Saturday, October 31, 2009

50 ways to bring out the best in your child

50 Ways to Bring Out Your Child's Best

by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.

(first published in Family Circle, February 2, 1993).

Richard loved to tinker with mechanical devices. As a 6-year-old, he took apart an alarm clock. At 9, he helped his dad fix the lawn mower. In high school, he spent hours tearing apart and rebuilding stereo equipment. Now, as a young adult, he's a sound technician for a professional theater company. Richard's parents encouraged his interests at an early age, which helped him become a successful adult. However, Richard was never labeled as "gifted." In fact, he had trouble with math in school. The definition of "the gifted child" has traditionally been based on school-related skills and limited to the upper 5 to 10 percent of children who achieve high test scores, write well and excel academically. These are certainly important, but there may be hundreds of other ways for children to show their gifts. "Today's intelligence researchers emphasize that nearly all children-not just the celebrated 5 percent-have special talents, "says David G. Myers, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Studies at Harvard University bear this out, suggesting that kids can display intelligence in many different ways-through words, numbers, music,pictures, athletic or "hands-on" abilities, and social or emotional development. As an anonymous observer once said: "All children are gifted, some just open their packages later than others. "You can play a crucial role in awakening latent talents or developing current strengths through experiences you give your child at home. Here are 50 ways for you to bring out your child's best, regardless of how his gifts are packaged:

1. Let your child discover her own interests. Pay attention the activities she chooses. This free-time play can say a lot about where her gifts lie.

2. Expose your child to a broad spectrum of experiences. They may activate latent talents. Don't assume that he isn't gifted in an area because he hasn't shown an interest.

3. Give your child permission to make mistakes. If she has to do things perfectly, she'll never take the risks necessary to discover and develop a gift.

4. Ask questions. Help your child open up to he wonders of the world by asking intriguing questions: Why is the sky blue? Find the answers together.

5. Plan special family projects. Shared creativity can awaken and develop new talents.

6. Don't pressure your child to learn. If children are sent to special lessons every day in the hope of developing their gifts, they may become too stressed or exhausted to shine. Encourage, but don't push.

7. Have high expectations. But make them realistic.

8. Share your work life. Expose your child to images of success by taking him to work. Let him see you engaged in meaningful activities and allow him to become involved.

9. Provide a sensory-rich environment. Have materials around the home that will stimulate the senses: finger paints, percussion instruments, and puppets.

10. Keep your own passion for learning alive. Your child will be influenced by your example.

11. Don't limit your child with labels. They may saddle her with a reputation that doesn't match her inner gifts.

12. Play games together as a family.

13. Have a regular family time for reading, listening to music, talking.

14. Have reference materials available to give your child access to the world.

15. Allow your child to participate in community activities that interest her.

16. Use humor, jokes, silly stories to encourage creativity.

17. Don't criticize or judge the things your child does. He may give up on his talents if he feels evaluated.

18. Play with your child to show your own sense of playfulness.

19. Share your successes as a family. Talk about good things that happened during the day to enhance self-esteem.

20. Provide your child with access to a home, school or public library computer.

21. Listen to your child. The things he cares about most may provide clues to his special talents.

22. Give your child a special space at home to be creative.

23. Praise your child's sense of responsibility at home when she completes assigned chores.

24. Visit new places as a family.

25. Give your child open-ended playthings. Toys like blocks and puppets encourage imaginative play.

26. Give your child unstructured time to simply daydream and wonder.

27. Share inspirational stories of people who succeeded in life.

28. Don't bribe your child with rewards. Using incentives to get children to perform sends a message that learning is not rewarding in its own right

29. Suggest that your child join peer groups that focus on her gifts.

30. Discuss the news to spark interests.

31. Discourage gender bias. Expose your child to both feminine and masculine toys and activities.

32. Avoid comparing your child to others. Help your child compare himself to his own past performance.

33. Be an authoritative parent.

34. Use community events and institutions to activate interests. Take trips to the library, museums, concerts, plays.

35. Give presents that nourish your child's strengths.

36. Encourage your child to think about her future. Support her visions without directing her into any specific field.

37. Introduce your child to interesting and capable people.

38. Think of your home as a learning place. The kitchen is great for teaching math and science through cooking.

39. Share feelings. A child's gifts can be stifled by repressed emotions.

40. Encourage your child to read.

41. Honor your child's creations.

42. Do things with your child in his areas of interest.

43. Teach your child to trust her intuition and believe in her capabilities.

44. Give your child choices. It builds willpower and fuels initiative.

45. Show your child how to use books to further an interest. For example, "how to" books for the "hands-on" learner.

46. Set aside an area of the house for displaying creations and awards.

47. Encourage your child to tackle areas that are difficult for him. Help him learn to confront any limitations.

48. Be a liaison between your child's special talents and the real world. Help her find outlets for her talents.

49. Introduce children's literature that honors and develops gifts. Books like the Little Engine That could encourage a "can do" attitude.

50. Accept your child as he or she is.

For further information read: Thomas Armstrong, Awakening Your Child's Natural
Genius (Putnam, 1991), and Awakening Genius in the Classroom (ASCD, 1998),
available by calling 1-800-247-6552. Visit Thomas Armstrong's website at:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Unschool group, french quarter and Border's all in one day!

Today, we went to Audubon Park and met a homeschool/unschool group, which was GREAT, they were all really nice people, and the kids had a blast with all the other kids, even Evan had fun.
After that we went to the Quarter, I had to go to Mary's hardware store(needed flux), we had fun, ate at Krystal Burger...really bad for you, but oh so good!
Then we went to Border's...Evan was running out of books. He can just walk down to Maple ST books, but they did not have the DC comic's he wanted.
We did all of this while taking the Street Car everywhere!!!! Not bad...just time consumming.
It was a good day, I got to see the kids have a really great day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creating, mothering

I am here starting this new blog, listening to two of my children fight over the everything and anything. SO it is interesting that I am here starting a blog about being a mother, and also being an artist, and they are fighting! I just find that perfect.

I should introduce myself, I am Melinda, I am married, to Aidan, and we have 3 children together, he also have 2 other children from previous relationships. Our children are Evan is 14 years old, Chloe who will be 10 years old in 3 weeks, and Isibella, who is 7 years old. His son Aidan "Ned" came to live with in June. We also have my sister Phyllis who lives with us, so we live in a very full house. We live in New Orleans, LA, yes we moved here after the storm! We love the city, and have adopted it as our own.

We unschool all of our children, if you do not know what that is, please go to this website to help you understand.
We are into natural parenting, we do not follow mainstream for child-rearing. We believe in attachment parenting, and in treating our children as humans, not as a object we own.

I am a stay at home mom, yet I also make things to sell. I am currently selling photo's, jewelry, ceramic's. Aidan is a teacher and writer. He is currently working on a new book.

I am into nature religion, I believe that everything is connected, and that there is female and male energy is the universe.
I am currently involved in making altered art, and the kids are having blast doing this as well.