Example Rules

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was remembering one of my first triumphs at school. It was an aptitude test on English grammar. In second grade, we were asked to choose the correct form of a word to plug into a sentence. Since we had no formal grammatical training before the test, I was very pleased to “ace” it.
Why did I have those skills at age eight? Simply because proper grammar was spoken in my home.
The English language has rules… not the kind meant to restrict our behavior, but those which apply in order to keep us on “the same page” and in the “same game”.
When I consider the modern distaste for rules, in general, and the emphasis on diversity, I realize many young parents are throwing an obstacle into their children’s education (and success) when they refuse to use proper grammar.
I understand that bilingual households are at a disadvantage automatically. All the more reason, in my opinion, for parents to school themselves in proper English.
Language has little to do with culture, so the clinging to slang and the blocking of the kids’ understanding of the rules of English grammar in the home, make no sense.
Al Sharpton is an intelligent man…Yet, he talks in a “street” dialect that, I assume, is an attempt to be “common” and endearing to the African American community. He “ain’t” helping anyone by confusing folks about English enunciation and grammar. Especially those people who have never lived in an environment where the rules of English were followed. Leading by example would be more helpful and honorable, in my opinion. Breaking other rules may gain a person attention and bravado but the rules of English language, once ignored, are terribly difficult to reclaim.
So, when parents consider helping their children’s efforts for a good education, the most important edge they can offer is the example of good grammar spoken at home.

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Schools-what do we learn?

homeschooling afternoon

homeschooling afternoon (Photo credit: hbakkh)

There is an urban myth that public schooling is the best method by which we can teach children social skills. In fact, that is the primary argument against home-schooling. I beg to differ.

There’s a growing concern that public schools are failing our kids in a BIG way. There are many dedicated teachers, who do an excellent job, but the teachers’ unions protect not only the good teachers but the bad ones too.

When we are faced with the expensive and ,I believe, better alternative of home-schooling, there is the concern about the proper “socialization” of these kids.

We don’t do “sex education” before we feel a child is mature enough but we send kids off to school, at a tender age, for their first exposure to bullies, ridicule and peer pressure. They will be measured by grades and learning styles and will be kept in the classroom for the great majority of their learning experience. Hopefully, this classroom will have an orderly atmosphere and a small group but that is not guaranteed. Actually, it’s a “crap shoot” that your child’s classmates will be a “good” group. Sometimes, there is a larger number of “mis-behavers” and that is simply up to chance and timing. Teachers are not to blame,at all, but ask them and they will volunteer, readily, their memories of “good groups”.

A home-schooled child can visit real-life situations (grocery stores, parks, libraries etc.), as often as, Mom or Dad deems necessary. A “busy” child can be offered hands-on experiences and more breaks, as often as, he/she needs and the parent can correct bad manners as they present themselves in those real life situations.

There are youth sports and music organizations, available to the public, for the lessons needed in cooperation, and the taking of instruction from authority figures other than parents. The education is ongoing, year round, when the “teachers” are always present and fully aware of the curriculum.

It is so very sad that most parents haven’t the option of home-schooling. I do expect a growing trend of home-schooling, though. Families may re-evaluate the need and budget in a way to make it happen. Actually, the current stress on incomes causing grandparents to become household members, may offer them as home-school teachers or helpers with the family budget, affording parents the chance to teach.

The whole idea of home-schooling being a poor option is simply, not true, and cannot be supported by urban legends.

Those who have the ability and means to do it, have my thumbs up.

Tipsy Does it…Egg Story

                                                                                                                                

My mommy tipped the eggs out.

They dropped upon the floor.

She couldn’t see it coming,

As they balanced on the door.

I feel I should have warned her,

I saw her put them back.

The ones that were leftover,

She forgot to stack.

If eggs are all together,

  Don’t  fill the end of crate.

“Cuz they’ll be spilling  over,

Next time you’re running late.

Balance is that something,

You’d think our parents knew.

