Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Food For Your Baby

* Iron-enriched infant is a good first food for your baby

* Rice cereal is not likely to cause an allergy, so it is good first food

* Try first feeding of cereal at a time when your baby is well-rested and not too hungry

* Use a spoon to feed cereal to your baby. Do not put a cereal in a bottle; your baby should learn to eat from a spoon-even if it seems to take a long time.

* First feeding should be just a few spoonfuls of a very thin mixture of cereal and formula or breast milk. Thicker cereal is fine for older babies.

Source :Feeding Your Children.Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program.2002

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Understanding Giftedness [ 6 ]

For self-motivated learners, parents need to be careful about giving external rewards (for example, a gift for completing a good project) because the learner may begin to feel that the effort was really for the reward, not for the joy of the journey. Curious children need teachers to expose them to the various lessons, but then their curiosity and thirst for knowledge should help guide them through the maze toward mastery of the topic. If your curious learner isn’t burdened by self-inflicted,undue pressure to succeed and learn, and can still work within the confines that society sometimes imposes (for example, a tour guide at a museum cannot always stop to answer all of the questions posed by a particular patron), then the drive toward independence and self-learning can be one to encourage and foster.

In recent years, society has certainly witnessed the fact that childhood is not always carefree and that children sometimes have serious emotional struggles. A child that has advanced emotional maturity and social skills is a learner who is better prepared to weather the frustrating periods in life. The ability to cope with stress and the ability to empathize with others are valuable skills in personal as well as professional success. If your child has the emotional tools to overcome obstacles and frustration, this will help the learning process. Learning involves being receptive to information that may not have been presented earlier. If a learner only feels comfortable exploring topics that have already been mastered, then the learning process can be rocky. The emotionally mature learner may verbalize some discomfort with a new lesson but can focus the needed energy on the learning process and not on the anxiety of not knowing all the answers immediately.

A few other areas of giftedness are worth mentioning. Some children have keenly developed smell discrimination and/or taste discrimination. For instance, John can tell when his mother varies the amount of onions used in a particular recipe. Is this talent useful? Certainly if one aims to become a chef, then this skill is extremely useful. It can also be helpful in the learning process. For instance, a lesson in chemistry can utilize the combination of various food condiments to drive home the point that the end product can be greater than the sum of its parts. Some learners have gifts that are directly related to academic work. The child who has a talent in the area of written language may be encouraged to vary the form of writing (such as memoir or poetry) to generalize the gift to many areas of written language. The child who has advanced reading comprehension skills might be encouraged to read and discuss many forms of literature.

However, it is always important to remember that a learner may have advanced reading skills
but not advanced emotional maturity. Therefore, book selections must consider both factors. The math whiz could utilize this talent in everyday life. For instance, one activity could be to calculate how much money should be saved each week in order to get the “must have” videogame. Whenever lessons can be fun for the learner and also practical to the everyday lessons of life, then two important goals have been accomplished—academic growth and life preparedness!

The list of specific talents and gifts can go on and on. The important point is to highlight the fact that no two gifted or talented children fit one mold or profile. Therefore, you should interpret the information provided to you in upcoming chapters in the context of your particular child’s areas
of giftedness and needs.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Friday, May 16, 2008

Understanding Giftedness [ 5 ]

Memory skills are a vital part of our functioning, since individuals build on prior experiences
as they grow and learn. Some learners have amazing gifts to remember factual information. For instance, Sam may be able to recite all the states at 24 months of age, while ten-year old Sheila may be able to spontaneously tell you the birth and death dates of all the American presidents. Alexandra is a different learner. While she doesn’t have the advanced memory for concrete facts, she is able to vividly remember events that have occurred in her own life. Therefore, there are many components to memory and many ways that children can be talented in their memory skills. Memory is not a single skill, and it involves many different steps and cognitive operations.

First, a student needs to immediately remember information just learned; then he needs to begin to store it for a longer duration; then he will need to consolidate it into long-term memory; later be able to retrieve it. At times, a student has one part of this process mastered but struggles in another area. For instance, a learner may have no problem listening to a phone number, then going to the phone and dialing it. However, if that same learner is asked to retrieve the number from memory a few hours later, it may be difficult or impossible. Memory is multi-faceted. Some memories are auditory, visual, tactile, or olfactory (associated with smell). If you think back to your own recollections of situations, there are times that you may vaguely remember a trip to someone’s house but have a clear recollection of the smell of something baking in that house. A learner who remembers information best by storing it through tactile (or touch) channels, may benefit from being able to touch and manipulate the materials in the lesson. Many math lessons can be taught utilizing objects to highlight points. For learners with an extremely accurate, detailed memory (sometimes labeled as a photographic memory),they may look at a page in a book and may not need to reread it when studying or reviewing the information. Rather, the learner may just need to reflect on the image that has been imbedded into memory.

