We all learn differently, including your child. The following is an understanding of how an individual’s learning style works.
The way in which we view the world is call our…PERCEPTION. We perceive in two ways…
Concrete-When we deal with our concrete abilities we are dealing with what is here and now–the tangible, the obvious. We are not looking for hidden meanings. The key phrase is, “It is what it is.”
Abstract- This quality allows us to visualize or conceive ideas–to understand or believe what we can’t actually see. The key phrase is, “it’s not always what it seems.”
The way we use the information we perceive is called…ORDERING. We order in two ways…
Sequential- This method of ordering allows our minds to organize information in linear fashion. The key phrase is “Follow the steps.”
Random- This method of ordering lets our minds organize information by chunks and with no particular sequence. Their key phrase is, “Just get it done!”
Some children memorize things well with structured flash cards, while others use pictures. Some children take everything you say very literally, others can read between the lines. This all has to do with how we learn. If you want help communicating with your child, I highly suggest you read The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias. It will help identify your child’s learning style and how you can help them succeed in learning both at home AND at school.
The Way They Learn is the title of a book by Cynthia Tobias that tells us about how our children learn best. 200 words is not even close to enough space to tell you about how it all works, so instead, I will get you started and if you like what you hear you can purchase the book yourself (you can order it from First Free’s bookstore “The Scroll”).
Have you ever wondered why some children learn better with flashcards and others can memorize things easier by seeing a picture? Or maybe you noticed that some children take what you say very literally and others can read between the lines or simply get the ”gist” of it. This happens because of a child’s learning style and understanding a child’s learning style will not only help you at home, but it will help your child succeed at school!
When I was in college, I visited Paris, France over spring break with some friends. Not knowing a lick of French, It was an extremely frustrating task trying to order food, get directions, or even find the bathroom! The language barrier stopped me dead in my tracks when it came to communication. I tell you this as an example of how we should try to look at the way children learn. If you fail to communicate with them or have them study in a way that does not connect with them, it’s like me speaking with the Frenchman…FRUSTRATING! If you want to help your child both at home and in school, I highly suggest picking up this book from Focus on the Family and learning more about how your child learns best.
Jesus often communicated with the 1st century community by using stories! Parables and Illustrations were often Jesus’ mode of captivating his audience and helping them understand what he was trying to communicate. Story is still a powerful method of teaching today. Think about the type of sermons on Sunday morning you enjoy listening to the most…very few of us like just having information spewed at us. However, when principles are embedded within story, we are not only captivated, but we understand better! This is even more critical with preteens. Preteens think more abstractly than their younger counterparts and are beginning to question their old Sunday school lessons. When we can teach those same principles (love your neighbor, obey your parents, etc.) within a story from scripture or our own life it starts to make more sense and allows them to see “why” it matters.
Stories from our own past are also a great way of connecting kids with their parents. Family Systems Theory invites children to learn more about their parents’ history and how they grew up as a way for children and adults to better understand how they function. As parents, you have an exciting opportunity to share your past using the power of story! Tell them about mistakes you made, successes you had, stories of their grandparents, or even stories from when you were their age. Don’t miss an amazing opportunity…tell stories!
This past Friday I had the opportunity to see the highly touted movie, HUNGER GAMES, on opening night. As this is one of the big blockbuster movies coming out in 2012, we figured parents would want to have a heads up on what their kids are seeing.
HUNGER GAMES is based off a three part book series. The typical audience the series reaches starts as young as preteens and goes up through young adults. I personally have not read the books and only saw the movie, which is the first part of the trilogy. So far from what I have learned from the movie, some fancy Wikipedia searches, and talking to friends who have read the books, the story is about an annual battle to the death tournament (HUNGER GAMES) between 24 randomly selected kids between ages of 12-18. There are twelve districts in the societal structure of the book and each district has two representatives (1 male, 1 female) known as Tributes. The main character is Katniss Everdeen, who comes from the poorest district, district 12. The government (known as “the capitol”) forces the districts to participate in these games every year as a reminder of the rebellion the districts had against the capitol 75 years prior. However, the HUNGER GAMES become much more than form of punishment. It has become the capitol’s form of the Super Bowl with the upper class rooting and gambling on their favorite tribute as if it was the Bears playing the Packers!
