May 27, 2015

Book Notes: Einstein never used flashcards

This book will also help you see the world differently there are learning opportunities everywhere you look when we perceive the world as right with social and learning opportunities we will help our children grow to do more--to use flashcards with infants, to insist on Mozart for the pre-infant--is like putting a videocassette on fast-forward instead of play. To put children on fast-forward is to risk turning them off to their natural desire to learn and instead increases the risk of becoming anxious, depressed and unhappy. Childhood is about making discoveries: learning about themselves and their capabilities. These discoveries do not take place in the context of structured lessons nor do they come in boxes or own computer screens

Force-feeding academics gives children the impression that learning is a chore rather than something that derives naturally from curiosity and exploration.

The deciding factor between a person of high IQ floundering and one of modest IQ succeeding is "emotional intelligence." This includes self-control, zeal, persistence and the ability to motivate oneself. Emotional intelligence involves one's will and one's character. A central feature of the emotionally intelligent character is compassion for others, marked by the ability to read emotions and empathize;as well as using anger in the right amount, at the right time, for the reasons.

The truth is, the key predictors of healthy intellectual and emotional development are responsive, nurturing relationships between parent (or caregiver/teacher) and child.

Parents should become attuned to a child's natural learning patterns and abilities and find the teachable moments within each day that help a child build real knowledge, not just memorize isolated facts.

Three R's...
Reflect: is this experience/class/activity worth reducing my child unstructured playtime further, transporting to and from in the car, and paying for?
Resist: this means stopping yourself from joining the frenzy and allowing time to slow down. It means you just say "no thank you."
Re-center: reassure yourself you've made a good choice. The best way to re-center is to play with your children. 

Research shows that a child intellectual awakening take place during the normal adult girl interaction that occurs every day purposeful activities. Parents easily foster self-confident learners to activities that gently challenged children to reach to the edge of their developmental level but not beyond playful environment and spontaneous learning opportunities hold the keys for a happy emotionally healthy and intelligent child--and for a fulfilled parent.

Millions of years of evolution have children who love to learn on their own county. Has insured our survival humankind has eaten from the tree of knowledge and continues to seek out this delicious fruit from the first moments of life no force-feeding is necessary unless you were living in extreme isolation poverty the natural every day environments and which families and children find themselves promote strong brain development.  Children with loving parents who enjoy them and offer guidance and suggestions as they explore their alignment will be helping emotionally well-adjusted and psychologically advanced. 

Neurological crowding: this is what happens when information competes for synaptic connections in the brain. "One has to consider the possibility very ambitious early enrichment and teaching programs may lead to crowding affix into an early decrease in size and number of brain regions that are largely been specified and that may be necessary for creativity the adolescent and adult." It may be no accident that Albert Einstein was a rather average student in his early years allowing his brain to avoid early crowding effects.

1. Think outside the box. Play with your child take cues from them and notice what they're interested in those opportunities from your surroundings.
2. Change your dynamics (fast versus slow, loud versus quiet, active versus restful). Whether this is for how you play or move or what types of educational shows children watch vary the pace and movement.
3. Move from memorizing to learning in context. 
4. Plan a field trip--to your own backyard. Examine ordinary objects from a child's perspective.

Intelligence and achievement there is danger and confusing to the key to intelligence is how you learn how you adapt knowledge and how you process what is going on around you.
1. Work within your child's zone of development follow their interest don't give them too many steps and encourage them to set their own goal don't force your child to stick with a task she's frustrated with, rather motivate or work together. Demonstrate.
2. Stress effort not achievement.
3. Don't insist there is only one right way to do something
4.  Show your kids that you make mistakes and let them correct you
5. Focus on developing your child's creativity and independent thinking.

Self-discovery--inward awareness (then paralleled social learning--outward awareness)
1. Physical self: body
2. Social and emotional self: feelings 
3. Intellectual self: thoughts

The use of symbols is the main characteristic of human thought that makes us distinct from other animals.

