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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

My Gift To You….

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Sometimes I find myself regarding you as a miniature adult; not tall enough to be awarded respect, not subtle enough to be offered consideration.

I give you love as I might offer you a piece of cake, enough, perhaps, to entice your taste and encourage your appetite, but not sufficient to nourish your needs.

The miracle is not that you grow with my love.   The miracle is that you seem to survive my mistakes….

I teach you words, that you might express new and adventurous thoughts of your own.

I teach you to read to enlighten your mind, knowing that knowledge will lead you to unexplored corridors over which I have no control….

I must also prepare you for realities.  I must offer you both…the way the world should be and the way it is…

Take my hand, my child, and we will explore the land.   I will tell you all that I know, and you will show me the secrets of your heart.  It may not be a fair exchange, but it is all I have to give.

I shall lead you only for this short while…how can I find appropriate words that can say only the right things?  How can I find proper answers to answer the question you ask?  How can I teach you when I, myself, am in need of guidance?  How can I be a teacher when much of me is still a child?

Excerpts from “I’ll Show You the Morning Sun”  by David Melton

Preparing Students for Reading

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The best way to prepare students for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

Pressures on Children and Youth

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

As a parent, you want your child to learn from the experience of pressure as part of the process of growing up.  You also want to do whatever you can to help your child cope with the pressures in life and to prevent the pressures from becoming insurmountable.  Obviously, you cannot eliminate many of these pressures, even if you really wanted to.  But you can help your child face them and you can avoid adding to them to make them worse.

  • Provide guidance in dealing with pressure.  Your child could take one of three general approaches…retreat, capitulation or action…to reduce the stress.  You can help your child determine what action would be most effective in a given circumstance.
  • Let your child know you care.  Be available to help her or him work out difficulties.  When a child has the security of parental love and respect, pressure can be met with self-confidence.  Be supportive, not smothering.  The more children feel they have solved problems themselves, the more assurance they feel the next time.
  • Be a positive force in your child’s life, not a major pressure point.  Throughout school years, avoid making unrealistic demands.  It is fine to start education early, but don’t pressure children to learn or to read before they are ready.  Let them feel they are reaching for their own goals, not satisfying your needs.  Don’t push children into early social experiences…they will mature emotionally and physically at their own rate.
  • Teach your child to live with limitations.  No one excels in everything; no one is perfect.  It is not your child’s particula
  • r handicaps that are crucial, but his or her attitude toward them.  Children should know their limits and recognize their strengths.
  • Help your child find time to be alone….time to think, to dream,  to plan, to make decisions.
  • Ground your child in a system of values.  Even if pressures become overwhelming, you do not want your child to seek ethically unacceptable means of dealing with them.  Students who have cheated report a wish for more parental direction, firm rules and guidance in                        determining right and wrong.
  • Encourage your teenager to develop self-responsibility.  Volunteer service, such as community work, provides one of the few remaining outlets in adolescence for independence, cooperative rather than competitive activity and useful and socially necessary work.

Five Reasons to Give a Gift of Art

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Using a little creativity when choosing gifts for school-age family members or friends can really pay off….with gifts that youngsters grow with rather than out grow.  Some expand children’s creativity and curiosity and encourage learning throughout the year.  They also can provide opportunities for family members to join in the learning process.

  • Art Supplies. Young artists will appreciate basic art supplies, like paper, paints, markers, pencils and crayons.  Avoid art kits that have pre-designed patterns, since children should be encourage to use their imaginations and creativity.
  • Framed Art. Have a piece of your child’s artwork matted and framed; this transforms a temporary “refrigerator door” piece of art into a beautiful wall piece that your child can treasure in adult years. Your child may also enjoy a work of art purchase at an art fair, gallery or museum shop.  Additionally, some libraries and art museums rent or loan art pieces.
  • Nontraditional Art. For students who do not express an interest in traditional art, select a gift in some other art form.  Architects, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, cartoonists and industrial designers are also artists.
  • Photography. A digital camera of one’s own is a good gift idea for students who have an interest in art, as well as for students who have not yet acquired that interest.  Children can take pictures on family trips or can use photography to collect ideas for drawings and paintings.
  • Private Space. Provide your child a special place to work on art projects, such as an easel in a quiet corner with good lighting and a comfortable stool.

Communicating

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Individuals often assume that others know how they feel or that their feelings are reflected by their behavior.  As a result, people become lax about communication.  In all relationships one must not only express love and appreciation through behavior, but must openly verbalize these feelings.  Words alone can be empty and meaningless if an individual’s behavior is not consistent with them.

Although beginning to change, socialization practices in American culture have led men to be generally less expressive and affectionate than women.  This attitude can be problematic because both males and females are equal in their need for emotional warmth.  Family members should try to be sensitive to these gender differences and develop ways of expressing supportive-affectionate feelings that meet the needs of males and females while allowing all family member to feel comfortable.

The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.

Questions, Questions, Questions….

Friday, December 7th, 2012

A father and his small daughter were out walking one afternoon when the youngster asked how the electricity went through the wires stretched between the telephone poles.

“Don’t know,”  said the father.  “Never knew much about electricity.”

A few blocks farther on the girl asked what caused lightning and thunder.

