On the Beach

On the Beach

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to Raise a Genius

The gifted team at HCOS recently read this article:
How to raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Super Smart Children , published online by Nature.

The question was raised...."are we providing what our gifted kids need?". So I went through the article and drew out a checklist. Below is my summary...there are lots of good ideas, for sure and, for the record, as a school, I think we do pretty well. The additional questions that arose in my mind were: the measures that the studies use to define success (income, published papers, advanced degrees, patents), were they how I/we would define success? And, looking at the distilled suggestions, I felt that many are how we want to educate and support all children. (You know what I mean...not putting them all into AP courses early, but meeting them at their personal level of challenge, providing opportunities for their interests; encouraging a growth mind set and so forth.) Is it fair to say that good educational practices are simply good educational practices?

An alternative definition of success:

This led me down the path of thinking about how I do define success. A favourite quote of mine by Ralph Waldo Emerson states: “What is success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

The Bible would go into things like: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind mind ... Love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22) He has shown you, O mortal, what is good And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6)

Mind you, the article is pretty clear on one of their thoughts being that a nurtured genius would be someone who would leave the world a better place. “When you look at the issues facing society now — whether it's health care, climate change, terrorism, energy — these are the kids who have the most potential to solve these problems,” says Lubinski. “These are the kids we'd do well to bet on.”

I hear that, but there is something in me that rankles at the idea of raising gifted children for a purpose - regardless of how altruistic. Feels to similar to raising chickens or to eugenics and smacks of perfectionism in parenting. To me, we raise and educate the children we are given and we look to meet their needs the best we can. We steward them while we have them and hope/pray that we have modelled a steadfast reliance on God, an identity based on being his child, and no expectations beyond listening to and responding to his voice/call. To understand that our model of a successful gifted life on earth was that of Christ, who didn't hold a lofty position, died early (no patents, no degrees), gave away what he had and lived by faith, suffered and died. Okay, was also raised to life, and is Lord of Lords, owns the cattle on a thousand hills, spoke the universe into being and so forth. So probably a few patents...

My point is that if you raise a child who knows how to love and be loved, feels secure enough to risk and fail (and secure enough to deal with success well!), who can trust and be trusted...the rest is gravy. If we focus on these first, the rest will follow. Particularly if we use some of the tips on nurturing giftedness below. :)

That's my thought for today, at any rate. Open to discussion, of course.


Checklist on how to nurture giftedness (from the article linked above):

  • Expose children to diverse experiences
  • When a child exhibits strong interests or talents, provide opportunities to develop them.
  • Support both intellectual and emotional needs.
  • Help children to develop a 'growth mindset' by praising effort, not ability.
  • Encourage children to take intellectual risks and to be open to failures that help them learn.
  • Beware of labels: being identified as gifted can be an emotional burden.
  • Work with teachers to meet your child's needs. Smart students often need more-challenging material, extra support or the freedom to learn at their own pace.
  • Have your child's abilities tested. This can support a parent's arguments for more-advanced work, and can reveal issues such as dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or social and emotional challenges
  • A one-size-fits-all approach to gifted education, and education in general, was inadequate.
  • Accelerating fast learners by allowing them to skip school grades. 
  • Earlier access to what's already available to older kids.
  • Modest interventions — for example, access to challenging material such as college-level Advanced Placement courses — have a demonstrable effect.
  • Standardized tests should not be used to limit students' options, but rather to develop learning and teaching strategies appropriate to children's abilities.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

10 things to Help Testing Anxiety and the FSA

I had an email today from a parent about her child's testing anxiety.  In BC, we do FSAs – standardized testing – for those in grade 4 and 7.  I’ve re-worked my response to her, in case it might be more widely useful.

This mom writes:

If you have any resources on exam preparation with relation to anxiety, I would be grateful if you'd send them my way.  My husband and I are working with our daughter both one on one and in unison to help ease her concern of doing poorly on the FSAs.  She has never taken an exam of any sort before and somewhere along the line has picked up the notion that being timed will be detrimental to her success.  Toss in a little fear of the unknown and a dash of high-standards and well, we've spent a fair bit of the last ten days reassuring her that all will be well.