The benefits of PLAY
1. Become an advocate for play
2. Provide the resources for stimulating play. before purchasing toys ask these three questions: 
what activities will this toy inspire?
what values will the activities teach?
what social rules with my children learn to follow?
3. join in the fun
4. Let your child take the lead
5. Encourage your child to use imagination
6. Evaluate your child structured activities: can they show their creativity and express themselves? Is it child centered?  Are they engage in pretend or social play? Is there a happy peaceful feeling or stress? What is the purpose of the activity is it primarily for fun and secondarily for learning?

Four principles for teaching children
1. The best learning is learning within reach. Reach to the edges of your own understanding and experience. 
2. Emphasizing process over product creates a love of learning.
3. Pay attention to EQ (emotional intelligence) not just IQ. Social play fosters both simultaneously.
4. Learning in context is real learning--and play is the best teacher. Play is that arena in which you get to try out everything with no real-life consequences because it's all just pretend.

Achieving balance in schedule and activities-the new 3Rs:
1. reflect: ask why? Motive and purpose for things...
2. resist: make the choice and hold your ground
3. re-center: remember your guiding principles and values

May 15, 2015

14 Consumerism Habits

I was going to write a post about a Disposable Society...but I found these interesting facts about our Society's current consumerism trends....

Did You Know...?
1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
3. 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
4. 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5. The average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
6. 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
7. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
8. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
9. The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
10. Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).
11. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (Psychology Today).
12. Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
13. Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items.The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
14. The $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (Uppercase).

So, that said...
Which of these above mentioned facts can you work on so you and your family aren't just another contributor to these statistics?

*These facts taken from

May 13, 2015

The Path of Pure Intent

During my homeschool journey I have come to understand that the nature of travelling this path will include a lot of unknowns, course corrections and perhaps even u-turns. I think this journey of figuring things out is as much for my learning how to teach and follow inspiration as much as it is for my kids education. Afterall, life education is really about gaining the experience we need in this life as we progress to become more Christlike--which ultimately is acting with a pure heart. Charity is everything and without it we are nothing (like empty buckets with nothing to give).

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail
 But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endureth cforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may bedpurified even as he is pure.  (Moroni 7:46-48)

I don't know about you, but I can't afford to have my bucket empty. So, am I taking time to fill my bucket?

I love the "Have You Filled A Bucket?" Book. 
Emily mentioned this book to me awhile back and since reading it with my kids they have come to understand that we are accountable for our actions and their effects on people. Do we help fill and build others, or are we dipping from their resevoir and breaking down? 

It is important to teach our kids the effect of their actions so they can better act with pure intent to bring about positive results from their actions. 
When we act with pure desires our hearts are light, peaceful and happy. We are positive and find strength beyond our own. When we are negative or harsh in our words and our feelings I believe that we would do well to search our hearts' motivations.

Here's an example: Nellie (2 years old) keeps coming out of bed when I've asked her to stay in (she knows how to stay). Do I yell and threaten? If so, is my motive one of love and trying to understand her real needs that she may not know how to express yet? (This is a real example I face almost nightly, so I recognize I am guilty of this, but am trying to work on it.) Here are some of the things going on in my head during this trial for me:

  • it's past your bed time (time)
  • you should be dog tired (logic)
  • I want to do my own thing now after spending all day with you (selfish)
  • your brother is already asleep. Why can't you be too? (comparison)
  • please just do it. It's not hard to fall asleep (convenience)
  • husband, come deal with this child. I'm tired (exhaustion--totally understandable moms!)

I'm sure there are many more. And these are so relate-able and understandable. But I know that as a Mom I need to keep these things in my mind, but not let stress rule my heart and actions. 

If I take a minute for introspection to explore what I am thinking (and dig down to find the greatest motive of all--charity) then I can more properly place all these other thoughts and stresses. And that's exactly what all these competing thoughts are: stress. 

