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Monday, February 9, 2015

Raising a "Normal" Child - Preschool

I think the worst part so far about raising my son is having the expectation that school will be a place to watch him thrive and be challenged, and then have that expectation blow up in your face when you instead feel like school has opened your eyes to the possibility that your child is somehow broken. I have come to realize that my husband and I realize we are not alone in this experience, and this post is for other parents who are feeling overwhelmed by their children's inability to "behave" in school. (Warning: it's long, and the beginning of a series.)

Disorganized does not mean broken
I can't imagine any parent being happy to discover that their child has some sort of disability. In the United States, ADHD is the most common disorder affecting children today, if these statistics from the CDC are accurate. But in my quest to discover why my child was "broken," I discovered why there are people out there that think ADHD is a myth. As it turns out, my son is quite "normal" after all.

When he was a toddler, he was happy and inquisitive. He was also stubborn and strong-willed. He was every bit as much a carbon-copy personality of myself, tempered with the tactile need to experience his world through his hands - like his dad. There didn't seem to be anything odd or abnormal about his behavior or development. Although an only child, he did have opportunities to play with other children at parks, playgrounds, and family gatherings. Not once did we think he had socialization problems.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Communication and Blogging with Kids

edublogs logo
site used for student blogs
My son's teacher set up blog pages for her students to use. It is mainly to post their book reports, but they are also free to post other school-related or personal commentaries. It is an excellent lesson in responsible social media use.

First of all, students cannot immediately post to their blogs. Once they complete a post, it has to go to the teacher to be moderated. Then, if she approves of the content, the post gets published. This way, students will learn what is acceptable content, and what should be left out (such as personal info, bad language, and improper comments about others).

Second, it gives them the freedom to personalize a page just for themselves. They are allowed to choose and customize themes, create pages, "follow" other blogs, and comment on other classmates' posts. Kids need opportunities to feel like they call the shots. Blog pages offer up a way for students to explore their individual personalities.

image from KidsLearnToBlog.com
It provides an avenue to safely learn that others will see what they post. Students learn to understand that what they say will have an impact on readers - positively or negatively - and will have to use their blog responsibly. They will discover that what they wrote may be boring to another, and to another it will be a point of disagreement, and to yet another it will be a source of entertainment.

Lastly, having a blog is a way to improve life skills.They learn how to keyboard, and hopefully in turn learn how to spell and use proper grammar, which in turn makes reading more enjoyable for the visitor. They learn to communicate clearly and effectively through comments and replies. And they will gain confidence in their ideas and creativity and ideally become less discouraged when someone criticizes their work.

If your child's teacher is not using blogs in the classroom, consider giving your child access to a blog at home. KidsLearnToBlog.com is a simple website to help parents navigate through the world of blogging and social media. And for a one-stop shop for the web's best blogs by kids, visit BlogsByKids for the latest and greatest blogs for kids, picked by kids. And if you need moral support, I'm here for you! ^_^

Leave a comment below and tell me about your adventures as a parent with a kid blogger!