be sure to scroll down to other (older) posts.  There are lots of explanations for the slides in there (like Mission/Vision, manners, etc...plus hilarious stories about my kiddos and their energetic messes).

These are resources that have helped my family.  I do not receive any compensation or perks for sharing these with you.  Just passing on what has worked for us, praying that you find what works for you and yours!


Mentor Meetings and Councils: Counseling with our Councils by M. Russell Ballard and A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion by DeMille, DeMille and Jeppson
Self-Government and Parenting: Nicholeen Peck www.teachingselfgovernment.com
LDS Gospel-Based Self-Mastery Training: Eternal Warriors http://eternalwarriorstraining.org/ (this is where the PoWeR Calendar comes from)
Utah Funding Program for Homeschool Resources: www.mytechhigh.com
Online Tech Classes: Tech Trep Academy https://www.techtrep.com/  
Check out my amazing daughter in this promo video: https://www.techtrep.com/courses/kids-sound-audio-mixing/
Discount code for my friends: Enter Code: ldlkids 
When this is used at checkout via techtrep.com <http://techtrep.com> , families will receive 35% off! This unique code is good until August 31, 2016.
Life of Fred http://lifeoffredmath.com/  Awesome story-based math that develops problem solving and mathematical thinking (and it's super funny and awesome).
Free printable Math worksheets for when you want to drill-and-kill :)  www.math-aids.com
Teaching Textbooks (great ACT Prep for students who need to see and hear instructions): http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/
24 Game: 
Rubik's Cube
Language Arts:
Memorization builds reading skills! American Heritage School Memorization Packet for grades K-12:
Educational Philosophy: Thomas Jefferson Education http://www.tjed.org/
Speech/Debate/Mentoring: Kathy Mellor www.unleashingyourvoice.com
Routines/Home Cleaning: FlyLady www.flylady.net
Menu Planning: Food Nanny (BYUTV), and  http://freezermealdiva.blogspot.com
Writing Cycle, Mentoring Youth, History and Leadership Projects for Youth: Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI) http://www.lemimentortraining.com/
Mission/Vision/Goals/Skills: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

SMART Goal Setting

Ok, I've got my vision and mission statement...now what?  My daughter got to teach a class on goal setting, so we created this handout (modified from business language to language that works for youth).

Now you take a look at your vision, your mission, your purpose and determine what you can do TODAY, this week, this month to take you closer to your goal.  There are a lot of great resources for goal setting.

Here are the steps to creating SMART goals:

S.M.A.R.T. Goals!
Specific: State exactly what you want to accomplish (when, why, how, who).
Measurable: How will you show and measure how much of your goal you met?
Achievable: Stretch yourself to do hard things, but make it something you can do.  Use action verbs.
Relevant: How is the goal important to your jobs and roles in life?  How does it fit your life mission and goals?
Time-Bound: Set 1 or more target dates to complete your goal, or smaller steps of your goal. 

Always write down your goals and put them somewhere to remind you.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Interviews/Mentor Meetings with Children

Successful sales teams have meetings, executives have meetings, coaches have meetings, church leaders have meetings, teachers have meetings.  So why don't we have individual meetings in families?

Weekly Interviews (as we call them) or Mentor Meetings (as many of my friends call them) are an opportunity to connect with each of your children on a weekly basis. This concept comes from the book "Counseling with Our Councils" by M. Russell Ballard.  The book was recently brought back into print by Deseret Book (hooray!).  What you cover in these meetings is up to you and the FEC (we'll cover that in another post).  The academic mentoring meeting is covered in a book called "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille.  

Here are a few tips while you find your own structure:
Interviews can include:
-weekly/monthly calendaring (including child's requests to attend or begin activities/events).
-review of school goals and work for the week, as well as review and report of previous week
-social/behavioral concerns at home, school, or work
-time to answer "private" questions that would not be appropriate for the child to ask in front of others
-birthday planning
-gift-giving helps
-budgeting strategies and planning
-life-skill coaching
-Scout/Personal Progress/Faith in God/Duty to God tracking and progress
-goal setting (this is SO important)
-and much, much more! 

