Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Parent Education - December 09

We are trying something new! Check out the parent education on video. Click on the link below.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rigor in the IMMS

This year, the IMMS set out to improve our already strong academic program. Our goal was to keep the rigor in the program while attempting to lessen the student work load. Some of our action steps were the use of differentiated instruction, the implementation of the Acuity test and the use of homework as a means of needed classroom enrichment. I would like some feedback from you, the parents, on our goals. If you have a personal concern, please contact me at the school as this venue is designed to be generalized. Your words of encouragement and constructive criticism is appreciated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November 09- Parent Education

The more I work with preteens and teenagers, the more I realize how important it is for parents to be active in the lives of their children and to monitor the influences in their lives. There are many books out there for parents that give insight into parenting teens. Though they have great insight, what I have found is that we have a tendency to think that the issues talked about in the books that kids deal with aren't happening in the lives of our own kids. We find it hard to believe that our kids have been introduced to drugs, sex, pornography, online predators, peer pressure or sexual harassment. This list could go on and on. Our kids don't talk about it around us so we assume it must not be a problem. Now realize, not every child has been introduced to these issues, but more have been than people think. We need to be aware that naivety can be our worst enemy.
I have taught in the public school system and now here at ECS. The barrage of negative influence "those" kids face is the same barrage that "our" kids face. Many times we talk about those not-so-fun issues with our kids on a level that is beneath them. We do this because we want to protect them and we don't want to teach them something before they are ready to handle it. I will preface my next comment by saying I completely agree with the protecting the kids, however, I have found that, many times, the kids know much more than we realize and we aren't dealing with them on the level they are at. We want to teach them how to spell the word "hip" when they already know how to spell the word "hippopotamus." Though they shouldn't know some of the information they know at this age, it is important to realize that most of them do. The reason for this is all the ways our kids are influenced. The technology age we live in sends an overload of information to our kids, much of which can be negative and destructive. Some of the influences in our kids lives here at ECS include facebook, myspace, cell phones, texting, gaming systems and the internet. I encourage you to consider what you are allowing to have access to your child. Avenues, such as facebook and myspace, create a portal where they can talk about whatever they want with no record of it happening. I have personally seen some of what is talked about on there and can guarantee that you, as a parent, would not allow it to happen if you knew of it. Also, FYI, to have a facebook or myspace account, the person signing up has to say they are at least thirteen. These policies would prohibit the vast majority of ECS students from having an account. As a parent, we should be actively monitoring what our kids are doing and the influences in their lives. If you choose to allow them to have these accounts, I recommend you require they give you their login and password. I also recommend you create your own account and be friends with them. On my January blog, I posted an excerpt from "Reaching Teens in their Natural Habitat" by Danny Holland dealing with issue I raised in this entry. He recommends six steps for parents. They are:

1. Recognize that distractions destroy dreams.
2. Train your kids and teens to guard their own focus. Only your kids can protect themselves.
3. Control the type of music, media, and teen entertainment that your kids are exposed to.
4. Starve wrong relationships. It only takes one person to destroy their future.
5. Allow and encourage relationships that enhance their focus on their life purpose.
6. If it doesn't feed, fuel, or fertilize positive focus, forget it.

I am so impressed by the parent involvement here at ECS. Know that our mission here falls right in line with what you want for your child. We strive to motivate students to achieve their God-given potential and to equip them to impact home, church and society for Christ. For them to reach this goal, we must, as a school and as parents, help them guard themselves against what the world and Satan will throw at them, in a developmentally appropriate and timely manner.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Parent Education - October 09

This month's excerpt is from Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel.