Keep eggs right in the middle, folks,

Or you’ll be cleaning too.

Reading, listening or participating…

I enjoyed listening to story books being read to me so very much that I had a hard time relating to kids who wouldn’t sit still and “get with the program”. Then, I realized, that the spoken word is not easy for some people to digest. My daughter needs to see and hear the words and refuses the act of being read to. Some people need something in their hands while they listen. Others are extra dependent upon visual aids. Until we realize how differently people process information, how could we effectively educate our kids?

Lecture halls may teach some folks but I can imagine others feel as though they are  drowning in that environment. Holy cow! The way we learn can be very diverse and by no means has anything to do with intelligence.

I know modern day teachers are schooled in the learning diversity but I cannot comprehend how they are able to implement solutions that will address every child’s learning style. How could they with 28 kids in one room?

I recommend that we start very early with our observations of little ones. I really dislike labels but noting their style could be akin to an award of talents rather than a stigma of a disability.

Right, at this very time, I have a group of kids who fall into each learning style. One sings, all the time. Another shouts out to be heard. Another needs quiet and hands-on concentration.

Here is an article that all parents might enjoy:

Multiple Intelligences: Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style

Added this to your new collection: Bright Ideas

A Fairy Princess. A Race-car Driver. A Mommy. A Firefighter. A Ballerina. An Astronaut. These are just some of the answers you may get when you ask your child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You may think they are sweet to share with your family and friends, but your child’s response could be telling you something important about the way he or she learns and what type of ‘Multiple Intelligences’ he or she has.

So what are Multiple Intelligences anyway? Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 to help educators, psychologists and parenting experts better understand how children process and learn information.

Not only has the theory become a respected way of looking at learning, it has helped validate other experts’ work. Dr. Joseph Renzulli, professor and director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, says he started his work with intelligence years before Gardner’s theory. But it was Gardner who brought widespread acceptance to the idea. That helped bring attention to The Renzulli Learning System, which utilizes the Intelligences. A great admirer of Gardner, Dr. Renzulli says, “The most important thing The Multiple Intelligences theory has done is called attention to the ways children express themselves.”

What Intelligences does your child possess? The following are descriptions of Gardner’s nine Multiple Intelligences, along with tips on how you can help your child stretch his or her areas of strength:

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart). This child focuses in school, enjoys reading, has an extensive vocabulary, prefers English or Social Studies over math and science, learns a foreign language with ease, is a good speller and writer, likes rhymes and puns, and communicates his thoughts well.

Tip: Encourage him to discuss books he has read with you, play word or board games, prepare speeches or enroll in drama classes. Possible career paths: poet, journalist, teacher, or lawyer

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart). This child is curious about how things work, loves numbers and math (especially if he can do it in his head), enjoys strategy games like chess, checkers, brain teasers or logic puzzles, likes experiments, is interested in natural history museums, and likes computers.

Tip: Encourage her to solve various kinds of puzzles, provide her with games like checkers, chess or backgammon, let her figure things out and encourage her to ask questions.  Possible career paths: scientist, engineer, researcher, or accountant.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart). This child easily leans to read and understands charts and maps, daydreams often, is skilled at drawing, doodling and creating 3-D sculptures, enjoys movies, and likes taking things apart and putting them back together.

Tip: Provide opportunities to paint, color, design. Give him puzzles and 3-D activities like solving mazes, challenge his creativity, and encourage him to design buildings or clothing. Possible career paths: sculptor, mechanic, architect, or interior designer.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart). This child excels in more than one sport, taps or moves when required to sit still, can mimic other’s body movements/gestures, likes to touch objects, enjoys physical activities and has excellent fine-motor coordination.

Tip: Encourage participation in school and extracurricular sports/teams. Provide blocks. Encourage fine-motor ability (teach her to build paper airplanes, create origami, or try knitting). Enroll her in dance class. Possible career paths: dancer, firefighter, surgeon, actor, or athlete.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart). This child can tell you when music is off-key and easily remember melodies. He has a pleasant singing voice, shows aptitude with musical instruments, speaks or moves in a rhythmical way, hums or whistles to himself, and may show sensitivity to surrounding noises.

