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Category Archives: EDUCATION

“Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time” Book Review by Brigid Schulte

A couple of weeks back, during my ‘usual morning routine at work’,  I stumbled upon a book review published on the Washington Post, under the ‘Parenting’ section, and found it so clear, so engaging, that I felt like ordering the book right then!

The review was written by Jennifer Howard, and today I received the ‘okay’ from the Washington Post editors to have it shared here – for the ones who didn’t have the same opportunity read it over there :o here is the link, and below, the full review. Enjoy as much as I did!

 


‘Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time’ by Brigid Schulte

By Jennifer Howard, Published: March 21
When did we get so busy? For many of us, life unspools as a never-ending to-do list. Wake up, pack lunches, get the kids to school, get ourselves to our jobs, work all day, collect the kids, make dinner, supervise homework, do the laundry, walk the dog, pay the bills, answer e-mail, crawl into bed for a few fitful hours of sleep, wake up already exhausted, then do it all over again. Weekends, which ought to be oases of leisure, have their own hectic rhythms: errands, chores, sports events, grocery shopping, exercise. Dispatch one task and six more take its place, a regenerating zombie army of obligations.

This brain-eating assault of to-dos leaves its victims wrung out, joyless, too tired to stop and smell the roses (which probably need pruning and mulching anyway — add that to the list). But “this is how it feels to live my life: scattered, fragmented, and exhausting,” Brigid Schulte writes early in “Overwhelmed,” her unexpectedly liberating investigation into the plague of busyness that afflicts us. “I am always doing more than one thing at a time and feel I never do any one particularly well. I am always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door.

She could be describing my days and probably yours, especially if you’re a working parent in the overcommitted middle part of life. Schulte, a longtime reporter for The Washington Post and the mother of two school-age kids, has a word for this shared unpleasantness: the Overwhelm. She takes her own harried-working-mom life as the jumping-off point for her research on where the Overwhelm comes from and what we can do about it.

Busyness has become so much the assumed default of many lives that it feels as elemental and uncontrollable as weather. So Schulte’s shocked when John Robinson, a University of Maryland sociologist known as Father Time, tells her that women have at least 30 hours of leisure a week, according to his time-use studies. She can’t reconcile that statistic with how her hours seem shredded into “time confetti — one big, chaotic burst of exploding slivers, bits, and scraps.” Nor does she believe it when Robinson tells her that we feel busy in part because we decide to feel busy.

Schulte quickly moves on to other researchers’ explorations of workplace culture, gender roles and time management, finding both reassurance and confirmation that she’s not making up the Overwhelm. She learns that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that “acts like a patient yet controlling kindergarten teacher,” shrinks under the neurochemical onslaught of constant stress. That lets the amygdala, “the seat of negative emotions like fear, aggression, and anxiety,” take over. Anyone who has ever yelled at her kids while searching frantically for the car keys 10 minutes after the family should have left the house understands this.

If the neuroscience Schulte reports is right, feeling busy all the time shrinks the better part of our brains. But busyness also delivers cultural rewards. We feel important when we’re always booked, according to researchers such as Ann Burnett, who has studied thousands of the holiday letters people send to trumpet the year’s accomplishments.

Burnett’s collection of letters, which date back to the 1960s, make up “an archive of the rise of busyness” as something to aspire to. As Burnett tells Schulte: “People are competing about being busy. It’s about showing status. That if you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life.” The more you do, the more you matter, or so the reigning cultural script goes.

That script dictates how many offices and homes run. At work, the cult of the always-available “ideal worker” still “holds immense power,” Schulte writes, even as more people telecommute and work flexible hours. The technology that untethers workers from cubicles also makes it very hard to not be on call at all times. (I’d have liked to see Shulte spend more time on how technology fuels the cult of busyness.)

Those who escape the “time cages” of traditional workplaces confront what Schulte calls “a stalled gender revolution” at home, with consequences especially burdensome for women. She cites work by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on how women’s time is “contaminated” by “keeping in mind at all times all the moving parts of kids, house, work, errands, and family calendar.”

Only in Denmark does Schulte find a culture that appears to balance work, home and play in a truly egalitarian way. Because “Overwhelmed” sticks closest to the experience of working American parents, she goes after the shameful lack of affordable child care in this country. She even interviews Pat Buchanan, who in the 1970s helped sabotage a bill that would have created universal child care.

While that’s a useful bit of policy history to contemplate, and one that still affects us today, the most engaging sections of “Overwhelmed” stick to the here and now and how we let the cult of busyness lay waste to our hours. “Contaminated” time eats away at leisure, according to researcher Ben Hunnicutt, and by “leisure” he does not mean hours spent parked on the sofa in front of the telly. Leisure, to Hunnicutt, means experiencing “the miracle of now” or “simply being open to the wonder and marvel of the present” — the sense of being alive, which no to-do list will ever capture.

Although it illuminates a painfully familiar experience, “Overwhelmed” doesn’t speak for or about everyone. It lingers most on the conditions under which middle-class mothers and fathers labor, but the Overwhelm afflicts the child-free, too. The working poor are stretched even thinner. And how workers in China or Indonesia or India or South Africa feel about the balance of their lives is understandably beyond Schulte’s scope, although Europeans make a few appearances.

The question raised by “Father Time” John Robinson nags at this book like a forgotten homework assignment. The further I read, the more I began to wonder how much of the Overwhelm is at least partly self-inflicted and to see opportunities to reclaim time. Like Jacob Marley’s ghost, we’ve forged chains of obligation that we drag around with us. But if we made those chains, we can loosen them too, as Schulte has tried to do, with some success. In an appendix, “Do One Thing,” she offers useful starting points, such as learning not to give your time away and setting clear expectations about what really needs to be accomplished. Not every to-do item is created equal.

Do our employers really expect us to be on call 24/7, tethered to our smartphones as if they were oxygen tanks? Just because we can check e-mail at all hours, should we? Do our offspring really need to be hauled around to every soccer game and music lesson? Does every last piece of laundry have to be folded and put away before we can sit down with a cup of coffee, stare out the window and daydream? As a neighbor said to me not long ago, your work e-mail can wait. Your life can’t.

Jennifer Howard , a fiction writer and journalist, is a senior reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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The endless challenges of raising multilingual kids…

Dialects of Portuguese in Brazil

Dialects of Portuguese in Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

This is another example of my many moments of introspective thoughts… This is one of those days when I try to understand [and accept!] the decisions we’ve made for our lifestyle, the way we’re raising our children, the kind of education parameters we [husband and I] need to make available to them… As part of the educational tools my children need to be exposed to, are, for sure, the language/communication/social expression tools.

I’ve already mentioned here my [random] thoughts on the whole bi/multilingual culture {Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…}, and its obvious benefits, not only to the growing child, but also for the society that child is part of…

My children are surely enjoying their school break – another 2 full weeks to go, and they’ll be back at a familiar environment – an international school, surrounded by Spanish speaking classmates, and other expats, mainly from neighboring South American countries, a few European reps, and the well-known US-American crowd.

All fun and games, until it came to reinforce the endless/continuous need for them [my kids] to keep speaking Portuguese at home. Since I spend several hours at work, I’m not with them to ‘remind’ my lovies the importance of keeping up with ‘mommy’s language’…

KeyboardLayout-Portuguese-Brazil

KeyboardLayout-Portuguese-Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They speak to the nanny in Spanish, to other American kids in English. The TV is mostly in English, with a few Spanish options. I’m their only link to Portuguese, right now – and I feel it’s my duty to stress the rule of  ‘if mom is home, you should only talk to her in Portuguese, as well as, to each other”.

Guess what’s happening? The rule is definitely off. We [parents] had it all planned out: our kick-off was the One Parent One Language (OPOL) method, where one parent speaks the minority language, which would be, in my case, Portuguese. My husband would have the kids started in Spanish [his father's mother tongue], and gradually move on to English [husband's mother's tongue], as school moved on and our children required a deeper knowledge of English… We knew their/kids’ brains are hard-wired for language acquisition and children up to three years old easily process both languages.

Our 3 children had an early ‘linguistic’ start. They’re now 8; 6 and 3 years old – and were introduced to different languages as early as their birthdate. Soon, our family will be transitioning from our current Spanish-speaking setting, to a Brazilian Portuguese scenario… how would my kids [re]adapt? What would be the social, emotional, psychological impacts this imminent move may bring? Only time will tell us…

José Saramago

José Saramago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, it seems not to be working. Maybe, it’s because we’re tired at the end of the day? Or because the kids see me talking to their dad in English; and to their day-time nanny in Spanish, they believe it’s okay to leave Saramago‘s language aside, and completely pretend they don’t know Portuguese [??].

