I was outside with my dog, Joy, this morning when she got her lead wrapped around a tree. I was able to guide her into unwrapping herself by a series of hand and vocal directions. When she finished unwinding herself, I highly praised her. I remembered the dog trainer who led me into training my dog, Atlas, The first thing that trainer taught his class of twenty-some students (and their dogs) was to praise your dog! Actually, the first thing he taught us was to get your dog to look at you. Then whenever your dog does one thing towards what you want him to do, PRAISE HIM!

This works with children as well. It works very well. When your child is doing the wrong thing, first you need to get his/her attention. If you’ve trained your child well, s/he will look at you when you call his/her name. You can begin to make silent gestures as well. If your child is doing something wrong or inappropriate, you shake your head while saying, “Don’t do that.” It works best with a child if you give them something different to do . . . tell them what they should be doing instead.

You would think this was apparent, but it’s not – the part of telling a child what to do instead. Too often we will scold a child when s/he is doing wrong, but fail to tell him or her what s/he should be doing. That’s actually the most important part. If you fail to tell him or her what they should be doing, they will gravitate back to the inappropriate behavior because to them, that felt “right”.

I substitute taught in a classroom and a little boy kept “misbehaving”. No matter what we were doing, he did something entirely different. Finally I went over to him . . . his desk was already up against the teacher’s desk, which was a clear indication that he had some behavior problems, and I got on his eye level so we could look in each other’s eyes without my looming above him, and I asked, “What SHOULD you be doing?” His simple answer explained it all. He said, “I don’t know.” So I patiently explained the directions again to him and stayed with him until he started doing the activity the correct way. I suggested that when he was confused about what to do, for him to look at his classmates and try to do what they were doing. This was going to be difficult because he sat with his back to most of his classmates, but he could turn his head and try to watch.

And I praised him! I told him what a good job he was doing and how proud I was of him! He continued to do well, with redirecting comments from me, the rest of the day.

Instruction in what to do is necessary, for if we only tell them what not to do, they learn nothing; if we tell them what to do instead of what they are doing, they learn everything.

And praise. Do not be afraid to tell your child when he is doing the right thing. Even if he hasn’t done something wrong, when you see him/her doing what you want, tell him/her that is correct. Those words can be short and sweet. Here are examples:

Good Job!

Well done!

Nice work!

Look at YOU!

Way to Go!


You can come up with your own words of praise, but find a few comments that are easy to say and use them to train, or discipline, your child.

Discipline is teaching what to do; it’s not all about punishment.

For my interested friends, here is a Bible verse to remember: Proverbs 22:6 KJV Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.



What I Leave Behind

You don’t get to my age without wondering how much time you have left on this earth and how much difference your having lived has made on the world. We all hear about famous people who have made great differences. We seldom hear about ordinary people who have made differences in the world, but only to a small extent. Still anything that improves a situation is something, and should be applauded.

I’ve spent eighteen years of my life teaching full time. This does not include the substitute teacher jobs I’ve held or the lessons I’ve taught my own children and perhaps a few others as I walked through this world.  Surely I touched someone somewhere whose life was changed, hopefully for the better, by knowing me.

I’ve spent hours and hours writing. I hope I’ve entertained, informed and persuaded. Those are the reasons we teach students that we write. We use the acronym PIE to help children remember these. Persuade Inform Entertain   . . .  I’ve been published in a few magazines explaining how to help cats birth kittens, how to find homes for kittens, how to use the Classroom Read Aloud, how to get students to write more when they write . . . I’ve had poems published . . . I’ve won an award for a short story. I’ve published various anecdotes on my blogs. At times I’ve tried to persuade, but I am not pushy and frankly you are responsible for your opinion, not me.

I think my greatest accomplishment are the children I leave behind that I myself birthed. I have three. They all started out as sons, although one is now transgendered into a daughter. I probably phrased that wrong, but it’s new to me and I’m still learning.

I hope as I walked through this world that I did some good somewhere.

I hope I’m not done yet. These final years, when I don’t race off to work or worry about helping my own children grow up, will probably be my most active as far as creating and influencing.

