STEAM Homeschool Group Takeaways

Dear readers,

This October marked the 10th month of the STEAM Homeschool Group. From the first meet in January with 0 in attendance, oh, how our group has grown! I’m thrilled the share that this past group we had 60 participants!

Can you believe it? I sure can’t! How exciting it is to see all the new members we have gained and the families who have been able to connect from this fabulous group!

As you all know, this project is a passion of mine. I was a homeschooler, and I know how hard it is for families (especially with multiple children) to find inexpensive Homeschool Programs and resources. So naturally, I was beyond the moon excited to start this completely FREE program!

Not only does this group provide a safe space for families and children to meet other homeschoolers within their community, at no charge, but we’re also able to provide free resources like:

Educational Textbooks

Interactive Workbooks

Leveled Reader Books

Pre-planned literacy training worksheets

Individually Created Honor Kits on various subjects (math, science, history, animals, plants, anatomy, weather, space, reading comprehension, poetry, biographies, language, etc)

And much more!

Every group meet I feel the same emotions.

Gratitude, joy, overwhelming happiness. And inspiration! Tons of inspiration!

To give you an idea of why I feel this way, I want to share some takeaways from what I saw during our group this past Monday.

Things I witnessed as I looked around the room:

Creativity

Inventiveness

Friendships forming

Teamwork

Problem solving

Learning inspired by natural play

Engineering

Building

Kids thinking outside of the box to make something original, that brings them joy

I saw 100% unadulterated pure exploration, and what a sight it was!

And guess what? The kids aren’t the only ones playing and having a good time. Parents are too! They are connecting with their kids, and other adults! Forming community and cultivating a network of friends. Using their imaginations to help build and create at our STEAM tables!

What an absolute treasure this group has been. And what a pleasure it has been to see it grow and flourish! The feedback and love in this program has been astounding. I’m so grateful for all of the participants of this group who help make it what it is.

So, here are some fabulous pictures from our time together in October. Enjoy!

Some kiddos enjoying our Fall themed worksheets and activities!
Here’s a group of boys working together at our “build” table!
Our “create” table is always a hit! Check out some of this fabulous, original artwork.
Mom is playing some games too at our “games and puzzles” table!
Our “science” table is booming with curious hands and minds!
Here are a few small hands forming some sight words!
Teamwork at its best! Keep it up, ladies.
Proud of what he built! And he should be, it’s pretty impressive.
One of our young members made this and gifted it to me. She also gave me a flawless sales pitch for her ideas for a new company and the products she will make and sell. She’s going places!
Another look at the “science” table!

3 WAYS TO HELP BOOST YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

Building up a child’s inner confidence is part of our job as parents, caregivers, and educators. In order to properly do this, there are several things we need to be mindful of and a few things we should avoid.

I will start with the top three things we SHOULD do.

  • Focus on the positive
  • Use kind speech
  • Be ready to forgive

Focusing on the positive is first on the list of things to do to help boost your child’s self-esteem.

*Note: focusing on the positive does not AND should not mean that you can never express the negative. In life, there will consistently be both. However, if you follow these simple guidelines, it will make this process much simpler to understand and apply in to your everyday routine. So, how can we focus on the positive? What exactly does that mean? Let’s discuss a few ways.

Focusing on the positive goes hand-in-hand with positive affirmations. Why is positive affirmation so important? When a person receives a compliment, the brain, in turn, gets a “rise in dopamine.” As brought out in the linked article: “dopamine is associated with motivation, focus, and positivity.” These are all great things for children and people in general to have.

Example of using a positive affirmation/compliment to boost self-esteem: Mom is going to the grocery store. While she is buckling Hannah into her car seat, she notices that her older son, John, is buckling himself into the car without being helped. What does she do? Mom responds. “I noticed that you remembered to buckle your seatbelt all by yourself when we got into the car. That was very responsible. Good job!”

