Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Myth Busters: Homeschool Edition: Setting Priorities

(This is a reprint of a blog post from September 2011.)

The topic of our monthly homeschool support group meeting last month was "Myth Busters: Homeschool Edition", inspired by the Myth Busters television show and Todd Wilson's book, Lies Homeschool Moms Believe.

Our illustrious madame pres., Becky, who has very capably relieved me of my presidential duties this fall, created some great Power Point slides to introduce each Myth we addressed, complete with Todd Wilson's hilarious homeschool cartoons.

We talked about 4 Myths, or Lies that homeschool moms believe.

#1 Everybody else's kids are smarter and better behaved than mine.

#2 Everybody else has a cleaner house and serves better meals.

#3 Everybody else is more spiritual than I am.

#4 Everybody else can do it all and is more capable than I am.

A different mom tackled each myth, sharing about what their homeschool was like and how we all get caught in that same trap of comparing ourselves to others around us who we just KNOW are doing a better job than we are.

I talked about Myth #4. As a veteran homeschooler with 4 graduates and as a support group leader, I know that I am sometimes put on that pedestal of "doing it all". And just like Gena Suarez, homeschool mom of 6 and editor of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, relates in this article, it just ain't so!

I may do a lot of things that you don't do. But I'm certainly not doing "it all". You see, we all make choices about where we will and will not spend our time and energy. We also all have different temperaments, skills, callings, and tolerances.

I have a friend who gets more done in a day than I do in a month - no lie. She amazes me, and wears me out just hearing about her day. She keeps a spotless house, has a speaking ministry, decorates to the hilt for every holiday, has grandchildren as well as a houseful of little adopted children, and paints her kitchen in the middle of the night after she irons everyone's shorts and tee shirts!

Another friend is homeschooling her youngest 2 out on a farm where she and her husband have been homesteading for the past 8 years. She has a huge garden, cans hundreds of jars of gorgeous fruits and vegetables every harvest, is nurturing an orchard that they hope will provide retirement income someday, is active in overseas missions work as well as ministry at her church.

These two busy ladies are doing very different things - neither is doing it all! And neither of them is doing what I am doing. Or what you are doing.

Many years ago, I heard a speaker at a homeschool conference talk about setting priorities, and at the meeting I shared something that she taught us then. That is, make a list of What I Do and another list of What I Don't Do - and realize that life is about choices.

My list of What I Do includes

homeschooling my 13 yr old son
keeping up with my grown children and their needs
serving in leadership of our homeschool association
teaching history in a weekly Co-op
hosting a monthly Geography Club for middle schoolers in my home
leading a Mentor Group for new homeschool moms, and talking to many, many people about homeschooling through email and on the phone
helping my husband in his role as director of our homeschool sports program
chairing the homeschool prom committee
serving on the homeschool graduation committee
attending my son's sporting events
baking cupcakes to help support my daughter in her ministry work
clipping coupons and trying to figure out sales and ways to save money on our grocery bill
blogging / facebook /
moderating our homeschool group's email loop
cooking healthy meals for my family
keep up with laundry and maintain at least a sanitary home
attend church ; try to have a daily quiet time

My list of What I Do Not Do includes

keeping a spotless house - heck, I don't even make my bed very often
working outside the home
home decorating
teaching Sunday School
attending Women's Bible Study or Women's Ministry events
paying the bills ( my husband takes care of that, not me)
painting, drawing, calligraphy - all of which I enjoy!
singing in the choir or in church musicals
nature study, lots of hands on science experiments, big art projects
lots of field trips
shopping for fun
lots lots more.....

The point is, those things on my What I Do Not Do list are good things, things I would like to do, some are things I SHOULD do. But the reality is, moving things from that list to the DO list will require a) giving something else up, or b) sleeping less, or c) becoming much more organized, which is not something that comes naturally to me AT ALL.

When you look at me and see the things I Do, you are not looking at the list of things I Do Not Do. So take a look at your own list of things you Do, and realize that those are hopefully the things that bring you joy, that are important to you, that are your calling right now. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others. Look in your life for time wasters, and consider if there are things that need to be removed in order to allow time for what you have determined is important for YOU. Pray and seek God about where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing, and rest in that. Realize that priorities will change as the Seasons of your Life change.