p 60-63

"The transition from correcting our children's behavior to motivating their hearts is vital. If our kids don't learn to own their decisions, to understand why they should make good choices, they will suffer for it. We can't always keep them from making bad decisions; eventually they must make their own choices. That's what God intended when He gave us free will. He wants our hearts to be in the right place when we make a decision. He says, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). Our attitudes are more important to Him than our actions-so much so that He doesn't want us to do the right things for the wrong reasons. In fact, God condemned the religious leaders of His day for obeying out of fear, pride, and habit instead of love (see Matthew 23:26).
As a parent, I think I understand why God wants this. Love and obedience that are coerced aren't nearly as wonderful as when they're given freely. For example, as much as I love the kisses I steal from my sleeping children, they're not nearly as sweet as the ones they give me when they wake up in the morning, run down the stairs, and climb onto my lap. With God, the principle is the same. I envision Him sitting on His heavenly throne, anxiously waiting for His children to wake up and pour out their love on Him.
God has given our children the free will to choose or reject Him, so we, their parents, must give them good reasons to follow His ways. The goal is for our kids to make obedient choices because they know it's the right thing to do, because it pleases God-not because they want to avoid correction. If our children are motivated to obey only out of fear, they'll miss the whole point of obedience.
I must confess that if I'd been able to force my children to obey me out of fear while they were young, I would have parented that way. It is so much easier-but it's the wrong approach. In hindsight, I am glad I was unsuccessful at using fear tactics. It would have made life simpler while my kids were young, but I'd rather see them obey me, and God, wholeheartedly, out of love.
Of course, there's always the temptation to let the pendulum swing too far to the other side and neglect to discipline the flesh. If we do not discipline them when they're young, they will have a difficult time disciplining themselves when they are older. We have all seen lives cut short because of self-indulgence. One of the reasons parents often pamper and indulge their kids is that they want to have a wonderful relationship with them. I want that too-but placing too much emphasis on friendship is risky. When we try to be best buddies with our children too soon, giving them lots of pep talks without any corrective discipline, we put ourselves on their level, and they lose the security of knowing someone bigger and wiser is looking out for them. What our children really need when they're young is a parent, not a best friend.
One of the greatest rewards of parenting is friendship with our children; but if we get the prize before we finish the race, the ones who end up being penalized are our children. Our friendship with them will evolve later, as they mature."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 09- Parent Education

I am reading "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel, aka Blair from "The Facts of Life." This is a wonderful, easy read that I encourage you all to get. I am using a piece from her book this month. It was insightful to me as a father and a principal. I am sure you will find it insightful also.

"Until our children learn to obey by their own free choice, they will continue to think the objective is to see how much they can get away with without getting caught. That's why it's critical, especially as our children get older, for us to take a two-step approach to parenting: We must teach the heart as well as discipline the flesh. While it's important that our kids learn to follow our instruction, they must also understand the reasons behind our restrictions and standards so that they may choose, by an act of the will, to obey. This is the real heart of obedience."
"Children who grow up in legalistic, strict environments in which the parents never explain the purpose of discipline will often obey just as long as Mom and Dad are watching, then act up the second their parents turn their heads. On the other hand, kids who grow up in homes that lack rules and standards, where the parents are buddies rather than authority figures, often know the right thing to do but don't have the willpower to carry it out."
"It takes time and energy to teach our kids why they're being corrected, rather than simply dole out the punishment. For example, if one of my kids interrupts me while I'm talking on the phone, the most convenient thing for me to do is to send them to their room. This stops the negative behavior and allows me to continue my conversation with only a brief pause in my personal agenda. But it's not the best approach, because all they have learned is that this time they got caught. The next time they have a burning question, they will probably interrupt again."
"I am not saying we shouldn't sen children to their rooms, but discipline alone isn't enough; we must follow up. So after I send a child to their room, I should cut my conversation a little short and then join them upstairs. That way I can explain to them why interrupting is inconsiderate...both to me and to the other person on the line. I can relay that when they interrupt me, they are communicating a selfish message: that what they have to say is more important that what I or anyone else has to say. This gives me the opportunity to talk to them about putting others first."
"Of course, we as parents should be sensitive to our kids, too. Often the question is important! So at our house, we use a wonderful technique, called the "Interrupt Rule," that we learned in a parenting class. Using this technique, our kids will gently rest a hand on my side when they need to get my attention. I'll lay my hand on theirs, acknowledging the request to speak, and then at a logical break in my conversation, I'll excuse myself and briefly turn my attention to my child."
"It takes time to follow up our discipline by explaining the rules and then describing what to do in the future. But it's worth it! We'll be raising children who do the right things for the right reasons."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

5th - 8th Day 1 a success

On the first day of school, all fifth through eighth grade students went to Triple T Ministries with the goal starting the year off on a positive note. The students started the day off with a chapel titled "Everything we do, we do unto the Lord. Mr. Wilhite led the worship, the teachers acted out a drama skit, and Mr. Thompson gave the message. The students spent most of the day in their homerooms where they planned out what they will do on service day, participated in a teambuilding activity involving a furniture dolly and gloves, and challenged other classes in an adapted game of charades called, "Bird, Beast or Fish." The students given a challenge for the year to strive to be more like Christ. The day was a great success. The students and teachers were laughing, bonding and truly enjoying the day. What a great way to start off the new school year!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Parent Education - May 09

This month's entry comes from Reaching Teens in their Natural Habitat by Danny Holland.

