Parental coaching has great potential to benefit kids’ education. It has been mostly ignored by the education system, with the notable exception of reading. Parents are actively encouraged to read to their preschoolers and listen to their young school aged children read.
This came to mind recently in relation to music, where there is very little culture of parental coaching amongst my peer group. Most don’t have the skills themselves, and many of those who do have the skills are skeptical about their ability to positively contribute to their children’s music education.
So I’ve developed this diagram as a talking point for why I think that parents should put some thought into imparting specialist skills, like music, to their children.
At barely nine years of age, my child is not old enough for romantic attachment. I was a little surprised to watch him devour a book with relationships as a central theme. The Origami Yoda books are well written from a boy/misfit perspective, and this one ends with the boy finding himself happily dancing with a group of kids which includes the girl who he likes (so nothing too heavy). When I learned that my child was being teased about a girl and was upset about it because he actually likes her, I figured it was time to have a small part of that talk. Read on to see what I said.
Reading to our kids and listening to them read is something we take for granted these days. Parental coaching has a profound effect on learning and should be applied to more than just reading. This article provides some ideas on how to help your kids learn music. Continue reading
When my six year old child – out of the blue – asked me what shape juggling is, I was excited and perplexed. I eventually worked it through with paper and pencil, and discussed it with him at great length. We talked about trajectories, start and end points, and the path of the hands (elliptical) compared to the path of the balls in flight (parabolic). I was really proud of myself as a parent that day. Here are some important things I’ve learned about talking to kids, which I think are worth repeating.
Squishy Circuits is a home-made play-dough technology for introducing children to electronics. This simple parallel circuit contains four AA batteries in a case, connecter wires, six coloured LEDs and some conductive playdough. Everything you need to know about getting started, safety and recipes are on the Squishy Circuits website. Pictures of my kit and process are for enjoyment rather than instruction. What I do intend to add to the concept are some experimental questions to explore while you play with your squishy circuits.
The stern face and the cross voice are coercive emotional tools, which tell the target person that they are not ok. Coercive emotion can be devastating for some people, but there is currently little-to-no social prohibition against using it on children. I recently put into words how it’s important to remain warm, calm and respectful with my children at all times. A manner that you would simply call “professional” in the work context. Every time I come up with a revelation about how my kids need to be treated with respect, a helpful friend reminds me that all kids benefit from such treatment. This post explains how reliance on coercive use of emotions can routinely downward spiral.
Twelve tone music breaks many of our expectations about music. It removes our sense of what is musically “right” and “wrong” and broadens our repertoire of musical shapes. This makes it a great platform from which to discover and explore musical composition (even for very small children).
A crochet model of a hyperbolic plane is simple to make, and fascinating to play with. With these models, learning about hyperbolic geometry becomes kinesthetically available.
Until recently, some mathematicians thought that hyperbolic geometry was purely theoretical and could not be effectively modeled in the real world. Here is one I finished recently.
Click the “Continue reading” link to learn why hyperbolic planes are cool, access some links, see how I made one, and enjoy a gallery of hyperbolic planes which I have crocheted.
Attempting to organize chess playdates for my five year old showed me that parents struggle to effectively introduce their kids to the game. Many won’t even try it, while others undermine their kids by “letting them win“.
So I delved into my high school chess club experience, remembering the approach of one visiting coach in particular, and developed this chess teaching method, primarily for my child’s friends’ families to use.
It turns out that this method can be used by “teachers” of any level of chess experience and ability to introduce complete novices to the game. This super-simple method can also be used to consolidate skills and re-build confidence of players who are feeling anxious about their ability. All you need to start is a regulation chess set, the rules, two people and this method.
You can download the method as a pdf here: How to Teach Chess_v2 or click the “Continue reading” link to see it on the web.