So here I am, asking for suggestions [??], trying to figure out an easy [and painless] way out… ,

I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources for supporting our toddlers’ learning, I stumbled upon this very interesting article from Multilingual Living, which I’ve shared here before.

From our “tentative trilingual home” to yours… Thank you for reading… and for any suggestions that come our way! :o

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, resources, TCKs

 

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Talent Show: “Thriller, by our Five-Year-Olds”.

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Through Peace, Through Dialogue, Through Education

Originally posted on View from the Nest:

“Education is a power for women.”
Malala Yousafzai

“This question is hard!” a student good-naturedly pointed out to me. “You always ask such broad questions.” “Of course it’s hard,” I said. “I want you all to think, to think deeply, to – how do I put this? – learn things.” I gave her my “Call me crazy” shrug and she turned back to her discussion partner to figure out “What is a girl?”

As we were discussing everyone’s answers to the question, Mia asked, “What is ‘feminine?’” Everyone laughed, and several students jumped to try to look it up on their iPads. “Nope,” I said, halting them. “Dictionaries don’t always tell the whole story. It’s a really important question, and we’ll come back to it when we’ve finished with the main line of thought in the discussion.” About five minutes later, I wrote “Traditional ideas of feminine” and “Our…

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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in EDUCATION

 

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A few thoughts on ‘bilingual homeschooling’.

Already mentioned here my [random] thoughts on the whole bi/multilingual culture {Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…}, and its obvious benefits, not only to the growing child, but also for the society that child is part of… 

There’s also a very interesting/challenging/poking article from CNN, bringing out the discussion on a study about ‘lifelong bilinguals’ {Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains} and the development of their brains… also, worth to check it out [I clearly did, it's part of who I'm... that said, I had no other option but to join the discussion forum with my 2 cents growing up as a nomad child, and now a 'trailing spouse' and mother to 3 TCKs].

According to Corey Heller [the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine], “Home languages almost always take a severe blow the moment our children walk through the schoolhouse doors. 

All of a sudden, our children are surrounded by peers, teachers, administrators (even the janitor and bus driver) all day long who speak nothing but the community language.  Our children quickly learn that this “school language” is essential for functioning in society and thus begins the home language–school/community language dichotomy (to the distress of many a dedicated parent). However, not all families experience this abrupt change once their children are school age. What is their secret?” 

Well, the answer presented by the Multilingual Living author is that parents “choose to educate their children at home and avoid the whole transition all together”.

Personally, we’re trying to get the best of the two worlds: our 2 elementary children attend an international school in Bolivia, where most of the classes are in English, with the optional Spanish as a ‘bonus’ class. The playground language is Spanish. Homework is done in English. I try my best to only speak to the children in Portuguese, and my husband does the same, regarding Spanish. I guess, we’re doing the ‘part-time homeschooling’!

Back to the ‘inspirational article’, “For most families, homeschooling is not about recreating the classroom at home. It is about creating something absolutely brand new and unique; about fostering an environment which is conducive to learning, regardless of material, location or method…” I agree with the author, and just wish I/we could replicate that in our own household! :) And why I say that? Because it’s hard, despite the endless efforts from the parents,

bilingual homeschoolers use an array of resources for learning different subjects. What is most important are the results that come from learning a subject, e.g. being able to read and comprehend what is read, compute mathematical equations on varying levels, write a well-researched and well-argued essay, be familiar with world geography and history, and put the scientific method into practice – all of which progresses and matures as our children develop their knowledge and skills…”

And as the author wraps it up, we’re left with a great advice:

How to Homeschool in more than one Language:
“Each family will need to come up with their own bilingual homeschooling plan based on their languages and subjects which they plan to cover.  Family members must also decide who will be teaching which subjects in which language and when. Planning is probably the hardest part so families need to make sure they find as many resources as they can – general books on homeschooling as well as books in the target language which can be used for specific subjects”.

That said, we’ll keep on trying to assist our children with homework, school projects, reading/writing responses, using not only English. Math problems could be described and explained using my Portuguese. The joy of seeing my son resolving a problem/understanding a text excerpt and writing down the answers in English, carries a totally especial feeling for me. It shows the innate capacity to adapt, to adjust, and to develop a very personal way of thinking, of expressing himself

Leaving you all with nice words of support, from Corey Heller: “The decision to homeschool bilingually can be a frightening one but with enough preparation, support and motivation you can make it a successful one for you and your family.”

If you liked this piece, please take a moment and go visit Multilingual Living website. It’s a very good resource for parents of TCKs, homeschooling parents, or any parent concerned about improving their children’s learning skills, without loosing track of reality. From our “tentative trilingual home“, to yours…♥

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More?

Benefits of Multilingualism

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, resources, TCKs

 

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Thoughts on ‘Let Teachers Do Their Jobs.’

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last morning’s column on the Washington Post [Parenting], by Tracy Grant, was a refreshing example of what we [parents] need [or need not] to do when it comes to working in parallel with our children’s schools. The author encourage us all not only to read her suggestions, but also try to create a “new school year’s resolution.” Letting the teachers teach. Letting them exercise their abilities while showing our children the way to behave in school, as well as in society.

English: Group of children in a primary school...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quoting Tracy Grant: “Let your kids’ teachers do their job. Assume that they are equipped to do what they have been trained and are paid to do. Be involved in your child’s school and education, but try to do it in a way that is supportive of the teachers.”

In short: Meddle less.

And this was only the introduction to her op-piece. ‘Meddle less’. She simply nailed it on the head. No need for screaming, no discussion, no arguments – it’s like telling us, parents, ‘step away, for a little bit’, and let the [ones that have been trained, schooled, experienced] do their jobs.

Obviously, our children’s education should not rely solely on what he/she are receiving during the school hours – it goes way beyond the school walls, and it’s our [parental] responsibility to ensure their success and well-being are the utmost goal. Parents should be unconditionally involved in a child’s education. As Tracy Grant well pointed out, ‘no one will ever be a better advocate for your child than you’. But being supportive to your child does not mean one needs to act/react as if the child didn’t have means to do so. As the child ages, he/she has the critical duty to advocate for him/herself. It’s an integral part of learning how to live the ‘real life’ in the ‘real world’, surrounded by ‘real people’, facing real challenges and difficulties.

Part of the learning process is understanding [from the child' point of view] how to survive in the real world. It’s also crucial for parents and school professionals, to offer opportunities for independent learning. It’s a two-way street: the teaching goes alongside with the learning, and one cannot exist if the other is corrupted.

Finally, using Tracy’s words, an advice for any parent out there [and my favorite part of her article!]: ‘encourage him to be a responsible student. Assume the teacher knows what he is doing. And your student may wind up learning lessons for a lifetime.’

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2013 in children, EDUCATION, resources

 

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Are we missing a teachable moment?

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old singer who began her career as squeaky-clean star of the Hannah Montana television series, seems to have ditched that goody two-shoes image for good with her recent Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance. Did Miley’s performance cross the line, are we making too much of it, or are we missing a chance to have a more important conversation about race and sex? You be the judge”.

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are.

We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate.

Not only the parents out there, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]. Instead of judging or criticizing what happened, how about using it as a family dinning-table conversation topic?

Shocked? I would also be, if I weren’t a parent of young children, living through all the social events brought to us on a daily basis – can’t pretend we’re blind to the present-future opening their wings right in front of us… maybe even, coming to life in our very own TV room! My 5 1/2 year-old knows who ‘Miley-Montana’ is, and like many others her age, walks around the house repeating song chorus. As a parent, how should I approach her questions on ‘why can’t I watch this or that Disney channel shows?’ Should I just now say that her beloved Hanna is bad, and she should completely switch her idolatry towards ‘Lava Girl’ [and Shark Boy, for that matter]?

That said, are all the previously-innocent Disney stars turned evil? Have them all become bad examples to our children? Should I just turn the TV [and the computer!] off, once and for all? Is that a plausible solution?

Controversy?  Sure!

That’s what social media lives and breathes on! Controversy is needed to sell papers, creating countless and endless postings on Facebook… increasing the Klout scores throughout social network channels… The whole fuzz on twerking? Sad to say, but unfortunately, many young girls who had not yet heard the term, are now ‘practicing Miley’s moves…

But… what’s the ‘message to take home’?