I have three blogs here at wordpress. Each one has a different focus. I have a teaching channel on youtube. It began as videos to help homeschooling parents. I’m a Reading Specialist and heard Reading is the hardest subject homeschooling parents teach. I thought I’d show them how I do it and hoped they might use some of my ideas. That has been harder than I thought it would be. I’ve learned how to edit videos, although I’m still not as good as my son at doing it. I’ve seen how many “takes” it can take to get something exactly right. The name of that channel is readingbymscorbett

I continue to write on books I started years ago. One, which I call my blindman book, I hope will one day change the way Child Protective Services works and that children will be less harmed by them than they are today.

There’s another “sister” book that goes with that one that lists different articles and stories I’ve collected over the years.

There’s a book about the break-up of my marriage that may be a memoir or may become a book “based on a true story”. Not sure.

There are poems I’ve written that I hope to share.

There’s flowers I hope to plant and vegetables I hope to grow.

I want to make my home more beautiful. Now I have time to think about what I want. Raising three sons alone will keep you too busy to focus on some other things.

I am done with my formal education. I have a Masters Degree. That’s as much as I want. I’ve taken many writing courses. I taught myself to knit using a book. I’m teaching myself to play the piano, although right now my cat plays about as well as I do. The musical keyboard I bought is a magnet to her and she runs to join in when I play. She knows how to turn on the drums, and I don’t. It’s her favorite part. She also clicks on some of the keys. Let me see if I can find that picture and end this blog with it. Some people on facebook thought it was amusing.




Inquisitive Children

The first question I remember asking as a child was “What does ‘stout’ mean?” I had learned the song “I’m a Little Teapot” in kindergarten and one of the lines included the words “short and stout”.

Whoever answered that question did it cheerfully, and I remember I went on to ask many more.

Inquisitive children are usually very bright and ask questions because they do notice things they don’t understand in the world around them. It’s a trait to nurture. I remember being told at times that I asked too many questions, but at least 80% of the time, my questions got satisfying answers.

I spent much of my adult life teaching school. The children who did ask intelligent questions were my favorite. Teachers are even taught to ask “Are there any questions?” after giving an assignment. Even the children who asked silly questions, like, “Do I have to write down the answers?” gave me a glimpse into their personality.

When children ask questions and when their questions are answered, the adults around them have more of an understanding about the children. You know what they are thinking about and most of all, you know what they don’t know, and it helps you guide them.

So, talk to your children, and most of all, let them talk to you and listen to what they are saying.

One of my pet peeves is to hear a  child in a store saying over and over, “Mama, mama, mama, mama,” to a mother who obviously is fine ignoring her child. I know every word that comes out of a child’s mouth is not a golden gem, but many of them are, and they get missed when adults don’t take the time to listen.

You can develop a signal with your child, if you truly have to scan your cellphone, or are listening to a message, or for whatever activity prevents you from being able to listen to what your child so desperately wants to tell you. You can hold up your hand like a policeman when he stops traffic, and let your child know you are busy, but in a minute or two, you will ask “what?” so s/he can tell you what is pressing so much on his/her mind. But with that signal comes the responsibility of being sure you do listen in a minute or two to see what your child wants to say to you.

Children grow up so quickly. When you’re in the middle of their childhoods, you don’t realize it. But one day you look up, and the inquisitive child who wanted to talk to you has grown into a teenager, who all too frequently, doesn’t.


Research With Google

I was in Walmart today. I stopped in the pet food aisle and had a hard time getting to the dog food cans I wanted because two sets of parents and their children were standing in that aisle with their carts and they were talking.

I couldn’t help but over-hear them. They certainly acted like they weren’t trying to keep what they were discussing secret. They actually acted proud of it.

It seems both sets of parents have problems with their children’s behavior. As one set boasted of how many prescriptions their son took . . . “He starts his day with Zoloth, and they give him something else at lunchtime at school . . . ” I watched the boy, who looked to be teen-aged, squirm and try to make himself as small as possible. The other set of parents were talking about their daughter. She looked more like a ten year old and was very active. The more they talked about her behavior, the more she jumped around.

I felt sorry for the children. I wondered if the parents even knew the side effects or long term effects of the medicines they seemed so proud of?

Every time a doctor prescribes something new for me, I go to google and type in the name of the drug and read about it. If either of those sets of parents did that, they might hesitate to give their children all those drugs.

I’ve had several bad experiences with and because of doctors. That in itself is enough to cause me to double-check what they tell me and what they prescribe.

