Even More Good Reasons To Take a Tech Break!

Would you like more good news?

On Monday, I shared that kids can learn impulse control and self-regulation by playing and interacting with their parents. This has maybe never been more important since using lots of technology delays the development of both.

There are more reasons to play with children and teens. Skills essential for school success that are part of the executive functioning part of the brain are affected.

Do you want your children to be successful with these skills?

  • Creative thinking – able to think of ideas and answers that aren’t obvious
  • Flexible thinking – able to connect ideas uniquely that don’t automatically appear to go together
  • Higher-order thinking – able to analyze, synthesize, predict, evaluate, infer, interpret, and reflect
  • Task persistence – able to stay the course and complete work independently
  • Emotion regulation – able to identify emotional responses, respond to people and situations with appropriate/healthy emotions, and not be controlled by them

I imagine you want children to have these skills. There are two things to do:

  • Play with your children; don’t just watch them play. Social and unstructured play that does not involve digital devices engages and improves these skills.
  • Talk with your children. Parent-child interactions are essential. Talking while running errands, completing chores, playing, hanging out together, and the like will enhance these executive functioning skills.

Have you had a similar thought to mine while reading the skill list? I know adults who need these skills. Maybe playing and conversational interactions with others would help us all.

As I wrote on Monday … Play and talk with your kids. Interact with them when you do things together. Take breaks from technology regularly. Repeat. Play and talk with your kids. Interact with them when you do things together. Take breaks from technology regularly. Repeat.

Help Children Know What They Do Well So They Do Things Well

Differences between middle schoolers and high schoolers were obvious. Sadly, they almost always are.

During a recent chapel at an impressive Christian school, one group eagerly raised their hands to answer my questions. The other group did not. Can you predict which was which?

Who likes to write?

Who enjoys discovering truth on your own and exploring?

Who thinks body smart is one of your strengths?

More middle schoolers than high schoolers eagerly raised their hands. It’s not because high schoolers don’t know themselves. Most do. Rather, it was as if these students didn’t want anyone to know their strengths or that they liked anything. This should not be embarrassing.

Some high schoolers raised their hands high. Some raised them only in front of their faces and made eye contact with me and smiled. Others just made eye contact with me.

Talk with your children/students. Do they know their strengths and what they enjoy and don’t enjoy? If they don’t, observe them more closely and let them know what you see. Provide evidence for your opinions. Prioritize developing their self-awareness by strengthening their self-smartness.

If they do know what they enjoy and what they do well, but don’t want their peers to know, ask them why. Have they been teased? Embarrassed? Prideful? Talk about this with them. It’s good for peers to acknowledge friends’ strengths and interests. There are ways to encourage one another without building pride.

The night of the chapel talk I met many of the students’ parents at an event. Over and over again I heard how middle schoolers and high schoolers loved learning how they are smart. I thought high schoolers were definitely listening and enjoying the presentation. I was encouraged they told their parents about it and how they’re smart.

Young people who know their interests and strengths are more likely to use them and further develop them as a source of their joy. They’ll acknowledge they’re relevant to how they can leave the world a better place.

When they know how peers are talented, they can form groups for class projects, service projects, and more. They can identify who can help them with a weak area. They can identify who they can help. It’s good for the group dynamic.

Make sure your children/students know what they do well so they’ll do things well.

Bringing Comfort The “Smarts” Way

Henry did fantastic today! He toured the entire hospital, got a million pets and treats from docs, nurses, and the volunteer and marketing staff. Also visited a special patient, a young woman recently and mysteriously paralyzed from the waist down. Hen got in bed and snuggled next to her side. Definitely in his element. Sights, sounds, smells, wheelchairs, elevators, crowds… the guy never stopped smiling.

I will admit that I would not want a dog to visit me when I’ve been a hospital patient. (But I’ll also admit Henry is very cute and being well trained makes a difference.) Give me a crossword puzzle book instead. That would calm me down. Or, engage me in conversation if I’m up to it. Answer my questions. As hard as it is for some people to understand, logic-smart and word-smart activities comfort me like a dog will comfort nature-smart people.