Cover of "Hannah Montana The Movie"

Cover of Hannah Montana The Movie

It’s not only about Miley Cyrus‘ performance, or her ‘not-so-appropriate’ display of oneself, and her puzzling lack of self-awareness. She is just one of the many examples of a debating behavior. Should I/could I judge her? Not sure about that. Not my place to do so, although, I can definitely take advantage of the current situation, and embrace a productive discussion. Any takers? :o

The original article  [inspiring this mini op-piece] presents an intriguing question: if we were missing a chance to have a larger discussion about race, sex, gender roles, and the evils of stereotyping?

The key point for the discussion, at least the way I see it, is the importance to teach children/teenagers about self-respect. There’s a crucial need for them to understand the meaning of self-awareness, and the consequences of their own acts.

We live in society, no one is an island, and we should all behave [and act] with these premises in mind. Teaching children/young adults to gain self-respect will surely assist them into improving their learning and creative skills, as well as their ability to understand/welcome love. Self-respect/self-esteem is closely related to happiness and success in life.

Strong senses of self-respect and self-esteem will help our children act responsibly, responsively and respectfully as they socially interact with others. Self-respect and self-preservation are concepts that should be the foundation of any growing individual. Happiness and the much-wanted success will follow on.

 The ongoing lesson:

With strong self-respect, our children will know that they’re important, smart, valuable and unconditionally loved. We, the adults, parents, also need to do our share. We need to show our support and our respect towards that growing being. We’re asked to show our children they’re worthy of respect. And we do that by respecting their feelings, their privacy and their properties; expressing our pride in our children at every opportunity. Our children are unique, and should be cherished as such.

Also, another lesson to take home from this whole buzz is the importance the parents have on a growing child’s life. They [the children] need to learn how to fail. Mistakes are a fact of life. When we equip a child with skills necessary to make mistakes and regroup, we’re also teaching him/her how to analyze and learn from his/her mistakes.

The result will be a resilient child who keeps trying in the face of struggles and challenges. Maybe that’d have been a great advice for they ‘younger/growing’ Miley Cyrus… learn from your mistakes, even from the very big, ‘media-tweeted’, Facebook-escalated ones… learn from your failures… failures are teaching situations, whose results are priceless learning opportunities. Probably that’s the great teaching moment/teaching opportunity gathered from these recent events: instead of criticizing [the performance] to our children/teenagers, let’s use it as a ‘live example’ during our family conversations. Let’s hear from our children what they think/perceive on the situation; what is their reaction and their un-bias judgment… and maybe, they could surprise us… maybe they may see things under a different, more rational perspective… Let’s hear from the kids, before we bash the young lady around with our not-so-nice words and pre-conceived ideas… Let’s not miss this one-of-a-kind teachable moment… ♥

Keep on living… keep on learning… :o

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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in children, EDUCATION

 

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Thoughts on Parenting: ‘Metrics’ for Children’s Summer Vacation – Academics or Fun?

School is back. Summer vacation is seeing its last days….

Children at N.Y. Zoo  (LOC)

Children at N.Y. Zoo [Wikipedia]

Although joy is the word of the hour, there’s a familiar question in the air: ‘how was your summer?‘ Or even better than that: ‘What did your kids do during their school break? I’m sure you had them catch up with their homework packages – they gotta be ready before school days are back!’

It’s definitely hard to keep a balance between these two options: ‘has your child spent much time on academics this summer, or has he/she went out to play, chasing fireflies, collecting ‘knee scratches’ and minor wounds while attempting to bike with no training wheels?’ :o

Here are my 2 cents to the discussion. Not in 1,000 words, though – more likely, half of that! Hopefully, still bringing out some food for thought!

Maybe, like many parents out there, we’re ‘programmed to feel guilty‘ about not having our children work hard on their academics, taking advantage of the summer break; and instead, we’re fighting that.

Español: Guiliana moreno Jugando en bogota

All moms and dads out there: try to remember your own childhood summer vacations – do you recall having touched a math/reading comprehension work sheet? I’ll leave the answer to you… with a candid smile.

I personally, don’t. When I was a child, there was no structure, and there were no demands. That said, what is your dearest/sweet memory of your summer vacations? I dare you tell me/us it dealt with extra homework!

:o Just saying…

English: Olof Palme meets journalists during h...

And I guess, we all did fine, right?

We’re all here, we’re survivors, and we remember really enjoying summer… carefree-style!

Please, don’t get me wrong! I’m all for good academics performance – the ones who frequently visit and read through this blog and its posts on education, language, and establishing a healthy multicultural environment for growing children will well understand how I value personal education.

But I also value creativity when raising a child. I value the ability parents have to offer [their kids] opportunities to find their own growing paths.

Analyzing the ‘metrics’ for our children’s summer, we [their mom and dad] believe they are doing pretty well! Academics are important. Structure and discipline are important. Fun is a cornerstone for both processes.

Photo by Michelle Weber.

Photo by Michelle Weber, from the Daily Post WordPress.

Having fun and experiencing childhood on its fullest are crucial points for a well-balanced development. Children need that. They seek that. Playtime amongst their peers helps them develop a sense of self-awareness, a good dose of self-confidence, and to understand their minds have no limits when it comes to creativity and desire. And they look up to us, parents, as the key-providers of a healthy combination of structure, discipline and fun moments.

That’s exactly what vacations are about: hopefully, our kids will do just fine in the future, with fantastic memories of what they did with their family over the school breaks – even if they forgot to finish some of the reading assignments, or left aside that math worksheet [to be completed after dinner!]…

Maybe after they’ve come back inside the house, tired of chasing frogs and playing tag with neighboring friends… and are ready to jump right back into the school schedule.

Chasing their own dreams is part of a healthy childhood development – and should be enjoyed as such! Now, off to a great school start – with all the academics that come with it! :o

♥  ♥  ♥

 

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in children, EDUCATION

 

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School is back: Creating the proper study environment?

English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

Homework time?! Photo credit: Wikipedia.

This morning’s article on Parenting, from the Washington Post got me thinking…

And I’m thankful that Nicole Anzia [freelance writer; she can be reached at nicole@neatnik.org] took a stab at it: “Finding a space where your child can complete his or her homework without getting totally stressed out, or stressing you out, is difficult. Don’t be discouraged if the first place you choose isn’t perfect; this will be an ongoing and evolving process throughout your child’s life as a student. But having a space set up and creating a homework routine during the first week of school will help smooth the transition from summer’s hot, hazy days to fall’s hurried, homework days.”

Homework

Homework (Photo credit: TJCoffey)

According to Anzia, there are few points that MUST be addressed, and since school days for my 2 elementary kids has just begun, I hope I’m on the right track, and will, for sure, try to follow her ‘advice': [I've added my personal comments after the 'important-points' suggested by the author]

1. Choose the right location

We’re fortunate enough to have an extra ‘lunch table’, in a separate room, with a framed world map, a large wall clock and a buffet with drawers. The whole area has been defined for ‘homework’ and school assignments: reading response; school poster preparation, coloring, cutting and pasting [I've got a 2nd grader and a KG5].

2. Find and organize supplies

The buffet drawers were turned into ‘storage space’ for their school supplies. Backpacks are kept on the floor, against the wall, and handy, when they’re needed. Plastic containers/organizers are a must-have to keep their pencils, coloring gear, scissors; glue sticks IN PLACE AND EASY TO FIND. :o

Homework

Homework (Photo credit: christinepollock)

3. Create a Go-To spot

Anzia also points out that “Another advantage of a designated homework space is that you can have a set surface where you and your kids can post scheduling reminders and deadlines. You could hang a magnetic board or bulletin board, or use stick-on chalkboard or dry-erase boards that can be easily removed in seconds, without damaging the wall.”

For that, unfortunately, I had to resource to our kitchen area, where we mounted a white board on the wall, with our cell phone numbers [for the sitter, when both mom and dad are at work!]. The board displays each child’s chores, a brief schedule and any necessary reminder…. The kitchen wall is also the place for an oversized interactive calendar [months, days, seasons, weather and special dates]. Our oldest son, now 7,5 is the one in charge of changing the dates/information on the calendar, every morning.

4. Try out and reassess

This is the author’s final suggestion. Try things out, and after the initial month or so, reassess the results. Change. Improve. Get feedback from the kids. See what works and what needs to be fixed.