Why is this notable? Rather than taking John’s seemingly simple/small accomplishment for granted, Mom chose to capitalize on this opportunity to offer positive commendation/affirmation. By taking the initiative to reward John with praise for his task, mom has actually provided him with something crucial to his development. What is it? You guessed it- dopamine.

By taking active initiative to provide her child with this commendation, she has just given him the needed encouragement to repeat this action. What is the end result? Mom has done an excellent job in creating an incentive for John to continue practicing a healthy/positive habit. 

*Now, as mentioned before, there will be times when there will be good and bad things to mention. But how you go about expressing the negative aspects without harming your child’s self-esteem is the key. So, how can you do that?

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That brings us to kind speech. 

As you’re probably familiar with from the working world, delivering “bad” or “unpleasant” news is often best when you accompany it with good news. Sometimes, this is not an option. But most of the time, there is something you can use to your advantage. Let’s discuss a few examples.

Example of an educator in an art room, using kind speech to both commend and correct:

Mr. Mark is hosting a creative painting class. A young student has made a beautiful portrait, but also a massive mess! There is paint splattered on the floor as well as the walls. How will Mr. Mark respond?

Mr. Mark assesses the situation. He approaches the student privately and in a soft tone. “You’ve done a wonderful job using color to express yourself on this page. I’m proud of you. But, now that we’ve painted, we will need to clean up the spots that missed the page and landed on the floors and walls.”

What do we take away from this example?

Firstly, Mr. Mark spoke to the student directly instead of broadcasting the situation in front of the entire classroom. 

Next, he spoke in a “soft tone.” If you’re a parent with a teenager, or if you’ve ever been a teenager, it’s likely that you’ve heard the expression before: “It’s not what you said it’s how you said it.” This truly applies in this setting. How you say something can deeply affect both the meaning as well as how a child will respond to it.

And finally, I’ve saved the best for last. Did you notice how Mr. Mark began the conversation with his student? He did not start by reprimanding the mess. Instead, he began with praise. This is a good tactic to remember for pretty much every relationship in life… but an especially good one to remember when dealing with children. Keep in mind: children are fragile. Their brains, emotions, and bodies are still growing. So, be patient, be gentle, and always be kind.

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The third item on our agenda to boost children’s self-esteem is being ready to forgive.

What does that mean? That means mentally preparing and coming to terms with the definite knowledge that your child or student WILL make mistakes. They will do things that upset, hurt, frustrate you. But, how you respond to this can either make or break the situation- and child’s self-esteem.

So, how can you keep your cool when dealing with a potentially frustrating situation? There are a lot of suggestions out there. But the one that works best for me is very simple. Before responding in a fit of blazing anger or exasperation, I take a moment and imagine that I am that child. How would I want someone to respond to me? Was this error made with malicious intent, or was it made by pure accident? 

Each circumstance will be different from the next, which is why putting yourself into the headspace of that child is crucial to gauging how to respond correctly. 

*Admittedly, we will have moments where we make mistakes too. Maybe one of those mistakes will even be responding to a situation in a way we wish we hadn’t. So, it’s important to remember to be ready to forgive not only your children or students but yourself too. Forgiveness is a two-way street. And in order to keep that balance maintained, it takes work. Keep this question in mind: How can we offer forgiveness to others when we can’t show ourselves that same courtesy?

Tips: 

  • Be honest in both commendation and correction. Children can sense sincerity, and a way to show respect for them is by treating them with the dignity of honesty.
  • Be specific; avoid blanket statements.

Examples of using positive affirmations in a home or school setting.

#1: “I appreciate what you’ve done.”

#2: “Your participation/comments/thoughts is/are valuable to us.”

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Now for the NO-NO’s

We have gone over the things to be mindful of, and now it’s time to jump into the things we should avoid. These are known as the “NO-NO’s.” 

NO-NO #1

Avoid comparisons between children/students. No two children are the same, so it is, therefore, unreasonable to compare them to each other. Additionally, comparisons can lead to many harmful mental complexes down the road. So, do your child/student a favor and keep comparisons at bay. Remember: the only person a person should ever be compared to is the person they were yesterday. Self-reflective comparisons can actually be a very beneficial tool in helping to gauge healthy success and reach goals.