Escape the Tunnel Vision, p70-72
When police officers go through a law enforcement academy, much training time is spent learning to handle their firearms. They study shootings and learn the latest techniques for surviving a life-and-death battle. One natural tendency they need to unlearn, though, is tunnel vision. When we're faced with a threat, we automatically direct all available attention and energy to neutralizing that threat. For police officers this presents a serious problem because they must often engage multiple threats simultaneously.
Police officers are trained to fire at their targets and then sweep their eyes to the left and the right before re-holstering their weapons. Why? Because in the past officers were re-holstering their weapons before making sure the scene was clear of other threats. Officers who survived the initial threat but still focused on it even after it was gone were being killed by other threats they never saw. Their tunnel vision kept them from seeing other dangers.
We as parents can fall prey to tunnel vision too. Focused on social influences, peer pressure, and other threats to the moral upbringing of our kids, we wield our parental defensive weapons with tactical excellence. But if we're not careful, we can become so consumed with protecting our sons and daughters that we may ignore the powerful offensive role we must play as a successful life coach. A dominant, defensive survival mind-set tends to react to negative circumstances, influences and events. Parenting from this posture can limit our role as parents to be emergency responders who engage the dangers to our children's future.
When it comes to our kids, no matter what their age, we need to be strategic and intentional rather than just reacting to negative circumstances. I know many kids who create negative situations to foster interactions with their parents. We parents need to find a balance between being proactive and reactive. Ask yourself, "Why am I protecting my son/daughter?" When it comes to convincing our teenagers to avoid behavior that could hurt them or cause them painful regrets, a positive reason can be much more compelling than a negative one.
When I turned fifteen, I participated in an abstinence program called Tru Love Waits. I signed my name on a card pledging that I would not have sex until I was married, and I received a ring from my parents as a reminder of this decision. I have to admit, though, that I thought I would be married by the time I turned eighteen! Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four--the years slowly crept by. What had I been thinking? I began to recall my motivation, envisioning my wedding night, handing the ring to my wife and seeing the look on her face. I knew she would be able to trust me the rest of our lives because I havd been faithful to her before I ever knew her. I knew I would have no regrets, no diseases, no children by other women and no unwanted faces in my mind. At twenty-five I finally walked down the aisle with my wife. In our hotel room on our wedding night, I handed Amanda my ring and said, "Amanda, before I ever knew you, I loved you enough to save myself for you." My dream of what I wanted my marriage to be like kept me pure. Sure, regrets crossed my mind, but the positive vision of my future compelled me to stay on track.
We parents need to intentionally prepare our children and teenagers for their future by both providing a hedge of protection around them in the form of rules, accountability, structure, and giving them powerful reasons for doing the right thing. After all, if a coach prepared his team only to stop the opponent's strong offense, his team would still be defeated. As we coach our children, let's not forget our offensive strategy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April - Parent Education

This month's exerpt is from Reaching Teens in their Natural Habitat by Danny Holland.

Teaching Versus Training (pages 62-64)