An important part of any learner’s success is to have well-developed executive functions. These include planning skills, impulse control, the ability to pay attention, and the ability to organize tasks. If your child excels in these areas, it makes learning most lessons a little easier. A student with this area of talent can display more initiative and independence when completing projects and will likely gain self-esteem and self-confidence in the process. Similar attributes of motivation—being a self-starter, being curious, with a thirst for knowledge are characteristics that can generalize to most academic lessons as well as life lessons.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pregnancy Series : Preparing A Room for A Baby

Before you bring a baby home, it would be an especially good idea if you have a place ready for it to stay. This is something that should be done sooner rather than later. For example, it’s nearly impossible to put up ducky wallpaper while your wife is complaining that her water just broke. And, it’s totally impossible to assemble a crib while rushing a pregnant woman to the hospital.

You might think you’ll have time to prepare a room while your wife is in the hospital recovering, but trust me, you won’t. After the baby is born you’ll be too upset thinking about the medical bills and about having to change diapers to do much of anything that requires the use of tools. So, start early—sometime in the second trimester (when your wife is at least near normal) is probably best.

Preparing the baby’s room is actually quite easy and far less trying then dealing with a pregnant woman. In fact, it is probably something you may want to do from time to time just to get a break from your wife. Just remember that babies are very simple people. They basically just look around, poop, eat, spit, cry, poop, eat, spit, and cry. Therefore they really don’t need a lot of excess stuff in the room. Just make sure you have a nice safe bed and some cool things for them to look at. Unfortunately though, no matter how many footballs you place in the room, the baby is not going to think of these as anything other than something else to spit up on.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Understanding Giftedness [ 4 ]

Processing speed is also an area that is often equated with intelligence. However, the specific information processed can vary from one learner to another. One child may quickly process the direction of a sound, another person may quickly look at a brainteaser puzzle and arrive at a method for solving it, while another individual may quickly grasp a new lesson. In some of the formal tests of intelligence (such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Third Edition), some tasks are timed to ascertain not only the child’s ability to master an item, but also the child’s ability to master it under a time pressure. Students who are quick processors may need less time to complete certain work. However, just because a student quickly processes, say, a word analogy question, it does not necessarily mean that understanding other concepts will come as rapidly. Jorge rapidly completes puzzles and grasps scientific concepts. In contrast, he needs more time to understand grammar concepts. In this case, Jorge’s processing speed gift is specific to certain areas of learning and thinking.

At times, a child is impulsive and quickly finishes assignments or tasks. If the end product is haphazardly completed and does not display the learner’s best efforts or level of reflection, then
speed does not constitute a gift, but rather an area for discussion. Speed along with successful mastery are both important for this form of giftedness. This brings up an important point: as the parent/educator, please resist the urge to condense lessons into shorter time frames and cover many topics in the course of a day simply because you understand that your learner can process information quickly. Some children think intensely and rapidly but require more frequent breaks. This is where the balancing act, between focusing on intelligence and emotions, becomes so important. As the parent and the teacher, you are uniquely able to determine the most suitable way to meet the multitude of needs that your learner has.

A strong ability to think in both divergent and convergent manners is another area that can be
considered a talent or part of giftedness. Convergent thinking is the ability to determine how various objects or events are similar. For instance, a learner may be able to draw comparisons about how words that appear to look so different actually follow similar rules. In addition, your child may be able to draw parallels between historical situations that preceded wars.

On the other hand, divergent thinking skills reflect a learner’s ability to determine how a single event, object, or word can be looked at in different ways. The learner may be able to generate numerous uses for a typical household object, such as a stick of gum. Young children often are called “creative” when they can utilize their divergent thinking abilities to make a piece of candy into a warrior or a pencil into a phone. Inventors may also display their unique divergent thinking skills when they take common materials and create a novel product. Learners who have advanced divergent and convergent thinking skills may be able to find several ways to communicate an idea, but can also narrow down ideas to arrive at the most common feature.

