Friday, September 3, 2010

Preparing my children for the world of tomorrow, and wondering how many careers they will have in a lifetime

As I am preparing my oldest for 1st grade and my youngest for preschool, I am embarking on the need to always keep them occupied. Lately, we have been assigning them to do tasks, and sometimes they want to do things on their own (good sign of a future entrepreneur). But, they are also thinking about the money that they can earn in these tasks so they can get the things that they want, like Barbie dolls or Pillow Pets.

While this is their world of worry now, only saving enough money for a toy, I keep wondering what their future has in store. The career choices they have are limitless, and yet their list of "What I want to be when I grow up" is growing too. Unfortunately, we can't cut that list down for them because though my daughter wants to be a vet, a nurse, a massage therapist and an artist when she grows up, she might have to do all of them to earn a living, putting a house over her head.

Long gone are the days when our parents only chose one career and stuck with it for over 50 years. What a blessing if it were true today. Now is the new age of our evolving world where you have to learn more than one career skill in order to make your self marketable and more versatile in today's job market. Career changing is the norm, community colleges are increasing enrollments of non-traditional students (probably why the TV show "Community" is such a big hit) and having one degree with one skill is not enough.

Some sources say it is hard to determine what the average number of careers a person will have in a lifetime, but I can assume that the average is not one. Switching careers is not the same as changing jobs, like a promotion or just moving over from one department of a company to another. This is a totally new concept of actually learning something new in order to do a new job. So with the wide variety of jobs my child wants to do (a vet, a nurse, a massage therapist and an artist) there are different schools that apply to each, and getting one college degree, one certification and one masters may not be enough. I am not looking forward to her education bill in the future, especially if she has to change with the times.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally, she can swim!!!

I took my oldest to her first swim lesson when she was 6 months old. Yes, we started her young, and we did expect some long term results immediately. Maybe I watched too many of those videos where the babies start swimming by the time they are one, and diving into depths of 4 feet, but I was thinking we were doing the right thing. Well the results were long coming. We enrolled her in the toddler swim class the following year and then the preschooler a couple of years after that. She has a strengthened fear of the water, especially in her preschooler class. I remember having to leave one class early because of her screaming.

But finally, 6 years till we first introduced her the waters of a pool, she can finally swim on her own. She took an American Red Cross beginning swim early this past spring. She failed it miserably. However, with my constant awareness of bringing her to a pool and keeping up with her extracurricular swimming, not just the swimming for classes, she began to learn how to tread water on her own. We are so proud. It was a long time coming, but we are proud that she pursued it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Twiddling the Summer away with Workbooks

Now that the summer heat is on, and the summer camps have begun, I am always searching for ways to keep my girls occupied. With a graduated kindergartener and an emerging pre-schooler, I am looking for activties to engage the girls and keep them mentally sharp during this summer lag time. One great way I have found has been using workbooks, usally those you find in Barnes and Noble or Borders.

After the girls have had a full day of running around, having screaming matches, catching lightening bugs, and getting ready for bed, we start working on our workbooks. It is a great way to calm them down and be quiet and peaceful - except when we have to share the crayons. I find it satisfying spending this quiet time with them because 1) it is a way to calm them down before bed; 2) it is satisfying for me because they are learning something, and I can be with them in that learning experience. After they are done with a workbook, they get a Certificate of Completion, showing that they made a huge accomplishment of finishing those activities.

I have come across a few workbooks that would be good for any preschooler or emerging 1st grader:

> Big Preschool Workbook by School Zone Publishing Company. This book covers the alphabets and numbers, phonics, colors and shapes and more. The pages are bright and are able to engage my 3 year old. It is thick, with 320 pages. Both the girls are working on it, with my oldest, who is 6, leading my youngest to follow the instructions.

> Picture Learning: Reading, Writing, and Math by Amercian Education Publishing. This is a preschooler book, but I found it to be a little too advanced in the beginning, asking the preschooler to write words like "square" and "red" while saving writing the letters at the end. It is good at picture/word recognition - my 3 year old picked up on it pretty quickly.

> Skill Sharpeners Reading Grade 1 by Evan Moor Educational Publishers. This was the book my soon-to-be 1st grader said "Mommy, I really like this book!" The book is formatted well, with sections in the book surrounding a story and doing activities like matching words and sounds, reading comprehension, and writing. I have found one error in the answer key (does "Donkey" honestly have a "u" sound in it? No, did not think so), with exception of that, I have had no problem with the book.

> Summer Activites for Gifted Student Grade 1. By FlashKids. I chose this book mainly because my daughter was in a gift program at her school, and did not want her to get bored. We have not embarked on the book yet, but it covers all areas like word associations, reading comprehension and math.

I hope this helps anyone interested in these books.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday's children...

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

I am sure everyone has seen a segment on your local TV news channel about "Wednesday Child." I think every broadcasting area carries this segment, identifying children, mostly older children, who are eligible for adoption. In the DC area, there are about a thousand children currently eligible for adoption. That is alot of children who need a "forever family."

My husband and I have always had it in our heart for another child. We love the two biological God gave us, and if we wanted a third, we would adopt the third child. We had not thought about the possibility of putting the adoption idea into action until recently. Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, and seeing the magnitude of the need that Haiti for caring for its children, we have seriously thought about the possibility of adopting a Haitian child. Seeing the children, babies, pulled from the rubble, it breaks our hearts, and we ache to hold those children with our love. Our children are taking notice of the devastation in Haiti. After watching the Hope for Haiti benefit on TV, My 6 year old drew a picture of a Haitian mother and father pulling out a child from the rubble of cement. Her compassionate heart wants to reach out those in Haiti.

Right now, we know is not the time to put in applications to adopt since they are trying to reunite families now. But once we find out which adoption agencies are the best to deal with and legally reputable, and the final costs of the process, we would look into pursuing it. In the mean time, I am starting to put away my 2 year old's out-grown 3T's for possible future use. It may not be for another couple of years till something happens, but we are preparing ourselves, in some small way.