Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Parenting Tip #76 Writing memories worth reading

My daughter-in-law was on TV in Utah today with tips on writing memories worth reading http://studio5.ksl.com/?nid=71&sid=15716302
It's worth watching!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Music for Tots Summer Class

I'm excited to teach another music for tots class this summer!
CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM, will there be enough room? Come explore the rich sounds of rhyme, rhythm and music as you and your children sing, dance, move, wiggle and play instruments. Discover how books coupled with music can unlock your child’s imagination and increase his ability to learn.

This class is for multi-age children and siblings-- newborn to age 5 and their parents.

Where: The Learning Center / Little Village Pre-School (Formerly Skyline Charter School-their sign is still up)
550 W Warner Rd (On the North side of Warner just east of Alma School)

When: Saturdays mornings * June 11, 18, 25, July 9, 16, 23 (no class on July 2)

Time: 11:00am-11:45am

Cost: $110.00 per family NEW PRICE $85.00
Bring a friend who registers for class and both of you get $10.00off!

If you live in my area and are interested, please register. If you're a grandparent and want to do something fun with your preschoolers, sign up and come! I guarantee this class will keep you young!

Email me at
playsmusic@hotmail.com to
register and confirm your spot.
Payment on 1st day of class.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Music Tip #73 Open Ended Music Lessons

I love to plan and teach open ended music lessons at school. These are lessons where I present basic information such as a chant, rhyme or song but then let the students create where we go from there. Can we add movements, an ostinato, and instruments? What musical form shall we present our new creation in—AB or ABA or ABACA?

Sometimes we create the movements and form together as a whole group, and other times I divide the class into small groups and let each group come up with their own ideas. Then the groups perform for each other. I love to see the creativity that evolves.

But other things happen during an open ended lesson plan that aren’t just musical. Students learn to brainstorm, cooperate, and develop leadership skills. Each group always ends up with some child becoming the leader, either by default or because they talk louder and faster than anyone else. Once in a while no student leader will surface in a group and the kids will just stand there staring at each other. Then a new learning opportunity evolves and I lead them to discover how to brainstorm and talk and communicate with each other.

When students contribute to the lesson, they internalize the ideas and make it their own. Learning happens and sticks. They feel valued, and involved and in control.

So how can this type of open ended learning atmosphere be used elsewhere in life or in the home?

Piano teachers--or any other kind of instrument teacher, can ask students at their lessons which one of their pieces they would like to play first. They can ask them what needs to be changed or how to make the piece sound better. They can ask them for ideas on how to practice it at home.

Parents can use open ended learning in the home by asking children how they would like to organize the chore schedule, or when would be the best time for them to do their home work. When looking in their bedroom and seeing that, yes indeed, a tornado DID hit, ask for ideas on how to clean it the quickest way. On Saturday ask for ideas on how to get the work of the day done in a fun way where everyone is helping.

When you involve children in the decision making, and let them use their creativity, they become part owners in the situation and will work to make it successful. Try it! I would love to hear your ideas and the results of your “tries”.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Give-Away is Here!

I’m happy to have another giveaway on my blog for two items—a new music CD and a book for parents of preschoolers.

The book, The Smarter Preschooler, Unlocking Your Child’s Intellectual Potential is written by a husband/wife team, Renee and Mike Mosiman, whose sons I teach at my school (our school provides enrichment classes to homeschooled families). Did I mention yet that this book is excellent? It is a "user-friendly" book that speaks to parents and educators alike. It covers a wide range of topics of interest for parents who want to be proactive in their children's lives. There are many research findings included in each topic with pertinent examples sprinkled throughout each chapter. There are lots of great "down to earth" ideas that parents can easily incorporate into their child's life.

One of the reasons I like this book is because Renee and Mike think like I do on important topics like play, the arts, t.v., and family time. They encourage lots of free play, less t.v., and quality family time. They suggest ideas on which chores preschoolers are capable of doing, how to make running errands a learning and fun experience, and discuss the pros and cons of sending your child to preschool.

If you are a new parent of a preschooler or an experienced [and perhaps tired] one, this book will excite you with ideas, information and support.

The music CD is called Women of Hope-giving voice to your heart. It brings together the best talents in the LDS music community in celebration of the power of women. It features original songs performed by favorite singers such as Hilary Weeks, Cherie Call, Mercy River and more. It is produced by Tyler Castleton with Kurt Bestor.

This is a CD that grows on you and becomes better each time you listen to it. The first time I heard it I enjoyed listening to it. The 2nd time I enjoyed it even more. Each time I played it, it brought feelings of love and peace.

With song titles like By Our Love, Legacy, Hope on the Horizon, Find Mercy and God Will Give You Wings, you can see what a powerful CD it is.

