How Do You Learn?

Friday, October 12, 2018

When was the last time you learned something new? 

I mean - totally brand new? I had to contemplate this question myself if I was going to ask you the same! I think for me, it was back in April when I had my eye surgery from a torn retina. I was on bed rest and had to lay on my side and do nothing. That's a hard request for someone who always likes to be on the move! So I signed up for Skillshare - a site that has hundreds of online classes on many topics. I had a 2 month free trial and took as many classes as I could. I had a blast learning new things - brush lettering, creating hand-drawn wallpaper, ink and watercolor, doodle art, and much more. I chose things that were of interest to me. I love writing (I was the kid that loved writing research papers!) and wanted to improve my handwritten documents. Plus, I love making things. I found that I could learn the new material easily because 

  1. It was visual (I am a visual/spatial learner)
  2. I was passionate about the topic
  3. I practiced using hands-on application (I am also kinesthetic)
  4. I could pause and repeat (I forget easily and need to see it again)
  5. I made the time to do it

How does your child learn best? I loved studying Howard Garner's Multiple Intelligences when I was in college. I find that it is quite true and I loved sharing the theory of multiple of intelligence with students. I consider about my own kids. My daughter excelled in school, especially reading and writing. She was driven to do her best (and she still is!). My son did not really like school. He wanted to pursue art and music, originally. He grew up thinking he "wasn't smart" because spelling was difficult for him. I knew he was brilliant. He just didn't feel that way because he was comparing himself to others that were linguistic. He pursued his music career until one day the science behind wires intrigued him. He set out to study physics and graduated from Berkeley with a Physics degree. Lauren is body and linguistic "smart" and Brett is musical, spatial, and logical "smart". God has given each the talents and abilities they need to do HIS work. 

You see, there are several types of "intelligences" and schools often focus on linguistic (spelling, reading, writing) and logical/mathematical (math). So, if students struggle with reading or math, they deem themselves as "not smart" which simply isn't true. (Another great reason to study the Growth Mindset.) These areas CAN be improved even if they are not the strongest in this area. Most likely your child is "smart" in one or more of the following "intelligences":

  • Spatial: Art, the ability to see things in the mind, conceptualize. These students do well looking at pictures in order to learn.
  • Body/Kinesthetic: the ability to move the body to solve problems. These students benefit from movement, acting, sports, building things, taking apart things, hands-on activities
  • Musical: sensitive to sounds, tones, music. These students benefit from songs in order to memorize, etc.
  • Linguistic: the ability to make meaning of words. These students do well reading, writing, journaling
  • Logical/mathematical: the ability to conceptualize logical relations. These students enjoy numbers, charts, graphs, data
  • Interpersonal: the ability to interact with others. These students enjoy group work, collaboration, teams
  • Intrapersonal: the ability to understand one's own goals and feelings. These students enjoy working on their own, planning, journaling
  • Naturalistic: the ability to make distinctions in the world of nature. These students enjoy animals, plants, being outside
Most people tend to know their own strengths and reading through the list, you may have an idea which appeal to you most. It's fun for kids to learn about their own strengths. Here is a fun self-assessment if you want to try it out! 

Please - share with your kids that God made them just right! He has given them specific skills, talents, interests, and "intelligence" to do His work in the world. We need people with skills in ALL these areas! 

Healthy Parenting

Friday, September 14, 2018

As an educator and administrator, I've seen tons of families come and go through the years. And, I've witnessed many, many types of parenting styles:

Absent parents.
Lenient parents.
Loving parents.
Adventurous parents.
Silly parents.
Committed parents.
Over-bearing parents.
Helicopter parents.
Lawn-mower parents.
Godly parents.

I want to address the last three on the list!

Many of us have heard the term "helicopter parent."

As quoted from Parents.com...

"Helicopter parenting refers to "a style of parents who are over focused on their children," says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders near Detroit and author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide. "They typically take too much responsibility for their children's experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures," Dr. Daitch says. Ann Dunnewold, Ph. D., a licensed psychologist and author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, calls it "overparenting." "It means being involved in a child's life in a way that is overcontrolling, overprotecting, and overperfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting," Dr. Dunnewold explains."

The problem with helicopter parenting is that it backfires leaving kids with decreased confidence, low self-esteem, increased anxiety, or undeveloped life skills (Bayless, Parenting.com). I have to admit, I think I did some of this with my own parenting. As a teacher at the school where my own kids attended, I was overly concerned with what was going on in the classroom. When my kids were in high school, the grades were online and I checked their grades every night. I look back now and realize although I had good intentions, I should have had more of a healthy balance.

You may also have heard about the term "lawn-mower parent."


It's been said that the lawn mower parent is the new helicopter parent. "Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure." (WeTeachers) This is the parent that immediately comes to the child's rescue so that the child does not face a struggle or failure.  "We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure." (WeTeachers

I know parents have the best of intentions. And, I realize I was definitely a lawn mower parent. I made sure I mowed down most of the difficulties my kids might face. I placed items in backpacks for my kids even when they were in high school! I drove home to get missing shoes. I  heard it once said that it's good to allow kids to fail while they are young so that they may practice what to do with the failure while in the presence of a wiser person. They learn how to deal with struggles and difficulties. If we mow down all threats, they don't practice and don't learn what to do. Now - don't read into this too much! Parents need to keep their kids safe and loved. Protecting our kids from struggles or difficulties is sometimes necessary.  It's hard to have a healthy balance.

