Carol Barnier’s How To Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning

Carol Barnier's book for distractible parents

 Review by Kathy Kuhl

How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On to Learning:
Homeschooling Highly Distractible, ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids. [See below to order]

When I first saw this title, I said, “Well, my child’s not hyperactive,” and thought the book wasn’t for me. I wish I’d seen the subtitle. Now that I’ve read the book, I only wish Carol had written it sooner.

Carol Barnier has written a helpful book for anyone with a child who struggles to stay focused on schoolwork. It is well laid out, easy to read, and includes many reproducible games. While written for homeschoolers, much of the book would help parents with children in school, working on homework and remedial work at home. Her book not only offers many practical tips, but also encourages her readers, giving a wise perspective on helping and enjoying what she calls “your spirited child.”

The most striking feature of How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator is its wealth of practical advice in chapters two through eight. Chapter two advises parents how to create a good environment for learning in the home. Chapter three shows how to put movement into your homeschool, to improve listening, aid memory, and make lessons fun. Chapters four through six tell how to easy it is to make simple, fun games for learning. (Those chapters are worth the price of the book for anyone with a child in the elementary grades.) Chapter seven suggests specific ideas for teaching math, writing, and history, while chapter eight gives tips on going places: field trips, church, Aunt Martha’s house, or anywhere in the car with siblings.

These suggestions are very helpful, but what makes this book even more valuable is the encouraging and wise approach of the author. Barnier begins with a healthy view of diagnoses, commonly called “labels.” She feels labels explain the clear differences between her child and other children, which keeps him from thinking of himself as weird or stupid, and crystallizing his difficulties. She advises how we can keep labels from becoming a problem.

How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning helps parents laugh and enjoy their lively children. Barnier’s humor is so refreshing, that I am tempted to tell her “Sizzle” story, but you’ll find it on her website.

(While you’re there, you might sign up for her daily or occasional e-mails for helpful tips.)

The beginning and ending chapters teach us to view our children wisely. Carol says we cannot remake our children, but must experiment to find teaching and disciplining methods that work for each child. We must accept our child’s inability to focus. We need to discipline only when it is within our children’s power to do right, but they choose to do wrong.

Carol’s Christian worldview shapes her notion of discipline. She believes that God makes people unique and that he has good plans for them—-and all their energy. She thinks we must teach children about sin, helping them understand the selfishness that infects us all. She believes that teaching about sin, God’s love, and his forgiveness, while demonstrating our own love and forgiveness, will eventually produce a child who can behave and is respectful.

Carol Barnier has written a wise, encouraging, funny and helpful book. I recommend it. Here’s how to get your copy:

Click here to order this book from Amazon.

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