Children Learn What They Live

In 1954, American writer and family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte wrote a poem on child rearing for the Torrance Herald.  The poem was titled “Children Learn What They Live”.  The poem resonated with parents so much that it was even distributed to millions of new parents by a baby formula company.  The popularity of that poem hasn’t died away, and for very good reason.  The words and message are as relevant today as they ever were, and they serve as a good reminder to us all on how to lead by example.

Children are what they learn, so a little love and patience goes a long way!

Children are what they learn, so a little love and patience goes a long way!

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

-Dorothy Law Nolte

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4 Ways to Help Your Kids Beat Summer Brain Drain

Beat Summer "Brain Drain" with a simple summer building project for kids.

Beat Summer “Brain Drain” with a simple summer building project for kids.

Just because summer is here doesn’t mean your kids need to suffer from “summer brain drain”.  After all, you don’t want all of last year’s hard fought educational nuggets to disappear completely.  However, summer is meant for fun, and your kids need a break as much as you do.  As a homeschooling Mom, I’ve learned to (dare I say it?) “trick” my kids into keeping their brain sharp during the summer break.

Fortunately for us parents, it’s pretty easy to incorporate learning into the summer once you get the concept.  I do so by picking several fun activities and using those as a hands-on experience that is similar to a project they’d do in class or a field trip.   This process is very similar to how children learned “in the old days”, and it’s based around experience. Here are few brain-drain busting ideas to get you started.

Science:
Use an enjoyable summer activity as an excuse for a science lesson.  For example, if your family is into fishing, use your next fishing trip as a way to explain more about the biology and natural habitat of the fish in your area.   If you fish on the ocean, use the opportunity to explain the tides, the pull of the moon, and the effects of gravity.  If you fish at night, take a star chart with you and discuss the placement of the planets, constellations, or ancient navigation techniques.

Math:
In our family, my boys get the opportunity to build things with Grandpa.  These summer building projects have kept their math skills sharp while helping to translate those abstract math problems into real world applications.  It doesn’t have to be an elaborate building project, a simple bird feeder or DIY home improvement project is enough.  Remember, the point is to keep them sharp, not to make them engineers in the course of one summer.

Agriculture:
Plant a family garden!  This one is easy to do if you are a gardener, and it is a great one to do with younger children.  The process of planting, weeding, and harvesting offers an abundance of opportunities for lessons in agriculture, weather, biology, and home economics.  The process of planting a seed, nurturing it through to maturity, harvesting it, and then consuming it, is a valuable lesson your children will not forget.

History:
Short, small history lessons are also easy to incorporate into a summer lesson.  The next time you drive through your town, look around for old buildings, train depots that are no longer in use, or railroad tracks that lead to nowhere.  Often times it only takes a bit of research to learn that what looks like an overlooked, abandoned brick building was once an orphanage from the late 1800’s.  Or better yet, that old derelict building with the lion carvings on the top was once a beautiful opera house that hosted some of the world’s greatest performers during the early 1900’s.  History doesn’t have to be grand, and it doesn’t have to be in a history book to be exciting.  As a matter of fact, bringing history down to the local level can help to make it more real for your kids.

At the end of the day, learning should be fun.  At JM Cremp’s, we focus our efforts on helping families to promote learning through hands-on experience and adventure.

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A Small Dose of Summer Boredom Can Be a Good Thing

It's ok to let your kids be bored once in a while.  Their creative side will thank you.

It’s ok to let your kids be bored once in a while. Their creative side will thank you.

Do you remember as a kid flopping on the couch on a lazy summer afternoon “bored to death”?  Or do you remember sitting on the front stoop drawing pictures in the dirt with your toe because you couldn’t find something exciting to do?  Maybe your version of “bored” manifested itself in trying to get a rise out of a younger sibling, although I’m sure none of us have ever done such thing.