We’re on week 1, for this school year… let’s wait and see what’s in store for us… we’re all hopeful… maybe ‘homework time’ will be a breeze… who knows? :o

 
 

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Reflections on the expat life, inspired by Buckminster Fuller: “I am not a noun, I seem to be a verb…”

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This is a third post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children up into this ‘nomad world’ [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents], especially when it comes to the diverse society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now… the second post presented a discussion on the misperceptions on being a ‘serial expat‘; a nomad, a ‘rolling stone…. I’m sure there’ll be more posts to come – thank you all for reading, and for the continuous feedback on this [and other!] topics – the suggestions, comments and shared stories from other parents/travelers/expats have made this ‘blogging experience’ much richer. And I’m very grateful for all that.

The discussion on social diversity is not only part of our family’s daily life, but it also tailors the way we are raising our children, and the way we would like them to understand and perceive their surroundings.

Buckminster Fuller

Geodesic Dome, by Buckminster Fuller  (credit: Wikipedia)

For many children, expat life is an enriching, wonderful experience, but for many others, it is an unbelievably difficult time. Much is gained — language, travel, worldview, diversity – but there are very real losses — extended family, longtime friends, a sense of belonging. Some of the losses are unrecognized and unacknowledged until later in life…

As parents of TCKs, my husband and I try to be sensitive to their particular situation. Each child is different, and reacts to the uprootedness differently. Some are more sensitive, and others relish in it.

English: Cropped and flipped photo of young Bu...

Buckminster Fuller (credit: Wikipedia)

One thing we have always tried to be, however, is their anchor. Since their external life is in constant flux, we try to keep our family life constant and stable. We try to have our own habits and traditions, which, as it turns out, are a bit of a blend between the countries we inhabit. Yes, they [our kids] may be exotic to the kids around them, and again, each handles that differently. One thrives on that, another cringes, but it is what it is. We know that they would have a different perspective than we do as their parents…

Perhaps, the best way of handling the identity issue is to adopt the dictum of the late Buckminster Fuller: “I am not a noun, I seem to be a verb…”

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When you end up talking another language with your kids…

3rdCultureChildren:

Great reading about raising multilingual children!
Our community keeps on growing!

Originally posted on expatsincebirth:

When you are multilingual and start having kids, you have to choose which language you’ll talk to your children. Linguists always recommend to talk your “mothertongue” to you children. But which is the mothertongue if you are perfectly bilingual? In my case: should I talk Italian or German to my kids?

When our son was born, we lived in Italy and as Italian is one of my mother tongues, it was very natural for me to talk Italian to him from the beginning. Our home languages were Italian (me and my son), Swissgerman (my husband and my son) and German (my husband and me) and we were convinced that he would pick up German automatically too.

When we moved to the Netherlands our son was 2.5 years old and he went to a dutch daycare twice a week since almost immediately. After two months he started to talk less and…

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Challenges of raising bi/multilingual kids…

Dialects of Portuguese in Brazil

Dialects of Portuguese in Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Already mentioned here my [random] thoughts on the whole bi/multilingual culture {Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…}, and its obvious benefits, not only to the growing child, but also for the society that child is part of…

My children are surely enjoying their school break – another 2 full weeks to go, and they’ll be back at a familiar environment – an international school, surrounded by Spanish speaking classmates, and other expats, mainly from neighboring South American countries, a few European reps, and the well-known US-American crowd.

All fun and games, until it came to reinforce the endless/continuous need for them [my kids] to keep speaking Portuguese at home. Since I spend several hours at work, I’m not with them to ‘remind’ my lovies the importance of keeping up with ‘mommy’s language’…

KeyboardLayout-Portuguese-Brazil

KeyboardLayout-Portuguese-Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They speak to the nanny in Spanish, to other American kids in English. The TV is mostly in English, with a few Spanish options. I’m their only link to Portuguese, right now – and I feel it’s my duty to stress the rule of  ‘if mom is home, you should only talk to her in Portuguese, as well as, to each other”.

Guess what’s happening? The rule is definitely off. We [parents] had it all planned out: our kick-off was the One Parent One Language (OPOL) method, where one parent speaks the minority language, which would be, in my case, Portuguese. My husband would have the kids started in Spanish [his father's mother tongue], and gradually move on to English [husband's mother's tongue], as school moved on and our children required a deeper knowledge of English… We knew their/kids’ brains are hard-wired for language acquisition and children up to three years old easily process both languages.

Our 3 children had an early ‘linguistic’ start. They’re now 7.5; 5.5 and 2.5 years old – and were introduced to different languages as early as their birthdate.

José Saramago

José Saramago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, it seems not to be working. Maybe, it’s because we’re tired at the end of the day? Or because the kids see me talking to their dad in English; and to their day-time nanny in Spanish, they believe it’s okay to leave Saramago‘s language aside, and completely pretend they don’t know Portuguese [??].

So here I am, asking for suggestions [??], trying to figure out an easy [and painless] way out… ,

I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources for supporting our toddlers’ learning, I stumbled upon this very interesting article from Multilingual Living, which I’ve shared here earlier.

From our “tentative trilingual home” to yours… Thank you for reading… and for any suggestions that come our way! :o

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, resources, TCKs

 

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{Updated} Raising Resilient Children.

Mother's Day Montesori School (6)diversity & resilience

Here’s a brief update on this blogpost – a book that just came out, from the author Linda Janssen, and from which I’ve learned a lot during this journey of ‘raising expat children':

The Emotionally Resilient Expat – Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures 

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I feel like I began this year on a very ‘introspective mode‘, rethinking life, our lifestyle, and the way we plan on leading it forward…

This is a third post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children out [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents; and the second one dealt with 'how to approach' diversity issues], especially when it comes to the heterogeneous society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now… [find all interesting links to great discussions at the bottom of this post!]

For a child, especially the young ones, parents are their strongest link to the concepts of ‘reality‘ and ‘normalcy‘.
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That said, I recently found from Expat Child, a fantastic site for inspirations for any parent out there, even if they’re not ‘serial expats’ like our family:
[and my deepest appreciation to the site authors for bringing out such an interesting discussion!]
 

Five Quotes On Resilience

Picture of the Galapagos Marine Iguana with a Darwin quote on survival of the species

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

Resilient children tend to have parents who are concerned with their children’s education, who participate in that education, who direct their children everyday task, and who are aware of their children interests and goals. Another important characteristic of resilient children is having at least one significant adult in their lives. – Linda F. Winfield

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings. – Hodding Carter

Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry. – Stephanie Martson

 
I don’t have answers for these questions, and maybe, secretly, would hope to find a few over here… from other expat/parents out there... I’m aware that we [parents] are all seeking answers, suggestions, so, I’ll echo my voice with many more… who knows? Comments/messages are very much appreciated, and more than welcome! “How are we [parents] working on raising more [socially] resilient children?”
Thank you!
 
 

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Eleven months in Bolivia: “Color me Wonderful!”

In Bolivia there’s always an excuse to bring out colors – by nature, in an incomparable way, or through handmade artwork. Our family of 5 has been at post for exactly 11 months now – enjoying life, watching our kids grow surrounded by new friends, improving their Spanish communication skills, and delighting ourselves with the inherent beauty this country has to offer.  Here’s a small sample of past 11 months in-country:

The majestic sky covering our home, the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz:    

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The fearless colors of a group of bikers cruising the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”

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Despite not having access to the ocean, Bolivia hides some wonderful secrets, like the scenery around the Lake Titicaca

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The unique, multi-color display of beauty… not found in many places like here. Where tradition, religion, faith and pride meet!

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The perfect combination between blues, greens and earth tones!

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The respect and appreciation to others, shown by people from all over the world:

mi corazon con Boston 2  

Our 11th month in Bolivia is ending, sealed with happiness, joy and our warmest greetings to our friends and extended family – wherever they are, please enjoy a bit of our “colorful home“…♥ Now, off to our second year at a great FS Post Assignment – thank you all! :o  

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mama mia

 

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Between Us: An Open Letter to the Disney Channel

Originally posted on Life Inspired:

No More Disney Channel copy

Dear Disney Channel Executives,

My daughter Journey has recently become a fan of the Disney Channel.  She just turned 7, she has officially outgrown Nick Jr. and since Nick seems to show SpongeBob all day, she has moved over to the Disney channel.  At first, she was pretty much only watching Phineas and Ferb.  Eventually, she started watching the rest of the line up including Good Luck Charlie, Austin and Ally, Shake It Up and Jessie.