Years ago, my niece went through a similar experience with the FSAs. I proctored her exam and it was a super stressful experience for her (and thus for me too).  In the end, she aced the FSA but It left such a sour taste in everyone's mouth - and I missed the opportunity to give her some important tools.  I understand where this mom is coming from, for sure.  So here are some tools and approaches for those anxious kiddos.

Topics for thought and discussion that may help:

1) The FSAs are first of all, checking on the school - to see how we are doing in supporting families and students, to make sure that we aren’t missing a major area of instruction - and not that we are not mainly checking up on how well she in particular is doing.  She is helping the government to check up on the school.  

Checking up on your daughter as a learner happens every day, when you read with her or ask her a question or have a discussion…you check for understanding all the time. And then your teacher gets to celebrate and give feedback and record that learning with you during portfolio visits.

2) This is an opportunity to try something new.  As you say, testing isn’t a part of her daily reality…so this is a new experience that she gets to try.  And some people love tests! She might be one of them! Even if she doesn’t love them, it is like target practice…we get to see what we are hitting and where we are missing and that isn’t a bad thing - it helps us to grow, and know what we like or don’t, what we do well and what we need to improve. If we don’t have a target, we never get to see how keen our eye is or to make a correction that will help us to improve our marksmanship. But just like trying archery at camp doesn’t matter in the long run, the FSA results don’t matter. It is just something to try. 

3) While the FSAs don’t really matter in the long run, having the courage to step up and try is actually the big thing that matters…to find the bravery inside and be vulnerable, that is the thing that follows us. Every time we step up to a monster and face it, it becomes smaller and we become bigger, so the big thing is to face it and not run away: to try. Every time we run away, the monster becomes bigger and we become smaller. Finding our brave face and our heart of courage is a huge life skill.

4) If the test shows that there is an area that the school needs to work on that is good to know, right?  And we can put some attention to it. Or if we see that maybe she needs to work on something - that is part of life too, right? It is not shameful, it is just information that can be useful.  It is like going to the doctor for a blood test - I can’t prepare for that - I take it and then the results show me if I need to take - say - iron tablets - or not. 

5) Gifted kids often have two testing challenges: perfectionism and sometimes a slower processing speed. Both create anxiety when you have a timed test. Some of the above talks may help with perfectionism.  Another thing that changed my perfectionism perspective was a great little Ted talk by Brene Brown:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o .  

6) I like to let students know that while it is timed, they can have as much time as they need and not to feel pressure or rushed. http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/pdfs/assessment/description.pdf  It clearly states that : Total test time: 4.5 hours (Students may be permitted more time if needed)

7) Dealing with the unknown may be addressed by trying some of the online FSA practice tests. It may also seem like you are giving the FSAs more weight/time than they deserve, so you will have to make that judgment call, if this would be helpful or not. https://www.awinfosys.com/eassessment/fsa_sample.htm

8) “Why Smart Kids Worry”  ( https://www.amazon.ca/Why-Smart-Kids-Worry-Parents/dp/140228425X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484256484&sr=8-1&keywords=why+smart+kids+worry)  has lots of tools (breathing activities) that help with managing the panic.  And explains why the asynchronous development that gifted children experience often causes anxiety.

9) In case you don’t have time to read the whole book today: an example of a breathing exercise called “Square Breathing”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgzhKW08bMQ.  

10) And finally, I always start with myself, so checking to make sure my take on things is balanced; to model a lack of concern about testing.  Kids are so intuitive and pick up on our stress. And we can feel that we are personally being evaluated too - so to take a look inside and make sure you are okay with the results/process, regardless. Gifted kids generally have gifted parents who also deal with perfectionism and anxiety, so I just always want to check whose anxiety we are talking about.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Empathy and Anxiety

Anxiety, as the article below claims, seems to be part of being gifted. As I speak with teachers and parents of gifted children, it runs through our conversations regularly. More and more we talk about mindfulness, breathing exercises, counselling. Prayer.  