Kids today suffer boredom just as we did, and if you have kids of your own, I’m sure you’ve already heard this summer’s version of “Moommmmmm….I’m sooooooo bored!”   When I uttered those words, my mom would just ship me outside or give me work to do.  You can guess how often I dared to utter the “B” word.

For today’s kids it seems that the boredom strategy is a lot different .  With today’s constant reliance on devices with screens combined with a culture that pushes to fill our children’s every waking moment with planned activities, I can’t help but think we are allowing those kids to skip over a very important learning process.

Remember when you were bored?  How did you deal with it?  I remember reading, drawing, calling friends to organize a baseball game, or scouring the neighborhood for someone to play with.  Often the boredom didn’t last long and my “filler” activities sparked my imagination and fueled my creative side.  Looking back, it was being bored that taught me how to look within to find and develop the hobbies and talents that make me, well – me.

So this summer, when your kids utter the “B” word, let them stew in their boredom for a while.  If that doesn’t work, you can always give them a job to do.  Either way, they’ll learn a valuable lesson and they’ll get to know the real kid within.

PS – If you want to “suggest” fun activities that your kids can do during those lazy summer days, this blog is loaded with dozens of ideas.  Our backyard obstacle course is always popular, but if you poke around a bit, I’m sure you’ll find something that will pique their interest.

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Summer Reading List for Inspiring Your Children

JM Cremp’s summer reading list is meant to inspire your children with stories of heroism, bravery, encouragement, and lessons in faith.  Here are a few of our favorites:

This summer's reading list is full of heroes and adventure.

This summer’s reading list is full of heroes and adventure.

War Stories: True Stories of WWI & WWII
The 20th century was ravaged by two of the most devastating conflicts in history: the First and Second World Wars. The slaughter and destruction was on such a massive scale it still haunts us today. From zeppelin raids, trench warfare, spies and secret plots, to epic encounters between colossal warships, War Stories, contains a collection of dramatic and unforgettable, true tales.  Recommended ages 8+.

Chief Joseph: The Voice for Peace
Chief Joseph was a peace chief, a great leader who truly believed his nation, the Nez Perce, could live in harmony with white people. Tragically, it was not to be. This fascinating biography separates fact from myth, and tells the compelling story of a man who tried to fight injustice with words, not weapons.  Recommended ages 10+.

Faith & Freedom Trilogy
The Faith & Freedom Trilogy is a sequel series to the Crown & Covenant series, and chronicles new generations of the M’Kethe family who find freedom in 18th century America. Adventure is afoot as Old World tyrannies clash with New World freedoms. Douglas Bond weaves together fictional characters with historical figures from Scottish and American history.  This series (and the one preceding it) are loaded with heroes, adventure, and lessons of perseverance through faith.  Recommended ages 10+.

10 Passions of a Man’s Soul
Mark Elfstrand is the morning show host of Moody Radio Network’s flagship station in Chicago. Elfstrand uses interviews with ten dynamic, powerfully gifted leaders to explore the driving passions that motivate authentic men of God. Exploring topics such as power, adventure, purpose, pleasure, and wealth, this transparent disclosure of men’s innermost feelings brings up thought-provoking questions and surprising revelations about contemporary leaders and historical figures. Readers will discover the hidden leader waiting to emerge from within themselves.

Bear Grylls – A Survival Guide for Life
Filled with exclusive, never-before-told tales from Bear’s globe-trekking expeditions, A Survival Guide for Life teaches every reader–no matter your age or experience–that we’re all capable of living life more boldly, of achieving our most daring dreams, and of having fun along the way. Here’s to your own great adventure!

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Sanity Saving Road Trip Essentials

Packing and prepping for a summer road trip with kids can be a task that may leave even the most seasoned logisitics officer with weak knees.  Between packing, paying the bills, cleaning the fridge, finding a sitter for the dog, and taking out the trash, you wonder if you’ll ever get on the road.

The USA License Plate Game is a fun way to keep the kids happy on your next road trip.  That usually means that if the kids are happy - mom is happy!

