Back to School Pop Quiz

Parents are heading back to school too.

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back-to-school-pop-quiz

Welcome back to school, everyone! So good to see so many bright and shiny faces! I know we’re going to have a wonderful year, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you.

But first, please take out a Number 2 pencil, put your devices in the Bowl of Integrity on my desk (yes, just like at Trivia Night at the local watering hole), and strap on your thinking caps. It’s a Back to School Pop Quiz!

  1. I am excited to be back to school. T/F
  2. The one thing I am most looking forward to this year is:
    1. Learning all there is to know
    2. Discovering this year’s fundraiser
    3. The new cocktails I’ll concoct to survive the year
    4. Summer Break 2017
  3. The one thing I am most dreading this year is:
    1. Homework and the accompanying battles
    2. This year’s fundraiser
    3. The After-Schooling to feed my child’s insatiable brain-maw.
    4. The second and third jobs I’ll need for #2 and #3.
  4. If Wilson is traveling west on a scooter going 10 mph and Minerva is traveling south on a hovercraft going slightly faster than it takes for a watched pot to boil, what are the pink elephants drinking when they show up at the inevitable meeting we’re going to have about your child? Bonus points for naming the song playing on the ISS at the time, including artist and language.
  5. Please diagram this sentence: Your twice-exceptional child does not test well enough to meet the qualifications for the gifted program at this school; too bad, so sad.
  6. Fill in the blanks:
    This year, I hope my child ___________ and ______________, despite the _________ and the __________. I know the _____________ can be a real ____________, but it’s really in the best interests of the _____________. Ultimately, it’s the _________________’s responsibility that ________________ gets a fair and appropriate education, and _____________, _______________, and ________________ should do well to remember that. ___________ _____________ ____________ ______________ _____________ _______  _____________ _______________ ____ __ ____________ _______________ _________!!!
  7. Are you a robot? Please type what you see in the image below: __________________
    9gbtdvc
  8. Thought experiment: Zombies have come and education as we know it is kaput. You still have a G2e kid. Please demonstrate “now what?” using either interpretive dance, modern art, or twelve-tone serialism a la Schoenberg.
  9. Your teacher is tired of making questions. So if you’ve made it this far choose #1 to get this one correct. Peace out.
    1. YASSSSSS!!!!
    2. Wait, what, really?
    3. That’s it?
    4. Can the whole freaking year BE THIS EASY?
  10. Let’s have a great year! Please write any concerns you may have in the space below:
    _________________________________________

Homeschooling and LD and Falling Through the Cracks Oh My!


eyechartWhen I was a kid, I went to public schools, but they did me no service. I was not diagnosed as having a learning disability until my senior year of college. I knew our girls had strengths and weaknesses, and they needed to be addressed. Unfortunately our experience in the public school realm displayed a lack of recognizing their needs. The school our girls attended seemed to feel that average or within 2 standard deviations of average was acceptable and if you were on the high end, you were fine.  Getting services in public schools can be a challenge; getting services for homeschoolers can be a different kind of challenge.

In schools, getting services for things like dyslexia when your child can still read and comprehend above grade level is near impossible because “she’s within normal range”, “she’s fine.”  We recognize that our daughter needs services even through she reads and tests above her grade level, however we struggle to figure out exactly what services she needs, therefore struggle to know who to ask for help.

So with all this, you may be asking, “Gee Tom, how do you get services for your kids?” Well there is no easy answer to that one. It’s a lot of talking with other parents, hit and miss, trial and error, and referrals from one specialist to another so insurance will cover whatever possible. Families who live in a rural area may not have as many options when it comes to specialists, and that can really suck. We have been fortunate to have found a wealth of knowledge in our support network. We talk to a lot of other parents who face similar challenges and are always sharing curriculum ideas, coping skills as well as therapist experiences.

When our daughter was in school and we were told that she would grow out of her letter reversals, we accepted what the experts were saying rather than follow through with our gut instinct. We delayed her services a couple years and now she struggles more than she probably should.  If we had kept her in school, she would have slid through the cracks though. At home, we know better than to say “she is performing above grade level, so she must be fine.”

When one of our daughters began losing interest in reading and said the words were blurry, we had her checked at the eye doctor who said she was fine. We were not satisfied and went to our support network to find a better optometrist. We had to travel a bit farther and we’re glad we did.  They ran a functional eye test and we learned that she was not “fine.”  This is very typical of how it works in our house: we keep pushing to find the help we need.  I think this is typical of most homeschoolers and public schoolers alike.

