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Posted by: | Posted on: November 28, 2013

Thursday’s Teaching Tip: Stop while they are having fun

A normal attention span is 2 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age. This is the standard used to determine Attention Deficit Disorder. (Note: A child’s attention span while watching TV or playing video games is not an accurate measure of his or her attention span, as these systems have reward based mechanisms that keep a child going and going and going, while in actuality reducing their “natural” attention span.)

Another fun fact: interrupting a child when they are having fun makes them continue to think the activity is fun.  Plan this into your daily routine, if you are a homeschooler or if you monitor your child’s homework. For example, I know that my daughter’s attention span is on the longer end.  At 7 years old, she can hold attention for at least 35 minutes.  Therefore, no educational activity or lesson (including the practice) lasts longer than 30 minutes, and needs to be kept light and engaging for the full 30 minute.  If I waver, or sense impending disinterest, I stop.  That way we always stop while we are ahead.

On the other hand, my son’s attention span is closer to 20 minutes, for things he likes to do…but I stop after 10 minutes, just in case I missed his cue for “fun”.

A note on punishments….if you ground a child…, they have likely forgotten or lost interest in the reason why they are grounded after they have been grounded longer than their attention span, however their BODY remembers the emotions behind it.  Their anger, yours, etc.  Is this the end that you had in mind?

Comment if you were grounded when you were little, and what you did  during the time you were grounded.

Posted by: | Posted on: November 18, 2013

Project Appleseed, 2013

Knowing that I can protect myself against the roaming vagrants in a post-nuclear event comforts me. And in that potential future, guns are more effective than bow and arrows or slings.  Mind you, I don’t believe that I should keep a gun in the house.  The peaceful little cul de sac that we live in does not necessitate the desire for family protection…and hidden guns are just a possible local news event featuring unhappy parents. We don’t even have the kids play with toy guns in the house.  Correction: we don’t buy toy guns in our house, and the water guns acquired must stay in a special “for pool use only” bucket.  However, I have a burning need to know what I think I ought.  So, I have been trying to go to Project Appleseed for the last two years.
Project Appleseed is a nationally based program in which rifleman history and technique are taught to any who desire.  Women and children are taught to sharp shoot a rifle at drastically reduced rates.  I heard about this when my youngest child was too young to go….but I thought it was interesting for my own selfish reasons.  But I was never able to tear myself away for the weekend.  Nor could I seem to borrow a gun. I begged my Facebook friends for a rifle, and no one took me seriously.  Or they took me too seriously, and still didn’t give me one.
This year was the year.  I had a different, less selfish, motivation.  Yeah had been displaying signs of being an academic underachiever.  So I was in search of the perfect extrinsic motivator to jumpstart her nonexistent desires to do anything but read.  Archery was a win from last month’s excursion….maybe sharp shooting would also reign in her need for perfection?  This was a good bet.  Plus the history lesson within would be a nice checkbox in her elementary transcript.
As stated, I didn’t have a rifle, and was nervous about having one around the house, so I worked with the local leader, and I begged for rifles to loan.  I then practiced putting the babe on a carrier on my back for the times I got to lay on my belly to shoot. I decided to take my oldest, and I paid for Yeah and me.
The day before the event, we came down with the flu, or some other microbial infection. Yet again, life had intervened. I couldn’t envision both of us sick, in the cold and shooting.  Yeah put it best: “Mommy, if you sneeze, you might shoot someone!”.  Perhaps that was the best lesson for us both.  Oh well, next year.
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