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Ceremonia de Graduación del Programa Access – La Paz Students

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A El 19 de abril, el Encargado de Negocios Larry Memmott presidió la ceremonia de graduación de estudiantes del Programa Access 2011-2013. La ceremonia tuvo lugar en la Residencia del Jefe de Misión en La Paz. El evento comenzó con una presentación artística a cargo de jóvenes egresados de la ciudad de El Alto que deleitaron a la audiencia con un recital de violín. Durante el evento, los estudiantes destacaron la importancia del programa Access en sus vidas y demostraron su habilidad en el uso del idioma inglés, que es el resultado de dos años de cursos intensivos de idioma, comprensión cultural y liderazgo. Un total de 127 estudiantes de escasos recursos de la ciudad de El Alto se benefician del programa y reciben clases de forma gratuita con patrocinio del Departamento de Estado.

All photos and text are protperty of the US Embassy La Paz [Flicker Gallery]

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in BOLIVIA, EDUCATION, photography

 

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Embracing Diversity as an Expat: Raising Children in the Foreign Service.

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I feel like I began this year on a very ‘introspective mode‘, rethinking life, our lifestyle, and the way we plan on leading it forward…

This is a second post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children out [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents], especially when it comes to the diverse society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now…

The discussion on social diversity is not only part of our family’s daily life, but it also tailors the way we are raising our children, and the way we would like them to understand and perceive their surroundings.

Being a foreign-born spouse, who has moved out of Brazil over a decade ago, constantly traveling because of work and family life, I had to learn early that, the need to readjust and reinvent oneself is a critical part of the adaptation process in a foreign country. I’m also a parent, and often find myself trying to answer a few questions, to my own children, as well as, to other parents facing similar challenges: “What can I do to help my children around the issue of diversity?” And, in fact, how ready is our society to embrace diversity? 

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Life as an expat has shown me that we (parents) are the only ‘constant‘ on our children’s lives. Childhood friends come and go, depending on their parent’s jobs. Schools change. Countries, cultures, music, social patterns and expected behaviors last as long as one’s post assignment does.
 
For a child, especially the young ones, parents are their strongest link to the concepts of ‘reality‘ and ‘normalcy‘.
Over time, children will learn who they are and what to do through these experiences – absorbing a sense of their routines, traditions, languages, cultures, and national or racial identities – at their own pace, creating their very particular ‘hybrid culture‘, assuming their own identity, as unique social beings.
 
We are diverse, we speak different languages in our household, we come from distinct cultural and/or religious backgrounds… and our children could not be any different from that narrative. Our children are coming up as divergent individuals, in a much richer way than we (parents) were brought up. We are all very unique, and that notion needs to be reflected not only on the job represented by our officers (and their families) overseas, but also, through our own behavior as social creatures.
 
Diversity brings innovation and creativity. It’s important for us, parents, to add to our home environment, so it is reflective of other (cultural, racial, ethnic, family style) groups. It’s critical to express pride in our own heritage. Building positive identities and the respect for differences, would mean inserting these concepts to the routine of children’s everyday lives.

I don’t have answers for these questions, and maybe, secretly, would hope to find a few over here… from other expat/parents out there... I’m aware that we [parents] are all seeking answers, suggestions, so, I’ll echo my voice with many more… who knows? Comments/messages are very much appreciated, and more than welcome!

That said, what is our role as parents? How could we help our children regarding diversity? One of the suggestions is that we need to be constantly involved in their lives. Listening to their stories, learning about their ventures and challenges adjusting to new/unknown realities. We need to devote a great deal of patience for establishing a healthy communication channel within our household, and between all the levels of our (expatriate) community; opportunities will present themselves at the school, at the work level, at social events where children may take part… . It’s necessary to talk to our children about differences, in a very understanding and respectful way. Let us be resourceful and take advantage of the diversity around us.

One of the advantages this life as expatriates offers to families is the possibility to enroll our children in international schools. It’s already been discussed that students who attend schools with a diverse population (student body, faculty, staff) are capable of developing an understanding of the perspectives of other children’s backgrounds, learning to function in a multicultural, multiethnic environment.All of us are born free of biases, (un)fortunately, we tend to learn them as we grow. Is it a totally negative aspect of our lives? Could we turn our ability to make social judgments into a positive impacting tool? Let the discussion begin! :o

 

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“To have a second language is to possess a second soul” (Charlemagne)

Already mentioned here my [random] thoughts on the whole bi/multilingual culture {Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…}, and its obvious benefits, not only to the growing child, but also for the society that child is part of… Recently, CNN brought out an interesting/challenging/poking discussion on a study about ‘lifelong bilinguals’ {Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains} and the development of their brains… also, worth to check it out [I clearly did, it's part of who I'm... that said, I had no other option but to join the discussion forum with my 2 cents growing up as a nomad child, and now a 'trailing spouse' and mother to 3 TCKs].

I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources for supporting our toddlers’ learning, I stumbled upon this very interesting article from Multilingual Living, which I’m sharing below.

A very good resource for parents of TCKs, homeschooling parents, or any parent concerned about improving their children’s learning skills, without loosing track of reality.  From our “tentative trilingual home” to yours

Good reading!

Benefits of Multilingualism

By Michał B. Paradowski
Institute of Applied Linguistics,
 University of Warsaw

The advantages that multilinguals exhibit over monolinguals are not restricted to linguistic knowledge only, but extend outside the area of language. The substantial long-lived cognitive, social, personal, academic, and professional benefits of enrichment bilingual contexts have been well documented. Children and older persons learning foreign languages have been demonstrated to:

  • have a keener awareness and sharper perception of language. Foreign language learning “enhances children’s understanding of how language itself works and their ability to manipulate language in the service of thinking and problem solving”; 
  • be more capable of separating meaning from form;
  • learn more rapidly in their native language (L1), regardless of race, gender, or academic level;
  • be more efficient communicators in the L1;
  • be consistently better able to deal with distractions, which may help offset age-related declines in mental dexterity;
  • develop a markedly better language proficiency in, sensitivity to, and understanding of their mother tongue;
  • develop a greater vocabulary size over age, including that in their L1;
  • have a better ear for listening and sharper memories;
  • be better language learners in institutionalized learning contexts because of more developed language-learning capacities owing to the more complex linguistic knowledge and higher language awareness;
  • have increased ability to apply more reading strategies effectively due to their greater experience in language learning and reading in two—or more—different languages;
  • develop not only better verbal, but also spatial abilities;
  • parcel up and categorize meanings in different ways;
  • display generally greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher-order thinking skills;
  • a person who speaks multiple languages has a stereoscopic vision of the world from two or more perspectives, enabling them to be more flexible in their thinking, learn reading more easily. Multilinguals, therefore, are not restricted to a single world-view, but also have a better understanding that other outlooks are possible. Indeed, this has always been seen as one of the main educational advantages of language teaching”; 
  • multilinguals can expand their personal horizons and—being simultaneously insiders and outsiders—see their own culture from a new perspective not available to monoglots, enabling the comparison, contrast, and understanding of cultural concepts;
  • be better problem-solvers gaining multiple perspectives on issues at hand;
  • have improved critical thinking abilities;
  • better understand and appreciate people of other countries, thereby lessening racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, as the learning of a new language usually brings with it a revelation of a new culture;
  • learn further languages more quickly and efficiently than their hitherto monolingual peers;
  • to say nothing of the social and employment advantages of being bilingual {Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains}– offering the student the ability to communicate with people s/he would otherwise not have the chance to interact with, and increasing job opportunities in many careers {The Value In Being Bilingual or Multilingual}.
 
21 Comments

Posted by on January 17, 2013 in EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, resources, TCKs

 

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10 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. Colors from The Bolivian Folkloric Ballet of Potosi.

Image #10: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: The Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia.

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

 

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12 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’!

Image #9: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’… more like ‘a non-stop climbing pre-toddler’! Climbing on the half-desk… going up the stairs… just got caught, while, quietly, trying to move on… Oh, the perks of being a mother of 3 little ones! Who needs adult supervision, anyway? :o

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

 

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13 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’…making my wish for 12.12.12: to witness their shared passion!

my two boys

my two boys after the match

Image #8: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: My two boys on a regular Saturday morning…

While many are still sleeping in, my boys head to the soccer field at the kids’ school… The ‘older one’ is the player, but my ‘youngest boy’ has to be there to support his dad… I couldn’t be any happier when looking at their faces… That’s a good wish for this 12.12.12: I’ve got 2 girls and 2 boys, and being able to witness their happiness is priceless… Today, I’m sharing the joy these boys bring to my life, through their shared passion: sports! :o

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

 

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14 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. An evergreen centerpiece as a keepsake…

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Image #7: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Evergreen centerpiece.