As people of faith, that faith, and the Scriptures, inform our response to empathy and anxiety. They can be debilitating; our Creator has planned ways to protect us. 

In the article below, when it says that "children need to develop an invisible force field to shield their vulnerable hearts", I would agree...and believe that is one of the roles of the Holy Spirit, to protect, to shield. As David says in Psalm 91:4 "He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge".  To me, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the modelling of an authentic and dependent relationship with God - a faith that is walked out and has a practical impact on how life is lived, where children are taught to ask the Lord for protection, for strength, for healing and see their parents doing the same. 

The New Testament repeatedly encourages us to not worry, not be anxious and to "cast your anxiety on him, for he cares for you" (1Pet 5:7, Matt 6:25)  Some Christian circles talk about the kind of empathy discussed in the article below as "Burden Bearing"and would agree that it is a gift and meant to be informative.  The gift of empathy, of burden bearing, is used through intercession, a carrying of the needs of others to the Throne of God.  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil 4:6). 

Teaching gifted and empathic children to trust God for protection, to leave the burdens with him, of protecting themselves from toxic places, programs and people, seems particularly important in this day and age, when anxiety and toxicity is rampant.

Anyway, just thoughts and processing. Have a read below.  I imagine you will find nuggets to think about. I certainly did. 


Whose Anxiety is this, Anyway?   