So as this school year starts I say, stay strong and keep pushing for help if your gut says it’s needed.  Trust your gut – it’s usually right.  And look in every corner.  You never know where you might find help for various needs.  I would have never guessed that an optometrist could help us beyond the blurry vision.  I would have never guessed an optometrist could say her vision issues are causing her to skip lines and that might be why she’s not understanding what she reads. Help and answers may show up where you least expect them.

 

5 Back-to-School Tips for Gifted Introverts


School child writting on blackboard.

Happy Labor Day to my US friends. As we enter this new week, most of our kids are back in school. This can be a hard transition for some, including introverted children and our gifted introverts (which many are).

Before I get into a few tips to ensure a great year, let me take a minute to define introversion. Introvert is a term that refers to how someone processes their energy and renews. Different from “shy” or “behavior inhibition” – things that can change over a lifetime, introversion relates to the way you interact with the world. Introverted children (and adults) renew through solitude and quiet, while extroverts tend to renew through social connections. For this reason, the social milieu of school can often be overwhelming. This can be particularly true for our gifted introverts who naturally feel things at a highly intense level. The constant push for collaborative projects, speaking in class and social interactions can leave our gifted children exhausted. And most of us who parent gifted children know that their exhaustion almost always leads to intense behaviors.

Here are a few tips that can calm some of the social apprehension many of our gifted children feel as they start a new school year, as well as ease some of the behaviors that often come at the beginning of the year:

  1. Prepare Your Child For the Year – Most introverted children struggle with transitions. So, curtail the difficulty with sufficient preparation: If your child is attending a new school, be sure to visit and walk the campus. Make sure he or she knows where to find things like the bathroom, the library, and the classroom. Don’t assume the campus tours are enough. Also, practice morning and homework routines. If you haven’t maintained these practices during the summer months, be sure to go over your expectations with your children. Include them in the development of the routine for even smoother transition. The more prepared your child is, the better the transition into the school year.
  2. Create a Partnership With School – Get to know the school personnel early. Speak with the teacher and find out what he/she expects regarding group work and oral participation. Talk with the teacher about your child and the impact of both giftedness and introversion. Work together to ensure that your child has safe zones – places they can go when they become socially overwhelmed or need an energy break. Also, work with the teachers and your child to develop a way for your child to advocate for him/herself with the teacher. Whether the concern relates to the introversion or the giftedness, the sooner your child learns how to get his or her needs met, the sooner these things become less of a problem in your child’s life.
  3. Avoid Afternoon Small Talk – Have you ever noticed how hard it is for your gifted introvert to talk about the day? This is often because the child hasn’t been given sufficient “downtime”. As I mentioned earlier, introverts require time to decompress after the socially draining school day. Avoid the habit of immediately asking your child about his or her day the second they get home. Give your child space and time to veg out after school. This will allow your child to restore his or her depleted energy and avoid energy-low behavioral outbursts. A natural conversation at dinner or before bed will often yield more complete answers to the “how was your day” question.
  4. Don’t Panic Over Friendships – As parents, we want our children to have lots of friends. However, most gifted introverts will only have one or two close friendships at any given time. Introverts, by nature, prefer deep relationships with one or two individuals. Gifted children, too, often prefer deeper friendships at a much younger age than their typical peers. Allowing and guiding your children toward the development of natural friendships without putting too much pressure to be overly social will enable them to recognize their particular social habits as normal instead of yet another thing to feel shameful about – and trust me, gifted kiddos feel plenty of shame without adding to it!
  5. Stress Healthy Habits – Las but not least, create life-long important habits by stressing healthy eating, exercise, and plenty of play and sleep. Introverts process energy differently than their extroverted friends. This extends to physiological functions like digestion too. Meals with balanced protein and slow-releasing sugar (like most fruit and veggies) are keep to help gifted introverts stay in balance. Exercise can keep the gifted introvert from becoming too detached and laid back, not to mention it helps them connect to the physical world and get out of their head a bit. Appropriate sleep (remember, many gifted kids need less sleep), and plenty of play are also important for balance.  Developing these important habits will go a long way to prevent the more negative aspects of an overwhelmed temperament and avoid behavioral blow-outs.