There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the  Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration

Two weeks later, one of the branches still exists as my dining table centerpiece… beautiful… a keepsake of a day of work, but most importantly, reminding us about how blessed we’ve been… There’ll be no holidays at a hospital facility for our family… we’ll spend these holidays together, as a family.. we’re all healthy and grateful…

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

 

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15 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Driving among the clouds…

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Image #6: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Literally driving among the clouds, outside the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz… And we DID GO through this ride [or at least, the fab hubby did... all the driving!]. Here is the link for the complete Photo Essay!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

 
 

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16 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Joy after the hail showers!

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Image #5: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Joy after the Hail Showers… 

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

 
 

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17 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Making fun Science with… Snow!!!

Image #4: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Let it snow in school… if [natural] snow doesn’t fall down from the sky, the solution is… let’s make it! [nothing wrong with having fun with school-made artificial snow!]

Makes Fluffy Artificial Snow in Seconds!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

 

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Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts!

I found this theme really interesting, and intriguing… almost poking on us, parents of our loving well-behaved little ones:

“Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they don’t. This week, we’re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that it’s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?” [Michele M. from King of States].

at the museum

Well, as a parent of 3 little kids (oldest one just turned 7), moving every two years, due to family work requirements, having to adjust not only to a new country, as well as to new cultures, new languages, there’s yet the expectation that [shockingly!] my kids should also re-invent themselves and adjust/adapt to new social demands/requirements, showcasing the pristine behavior only found in movies about expat children attending boarding schools, spending their spear time learning an instrument and being part of book clubs!

Clearly, that doesn’t happen. It never did, and very likely, it’ll not happen in any future

This theme, discussing the pros and cons of having children in adult-oriented/adult-only social places got me thinking. And I began reading through what others had to say about it [I'm such a curious cat!].

I’m always searching for resources related to raising children in multi-cultural settings, I take part at parenting forums, I respond/comment on discussion lists, I blog about raising TCKs, and seek help for that…

I’m also the ‘household fairy’, you know, that one silent worker, that makes the breakfast show up in the morning, the lunch packs being ready before the school bus turns the corner… the ‘laundry fairy’, the intense PTA volunteer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough time to ‘school’ my children on the ‘perfect social behavior‘ [whatever it is or means] – I’m still trying. And my children are also trying to learn, the best they can. They’ve been to restaurants, airports, family gatherings, embassy functions, social events, you name it!

So, answering the original question, should kids be allowed at adult-oriented places? PROBABLY NOT. And I’m stating that as a MOM, speaking my heart out from my life experience, as a mother, and a former teacher. NOTHING AGAINST children. Love them. Deeply. But in my very humble opinion, there are some adult-oriented places that little ones should no be taken to – and that includes some of our beloved evening pubs, bars and dining places – unless the latter is kid-friendly, otherwise, one should only take a [especially the very young ones] to a bar or pub, if looking for some unforeseen sickness, and a parental headache for the following days! :o

making pizza, at a ‘kid-friendly’ restaurant!

But, should we, as parents, carry out our frustrations to a public setting? Would it be enjoyable to ourselves, and to others?

Kids deserve people to respect them. And, do you believe they [the children] would be receiving their deserved share of social respect, if others [adults] would feel uncomfortable with their presence? Tough call.

My parents always had to travel for work. We moved a lot. We were also three children, the only difference was that, being the oldest one (9 years older than the youngest), I was responsible for their social behavior.

A ‘quasi-responsiblity‘, if I could put it like that. And I remember getting the ‘rolled eyes’ from others, the ‘evil looks’ at restaurants. There was no nanny at that time. Two working parents. Going out to restaurants was a rare treat – we definitely had to ‘earn our way’. Today, I’m the parent. I’m the one flying with screaming  kicking bored wonderful children. :o The ‘looks’ towards me are still there. I can feel them. And I’m sure my children also sense them coming…

For all that, even if it’s hard, logistically challenging, last-minute need, try to find yourself a baby sitter. That’s my little 2 cents of advice, and one may do whatever it wants with it, even completely discard it. Just my humble suggestion…. Adult-oriented places are for adults only [clever conclusion, right?!].

Unfortunately, for the ones who would like to spend quality time with their children, tagging them along wherever they go, I’m sure there’ll be other alternatives… they’re called ‘kid-friendly places’. Trust me, kids don’t enjoy adult-only scenarios. I’ve been there. I’ve tried both ways, and I’d stick to the second one. It’s safer for the adult parent, the adult company, and for the children.

Good luck to all of us raising kids – what a tough job, man! :o

 
 

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So… where’s home? [from a TCK's perspective]

Adjusting to School…

School’s begun, kids are adjusting to their ‘newest’ challenges: new friends, without forgetting their ‘previous’ ones, new teachers, with different teaching techniques, strategies, and a brand new schedule… All in all, they seem to be taking it in pretty well (at least for these past 2 weeks!). Let’s see what future will bring to this foreign service family ♥

Adjustments are never easy, nor smooth, but as committed parents, we’re trying our very best to make sure our 3 kids have an enjoyable social/emotional/psychological experience at this new posting/assignment. Not all is under our control, unfortunately, but… it’s all part of life, and life’s challenging on itself – otherwise, what’d be the meaning of pursuing different lifestyles?

That said, during one of my ‘blog hopping’ ventures, found a very interesting video discussing the meaning of ‘home, from a TCK‘s perspective, totally worthy the time, and maybe, a good way to generate some discussion/questioning about the theme. Here it is:

So Where’s Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity from Adrian Bautista on Vimeo.

 

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Learning about Culture and Presidents at the National Museum of American History, Washington DC.

                    George Washington Statue at National Museum of American History – Washington, D.C.

This is the last post of a series – images and stories from our experiences during the US Home Leave. Before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

Sixth stop: The Presidents Hall, at the National Museum of American History, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

 

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Snapshots of The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC.

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

Fifth stop: Halls at the Museum of Natural History, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

 

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… Related articles

 

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Images from an exciting visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo, in Washington, DC.

 

Before assuming post at our newest work/life assignment in La Paz, Bolivia, like many other foreign service families, we spent our four weeks of home leave in the US. We visited with family in Virginia and Delaware. We reconnected with friends from the past and from the present. We had fun at parks, public libraries, museums and galleries. We learned and shared experiences about history, culture, nature and life, with our kids. A very intense period – and totally worthy! A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time! :o 

Fourth stop: The O. Orkin Insect Zoo, part of the Museum of Natural History [Smithsonian], in Washington, DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

At a Glance

The O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the 2nd Floor of the Museum where visitors can observe live insects and their many-legged relatives. Volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and hold, and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the Insect Zoo.

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As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum, I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… 

 

 
 

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Snapshots from Home Leave: The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem [National Museum of American History, Washington DC].

The Flag that inspired the National Anthem

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

Third stop: The Star-Spangled Banner Exhibit, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

Getting ready to unfold the Flag and sing the National Anthem. Curious eyes follow every step of the way. All visitors become part of the interactive visit to the Museum of American History – at 3pm, the performance starts…

 

Our children watched, mesmerized, the visitors below, singing and honoring the National Flag – what a great way to share with them information about the greatest symbol of the country… learning should never stop… a live experience they’ll always hold in their hearts!

Next time, our fourth stop, where we’ll share images and comments of our visits to several halls at the Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian). Children’s curiosity is endless! :o We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 

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Snapshots from Home Leave: An afternoon at the Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Virginia.

[Backstory: Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o

That said, let’s continue with our tales & reporting from our time back in the US, during this year’s home leave. Before, I shared here some unique images from an intriguing visit to the Butterfly Garden, hosted by the Smithsonian [Natural History Museum], in Washington, DC. Without question, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is the United States’ public playground, with loads of open space for tourists, and kids in particular, to roam. There’s not much here in terms of specific play features, but you’ve got leafy areas for picnics, a carousel, paddleboats on the Tidal Basin, and lots of biking and walking trails.

Second stop: The Clemyjontry Park, McLean Virginia: Link to more information about the park, its hours and features, here.

As in, the packaging for a new toy can be as entertaining as the toy itself. I find that traveling with young kids follows a similar logic. You can do all the museums, monuments, churches, and castles in the world, but what kids really want is a place in which to run around like they do at home. So to aid in that quest, here are my recommendations for small-people spaces in big-city places—namely, adventuresome playgrounds that will stand in for that well-worn play area at your neighborhood school or park.