Amy, my friend who is training Henry and who posted this Facebook update, is nature smart. I’m grateful for her and every person who uses their smarts for good and to help people.

Do you think Henry, and other service dogs, are people-smart? Do you think that’s possible? 

A Dangerous Development Met With God’s Grace & Empowering Smarts

I had just left an important meeting about a pro-life initiative we are going to be involved in. It was a stimulating, encouraging, and uplifting time. I was among great people and was so glad to be there.

I walked  to my car, started the engine, and pulled out onto the streets of Dallas heading for the highway home. I expected it to be a normal drive like many others. That’s not what happened.

While entering the highway, I ran over a large rock that was in the road. I didn’t see it because of the car in front of me. Gratefully, I maintained control of my car and kept driving. All appeared well until about ten minutes later. I heard what I initially thought was a large truck coming up behind me. I quickly realized that my car was actually the one making the loud noise. I realized that the rock must have damaged my tire. Because of the sounds, I knew it was shredding and I’d soon be driving on my rim. I was in the middle lane of a major highway going about 65 mph. God provided a way out and I made it to a safe space on the side of the road.

TireCourtesyPatrolI caught my breath and praised God for taking care of me again. I called for service and was set to wait for a predicted hour. Before the technician could arrive, a courtesy officer with the sheriff’s department arrived. What a blessing!

This officer was friendly and compassionate. I immediately felt even safer than I had. He very efficiently changed my tire and sent me on my way.

Just two hours after I pulled off the side of the road, I was already at the tire repair store near my home. Amazing! It happened in Dallas, I live in Fort Worth, it was 2:30 in the afternoon on a major highway, and I had to drive 60 mph because of my spare. It could have been miserable. It wasn’t. Another reason to be grateful.

Diana Waring Interviews “Self Smart”

Two weeks ago, I wrote about people smart and I shared Diana Waring’s important video explaining this smart. When we’re being people smart, we think with other people.  We know what we know when we hear ourselves say it to someone else and hear their response.

Children who have people-smart strengths prefer group work and are excellent brainstormers. They can also understand others well as they read and respond to body language and facial feedback. Therefore, as I wrote in that blog, it’s a very important smart for school and life.

Today’s blog and Diana’s video are about self smart – the smart that’s the opposite of people smart. When we’re being self smart, we think deeply inside of ourselves. We reflect on our ideas and experiences. As a result, we can be quiet in learning situations and sometimes appear to be slow. Deep thinking can’t be rushed. We may choose to have fewer friends than others.

Because children with self-smart strengths are comfortable with their own thoughts, they can be quite independent. Diana does a great job, as always, of summarizing other strengths of this smart. It’s good to keep in mind that too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. This is a core teaching of Celebrate Kids and it’s worth mentioning now.

Also, it’s important to awaken this smart early and strengthen it because it’s the smart we use for understanding ourselves. If you think of times when you don’t understand yourself and how you feel, you’ll be face-to-face with how important this smart is. I’m concerned it’s being awakened later because of technology use. Children aren’t used to being quiet and they don’t prioritize knowing themselves. Rather, they want others to know and affirm them.

As with the other videos, enjoy it and benefit from it. Watch it with children so they have a new way of understanding themselves. You’ll have plenty to talk about. I’m so glad you care!

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

Diana Waring Interviews “Music Smart”

I’m so glad you’re interested in multiple intelligences. Diana Waring is glad, too. If you’ve read the last several blogs and watched her videos, what do you and your children most appreciate? We pray you remember that. I don’t write blogs and she doesn’t produce videos because we have nothing else to do. We want to influence you!

Did you benefit from learning that children, teens, and adults who are good with color and design are picture smart? They’re not just creative? Many find this encouraging. There are similarities in the emphasis of today’s intelligence – music smart.