This looks WAY heavy and serious, but it doesn't need to be!  We do our interviews in our jammies on our big bed.  We invite each child in one at a time (we have 7 children so this takes pretty much all day Sunday) and begin with a prayer.  I have the family calendar and my interview notebook out on the bed to refer to (with a pencil).  My younger ones climb up on my lap and snuggle me (or lay on Daddy's back).  My older children bring their school planner with them, and usually want a back scratch or foot rub as we chat.  We make sure at least one parent is looking into the child's eyes throughout the interview.  The eyes are the windows to the soul, and looking into your child's eyes while you talk can help you discern if there are problems that the child is not verbalizing.
Then we ask these questions (and we just listen and encourage):
"What was the best part of your week?"
"What was the hardest part of your week?"
"What do you think is the most important thing to work on this week?"
"Do you have any calendar items you want to be considered for our calendar?"
"Tell me about school.  What went well last week?  What do you need help with?  What are you working on this week?"
"Do you have any questions for us?"
"Is there anything else you want to tell us?"
"Do you know we love you?"
"How do you know we love you?" (the answer to this question is a weekly check-in for the Five Love Languages).

There is a lot of wiggling and moving around, and that's ok.  Since we're talking about the child, the child stays very interested...as long as the child is doing the talking.  We try to limit our input to praise or very specific instruction so the child feels validated and supported.  This is a safe place to discuss ANYTHING.  That means that sometimes some yucky junk surfaces (especially with our adopted children who have experienced trauma and lots of nasty stuff), and we have learned to keep a poker face and make simple, sincere statements like, "I'm so sorry that happened.  That is so hard."  Freaking out or lecturing during an interview will turn the child off.  We work to make this an open and calm place where the child feels safe to share.  We'd rather know what is truly going on in their lives and be connected enough to help them instead of having them feel the need to hide from us.

We work hard to help the child think of his or her own solutions rather than running to the rescue.  Some phrases that can help prevent launching into parent lecture mode are...
"Can I tell you a story?" (insert story of you or someone you know...or a scripture hero who experienced a similar trial).  Then say, "I wonder if you can find a solution like ____ did."  Then just leave silence and let the child connect the story to his or herself.
"May I make a suggestion?"  If the child says no, then just listen.  If the child says yes, then he or she is ready to hear counsel.  Keep it brief and loving.
"What could you do if that happens again?" Listen.  If the child asks for help, keep it brief.  

Then we say a closing prayer and give the child a big sandwich hug.  

Throughout the week, when my children are bombarding me with questions about EVERYTHING (beginning new activities, what friends they can invite over, why his sister is so annoying, etc), I can choose to say, "That's a great question for your interview!"  The child can then choose to write it down and bring the question to the interview. Most of the unimportant questions fall away.  We do have one child whose Love Language is Quality Time, and she brings a list of 15+ items to ask every week (like a filibuster).  And we make time for each one (albeit very short time, but we recognize each one).  Obviously, if it is a question needing coaching immediately, we do it.  But this takes a huge burden off of my shoulders during the week.  It's wonderful to be able to make a short correction or coaching during the week and have the support of my amazing husband as we help the child during his or her interview.  The kids see us unified in our love and support for them.  We stand together as parents, mentors, and guides on their journey.  And that makes it a much more enjoyable journey!

Family Vision

A few friends have asked us to upload our entire Family Vision.  This is the collection of our hopes and dreams for our family, wrapped up as affirmations.  It was from this very detailed picture that we created our Mission Statement.  My hubby and I both have English degrees, so we had a BLAST working out the perfect wording for each sentence.  Not everyone loves that, but we do.  I stressed that it was too long, and that no one would ever be able to memorize it.  But then I realized...it's MINE!  So it doesn't matter!  It is perfect for our family, and that's what matters.  I wanted it to be a document that we would ponder and search for meaning.  Your family's Vision will be unique, there is no right or wrong length or wording.  Make it your own, and be proud of it.  Here it is (it's a work in progress):

"We are producing democracy-defending leaders who contribute to building the Kingdom of God through mission-driven faith, wisdom and action.  We are developing and utilizing the talents of these great minds and faithful hearts who are anxiously engaged in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead.  We are a Christ-centered and temple-attending family whose sole purpose is building up the Kingdom of God and bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  We counsel not the God of Heaven in our actions.  We seek the Lord's will and honor Him through obedience and sacrifice.  We exercise and honor the Priesthood of God.  We strive for perfection while recognizing our frailties before God."

Great Resources for Creating a Family Mission Statement

Here are some awesome articles on Family Mission Statements:




Mission Statement Creation Tool:

As you determine your target, and define your family mission, you will have the courage to clear away the unimportant and make time for the best.

Muhlestein Family Mission Statement: "Nurturing familial love, joy and unity through Christ-centered service and learning."

Muhlestein Family Motto/Team Cheer: "Who are we?!  The faithful!" (we cheer this every morning before Dad goes to work and after scriptures/prayer...everyone's hands in the middle like before a sports team takes the field).

Happy mission statement crafting!!