Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kids and Learning: 5 Simple Old School Tactics from a Mompreneur

Kids and Learning: 5 Simple Old School Tactics from a Mompreneur

Kids and Learning: 5 Simple Old School Tactics from a Mompreneur

I am first and foremost a mother. I am a mother of 4 beautiful girls, one of whom is now married with a child. My other girls are still school age. One commonality with all of my girls is that they were and still are good learners.

There is no secret to kids and learning. For me, I relied on old school beliefs and I tried to instill such beliefs in my girls. My eldest daughter finished high school at 16, undergraduate college at 20 and is now All But the Dissertation (ABD) at Brown University in Rhode Island. My second daughter is a high school senior who will graduate with college credit as a result of  dual enrollment. My third and fourth daughters have been in the gifted and academically talented program from elementary school until now. They are just normal kids who were able to do well in school because of the support they received at home. If they can do it, anyone can. Here are 5 tactics that I employed while my kids were in elementary school that have manifested in their ability to have academic success.
  1. The mindset that a child's first classroom is the home: With this mindset, I taught my kids to read before they went to school. Since I am old school, I utilized the old phonics method and it worked. All of my girls were reading on a 2nd grade level by age 3.
  2. Bedtime reading to my girls was a tradition in our home. This meant that I read to them every night from infancy until about the 6th grade. The material read was varied, sometimes fiction, sometimes not. At times we were reading history and science text books. We always read a Bible story. They loved biographies and so did I. My husband did stories in a round. For us this meant someone begins a story and the next person continues the story, each taking turns. This allowed them to use their imagination.
  3. No television during the week and only an hour on the weekends. In this day and age, this may seem draconian but it worked. This rule was relaxed a bit after the girls entered middle school. However it laid an excellent foundation for them to explore their own creative spirits. When they got home from school and finished their homework, they played a lot and used their imaginations.
  4. We played classical music in the car and listened to lots of self help tapes. The car is an ideal place to supplement what kids are learning. For instance, if the teacher is teaching the multiplication tables, then I would buy multiplication CDs to play in the car. Or we will sing the tables. At times, I would quiz them in the car. The same goes for any subject. In order to do this, however, the car should be a technology free zone, so that you can have the opportunity to chat with them without the interference of texting etc.
  5. Positive expectations with regard to their academic success: As parents we should expect our kids to do well and we should keep abreast of what they are doing in school. Ask questions about tests. Set appointments to speak with teachers. Find out what they are struggling with and see how best you can assist them in overcoming the hurdle. Let them know that the only failure is when one does not try for even a bad grade is still a win (if you actually tried) because at least now you know what you did not know. If they know you expect the best from them, they will try their best for you initially and eventually for themselves.
What tactics do you employ that have resulted in academic success for your kids? Please share your thoughts below. I am no expert and even my kids have room for improvement but if we collaborate and talk about what we are doing, we all can benefit. 

Life is Good!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day | A Mompreneur's Thoughts

"The end of labor is to gain leisure." — Aristotle

Happy Labor Day everyone!

We were heading to Florida this Labor Day but with the threat of Hurricane Hermine, we canceled our plans. So today, my family is relaxed and enjoying an opportunity to have a lazy day. As I consider the meaning of this day for me as a Mompreneur, the following thoughts come to mind:

  1. As the official end of summer, Labor Day is a day to have that last hoorah with friends and family, whether on the beach, at a new unfamiliar destination, or just in a neighborhood park.
  2. Labor Day marks the time when I begin to plan fall activities for my family. We love the fall season with Thanksgiving, apples, pumpkins, fall wreaths, and the list goes on...
  3. Since Labor Day is in the the last month of the third quarter of the year, I begin to make a list of business goals that can be achieved in the 4th quarter.
  4. Labor Day sales are the perfect opportunity for me to shop for winter clothes for my kiddos.
  5. And finally, Labor Day is a day to reflect on the fact that I have a responsibility to vendors and employees that I shouldn't take for granted
What are your thoughts on Labor Day? Share below.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Mompreneur's Planning Process | My 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner

I am so excited to have received my 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner. This is my second year using the Life Planner. Last year when I first used it,  I was pleasantly surprised that it was so easily adaptable to my life as a Mompreneur. With school aged kids, a home, a husband, a business and myself to manage, I am never without a planner. My planner covers all bases.

It has a monthly spread with a column for goals. I use this section for appointments, birthdays etc. If someone calls and makes a request of me, this is where I go to take a quick glance at my schedule. I also, use this section to literally mark off the days so that I have a quick visual of how many days are left in the month.

Though the Erin Condren Life Planners come in both horizontal and vertical spreads, my personal favorite is the vertical spread. Each week is on two pages and a day is in a full column. There is also a section for lists and a gratitude area. I find the gratitude area to be a lovely reminder to say thanks for the little things in my life. In addition, there are lines below the columns that can be used for anything you wish. I use mines to reconcile out some business items that I pay attention to on a daily basis.

I love the fact that the planner is colorful. Each month has its own color theme. This allows me to immediately know when I am transitioning to the next month. Also, if I choose to add seasonal stickers, they don't seem out of place.

Typically my planning process is based on the David Allen Getting Things Done Methodology where I keep a running to do list. Sundays are my planning days. So on Sunday evenings I would look at my running to do list and pencil in items in my planner that have to be completed in the week. Then each evening I make more specific plans of what I intend to do the very next day.

My husband and kids know that the planner is my command station and if it not written down in the planner it is more than likely not getting done. As a busy Mompreneur with so much on my plate it is inspirational to have a planner that doesn't look too corporate but yet functions well enough to complete all organizational duties necessary for my life as entrepreneur, a Mom, and a wife.

If you have an Erin Condren Life Planner and you love it as I do, please share your thoughts below.