Saturday, October 25, 2014

Music therapy reduces depression in children, adolescents

You can probably remember the feeling you get when you hear a favorite song. It lifts your spirits and makes you smile. We know the power of music instinctively but now there is scientific proof that music can help children with behavioral and emotional problems.  Read More

The next thing that would be helpful beyond this research is the precise music therapy that was used in this study. The important thing is to know your child and try various approaches to find that thing that works for your kid.

Even with kids who do not have behavioral or emotional problems it can be a challenge to learn their individual learning style.  We have four kids and after several adjustments we figured out what motivated child number one to learn and enjoy learning. Then with child number the teaching program we had set up didn't seem to keep his attention. It took a while to learn his learning style which was entirely different than our oldest.

So even when we read about research proving that music therapy does work we have to be mindful of our individual learners.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Education boosts brain function long after school, study shows

One of the great things about homeschooling is that the children often become lifelong learners.  They are encouraged to pursue thoughts and ideas relating to different things that interest them.  When a homeschooled child shows an interest in comic books they may be steered to the book The Physics of Super Heroes.  When children are encouraged to find learning solutions when they are young they often carry this skill on through adulthood.  They don't rely on other people to tell them when to be curious and how to answer the questions they are asking themselves.  They learn in homeschool to ask questions and seek out interesting answers.  This creates a lifelong learner.

In a recent study the importance of education is shown in our aging population.  Benefits of education show up even four decades later.  This is an interesting study showing the importance of a positive educational experience even later in life.  At the same time it highlights, at least to me, the importance of helping young children find a love of learning.


Education significantly improves mental functioning in seniors even four decades after finishing school, shows a new study. The study shows that people who attended school for longer periods performed better in terms of cognitive functioning than those who did not. Using data from individuals aged around 60, the researchers found a positive impact of schooling on memory scores. The fact that young people or their parents did not choose whether to go longer to school strongly suggests that schooling is the cause rather than personal characteristics that would affect this choice and could also explain the differences in cognitive function. Read the full article HERE

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Military dads have to re-learn parenting after deployment

Fathers who returned after military service report having difficulty connecting with young children who sometimes don't remember them, according to a study released this week. While the fathers in the study had eagerly anticipated reuniting with their families, they reported significant stress, especially around issues of reconnecting with children, adapting expectations from military to family life, and co-parenting.

Read More

COMMENT: This is an important reminder to everyone who interacts with military families that there are some very unique and challenging factors when it comes to transitioning between military life and family life. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Areas of the brain process read and heard language differently

The brain processes read and heard language differently. Researchers have been able to determine the affected areas of the brain using speech processing tests with the aid of functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRT). Read More

COMMENT: Based on extensive research from the four children at our house it is clear that every child not only processes read and heard language differently but additionally each child has a different learning process that works best for them.  This research is important because it gives parents and teachers a better understanding of the read vs. heard process of learning.  (This may also be helpful for husbands and wives who think they are communicating clearly with each other too but on occassion miss important messaging)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A job analysis of community health workers in the context of integrated nutrition and early child development.

A job analysis of community health workers in the context of integrated nutrition and early child development.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1308(1):183-91
Authors: Phuka J, Maleta K, Thomas M, Gladstone M

Stunting and poor child development are major public health concerns in Malawi. Integrated nutrition and early child development (ECD) interventions have shown potential to reduce stunting, but it is not known how these integrated approaches can be implemented in Malawi. In this paper, we aimed to evaluate the current jobs status of community health workers and their potential to implement integrated approaches. This was accomplished by a desk review of nutrition and ECD policy documents, as well as interviews with key informants, community health workers, and community members. We found that Malawi has comprehensive policies and well-outlined coordination structures for nutrition and ECD that advocate for integrated approaches. Strong multidisciplinary interaction exists at central levels but not at the community level. Integration of community health workers from different sectors is limited by workload, logistics, and a lack of synchronized work schedules. Favorable, sound policies and well-outlined coordination structures alone are not enough for the establishment of integrated nutrition and ECD activities. Balanced bureaucratic structures, improved task allocation, and synchronization of work schedules across all relevant sectors are needed for integrated intervention in Malawi.

Read More

Integrating early child development programs into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh: benefits and challenges.

