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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Considering the Best Measure for Quality Education

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that, we most often use this standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, our children begin school having access to more information than their parents had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. That provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer for what should be or could be. I do know that when I hear about educators who continue to teach they way they have for many years, it concerns me. I have seen wonderful teachers who are very good with their students, but who are missing the mark in preparing their students for this fast paced world. That human aspect is so very important to teaching, but what of the child who does not receive adequate information to be successful in ensuing years. What a dilemma it raises for those of us who work with these well intentioned people on a daily basis. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared our youngster for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

Eight Ideas for Summer Learning

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Using the summer months to expand and enhance your child’s skills for learning will benefit your child year round.  Some ideas to get you started might include the following:

  • Select safe, educational toys…such as those that need to be put together.
  • Play games—especially those that have educational value, like number games, guessing games, word games.
  • Encourage your child to do projects with other children.  He/she will learn to cooperate and his/her social skills will improve.
  • Take your child on the train, bus, streetcar or airplane.
  • Listen to your child…encourage him or her to ask questions, discuss ideas and tell stories.
  • Select activities that fit your child’s level of development, ones that he or she can learn from and enjoy.
  • And be sure to set a good example.  If you are interested in learning, your child probably will be, too.  For instance, set a family reading time or some other organized learning activity and share experiences.
  • Learning is a skill and like other skills it improves with practice…so give your child the practice he or she needs to develop learning skills!

Gifted and Talented

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Although we place high hopes for a worthwhile future on the gifted and talented youth of today, we often neglect this group.  Many gifted children are left to their own devices in school as well as at home.

Contrary to the popular misconceptions that they will do better without interference and that they will succeed on their own, some gifted children experience academic, social, and personal problems when they do not receive support from society and parents.  Gifted children display their abilities in a variety of ways, each unique to the individual child.  In general, for most children, giftedness is demonstrated by performance of tasks and understanding of concepts usually associated with much older children.  Reading signs, magazines, and books, and performing mathematical computations at ages three to five; speaking complete sentences and using abstract vocabulary at age two and three….all indicate superior intellectual abilities.

Often the gifted child feels isolated from the rest of the world because of the exceptional abilities he or she possesses.  Facing these feelings of difference alone can create emotional problems, disruptive behaviors, or withdrawal from the frustrating situation.  Parents play an important role in the development of exceptional abilities in children, especially in encouraging a favorable attitude toward these tendencies.

Because of their heightened perceptions and sensitivities, many gifted children need an environment that is secure emotionally and stimulating intellectually to allow their abilities to flourish.  Too many adults overlook their needs, however, assuming that these children already have advantages other lack.  Consequently, much is left to parents to provide for the gifted.  Working with the child and with other parents, they can accomplish this awesome, often frustrating, task.

Mutual Trust Starts With Total Honesty

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

A judge in a large mid-western city was describing the causes of juvenile delinquency speaking from personal experience with thousands of young people: “Children want to be honest. They do not want to cheat.  They look to their parents and teacher to teach them honesty. They are confused, letdown, and disappointed when they hear one parent on the telephone saying the other parent is not at home.  But they are both in the living room watching television,  it is these little white lies that tear down the trust and confidence children want to have in their parents.  Children cannot tell the difference between little dishonesty and big dishonesty.” Can anyone? Don’t you have a feeling of insecurity in someone you know does not respect absolute truthfulness and honesty?

Mutual trust starts with your total honesty, even at your expense.  No exaggerations, no cover-ups, no distortions, no little white lies…just complete honesty.  It is a contagious characteristic that will spread to others.

Time – A Daily Miracle

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life!  It is yours.  It is the most precious of possessions…No one can take it from you.  An no one receives either more or less than you receive.

You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time.  Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul.  Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality.  All depends on that.  Your happiness…the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends!…depends on that.

Time is the inexplicable raw material of everything.  With it, all it possible, without it, nothing.  The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it.  If one cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper items of expenditure, one does muddle one’s whole life indefinitely…

Single File – One Moment at a Time

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

We never shall have any more time.  We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.

- Arnold Bennett

Most of us think of ourselves as standing, wearily and helplessly at the center of a circle bristling with tasks, burdens, problems, annoyances, and responsibilities which are rushing in upon us.  At every moment we have a dozen different things to do, a dozen problems to solve, a dozen strains to endure.  We see ourselves as over-driven, overburdened, overtired.

This is a common mental picture…and it is totally false.  No one of us, however crowded his life, has such an existence,  even of a super-busy day.  The crowded hours come to you always one moment at a time.  That is the only way they can come.  The day may bring many tasks, many problems, strains, but invariably they come in single file.

The Power of Expectations

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The effect of one person’s expectations on the behavior of another is another instance of the power of attitudes. People are always communicating their thoughts in a variety of subtle ways.  And others are responding…positively, negatively or passively.  Strong, positive attitudes about one’s self and others bring out the best in others; cause positive responses that accelerate growth and learning.

See all others as the potential vessels of your own treasured knowledge and ability, be willing to share yourself in a tolerant, loving manner, and your effort will be richly rewarded by the growth of those around you.