I just finished reading Teaching with Love and Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk, and once again (it always happens after I finish a particularly inspiring book) I can't wait to get to school and put it into action.
However, I don't have to wait until school starts to benefit from Love and Logic. I have three little ones - and I do mean little ones. My oldest is five and my youngest turns two in August so there is plenty of drama in our house. Lots of opportunities for power struggles.
The first time I used Love and Logic at home my husband thought I was some kind of magician. He had been trying to put our girls to bed - not an easy thing :). I walked in when he was yelling that if they didn't go to bed right away there would be no fun tomorrow. I wasn't judging - I know I have said things like that before, but fresh off my latest study of Love and Logic I was ready to try some new ideas.
The first thing I did was start asking lots of questions - "Would you like to read a book first or brush your teeth first? Would you like to brush your teeth in your bathroom or my bathroom? Would you like me to carry you on my back or on my shoulders? Do you want purple pajamas or blue pajamas?" etc...
Well, once the power struggle was gone the girls were easy! I had them happily in bed within 15 minutes of taking over. Needless to say, I am now on permanent bed duty :).
I had another Love and Logic miracle this afternoon after swimming. My oldest daughter hates pulling shirts and dresses over her head - she is always afraid she will get stuck and often, when she panics, she does. I brought her a dress that I thought she would be able to pull on, but it turned out it wasn't quite big enough for that. My sweet little girl then proceeded to start what could have been a giant tantrum in the middle of the women's locker room.
I was quick the empathize - I know how nervous she was about getting the dress on over her head - but I also asked her what her solution would be. This is something that is new for me - I usually swoop in with my own solutions because I want to help. She said she didn't know so I told her that was fine, I would finish helping her sister and then check back. I did just that. When I again asked her if she had a solution, she said no again. So, I said I would go get her little brother out of the childcare and come back to check again. We followed this pattern for about five more minutes. She wasn't screaming, just thinking.
At some point she decided to just try putting the dress on herself - and it worked. She was so proud of herself! It was a great moment. In the past I would have just pulled the dress on myself. She would have been screaming, I would have been frustrated and embarrassed - not a good time. This was so much better - and taught her (and me) some good life lessons. Not bad for a few minutes in a locker room.
I am super excited to use Love and Logic in my classroom because this will be my first time in three years getting to start the school year with my class. I was hired late last year (October) and it was the hardest year! It was a combination of the chemistry of the kids and my lack of a plan. I had never taught "challenging" students before so I wasn't prepared at all. A few of the other teachers tried to help me, but their styles were very authoritarian and that just isn't me at all.
Don't get me wrong, there were tons of things I loved about last year, but I feel like I could have handled situations better. I feel really empowered going into this school year with such a strong classroom management plan.
Plus - I think that it will really fit in with some of the other programs I am looking to implement next year like Daily 5 and focusing on showing our thinking.