Integrating early child development programs into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh: benefits and challenges.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1308(1):192-203
Authors: Hamadani JD, Nahar B, Huda SN, Tofail F

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries of the world with the highest population density. The Bangladesh government recognizes the educational and financial benefits of early childhood development (ECD) and has incorporated ECD into the national plan of action. However, ECD activities are not fully established in the country and there have been few evaluations. In this paper, we present ECD programs that are integrated into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh. We present four evaluation reports of such programs and we also include seven published research projects showing evidence that such integrations are feasible. We provide short reviews on coverage, methodology, and effects of the published reports and share our experience of challenges faced and steps taken to solve them. Overall, very few programs are based on scientific evidence and fewer are even evaluated. The research projects so far conducted are promising and there is sufficient evidence on feasibility of integrating ECD activities into nutrition and health programs. Suggestions are made on measures to overcome the implementation problems and on suitable methods to establish high-quality ECD programs in Bangladesh and in other low- and middle-income countries.

Read More 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Homeschooling Myth vs Reality

For us it started when our local school district chose to protect a teacher rather than the students.  As the year went by and her mental illness became more and more apparent to the administration they did nothing as the children in her classroom became more and more upset with her mood swings.  Parents began sitting in during the day but she would hold it together until the parents left the room.  The 7 year olds in the classroom would return home each day demonstrating behavior that included upset outbursts and they would begin crying at very little things.  For that second grade class the entire year was a waste of time in education.

For many residents of this little rural community there were no options.  For us homeschooling seemed to be the only option.

Every family comes to homeschooling for their own reason.  Every homeschooling family comes to the decision to homeschool for their own very personal reasons.  And because of this there are many misperceptions and myths about "The Homeschool Family"

Monica Swanson wrote an article for the HuffingtonPost titled "5 Myths about Families that Homeschool".  It is a great article.

What myths have you had to deal with?  Chime in on the Internet Homeschool Association Facebook page.

Schoolhouse seen in this post is not from our school district.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Are Homeschooling families Hiding behind the lack of regulations?

There was really no reason to read the rest of the article.  The Headline read "Hiding behind home schooling: Why some Oklahoma children are missing out on education".  This article was part of a television news report and news reports do have to sensationalize their headlines to get people to watch their news shows.

Read the full article HERE.

But there are just so many problems with the article that it seems as though (just perhaps) the author should spend some time working with a home school parent to craft a better report that makes sense. In my opinion, it is ok to ramble a little bit in an editorial blog post like this one.  But if you are making an assertion like the one made in this news "report" then your article should back up your headline with more than specious arguments.

In the article they report

"Here in Oklahoma, if you say 'my child is home schooled' that's it. They can't follow up. DHS can not come in the home. Truancy officers can not come to check on them," said McGinnis.
It's a problem she said she sees in the neighborhood where she works.  She's a property manager in the area of 61st and Peoria.
It's a part of town 2NEWS has covered a lot and not for good reasons.  Tulsa police say it has one of the highest crime rates in the city.
"Growing up with brothers, uncles, fathers that are all gang members and they are involved in a lot of drug activity crime, things like that and that's what they are learning," said McGinnis.

This is an article that you have to read a couple of times to try and figure out what the author is really getting at.  It seems what she is really saying is that this portion of this city in Oklahoma has a gang problem and not necessarily a home schooling problem. Are all of these kids home schooled or are some of them in the public school? The assertion does not really make it clear.

The headline of this article is inflammatory to good homeschooling families and conveys a sense that all homeschooling is some kind of scheme.  The only quotes in the article are by homeschooling parents that claim the anecdotal virtues of homeschooling.  While I do appreciate that the author included these two people in the article I think it is lazy reporting and sensational headlining used just to fill time in a news report.  It would have been great if there were actual numbers and some data to back up the assertion that homeschool parents are hiding behind the lack of regulations.  Census figures should be able to tell us approximately how many kids are registered in the local school districts vs. how many kids live in the area.  Saying that this news channel often covers that neighborhood and not for good reasons doesn't really help us get closer to the core cause of the problem. It doesn't really help us get any closer to understanding if there are kids in this neighborhood that are really affected by this problem.  It is just too vague to be anything other than news sanctioned gossip.

Yes, I want all children to have the opportunities that a great education can provide.  But hammering down good homeschooling parents to gain a market share on a news program does not help get any of us closer to a solution.