Homeschool Parents Test Drive
The STEP Workshop
Reviewed by Homefires' Review Team
Written by Fran Wisniewski and Diane Flynn Keith
Imagine for a minute what it would be like to go without nagging your kids or yelling at them when they fail to do their chores or school work? How would you feel if your kids started to argue with each other, but soon worked it out for themselves? How would you like to go one day without a "Time Out"? Hard to imagine? Impossible you say? Maybe not...
As homeschooling parents we are with our children 24/7 and sometimes we find ourselves exasperated by the people we love the most - perhaps more often then we care to admit. No parent is perfect, but if you find yourself yelling at your kids or involved in power plays with them, or if you just wish your family relationships weren't filled with so much drama and frustration, then the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) Workshop by Aviva Schwab, may be just what you need to bring harmony to your home.
After all, the most important part of homeschooling is the relationship you have with your children. A relationship of trust and goodwill is the foundation of a successful homeschool environment. Parents who utilize effective parenting techniques to establish and reinforce positive relationships with their children, and instill self-directed, internal motivations for learning - empower their kids to achieve success not only in academics, but every facet of their lives. The STEP program can help you do just that.
Aviva Schwab, M.Ed., is a STEP instructor and coach who created "The Workshop" on CD [now an MP3 download] so parents can learn how to parent effectively and conveniently in the comfort of their home or car. "The Workshop" includes a recording of entertaining, interactive classes, handouts and a program booklet. Some of the topics covered include:
According to Ms. Schwab, children usually misbehave because they are looking for attention. What would happen if you stopped paying attention to your child's bad behavior? What if you could learn to deliver messages to your kids in a way that they'd hear you without feeling criticized? What would happen if you let your kids determine whether or not they practice piano or spelling? What would happen if your kids set their own bedtimes? What if every chore and responsibility came with relevant and logically related consequences that would train and motivate your child to make better decisions?
Aviva explains that many parents have a hard time allowing their children to make decisions and mistakes. She suggests our cultural idea of a "good" parent is misguided. We cripple our children by over-protecting them and/or doing things for them that they are fully capable of doing for themselves. That habit can reinforce the notion in children that they are incompetent or can't trust themselves to make the right decisions.
In the STEP program, you'll learn how to stop being a "good" parent and start parenting responsibly and effectively. As a result, your children will learn how to make better decisions as they are given the opportunity to make their own choices.
Some parents are permissive and some are authoritarian. STEP will show you how "equality" and "democratic" parenting gives children the opportunity to become independent, responsible, confident, and happy individuals.
From the first lesson to the last, Aviva's heartfelt concern guides you through everyday challenges and demonstrates how to deal with different situations effectively. You'll look forward to each audio session and walk away feeling empowered and confident to make changes for the better.
Results You Can Expect from STEP
You'll learn to stop nagging and set reasonable limits, and help your children become independent, capable, responsible, and mature people.
- You'll learn how and when to let your kids solve their own problems.
- You'll learn that by changing your behavior, your kids will follow your actions. STEP is a proactive course that teaches you how to act, not react.
- You'll discover that criticism is never constructive, and learn how to let your kids know that they did something inappropriate without attacking or criticizing them, and in a way that leads to self-correction.
- You'll learn to encourage your children rather than discourage them and turn misbehavior into cooperation.
The beauty of STEP is that you don't have to implement it all at once. Aviva recommends you pick one thing you think needs work and try that first. This is a step-by-step approach to better family dynamics.
And, STEP doesn't make false promises. Aviva reminds us that it will never be 100% perfect. It is more likely that if you currently scream 70% of the day and are patient 30% of the day, STEP will help you turn those numbers around so you're patient 70% of the time and reduce screaming to 30% of the time. STEP is an innovative, practical, and unusual approach to parenting that gets results.
Even if you don't completely agree with all of the parenting advice in STEP, or your personal philosophy, beliefs, or homeschooling lifestyle creates conditions and behavior that STEP doesn't consider or address, you can still take what works, and leave the rest.
For example, one of our reviewers bristled a bit at STEP's seeming contrary view to her own attachment parenting techniques and the idea of family beds. Even so, the reviewer kept an open mind and listened to the entire STEP workshop series before rendering an opinion. She was surprised to discover some helpful strategies that were in synch with her parenting style that she was able to implement successfully.
Overall, our reviewers think STEP is well worth the investment to gain additional tools that lead to effective parenting and happy, healthy family relationships that can improve the homeschool experience.
If you visit Aviva Schwab's website TiredOfYelling.com you can watch video clips of Aviva conducting STEP classes, hear testimonials by parents who use STEP, try some step exercises, and purchase "The Workshop."