So, I look to the final strategy on the list and that is to use God as the example of parenting. He loves unconditionally. He listens. He instructs. He disciplines. His mercies are new every morning. There are many voices that may tell you how to parent - my answer is to listen to what God says through His Word.  Read the Bible often. Teach your kids to live by His standards. Help them through tough situations by praying for them and with them. Demonstrate patience. Find time to spend quality time together. 

Share! Do you have any great parenting tips?


When the Going Gets Tough...

Saturday, September 1, 2018


When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Yes, I know it’s cliche. But, it is really quite true. It’s soooo easy to give up on things when it gets tough. I have to use my daughter as an example of determination. She is my inspiration.

Our daughter is a marathon and ultra runner. She is simply amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as determined as Lauren. Well, her husband Seth is just as determined! They work hard and train hard. They are both amazing athletes. They have gotten this way through a LOT of hard work...more than the average person would endure. They get up early, eat healthy, work a full day, and put in a second set of training. They push themselves physically and spiritually. They are active with church and their social groups.

Lauren ran in the Olympic trials, and Seth took 4th in the World Duathlon in 2016 (Racing-at-Duathlon-World).  Besides training and working full time, they are also coaches



I am writing about Lauren this weekend because today she finished another big event. She ran in a 50k trail run. Yes, 50k - that’s 31 miles of trail running. Trail runs are beautiful but hard and technical. A trail run involves not only running, but paying attention to rough terrain, climbing, rocks, streams...let’s just say it’s hard. She came in 1st female  - state champion for women! It was a great accomplishment. 



I try not to be a quitter but sometimes it’s just hard! Last year I ran a 21 mile trail run after spending 10 days in India, getting sick, and not running for 3 weeks. Not a smart idea. But, I went for it. At mile 15 I was done. I mean...done. I didn’t think I could even walk. Then, Lauren called. She talked me through the rest of the run. I was so glad I completed it and thankful that her call came in just in time. She encouraged me and told me I could do it. 



Parents, help build determination in your kids. It’s a wonderful quality to be able to persevere when times get tough. It’s easy to bail our kids out or let them quit when they get frustrated. But building perseverance and determination are character traits that will help them in many aspects of life. Things may get tough. Encourage your child. Tell them they can do it. Cheer them on. Whether sports, music, academics - whatever the challenge - help your child not quit through your encouraging words. 

Gratitude in All Things

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

Sometimes life just gets hard. The week before school started, my son had heart surgery, my mom that just moved in with us was diagnosed with cancer, and my father-in-law became so ill my husband had to fly out to Oregon to be with his family. Yet within all of this, I had peace. God is in control.

God calls us to have a grateful heart. One year I was blessed to be able to visit a school in a poverty stricken portion of Ethiopia. The teachers had a classroom stuffed with 80 students. The room was equipped with four clay walls and benches. That's all. Oh - and one very small chalkboard with simple paper for classroom information. Many students walk 2 1/2 hours to get to school (one way) and they carry their prized possession...if they are lucky to have one...a textbook. (See pictures above) The joy that exuded from the classroom was clear. Students were filled to the brim with gratitude. They were so thankful to be able to receive an education. The classroom often pushed the limits of 80 students so others would stand outside, all day, and peer in through the window just to be able to hear the teacher and take part in learning. I remember the culture shock returning to our American school - a school full of every thing imaginable as far as educational supplies - yet lacking in gratitude.

"Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the JOY of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness." Billy Graham

Whenever life gets hard, or whenever I am feeling upset or concerned, I count my blessings. Sometimes it's as simple as, "Thank you for this comfy chair I am sitting in. Thank you that my dogs greet me each night. Thank you for glasses." I literally start thinking of absolutely everything I can be thankful for. I pray. I give my burdens to the Lord for HIM to carry. He fills me with His peace. Joy returns.

This little girls walks 2 hours and 30 minutes each WAY and each day just to get to school. She LOVES her textbook!

A simple classroom.

First Week!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ready. Set. Go!

Our school year is about ready and we will soon be off and running!  I am super excited for this year. I've done a lot trying to get the year off to a great start. We started with redecorating my office and the teacher conference room:



Our theme is "Rooted to be Fruited" -- helping students be rooted in God's word in order to have the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Kids will get fruit to put up on our fruit stand when they demonstrate the fruits of the Holy Spirit and are recognized by a teacher or staff!

Teachers created this bulletin board with darling pineapple faces. We painted them at our staff retreat up at Diamond Arrow.


I'm getting ready by reading Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess. I love all the PIRATE books and have read many! The books truly helped me transform as a teacher. From their website: "In Lead Like a PIRATEeducation leaders Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf map out the character traits necessary to captain a school or district. You’ll learn where to find the treasure that’s already in your classrooms and schools—and how to bring out the very best in your educators. This book will equip and encourage you to be relentless in your quest to make school amazing for your students, staff, parents, and communities." It is my hope that Victory Christian be continue to be the most amazing school for students, staff, and families! 

On a personal level, as much as I am loving getting ready for the year, I am being bombarded on all sides.  New school. New job. Mom just moved in with us. Mom has cancer. Son just had heart surgery. Husband flew out to be with ill dad. It's been quite a week. 
One thing is sure:
HE rocks - because HE is awesome. And...HE is my rock and fortress when times get crazy. I was able to participate in a book launch at just the right time...

If you are a working mom...or just a really busy person like me...this book is a must! I battle to do ALL things well. At the end of the day, I am often stretched too thin. Some of it is my own fault...I take on too much. Some of it is because of my perfectionistic tendencies. Jessica Turner helps you establish clear work boundaries, become more efficient and less stressed, and how to prioritize self-care. 

Okay. I'm off to some self-care right now! I'm choosing to relax on my front porch swing and read. ahhh.....