Creativity taps into divergent thinking skills and may be viewed as a specific area of giftedness.
Creativity comes in many forms, such as talent in the performing arts, musical endeavors, ability
to arrive at novel conclusions by synthesizing new and old information, and the ability to problem solve and arrive at a unique way to resolve a dilemma. A child who is talented in singing, but struggled early on with reading skills, may benefit from singing the words aloud initially. The actor may bring to life a character from a book by trying to identify with that character and understand the subtle nuances of being that person in the historical or fictional time of the story. A problem-solver may enjoy brainteasers that require the use of logical inference and creativity in order to arrive at a conclusion. Creative learners may ask to complete an assignment in a way that deviates from our own ideas of how it should be done. If your learner can explain the rationale behind the creative approach, and it is educationally sound, then supporting the idea also can support your child’s belief that venturing out and offering unique thoughts to others is worthwhile.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pregnancy Series : Talking to Your Unborn Child

Believe it or not, your wife is probably going to insist that you talk to or even read a book to your unborn child. This is because a number of studies done by scientists (who were obviously really bored) seem to have shown that talking to an unborn child may be embarrassing for you but good for the baby. It’s one of those theories like “No two snowflakes are alike.” They can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either. Since they are scientists (who for some unknown reason specialize in this sort of thing) and you’re not, guess who your wife is going to listen to?

Your best course of action is to grin and bear it, and hope nobody is watching you on a hidden camera or something. It will help you get through this if you talk about subjects that are near and dear to your heart, such as your favorite TV shows and sports teams. This will allow you to keep at least some semblance of your manhood. Plus, if those wacky scientists are right, your baby will be born with incredible taste. Of course, the best benefit from all this will be you’ll get a happy wife, and a happy pregnant woman is much easier to deal with than a non-happy one.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Understanding Giftedness [ 3 ]

Next on the list of possible forms of giftedness, you can find one that is referred to as exceptional
visual-perceptual skills. For your learner, this can include such abilities as: being able to discriminate between two similar visual images, being able to quickly discover what is wrong with a picture, having a keen understanding of why photographs with different shading impact the gestalt of the picture, and/or an appreciation of paintings and sculptures. While these learners may be visual learners, this area isn’t just a preference but a talent. These learners may learn best when you add visual material to lessons. In the early years, a child with this area of giftedness may begin to truly understand the importance of time by developing photographs in a darkroom. The child can see that the same negative looks subtly to dramatically different if exposed to the developing process for a brief versus a longer time period. The concrete visual example of time can be very helpful to this learner who quickly grasps visual information.

The child who is talented in visual-motor skills has two areas that, in combination, form this kind of giftedness. The learner with visual-perceptual talent, as just described, may have an acute visual sensitivity and ability to be keenly visually alert. In visual-motor skills there is the added motor component. For instance, Rachel was able to surprise and delight her family when she, as a threeyear- old, made a complicated structure out of Legos. A year later, she visualized how she wanted a garden to look and, with some help from her mom and dad, eventually planted the seeds and witnessed her dream become a reality. Jim, a ten-year-old, drew his own comic strip series, with only minor guidance on his spelling from his father. Stephanie, age fifteen, followed a blueprint and made a lamp. These learners tend to have advanced fine-motor skills along with a keen visual/perceptual ability. Constructing a lamp, like Stephanie did, or building another object can allow the child to understand the value of fractions (while imparting the indispensable skill of following instructions.) For instance, if two pieces of wood are supposed to be identical to support a structure, having one 36 inches and another 363⁄4 inches could mean the difference between a stable and unstable product.

Athletic skills also involve both visual and motor components and are often described as tapping gross motor abilities. A soccer star, for example, must view the field, determine the placement of the players on both teams, make an educated guess about where each player is headed, then have the physical skills needed to negotiate the soccer ball past the opposing team. Athletes may have either fine-motor (small muscle group) or gross-motor (larger muscle group) skills. Sometimesthey have both. A learner with an athletic talent may learn other material through this gift. For instance, looking at baseball scores (hits, walks, runs) can turn into a mathematics lesson. A discussion about the angle of one’s best pitch could be equated with geometry concepts. In addition, the complexity of combining various actions (e.g., eye-hand coordination, timing of swinging the baseball bat, running speed) and repetition of practicing techniques to become a top baseball player can be compared to the top essay that must include the nitty-gritty, detailed work (research, editing, revision, proofreading) to have a finished, professional-quality product.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Absent Father Syndrome

After the Second World War, psychologists looked at how children whose fathers had been away fighting did at school and on intelligence tests. Absentee fathers damaged children intellectually and emotionally. Two factors were especially negative:

1 If the father is absent when the child is very young;
2 social class – working-class children are more affected than middle-class children by the father’s absence.

