Monday, December 29, 2014

Parenting:Vaccines Work!


Too many people are passing on lifesaving vaccinations because of wrong information. To skip vaccinations not only puts your child at risk, but also adds risk to the lives of children who are unable to take vaccinations. Please click on this info graphic by Maki Naro, and learn the truth about this gift from God that helps to keep our children healthy and safe.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Resource: Sign Language

Click on this picture to see the story of the Grinch!
I fell in love with American Sign Language many years ago. I cannot dance well with my feet, but I can make my hands dance with sign. It is a wonderful, expressive language. Watch this clip with your children and help them to read the signs. Ask your children to describe how each character in the story feels. This young girl is a genius at expressing emotions through signs.

I recommend you go to the site that posted this clip.
ASLnook is designed by this young girl's parents and has a wealth of resources to connect the spoken word to the signed word. 

When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I used sign language to help children to develop language skills. I even did some research that indicated sign language helped my students to learn to read. Exploring another language helps children to develop their first language.

As you explore sign language with your children help them to understand that children that are different from them are not defective. God did not create this child and then say "Oops, I forgot to give her hearing!" God creates His children just the way they are. 

And He loves them just the way they are - no more, no less.

Exposure to different languages not only enhances your child's intelligence, but it enhances the skill of empathy. Through this process, differences can become something interesting with the potential for learning and friendship instead of the threat of fear.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Children: Anger

There are several good things about this note:

1. This angry child is writing a note instead of screaming. This behavior shows excellent self-regulation. He or she has learned how to handle anger and to communicate in a safe and effective way.

2. This child is giving himself or herself a time-out. My guess is that the ban on communication did not last for two days - all day. The two-day ban tells more about the intensity of the anger than the child's need for alone time.

3. The child expresses anger but does not attempt to manipulate. Children need to learn to deal with anger and with parent decisions that can cause anger. Children need to know that they are loved even when they hear the word "no."  

4. It demonstrates that this child understands, knows, and receives unconditional love. This child knows that love is stronger than anger - even a really big anger.

5. This child has learned empathy. He or she can express anger, but still remember to express love because that is what has been experienced in the past. 

Never underestimate the power of unconditional love!

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (I John 4:16, ESV)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Parenting: Creative Learning

Click on the picture to see this great Tedtalk

I really love this Tedtalk by AnnMarie Thomas. Even though she is suggesting this for teachers and students, she field tested it with her daughter. It is great to teach about electrical circuits, resistance, and load, but the best thing about this activity is that her daughter was able to learn things by trying them out. 

"Let's see what would happen if  I try this."

This is learning at its best. The learner is able to pose a theory and try it. If it doesn't work, the learner tries something new. If it does work, the adult, or parent, (or Google,) is there to explain why. This is much more engaging than teaching the rules about circuits, first, and then supervising while the learner follows the rules. The more engaging the activity, the more time spent learning, and the better things are learned.

"Oops, I guess that doesn't work."

It is also a great way to learn from mistakes. A mistake is not remembered as evidence of lack of learning. Instead, a mistake is simply moved to the list of what doesn't work. The mistake represents learning instead of failure. 

Go ahead and try it! Let your children teach you creative learning.