“To tell the truth,”  said the father,  ” I never exactly understood that myself.”

The girl continued to ask questions throughout the walk, none of which the father could explain.  Finally, as they were nearing home, the girl asked, “Pop, I hope you don’t mind my asking so many questions….”

“Of course not,”  replied the father.  “How else are you going to learn?”

Sooner or later, of course, the girl will stop asking her father questions, and that will be unfortunate.  Curiosity and the desire to learn should be encouraged and nurtured.

Parents who want their children to do well in their studies but who don’t respect learning are deluding themselves.  Not many children will be motivated to do it on their own.  Those who have stopped learning and growing,  will find it difficult to inspire their children to do so, no matter how much they may pretend to encourage it.


Safety Tips for Parents and Children Using the Internet

Friday, November 30th, 2012
  • Keep the computer in a main area of the home, not in your child’s bedroom. The computer should be set up where it is easy for parents to see the screen and monitor behavior.
  • Spend time with your children while they explore the Internet. Let your child know that you care and that you intend to participate.
  • Keep your children out of unmonitored chat rooms. The best Internet filtering software blocks access to all chat to keep children safe from the threat of dangerous persons, masquerading as kids.
  • Become familiar with the quality family-friendly and kid-friendly sites on the Web. Load your computer with bookmarks to sites, such as www.homeschoolingingcorner.com, www.e-tutor.com and www.knowledgehq.com. These sites offer both great educational and entertaining information for children that allows them to explore safely and will discourage wandering.
  • Know your child’s e-mail password and tell your children to inform you immediately about troubling, unsolicited e-mail. Make sure they understand it is not necessarily their fault if such e-mail arrives.
  • Inform your kids of personal information that should never be given out over the Internet without your consent; telephone numbers, address, credit card numbers, name of school, age, financial information, etc.
  • Stay abreast of technology and regulatory changes regarding Internet safety.
  • Take advantage of the Web filtering software available in the marketplace. These block access to inappropriate sites related to sex, drugs/alcohol, hate and violence and gambling.
  • Let your child know that you are there to talk anytime, about anything they come across that may cause discomfort.
  • It is important to review these tips from time to time to ensure these guidelines are being implemented.

Parents Influence Student Reading Skills

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The importance of parental involvement in their child’s reading activities does not diminish because of the prevalence of computers and technology.  School-age children still enjoy listening to a good story.  A child’s entrance into a learning program should not mean the end of a parent’s reading to the child.  Early learners like fairy tales and books that have corresponding puppets or other toys.  First graders like easy readers because they can recognize some of the words; they also like picture books with strong characters and a solid story.  At the second and third grade level books should be somewhat above the child’s current reading (but not emotional) level.  Nonfiction works, “How to Do It” books, nonsense books, and riddle books are popular with children in these grade levels.  As with pre-school children, parents should encourage active participation when they read to their school-age children.

At some point, a child may want to read independently.  Many times, however, when the parent stops reading to the child, the child stops reading.  Studies have shown that students who read at home, not surprisingly, improve their reading ability.   A closer look at the home reveals that parents and siblings in the home also read during their leisure time.  There are books available in the home, or there are trips to the library.  Television and computer use is limited.

If a home does not have books for children, and if there is no library close to the home, a parent can use a newspaper, catalog or magazine to encourage a child to read.  Parents often are seen reading a newspaper or a magazine, so that role model is ready-made.  Not only is a newspaper or a catalog inexpensive, but it has something of interest for nearly everyone.  A parent might clip a news article and ask the child to read the article to him or her.  Pictures can be chosen, and the child can either make up a story about the pictures or list descriptive words that tell about the pictures.  An appealing news or magazine story can be clipped into paragraphs; the child can read the paragraphs and put them into the correct sequence.

To keep reading skills sharp, a child should read for at least fifteen minutes a day.  Reading also can be built into everyday activities.  A chid can help a parent prepare a meal by reading recipes to the parent.  Locating names, emergency numbers, or ads requires reading.  While grocery shopping, a child can find specific items on shelves or read label information.  A child can read a restaurant menu to the parent.  If the family is planning a vacation, the child can read maps and tour guides.

Parent involvement means instilling the values of self-discipline, hard work, and responsibility in children.  It means an emphasis on the importance of learning.  It means stepping away from electronic devices in order to provide your child opportunities to practice reading skills.

Six Transition Tips For Students Moving to Online Learning

Thursday, October 4th, 2012


Online learning represents a new kind of challenge for students.  Expectations vary widely and the online program response may not always meet expectations.  There are some things all students should expect, however.  Students should be expected to be challenged academically.  They should expect not to understand everything they experience in their online educational program.  They can expect to not always see the relevance of what they are asked to do.  But, they should expect that resources will be available to help them.  lIn order to help your child embrace the online learning program they have chosen:

  • Empower your student to take the initiative and solve his or her own learning problems within reason.
  • Familiarize yourself with the online instructional program and resources in the event you will need to assist your student in them.
  • Advise the instructional program if you or your student experiences difficulty
  • Remember that students often change their minds and this is okay
  • Avoid too much advice, too much supervision, solving their problems, and second-guessing your student
  • Stay positive