A 1962 study looked at the family life of elementary-school boys who had average intelligence but who were 1 or 2 years behind at school. These boys had very poor relationships with their fathers; the fathers were inadequate and failed to achieve their own ambitions. Insecure and poor role models, they transmitted failure to their sons.

Radin et al (2000) found that both the quantity and quality of time fathers spent with their 4-year-old boys correlated with intelligence test scores on the Stanford Binet and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. The strongest link was with so-called paternal nurturance. Children whose dad asked children whose dad reached out to talk did much better. Studies of black girls and boys in elementary school found much the same. The more both parents interacted with the children, the better the girls and boys did on a number of cognitive tests. The father’s behaviour was much more important than the mothers in affecting the boys. Sutton Smith, a leading researcher on play, looked at the relationship between father absence and aptitude test scores among sophomores – 2nd-year college students in America.

An absent father for Sutton Smith was a father who had not been there for two consecutive years. Children of these fathers did less well on verbal tests, on language tests and on general aptitude. Again the boys were hurt most.

It isn’t just language that suffers either. A study of 500 children by Lessing et al. (1970) suggested the most dramatic effect of paternal deprivation was on perceptual motor and manipulative spatial tasks. Carlsmith (1964) found boys whose fathers had been absent for long periods answered questions in psychological tests more like girls did. With no male role model, these boys identified more with their mothers.

In Boston in America, black clergymen who work with the probation service argue that 95%of juvenile crime has‘fatherlessness’ as a cause. The clergymen believe in a tough-love policy and claim they have helped reduce crime in the city; murders a year have fallen from 150 to 37. The reason for their success is telling; they believe the delinquents are desperate for fathering and so respond to a strong father figures.

Fathers matter, proved. But British families also face a curious cultural problem in dealing with education We have inhibitions about appearing to be intelligent or, even worse, intellectual.

Source : David Cohen. The Father's Book. 2001

Friday, May 9, 2008

Understanding Giftedness [ 2 ]

Some learners may not be able to succinctly retell or verbalize their understanding of material, but they have an acutely developed skill in the area of receptive language. Simply, this can be looked at as the flip side of expressive language. Expressive language is what the learner articulates, while receptive language is how the child understands the statements and comments made by others.

For instance, Billy is a competent reader, but he prefers to have others read to him. When asked
about his preference, Billy explains that he is able to engage in the learning process more easily when someone else talks to him about the lesson as he learns it. While this may just be Billy’s preferred learning style (auditory), it has been shown that when he listens to others teach lessons, he actually quickly, though quietly, grasps higher-level concepts and material that would ordinarily be geared toward students at a more advanced developmental level. For Billy, his area of giftedness can be utilized to help him overcome emotional obstacles to his learning process. For instance, at one point, Billy was refusing to learn poetry, claiming that it wasn’t real literature. His parents left him alone in the living room and went to talk with each other in the next room. They purposely left the door open and spoke loudly. Billy’s parents spoke to each other about the topic of poetry and the special messages that this form of literature can communicate. Billy, no longer needing to be argumentative, learned a lot by eavesdropping. This was a creative way to bypass Billy’s resistant attitude at that time and to help him to be available to the learning process. His parents effectively tapped into his comfort in listening to discussions and Billy was able to quickly grasp the lesson utilizing his receptive language skills. The previous example shows a somewhat dramatic case. Let us assume that your child is usually
motivated to engage in academic activities. Your learner, who has a receptive language talent,may feel more comfortable learning by listening to lectures on tape, books on tape, or by actually attending age-appropriate seminars on particular topics. Even if this approach is one that facilitates rapid learning for your child, it is still important to also teach in a multi-modal fashion so that your learner becomes comfortable absorbing information in many different manners. Flexibility of learning allows all of us to be able to adapt better to a variety of situations in which others will not always gear activities to our personal learning style or giftedness. This is true for any child, with any area of specific interest or talent.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pregnancy series : The Third Trimester