If our minds are cluttered with various reasons and excuses then it's harder to act from pure motives.  

Nephi reflected: “And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?” (2 Nephi 4:27).

He battles with some internal voices pressuring him to do one thing or another. But he had to take time for his thoughts and feelings, with a desire to get through them and find the purest motive/choice and then have faith to more properly place those voices and thoughts. 

I find that as I acknowledge my stresses (tiredness, my desire to do my own thing, the late time that is ticking away, etc); but, then say "I choose to try to understand my child first" and let go of the other stressors, that my heart opens more fully and time slows down (as well as my pulse, breathing and volume! haha). 

I need to do this more. This is using the atonement. Letting go of our incessant need to control everything. 

"Be Still and Know that I am God." (D&C 101:16)

We are not here to control things. We are here to learn how to live with peace in our hearts and minds--in harmony with the things by which we are surrounding (including our family, friends, schedules, etc.). As we learn to introspect each time we don't feel peace, we will better understand how to make "course adjustments" and better find our pure motives that result in peace and joyful living.

I hope I can remember this lesson: to fill buckets with goodness and kind words; and that when I don't feel that way I will acknowledge my feelings and work through them by laying them down at the Saviors feet and praying for more pure motives of love and a desire to understand (as opposed to shutting those feelings off and feeling like I'm a bad mom who yells at my kids). 

(And afterall...isn't this why Sacrament is the most important part of the week? A renewal of motive and pure desires?)

May 8, 2015

What the Heck is Awareness Yoga?

So, I've been something I call "Awareness yoga" for about a year now. It's nothing set in stone, but a way in which I come to better understand what my body needs as I stretch.

I've never really been one for going and exercising at a set time or anything. Rather, I just prefer to be busy and active and get my movement in during my day, or through dance. are a few things I've found in the last few years which have taught me the importance of exercising, but more importantly of being more aware of my body.

