Parenting a Sensitive Child Respectfully

Parenting respectfully naturally sensitive shy boy child

“I want to stay over here for a while” my 4.5 year old announces quietly as we arrive at a creek with some friends.

“Sure, I’ll be over there saying hello” I reply without a pause in my step.

We exchange happy hellos and little eyes flash over in Cameron’s direction.

“He just needs some time” I smile to his friend.

Picnic blankets are arranged, babes are boobed and worn, toddlers and kids have snacks and set off to explore. I turn around to see the quiet exchange of greetings and the next thing I know any apprehension has gone.

 

Conscious parenting with a sensitive child

I think one of the biggest hurdles I have when it comes to parenting respectfully is the judgement that comes with straying from the norm. Too often I get the sense that people think my parenting reinforces less than ideal behaviours. For some reason, sensitivity and shyness are viewed with negativity by society. Particularly with boys. I have wrote about shyness previously.

I think that when you parent consciously (natural, mindful, gentle, respectfully whatever you call it!), sometimes any perceived negative traits in your children are considered byproducts of your parenting choices. Oh, you discipline gently, that’s why your child is throwing a tantrum. You wear your baby? Must be why they’re not sleeping through the night.

Similarly, I think some people view Cameron’s shyness and difficulty in social situations as a result of my parenting choices – rather than as part of his character. & they consequently push their ideals onto him – expecting him to join in before he is ready or not allowing him to have time to himself – and it only exacerbates the issue.

 

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Parenting a sensitive child respectfully takes patience and sometimes, preparation.

What a sensitive child needs is a parent who is supportive and understanding, but helps them to deal with anxieties and is able to consistently guide them to feel safe. It is also beneficial if you can encourage your sensitive child to take risks socially and help them to feel pride in their social successes, no matter how small.

Keeping an open dialogue about coping with big emotions and difficult situations is so important. I love that Cam knows that he can talk to me and that I’m always there to come back to when the world seems daunting to him.

My highest aim is to model resilience and confidence to Cameron (while being vulnerable and showing him that I make mistakes and deal with difficult social situations too.) I empathise with his introversion and sensitivity. I too am ‘shy’ and think that I’m a pretty great person as a result of that (not in spite of it!)

I’m truly thankful for my fellow home educating friends I have made as they are genuinely supportive of my parenting. I think having that village is so important no matter what your parenting ideals are.

 

Parenting a Sensitive Child Respectfully  Racheous - Lovable Learning

Reading Eggs | Read-To-Cure Challenge

Cameron uses and loves Reading Eggs to learn to read. We tend not to use programs or a curriculum, however I love Reading Eggs and find that it is an engaging program that Cam really enjoys.

Today I’m going to be talking about the Read-To-Cure Challenge. From 4 August to 1 September, children all across Australia will be completing books and online reading lessons in the ABC Reading Eggs program to take part in the Challenge.

Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge | Racheous - Lovable Learning

To claim your 5 week FREE access for your child to participate in the ABC Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge, please visit www.readingeggs.com.au/racheous.

There are exciting prizes to be won and the money raised goes directly towards improving the lives of hundreds of children and their families who are affected by childhood cancer.What donations help achieve

Reading Eggs are working with Go Fundraise where you can set up a page with your child so that they can link up to the Reading Eggs cause and encourage friends and family to sponsor them!

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During the Challenge they’ll be some great prizes up for grabs:

The top five children who raise the most funds WIN:

First prize: Apple iPad mini 16GB with Wi-Fi PLUS Apple iTunes gift card and Hoyts Family Movie Pass*, valued at $650.

Second prize: JB Hi Fi voucher worth $500 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $550.

Third prize: Toys R Us voucher worth $150 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $200.

Fourth prize: Toys R Us voucher worth $100 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $150.

Fifth prize: Hoyts Family Movie Pass valued at $50.

AND

The top five children who complete the most books and lessons WIN:

First prize: Apple iPad mini 16GB with Wi-Fi PLUS Apple iTunes gift card and Hoyts Family Movie Pass*, valued at $650.

