We believe we’re sharing facts, when in fact (ha!) we’re sharing interpretations of facts.
Your child is angry. You say: “That video game is making you mad. Let’s take a break.”
Your child is squirmy. You say: “Looks like you need a snack.”
Your child falls and scrapes a knee. You say: “That must have hurt!”
All of your comments? They are not facts. We move from noticing what is (a child’s volume or scrunched up face) to labeling it (anger) to interpreting what it means (must be video games).
What if video games have nothing to do with the child’s feelings?
What if the child isn’t hungry?
What if your child’s scraped knee isn’t a big deal to the child?
When we move swiftly to interpretation, we are telling our kids “I know your insides better than you do.”
Interpretation is what we ALL do all the time to everyone, by the way. Not just our kids.
The antidote is curiosity.
Ask: “Are you angry? Is it because of something that happened in your video game or something else?”
Ask: “Do you want a snack?”
Ask: “You’ve got a scraped knee. How are you holding up?”
Less busy body energy and more interest. Less carefully crafted narrations of how our children appear to us and more ordinary conversation about living together.
It’s great when you’re wrong too. I remember a time when one of my sons was instantly furious! I assumed it was due to the video game he was playing. I started to ramp up, and then remembered: I better ask before I assume.
Sure enough, his anger was due to self-criticism. He had missed an important party for a friend. When he realized it, he was devastated.
How reasonable! How wrong I was about to be.
Facts and Curiosity
We interpret our children’s behavior constantly as though we are right. Start with facts and curiosity. This goes for all conversations, really. Get curious, resist the temptation to make meaning for others, learn.
I talk about this in Raising Critical Thinkers, and GUESS WHAT? I took the exercises in the book and added a slew more. I included journal prompts, checklists, ranking bars, and spaces for kids to write directly in the workbook: BECOMING A CRITICAL THINKER (ages 12-18).
February’sDart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot shine a light on the power of perseverance and self-determination. While exploring writing, mechanics, and literary devices, your family can glean inspiration from amazing individuals, some real, some imagined, as they knock down obstacles with a mix of intelligence, humor, charisma, and confidence.
This month’s Quill is Space: Planets, and we think you’ll agree that it’s out of this world! We’ll investigate infographics, master mapmaking, and ignite imaginations with interplanetary wordplay!
This Quill is out of this world!
In our Book Shop, you’ll find books about space that we adore! These are not required (you can use any books about these topics that you have at home or discover at your library), but we find it’s helpful to have a list to get you started.
In this issue, we’ll:
vroom our way through some playful planetary vocabulary;
design a delightfully fact-filled planet poster;
master mapmaking (and give our motor skills a marvelous workout);
Spend time with fifth-grader Ryan Hart as she navigates relatable childhood twists and turns in this joy-filled sequel to Ways to Make Sunshine. (Note: No need to read the first book before jumping into this novel, but if you want to, we have a Dart for that one too!)
This month’s literary device focuses on Rhyme!
zigzag our way through an exploration of action words;
wrestle a tricky possessive pronoun into its proper place;
festoon a horse with adjectives;
grow our understanding of a literary theme;
have a little fun with a lot;
enjoy a good time exploring rhyme; and so much more!
When a young boy named Homer escapes enslavement from a southern plantation, he finds a wondrous new community, but before he can enjoy his new freedom, he must liberate his mother from the plantation he escaped.
February’s literary device is Juxtaposition.
discuss and explore conjunctions;
find out why figurative language flies high in writing;
Poet Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, the story of her childhood in the segregated south, is a modern American classic.
In this Slingshot, we’ll:
time travel to explore historical context;
mull over motivation;
partake of poetic prose and hyperbole;
associate images and ideas with allusions;
analyze autobiographies in the context of coming-of-age stories;
discuss denouement when we reach the end; and so much more!
A note about content: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings touches on mature themes of human experience. We encourage parents to read the book ahead of time in order to be prepared for deep conversations with your teens.
When you’re cultivating a critical thinking space, you want to create a supportive, emotionally safe environment. -Julie Bogart
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available to us today?
In this Brave Writer podcast episode, we delve into the critical need for fostering critical thinking skills in our children to navigate this complex landscape.
Understanding the Challenge
In an era where traditional journalism is intertwined with alternative media, discerning truth becomes increasingly challenging. Our children are growing up in a world where information is tailored by algorithms, creating echo chambers that often reinforce biases.
Equipping Our Children with Tools
To counter this, we emphasize the importance of teaching children to question and analyze information. It’s not just about understanding the content, but also the intent behind it. We believe in nurturing an environment where children feel safe to question, explore different perspectives, and critically analyze the information they receive.
Through real-life examples, like a simple visit to the dentist, we illustrate how critical thinking can be applied in everyday situations. It’s about teaching our children to:
distinguish between being critical and identifying crucial information,
understanding various perspectives,
and recognizing underlying motives.
Creating a Supportive Environment
Critical thinking flourishes in an environment free from pressure and judgment. We discuss strategies to create a space where children can openly express their thoughts and ideas without fear of rejection or evaluation.
As we navigate this age of information overload, equipping our children with critical thinking skills is more crucial than ever. By doing so, we prepare them not only to discern truth in their immediate world but also to become thoughtful, informed citizens of the global community.
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