Be content.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Monday is for Menu Planning : Aug. 17

That worked so well last week, I'm going to do it again.   I didn't follow my plan on Friday because I was baking cupcakes for a friend. I should know better than to think I can cook dinner on a baking day. Mark ended up bringing home barbeque plates from Smithfield's instead. And Saturday was a bust too. We did leftovers a day early. So I'm moving those 2 meals to this week.

Grilled Lemon-Herb Pork chops
leftover  Asian Quinoa Cole Slaw
roasted carrots

Turkey Pesto Grilled Cheese
carrot, bell pepper, celery sticks
zucchini chips
(put chicken in marinade for tomorrow night)

Tex-Mex Margarita Chicken Salad

Thursday (Jason's birthday!)
 birthday boy's choice - he hasn't decided yet

Kung Pao Chicken
brown rice

eating out

Breakfast for Dinner :
blueberry pancakes
Denver scramble

Good Morning Oatmeal
Breakfast cookies (this recipe is easy to play around with, adding or subtracting what you like)

chef salad
Avocado Chicken Salad
turkey roll ups
yogurt & fruit
peanut butter & celery


Friday, August 14, 2015

An Unlikely Academic Success? Why Individualization is a Better Idea Than Common Standards

My 2nd youngest child went back to college today at Appalachian State to start her senior year. She has classes this fall semester, and then an internship next spring, and she'll graduate in May. Four years of college has flown by! Now, one thing I didn't realize until today is that she is "ahead" of her classmates, meaning most people in her major (child development) have 2 semesters of classes and then the internship to do after that. I'm a bit astounded, because she did her freshman year at ECU and then transferred, and had to repeat one of her Gen Ed classes that wasn't accepted because she changed majors. So even with that, she managed to get all her college classes done in 7 semesters. Anyone with college kids knows this is somewhat of a feat, because colleges will tell you at orientation nowadays that most students take 5 years, or 10 semesters,  to complete a major. Not all classes are offered when you need them.    When I asked her how that was possible, she smirked and said, "Nobody really knows."  Then she shrugged, admitting that she did take 18 credit hours just about every semester, so that's how she got it all in.

I am not saying this to boast.  I want to make an important point to you homeschool mamas out there who have kids who are struggling, or "behind", or late readers, or whatever.  This gal, who managed 18 hours per semester ( not all A's mind you - she has a B's and C's in there too, and likes to remind me that "C's get Degrees!"), has held a campus job each semester, also worked one semester as an RA, is president of her church's college group, and  enjoys hiking, lying in her hammock, and watching lots of Netflix, couldn't read  a chapter book until she was almost 12 years old.  She took 2 years to get through 6th grade math because fractions threw her for a loop.  Algebra was not her friend, she had a hard time with  high school Spanish,  and she took 3 years to barely squeak through high school chemistry.  This is not your typical "academic" kid.

 However, she has always been very creative, enjoying art and music. She loved playing volleyball and basketball.   Although it took a while to click, by high school she was a fairly strong reader. And she was a natural leader, had a lot of friends, and loved working with children.    She has very specific gifts and talents, but isn't good at EVERYTHING.  She took a year off after high school to "decompress" and figure out what she wanted to do.  She will freely admit that she chose a college major that wouldn't require too much math or science beyond the basic gen ed requirements.   She is a success at what she is choosing to do! 

Because we homeschooled, we took the time to slowly work through the areas that were the most difficult, even if it took more than one "school year". We worked hard not to stigmatize, so there was no shame in going at her own speed!   We found or made opportunities for her to grow in the areas where she was talented, and very importantly, didn't prevent her from doing those things because her grades weren't high enough!  (isn't that what happens in schools?  sports, the arts,  social activities. etc. are off-limits if you don't have certain grades? Even many parents impose this rule, as "motivation".)  Think outside the box.   Each of us is unique in how we learn and in what we are good at, and education should be individualized to allow each person to succeed at their own pace, in what they are gifted in!  This is one reason I so strongly oppose Common Core Standards and the philosophy behind it.

Our goal should be to teach our children how to learn, and to inspire our children to love learning!   That isn't the same as loving "school".   Be gentle and persistent in working on weaknesses, but don't neglect the areas that are strengths.  Just because your child doesn't like something, that doesn't mean they shouldn't learn it. But it might be that there is a different WAY to learn it.  Or a different PART of it to learn that will make sense for your child.  Always, pray for guidance and wisdom.