Leave me a comment and mention which give away you are interested in, the book or CD, or if you want to be entered in both, tell me that too. Make sure your email address shows!

I’ll choose the lucky winners next Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Music Tip #72 Helpful Songs

I’ve written songs throughout my adult life. Some have been published—others haven’t. My most famous song –to my kids, that is--is one that I use to sing when I was stressed out, had a hundred things to do and had no energy to do them with. It’s called, “I’ve Got Energy”. I was trying to psych myself out, I guess.

Another song I recently wrote is one to help me with one of my vices. Coveting. I never thought of myself as a coveter (is that a word?). Perhaps I was a little jealous and envious of other people’s nicer-than-mine house, or financial status or beauty. But I didn’t think I coveted—until one year in Sunday School when we were discussing the 10 Commandments and that one came up. Whoa—it sure sounded like what I was doing.

So I wrote this little song to help me overcome my feelings and put life back into perspective. You sing it to the tune of Are You Sleeping.

Do not covet. Do not covet.
Don’t you dare. Don’t compare.
Coveting’s a dreadful sin.
Makes you bitter, no one wins.
Count your Blessings.
Count your Blessings!

So I hope you can use my two little songs some day. The next time you have no energy, sing I Have Energy from the top of your lungs. You really have to shout it out. And did I mention you have to dance while you’re singing it?

Or if you find yourself coveting, sing Do Not Covet in your head over and over again.

Happy singing!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parenting Tip #75 Use Your Words

When I visit my grandchildren, I’ve been surprised to hear my daughter in laws say to their children, “use your words.” They say this usually when a child is having a melt down, either because of fighting with a sibling or frustration at getting dressed or whatever. The mom will say, “Use your words”--implying “quit crying and tell me what’s going on”.

Use your words and tell your sister how that made you feel. Use your words and tell me why you don’t want to wear your red shirt. Use your words and tell me what’s wrong with the Cheerios in your bowl.

I wish I would have used this technique when my children were small. It’s a great way to help children realize they have feelings and put a name to them. It’s also a great way to help children organize their thoughts and express them—she hit me, it hurt, I’m angry. It’s a great way to visualize and organize past events—I took her toy, she hit me, it hurt, I’m angry. And finally, it’s a great way to evaluate choices and choose new ones—I took her toy, she hit me, it hurt, I’m angry, I should give her back the toy and say I’m sorry.

But what if your child is too young to use their words? Here comes the beauty of teaching your baby sign language. Is your toddler sleepy, hungry, wants more apples, or wants milk? Teaching these basic signs can really help a frustrated mother understand what her even more frustrated toddler is trying to tell her.

“Use your words”. Food for thought for even adults. One of my sons loves the book, Crucial Conversations, a book that tells how to deal with crucial events in people’s lives and deal with them in a constructive, positive way. http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadershop/0194-6excerpt.html

I guess every blogger knows the power of using your words. I’m using my words to hopefully give you ways to make your world a little easier and more fun.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Parenting Tip #74 Teaching Children to Work

Today is Mother’s Day. I’ve learned so many things from my mother about how to be a good mother. Here are just a few things I’ve learned about teaching children how to work:
1.Make work fun. When we had to clean the house, we would play army--with my mother being “The General”. She would give us a small job to do, we would salute and say, “yes Ma’am!”, then run off to do the job. When it was finished we would return to The General, salute and get a new job.

I tried making work fun for my children by hiding M&M’s under clothing and toys strewn all over the floor. The clean up would look daunting, but when you found candy while cleaning, it was much more fun!

2.Teach your children how to work. My sister and I were not washing the dishes up to my mother’s standards. So I vividly remember one night watching her as SHE washed the dishes while instructing us on how to do it correctly. “Wipe the counter after the dishes are washed,” she told us as she carefully wiped it. “Pick up the salt and pepper shakers on the stove and wipe under them,” she demonstrated.

I tried this technique with my children by writing step by step instructions on “how to clean the bathroom”. I demonstrated it for them, too. I wonder if they remember that day?

3.You get what you earned. One Saturday, as young children, we had to help rake up the leaves in the back yard. My brother kept messing around and not helping. After the job was done, my mother all gave us a glass of punch. Except my brother—he only got half a glass. He cried but was told that was all he had earned. It was a lesson for all of us.

4.Sometimes it’s okay to quit or Evaluate the situation. I had the most boring job in the world one summer when I worked at ASU. I called my mother during lunch one day because I just couldn’t take it anymore. She asked me some probing questions then said, “Well it doesn’t sound like the money you are making from this job is really worth what you have to go through. So quit.” What??!! I could actually quit? Other times in my life she had told me to “hang in there”. Lesson learned: every situation is different.

Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to work--and all the other things you taught me. I love you!


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