You’ve heard the saying: Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. Well, that saying should be: Hell has no fury like a woman scorned who’s in her third trimester. Remember the first trimester? The third trimester brings more of the same—only worse. Now you’ll be dealing with a bigger, more apprehensive, more easily riled version of your wife. (Though at times this woman will not seem at all like the woman you married.) First off, sitting down will be an effort for her and something that is impossible to do gracefully. Never—ever—laugh, or even snicker at her while she is attempting to sit. If you do (despite the fact that standing up is even harder than sitting down) she’ll be on top of you faster than a hungry leopard on a blind, wounded deer. Your best plan of action here is to always keep a straight face (if you have trouble doing this, just remind yourself how much your hospital bill is going to be) and offer to help ease her down and help her up. This will not only help your standings with her, but it also builds your biceps and back muscles.

Second, by now the baby is sitting on her bladder. So, remember those sprints to the bathroom during the first trimester? Now they’re back, only more so—plus to make matters even worse, now it’s hard for your wife to do anything more than waddle. Still, it is amazing how fast a pregnant woman can waddle when nature calls, and calls—and calls. Once again, be prepared to get out of the way fast or you’ll end up as road kill. Finally, all this adds up to one large and angry woman. Rabid attack dogs have been known to cower in fear of women in their third trimester. The slightest thing could set her off. Whatever you do, do not laugh at her waddle—especially if she’s on the way to the bathroom (in some states this is considered grounds for her to legally
kill you). You should be on your best behavior or you’ll run a very serious risk of your child growing up without a father. Just pretend you’re one of those guys on the bomb squad deactivating a really sensitive, really deadly, explosive that will explode in your face if you even look at it funny. In order to survive you have to be as quiet and as cautious around it as possible.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Understanding Giftedness [ 1 ]

Giftedness or a highly developed talent can distinguish one child from many others. The gifted learner typically has a level of knowledge, sophistication, or skill that is considered to be within the top 1–2 percent of the population of individuals of one’s own chronological age or peer group.

Another way to define this is to say that they fall at the far, upper end of the bell-shaped curve. It is important to note that learners’ interests may or may not overlap with their areas of talent. For instance, thirteenyear-old Peter loves basketball and plays on a team in a civic league. He watches college and professional basketball on television and loves going to games. Despite this significant sports interest, Peter’s actual skills are considered to be only average or slightly above average in running the court and shooting the ball. Therefore, Peter has a specific interest in sports but not an unusual gift in this area. Perhaps one can argue that his persistence in studying the game is a talent. This is something that will be explored shortly.

Earlier, a few definitions were offered for general giftedness. However, one can create an extensive list of possible areas of specific talent. You may already know that your child has an unusual skill. There are numerous areas that can be considered talents or areas of giftedness, such as advanced abilities in expressive language, receptive language, visual-perceptual skills, visual-motor skills, athletic skills, processing speed, convergent and divergent thinking skills, creativity, memory skills, executive functions, self-motivation, emotional maturity and social skills, smell and/or taste discrimination, written language, reading comprehension skills, and mathematics skills. These areas will be explored in the next section, with the goal of helping you create academic lessons that may be tailored to fit your learner’s talents, resulting in a more meaningful education.

In the traditional classroom setting, there are typically a few students who are described as “always needing to talk.” These learners sometimes raise their hand throughout a lesson to add additional information or to personalize the material to their own experiences. A child who is highly verbal may have a talent in the area of expressive language. These learners are not just verbal, but skilled communicators. At times, they actually clarify their own understanding of a lesson by talking about it. For instance, some children with this area of talent may benefit from taking time to retell the message of a story or poem. By using their own words, the lesson’s meaning is reinforced. A person talented in expressive language skills may gain a more thorough understanding of the lesson by reteaching the lesson to another or by engaging in a debate with another about the topic. For example, Clara read an article about the quality of her neighborhood’s water system. Clara initially concluded that the water system should remain pure, without any added chemicals. When she and her older brother debated the issue, Clara’s parents asked her to take the opposing view. Clara reread the article, gathered more information from the Internet, then passionately used her verbal skills to create a powerful argument. Through the debating situation, Clara was able to think about both sides of an issue that was creating tension in her community. Without the added benefit of debating the issue, Clara was initially certain that her one-sided view was the only one with merit.

