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Social Concerns of Homeschooling

homeschool-parent

Social skills is an area of deep concern when it comes to homeschooling. Many critics point out that since man needs to hone his social skills, a homeschooling environment where social interaction is limited is detrimental to his growth and development. But studies have proved this wrong.Children put into the fiercely competitive school environments lack the confidence to hold a conversation. Such children show little genuine interest in the topic of conversation and don’t know how to interact with people of various age groups, especially their elders.

Children who learn at home are more aware of the implications and the purpose of their learning. They will ask intelligent questions and make accurate observations. Children begin their life by imitating their parents. Homeschooled children therefore pickup the sterling qualities they see in their parents. On the other hand, they are protected from the detrimental influences of their peers.

These children are thus better equipped with the tools necessary to face the world. The positive reinforcement that takes place in the homeschooling environment as opposed to being abandoned,
embarrassed or ignored in a normal school environment strengthens their self-esteem. Children turn out to be better balanced andwell-rounded as they progress into adulthood.

Training the Fussy Eater

fussy eater 2Toddlers can be fussy eaters who refuse to try  new food atleast half of the time. Approximately half of all toddlers fit this description, so it is no wonder that food issues are a source of stress for parents.Establishing a healthy eating pattern is important to avoid problems such as obesity and eating disorders later in life. Various strategies can help your child accept a wider range of foods. It may be necessary to offer a food to your child as many as ten different times before they choose to eat it. The problem is, many parents get frustrated and give up before the fourth or fifth try.

Try to make foods fun. Colorful foods like carrot sticks, raisins, apples, grapes, cheese sticks and crackers can all be fun and healthy choices for your growing toddler. Explain to them that eating good food is important so they’ll grow big and strong, and how it will help them run faster and play longer.

Children learn behaviors from their parents. If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will take notice and mimic your caution. Don’t limit your child’s food variety to only those foods you prefer. It may be that your child’s tastes are different to yours, and perhaps you are simply serving them foods they don’t happen to like. Try to set a good example and try a variety of foods in front of your child. It could motivate them to do the same.

eatingIf your child seems healthy and energetic, then they are eating enough. If you are still concerned, keep an eye on how much food they actually eat over the day. Children tend to graze constantly, rather than restrict their eating to three meals per day like adults. You may be surprised how those little handfuls and snacks add up. For further reassurance, check your child’s growth and weight charts, or check with your child’s paediatrician.Try not to worry, and remember, that unless a child is ill, they will eat. Children are very good at judging their hunger and fullness signals. Try to stay relaxed about mealtime and offer your child a wide variety of foods, and most importantly, remember to set a good example by trying a wide variety of foods yourself. You may discover you and your toddler share a new found favorite food!

Health Needs and Kindergarten

One of the fears parents often have of sending their children off to kindergarten is the exposure to a public place where the protection of the home is no longer possible.  It is true that when your child goes to school with other children, the opportunities for illness and contamination are much more frequent.  But the value of being in school with others and the social and educational value mean that we as parents must prepare our children to begin to spend time in a public place and that we do all we can to help them stay healthy and safe each and every day.Part of preparing your child to stay healthy even in a public venue like kindergarten is to enlist the aid of your child’s paediatrician.  She can make sure your kiddo is up to date on shots and that any vulnerabilities are well known.  A good check up and getting all necessary shots before school starts will insure your child’s immune system is well equipped to deal with the additional exposure to germ

hygineBut you can also teach your child good hygiene habits at home and engrain them in her lifestyle so they will stick with her even when she is at kindergarten and she doesn’t have you there to protect her.  This includes good bathroom habits, an obsession with washing her hands as often as possible, being aware of others who are sniffing and who may not be taking good care of themselves to avoid contamination and using good table habits so the foods your child eats are clean and safe for consumption at lunch.
Good lifestyle habits at home will benefit the child at school as well.  This includes a well developed schedule of getting at least eight hours of sleep each day and a regular diet of all the major food groups, particularly fruits and vegetables as these foods will give your child’s body the defences it will need to ward off illness if there is an exposure to germs.