NO-NO #2

We have danced around this topic but haven’t directly addressed it yet. So, for no-no #2, we have: AVOID FOCUSING ON THE NEGATIVES FIRST. As was brought out earlier, this does not mean that you cannot tell your child when they have made a mistake. That would be an unbalanced overcorrection, which would lead to unrealistic and unhealthy habits down the road. Remember: wherever possible, practice directing your attention first to positive aspects before delivering critique or correction.

If you work to incorporate these three keys, you will be amazed at how these changes will help benefit your child’s mental health and boost their self-esteem!

For a suggested article on why to give compliments click here.

November 2021 Mental Health Expo for Families and Children, Hendersonville TN Public Library

If you live in Hendersonville, TN, or a surrounding area, we warmly welcome you to attend our upcoming mental health event! This event will be held on November 20th, 2021, from 10:00, am- 12:00 pm.

Join us on Saturday, November 20th, 2021, at the Hendersonville TN Public Library in celebrating our differences and supporting those around us in the community who are dealing with mental health problems.

Our speakers will be sharing a little bit of hope, comfort, and understanding, as well as providing resources to help aid children and families.

Local children’s book authors Chelsea Radojcic-DiCicco and Mary Elizabeth Jackson will be sharing topics on how to empower your children today as well as how to help children in school and within the family.

Chelsea’s picture book entitled ADHD and Me follows eight-year-old Malory, who has ADHD and shows life through her eyes. It describes her daily interactions with her family and tells her perceptions of school life from the teachers, students, and herself. Throughout the story, Malory shared her observations of others around her while also navigating her own feelings.

Mary’s *newly released* middle-grade book, Cheers From Heaven, navigates the emotions of five students who bullied a boy with cancer. After his death, the five students befriend one another and journey to find the boy’s notes that he left behind. This story handles grief, forgiveness, and healing.

Crisis Counselor Jason Scruggs will be addressing the acknowledgment, assessment, and addressing of your child’s emotional well-being.

And Cary Massey, President of Next-Level Consulting, will be discussing how to build healthy relationships. If you’re in the area, stop by! We would love to have you.

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GUEST SPEAKERS & DISCUSSION TITLES:

Mary Elizabeth Jackson

Empowering Our Kids Today

Chelsea Radojcic-DiCicco

Helping Children at School and Within the Family

Jason Scruggs

Acknowledging, Assessing, & Addressing the Emotional Well-Being of Your Child

Cary Massey

Building Healthy Relationships

Mental Health Matters, September 18th 2021, Gallatin Public Library Event for children, family, and community.

The Mental Health Matters Event inside of Gallatin Public Library was featured this afternoon on Special Needs TV, hosted by Bridgetti Lim Banda, and was streamed live from Cape Town, South Africa. Bridgetti interviewed participants of the event, Mary Elizabeth Jackson, (Chelsea Radojcic-DiCicco) Chelsea’s World of Books, and Jason Scruggs, on who they are and why they came out today.

The presenters’ common goal in joining together today was to provide mental health aid and support to the community, families, children, and educators. Despite the heavy rains, the group was able to band together and find creative ways to reach their audiences at home. Thanks to Mary’s quick thinking and resourcefulness, she was able to get ahold of her co-host of her Special Needs TV show, and Bridgetti, the show producer, was gracious enough to bring us on live to share our message with viewers.

The rainclouds were filled with silver linings today! Thank you to everyone who came out to support the effort, and if you weren’t able to make it out, you can see our our interviews on Facebook > Special Needs TV > Mental Health Awareness EXPO > posted 09/18/2021.

Thank you for visiting! 🙂

Gallatin TN Public Library Event For Children, Teachers, and Parents

This event theme will be surrounding children’s education, empowerment, mental health and well-being.

