By the time children in America grow to the age of 18, they have spent 9 percent of their time in school and 91 percent of their time outside of school. Our schools have been asked to dramatically improve their impact on students and change how they use their nine percent of a child’s time. What about the other ninety-one percent of the time? What else can parents and adults do to better prepare the children of America for what lies ahead?
Posts Tagged ‘k-12’
- Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
- Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
- Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
- Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback. Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
- Help others to achieve their goals.
School is on the mind of everyone this month as the children start school for another year of learning. Backpacks bulge with new books and supplies, girls wear the latest fashions and boys find the baggiest levis. Happy faces and anticipation as the little ones trooped off walking or to catch a bus.
A neighbor stopped over and asked about her child who is three. With a birthday in September, she has been told that it might be better if she holds him back from attending school a year. Her concern is that he will be the youngest child in the class and may be immature and not do well in the school. This is a difficult question for me…..my own children have October birthdays and I did not hold either back. I know they struggled not only through elementary and high school, but college as well. Nevertheless, they both were bright enough and I didn’t see the problem as theirs, but that of the schools. In hindsight would I have done things differently….probably not. It is painful, though, as a parent, to see your child struggle.
So, my response to my neighbor was “wait and see, he is still young.” My children are adults now and there weren’t as many options then. However, it saddens me to think that a parent has to even consider this question today. Many parents choose to keep their children home for schooling, but others are unable to do this. So, do they have to worry that their child may not be ready? “Who is not ready, the child or the school?”
For centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.
Have you ever noticed that all young children are artists? Creative geniuses ready to bloom and be discovered. Children can teach us so much about creativity…just watch them when they paint a picture. They become completely absorbed in the drawing and put their complete attention, concentration, and love into that one picture. They don’t worry about what others think…they give it their all.
Creativity takes many forms. A four-year-old boy I know can take a watch apart and put it back together almost exactly the way it was. When his father discovered this curiosity, he recognized his son’s mechanical ability. He buys old watches and clocks at garage sales; the little boy loves them better than toys.
With art children learn to solve problems. When your child is angry, frustrated, or scared, drawing a picture and telling a story can help him work it through. Always encourage creativity, for you never know where it might lead. A top Seattle department store carries jewelry designed with the drawings of a twelve-year-old girl. One mother used her son’s pictures to make greeting cards; he now works on movies. A father designed his business cards using a logo that his daughter had scribbled on paper. It gave her quit a boost…today she is a graphic designer.
When a child explores her creativity she discovers her potential. When her potential is recognized and acknowledged, her future is secured. Frame their art and suddenly it looks suitable for any gallery. Hang it on the walls and they are ready to fly.
Leisure-time reading outside of educational activities is a key to superior learning performance, according to a study which examined the reading habits of 155 ten-year-olds. The most surprising finding was not the link between outside reading and educational proficiency, but rather the low amount of outside reading that is actually needed to improve instructional performance.
Astonishingly, ten minutes a day of outside book reading makes a vast difference, according to the study published in Reading Research Quarterly. Improvement tends to level off as outside reading time increases beyond twenty minutes a day.
Unfortunately most students read very little on their own. Therefore, the study suggests, parents and educators should make sure children have access to interesting books at a suitable vocabulary and comprehension level, and that adults read aloud to them and provide time for reading during each day.
Sometimes a child doesn’t seem motivated to start a project because it appears overwhelming. You can help by teaching your child to break a large job down into smaller parts. Say, “First, we will plan a trip to the library to get the materials you will need. Then you will need to schedule some time each day for your research.”
As your child completes each step, he will gain confidence and motivation. That will keep him working until the job is finished.
- Respect your child by treating him or her with the dignity you would a friend.
- Have faith in your child. Don’t be afraid to give your child increasing responsibility and independence.
- Concentrate on the positive; avoid using discouraging words or actions.
- Recognize your child’s efforts, not just his or her accomplishments.
- Build self-esteem and feelings of adequacy by using positive phrases such as…
- “I can tell you worked very hard on that.”
- “You are getting much better at that.”
- “I appreciate what you did.”
- “You really handled that situation well.”
- Discourage competition (in all forms) between brothers and sisters.
And, remember, don’t feel guilty if you “blow it”, but use your energy to try again more effectively.
We will build a family library, including some of our children’s favorite books.
We will make family visits to libraries, museums, zoos, and other learning places. We will talk about what we see.
We will set aside enough time to finish the day’s homework assignments.
We will have family “study” time when parents read and children do their homework.
We will balance our time between reading or other creative activities and watching TV.
We will all share in the excitement and joy of learning.
We will take time to visit with one another and to show our love and appreciation for each other and for our family.
Busy parents……especially those who are working or are single working parents…..have a limited amount of time to spend with their children. Spending time with your child, no matter what the age, is extremely important, but research suggests it is the quality of the time spent, not the quantity of time that is important.
The quality of the time you spend together can be enhanced by talking with and listening to your child. Communicating with your child encourages him or her to express ideas, improve vocabulary and develop thinking skills……all of which are important for success in school.
Quality time can occur at any time or any place. Driving in the car or riding in the bus, taking a walk in the park or a stroll through the neighborhood or going for an ice cream after dinner are all good opportunities for talking together. Cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes together provide time to communicate with each other and keep in touch with each other’s activities. Children of all ages especially enjoy having your full attention at bedtime when you can read or talk together.