People good at keeping a rhythm, singing in tune, playing an instrument, and recognizing musical selections are music smart. These people aren’t just musical or talented. They’re music smart.

Although you may think that being music smart can’t help with academics, that’s not true. Kids who enjoy music can use it to motivate them to study other topics. For all children, the experience will be richer. For instance, check out Diana’s “Experience History Through Music” CDs.

When I taught second graders, I loved using songs like she includes on her “Westward Ho” CD. And, now, I’d use the songs on her “Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Some would enjoy the songs more than others, but no one would be hurt by my choice to use them.

If I asked you how to spell Mississippi, I’m sure you’d spell it with the rhythm. And, what about the ABCs? Entire auditoriums full of high schoolers have sung them to me? They laugh after a few letters. I didn’t have to tell them to sing the ABCs. They just naturally did. Music is remembered a long time. What if we suggested that children put multiplication tables to music? Bible verses? More? Music helps academics in these ways.

And, there’s more. Let me suggest that some children may stay in school because of their love of music. If it wasn’t for band, orchestra, or choir, they may drop out or give up and disengage entirely. That would be tragic. When these children discover they’re smart and that’s why music is important to them or comes naturally to them, they’ll be encouraged even more.

Beyond school, being music smart can enhance life. It influences what some of us do with our spare time. Worshiping with music may be a very important part of church for you. Music can also strengthen friendships and families as you go to concerts together, perform together, and enjoy talking about your favorite groups or songs.

What if you took time to talk with your children about being more music smart tomorrow than they are today? Watch Diana’s video first, though, because she’ll give you great content to discuss. I love the variety of music she mentions and her list of careers. Enjoy!

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

Diana Waring Interviews “People Smart”

Teaching people about their eight great smarts is always fun and meaningful. Why? People are encouraged and surprised as they learn valuable truths about themselves and others.

One of the biggest surprises occurs when I teach about the smart we’re focusing on today – people smart. Most people don’t realize it’s an intelligence. I think it might be the most important one. Does that surprise you?

I refer to two of the smarts as “school smarts” because they’re so associated with the way we teach and learn – word and logic. Because of their relevance to lots of learning, these are certainly important.

But, think about it. As you’ll hear Diana Waring explain in her video, when we’re being people smart, we understand people, we listen well, and we can lead, persuade, and influence others. We’re also able to understand how others see the world. If more children and adults had strengths in this smart, wouldn’t we all be better off? Certainly.

Let’s prioritize raising children who are people smart. Diana will help you. Enjoy her video and watch it with your children.

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

Diana Waring Interviews “Number Smart”

Let’s continue our series of posts using Diana Waring’s videos about the 8 Great Smarts with another video. She and I are both glad you’ve landed here.

You may or may not be aware that the “father” of multiple intelligences is Dr. Howard Gardner, a brilliant man affiliated with Harvard University. He titled the smart Diana interviews on this video “logical-mathematical intelligence.”

A colleague of his who I greatly respect, Dr. Thomas Armstrong, took Dr. Gardner’s work and made it more accessible. One way he did this was to simplify Dr. Gardner’s terms. For a while this intelligence was referred to by some people  as “number smart.” Dr. Armstrong chose “logic smart” as a better summary term and it’s what I use in my book, teachings, and other blogs. You’ll hear Diana refer to this smart as “number smart.” And, you’ll hear her talk about how the smart includes skills and interests with numbers and with logic. If you’re a longtime follower of mine, don’t let this confuse you. She’s talking about the same smart I am.

Did your children learn their numbers before their letters? Did you notice them spontaneously counting things without being directed to do so? Do you remember your children asking questions at a young age and then continuing in that habit? How many of them wanted to understand how things work? Did they ever take anything apart to discover how it worked? These are all evidences of children being logic smart.

Constant questioning from logic-smart children can be annoying and exhausting when children are young. Preteens and teens with logic smart strengths who are not self-controlled can tend toward argumentative behavior. They can be a handful. They may keep asking why they’re not allowed to do something or why they have to do what you asked them to do. They may always want or need a rationale for your decision. You may have noticed one of their strengths is providing one for you as they logically try to convince you they’re right. It can be exhausting.