The games do not actually start until about halfway through the movie. The most disturbing scene from the movie comes at the beginning of the games when the teenagers are forced to kill each other for supplies. The actual deaths are not terribly graphic, but it is the morally incomprehensible moment when teenagers are killing one another that is most upsetting. From that point forward, tributes continue to be killed until there is a winner. The most troubling deaths consist of a tribute having their neck snapped and another grotesque death by mutated yellow jacket stings. There are also some nasty looking battle wounds. With regards to language, the lords name is used in vain but there is very little profanity that I can remember looking back.
Ignoring the disturbing nature of the plot for a moment, this was a well done movie I thought. It was engaging and had me locked in for the entire time I was watching. I intend on seeing the next two movies to see where the plot goes from here. Part of me wished I had the opportunity to read the books first but unfortunately that is not the case. I hope to read them soon so I can have a more well-rounded understanding for what is going on. Also, a lot of students have read these books, so it is helpful to have some insight into what they are reading.
The most difficult part of the movie is not the actual killing, which students see in other movies all the time, but the disturbing nature of the plot. Talking to fans of the books, they felt like it was much more shocking seeing the tributes actually kill each other on a movie screen than it was reading the books. The realization of a government allowing a battle to the death between kids is a very weird thing to see on screen. Parents have a couple decisions to make with this movie. The first is, how well does your child handle fiction? Some movie watchers take movies like this very poorly because, even though it is fiction, the plot is difficult enough they still struggle with the brutality of it. The second is deciding what age your child can watch this. I think at the least, parents should wait until their child is in Jr. High to see this movie. It is PG-13 after all and I have already heard preteen parents who wished they had not taken her child due to the darkness of the plot. For teenagers, I think it depends on what you are comfortable with. The movie does not have anything that is way out of the norm from a regular PG-13 movie. Nonetheless, you will still have to decide if murder, alcohol, and a general dark plot line is something you are okay with your student seeing. Also remember, if your student sees the first film, they will likely want to see the rest of the trilogy and possibly read the books.
While this review was written by Josh Afram you can get more reviews at http://www.pluggedin.com.
“The awkward turtle” is a gesture you make with two hands (it looks like a turtle) when someone has raised a very, well, awkward topic in a conversation and you want to move out of it quickly. If you could see me now, I am using the awkward turtle because this article briefly addresses the often-uncomfortable issue of sex education.
Preteens (children ages 10-12) are entering their pubescent stage where they undergo their greatest physiological development. As their voices crack and body odor becomes more apparent, they also begin to…take a deep breath parents…recognize the opposite sex! Obviously, this is a good thing because God wired us this way. But there are dangers. Movies and Internet provide plenty of “sex sells” type advertising and pornography is a thriving industry still in the United States. Here is a fact we need to accept…YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE EXPOSED TO THESE REALITIES…so why not beat the world to the punch?
I have one simple suggestion in this article: be the first one to discuss the difficult topics of dating, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, etc. with your children. If they are going to hear/see/think about it because of the world, we might as well have the first shot at telling them about God’s purpose for our lives and our bodies before the world says otherwise! You are the best judge of when your preteen is ready, but typically around 5th or 6th grade you want to at least begin having those conversations with your child.
No, date nights are not just for mom and dad! How often do you have a “date night” with your kids? Parents sometimes feel very disconnected from their preteens because in a rapidly changing world, these digital natives keep up while parents are feeling a bit left in the dust. Well here are 10 simple but fun things you could be doing with your preteen. All you need to do is…set a date!
- Play video games. Ok ok, I know, you have not played video games since the Nintendo (or even Atari?) years. Who cares, let your preteen smash you. Who knows…maybe you’ll like it!
- Go to a movie.
- Play them in a game of basketball…or whatever sport they prefer.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Give them a spending limit and head to your local Toys-R-Us. Buy something you can have fun with together.
- Go on a bike ride.
- Read a story.
- Take them to a baseball game.
- Go to the mall and have lunch at the food court.
- Play a board game (one of my favorites!).
