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Parents: Are you a Visionary Thinker?

By Dr. Joni Samples

Home Gardens SchoolLast week I did a workshop for parents in a wonderful school in Corona, California. Corona is a working person's town especially those working in the fields and crops of the Central Valley. Home Gardens Elementary is a school typical of central California. The school demographics are predominately Hispanic families, y ayudó a hablar algo de español para el taller. The Spanish helped some, but I still enjoyed the translator's version better than mine.

One of the things we did at the workshop was to create a Vision Board. The activity was to make a picture collage of what you'd see in your child's future. The results were amazing. Parents shared their children's dreams. In the group were two teachers, a doctor, a nurse, a veterinarian, and one parent said, "My daughter is going to be the first Latina, woman President." Yea!

One of the things that goes with the carrying out of a Vision Board is looking at what you're doing now to help your child get where he or she wants to go.  In some cases it takes a change in thinking about what you believe. Believing that your child can be President is different than believing your child is poor at math or doesn't read well. Believing a child is capable of anything he or she decides to do is a first step in helping to get there.  One mom said in her evaluation of the class, "I am the person my child needs to help make her dreams come true."  Another wrote, "I am my child's motivator and the person who is the decider in what type of day my child will have."  A parent is a child's first teacher and best cheerleader.

Vision BoardWe especially talked about how they could help with school activities, but not just homework. How can a parent support reading or math skill development? Are there things you can do to help while you're doing the dishes or going to the store? The idea is not to have you stop everything you're doing as a busy parent, but to rethink how you do your normal activities to add in learning time with your child.

Here are a couple of ideas for math:

Doing the dishes: For a younger child, let him count the number of dishes going in the dishwasher/drainer. How many knives did we use tonight? How many forks?

For a first or second grader, he can add the number of knives, forks, and spoons. How many pieces of silverware did we use?

For a third grader learning multiplication, he can multiply the number of people at the table times the pieces of silverware each person needs. For example 6 people times 3 pieces of silverware, a knife, a fork and a spoon is 6 times 3=____.

Going to the grocery store: There is so much math in a store visit. I'll give you a few ideas and let you create more.

When you find the peanut butter on sale, ask which is the best price, the sale item of 32 oz. for $3.99 or the store brand of 60 oz. for $5.99?

Give your child a budget of $20 and a list of favorite foods. See how many he can get for under the $20.

Use your everyday events to their maximum learning advantage. The folks in Home Gardens came up with a bunch of ideas. How about you?

Posted on March 10, 2012 by Dr. Joni Samples

Dr. Joni is Chief Academic Officer for Family Friendly Schools. Her passion is engaging parents and schools in working together to support children's learning. She is the author of the Parent Playbook series where parents and teachers can find fun learning activites matched to the Common Core Standards. Find Dr. Joni and her books at www.familyfriendlyschools.com

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Tags: *Parent Engagement at Home , *School-Family Partnership, Building trust & respect, Parents as teachers


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