Second prize: JB Hi Fi voucher worth $500 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $550.

Third prize: Toys R Us voucher worth $150 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $200.

Fourth prize: Toys R Us voucher worth $100 and $50 Hoyts Family Movie Pass, valued at $150.

Fifth prize: Hoyts Family Movie Pass valued at $50.

*Hoyts Family Movie Passes include two adults tickets and two child tickets for general admission only.

 

So talk to your child about the challenge and see if they would like to support such a worthwhile campaign. Encourage them to complete as many ABC Reading Eggs books and online reading lessons as they can. Then you can get your friends and family to sponsor their efforts and all donations will go directly to the Children’s Cancer Institute.

If you’re already a Reading Eggs subscriber, register your participation here and follow the prompts to set up your child’s fundraising page. If you’re new, claim your 5 week FREE trial here and follow the prompts to register your child’s participation in the Read-To-Cure Challenge.

On 4 August 2014 the Challenge will begin. On this date your child can start to:

1. Read books in the ABC Reading Eggspress Library.

2. Complete ABC Reading Eggs online lessons.

3. Encourage friends and family to sponsor their reading efforts. All donations can be paid through your child’s personal fundraising page. Each donation will automatically update their personal fundraising tally.

On 1 September 2014 the ABC Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge concludes. Donations will still be accepted after this date but will not go towards earning prizes.

I would love for you to share if your child participates over on my Lovable Learning Facebook group!

Invitations to Explore with Rocks | Reggio Provocations

Invitations to Explore with Rocks | Reggio Inspired Provocations

Nature provides the best in Reggio inspired provocations. I love the Facebook page Creations in Nature and have been sharing some of their gorgeous images on my Facebook page.

Since I defined what a provocation is, I thought I would share some of my favourites, starting with those including rocks!

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Some rocks naturally have white lines (bands of quartz) through them. Here a teacher has added the white lines with a white acrylic marker for a line art and math provocation.

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This simple tray set up with sand and rocks inspired gorgeous natural mandalas.

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Expand this mandala provocation by including rocks and pebbles of varying tones, colours, shapes and sizes. Furthermore, include photos or books with inspirational photos. This provocation included Andy Goldsworthy’s book ‘Stone’.

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Inspired by Peter Reidel and of course Andy Goldsworthy, these children created balanced rock sculptures. I love how they included mirrors as well and kept it as open-ended as possible.

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Extending upon balancing, this provocation included cards with numbers of rocks balanced and patterns.

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Add a fine line marker and paper and perhaps you will inspire some observational drawing?

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I love this larger scale land rock art! This is beautiful transient art and a great extension on simple outdoor play.

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This rock themed provocation basket includes everything in one – the rocks, books, photos and inspiring materials all in one! The book Everybody Needs a Rock looks like a great read!

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Speaking of cool books, I love the look of the book that inspired all of this awesome rock art at Stimulating Learning!

If Rocks Could Sing (a discovered alphabet) has stones in lots of different shapes that represent things beginning with all the letters. How fun!

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My Nearest and Dearest shares two ways to play and create with rocks. Above, she shows how simple black sand and white rocks provokes beautiful calm play and art.

Below, she shares how they make rock people and faces.

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Add some simple wire for another element of sculpture and process based creativity.

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This looks very inviting. With the book beach stones and muffin tin trays with water, children can wash and arrange rocks.

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Along the theme of water, add a brush and dish of water with a larger rock for a lovely open ended provocation.

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When you add in scales, a provocation can be taken to a new mathematical level. I love how inviting this looks. I wish this store (Homemade Rainbows – it was so inspiring!) was still open.

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Again with sand and rocks, this zen garden inspired provocation would be lovely for some quiet time play.

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Lastly, this is a great ongoing group provocation with some simple patterns drawn on felt or card, alongside natural bowls with rocks and pebbles.

Some more books to inspire:

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A Handful of Quiet | Happiness in Four Pebbles

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If You Find a Rock

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A Rock Is Lively

What is a Provocation? | Reggio Inspired Learning

My most popular Pinterest board is my Reggio Provocations board.

