IN THIS ISSUE:
– Welcome: “Talking with your children”
– Feature: “Life skills talk is cheap . . . And effective!”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick – “Home Comforts”
– K-3 Book Pick – “Beetle Boy”
– 4-6 Book Pick – “Bud, Not Buddy!”
– Web Discoveries; 3 great NUTRITION sites!
– Words of Wisdom – IMAGINATION, the spark of life
– Life Skills Resources – Quick Links
WELCOME: “Talking with your children”
I’m starting this newsletter with special thanks to the educators and parents who responded to our premier issue of LifeSkills4Kids News. We already have subscribers in 12 countries and from across the US. With your help, we’ll continue finding and delivering great life skills teaching resources to friends worldwide.
This month, we’re focusing on the easiest way to help your children grow up to be their best. You don’t have to buy anything, or go to school, or hire trained professionals to benefit from this advice. You just have to talk to your children.
With best regards,
FEATURE: ” Life skills talk is cheap . . . And effective!”
We’re in luck! The most effective thing we can do to help our children grow up to be their best is something we all do every day – talk!
OK, we all know that talking to children is a great idea, but it may not always be easy. *What* should we talk about? And how will we help them grow if we’re just chatting about everyday things?
Another stroke of luck! Scientific research with children shows that they *already* have an innate knowledge of life skills. Everyone does. There’s no scientific formula for “How to tell right from wrong,” but a group of people (young or old) can sit together and come up with accurate ideas in a short amount of time.
The secret to successful life skills education is having direction.
Knowing the ideas you want to convey and knowing how to talk about them makes all the difference. When you know what you’re trying to teach, you’ll find that our lessons integrate with many subjects. By knowing your teaching objectives, you’ll discover opportunities to start fruitful and interesting discussions with your children that convey that knowledge.
Sounds pretty fancy but believe me, you’re ready! You see, it’s *your* questions that help your children verbalize life skills concepts. You are the one who draws out their knowledge.
Education researchers call this interrogatory style of teaching the Socratic method. Their research (and our experience) shows that the Socratic method maximizes student comprehension and participation. It’s particularly beneficial for children who rarely take part in discussions. When you’re a good guide, it’s much easier for children to follow.
That’s why all our life skills learning objectives suggest plenty of discussion topics. You’ll also find suggestions in our newsletters relating to books, quotes and other web sites.
When you have the right ideas in mind, you’ll find that the life skills concepts are easy to integrate with other subjects, such as social studies, language art, science, art and music.
TEACHER/PARENT BOOK PICKS
Life skills help our children (and us!) function in the “real world.” They help us to interact effectively with people and situations that we encounter every day. This month, our book theme is how to make a house into a clean, safe, attractive, comfortable home. (-;
While these books don’t teach us how to make friends or resolve disputes, they are terrific guides for organizing and maintaining a good environment for our children. More important, they can create some activities that you and your children can share.
For the first time in nearly 100 years (!) someone has come out with a book on the science of maintaining a home. Cheryl Mendelson’s book has the facts that will turn many household chores into fun activities for you and your children to do together.
This handy *reference* work (don’t even *think* about trying to do everything the author suggests – you’ll exhaust yourself) discusses the ins and outs of homemaking; washing dishes, cleaning methods, housekeeping for those with pets or allergies, emergency preparedness and safety procedures. The research is impeccable with sections on food (e.g. which foods belong in the fridge versus the pantry, storage times, picking the freshest fruits and vegetables, and keeping your kitchen and food sanitary), laundry (caring for various fabrics, reading clothing care labels, and removing stains) and plenty more. Lots of illustrations and more facts than you ever dreamed of!
GRADE K-3 BOOK PICK
The plot? A second grader wakes up one morning to discover that he has become a giant beetle! And with that plot twist we learn about how children and parents relate to one another, even though their realities may be extremely different. The truth is that the boy just wants his parents to notice him and to pay more attention to him. He and his parents grow together. As readers, we can join them. This book conveys important ideas about facing disappointment and how important love and recognition really are.
GRADE 4-6 BOOK PICK
Although the book is set in the 1930’s, it deals with themes that are just as relevant today. Bud Caldwell is a 10 year old orphan on the run from abusive foster homes. His mother passed away when he was only 6 but she left him with clues that enabled him to leave on a search to find his father. On the way, he confronts plenty of challenges as he tries to survive in the adult world. The result is a book filled with wonderful characters and plenty of humor. In the end, the lesson is that the seed of an idea can inspire a child to overcome many obstacles and accomplish extraordinary things in life.
WEB DISCOVERIES: for teachers, parents & kids
The theme for this issue is NUTRITION.
I’ve found two great links to explore.
Keepkidshealthy.com is a Pediatrician’s guide to your children’s health and safety. This site includes a health library, nutrition parenting tips, kids food guide pyramid, food safety, growth charts and a 12-week plan to help achieve a healthier weight.
“True Tales of the School Lunchroom,” in which Susan Friedman bravely accepts an assignment to find “the truth” about what goes on in a school lunchroom, i.e. what kids eat, what they won’t eat, and *why*. The result is funny and informative. I also note that contributing editors on Family Education sites are all highly qualified; Susan has been producing educational television, and multimedia for ten years and has a Masters Degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Words of Wisdom: IMAGINATION – The spark of life
A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.”
Patricia NealWhat is our real role as parents and teachers? We can’t make decisions for our children but we can show them a universe of wonderful possibilities.
As the feature article in this month’s newsletter relates, so much can be accomplished with simple conversation. Communication is the key for you and your children to know yourselves . . . and each other.
The quotes below make some interesting discussion topics. How do your children interpret them? What do you think of them? Classroom teachers can use any one of these quotes (or the student’s choice) to use as an interesting art or writing assignment. Here are a few interesting comments on imagination from some very interesting people.
“If you can DREAM it, you can DO it
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it;
if you can dream it, you can become it.”
William Arthur Ward
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world.”
” Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages
to its present state of civilization.
Imagination led Columbus to discover America.
Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity.
Imagination has given us the steam engine,
the telephone the talking-machine, and the automobile,
for these things had to be dreamed of
before they became realities.
“So I believe that dreams — daydreams, you know,
with your eyes wide open
and your brain machinery whizzing
are likely to lead to the betterment of the world.
The imaginative child will become
the imaginative man or woman
most apt to invent,
and therefore to foster, civilization.”
L. Frank Baum
“You cannot depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus.”
“The Possible’s slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination.”