Mini-blog series: FOSTERING a CULTURE of LEARNING & GROWTH

Until recently IQ was considered the most important factor with regard to a child’s success in learning. Now scientists are finding a very different set of skills believed to be crucial; these are non-cognitive skills such as persistence, fortitude, self-control, curiosity, drive, and thoroughness. They are often referred to as executive function skills, those intangible character qualities previously regarded by many as not teachable. Now however scientists are saying these may in fact be the most important skills to teach.  How can we foster a culture in our homes and classrooms in which children learn these qualities that are vital to their growth and development in every way? How do we encourage them to be “attentive observers and industrious doers, propelled by their own initiative?” (Veritas Valiant) How do we teach our children grit or SISU, that tenacious ability to persist despite the challenges? How do we help them grow in attentiveness and self-control? Starting August 28th, I will post a “mini blog” each week related to how we can foster such a culture in our homes and classrooms:  The blogs will be short posts consisting of simple ideas, links to related articles, thought-provoking quotes or scripture. Whether you are an educator, a parent or grandparent, or simply someone interested in helping kids, join me in this series. I value your ideas and insights and plan to include your great ideas in future posts.  You can share them via the comment function OR simply email me at geschuk@gmail.com. To receive notification by email, go to familywings.org/blog.  On the right sidebar, you can subscribe to receive notifications of new mini-blogs as...

Four Inspirational Blogs for Parents

Dear Readers, Below are four inspirational blogs to read…. Dear You Who Doesn’t Want to do the Hard Thing – Ann Voskamp Dear Lovely You, who doesn’t want to play the piano, take out the recycling, study for your geometry exam, get on the treadmill, clean up the basement, or do that big thing that feels like an impossible thing— okay, yeah, boy, do I hear you. It doesn’t matter a hill of sprouting beans if you’re 9 and stomping your feet or 16 and slamming doors or 40 and distracting on your phone — hard things just keep calling you because you’re meant to answer to higher and better things.  READ…. 3 Ways to Transform Rhythms & Routines in a Newly Classical Homeschool  A delighftul article about educating our children at home by Allison Burr at the  CiRCE Institute READ……. Two great blogs from Veritas moms…. Connie Hagen,  Veritas mom and author of (coming out soon) Drinking the Cup You are Served: How to Live Beyond Your Circumstances, writes a thought-provoking blog: A couple of weeks ago I watched my son after a long Christmas break load up his car for the fourth time and drive off to college.  Watching your kids leave for college never gets easier, for me it has actually gotten harder.  I remember when I drove him to school his freshman year. I thought I would be devastated, but to my surprise I was actually relieved.  After such a stressful senior year worrying about college admission, SAT scores, senior trip, graduation, and getting him prepared to leave home, dropping him off and getting him settled...

Five Interesting Blogs and Podcasts

Happy New Year! May God bless you and your family with joy and peace in 2015. I anticipate an inspirational year and am oddly enthusiastic about what 2015 will hold.  Over the Christmas break, I read some interesting articles and listened to some inspirational podcasts.  Here’s links to five of them: 1. As a parent of adolescents, you are likely forming your opinion about dating or courting: Check out Thomas Ulmstattd’s book he is working on called Courtship in Crisis and consider joining his kickstarter campaign. You can also read his thought provoking article called Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed. 2. Are you motivated to get and keep yourself clutter-free this year? Listen to Kathi Lipp’s  podcast and join her “Let’s be Clutter Free in ’15’  challenge. 3. After Christmas, I pondered ways to move the focus of the holiday season for my grandchildren to one of giving rather than getting. I love buying gifts for my children and grandchildren and it’s something I will not stop doing! But each year, we adults ponder how to infuse the concept of giving into all the getting that my grandchildren experience. I went through the same cycle last year but all too soon, the holiday season was back and once again I got busy buying gifts. This season, an article by Steve Murrell, written years ago, got my attention.  In his article, he shares simple ways to move the focus away from getting  to giving.  Now my family has a plan in place for the 2015 holiday season. Check out: Our Christmas Eve Disaster by Steve Murrell – Moving the Christmas...