Join us for our special Children’s Learning Event in Gallatin Public Library! Guest speakers in attendance: Children’s Book Author, Chelsea Radojcic-Dicicco, Author and Autism Advocate, Mary Elizabeth Jackson, and Children’s Crisis Counselor, Jason Scruggs.

Event Topics:

  • 10 AM : “Neurodiverse Learning” (given by guest speaker, Chelsea Radojcic-DiCicco)
  • 11 AM : “Acknowledging, Assessing and Addressing the Emotional Well-Being of Your Child” (given by guest speaker, Jason Scruggs)
  • 12 PM : “Empowering Our Kids Today” (given by guest speaker, Mary Jackson)

This event will be hosted at no charge, and open to the public. We encourage parents, and educators to come in and visit! We have lots of fun freebies and resources to offer, so if you’re in the area, stop by and say hello. We look forward to seeing you there!

Who is this event for?

  • Parents
  • Children
  • Educators
  • Family
  • Friends

If you are a #elementaryschoolteacher PLEASE stop by and pick up your FREE LESSON PLANS, GRADES K-3RD GRADE.

You don’t live local? No problem! Download your free pdf interactive lesson plans (that correspond with ADHD and Me) on my website under the free lesson plan tab, or simply follow the link in text.

If you have any questions, please call (615) 452-1722 and ask to speak to Gabby Cato, Operations Manager of Gallatin TN Public Library.

ABOUT THE GUEST SPEAKERS

The first guest speaker, Children’s Literature Author, Ms. Chelsea Radojcic-DiCicco, will be discussing the topic ‘NEURODIVERSE LEARNING’ at 10:00 AM. Afterward, she will be participating in an author signing of her book, ADHD and Me. (Available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, Lulu Bookstore, and Kindle.)

Resources, Free Stuff, and Merchandise

  • Informative banner will be displayed at the booth, featuring the topics: SUPPORT SYSTEM, LEARNING DIFFERENCES, and MESSAGE TO PARENTS, CAREGIVERS, AND EDUCATORS.

There will also be:

  • Promotional bookmarks
  • Spiral-lined “embrace your differences” school notebooks
  • Inspirational Stickers

And last but certainly not least, there will be:

  • FREE INTERACTIVE LESSON PLANS

Lesson plans will be made available for educators or homeschoolers in attendance, grades K-3rd. The curriculum includes games, projects, and learning examples designed for a group or in the classroom. Hurry in and get your free copies while supplies last!

For anyone interested in author interviews, having an in-person or virtual reading, or Q&A with the author, there will be a signup sheet provided at her booth.

Our next guest speaker, Children’s Crisis Counselor, Mr. Jason Scruggs, will be delivering his discourse on the topic ‘ACKNOWLEDGING, ASSESSING, AND ADDRESSING THE EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING OF YOUR CHILD’ at 11:00 AM. Mr. Scruggs’s wealth of experience and knowledge is invaluable, and we look forward with great anticipation to his presentation! He will also have a table set up with information for families and will be available to meet and greet patrons and answer questions throughout the day. Scruggs is an educator, professor, and counselor with two Master’s Degrees and works for the Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit in Bowling Green, KY.

https://www.facebook.com/jason.scruggs.50

Our final guest speaker, Special Needs Advocate, Author, and Autism Ambassador, Ms. Mary Jackson, will be delivering her talk on ‘EMPOWERING OUR KIDS TODAY’ at 12:00 PM. Ms. Jackson will also be participating in a book signing at her booth and will have other resources and pamphlets from local branches from our learning community with her as well.

Ms. Jackson is the co-author of Poolicious book series, as well as the co-founder and co-host of The Writers Corner Live TV Show and the Special Needs TV Show on Facebook and YouTube. To find out more about Ms. Jackson, please visit her website at www.maryejackson.com. We are looking forward with deep enthusiasm to seeing you all!

https://www.instagram.com/maryjackson444/

https://www.instagram.com/chelseasworldofbooks/