Back to College and Back to Homeschool

When my oldest started college in 2003, we quickly learned that it was pretty useless to try to start back with homeschool until the college kids had gone back to school.  Amanda and Jason share the same friend group from working at camp, so this week has been full of beach days, lunches with friends, watching the meteor shower, bonfires, packing and goodbyes.

Next week will be our first week of eeaaaaaasing back into homeschool.  Instead of having a "first day/week of school" that includes EVERYTHING and stresses everyone, we ease in with a few subjects each week.  We'll start with History, Guitar, and setting up his science notebook. Week 2 will add Anatomy, Algebra Review and Spanish. Week 3 will add English, Worldview, and Civics, Then Personal Finance and Geography.

Today my baby girl heads back to college for the last time! She is a senior, with just one semester of classes to go, and then a semester-long internship and then... Graduation!     Holy Moly I am feeling old.   She will be our 4th college graduate! One more to go.

In addition, this is the FIRST TIME I am not driving the loaded car to move my college student in. Amanda got a car this summer, the 1st time any of my kids have bought a car before college graduation. Not only is she living off campus, bunking in with her sister at her apartment for the semester, she also needs to travel to various schools in the area for practicums and observation for her child-development classes. So she loaded up her Honda and is driving herself!

 And I am feeling very emotional about the whole thing!

See more Weekly Wrap-Ups at


Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday is for Menu Planning

Eat Healthy.
Save Money.
Lose Weight.
Keep Things Simple.
Taste Good. 
No Time.

Planning meals hasn't gotten any easier, now that there are only 3 (sometimes 4) of us to cook for. As hubby and I hit the middle of our 50's, health concerns continue to become more... concerning.  Blood pressure running a little high. Triglycerides borderline high.  Allergies.  Low Vitamin D.  Are we getting enough fiber? Are pesticides poisoning us? Stay away from "artificial", "processed", "high fructose corn syrup",  "rbGH" ,"GMO" and "MSG".  Is soy good or is it bad? How about gluten?

On top of that, I have a 17 year old, 6' 1" athlete to feed who wants his food quick and tasty and abundant.   And a husband who just wants to "take a pill" so he can eat whatever he wants.  And a busy schedule that means that I'm often throwing together something quick before I run out the door.  We rarely eat together like we did when kids were young.  Oy.

I'm trying to amp up the veggies.  Less meat. Less starches. Less dairy.

Thank goodness for Pinterest.  A girl's gotta have a plan.

Sweet and Sour Chicken and Broccoli

Spinach Feta Mushroom Frittata
Zucchini Chips
Tomato Avocado Onion salad

Taco Salad (romaine lettuce, chopped tomato, chopped avocado, chopped red onion, black beans, shredded cheddar,  taco seasoned ground turkey, crumbled tortilla chips, salsa mixed with sour cream)

Blackened Tilapia w/ fresh peach salsa
Asian Quinoa Cole Slaw
oven fries

Turkey Pesto Grilled Cheese - with avocado, tomato, bacon
carrot, bell pepper, and celery sticks

Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops
baked sweet potato
steamed garlic green beans
spinach salad 


Do you have any good, healthy, easy, tasty recipes you love?  Please share.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Holding On to Summer and This Year's Plan

Weekly Wrap-Up

I am holding onto summer for a couple more weeks!  Jason and Amanda have been working at New Life Camp all summer, as a cabin counselor and First Aid Provider, and they live there Sunday through Friday. Saturday has been for catching up on sleep. Period. Jason finished work last week in order to attend an elite basketball camp at North Ridge Basketball Academy this week, and today is Amanda's last day of work, as she has to get ready to head back to college next week for her senior year.

I feel like I've been working on school planning all summer, but really, I've been planning a little here and there and letting myself get distracted by anything and everything in between.  Now suddenly the August calendar is staring at me in the face.. and you know, school starts in August.  I still have a couple of weeks to finish getting things lined up and an in order, but that's close enough to give me mini-heart-palpitations.

This is our 11th grade school plan for 2015-2016.. with room for tweaking still. This might seem like a lot, but he doesn't do every subject every day, and some subjects are much lighter than others. A couple of them are credits being spread over 2 or more years.