Learning to Be Still

Please check out “So Here’s the Thing” with Kathi Lipp, her podcast which offers parents hope, humor and how to’s.  I was thrilled to be a part of her podcast this week, which features Erin’s and my book Free to Parent.  You can hear the whole thing by clicking on “So Here’s the Thing.”   And here’s this week’s post on an important topic for all parents: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 I recently spoke to our young students at school about the verse “Be still and know that I am God” found in Psalms 46. As I looked out into the audience and considered the sweet faces gazing back at me, I realized that I was speaking to boys and girls who definitely knew what it meant to “hold still,” but I wondered whether they comprehended, or even knew how to experience, what it meant to “be still.”  Growing up in a media saturated world, what will they miss out on if they never learn to experience stillness within themselves? This inner state of being –  our minds at rest –  is something we need to practice to make it part of who we are. Earlier in Psalm 46,  it states “do not fear though the earth give away.”  To be still in the midst of such terror seems improbable, yet it’s exactly what we are told to do – to be still in the midst of our storms, and turn our hearts and minds to God, the source of our wisdom and strength. We need to be still at those times of...

From Kindergarten to Graduation

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 Picture your son as a graduating senior? Picture your daughter stepping onto a college campus? These are the most intriguing questions we ask parents in their admission’s interview to Veritas Academy. I enjoy hearing the hopes and dreams that moms and dads hold for their young children. Then when graduation time rolls around, I sentimentally reflect on how their sons and daughters are now walking into the vision painted for them years ago. I know the struggles some of these students have had to work through in different seasons of their lives and I know the times of hopelessness their parents have felt as a result. Each graduate has a unique story, one that includes both refining of individual strengths as well as prevailing over personal weaknesses. Each has experienced both success and failure; wise choices as well as mistakes; good times and bad times. I see how God is bringing clarity to their personal identity, via their strengths and interests, but also how He is developing resilience as they confront their imperfections and overcome obstacles. I believe that God paints vision for children into the hearts and minds of their parents. Moms and dads are His chosen ones to guide, train and nurture these little ones. As I consider our youngest students to those who are graduating, they represent segments of the same journey of growth towards a heavenly vision that God has called them to. This vision has less to do with what they will become career-wise and more to...

DIGITAL TIPS & GUIDELINES

TIPS & GUIDELINES from The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald D. Hart & Sylvia Hart Frejd Recommended Screen Limits for Children (American Academy of Pediatrics) Children ages -2 – NO screen time.  Babies need all five senses to develop at this stage, and the digital screen only develops two of these senses- seeing and hearing. Children ages 3 to 5 – One hour per day. This is the age of make believe.  They have no logic at this age so they need to spend playtime with other children. Children age 6 to 12- No more than ninety minutes a day. Teenagers 13 to 19- Two hours a day. WAYS to IMPROVE SLEEP QUALITY Keep reasonably regular hours- brains needs a consistent sleep onset No caffeine after 4 PM No tech activity after 8 PM- stimulates adrenaline glands Exercise De-stress before bed Don’t use cell phone as your alarm clock TEXTING TIPS Carefully evaluate the age of your kids when they start texting Makes rules around when and where.  No texting during meals, during class or on family outings Phone is turned OFF at night and collected No texting while they should be concentrating on something else- driving, conversations, homework Establish and enforce consistent consequences for misuse Watch your own behavior Prioritize their safety over their privacy ESTABLISHING PERSONAL DIGITAL BOUNDARIES AND GUIDELINES No checking  iphone or emails until after morning devotions End digital day by dinner at least early in the evening No checking iphone when a meal  with others No digital gadgets at mealtimes Limit checking emails to once every few hours No talking on the phone to...