Tip: Encourage him to play an instrument, write songs, join school bands or choirs, or study folk dancing from other countries. Possible career paths: musician, singer, or composer.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart). This child enjoys socializing with friends, is a natural leader, is caring, helps friends solve problems, is street-smart and understands feelings from facial expressions, gestures and voice.

Tip: Encourage collaborative activities with friends inside and outside of school, expose her to multi-cultural books and experiences, encourage dramatic activities and role playing, help her learn to negotiate and share. Possible career paths: counselor, therapist, politician, salesman, or teacher.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self-Smart). This child shows a sense of independence, knows his abilities and weaknesses, and does well when left alone to play or study. He has a hobby or interest he doesn’t talk about much, is self-directed, has high self-esteem, and learns from failures and successes.

Tip: Help him set goals and realize the steps to get there, encourage independent projects and journal writing, help him find quiet places for reflection and appreciate his differences. Possible career paths: philosopher, professor, teacher, or researcher.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart). This child talks about favorite pets or outdoor spots, enjoys nature preserves and the zoo, and has a strong connection to the outside world. She likes to play outdoors, collects bugs, flowers and leaves, and is interested in biology, astronomy, meteorology or zoology.

Tip: Take her to science museums, exhibits and zoos. Encourage her to create observation notebooks, ant farms, bug homes, and leaf collections. Involve her in the care of pets, wildlife, and gardens. Make binoculars and telescopes available to her. Possible career paths: animal activist, biologist, astronomer, or veterinarian.

Existential Intelligence (Philosophically Smart). This child enjoys thinking and questions the way things are. He shows curiosity about life and death and shows a philosophical awareness and interest that seems beyond his years. He asks questions like, ‘Are we alone in the universe?’

Tip: Be patient with his questioning, as he may ask over and over again. Read books together that explore these topics and talk about them at an age-appropriate level.  Possible career paths: philosopher, clergy, scientist, or writer.

Don’t worry if it looks like your child is only strong in 3-4 areas. That’s the way it should be. While children have the potential to be intelligent in all areas, they will most likely show dominance in some and weakness in others. Dr. Renzulli advises, “When we find our child’s preferred learning style, we should capitalize on it and give them many opportunities to express that in their work. But it is equally important to give them exposure to various kinds of styles.” In other words, your child may not realize what his preferred learning style is until he is exposed to it.

Perhaps your child will never attain Princess status, but she may write a novel about the royal life. And maybe your son won’t set foot on Mars, but rather, design the next generation of rockets. Whatever Intelligences your children have, be sure to watch for the cues along the way and encourage them to be whatever they want to be. In the meantime, let your kid have fun dreaming about the Indy 500, even if it gives you a few gray hairs in the process.

Procrastination Station

I consider myself as the person who put the “pro” in procrastination.

I’ve read about habitual procrastinators…as usual, it is blamed on the parents. I disagree.

I do agree with the assertion  that procrastinators are “made” not “born” but I feel that the deciding factor is the person’s internal dialog. As I am a strong proponent of nature over nurture…my mother is off of the hook 🙂 .

I believe we who procrastinate are “Hyper” sensitive to making a decision that is “wrong”. Making NO decision is easier than making the “wrong” one. As our lives progress, the “waiting” has fallen into our favor often enough to be worth the continuing of that pattern.

After all, doing things immediately can leave a person wishing that they had considered more options. Paying your whole insurance premium can have you waiting on rebates that are as slow as “molasses in January”. Doing your Christmas shopping ahead of time causes people to “over buy” and “over spend” . Last moment sales can be great! Those who finish their shopping in September, literally pay for their relaxation in December.