Good dietary habits will be something that is taught as well as enforced at home.  You can send your child a lunch to assure that at least she is taking the right kinds of foods.  But the best defence is to make sure your child is aware of her own nutritional needs as it pertains to resisting illness so she also eats well when getting food from the cafeteria and stays healthy and regular every day.You don’t want to send your child to school paranoid or afraid of other people.  But some simple rules of how to interact with others in a way that is social but not risky should be part of your training as you raise the child.  Just as you know not to eat after someone else using the same utensil, not to eat anything that has been on the floor or not to eat anything that you don’t know the origin of, these are basic health rules that children may not know if they are not taught.  So be a conscientious parent and equip your child to avoid hazardous hygienic situations.  Even if they are innocent dangers, they are dangers none the less.The health preparations for kindergarten includes things parents can control at home such as check ups, getting good sleep and nutrition and gong to school healthy and clean.  But they also include things you teach your child so she can keep herself safe and healthy even in the middle of a large group of other kids.  By giving her these skills from the first day of school going forward, you are doing your job as good parents to assure she is ready for school each and every day from kindergarten all the way through to college graduation.

Too Much Choice?

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In the good old days when I was growing up in the India of the 70s and the 80s, we had very few career choices.  You either chose science and became a doctor or an engineer, or took commerce and became an MBA, a CA or a banker.  I don’t remember any of us bemoaning the lack of choices – most likely because there weren’t any, but also maybe we were too young and un-exposed to really know what we wanted?

Fast forward to our children’s generation, where they are faced with a bewildering number of choices. And Indian universities are still a little behind their western counterparts – here, the enormous range of courses a kid can study in college, and the ability to mix and match courses to create a unique degree of your own, is mind-boggling.  As my son gets closer to going off to college, the brochures landing in my mailbox make my mouth salivate – wow! this college allows you to mix a minor in liberal arts with a major in engineering! That college has a wonderful co-op program, that helps you work and study from the second year itself!

But while I am drooling over these options, I see the opposite reaction in my son, and his many other friends.  Faced with so much choice, they are bewildered and confused and don’t know what to choose.  So in some ways they are on the other end of the spectrum from their parents – we had so few choices and they have so many – but on the other hand, it is the same conundrum –  are the kids too young to be making career choices at this age?

There are various studies showing that too much choice confuses the consumer. One of the best books I have read is The Art of Choosing, by Sheena Iyengar. Her research shows that  we can handle more than a few choices, but an overabundance can paralyze us.

So, what can we as parents do?  For one thing, along with my son, I am doing detailed research on the various courses available, and how they will fit in with my child’s interests and abilities.  So much has changed between our generation and our children’s that it is important we find out as much as we can about the various options.  At the same time, education has become expensive, and the world intensely competitive, so it is also important to find out the career prospects and employability of these courses – this is something I find kids are too young to have a good perspective about. And again, because you as the parent know your child so well, it is important to ask the right questions to understand why your child is interested in a course – is it really his interest, or is it because all his friends are talking about it?

As parents, there is a strong a role we play in our children’s career choices, and it is important that we play it well.  For more details on this, do our read the article, “A Parent’s Role in Career Choices,’ in our latest issue of ParentEdge.  You will learn a lot!

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Positive Discipline without Hurting your Child

Positive-Discipline

Children always seem to find a way to ‘push our buttons’ at times and really try our patience. It’s easy to feel irritated, sad, angry, annoyed, confused and hurt. It’s at these times when our parenting skills are really tested, and that it’s imperative we maintain a kind but firm stance when it comes to doling out the discipline. And let’s face it – none of us ever want to hurt our child with physical or verbal abuse. We want to teach our child that such things are wrong, and punishing a misdeed or inappropriate action by yelling or hitting is hypocritical at best.

Our goal when disciplining our children is to teach them to be responsible, cooperative, kind and respectful. The best way to teach this is to always remain consistent, follow through with the same punishment for the same misdeed, and to discuss the discipline with your child openly and honestly afterwards.