"There is a key element that is impacting and shaping kids. Knowing that it exists will give you, the parent, a greater advantage in reaching your teens. Most of us have sat our kids down and given them talks. We teach our kids from our well of knowledge and try to impart vital information. Teaching is an effective way of giving kids information. Let's look at a typical teaching moment."
"We sit Johnny down and envision turning on his internal recorder. We then go on to explain why homework is vital to getting good grades, why good grades are vital to getting a good ob, and why a good job is vital to success in life. No matter what the topic of our talk, we reach the point where we feel either that we have exhausted the topic or Johnny has grasped the information. At this point we often assume that Johnny has turned off his internal recorder since our talk is over. But teaching isn't the only vehicle we have for getting information to our kids."
"Every waking moment our kids are with us, their learning recorders are on. They watch us eat, talk, argue, manage our time, manage our resources, and so on. Every day they watch us live, and by watching us, they are being trained. We teach kids by sharing what we know, but we train them by who we are. I remember the first time I noticed this process in action."
"When my son was about two years old, we had a yellow Lab named Bud. He was the most compliant dog on earth, but because Bud was a big dog and we had little kids in the house, we still had to be very strict with him. One day my son decided to discipline the dog. "Bud, NO!" he yelled. I looked over at Bud. He was standing in the corner looking around, rather dumbfounded. It took me a second to realize that my son had never been taught how to discipline a dog, but he had been trained to do it by watching me."
"The story of Evan Ramsey, a school shooter from Alaska, also comes to mind. Evan was interviewed by MSNBC about his actions at his Bethel, Alaska, school. Something in that interview jumped out at me. Evan's father, Don Ramsey, had been arrested years earlier for storming the Anchorage Times when the paper didn't publish an article he had written. Armed with a small arsenal of wepons, he had fired warning shots into the ceiling and taken people hostage. He later surrendered. There, when dealing with some difficult issues at school, Evan did exactly what his father had trained him to do by his actions. Evan took the same type of weapon, stormed the school, and fired warning shots into the ceiling. Evan was actually assigned to the same jail cell that his father had occupied after his rampage. I seriously doubt Evan's father intentionally taught him how to go on a rampage, but clearly Evan had been trained."
"Let me give you another example. Growing up, baby Juan occasiounally sees Dad come home from work on Friday in a bad mood. Dad sits in his chair, drinks a few beers, and seems to feel much better. Fourteen years leater, Juan gets his report card at school and realizes that his social life is pretty much over as he has known it. So Juan goes home and smokes some marijuana. Mom walks in on him and is horrified by his drug use. In this scenario, what did dad do? He used a legal chemical to change the way he felt. What did Juan do? He used an illegal chemical to change the way he felt. Juan had been trained."

This is very relevant to Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." God is calling us to raise our kids by training them, not teaching them. We as parents and educators can talk all day, but the kids will be watching us more than they are listening to us. To train them, we must be a living example.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March - Parent Education

This month's entry is an excerpt from Danny Holland's book Reaching Teens in their Natural Habitat. pg 53-55

"It's no secret that our kids need to know we care about them. Telling them that we love them is good, but communicating the message with our actions is even better. When I was a young baseball player, I wanted to pitch. With my dad's encouragement, I asked my coach if I coule try pitching. The coach answered, "You can't pitch. You ain't got no arm." I was disappointed. Several weeks later my father and I went to the store, where he purchased a catcher's mitt, a new basebal and a home plate. My dad informed me that he had permission to use the school gym every Tuesday and Thursday night and that he would teach me to pitch. Two days a week my father took me up to the school and let me pitch to him. I knew he had other things he wanted and needed to do, but he made sure to be there with me week after week.
The next year I pitched my first no-hitter in a tournament game against the same coach who had said I didn't have an arm. I got the game ball, and my dad wrote on it in marker, "He ain't got no arm." And to this day I have our home plate in my office. It symbolizes an act of extravagant love. It also reminds me that there are no shortcuts to making my boys know they are special to me.
Parents occasionally ask, "Danny, how do I tell my daughter I love her? I don't know what to do." Dads, remember when you were dating your wife: Remember how anemic the words "I love you" felt compared to what was in your heart? If you were anything like me, you would look for all kinds of ways to communicate your love for her, and you knew what to do because she captivated you and you studied her. We need to study our kids and look for opportunities to demonstrate our love for them. Handing over a credit card to make up for not spending time with them might bring some excitement, but no material items can fill the void within them that is designed for thei parents' love."
Bishop T.D. Jakes writes, "Start today to act like a gourmet chef. Carefully and with love, mix all your ingredients together. Stir that pot with compassion and understanding, and season the mix with support, encouragement, and respect. Don't neglect it; it might boil over or burn. Instead, tend to the pot with a watchful eye, let it simmer gently, and the flavors will blend, creating a dish fit for a king."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parent Education - February

This month's entry is from the book Reaching Teens in Their Natural Habitat by Danny Holland.
In one of his earlier chapters, Mr. Holland discussed the impact that television, internet, video games and music have on our children. He addressed the issue saying that parents need to monitor what their kids are watching, experiencing and listening to as the effects of being exposed to different media is alarming. Below is an excerpt from his book regarding video games.

"Nearly three out of four school-aged kids have a video-game system, which they play for about forty-nine minutes per day. And let me tell you, games today are not at all like PONG.