I almost told the parents of the teen-age boy to quit talking for a minute and LOOK at how they were making him feel! I’d need drugs too, if my parents stood in Walmart and discussed my prescriptions for the whole world to hear.

Maybe all the child needs is some attention and someone to ask, “Why do you act like that?” Often there’s a reason, and no amount of drugs can fix it. Listening might.

Certainly talking loudly about what prescriptions your child is taking while s/he’s standing there being stared at, is an indication that you need to do something more than shove pills at your child.

It felt like almost a contest of whose kid behaved the worst and how many prescriptions (their terms) each one took. My heart is still heavy and I can’t figure out anything I could have done to help either child.




How Much Have You Given?

I dare anyone who is my age to stop and think about how much you have given.

Let it sink in.

Maybe you’re not like me and you haven’t given until you can’t give any more but still you found something else to give?

Did I mention I regret my generosity? Do you?

We have Code Orange Air Quality here today because of the NC wildfires that are raging many counties away.

I have two lung conditions. On a good day I’ve been told not to be without a rescue inhaler within arm’s length. That doctor actually prescribed five inhalers at once and said to put one in every room in my house. Keep one always within an arm’s length.

I laid down to take a nap day before yesterday. I didn’t use my CPAP machine (maybe I have 3 breathing issues?) because I was just taking a nap. I woke up not breathing and thought I was not going to be able to start myself back breathing. It is a terrifying experience and not the first time that it’s happened.

Yesterday I went in and out in the code orange air when my two dogs needed to go out. For some reason they have decided they are mortal enemies and I have to take them out separately, which means it takes twice as long.

I have three adult sons. Two are in the same state that I live in. One came by to borrow my car for a trip. Did he/she (now he’s decided he’s transgender), notice how hard it was for me to breathe? S/he did notice the house was warm. I’d been having chills all day. I had felt sick all day. I’d had touble breathing all day. S/he was preoccuppied with a problem at work, took my car and left.

I sent a message to my other son who lives in this state. He’s probably a couple hours away. I said I was having a very hard time taking my two dogs out. I mentioned the Code Orange air. I asked if he could come spend the weekend with me and help out. My sons know I don’t ask for help, unless I really need it. I prefer to do things myself.

I haven’t heard from that son. I know he saw the message because I got a message stating “Message seen at ___  o’clock”.

I wonder if those sons (daughter?) of mine have ever stopped to think how much I did for them? I bought things I couldn’t afford. I went places and did things when I had no energy. I sacrificed and spent my time trying to help them have better lives.

Now all I’m asking is help breathing during this weekend. Is that really too much?

Ok. I’ve given more than I should. I made a fool of myself over my kids. I never gave up.

I’ve even gotten an email from a friend asking how I’m feeling because her dad is having some problems breathing with this air. I told her exactly how I was feeling. No reply email. No phone call.

If I have to be cheerful and pleasant with no problems, but lots to GIVE to have a family and friends, guess what.

I’m DONE giving. Don’t even waste your breath asking. I’m DONE. I can live without family and friends. I can’t live without breathing. I guess I don’t matter that much to any of them. Not really.



I’m just an observer in many facets of life now. I just read that NC did not scrap the Common Core as expected and I was disappointed briefly. Then I remembered I’m not teaching anymore and it will not have any direct impact on my life. Yet, I observe this part of life and feel sorry for the teachers who must continue to teach using Common Core Standards.

I watch the neighborhood children board the school bus daily. I’m outside with my geriatric dog who cannot wait for daylight to go out in the mornings, and I see the children trudging to the bus stop in the dark. How does that make any sense? School should start later.

I have many opinions, but to voice them seems to invite argument.

I was one of the few (the only one?) who objected to “participation trophies” when my sons played sports. “What does a trophy mean?” I asked, “if everyone gets one?” My comment was met with frowns and raised eyebrows. Someone said, “But the children who don’t get one will cry!” Well . . . children cry. They are learning about life sometimes when they’re crying. Everyone is not a winner, no matter how much we want them to be. Now those parents are reaping the reward of THAT decision.

I could go on and on. Sometimes my opinion is wrong, but I do have one. I keep them to myself now as I’m not involved in a lot of what is going on in the world. I’m interested in it, but really, how much does it affect me and does anyone care what I think?