No doubt about it, parenting is a difficult job and a most rewarding job, all at the same time. No child comes with an individualized instruction manual, but with consistency and love, the job gets done. I hope you find useful and inspiring material for your parenting on these pages.
References for Parents and Teachers
Reading With Babies, Toddlers, and Twos, A Guide to Choosing, Reading, and Loving Books Together by Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia.
Babies and toddlers can often look at and listen to the same book over and over, until the parent is ready to cry with boredom. Young children really enjoy knowing what’s coming! Of course, the parent has to enjoy reading time also, or it won’t be repeated. This book suggests many strong titles and encourages parents to keep on reading even though the child appears not to be listening. Some kids do somersaults or peek at a page and run away, yet they really are listening! As they get older, they’ll sit for longer and longer periods.
This book is just full of great ideas for stories and for story time.
Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and other learning difficulties
Parenting so-called “normal” children is fun, but still demanding, as all parents know. Parenting any child with special needs can be significantly tougher. For the material that follows, I drew on my 40+ teaching years plus consultations with other parents, and many fine reference books.
- Keep an unannounced, one-month log of the hours people in your family watch television.
- Simultaneously, keep track of the hours that various family members spend reading.
- Show your family the results at the end of the month. While books require active intellectual participation, adding new vocabulary and ideas to the reader's mind,
- TV is passive entertainment, aimed at 5th/6th grade, no higher.Anyone who wishes to remain permanently in 5th or 6th grade should watch TV and avoid reading.
Discipline & Punishment
Pity the word "discipline." It has bad connotations right now. Yet discipline is not punishment, far from it. Discipline is what YOU practice when you say, "I guess I won't eat that entire chocolate cake. I'll just have a small piece."
When you exercise self-discipline you are accepting one of life's harder truths: behavior has consequences. If you eat that whole cake, you could put on weight…or be sick. And if adorable little Sarah writes on Mom's wall with that rotten purple crayon, she should be made to scrub the wall.
Children over 2 or 2 ½--according to old moms like me and child development professionals--must learn that their behavior has consequences. For instance, a boy who repeatedly throws toys cannot have those toys until he shows he can play with them properly. Stow the toys in a box in a closet where he can see them but not reach them. When he shows signs of "being nice" with his toys, give back a couple and watch the behavior. If he throws one to test you…and he's apt to do this…take the toy away immediately. This time, wait longer before giving it back.
Children need limits. They need fences. You're in charge, never forget that. Children test and re-test their parents, just checking to see if those reassuring limits are still in place. Parents stand firm, because any home where the children are in charge is a miserable place. Four year-olds are not equipped to run the house. They desperately need you to do that for them! That is how they find security and learn self-discipline--in the known guidelines at home.
Home Help for Test Takers
If you have read Cheaper By The Dozen, you know that the father of the famous Gilbreth family from New Jersey never missed an opportunity to educate his brood. For example, while bathing, his kids viewed the sky and its constellations in posters on the bathroom walls. Taking a leaf from that delightful, witty book, you might try the following:
- First, sit down with your teenager and explain that the SAT and PSAT measure some educational skills, but certainly not all. They cannot measure speaking skills, musical or dance skills, and so on. Your test score is not YOU, in other words. Many highly successful adults had average or lousy test scores.
- Post Word-A-Day calendars opposite all toilets. Everyone benefits from a bigger vocabulary--it particularly helps on standardized tests. And in writing…. And in speaking…. In job interviews…. And on the job. After all, each word represents an idea. Those who have rich vocabularies are rich in ideas.
- Put a book of old SAT / PSAT tests beside the toilets. Kids can do one question per visit to the small private room.
- Play Stump-A-Parent at mealtimes. It's a most gratifying feeling for a kid to conquer a math or verbal problem (from SATs or PSATs) that a parent cannot. (Believe me, this will happen.) The side benefit is that younger kids absorb all of this material. They won't grow up dreading SATs. They will have been playing that game for years.
Book Clubs for Kids
As soon as possible kids, should be running their own book clubs. You can whisper guidelines in their ears, but if they run their own show, they will take ownership of the club, and that is what you want.
A book club is not school. While adults may join book clubs to force themselves to read books they would otherwise not read, children typically participate in a book club only as long as they're having fun. Creative field trips that help to bring a book to life -- fossil hunting, dolphin watches, zoo visits, trips to a "haunted house," visits to a working farm -- are invaluable.
At the first meeting of the club, being as subtle as possible, help your kids to create the club rules.
Howdy! And welcome to the green pages of this website. Here is information to help you enjoy, understand, and preserve the only planet we've got--Earth!
Regular topics will include:
- healthful foods and recipes,
- useful websites,
- reducing your carbon footprint--and, yes, definitions for any new terms!
Thanks to years of teaching at the Duke Marine Lab here in Beaufort, NC, I know fine folks who are eager to share sugggestions for living a healthier, more mindful life.
- About Your Carbon Footprint...what do you know? You can find out with the help of World Wildlife Fund's new carbon calculator. At their website you can figure out your footprint in the following categories: food, housing, transportation, and goods and services. Learn how you're doing compared to the rest of the world. Do check it out and learn how to do even better! worldwildlife.org/carboncalculator
- Go Take a Dive...into the oceans of the world. Okay, it's a virtual dive, but still mighty interesting. You'll be going online to explore the world's oceans. These amazing waters cover over 70% of the Earth's surface, they're a matchless source of protein, and we all need to guard them. Find out more at earth.google.com/ocean
- Gardening Success
In March 2009, we recommended Mel Bartholomew's All New Square-Foot Gardening book. Well, the vegetable person here, my spouse, followed the advice and created two four-by-four beds this past summer and it REALLY WORKS. We'll be eating our last tomatoes and peppers tonight, December 2nd. (Of course, it's warmer here in North Carolina than some places.) We also successfully grew green beans, parsley, basil, and zillions of peppers, all colors.
- AMAZING WEBSITE: http://inkrethink.blogspot.com
Here's a terrific resource for parents, homeschoolers, kids, and teachers. For famous children's non-fiction authors in your classroom, go to www.inkthinktank.com, which is an amazing, free database of non-fiction books.
On these sites you can search for material required for schools nationwide, for national education standards, for current titles in all required schooling fields, and more. You can search using author names, titles, and keywords. Boys often prefer non-fiction to fiction, as you may know, and here is the best collection of well-written, interesting factual books I've heard about!
Best of all, www.inkthinktank.com brings authors into your classroom as these writers discuss how they research, give suggestions for using these books in class, and explain the professional development workshops that they bring to schools. Books in the database have won hundreds of major awards, so let's check them out, and note the printable list of award-winning factual books!
- DOE Weatherization Assistance
The Department of Energy has set aside over $5 billion to help us make our homes more energy-efficient. Individual homeowners may qualify for loans as well as city, state, and county governments. Go online at home or at your library's computers to find out how you may receive assistance. Just type in Department of Energy and snoop around.
- Planet Green
If you are on cable TV, you may have a channel called Planet Green. If so, lucky you!
- "New" Clothes...FREE!
Fact: Women love new clothes. The latest trend in living a less materialistic, "greener" existence is swapping clothes/boots/purses/books. All around the country, groups are gathering, loaded down with stuff they want to swap for "different stuff." Enroll 10 or 20 of your friends and give it a try in a church basement or any central meeting place. Divide the stuff into logical piles and find all new stuff to take home and enjoy-for free. One rule: no fighting.