Always keep in mind that the age, maturity level, and temperament of your child should always be considered when enforcing a set disciplinary action. Disciplinary actions should be discussed and understood in advance so that children know what they have coming when they’ve misbehaved and can give pause and hopefully choose an appropriate route to avoid it. And most importantly, remember that it’s not the child you dislike; it’s his or her chosen behavior, action or misdeed. If you need to, give yourself a brief ‘time out’ before responding with appropriate discipline. Sometimes we need a short cooling off period before dealing with our children’s misdeeds in order to avoid a misdeed of our own. Yelling and hitting should never be an option. Keep an open mind as a parent, and be willing to learn with and from your child. We all make mistakes and it’s important to realize that not every form of discipline works with every child. Children are just as unique as adults are, and forms of discipline should be tailored to fit the individual needs of both parent and child. But with a little forethought, patience, firmness, love and understanding, the discipline can have a positive outcome for all involved.

The Basic Skills of Kindergarten

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Children love to learn. In the first years of life, there really is no distinction between learning and play to a child and they get as much fun and joy from learning new things as they do from any game they play. So the years before kindergarten are a perfect time to use play time with you to begin their path toward conquering some basic principles that will be very helpful to them when they reach kindergarten.

Many children’s games and books focus on helping your little one learn colors, shapes and other basics that will be good to have a firm grasp of before they reach kindergarten. You can make a game of knowing the color names and you will be surprised how quick witted your child is and able to pick up not just the basic 5-10 colors but many nuances of color as well. The same is true of shapes. While a child may have trouble saying “octagon”, don’t underestimate their ability to learn the names of the various shapes of their toys and blocks.

You can use play and reading time to also help your preschool child get a good grasp of the alphabet, how the letters look and numbers and counting. These will all be excellent basic skills of kindergarten that will make the step into formal school easy and smooth for your child. In fact, it isn’t out line to expect that your preschooler could learn to sign her name and do some basic letter shaping exercises before she starts kindergarten. How great would it be for her not only to have these core skills and areas of knowledge well in hand before school starts but to be able to start with that much confidence that she is smart and ready for school? That kind of confidence translates into big time success for any student starting on a big new adventure.

Along with using play time in such a productive way, there are many studies that have shown without a doubt that reading to your child every day is one of the finest ways to get them ready for school. If you read stories to your little one and allow them to look over your shoulder, you will be surprised how many words they will learn to recognize just from that casual time of loving relaxation with mommy or daddy.

But reading is also one of the best ways to improve your child’s vocabulary and ability to speak clearly and expressively. Don’t be surprised if you find your child with books open early and often because you took the time to read to her even before she starts at kindergarten. And that love of learning is something that will stay with that child for the rest of her life. What a wonderful gift.

If your child loves to run and play as is very common in young children, you can use that to help them develop strong motor skills which will help in dozens of ways in school. Hand eye coordination not only will help your child do well in gym and playing sports, it will help in learning to write and many other related physical dexterity challenges that she will face in school.

By looking at many of life’s simple pleasures that you enjoy in raising a preschooler as also opportunities to develop your child intellectually, physically and even socially in preparation for kindergarten, you are giving your baby wonderful skills, knowledge and abilities that will pay off big when kindergarten starts officially when she is five. And you will be thrilled to see her naturally step into the formal school world so well and begin to succeed because you took the time to get her ready well ahead of time.

Interrupt Your Child’s Interruption Habit

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Trying to teach your child not to interrupt can sometimes be an exercise in frustration. Telling them there’s a time to interrupt (in case of a fire) and a time to not interrupt (boredom) isn’t enough. But putting these principles into practice is easier said than done, especially for a very verbal or high-energy kid. That’s why now is a good time to revisit some basic lessons about good manners and teaching your child to wait their turn to speak.

First of all, set a reasonable expectation. School-aged children have a difficult time holding their thoughts for more than a few minutes. Indicate to her as best as you can that you’ll be with them as soon as possible and then stay true to your word.

Develop some ideas for them to occupy themselves with while you’re on the phone or otherwise unavailable. Keep a box full of puzzles, crayons, colorful markers or other quiet toys nearby that they can only use when you have to make a call. Set snacks and drinks on an accessible level so they don’t have to interrupt you for help.