We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 
 

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Snapshots from Home Leave: A visit to the Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC.

 

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

First stop: The Butterfly Garden, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

We had the pleasure to visit the $3million butterfly exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The exhibit “Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution” features a 1,200 square foot tropical butterfly garden with approximately 400 butterflies. In the exhibit’s main hall, visitors learn about the co-evolution of butterflies and plants.

The butterfly garden at the Smithsonian is located on the Ninth Street side of the National Museum of Natural History building. 

Four distinct habitats — wetland, meadow, wood’s edge and urban garden — encourage visitors to observe the partnerships between plants and butterflies.

The garden is a joint project of the Horticulture Services Division and the Museum with partial funding from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

The garden, on view at all times, is a perfect complement to a visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo on the second floor of the Museum. [Stay tuned for upcoming posts on other visits to the Smithsonian wonders!] :o

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 

 

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Why Are There So Few Women in Math and Science Professions?

3rdCultureChildren:

A great finding, during one of my weekly ‘blog-hoping’ exercises… Thank you, NewsofTheTimesBlog!

“There is a fascinating story on NPR this week about the lack of women in math and science fields that is worth a read.

It explores the reasons that there are more men than women in these fields and the reasons that many women do not stay in these fields. The article lays the blame on women’s awareness of stereotypes regarding their competency in these areas.

The author makes it clear that the problem is not all in women’s heads, but rather lays the blame at the feet of the pervasive messages that women hear on a daily basis about their abilities, or inabilities, in these areas.

I find this fascinating. When I was in middel school, I was told I was bad at two things – OK, maybe 3 things – math, science and art. Whether the people who told me these things recognized that they sent me this messages as a teenager or not, these messages stuck with me over the years; in fact, these messages have stuck with me to this day.

I worked in the field of domestic violence for many years and was always interested in the programs that many shelters have for children who have witnessed domestic violence, where they use art therapy to help children heal and cope with their untenable family situation.

As someone who was told that art was not a personal strength, I always felt more stressed by the idea of this type of therapy than soothed. The messages we are told when we are young stick with us.

The story on NPR seems to confirm this and posits the theory that this is one of the main reasons that women, even women in high level math and science professions, do not stay in those positions.

The story points out a fundamental challenge, in which there are not many women in these fields, and women seem less likely to enter these fields because they do not see themselves represented in these professions.

Quite a chicken and the egg conundrum.

What do you think? Have you, or your children, had any personal experiences with being told that you were not good at something? Have you found ways to counter these messages that work for you? Do you have any ideas about how more women could be encouraged to enter the fields of math and science? Or do you think that it is not really a problem to have this field so dominated by men?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.”

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A fantastic reading, for sure! It’s so good to know there are similar voices/questions/concerns out there! Enjoy the reading!

Originally posted on newsofthetimes:

There is a fascinating story on NPR this week about the lack of women in math and science fields that is worth a read.

It explores the reasons that there are more men than women in these fields and the reasons that many women do not stay in these fields. The article lays the blame on women’s awareness of stereotypes regarding their competency in these areas.

The author makes it clear that the problem is not all in women’s heads, but rather lays the blame at the feet of the pervasive messages that women hear on a daily basis about their abilities, or inabilities, in these areas.

I find this fascinating. When I was in middel school, I was told I was bad at two things – OK, maybe 3 things – math, science and art. Whether the people who told me these things recognized that they sent me this…

View original 276 more words

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in EDUCATION, science

 

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Greenpeace in Brazil. Visiting the Rainbow Warrior Ship.

2 biologists

The Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior is in Brazil.

We had the opportunity to go on a guided visit through its compartments, talk with the captain, and learn more about the current projects involving the Greenpeace Initiative and Brazilian NGOs.

The visit also included the solar kitchen installations and the solar panels.

 

The Captain

  

 

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School ‘Babylon Hanging Garden': hard work pays off!

Great use of a recycled PET bottle!

 
Wordle: herbs

The Recognition 

EcoClub Pizza! Harvest time is approaching for the Hanging Gardens of the EcoClub. We’ve talked the School Canteen into turning the garden’s produce into Pizza (and Salad!) for lunch on June 11.:o Stay tuned!

That said, I’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new ORGANIC VEGGIES, all from ‘freshly donated seeds’… Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right. What originally was a school research project, has become a multidisciplinary task (see left), and a passion for all the gardening lovers! Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of cost-free clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus.  

 

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Snapshots of Mother’s Week.

What is Motherhood? I’m still trying to figure the answer out… some days I just feel like we’re “getting by”, instead of living… other days, are simply wonderfully perfect…. and, most of the days, are plain regular, filled with lots of “mom!!! come here, please!!!” or “mom!!! she took something from my bedroom!!!” or even, a gibberish cry that could mean anything from hunger, pain, to simply: “mom, hold me in your arms…”

Anyway, here are a few shots from this past “Mother’s Day (weeklong celebration)”

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in children, EDUCATION, expat, FAMILY

 

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[Português/English] Marine Turtles in Northeastern Brazil – Projeto TAMAR em Fernando de Noronha

Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species are found in Brazil.

For over 20 years TAMAR project is responsible for identifying and protecting nesting beaches and feeding areas, doing research, promoting awareness and involving the local community.

Thanks to good planning, loyal sponsorship and an innovative merchandising program they are able to maintain 20 bases in Brazil. Releasing more than 600 thousand hatchlings every year, the TAMAR bases have become important tourism attractions and mean income to 1200 families.

[NOTE FROM BLOGGER] ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW IS PROVIDED BY WWF BRAZIL:
Project: Supported by WWF
Year started: 1982
Other Partners/Supporters: Petrobrás
Address: Alameda do Boldro s/no. – Fernando de Noronha – PE
Contact: Claudio Bellini
e-mail: infonoronha@tamar.org.br
more info: www.projetotamar.org.br
Area: Natural
Activities: Visit a conservation unit
Equipments: sandals, shorts, t-shirts, swimming gear, towel, small backpack, sunglasses, sunscreen
Gateway: Recife ou Natal
Near airport: Fernando de Noronha – PE
Dist. from the airport: 2 KM
Max. number visitors: 15
Min. number visitors: 2
Max. Lenght: 10 day(s)
Min. Lenght: 2 day(s)
Level: easy
Activity: Enviromental, Scientific, Social
Best time to go: February, March, April, May
Attending a night-time lecture (9 pm) at the TAMAR Institute

[Portuguese] O arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha, composto por 21 ilhas e ilhotas de origem vulcânica, está situado a 345km de Natal, capital do Rio Grande do Norte/RN e a 545Km de Recife, capital de Pernambuco/PE. É sítio de reprodução da tartaruga-verde (Chelonia mydas), que utiliza as praias arenosas do lugar para desovar entre os meses de dezembro e julho. É também área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso para juvenis desta espécie e da tartaruga-de-pente (Eretmochelys imbricata).

As praias de desova apresentam características propícias a um monitoramento diário, inclusive noturno nas áreas principais. A do Leão concentra 80% das ocorrências. As demais desovas acontecem ao longo do mar de dentro, entre as praias do Sancho e da Conceição. Cada estação reprodutiva, registra em média 100 desovas, gerando 8.900 filhotes da tartaruga verde.

O TAMAR iniciou suas atividades na região em 1984, quando o arquipélago ainda era território federal administrado pela Aeronáutica (hoje é território do Estado de Pernambuco).

Em 1986, foi criada a APA-Área de Proteção Ambiental. A praia do Leão, principal área de desova do arquipélago, tornou-se o embrião do Parque Nacional Marinho, criado por decreto federal, em 1988.

Fernando de Noronha é uma das bases mais importantes para o trabalho do Tamar.

É um verdadeiro laboratório natural, pois a transparência do mar oferece excelente condição ao desenvolvimento de pesquisas sobre a biologia e comportamento das tartarugas marinhas em ambiente natural, sobretudo debaixo d’água.

Além do monitoramento de fêmeas, durante o período reprodutivo, a base mantém um programa de marcação e recaptura de tartarugas que utilizam o arquipélago como área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso, durante uma etapa do seu ciclo de vida. Desde 1990, mais de mil tartarugas já foram marcadas pelo Tamar através desse programa, em que os pesquisadores realizam mergulho livre, autônomo ou rebocado.