The USA License Plate Game is a fun way to keep the kids happy on your next road trip. That usually means that if the kids are happy – mom is happy!

After a while, your brain turns to mush, you know you’ve forgotten something, and your inner voice keeps chanting “Let’s just get in the car. Let’s just get in the car.”   But before you do, consider the drive itself.  You know that it is only a matter of time before you hear the dreaded, “How long till we get there?”  Take a moment to delay the inevitable by packing a few of our favorite Sanity-Saving Road Trip Essentials.

  • An Interactive Travel Game –  A game that requires the kids to notice and observe the things they are driving by is not only a great way to pass the time in the car, but it forces them to look outside of the window.  One of our favorites is the USA License Plate Game.  The game centers around finding as many state license plates as possible, but the game can be played several ways to challenge everyone from kids to adults.
  • A Travel Trivia Game – Keep the whole vehicle occupied with a trivia style game.   The Trip Talk Travel Game is one of our favorites, and it is perfect for the whole family.
  • An Audio Book for Kids – In our house, audio books rule the road.  Many a happy (and silent) mile have passed by due to a good “listen”.  The Sugar Creek Gang Series is at the top of our list, but there are so many options that your biggest problem may be choosing only one!
  • Reusable Sticker Books and Coloring Books – For the younger kids, a reusable sticker book is a great way to pass the time.  There’s no mess and no fuss, and on a long road trip – that’s a good thing!  The Reusable Vehicle Sticker Pad is one of our favorites.
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“At the Beach” Scavenger Hunt

Are you heading to the beach?  If so, take this printable scavenger hunt for kids with you to make a day at the beach extra fun.

Although a day at the lake or the beach is fun, sometimes kids can get a little restless.  That's when it is time to pull out the scavenger hunt and get them back on track.

Although a day at the lake or the beach is fun, sometimes kids can get a little restless. That’s when it is time to pull out the scavenger hunt and get them back on track.

Download your printable At the Beach Scavenger Hunt by clicking here:

AT THE BEACH SCAVENGER HUNT FOR KIDS

_______ A minnow

_______ Snacks

_______ A snail

_______ A crab

_______ A piece of seaweed or sea grass

_______ A piece of driftwood

_______ A seagull

_______ A towel

_______ Sunscreen

_______ Lip balm

_______ Beach toys

_______  A sandcastle

_______  Animal tracks in the sand

_______  A beachball

_______  A beach umbrella

_______  A water bottle

_______ A seashell

_______ A bird feather

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5 Father’s Day Traditions from Around the World

Father’s Day is coming up soon, and here in the United States we are getting ready to honor Dad.  A typical Father’s day celebration in the United States can include a gift for Dad, a special dinner or dessert, a Father’s Day card, and hopefully a hug or two for dear old Dad.  Have you ever wondered how Father’s day is celebrated in other countries around the world?  Below are some traditions you may find interesting.  Who knows, maybe this Father’s Day, you can incorporate one of these ideas into your Father’s Day celebrations.

Father's Day Traditions vary around the world.

Father’s Day Traditions vary around the world.

Germany: Father’s Day in Germany is called Vatertag (Man’s Day). The tradition began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession. In modern days the day begins with a male’s only hike where the men pull wagons filled with regional food and drink.

Japan: In Japan, children give their fathers flowers, handmade beer glasses, origami, special sweets, and gifts. A typical Father’s Day dinner is a special dish made of crab, prawns or other seafood.

Brazil: In Brazil, Father’s Day is celebrated with a huge barbeque. Families get together for an all-you-can-eat feast either at home or at a Brazilian Steakhouse.

Russia: In Russia, Father’s Day is celebrated more as a tribute to all men. It has evolved from a military commemoration and therefore still has a strong military overtone. Defender of the Fatherland Day, as it is known, is commemorated by a parade honoring the Russian Armed Forces. Men typically receive gifts from the women they are close to.

Thailand: In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. On this day the King gives a speech and the Thai people honor their fathers and grandfathers with the Canna flower.

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