English  - I teach this class in my living room 2 times a week for my son and a small group of friends. We focus on literature, vocabulary, and some writing.  The first book we are studying is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee,  Les Miserable by Victor Hugo,  and The Chosen  by Chaim Potok.  I still have to choose another one or two books to round out the year.   I use a number of resources, including some Progeny Press study guides, as well as online study guides and lesson plans I find free online.

Math  - Jason finished Algebra 2 last year, but since he isn't a confident math student, my husband is going to spend the 1st semester reviewing Algebra 1 and 2 with him, and then hope to enroll him in Statistics online through the community college in the spring.  

History  -We are continuing an American history program we started last year. It is Dave Raymond's America History Part 1, which we purchased as a download, and consists of lectures watched on the computer, supplemented by a Student Reader.  Since reading is hard work for my son (convergence insufficiency), I look for some courses with limited reading, and this fits that bill. When we finish, we'll move right into Part 2.

Civics -  iCitizen:Civic Literacy for Young Americans from Generation Joshua, is an online text which can be printed off, if desired.   1st  semester / 1/2 credit.

Economics -  second semester; haven't chosen a curriculum yet; possibly Notgrass, possibly Bluestocking Press.  I also have some lectures on CD from The Teaching Company that could supplement.   I have all of those on my bookshelves. Also, he'll be working through Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance over the next 2 years.(available at 40% discount through 8/31/15 here)

Geography - I am a geography lover, so we'll continue to use maps and books and websites like to learn about the world. By graduation he will have accumulated a 1/2 credit.

Anatomy -  Jason will be taking Anatomy, using Apologia's  Advanced Biology: The Human Body,
in a class meeting once a week with the same teacher who taught the Biology and Chemistry classes he took at New Life Camp.

Spanish 2 -  He will continue his Spanish studies at New Life Camp with Sra. Dean.

Christian Worldview  -  I am leading this class as well, with a group of about 8 teens. We'll be watching, discussing, and journaling about several DVD series:  For the Life of the World from The Acton Institute,  The Truth Project from Focus on the Family , Doing the Right Thing from The Colson Center.

Physical Education -  Jason is a varsity basketball player on our homeschool team, which competes against other homeschool teams as well as private and charter school teams in the area.  He works with a personal coach once a week for skills development and once a week for something called "Explode" training, which is working on strength, speed and jumping ability. He also goes to the Y and works out during the week and plays pick up basketball with a group of adults once or twice a week.

Guitar  - He will continue weekly guitar lessons.  Read How Music Affects Us and Promotes Health


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Support Group Leadership - Mentors and Cupcakes

Mentor:  a guide, a coach, an experienced and trusted advisor.

Tuesday night was our "kick-off the new school year" monthly parent meeting, with over 100 people in attendance.  We have a large number of "seasoned" homeschool moms in our group, which is great news for new homeschoolers eager for mentors!   Mentoring homeschool moms happens to be one of my passions, and I am mentor coordinator for our group this year.  Having been in support group leadership for close to 20 years, I can say that we have tried many different approaches to homeschool mentoring, with varying degrees of success.  But recently we have found a few things that seem to be working especially well.

First, we just started using ASK ME badges for mentors/leaders at our monthly parent meetings.  We usually have 40-50 people at a monthly meeting, and some months, like last night, there can be over 100.  Everyone prints themselves a name tag at the check-in desk when they arrive, but it is hard for people to tell who are the experienced homeschoolers/leaders. So now, mentors and leaders at the meeting will wear a bright red ASK ME badge in addition to their name tag.

We are also changing the way that we do seating at a meeting. Rather than rows of chairs facing the front of the room, next month we are going to start setting up the room with rectangular tables and chairs.  Each table will have 6-8 chairs and a mentor/hostess, who will be wearing her ASK ME badge, and will facilitate introductions among the people sitting at her table.The hostess might choose to bring a favor for all the people at her table -  a new pencil, some candy kisses, a bookmark.  Some mentors will be specific to the meeting topic that month. For example, when the topic is Teaching Your Challenging Child, we'll have several mentors who have children with special needs or learning disabilities. Our group has over 300 member families,  so there is a large pool of people to draw from. While we haven't done this yet, we are very excited about this change, and the potential for our members to make connections at these monthly meetings.