Yoga Awareness Benefits

  • Correct Posture. A Healthy spine is the avenue for healthy nerves. All our our nerves run through our spine and then branch out into various parts of our body and organs. But if our spine is kinked somewhere, then the nerve in that area is pinched (which means pressure or blockage for those nerves to send the communication from you brain to that coressponding area of your body). This is why someone with neck problems could have a hard time hearing if that particualr neck kink in your spine is affecting the nerves associated with your ear. (that is one of the stories from the first days of chiropractic care). See my post on Chiropractic care for more info.
  • Muscle Flexibility & Yoga.  I look at my little kids and think... "woah! They can do all sorts of things in their God-given flexible body. What happened to me?" haha. Wouldn't it be great if we could encourage that in our kids by helping keep their muscles supple and help them be aware? I've encouraged Ethan with yoga. He's grown up doing it and it is play for him. We just create animal poses or mimic nature (like tree or flower pose). Here is a link to help you encourage your kids with yoga. The post also mentions Cosmic Kids yoga stories to watch on you-tube that totally engage my kids. I also got a great, simple ipad app for $4 called Yoga Studio, for myself. It's very simple, versatile in length and area of focus.
  • Body Awareness & Pilates. I remember a time in my life that I didn't pay attention to my hunger cues (too busy and/or stressed). This led to me losing weight. In fact, this happened to me twice in my life. Both times it was because I ignored my body's cues. I find myself trying to help my children understand their body and when they need to eat or go to the bathroom, and yet I realized that I'm not paying attention to my body as much as I'd like. So, a year after I had my second child I finally felt I could get a full night's sleep, and therefore had more energy to wake up on time. So I started waking early and exercising with this simple book of exercises for each area of the body (The Way of Stretching: Flexibility for Body and Mind, by Ann Rush). Another great thing is Pilates. They are awesome because they don't use fancy equipment and blah, blah, blah. Pilates use your own body to provide the right amount of natural resistance for your muscles. I love it! So Each week I would focus on one area of my body, until I felt I could do some basic stretches that I felt were good in that area. I'd do this along with my mindfulness routine (see later bullet point).
  • Scripture Study/Notebook. Also during those mornings I started a study journal and would read my scriptures and study, capturing my thoughts (which helped me retain and go deeper). I wish I could do this consistently, but the nature of my study shifts with each new season of my life, and that's ok...because (as with all change), it gives me new opportunities to approach things differently and glean new perspectives. Regardless of how I study, I always find that those days I can put my heart into my priority relationship (with Heavenly Father), especially first thing, are the days I am most calm, happy, and life-oriented in what matters most. I hve come to love my mindful mornings. I need them to start my day right (80% of the time--allowing 20% fudge factor. ---Oh fudge....yummm! side note.) (another side note: It was fun and insightful to do a weekly focus on spiritual armor for each area that related to the body area I was stretching.)
  • Mindful Morning & Slowing Down. I would love to jump out of bed singing songs and throwing open windows as I dance around the house with a big smile on my face. But...let's be honest, that usually isn't the case. I do like waking up to the sun, but it takes my body longer to wake up than my brain. So, I listen to that and honor the fact that my body needs a little longer. I lay down on my great room floor and relax my body while I think, without thinking. :) I first try to just think about my body and visualize the different parts of my body from feet up to head doing the relaxation technique where you flex for three seconds one part of your body, then relax, then continue up until you've gone through all the areas of your body. This gives awareness for muscles. But then I'd visualize my heart being a ball of bright warm energy, like the sun and I'd "track" it mentally travelling down through the parts of my body out through my feet and rooting down into the earth (like tree roots). Those roots I visualize as being grounded in Christlike attributes of Faith, Hope and Charity (and others, esp. depending on what I need that day). Then I continue the ball of warmth going through my hands to do good things that day and up through the body (keeping in mind God's spiritual armor mentioned in the scriptures--that I had been studying to give me greater insight to the importance of those areas physically and spiritually). And by the end of thinking through that, I feel more fully armored mentally and spiritually.
  • Letting go & Feel the Rhythm. Once I had done all this for awhile and felt familiar with different stretches and yoga postures for each area and felt like I had created my own visualizations (rather than someone else's set ones) then I could just lay and relax and totally just feel what my body wanted needed. I'd just lay down and think about what areas of my body felt needed more energy and warmth and also what stretches I could do. I just did them, without needing a set plan. And the more I do this, the more I feel it overflows into my life: the ability to just let go of set things and find freedom in exploring and trusting my God-given intuition in knowing how to spend my time mentally and physically. There is true rhythm in life, beyond that set by alarm clocks and to-do lists. By bringing in what matters most and then letting go of all the other ideas and superfluous things I greater access my own personal "Rhythm of life"--and that is a beautiful thing.
SO that is my "yoga Awareness" program in a nutshell. And it works for me. But the principles can work for you in your own way. 

May 4, 2015

Spring Cleaning: Time to Declutter

It's refreshing clearing out clutter. Spring brings new beginnings. With this thought I've been learning a bit about feng shui.

The Idea of Feng Shui (literally "wind" and "water") is to arrange things so as to maximize the energy ("chi") in your space.  Your space could be a physical location like each of the areas of your house, or it could be your schedule and how you use your time. This means minimizing clutter (physical "junk" or mental clutter or time/busy-ness) that obstructs the energy flow and motivation in your life.
Life is a continual process of de-cluttering and prioritizing, but once you make a decision to live this way it is just a matter of continually checking yourself and maintaining balance in each area.  The idea is to live in the present without a lot of things undone or to-do. If you've been "sitting" on something for a year and never got around to might be a good idea to get rid of it. Whether or not we realize it these things left undone actually can weigh on us mentally and have us living in the past, rather than moving forward.
The most familiar area for feng shui is your house, so let's tackle how to do that. First of all, don't expect this process to be easy and quick. It may be, but might not. Just allow yourself a little time in each room of your house asking questions about what you have stored there. 
Create Space--Declutter. 
Two Basic Questions: Do I use it? Do I love it?
  1. Is this item something I use regularly?
  2. If not, is it something I love?
  3. Am I keeping this out of obligation or expectation?
  4. Am I holding onto this because I think I should love it?
  5. Am I saving this just in case?
  6. Do I have multiples of the same thing?
  7. Could something else I own do the same job?
  8. Am I holding onto a broken item to fix one day?
  9. Is this item worth the time I spend cleaning/storing it?
  10. Could I use this space for something else?