Yet, thinking in these ways is a strength based on a smart they must learn to use for good and not to do harm. Diana, as always, talks well about this. please listen. And, grab your kids to listen, too, so she can encourage them.

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Have you missed the smarts we’ve already covered? You can watch Diana’s videos here. And, you can read more about Diana and her curricula using the smarts at www.dianawaring.com.

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

Diana Waring Interviews “Picture Smart”

When you were a child, when did you feel smart? Think about that for a minute.

One of the reasons I love teaching about multiple intelligences and a main reason I wrote the book, 8 Great Smarts, is because there are far too many children who struggle in school and believe they are not smart. Also, they have great strengths but don’t think that means they’re smart. Depending upon your background you may believe the lie that you are not smart.

For instance, I imagine that people who remember coloring well and enjoying it when they were young didn’t necessarily feel smart because of it. Did you enjoy dot-to-dot books or mazes as a child? That’s because you’re picture smart. Was art one of your favorite classes? This is because you are picture smart. Did you enjoy and do well with maps, diagrams, and designs? Were your favorite assignments ones that involved drawing or creating? Are you creative today with color and design? You are picture smart. This smart could show up with the outfits you wear, or how you decorate your home, the way you display things on your desk, and even the way you plant flowers with a particular attention to the colors. There are so many ways to demonstrate you’re picture smart!

  • You’re not just creative – you’re smart!
  • You’re not just talented – you’re smart!
  • You’re not just good with colors – you’re smart!

At a speaking event yesterday I met a 63-year-old professional artist. She creates and sells beautiful oil paintings. I grieved with her when she told me that some people still ask her when she’s going to get a real job. This is probably the perspective of people who have the smarts most validated by the school system. They’re wrong and it’s sad and it’s among the reasons I’m glad you are here reading this blog.

Here you can watch Diana Waring’s video about being picture smart. Enjoy it. Choose to believe her. And then gather some children to watch it with you so you can talk about it. If you know any adults like my new 63-year-old friend please forward this to them with an encouragement from you. tell them you know they’re smart!

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

Diana Waring Interviews “Nature Smart”

Interests and abilities. They’re both valid when thinking about multiple intelligences. The ways we and our children are smart show up first as interests. Then, when these interests are responded to, abilities may follow. They may not. Or low ability may follow, but not high. It depends on God’s choice when creating us. right?

I have relatively high interest in some elements of nature, but not all. And, my abilities across the board aren’t strong. This is one of my less developed intelligences. What about you?

I’ve been on safari in Africa and here in the States, including at the fabulous Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near where I live. I go to our fabulous Fort Worth zoo often. I enjoy observing the animals. I don’t need to understand why they do what they do. I don’t need to remember which deer is which.

I appreciate brightly colored flowers and especially in beautiful arrangements. This is because my parents gardened well and my mom had a real talent for arranging flowers in vases. There’s an emotional interest here, but no personal ability.

When my brother and I were young, we caught a garden snake and built a cage to keep it for a while. I paid attention to it, but looking back it was more my logic smart that engaged me than being nature smart. I wanted to know how it lived in the burlap covering of our garden’s rose bush. How long had it been there? How did it survive in the winter? What did it eat? Were there other snakes under other burlap coverings that we didn’t notice when it warmed up and our dad took the burlap off? As I often write – smarts never work alone. They always partner for effectiveness.

You’ll enjoy this week’s video about being nature smart by my friend, Diana Waring. Listen to how she describes the strengths a nature-smart person has. What careers might interest them? Listen to what she believes makes someone great and not just good. I agree with her. Watch this with your kids, too, because it will give you much to talk about.

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Have you missed the smarts we’ve already covered? You can watch Diana’s videos here. And, you can read more about Diana and her curricula using the smarts at www.dianawaring.com.

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com