Saturday, February 27, 2010

SAHM Triumph: Visiting

Today, the hubby and I cleaned the house. We normally clean on the weekend, but we have a busy weekend with lots of visitors. (It is still pretty clean with a few cluttering toys. Also a triumph). For any parent, this is an accomplishment. Clean house when I worked? Not so much, not unless I stayed up all night cleaning.

After the hubby and I cleaned the house, we sat around, talked, and waited for ou friends to come. 

All of this may seem trivial, but this relaxed environment never happened when I worked. I would have been so tired and unable to enjoy myself. When I get tired, my legs shake. It's been a long time since my legs has disturbed one of my dinners out with friends.

Another set of friends is coming over tomorrow. We also have a birthday party tomorrow. I'm not stressed at all. This new balancing act, the SAHM gig, is really working for me. I feared for so long it wouldn't because I fear failure. Going to work on top of all my other responsibilities... I am such a happier mommy now that time permits joyful visits with friends. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sleepy Mom Wondering

Six am, Miss Za.  hmmmm

I wonder if you get enough sleep. Really worry about it since the hours don't add up. You don't sleep like what is "suggested." I know about the doctors and their studies. But I do wonder.

I wonder how long it will take for you and your brother to play together. When he asks me to color/read/play/go downstairs, I normally do. (SAHM gig and all). Sometimes, I am busy. I wonder if it is bad that I say, "go get sissy and play with her." I wonder still if it is bad that he looks at me like that idea did not come out of my mouth. "Play? With her?" Poor Za.

I wonder why I cannot get you to leave the heating grate alone from the floor. You are not bored-all the toys in the other room that you tauntingly take from your brother.

I wonder if you can get any cuter playing with this telephone. My telephone, the one you call people with. The one you puts up to your ear and shout, "oy." 

I wonder why you are rubbing your eyes now that I am awake for the day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brain-Based Learning: Core Principle 9

I will admit that I am eager for brain based learning to get over. While it is terribly interesting, it is hard.  Maybe I should have done this a bit down the road. I do hope that everyone has learned something, because it is fun to look at how your kids learn in a different way. That is my goal--to take all these thoughts I have from my old job and transfer them to my new job. 

The ninth core principal of brain-based learning

We have two types of memory: spatial and rote.

After my introduction, I hope to keep this peppy. Let's define the two:

Spatial memory is the part of the memory that is responsible for recording information about one's environment and its spatial orientation. 

Rote memory is the avoidance of learning but focuses on memorization. When you memorize something with no meaning and it does not stay with you, this is your rote memory.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a theater class. The professor said that she was going to "give everyone the acting bug." She of course, did not make me ill with such a bug, but did grate my nerves. I did not make many connections in my brain with the material. The night before the final, I wrote out the answer to the long essay question, as the teacher had previously given us the questions. It was about a two page answer. I memorized it by rewriting it over and over, using my rote memory. I walked into class the next day, slapped it down on a piece of paper, got an "A" and took very little away from the test or class. 

Spatial memory is not the opposite of rote memory. Spatial deals with remembering the geographical layout of something. For instance, in remembering that theater class, I could recall parking my car in the lot next to my college's communication building, walking across the street and into the classroom. I can even picture the three levels of that large classroom that housed most introductory classes. 

Of course, the problem is with rote memory--that people don't learn material, they just memorize it for a test. Have you ever done such a thing--memorized and forgotten? 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brain-Based Learning: Extra stuff

Anyway, because I so enjoy reading educational theory (I really do, I am really nerdy like that), I was reading and came across this powerful statement:

Use is required to strengthen the neuronal connections. The more a connectionis used, the larger the network grows, and the more secure the links become. The number of synaptic connections may also increase.

Thus, the old adage “use it or lose it” is true of the brain.

At the beginning of this series, I said that brain based learning is so simple and so true. How many times have parents or teachers told children to practice, to build a foundation or "the more you know the easier it is to learn"? Lots of times, and now we know it is true, because of the neuronal connections. (Pretty neat science-speak).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Brain-Based Learning: Core Principle 8

Number eight! Brain based learning, I see it everywhere with Ty and Za. I hope that you are seeing them as well. The eighth core principal of brain based learning is: 

Learning involves both conscious and unconscious processes.

So, let's define both 'conscious' and 'unconscious':

Consciousness refers to the ability to be self-aware and make meaning of our experiences. 

Nonconscious is a term that has sometimes been preferred by researchers to signify processes which are not conscious because they are by nature such that they are not available to

awareness. (like breathing, emotions)

So, when teaching our children, we need to be aware of this principle. When Ty tries to learn new trains and their names (consciousness), he is building on this knowledge of all his trains. He cares about these trains, his hobby that he devotes time to (nonconscious). These are happy emotions. What if he had unsettling or angry emotions? 

To serve our students best, we can teach them more if we look to tap the happy unconsciousness. Do some students struggle more because they have more angry and sad emotions that interfere with their learning processes? 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brain Based Learning: Core Principle 7

Tired of brain based learning? I hope not. This theory is throughout schools and with society's move toward healthier eating, this theory is always in the news. Let's look at the seventh of twelve principles:

Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception.

What this principle means is that what is in the background (the television, decorations on the wall, other people's conversations) influences the focused learning. Parents and teachers acknowledge this: when children do their homework, "turn off the TV!" So, sometimes this principle is a bit negative. Positively, surroundings can enhance a learning environment, or reinforce what you teach your children--think magnet letters on the fridge.

This principle relates to my kids in several ways. If I am reading to Ty and Za, that should be their focused attention. Sure, they will perceive other parts, but I have to balance it. If the television was on or I was talking on the phone, they of course will focus their attention elsewhere.

There are two big ways to use this with our children:
1) Have a rich and positive environment for learning. For instance, I painted shapes on the wall of the kids' main play area. (I just used scrap paint from other projects). You can find posters almost anywhere, or hang their artwork, letters or labeled pictures. This is why classrooms are normally filled with colorful material.

2) Eliminate noise and loud junk. It is hard for anyone to learn something new if his or her peripheral perception is fighting to be the focus attention.

Enjoy~find the right balance of focused attention and peripheral perception for your children.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Potty Training: an update

Oh, elusive potty training, I am so tired of you. Tired where my eyes are heavy and my hands are dry from so much crying and washing. My now three year old son is perfectly potty trained, except when he decides he is too busy to go to the restroom. 

We have to almost be done, but why can't we just be done? I am tired of struggling with the almost. This struggle cannot be repeated with child number 2. I'll still be recovering with this first kid.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brain-Based Learning: Core Principle 6

The sixth of twelve principles in brain based learning. Half way there. Are these ideas becoming more applicable to your children? Do you see how these ideas take place in your child's every day life? Anyway, onto the sixth, which is...

The brain processes wholes and parts simultaneously.

The greatest example of this is with language. Parents who observe how their children's language skills grow might already see this. As children learn a language (whole), they are also learning parts (inflections, words, sentence structure, tone, meaning, nonverbal signals). 

So, as students work on a project creatively, the brain is not focusing on one aspect, but on the whole and parts, all at the same time. Pretty neat.