Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #2

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #2

Hire not just for the job at hand. Try to determine the candidate’s potential career track and how he will develop.

Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny.
D. Vader

ht. Nolo Promiterre

"So what do you want to be when you grow up?" has got to be a kids' worst question. Right up there with "What are you doing to the dog with that Sharpie?"

The problem with what do you want to do when you grow up is that kids don't have a clue what they want to be when they grow up. They look at the future, and the figure they could really be the next president, Pulitzer prize winner, astronaut, or in my case, ballerina. Its just not a fair question.

On the other hand, looking at your kids strengths can help them choose a more likely end result (or for that matter, intermediate result, we all have the same end result.) then it becomes a little easier to plot a path to get there. How will your child develop? Is college in the future? Then it might be a good idea to see whether you child can begin accumulating credits through CLEP course tests, AP tests, and Dual credit enrollment with a local community college. Maybe a class or two here and there, but it will pay off in time and money on the other side.

On the other hand, maybe you child has a passion for music, art, or drama. That might be in the future, as it sure looks for a few of my kiddos. How can I help them to achieve the goals of music school? Obviously by taking the kid to lessons and encouraging (meaningful) practice.

Looking ahead doesn't mean fitting your kid into a mold they cannot break out of, just - looking ahead - and trying to see the steps to take before the kid actually takes them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #1

I was poking around the Carnival of Homeschooling, and I stumbled across a blog, new to me: Nolo Promiterre, where the author discusses Darth Vader leadership tips. I thought they were wonderful, and great fodder for thought on leading our own homeschool.

Darth Vader Leadership Tip #1 reads:

There ARE no good excuses. Even if a problem seems insurmountable, you address it, overcome it or find a way around it and continue on to your goal.

“Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral. I want that ship, not excuses.”
D. Vader
(Nolo Promiterre)

Deuce, my second daughter, has mild dysgraphia, which in short, means she has a hard time writing things. At fifth grade, normally, you would expect a student to be able to write a short essay, story, poem, book report or other written work.

Ace has always been a writer, and when I compare Deuce's written work with Ace's at the same age, I wonder where I've gone wrong. There is, however, no reason not to learn the subject matter, or to write well when it is necessary.

I have no good excuse here: First and foremost, I need to stop comparing them. These are girls with different strengths and interests. Sure Deuce is no natural born writer, but then neither are many wonderful authors.

Second, play to her strengths, and try to support her weaknesses. Deuce may not be a natural born writer, but she is phenomenally artistic. She draws with passion and detail. She builds and designs with flair and attention to detail. She also is gifted musically, and in mathematics. So for reading comprehension, do I have to have her write a book report, or can I have her interpret what she has read into something at which she can succeed, like an art project?

Third, typing is our friend here. She may have pain when asked to hold a pen and write legibly, but typing seems to be working out well for her. Deuce is almost as fast a keyboarder as I am, although she is slowed by poor spelling - and that is getting better daily, thanks to programs such as SpellingCity, the spell catcher on the computer, and daily exposure to words.

Fourth, daily practice with the pen. Here is a need to be sneaky. (If you're reading this, Deuce, I guess the jig is up!) Of course there is the handwriting book, but there are also the other things, like shopping lists (did I mention that Deuce loves to bake?), letters to relatives and friends, and her journal to name a few. These don't have to be formal, just worked in from time to time.

Little by little, the penmanship is improving, while all the while, I am giving her no excuse to not learn a subject or to read a book.

Tune into Deuce's blog here: My Place, My Space