I am writing this blog as I procrastinate the chores of my day. How cool is that? Bet you I’ll make it!

There has always been a part of me that needs to test deadlines…I used to run down to the Jr. High ball field during the 2 1/2 minutes allowed for changing classes. I got back just as the second bell rang every time! (What were the consequences anyway? I was a good kid and used that reputation for limit pushing!)

What I have learned in life is, almost every deadline has an extension and every delay has a potential reward.

So here’s to procrastination, the force of challenge and relief from the mundane!

Zabby Eight Update 12/1/10

The Eight family had a miracle over the weekend! Kat discovered a “back to life” potion and injected Zabby’s parents,who happened to be lying on my living room floor.The potion works ONLY on imaginary people and brought Zabby’s parents back to life!

At first, Katherine injected Zabby’s mom and she popped back to herself. But when it came to her Dad, Katherine accidentally picked up the syringe filled with the “super grow” formula that Kat had also developed. He filled the room . After the reanimation of Zabby’s Dad, Katherine had me give him an injection for “average size”. She lifted his pant leg and told me to just inject his leg since I could not reach his shoulder. It worked!

Zabby’s parents are staying with me now and actually look pretty good for all that they have been through. Kat has decided to keep her medical miracle syringes better organized. I’m still wondering what killed Zabby’s parents in the first place AND why they were on my living room floor? I’m just too afraid to ask!

Artwork is a process not an outcome.

Messy and fun go together!

Kids need to have access to many kinds or artistic materials.

The problem with many of us is that we expect them to “make a picture”. That’s not the way it happens…

Kids need to explore the materials and unless you are able to allow a few messy moments, they won’t really learn.

I remember one day care friend of mine who refused to put paint brush to paper for the longest time. She’d dab colors onto her brush then happily rinse them in the water to watch the color change. No problem! She got around to the paper eventually and with a healthy “eye” for color, I might add.

If you stand back and watch, the kids really do know what they are doing. It probably is not what you expected but let them go. Paint does not only have a color, it has a texture too. Adding water or using sponges to paint with, makes for great fun and learning.

In the beginning of my day care career, I expected a pretty picture to send home to Mom and Dad. Being an artist myself, I quickly realized that those muddy brown ones were the best example of an artistic learning experience. I inform all of my parents of this and they enjoy knowing that artwork is a process.

There are predictable levels of developement that parents should know.

  1. muddy messes need to happen.
  2. watch for the artwork to begin to fill the paper.
  3. watch for colors becoming more divided.
  4. watch for doodles that are named after creation.
  5. watch for the planning of a picture before doodles.

All these things can keep the parents’ interest and, after all, that’s what is really important to the kids.

Offer to post your child’s artwork on the refrigerator for viewing BUT don’t if they resist. They know the difference between work that they are proud of and just a mess too.

Interacting with the kids when they draw or paint is the most important part. Resist that temptation to give them paint,paper,water and back to the TV you go. (Once in a while it’s OK.) The kids really enjoy feedback as they play.

  • “What lovely colors!”
  • “That looks like a fish.”
  • “If you don’t want a hole through your paper, try using less water.”

If you are patient and involved, those beautiful artworks for the office bulletin board will be masterpieces and you’ll have had a lot of fun!

 

Blunder Dunder

Blunder Dunder was a kid.

I hate to tell you what she did.

But learn you must, as she did not.

Don’t touch the stove when it is hot!

Mother warned and Daddy pleaded,

But neither one she ever heeded.

Blunder Dunder moved in spite

Because she thought she’s always right.

Once when she jumped on her bed,

“You might get hurt.”, her mother said.

She placed her fist upon her hip

Then fell right off and bit her lip!

It’s the HARD way she must learn.

Blunder was a name she earned.

I hope, my friend, you’ll learn from facts,

Not from careless, hurtful acts.

Parents try to warn their kids

From things they know and “should have dids”.

Don’t be a Blunder Dunder squirt.

Save yourself a lot of hurt!