Once you ask these questions about each item in a room, then put the items in one of three categories: Keep, Get rid of, or undecided. There will be a few items that are hard to categorize at this time (some for personal or emotional reasons, that you may just need to "sit" and wait on), and that's ok. You can revisit the undecided category after awhile.
I keep two boxes in my Garage: one to take to the thrist store and one above it to hold for a little while (Although many people say you shouldn't hold on to them).

Define & Improve Space
Beyond de-cluttering, there is the idea of strengthening and being an active creator of your space. This involves taking inventory of your house and energy mapping what you have vs. what you want (using the bagua). If you're interested in finding out more then google it. I won't go into specifics. But you lay the map over your house with the career place in the position of your front door. Then you draw the diagonals of your house to find the center and other correlating areas in your house with those on the map.

Image result for feng shui 101

Notice which areas in your haouse draw the most clutter. These places have stuck "energy" and need to be de-cluttered. This same bagua map can also be used in each room aligning the door with the carrer space minature form. It's amazing to see which areas in a room have clutter adn how those align with which main house areas also have clutter. Try it.

Once you have a plan and direction to move forward you can choose specific themes and colors to bring in certain "energy." Here are the colors according to the five elements and also according to emotion associated:

Or another view: pay attention to too much or too little. Some colors can adversely affect people.

May 3, 2015

15 Great Principles Shared by All Religions

I came across this list of common principles found through religions.  it was from a website dedicated to integrating truth from various religions.

  1. The Golden Rule / Law of Reciprocity – The cornerstone of religious understanding. “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” – Christianity
  2. Honor Thy Father and Mother – Knowing them is the key to knowing ourselves. The day will come when we shall wish we had known them better.
  3. Speak the Truth – “Sincerity is the way of heaven, and to think how to be sincere is the way of a man.” – Confucius
  4. It’s More Blessed to Give than to Receive – Generosity, charity and kindness will open an individual to an unbounded reservoir of riches.
  5. Heaven is Within – “Even as the scent dwells within the flower, so God within thine own heart forever abides.” – Sikhism
  6. Love Thy Neighbor / Conquer With Love / All You Need is Love – Acts of faith, prayer and deep meditation provide us with the strength that allows love for our fellow man to become an abiding part of our lives. Love is a unifying force.
  7. Blessed Are the Peacemakers – When people live in the awareness that there is a close kinship between all individuals and nations, peace is the natural result.
  8. You Reap What You Sow – This is the great mystery of human life. Aware or unaware, all are ruled by this inevitable law of nature.
  9. Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone – The blessings of life are deeper than what can be appreciated by the senses.
  10. Do No Harm – If someone tries to hurt another, it means that she is perceiving that person as something separate and foreign from herself.
  11. Forgiveness – The most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong. – Judaism
  12. Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged – This principle is an expression of the underlying truth that mankind is one great family, and that we all spring from a common source.
  13. Be Slow to Anger – Anger clouds the mind in the very moments that clarity and objectivity are needed most. “He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; others only hold the reins.” – Buddha
  14. There is But One God / God is Love – Nature, Being, The Absolute. Whatever name man chooses, there is but one God. All people and all things are of one essence.
  15. Follow the Spirit of the Scriptures, Not the Words – “Study the words, no doubt, but look behind them to the thought they indicate; And having found it, throw the words away, as chaff when you have sifted out the grain.” – Hinduism

All credit to Jeffrey Moses.