For a couple of years now, we have devoted one monthly meeting each year to "Speed Mentoring".
This has become a very popular meeting! “Speed Mentoring allows veteran homeschoolers to connect with new homeschoolers who are overwhelmed with questions about anything (or everything!) related to home education. The “mentor” doesn’t need to be an expert in homeschooling—she simply shares from her experience. New parents ask their question(s) in a one-on-one setting, then, after an allotted time, a whistle blows, and they move to the next mentor to either ask the same question(s) or shift to another topic. This makes a fun, lively, interactive support group meeting " [Speed Mentoring,]    Sending out mentor bios along with a list of possible questions ahead of time helps things to run smoothly at the meeting. We have found that our members are most happy when meetings involve time for social interaction. As much as we love that we get to spend each day with our children, we moms also really enjoy the chance to hang out with adults from time to time!  And we homeschool moms are really interesting people to hang out with!

A couple of years ago we invited amazing homeschool mom Vickie Bentley to come speak  at our support group meeting, and as a result discovered her Home Education 101 Mentor Manual and Parent Workbook.

This is a fantastic tool for mentors to use either one on one or in a group setting, to cover basic information that is important for giving new homeschoolers a solid foundation as they begin their homeschool journey.  There are 9 chapters, covering Beginning the Journey, Choosing Curriculum, Organizing Your Time, Learning & Teaching Styles, Getting Dinner on the Table, Testing & Evaluations, Teaching Tips, Organizing Your Home, and Lessons Learned.  The manual includes information for the mentor to share, but also give spaces for adding in your own experiences as well as information specific to your state laws, etc.  There is an accompanying Parent Workbook that contains reprints of some information from the manual, but also blanks spaces in which to take notes from what your mentor is sharing.  Right now we have 4 small groups forming, for moms who have homeschooled for 0-3 years  - 3 groups will meet weekly for 8 weeks in a row, the 4th will be an all-day Saturday crash course!  I asked for testimonials from past Home Education 101 participants. Here are some things they had to say:

 "At the beginning of my second year of homeschooling, with much encouragement from a friend, I reluctantly signed up to be in a mentor group.  It wasn't that I didn't think I needed it, I just didn't want to add another thing to my calendar.  I went that first night not sure of what it would be like and if it would even benefit me.  I quickly learned that it would be a turning point for me in my homeschool years.  ...  God used several things over the course of that year to confirm that He wanted me to homeschool, but I credit the mentor group for bringing joy and grace back into our school.  I would HIGHLY recommend joining a mentor group, even if you don't think you can add another thing to your calendar :)  "

"Our group met twice a month.  We sat with our mentor around the table and went over all the basics – from curriculum choices to finding your child’s learning style to making the most of your daily schedule.  In addition to practical advice, I received support and encouragement from all the fabulous ladies who came – and there were even cupcakes!  My mentoring group helped me hang on when I felt like giving up, and I’m so glad I did!  I received valuable tips on working with my son.  I learned how to schedule our day more efficiently.  And I met other moms who also had messy houses! "

"I decided to homeschool only a few weeks before the school year started in 2013 and I was so unsure about ... everything.  Having a seasoned homeschool mom ... to encourage us, and teach us, and cheer us on was invaluable.  I loved that we could talk about marriage, meal planning, cleaning (or not), and how homeschooling affects every part of our lives as moms and wives.  I left every meeting renewed and encouraged.... Should I mention the cupcakes? " 

 Which brings us to the topic of cupcakes.   Several years ago I developed my cupcake baking skills in order to help my daughter raise money for a missions trip, and it has become my hobby, to the point that in certain circles I am known as "the cupcake lady".   These are made-from-scratch gourmet cupcakes, and I have a list of over 50 flavors that I have tried.  I started bringing cupcakes for the refreshment table at our monthly meetings, to our monthly leaders meetings, and to my mentor group meetings.  You know what? There is just something about home-baked goodies that makes people feel loved!  Store-bought cookies and bags of chips do not invoke the same reaction as a yummy treat lovingly prepared in someone's own kitchen!  Neither do veggie trays.  And if some of those treats are prepared with gluten-free ingredients, you will have the undying affection of those in your group who rarely get to indulge in the goodies at the end of the meeting.  Note the reaction of one of our new members when I posted in our Facebook group that I was bringing gluten-free cupcakes to the meeting because she mentioned it in passing." OMG NO YOU DIDN'T!!! You are AWESOME...I always go to the parties and never can indulge because of it... I will kiss you when I get there!!!!" Part of successful mentoring is developing a relationship of trust and acceptance, and cupcakes are amazingly good at breaking the ice and fostering good feelings.  Try it!


