Recently, in the General Women’s Session of General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emphasized the need to reach out to serve refugees and others who may be facing significant life challenges. These challenges may include finding employment, adjusting to a new culture, […]
Month: March 2016
When I was a sophomore in high school, I found out about a school trip to France that would take place about 18 months later. As a French 1 student and a less-than-frequent traveler, I was eager to go on the trip. Staying with a host family, dining on the Eiffel Tower, visiting WWII beaches, attending a ballet at the Paris Opera House, and exploring art museums were all included in the cost. The $4,000 cost, that is. I turned to my parents for their advice—hoping for their wallets, too. They helped me realize that I would find the trip much more valuable if I saved my own money. They agreed to pay for half the cost if I would pay the remaining $2000.
My parents helped me set goals to reach this seemingly impossible amount. First, I needed to get a job. I approached several adults I knew who owned companies about obtaining a job for that summer. After my first-ever interviews, I was hired to work part time at a fast food Mexican restaurant and part time at a home furnishings store. I continued babysitting for families when I could, and I saved rather than spent my paychecks.
My parents supported me in these endeavors to reach my goal. Since I still lacked a driver’s license, they dropped me off and picked me up every day from work. They helped me open a bank account in which to place my savings. They even paid for my first-ever passport and continued to pay for track and choir activities I was involved in that year.
Looking back, I would not have met my goal of going to France without my parents’ support.
When parents work with children to set and reach goals, children will be motivated to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve those goals. Whether the goal is related to saving money, building character, improving in athletics, learning to play a musical instrument, achieving good grades in school, completing family duties, or planning a service project, children will need help in forming consistent habits that will lead them to that specific goal.
A free online course from Glenn I. Latham, Ed.D. of Utah State University teaches parents how to help children achieve success in their education. The following six suggestions apply to helping children meet other goals, as well.
- Spend time talking with children. I think this means that parents need to listen and share ideas regularly in order to find out what a child wants and needs.
- Encourage learning. Many times children get discouraged at the length of time it takes to reach a goal, but parents can help by reminding children to do their best to improve.
- Read daily to and with children. Not only will children be exposed to more ideas and world views, but parents can see what is important to their children.
- Share (realistic) hopes for what children can do and become. The author of the course describes how he and his wife helped their children imagine what kind of car and house and clothing they hoped to have in the future. Then they doled out money—to the children’s delight—and let them pay for each desired thing in order to see how each of those things required money. The discussion turned to the need for education in order to earn the money necessary to fund those dreams.
- Provide direct help. Parents can help children with homework, model and give feedback on catching a ball, practice lines for a play, and so on.
- Organize time and space. In the course, this directive specifically refers to organizing time and space to do homework, but it can apply to any kind of goal. Children will need time to work toward goals, and they may need specific materials and places to use or store them. As parents plan for and work with these needs, they will accommodate their children in reaching goals.
—Leah Davis Christopher, Stance
Images from Wikimedia Commons
Kids can surprise us every day. After teaching in an elementary school classroom for almost a month, I learned unexpected things about the students and their dreams for the future.
We had just learned in social studies about the dreams of African Americans in moving to the North during the Great Migration. We listened to a song and a poem with the theme of dreams by great Harlem Renaissance artists Louis Armstrong and Langston Hughes. Then, I asked students to write about their dreams. I was impressed at what they shared.
One student wrote that she dreamed of playing in the WNBA. Another explained her hope of publishing piano music she had written.
Another girl wrote that she wanted to invent hovercrafts—because no one has been able to do it yet.
A third student described his goal to become a millionaire, and a fourth discussed her intention to become a paleontologist—and a doctor.
Still others revealed their interests in creating video games and holographic rooms, publishing piano music, playing professional football and soccer, becoming entrepreneurs, and entertaining as famous actors, singers, and dancers.
Finally, a student explained her desire to help resolve conflicts in society and create world peace.
What powerful responses. What amazing dreams!
I remember as a child, at different times I wanted to be a zoo keeper, a dolphin trainer at Sea World, a children’s book author. I didn’t realize until college that I wanted to be a teacher, to helps others make their dreams come true. I want these students to know that they can do anything they put their minds to—and more.
—Leah Davis Christopher, Stance
Next week, I'll discuss how parents can help their children set goals to reach their dreams.
As technology in education has gone from chalkboard to whiteboard to smartboard, children still typically learn best through examples and practice, not just lectures. Lucky for us in today’s technology age, many resources are available to help children, parents, and teachers with academics.
- Kahn Academy is a site complete with video explanations, visual models, and practice problems that align with the Common Core State Standards. You can track your progress on concepts and get hints on tricky problems.
- The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, a free website, has manipulatives—think cubes, blocks, graphs, and rulers—for students to practice with.
- Sciencekids.co.nz includes a lot of kid-friendly experiments, demonstrations, quizzes, facts, and videos about a variety of science topics. I learned about how electrical circuits work through an app on the site.
- The Worldwide Telescope, a free downloadable application, helps students learning about space. You can see images and diagrams of the Milky Way, learn about astronomy, and take tours of interesting nebula (clouds of gas and dust).
- Simple English Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia for children and adult English Language Learners.
- Time for Kids is an online newspaper written by kids and for kids that includes current events as well as special interest articles about holidays and historical events.
- PBS.org offers several articles with great suggestions on supporting kids in math homework, finding creative ways to play with math at home, and maintaining kids’ math skills over the summer.
- ScienceBuddies.org helps parents and kids with tips, directions, and supplies for science fair projects.
- Project Gutenberg has many older classic novels that parents would enjoy reading to or with children at home.
- Saylor.org is a free online learning academy that can help parents delve into subjects they want to study to help their children with school work or just for themselves.
Resources for teachers to use in teaching children
- Kidblog.org offers a way for teachers to encourage students to write. They’ll love writing for an audience, even if it’s just their class or their parents.
- Commonlit.org has selections from famous texts, filed by general theme. These would be great for shared reading with the whole class during upper-grades’ social studies periods.
- iCivics.org includes games, readings, discussion topics, current event outlines, and curriculum units for teachers to use. I personally like the games section for students—you can practice your Bill of Rights knowledge, control the federal budget in People’s Pie, design laws and court cases in LawCraft, and determine if immigrants have the right to live and work in the US in Immigration Nation.
—Leah Davis Christopher, Stance
Thanks to Royce Kimmons and the IP&T department for pointing out many of these resources.
Images credited to lds.org. Link to license.