Além do mais, o grande fluxo turístico que o arquipélago registra é estratégico para o trabalho de sensibilização e educação ambiental, principalmente através do Centro de Visitantes-Museu Aberto das Tartarugas Marinhas, o qual tivemos o prazer e honra de visitar durante nossa recente visita ao arquipélago. Todos os visitantes do Museu-Aberto do TAMAR recebem uma palestra gratuita sobre a vida selvagem a ser encontrada no arquipélago, assim como, são instruídos a como se comportar em frente à natureza, sem causar quaisquer impacto ambiental. Todas as palestras são às 9 da noite, e seguem por cerca de uma hora até uma hora e meia. Extremamente informativas,claras, concisas e ministradas por pesquisadores e voluntários do TAMAR. É a perfeita preparação para os que irão aventurar-se a explorar as ilhas na manhã seguinte. Nós adoramos a experiência, eu enquanto bióloga, e meu esposo, agora apaixonado pela vida marinha. Um sucesso e uma oportunidade única de vivenciar, aprender e compartilhar conhecimentos.

 

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Our son’s classroom featured on Rede Globo: good eating habits can be taught.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in BRASIL, children, EDUCATION, FOOD, Português

 

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“Oso pardo, oso pardo, que ves ahi?” or Thoughts on the Creative Flow of a TCK

Although we’re on family vacation (it’s October, right?!) , I’d asked our kids’ teachers to give me some work sheets for their time off, in order to help them not forget about school, during their traveling days…

 It may sound a bit “geeky”, but hey, that’s who we are, and that’s what we believe it is the right thing to do… at least, for now… Our oldest one is 6 years old, and experiencing the challenges of  “cursive letters”. This morning I spend a few good hours with him – it’s been raining, not a lot to do outside, and before we jumped into the movie-marathon mode, we did some ‘homework’ together. And, actually, it turned out to be fun.

After we were done, it came to me the realization of how we’re been raising our kids, immersed into hybrid cultures, always moving, always surrounded by different languages, doing homework in Portuguese, and proudly showing it to grandma, explaining her (in English) the task performed, and thanking grandpa for letting him borrow pencils and eraser, in Spanish… It sure made me stop and think: is that how it’s supposed to be? The children seem to adjust well to changes,  but how far is it possible to go, without stretching it out?

That said, my intrigued soul found some very good reading, from adult TCK authors, and we’re likely to become contributors, sharing experiences and thoughts, along the way…

Here it is –  interesting reading about becoming an adult third cultured, still remaining your own creative person.

“Creative thought, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, is something that has started to become somewhat elusive as our generations have progressed. It’s a principal that is born of original thought, the need to invent, and the want to produce something that others will seek value in. It has led to the development of the wheel, to the creation of the keystone arch, the sundial, the plough, the lens, the camera, the story, the song, the car, the computer, and the hadron collider. It has developed our species, improving our state of living and the reasons for which we live. Creativity, as a force, is what brought us from hunting with sharpened sticks to flying through space.

Yet that word, creativity, one we use so frequently for so many things, holds a weight to Third Culture Kids that’s only outmatched by the word “culture.” Of course, if you were to look a little closer, to really examine the core concepts of both those words and the implications that each of them posses, you would find that not only are they connected, but they are almost inseparable.

Being creatures of culture, TCKs posses that natural ability to rapidly evolve their cultural standpoint based on the community that surrounds them. We have a way about us, one that does not allow for us to be considered the same as those we interact with, but instead allows us to be accepted by them. We can see what others cannot, can move in circles where others would be outcasts. We view culture not as a boundary, but as a gateway into the heart of the world.

As TCKs, we do it subconsciously, unaware that we are behaving this way but aware of our talents and our ability to meld into something new. We missed it as we grew up, took it for granted as children while we hopped from place to place, but since we have matured and grown and become the Adult Third Culture Kids we are now, we have seen how naturally these behaviours are to us by watching how impossible they are for our First Culture Kid friends.

The question that remains, however, is what power does creativity have in the hands of a TCK? Creativity is a mental state that’s not accessible by everyone. It’s a unique problem solving technique for an extremely unique type of problem. Humanity is hard-wired to only understand patterns. For example 1+1=2 because every time you take the number one and add another number one, you always end up with two. Why? Because it always happens, and it happens because that’s just the law of mathematics. Creatives, however, push the bounds of that human limitation. We accept the laws because they are there, but we believe in that off-chance that maybe, just maybe, by some freak possibility or coincidence, the next time I take one apple and add another apple to it, a third apple will spring into existence and I’ll have three apples. We know it’s foolish, we know that based on the laws of mathematics and the physical restrictions of our universe it’s impossible. But we hope for the alternative.

This constant longing for the middle ground between impossible and spectacular is a trait that we incorporate into our regularly occurring existence. There’s no denying the fact that we, as TCKs, do not have a cultural home, possess no country in which we can return to, and have no place on this planet that we truly fit into. We are trapped outside the realm of normal human interaction, completely incapable of returning to a community or culture that is truly our own. So instead, we have turned to creativity.

Through creativity, TCKs have built-up groups of people, from friends to colleagues, that are so strong and so interwoven into our lives that they have become our own little cultural home. We have selected them for their differences, for the ways in which they can help better our lives and the lives of those around them. We have selected them for their value, for their desire to improve upon a situation and the relentless need to always take that next great step. We have created a culture of people who will stop at nothing to change the world.

So when you are next asked what it means to be a TCK, answer in whichever way you believe best resolves an impossible question. But know that if you and I are ever fortunate enough to meet, and you ask that question to me, I will simply smile and say the following:

It means that one day, with the help of everyone else, one plus one will equal three.”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2011 in EDUCATION, school, TCKs

 

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Why Science is Hard to Learn.

At the same time, it begs the question:

“why is Science hard to teach”?

Got two words for that:

misleading concepts

The other day, when I found myself mentioning to students ‘I’d been teaching for longer than they’d been breathing’, I realized that, despite the long time, the challenges of teaching Science were always there…

I could list here various reasons for those difficulties: perhaps students have persistent preconceptions (especially misconceptions); lack previous life experiences (including those they might have missed in school) that would have provided valuable background information on the topic; maybe even a limited ability in the math skills needed for a particular subject; difficulty understanding abstract ideas; all that together requires a lot of extra strategic teaching skills from the teacher. If the majority of these difficulties are not addressed, in one way or another, students may end up developing even more misconceptions and more gaps in their learning…

So, maybe, teaching Science is harder than learning it? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this question, and would gladly accept suggestions and/or guidance… Teaching is already hard enough by itself. When we add to the pot a series of misleading concepts, which aren’t all untrue in their nature, but extremely challenging to explain and to be understood, then, the boiling conclusion teachers have to face are serious instructional dilemmas

But, hey! Although hard to admit, some concepts are not as easy to teachers as we may try to sell them to students! [guilty smiles!]

One common fact is that the more abstract a Science topic is, the harder it is to learn for many people, including us, teachers! Telling Science to students is not teaching Science.

These images all show an aspect of science, but a complete view of science is more than any particular instance.

image from University of California Berkley (ucberkley.edu)

We all, students or not, learn by “doing” Science, and abstract topics need to be made concrete. The question is: ‘How?” How to transform concepts such as “the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems“, “matter and its transformations“, “Earth’s shape and gravity“, and understanding changes in motion – into something more concrete? Luckily, for these questions in particular, if you are curious, feel free to visit the “Hard-to-teach Science Concepts“, a great discussion-book for teachers and committed parents. Students are better able to face their misconceptions and preconceptions when they are engaged in instructional activities, placing Science into a context they are capable of understanding…

If learning Science is considered to be difficult, the reverse activity, the act of passing on your life and academic experiences, your knowledge, your discussion points, through teaching sessions, is also challenging! And as Carl Sagan once stated (see box above), offering our students and our children a “shrug” as a possible answer, could just be the path of least resistance, but definitely, may not work in the long run when attempting to raise intellectually motivated students – that being in Science or in any other academic field.

Good luck to us all, Science teachers or not, and I’m wrapping this ‘brainstorming’ post up, with a very optimistic smile… :o

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5 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2011 in EDUCATION, resources, science

 

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Eleven months of folklore in Brazil: dressing accordingly…

In Brazil there’s always an excuse to dress up for parties and/or traditional celebrations. Here’s a small sample of our kids’ past 11 months in-country:

Day of Folklore, honoring a national writer, dressing up as a talking doll, from Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, Ms Emilia, Marquesa de Rabicó:

Dia das Bruxas – Halloween. At school and with the neighbors

Carnaval, as traditional Frevo dancers

Matutinho & Matutinha, ready for the June Celebrations!

and off to School they go!!

 

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