Grand Theft Auto recently passed Super Mario Brothers as the most popular video game of all time. It involves much more than stealing cars and driving around. The games in this series simulate criminal life. Players start as low-level criminals and progress to kingpin status. Along the way they have sex with, beat up, and kill prostitutes, and they kill other people with a variety of weapons including a golf club, a knife, a chain saw, a gun and fire. It even allows players to advertise their destructive deeds through tattoos in the exact same way real gangs use tattoos to communicate their criminal accomplishments.

The impact these games are having on our kids is still being researched. We do know, though, that video games have been used since the Vietnam War era to train our soldiers and that school shooters often do exactly as they have trained on their home simulators. In Jonesboro, Arkansas, for example, two middle-school students pulled a fire alarm, set up a military kill zone and opened fire on students and faculty. The military strategy they used was from a video game they loved to play called Soldier of Fortune. How can we justify marketing such video games both to our military for training in combat and to our kids for entertainment?"

The games he mentioned in his book are not new, however, it shows you a glimpse of what is out there to influence our kids. He offers six things parents can do to direct their teen's attention.

They are:
1. Recognize that distractions destroy dreams.
2. Train your kids and teens to guard their own focus. Only your kids can protect themselves.
3. Control the type of music, media, and teen entertainment that your kids are exposed to.
4. Starve wrong relationships. It only takes one person to destroy their future.
5. Allow and encourage relationships that enhance their focus on their life purpose.
6. If it doesn't feed, fuel, or fertilize positive focus, forget it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Parent Education - January

This is an exerpt from Reaching Teens in their Natural Habitat by Danny Holland.

Increased Time = Increased Strength (pgs 27-28)
Whatever you look at most will gain strength and eventually be the strongest attraction in your life. Let me give you an example. I used to have a fascination with Jeeps. I loved looking at Jeeps, checking out the modifications Jeep owners made, and even studying the Jeep concept vehicles. I would dream of taking my new Jeep Rubicon top down, wife and kids strapped in, onto the beach and giving its thirty-three-inch B.F. Goodrich Mud Terrain tires a workout as waves crashed around us. You get the picture. The more I dreamed about having a Jeep, the more often Jeeps caught my eye. I noticed every Jeep that passed me even when I was driving on the interstate at seventy-five miles per hour. By allowing Jeeps to repeatedly capture my attention, I unintentionally trained my eye to notice them.
And what captures our attention is not as important as what keeps it. So study and be an expert in whatever keeps your child's attention. It might be something educational and positive. It might even give you a clue as to what your child's purpose is in life. It might be a musical instrument, sport, or civic or church activity. And once you find that captivating item or activity, go out of your way to feed that source of attention.
While I was growing up, my father was the news director of a popular radio station, but he was laid off when the ownership changed. I was a teenager at the time, and suddenly I became interested in playing the bass guitar. I had a cheap one, but I quickly outgrew it. After nearly twenty months, my father had not found a job. But even though money was tight, he made a huge investment in my future by buying me an eighteen-hundred-dollar instrument and a thousand dollars worth of accessories for Christmas. I understand something today that I didn't know then: my father saw my attention and energy being drawn toward something positive, and he fed that source of attention. Even though some might see his purchase as a poor financial decision for a man in his position, he saw my interest as the opportunity of a lifetime. It's been said that the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity, and that is never truer than when it comes to our kids and their interests.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Upcoming Trips and Events

Tuesday, January 13, we will be accepting registrations at the office for the 6th and 7th grade class trips as well as the new 8th grade trip to the City Museum in St. Louis.

-The cost for the students this year is $70. We will only be taking one coach so chaperones will need to drive or carpool. The cost for chaperones is $30 plus your driving expenses. There is no limit to the number of chaperones.

-The cost for the students this year is $140. We will only be taking one coach so chaperones will need to drive or carpool. The cost for chaperones is $70 plus your driving expenses. There is no limit to the number of chaperones.

-There is 8 spots available for chaperones on this trip. This is a day trip leaving bright and early in the morning and returning around 8pm on May 20. The cost is $32. Registration will also start Tuesday, January 13. Chaperone registration for this trip is first come first serve.

-If you plan on attending Holiday World on May 20 with your 7th grader, you may purchase a ticket through the school at a discounted rate. The student price for the trip is $25, including the ticket and travel. The adult price is $20 as you must drive yourself to the venue. Tickets must be paid for when you order them at the office. The last day to order tickets is Friday, February 6.