When you need to make a call or have an important conversation with a visitor, head off trouble by saying you’re about to phone someone or have a conversation and estimate how long you expect to talk. Ask them if they need anything before you make your call or have your conversation with your company. Then do your best to adhere to that time schedule, and excuse yourself from the conversation long enough to check on them. Let them know you’ll be a bit longer if that’s the case and see if they need anything before returning to your conversation.

Reading is a great tool to teach manners.  Find several books on the subject then read them together. Discuss afterwards what your child learned from the story and how they’ll handle a similar situation in their life the next time it occurs.And as always, children learn what they live.  Your child is very unlikely to learn not to interrupt if they hear you, your spouse, or their siblings constantly interrupting each other.  Your actions have a strong influence on your child, so be a good example and ask permission to speak before speaking, and apologize when you inadvertently interrupt.

Why a Homemaker is the Pillar of Our Society?


We asked ourselves a very important question…..

“Who is the Pillar of our Society?”

Is it a doctor? An engineer? An artist? A lawyer? A CEO? A teacher? An Accountant? An entrepreneur? A chef? A person from the armed forces?

While all these people contribute immense value, we were not convinced…..

We kept asking ourselves, who is the one person that is truly great, truly a pillar and to some extent is every skill rolled into one person…..

She is……

A doctor, a lawyer, a ceo, a teacher, an accountant, a project manager, an entrepreneur, a chef and many many more things rolled into one.

She forgoes her dreams to Make Living Fun for her family and the world…

She instils the value-systems in her children to ensure the world is a better place when they grow up

She has no holidays, yes, 0 holidays, but she never complains.

She has helped build some of the world’s BEST companies, coached some of the world’s best athletes…

She has been an emotional anchor – a true pillar for eons….

She is…

The Homemaker!…….often and unfairly referred to as…..’Just a Housewife…..’

It’s time for men and some working women who look down upon the homemaker to stop and think……

We know some people may be hurt by this bold statement, but we don’t care because the REAL caretaker of our society has been hurt and not been recognized for centuries now…..

We urge you to think about the superwomen in your life…….Your Mom, Your Wife, Your Sister, Your friend who has forgone a lot of her dreams to Make Living Fun for her family and for a better saner world.

Being a homemaker is a tough choice, contrary to popular belief of it being an easy one. She is today as educated and qualified as any working counterpart, but she chose to take the tougher route…..

We at Bril salute you for being The ONLY True Pillar of our global society. We need you more than ever today, tomorrow, forever…..

Thanks for Making Living Fun for us.

As a token of appreciation we have created an exclusive group on Facebook ONLY for women homemakers. It’s a place where you can meet and interact with other amazing homemakers from all over the world and make friends and connections for life! Join our exclusive group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/brilhomemakers/

Teach children to respect by treating them with respect

Confident parentIn order to teach or child to treat others with respect and dignity, they must also be treated that way. And childhood is a time for children to learn about the world, including how to get along with others. Parents play an essential role in teaching children how to form healthy relationships and grow into socially adept individuals. This social competence allows children to be cooperative and generous, express their feelings, and empathize with others.

The most effective way to teach children this lesson is by modeling the behavior you want to encourage. Every time you say “please” or lend a helping hand, you are showing your children how you would like them to act. Ask for your children’s help with daily tasks, and accept their offers of help. Praise your child’s good behavior and traits often, and help them realize how good it feels inside to do a good deed or be generous with another person. Socially competent children are ones who have a strong sense of self worth and importance. When a child feels good about themselves, it’s easy for them to treat others in a positive, helpful manner. Encourage acts of generosity through sharing and cooperation. Let your child know when it’s someone else’s turn with a toy or on the swing and praise their ability to recognize this on their own. Thank them for being polite and respectful and for sharing and cooperating.

Children know from their own experiences that words can hurt, and that name-calling, teasing, or excluding others affects how people feel. Children want to be treated fairly, but they don’t always understand how to treat others the same way. One way to teach fairness is to explain a rule to your child, pointing out that it applies to him as well as to others.