A special thank you!

National Adoption month is almost over, and I couldn't let it pass before thanking those who chose life so that their precious children could be loved and cherished by an adoptive family. I know it could not have been an easy decision, but as an aunt to 2 beautiful adopted boys, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Of horses, children, and all things teachable

Recently, I took my daughters on a field trip to Forever Florida to learn more about Florida's cattle history and horsemanship. While there, we participated in a horse training session. During the session, positive behavior was reinforced with a treat or verbal praise, and negative behavior was redirected. Within about 15 minutes we had trained one horse to yawn on command and another to roll a ball back to you. I was intrigued because I use this same technique in my Kindermusik classroom each week! Positive reinforcement can start with a small treat or verbal praise each time the desired outcome is achieved. The rewards will then begin to decrease as the new habit begins to form. There are a number of reasons that positive reinforcements works.
  • It supports what the child is doing right instead of focusing on what the child is doing wrong.
  • It increases the odds that your child will behave in that manner again.
  • It encourages your child's positive choices when you "catch them being good".
Positive reinforcement is nothing new to parents, but we often get so busy that we miss the opportunity. If we're not careful, we may only notice when the behavior has become undesirable. When that happens, it's important to redirect your child back to the original goal and reinforce the appropriate behavior once it occurs. I'm sure they will be galloping to success in no time flat! ;)

You might be a home schooler...

As I walked through my home the other day, I noticed a quilt thrown in a pile on the floor of my music room. With a sigh and a mumble of "wishing people would just learn to put things away", I reached to fold it up. I stopped, however, as I realized that there was something more going on with that quilt. It had become a classroom. A crack along the edge of the quilt was allowing in just enough light for a 4th grade reading class to exist beneath its quiet shroud. As a home school family, this behavior is not that unusual for us. However, I venture to say that most of you don't realize that you are home schoolers too!

Webster's dictionary defines a classroom as "a place where classes meet". To many this looks like a room with 4 walls, desks, and children seated in neat and tidy rows, but I believe a classroom is better defined as "a place where learning occurs".  Realistically, learning can take place anywhere at anytime. You might learn about math or nutrition on a trip to the grocery store. Little ones learn phonics and other pre-reading skills simply by singing silly songs with you in the car. Maybe you've even found yourself explaining the concepts of momentum and physics while playing ball with your children. (although you might not have used the technical jargon! LOL)

The point I'm trying to make here is that just because your child is enrolled at a traditional school or is too young to go to school yet, YOU are always going to be your child's most important teacher. It doesn't matter what your educational background is like. No one knows your child better than you do. No one has the vested interest that you have to ensure your child's success in life. Teachers can have an amazing impact on their students. It's one of the reasons I love my job as a Kindermusik teacher so much, but I truly believe some of the most important skills your child will ever learn will come from you as you guide them through everyday life. So embrace your "homeschooliness" and enjoy learning with your children each day!