Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gotta Love Those Boys

Grandpa and I always counted ourselves fortunate that we enjoyed the many hours Lane, Dalton, and their friend, Derek spent with us as they grew up.  Summer visits began when the boys were around five or six years old. The older the boys got, the more weeks they spent with us. Once they hit their teen years, they got jobs shoveling manure for extra pocket money. Yes, they created a great deal of mischief along with lots of laughter. Always, without exception these young boys continued to be good kids.

Now, that the three older guys have hit their twenties, I continue to miss their visits. Fortunately, we now have three younger grandsons (not counting Baby Rhett) who fill the big guys’ shoes quite nicely. With Chandler on a camping trip, Aidan and Ellioitt invited Korben, a friend from school. The three boys started the evening playing pool, ping-pong, and air hockey. They also amazed us by walking on balance beams. We ate dinner at P Terry’s, which promised to give all money to the Austin American Statesman for families in need. Lane (the oldest grandchild) and his wife, Margie joined us. Continue reading

Where Did Our Plans Go Wrong?

Yeah for order! Up for organization and well-laid plans! Down with chaos! NO — to confusion and disarray.

I am a woman who needs orderliness and simplicity. I prefer working from a solid plan and attempt to sidestep surprises. Since our second flooded house, the last nine months have been seriously devoid of any resemblance of order. My best-laid plans have repeatedly been shattered. Like a disoriented bird, I keep flying right smack into a brick wall. Scrambling up, smoothing my crumbled feathers, and attempting to fly again have not quite met my retirement aspirations. However, let me be the first to say that the bumps have not done damage and certainly haven’t devastated us.

Mishaps can provide substance for laughter. No doubt about it. Humor heals. Chris and I have had many laughs and good times in our motorhome. Finally, there comes a time when humor gets lost in the shuffle of disappointment.

Disappointments can also be a source of lessons and growth. Yes, I want to continue to grow until the end. But. . . another lesson? Really? At seventy-six years, do I need this many lessons?

Traveling in the RV gave me as much pleasure as any activity in recent memory. When we first started traveling, I felt we were on a honeymoon. What changed? From our very first stop in Alexandria, LA, we encountered glitches in the coach. One snag after another came our way. I laughed a lot and Chris learned a lot about fixing things. Along with the adventure, we created some profound memories just in case we get old someday. Currently, the RV sits in a repair shop enduring three to six weeks of needed fixes.

I ask, “Where, oh where did we go wrong?” Should we have bought a newer model? Ronnie Salters RV

All this to say “Adios” Cheetah!” It has been great. We found the motorhome life style highly entertaining and wouldn’t trade this sub-chapter for anything. Now, we move on to the next adventure. Perhaps we locate a brick and stick home to lay our heads. Maybe we discover a different way to travel. Life’s mysteries continue.

Organize, Color Code, & Prompt for Attention

Organizing the Environment for Attention Challenges

After spending my life immersed in education, I find it difficult to turn my back on thoughts about special children. This post focuses on adjusting the learning environment to help children with attention challenges. I invite homeschool parents and all other teachers to consider the thoughts below.

Whether you teach in a regular school environment or in a home school setting, you want to do everything possible to help an ADHD student stay focused. The following ideas will help.

  • Keep the environment surrounding the student as clear from distractions and movement as possible.
  • Display five or fewer “expectations” or rules. Too many rules overwhelm a child.

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Teaching Gratitude by Naming Costs, Intent, and Benefits

Dr. Amy Campbell, counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia, shares powerful ideas for teaching gratitude and appreciation. Thank you, Amy for sharing this post.

‘Tis the Season to be…Grateful

Many researchers believe that gratitude is not something that comes naturally to children, but instead it must be modeled, learned, and weaved into the fabric of children’s lives. Here is a framework for parents to keep in mind when approaching gratitude with kids: Discussing intent: somebody put you first; discussing cost: what someone gave of themselves to me (time, money, energy, etc); and discussing benefit: what you got out of it. For example: “Hey Kelly, that was really kind of Jen to help you practice your spelling words when you were struggling (intent). It was nice of her to give up her recess time to help you (cost) and now you know your spelling list (benefit).

Also, here are some tips around gratitude with giving gifts any time of year:

Gift giving that helps children meet intrinsic goals. Gifts that provide personal growth or are shaped around kids’ interests (i.e., dance lessons, a keyboard, pottery kit) are typically linked more to feelings of lasting gratitude versus more temporary feelings of appreciation.

Identifying want and need. Remind kids that things they want and things they need are two different things. When kids say, “I need that new video game,” you can rephrase it as: “You need a new jacket. You want the new video game.” Some families give one want gift and one need gift. Continue reading

Practicing Gratitude

How appropriate that Amy Campbell, counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia writes about gratitude. As my husband and I clean up after the second flood in two years, we benefit from remembering to be grateful. Thank you, Amy. 

Practicing Gratitude

In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, researcher and author Brene’ Brown wrote, “Without exception, every joyful person I’ve interviewed actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their practices of gratitude.” Various researchers have consistently indicated that gratitude can be deliberately cultivated in childhood (and adulthood!) and can increase overall feelings of well-being and happiness. Here are a few simple ideas about how to intentionally practice gratitude with our children: Continue reading

Let’s Get Real About Preventing Abortions

Recently, my husband and I had an opportunity to listen to words of wisdom from Olympia Snowe, former Republican from Maine. Before retiring from politics in 2013, Snowe received an award from Forbes as the 54th most powerful woman in the world. Time magazine named her “The Caregiver” because of her work beyond partisan politics. I felt touched and inspired by remarks, which she shared at the Austin Annual Dinner for Planned Parenthood.

To many, Planned Parenthood brings up one thought: abortion. I totally understand resistance to abortion. I “get” it. However, I do not understand total rejection of all the good that Planned Parenthood delivers to women living in poverty. Abortions account for 3% of the services provided at PP. Most of the work includes: cervical tests for cancer, mammograms, family planning, prenatal care, and contraceptives. When we close Planned Parenthood centers, we throw the baby out with the bath. This particularly baffles me since federal money does not pay for abortions. Continue reading

What Do We Need to Know About Increasing Class Size?

In a scramble to reduce educational expenses, politicians and educators must examine all possibilities. One idea, supported by Gates and Duncan recommends increasing class sizes. Although the idea seems reasonable, research clearly demonstrates that the ultimate price tag exceeds any short-term financial gains. A review in the Washington Post predicts the following results:

  1. Student outcomes, including test scores diminish with increased class sizes.
  2. Larger class sizes reduce individual student participation.
  3. Children in larger classes enjoy fewer interactions with the teacher.
  4. Teachers of large classes have less time to tailor instruction to individual needs.

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