Monday, August 3, 2015

When Your Child Dislikes Reading

There are many reasons why some people dislike reading. Vision problems, eye muscle imbalance, learning challenges... Honestly, I don't have a lot of wisdom in how to deal with these issues.
Here are some articles that talk about why kids don't like to read.  Just a starting point.

10 Reasons Nonreaders Don't Read - And How to Change Their Minds

Children Who Can Read But Don't  

How to Help a Student Who Struggles With Reading..

Smart Kids Who Don't Want to Read 

Of my own 5 children, I have a voracious reader, a reluctant reader, and a couple in between. It can be hard to pinpoint what is actually going on with your non- or reluctant reader, and I'd like to encourage parents to diligently pursue this and seek help if necessary.    But beyond reading strategies and programs and curriculums and interventions, what do you do when you are homeschooling kids who don't like to read?

One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility you have as a teacher in choosing methods and materials.  So if reading is a struggle, I choose materials accordingly.  I looked for materials with lots of pictures, and with large print.  I read aloud - a lot!  I incorporated videos as much as possible. I looked for "hands-on" materials that included projects and manipulatives and movement, rather than strictly reading and writing activities.

My youngest son struggled with reading, saying it made him tired and gave him a headache. I had taught him phonics and he didn't have trouble decoding words.  His comprehension was good.  He loved to be read to.  But the physical act of ready and writing was distressing to him.  So I limited the amount of reading I asked of him.  I encouraged him to read "a little bit" each day, sometimes alternating reading with him, where he would read a paragraph and then I would read the rest of the page. I got children's audio books and stories on DVD, which he enjoyed listening to at bedtime or in the car.  For older children, some textbooks have an audio version.

Netflix and YouTube have been great resources for educational movies and documentaries to supplement studies.  We have always enjoyed watching movies that went along with things we were studying.   There are several websites that give suggestions for movies to incorporate in school.
Teach With Movies
Owl Teacher: Teach With Movies 
 Pinterest users will find lots of ideas there as well.
Movies to Use for Teaching

In addition to movies, there are instructional videos in all kinds of subjects.  For English, I might look for videos , Power Points and Prezis , etc on literary terms using Google or your favorite search engine. . For instance, when I wanted to teach about character conflict in literature, I found this on YouTube.

Peggy Kaye's series of books,  Games for Reading, Games for Math, and Games for Writing
are excellent resources that give ideas for fun and interactive way to teach your child, and these were especially appealing to my struggling reader.  He loves games of all kinds

Lapbooks are often appealing for struggling readers, although they will likely need a lot of parental participation in the creation part, depending on how much they enjoy crafty things.  But even if you do the bulk of the design and assembly, lapbooks offer concise bits of information in a visually appealing way, and are a great way to review material without a lot of reading. Plus there are things to open and close and fold and unfold. 
Homeschool Helper Online - Free Lapbooks.

Go out and DO things with your children. Not all education takes place inside with books or computers or whatever.  Go play outside. Observe nature. Go on field trips to every place you can think of.   Most museums, historic sites, etc have hands-on workshops you can sign up for.  Go to concerts and plays.  Build things and take things apart.  Create with paper and paints and pencils and clay and cardboard and wire and cloth.  Talk about how things work and why things are.  Be an enthusiastic and involved learner yourself, and your children will likely follow!

Not everyone is going to be an avid reader. If you have a child who struggles with or just dislikes reading, do you feel that you have failed as a teacher?  Is your child's future less bright?   Reading ability isn't the only measure of intellect or potential or worth, is it?  Fill your child's days with creative experiences and learning opportunities.  Be excited and postive; find his strengths and talents!  Read this little story and celebrate the uniqueness in each of your children.  Yes, work on building up weak areas, but never ignore the wonderful things that your child CAN do, or make him or her feel less than brilliant because of something he cannot control or change.