As a parent/educator you may want to utilize debating as a way to help your child utilize expressive language skills to more fully understand concepts. However, it is important that the debate remains in the realm of the topic of study and that respect for the other’s opinion is maintained—in other words, that the debate doesn’t become one of parent vs. adolescent. Both of you will probably have enough personal debates over the years without debating in the home-classroom setting.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd. Homeschooling Your Gifted Children. 2002

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pregnancy series : The Second Trimester

The second trimester is kind of the temporary return to near normal. It’s the proverbial calm before the explosion. Your wife will begin to show that she is pregnant but she will act pretty much like a larger version of the woman you married. If there’s anything you and your wife ever wanted to do but haven’t had the chance, this is the time to do it. After this trimester, your wife is first going to be too pregnant to move a whole lot, and then you’re going to be married with child and you’ll both be too worn out to do a whole lot.

One cool thing does occur in the second trimester: you can actually feel your baby inside your wife. The baby makes its presence known through kicking—presumably in some form of Morse code that only babies can understand. While the kicking might be a slight annoyance to the mom, it will be the ultimate in coolness to you—sort of like the feeling you’d get if you could watch four football games and the Playboy channel at the same time. This will probably be the first time when you actually realize that, “Yes, there is a living, growing, little future Hall of Famer inside of there.” The only downside ofkicking is that it usually occurs (or is more noticeable) at night, thus
preventing your wife from sleeping. Which means that if you have an inconsiderate wife she may wake you up, figuring if she’s up then you’re up. Just think of this as practice for your child’s teenage years when he’ll really be keeping you up late at night.

The second trimester is also the time that many expecting mothers will undergo ultrasound. Ultrasound is taking pictures with sound waves. The procedure is totally painless for both the father and the mother—and the baby. It’s what doctors use in order to: determine the sex of the baby, make sure everything is progressing okay, and have something extra to charge you for. At the end of the procedure they will present you with the first picture (though you’ll have to pretty much take the word of the medical professionals that this really is your child) of your unborn child. If it still hasn’t sunk in yet, it will now—you’re going to be a father. Oh, at this stage don’t worry if the baby doesn’t look like you—because it won’t. This is nothing to be alarmed about and no reason to consult a lawyer. At this stage all babies look pretty much like small versions of those aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

To sum it all up: the second trimester is pretty cool.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pregnancy series : The First Trimester

The first trimester is a strange time. Your wife may look pretty much like the same woman she was before your sperm and her ovum collided, but her body is going through changes even faster than you can change channels with a brand new remote. Hormones are firing away and all sorts of other chemicals are doing their stuff. The resulting side effects are varied, not only from woman to woman, but for each individual woman from hour to hour. You can expect that your wife will be more tired than normal. This tiredness ranges from very little, to as if you are living with a female bear in deep hibernation. (A smart husband who plans ahead can also take advantage of this by timing the pregnancy so his wife is in the first trimester during the championships of his favorite sport.)

Another thing you can expect to some degree is morning sickness. The name is kind of general, and with good reason. This sickness can be anything from a little upset tummy to a full-blown, hold nothing back, tossing of one’s cookies. Most women fall somewhere in between. The sickness can also appear at any time or throughout the day. So remember, if you see your wife heading towards the bathroom, don’t stop her to ask her what’s for breakfast—and don’t get in her way.

Also, many women have to go to the bathroom more often during this trimester. This is another one of those perfectly normal but totally baffling chemical reactions. Once again, if you see your wife rushing quickly towards the bathroom, make sure you stay clear.

Finally, and most scary, you can expect pretty big mood changes. To use the remote control analogy again, she can change her mood faster than you can cycle through all the channels—even if you don’t have cable. These mood swings are often directed towards you, the husband, as you are usually the closest object to her, plus you were directly involved with the start of this whole process. Sometimes she’ll treat you like you’re Fabio or that guy who took his shirt off on that old Coke commercial. Other times she’ll treat you like you just gave Fabio a brush cut and made the guy on the Coke commercial put his shirt back on. Or, she may treat you as if you had just shot Fabio, that Coke guy, and her favorite hairdresser. You—being the man—are pretty much helpless here. All you can really do is enjoy the good moods, and batten down the hatches to weather the bad moods. Remember, this probably won’t last much longer than a few months.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Brief History of Homeschooling

Is homeschooling a new fad? Are parents doing it just because it is the stylish thing to do? Well, if
that were the case, we would have a hard time explaining how people such as Wilbur and Orville
Wright came to be homeschooled.