Follow Rachel B | Racheous – Lovable Learning’s board Reggio Provocations on Pinterest.

But, when it comes to the Reggio Emilia approach, what is a provocation?

What is a Provocation - Reggio Inspired Learning | Racheous - Lovable Learning

Put simply, provocations provoke! They provoke thoughts, discussions, questions, interests, creativity and ideas. They can also expand on a thought, project, idea and interest.

Provocations can come in many forms:

  • An interesting photo, picture or book,
  • Nature (e.g. specimens)
  • Conceptual (e.g. changing seasons, light)
  • Old materials displayed in a new way,
  • An interest that a child or children have,
  • An object (e.g. magnets, maps)
  • New creative mediums,
  • Questions (from any source – i.e. What is gravity?)
  • An event (e.g. a presentation, a holiday)

Provocations can be as simple as a photo of a rock sculpture next to some pebbles or as elaborate as a table with an assortment of recycled materials next to a book on robots and resources to make upcycled robots. Often though, provocations are simple and displayed beautifully to provoke interest.

Similar to strewing, they are usually created as an option, not as a premeditated activity.

Ultimately, the intention of provocations is to provide an invitation for a child to explore and express themselves. It should be open-ended and provide a means for expression where possible.

Please head over to my Lovable Learning community on Facebook and share any provocations that you have done recently with your child/ren and/or get some inspiration!

The Best Homeschool Curriculum

The Best Homeschool Curriculum

What is the best homeschool curriculum? What are we planning on using?

I get asked this so often. The answer?

The curriculum of curiosity.

This curriculum is amazing, let me tell you. The curiosity curriculum is:

  • for every child,
  • every age,
  • every ability,
  • all interests,
  • developmentally appropriate,
  • child-paced,
  • relevant to your child,
  • flexible,
  • challenging,
  • empowering,
  • invaluable,
  • limitless, and
  • free!

What you need to have the best homeschool curriculum:

  1. a child
  2. an interested parent
  3. time
  4. respect for the child
  5. access to the world, nature, and books (a library!)
  6. the internet doesn’t hurt either

That’s it!

Life and learning need not be separated.

A child’s innate curiosity and interest in exploring and categorising the world around them is so strong. A child’s want to be heard and express themselves is built into them.

We just need to listen, to observe, and to guide them. We have to be fascinated with them and explore alongside them. Create an environment that inspires creativity, is literacy rich and invokes discovery.

People (yes, that includes children too!) only really learn, understand and retain knowledge that is meaningful, developmentally suitable and interesting to them. This is particularly true in the long term.

Given the above, kids will naturally acquire the knowledge that is significant and relevant to them through their innate curiosity, with time and guidance.

They don’t need ‘school hours’ or days or terms. Nor do they need things divided into subjects or levels. Just living and learning; everyday, together.

Children don’t need workbooks or tests. They don’t need flash cards or to memorise arbitrary facts. Sure, sometimes these things may be just what a child wants to solidify some knowledge or explore a topic. But it doesn’t have to be the foundation of their learning.

What kids do need is respect, connection and awareness. They need to know:

  • what they think is important,
  • their questions are valid,
  • their interests are respected,
  • how to find information, and
  • that they never have to do something that doesn’t feel right.

We need to protect their love of learning. Protect that curiosity and wonder like the jewel it is.

Curriculum of Curiosity

So… listen to them. Let them play.
Read to and with them everyday.
Show them you are passionate as well.
Joke and laugh up a spell.
Spend time with them in nature.
Watch documentaries together.

Cook dinner with them even though it takes more time.
Let them make mess, it’ll be just fine.
Discuss things that matter, and the things that don’t.
Question things yourself or maybe they won’t.

Challenge them to think critically.
Let them make mistakes and reflect analytically.
Build forts and climb trees.
Star gaze and scrape knees.

- Rachel ‘Racheous’

That’s the best homeschool curriculum.

 

The Curiosity Curriculum