If you have been keeping up with the news lately, you have likely run across a disturbing story from Penn State University. There are a lot of parts to the story, but essentially, a high ranking assistant coach from the popular football team was caught sexually abusing a young teen on Penn State athletic grounds 10 years ago. The incident surfaced recently and one of the more disturbing parts of the story is that there were individuals who knew something was wrong yet did not take action to stop the assistant coach or alert the authorities. This man was allowed to coach for another few years before retiring in about 2008. This incident is bringing forward other individuals (now in their mid-twenties) who are admitting to being abused by the same man.
The fact that this man was a trusted individual in the community is shaking. He volunteered; he coached young men, and was a big part of creating an organization intended on helping at-risk youth. These teens who were victims were sometimes as young as 11 ranging up to their mid-teens. No one suspected him as a culprit, yet, this was happening right under their noses.
So why am I reliving these terrible events for us here? Because I know for a fact there are a lot of parents out there wondering, “if they trusted him and he wasn’t safe, how do I know other people aren’t like this?” This story hits parents at their core and they begin to wonder…what about the basketball coach? The teacher? And even their youth group leader?
While you may not need to tell your child the entire Penn State story, this would be a good time to enforce or reinforce some important safety concepts. Most of the kids who were victims were caught in one- on- one situations with the leader that should have never happened. Here are some important reminders for our own kids:
1. Never go anywhere with someone you are uncomfortable with or do not know. In a world with cell phones, it would be fairly easy for your preteen to use their own or borrow someone else’s and call their parent to confirm who is picking them up from school, an event, or practice.
2. Make sure your child knows your contact information by heart. Even if they have a cell phone with an address book, make sure they have at least two ways of contacting you memorized in case they do not have access to their phone.
3. Set boundaries. Even with someone you trust, make sure your child knows that they cannot be one-on-one with an adult unless it is approved by you. I always get parents’ permission to take a student out to lunch when it comes to preteens. Even then, that is in a public forum, which is preferred over private situations in homes.
4. Make sure the adults you are sending your child with are not offended by your safety steps. If someone is offended by you wanting to keep your kid safe you should actually be ok with that. For example, at church; I never meet with a girl alone in my office with the door closed. I do not meet with a student alone off campus unless another adult is present or it’s a group of students. I am sure to keep all touches appropriate – high-fives, side hugs, hand-shakes, etc.
Here at First Free we take some major precautions to insure your child is with safe, God-fearing volunteers:
1. Every volunteer must fill out a volunteer application. Among other things, this application includes references (that we contact via phone call or reference letter) and a personal statement of faith by the volunteer.
2. Every volunteer is interviewed.
3. Every volunteer has a background check completed.
Lastly, in Children’s Ministries, we make a point to not create one-on-one situations where students/volunteer are out of sight yet still provide space and time for kids to build mentoring relationships with those leaders in case they do need to share something private. This is in large part to protect our own staff, as we’ve heard the flip side of the Penn State scandal where students have falsely accused a volunteer in other non-profit organizations of an action.
I know talking about this tragedy does not exactly leave us with warm fuzzies. We usually think, “this will never happen to us” but unfortunately, people like the Penn State Assistant football coach exist. My prayer is that parents would take the time to review important safety information with their kids so that they are prepared. Also, our desire is to be above reproach. If you have any questions about how we handle our students or choose our volunteers at First Free, feel free to call us at any time and we’d be happy to discuss it.
Preteen devotionals are sometimes hard to nail down because the content can often be too old or too young for a 4th-6th grader. The following is a list of preteen devotionals that I recommend giving a try.
- Girlz Rock: Devotions for Girls (Faithgirlz!)
- The One Year Book of Devotions for Girls
- The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo
- No Girls Allowed: Devotions for Girls
- Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys
- The One Year Book of Devotions for Boys
- The 2:52 Ultimate Devo for Boys: 365 Devos to Make You Stronger, Smarter, Deeper, and Cooler
- No Girls Allowed: Devotions for Boys
- One Year Dinner Table devotions
- Trivia Twist Devotions
- Jesus Freaks
Some of these devotionals are very different from each other. Our hope is that by giving you options you’ll be able to find the devotional that resonates best with your preteen!