The start of the school year can be an exciting time. Help your child make it a great year by considering both the giftedness and their temperament.How do you prepare your kid for school? I’d love to hear from you!

For more ideas on supporting introversion and understanding both introversion and extroversion, check out Quiet Kids, available from Prufrock Press.

#EverydayEmpathy


Wow! I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been three months since my last post. Oops. My only excuse – all the fun I’m having in my fictional worlds and with the new job.

Speaking of the new job, one of the things I love about it is my chance to create new content. In particular, I’ve been part of a group that has created a campaign to teach and promote the development of empathy on school campuses. This campaign, fittingly called #EverydayEmpathy, builds on the work from the Start Empathy organization  and brings daily activities that promote the development of empathy.

I invite you to checkout the website for this campaign on the Collaborative Learning Solutions website. Maybe there are a few activities you’d like to try.

It’s a New Day…


As I’ve mentioned previously, I changed jobs almost 2 months ago. This change has done more than enable me to pursue my passions in new ways, it has freed up my creative self. As a result, I have been working on several very neglected areas in my life ranging from my physical health, to goal-setting habits, to my writer’s life. It’s an exciting and productive time. I am so thankful for the sudden infusion of creative energy and commitment.

One of the by-products of my rekindled passion for writing and my coaching work has been opening my online store. This is something I’ve thought about doing for many years – ever since I started using a Square reader I guess. Well, I finally did it.

Currently my store includes signed copies of my nonfiction work, available at the special pricing I reserve for my speaking events. I am not certain how long I will be offering these prices, so if you think you might like a signed copy of my books I’d order them soon.

In addition to the online store, I am working on a new logo and new website/blog designs – all things that will be coming soon. Also, I will be putting out information on my coaching business as well.

Thank you for coming with me on this ride. It is exciting, overwhelming, and fun!

What things are you working on?

Lots of covers, lots of excitement…


Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I, for one, can’t wait the week to be over. My oldest is home from college in three short days and I couldn’t be more excited. But that isn’t what this blog post is about.

It’s about my shiny new cover. Elana Johnson is helping me out with a cover reveal for my next book, Indie and Proud. But as I was prepping for that post, I realized that isn’t the only cover I have ready to share. I have COVER-S. That’s right, covers plural. Three to be exact.

 
CHECK THEM OUT!

INDIE AND PROUD

You did it! You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents, despite achieving your goals.


Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures, providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.


Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being creative, Indie and Proud is a must read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Coming February 2, 2015

RAISING THE SHY CHILD: A Parent’s Guide To Social Anxiety

The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

Coming March 1, 2015 from Prufrock Press

I’M NOT JUST GIFTED:
Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Students

What does it mean to be a successful person? What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4-7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their giftedness, develop resiliency, manage their intensities, face adversities and tough situations, and cultivate their talents and passions. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, I’m Not Just Gifted is the practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.

Coming May 15, 2015 from Prufrock Press
I don’t know about you, but I am so freakin excited! I am also planning a few fiction releases – so I will be sharing that information soon…ish….
Until next time, what books are you excited for???

Supporting Your Child’s Passions


parent and child talking

How many of you take the time to nurture your passions? Do you spend time on them? Use your passions to help direct your life goals? Anything?

How about the passions your children have? Do you help them nurture their passions? Do you actively encourage your children to explore the things they are most passionate about?

If you are like most people, you are inconsistent about both your passions and those of your children. In fact, you may not even be sure of what these “passions” are. Am I right?

Here’s a little way you can get on track with supporting your children’s passions, as well as your own.

First, help your children identify the things they most care about. Have them make lists, idea posters, digital scrapbooks – anything that will help them clarify the things they care most about. And if you haven’t done that for yourself, I would advise making this a fun project you both can do.

Once there is once clarity about the things you care most about, encourage your children to find one thing they can do weekly (or monthly) to embrace that passion. If they are into fashion, talk about making fashion boards or a starting up a fashion blog. If cooking is their thing, give them some freedoms in the kitchen to cook (safely) and explore. 

I think we often downplay our children’s passions as fleeting hobbies. While this will be true at times, it won’t always be true. The more we can nurture and support the interests our children have, the more we give them permission to be whomever they authentically are. 

Our children are the future – let’s help them embrace it with passion and creativity, shall we?!?