Indeed, homeschooling, in some form or another, has been around for many centuries. While some children were given the opportunity to study with great philosophers, most learned life skills from their parents. Just as a parent teaches a child to walk and talk, the parent from centuries ago also taught the child to cipher, build, and create the tools necessary for day-to-day living. Children learned history from listening to stories being repeated by their older relatives. Today, we call that practice “oral history.” Extended-family members may have taught the children specialized tasks,such as sewing or hunting, if that knowledge was not within the realm of one of the child’s parents.

It is only in recent history that nuclear families have been isolated from their extended-family members, and this dynamic, in part, has changed the face of American education. While public schooling existed for many years, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a compulsory attendance law in 1852. Other states followed, and it wasn’t long until most children were educated in public schools. During the Industrial Age of the United States, public schooling became the norm as more parents began to work in factories and service industries. By 1918, all of the states had laws similar to the compulsory attendance law in Massachusetts as mothers went to work outside of the home when fathers were sent to fight in the wars involving our country during the first half of the twentieth century. Children attended public schools during the day hours while their parents worked.

This arrangement seemingly worked for everyone. Adults could work knowing that their young children were supervised and cared for by trained individuals while learning. The modern homeschool movement, which began in the 1960s, is widely attributed to John Holt. A veteran of World War II who went on to become an educator, John Holt envisioned ways to reform what he saw as a crumbling educational system within the United States. Disillusioned with the conditions within public schools, Mr. Holt recommended that parents once again take control of their children’s education. Initially, John Holt suggested a new concept—unschooling. To further his claims that children’s minds are eager, unspoiled, and fertile grounds of learning, he suggested schools where children were not taught, but facilitated. Within these institutions, children would find all the tools they needed to learn without tests, quizzes, or report cards. There would be no rules, no mandatory attendance, and no structure—just uninhibited learning. While some followers of Holt’s philosophy did set up these types of unschools, they were not widely successful—running out of resources and subsequently closing their doors.

Realizing that the community unschool was not an easily accepted or viable solution to the worsening conditions within public schools, Mr. Holt encouraged his followers to unschool at home.

Parents could serve as facilitators within their home unschools. This idea intrigued his followers, and a growing number of parents began to embark on educating their children at home. Eventually the words “homeschool” and “unschool” became used within newsletters and publications interchangeably, although it is important to note that within this book they mean two different things.
Homeschooling means to educate your child at home, whereas unschooling refers to a specific, child-led methodology of learning. In a 1980 interview with The Mother Earth News, John Holt estimated that there were already 10,000 families within the United States who were homeschooling their children using a variety of methodologies. Mr. Holt died in 1985. During the same time period, Dr. Raymond Moore and Dorothy Moore, sometimes dubbed the “grandparents of the homeschooling movement,” began to collect, analyze, and distribute information about the effects of conventional schooling methods. According to the Moore Method, a child’s education should be customized or tailored to his or her particular needs and interests. Many homeschooling parents adhere to this principle, as parents are uniquely able to incorporate their child’s interest and learning style into his education where the traditional school system, for practical reasons, is not.

While John Holt’s opinions about how a child should learn are directly opposite of the conventional schooling that most government-sponsored public schools promote, many other leaders, such as the Moores, have emerged in the homeschooling society who have far less radical ideas about how to educate a child. Today, children are educated at home using a variety of approaches; some resemble miniature schools, with small in-home classrooms and schedules, while others follow the Holt unschooling approach, allowing a child to become excited about his surroundings and to learn through exploration and discovery. Most seem to fall somewhere in between, allowing children the flexibility to follow their interests while providing structure where necessary to ensure that the child is learning the basics.

Throughout the four-decade span of the modern homeschooling movement, attitudes and opinions about homeschooling have changed drastically. Once considered an option for hippies, radicals, and those who were on various political, religious, and social “fringes,” homeschooling has consistently gained respect, popularity, and momentum as a viable and desirable family education choice.

Source : Lee Wherry Brainerd, Jessika Sobanski, and Ricki Winegardner. Basic Skills for Homeschooling. 2002

Friday, May 2, 2008

Let's Raise Your Kiddo Carefully

And then, It's started.
This blog is dedicated to everyone that concern about raising the kid or children.
Everything about Children, Parenting, and Family matters will be posted.
Let's learn, understand and enjoy.....