by Linda Powers Leviton and Linda Kreger Silverman

Anxiety is the birthright of the gifted. You don’t have to be gifted to be anxious, but it helps. Gifted minds can find endless reasons to worry. Kazimierz Dabrowski (1970) saw a close relationship between high intelligence and emotional tension. With high intelligence comes greater awareness, and greater awareness can either motivate or immobilize. While a little anxiety can inspire action, too much can paralyze and punish us. High achievers are anxious about meeting deadlines and reaching goals. They manage their anxiety by focusing their attention, setting priorities, working hard. But everyone is not cut out of the same cloth. Some gifted people are unable to turn off their awareness of others or the pain in the world and just concentrate on their work. They are tuned to a different station.
According to Microsoft’s thesaurus, anxious is synonymous with nervous. “Nervousness is tension in the nervous system” (Piechowski, 1979, p. 28).  Dabrowski contended that the gifted are born with increased nervousness due to heightened neuronal responses to various types of stimuli. He observed strong emotional tension in gifted and creative children and saw that this tension was expressed differently in different children—through movement (psychomotor overexcitability), aesthetic appreciation (sensual overexcitability), daydreaming (imaginational overexcitability), curiosity (intellectual overexcitability), and intense feelings (emotional overexcitability).  
Dabrowski was most interested in emotional overexcitability (OE). He considered it the highest expression of OE. Emotional OE can take many forms, from intense fear and anxiety to exquisite empathy. A highly empathic, gifted man himself, Dabrowski’s heart resonated with gifted empaths. His theory of positive disintegration (TPD) describes the journey to higher levels of moral development of individuals born with the combination of high intellect and incredible empathy. These are the ones who cannot dial down their awareness. 
Empathy is closely related to compassion. Both focus on other people’s feelings and needs, wanting to connect with them heart to heart, to help them feel better. If you are compassionate, you feel sad when others suffer. You care about them and the challenges they face, the hard feelings they feel. You try to understand and you want to do whatever is within your power to help them. But, you do not actually feel their feelings. If you are an empath, you connect with the experiences of others from the times you also had those feelings. At a deeper level, you have the ability to experience their feelings directly—to actually feel what they are feeling.  
What is it like to not only understand another’s perspective, but to feel their feelings? How do you know which are your own feelings and what you are absorbing from others?  If you are born an emotional sponge with a high sense of moral responsibility for the welfare of others, how do you cope with the bombardment of other people’s emotions? How do you deal with the anxiety of the world?
You enter a room feeling fine, and suddenly you are overwhelmed with apprehension or grief or hopelessness. You just want to run away. Or you have a houseguest in the next room who can’t sleep and you wake up tired, as if you hadn’t slept a wink. This is the daily experience of the gifted empath; you feel the feelings of others as if they are your own.  And the individuals whose feelings you are experiencing may not even be aware that they are anxious. Often they are not, as this may be their normal state. But now it has become your experience. You cannot pinpoint the reason for your tension, so you do not know how to resolve the problem.
As most people do not have the capacity to directly experience the feelings of others, some dismiss this level of empathy as “inconceivable.” (Be careful what you deem “inconceivable”!) When your empathic experience is invalidated, not only do you have undefined anxiety to cope with, now you also wonder if you’re crazy, which can be emotionally crippling. 
And what if you are a child? Children believe all of their feelings are their own and their experience must be what everyone experiences. They know they feel terrible, but they don’t know why. They assume this is the way the world must work for everyone. Negating their feelings at these times makes them question their whole understanding of the world. They begin to doubt their feelings and believe that their perceptions are not to be trusted. The message that “something must be wrong with me” can lead to lifelong insecurity and self-doubt. This damage can be prevented if empathic children are helped to understand that not everyone is an empath. 
Empathy begins very early in life. Empathic children cannot tune out painful feelings of others. Children don’t know how to question the sudden emotions they feel. The experience of being shanghaied by the intense emotions of another is confusing, frustrating, and, at times, devastating. Even adults find this experience overwhelming and may become flooded; when flooded with anxiety, they may lose their reasoning skills. Gaining distance and perspective becomes a huge challenge. 
Gifted families are often emotionally close knit, and each member of the family is both blessed and cursed with abundant overexcitabilities. The good times are hilarious, witty, creative, delicious. But when all those OEs clash, run for cover! Anxiety is magnified and highly contagious. It’s like a game of Hot Potato that families play with no rules or boundaries. Anxiety is such an uncomfortable feeling that it seems intolerable unless others share it. (Misery loves company, right?) So, unconsciously, we pass it along to others we love. If someone catches the hot potato, the receiver takes on some of our tension, which yields some measure of relief. We may be completely unaware of our anxiety and equally blind to its contagious nature. So when the receiver gets upset with us, we have no idea why. 
Gifted empaths need their parents to recognize that the un-nameable, intense anxiety they are feeling might be a hot potato. How? Start by becoming aware of and owning your own anxiety. Stop and ask yourself, “Am I anxious?” “Am I passing that tension on to other family members?” “Is this my own or did I pick up someone else’s hot potato?” Try to sort through your own feelings first, before you attempt to help your child. Even if you aren’t certain that you threw a hot potato, acknowledge to your child that she or he might be feeling your anxiety. See what effect it has on your child when you calm yourself. 
What do you do to lessen your anxiety? What messages do you give yourself? Do you reassure yourself that everything will be alright? Do you go for a walk? Do you go to the woods and surround yourself with nature? Do you listen to slow, calming music (e.g., Eric Satie’s Gymnopedies)? Do you do yoga? Are you practicing mindfulness? Do you snuggle up and lose yourself in a good book? Do you talk about what’s bothering you to someone who gives you another perspective? Do you get a massage? Whatever you do for yourself, teach those techniques to your children.  If you haven’t yet found something to help tame your tension, make that a priority so you can model positive recovery strategies for your children.
Empathic children need to be taught to build an invisible force field to protect their vulnerable hearts. They need to have a refuge when they are faced with highly charged environments or individuals.  To whatever extent possible, exposure to toxic environments and situations should be monitored and avoided. Even children’s cartoons, a birthday party or an amusement park may provoke too much anxiety in an empathically gifted child. If your child begs to stay home from school, observe for yourself what the sources of anxiety might be in that environment and see what can be done about them. 
When there are no ways to avoid anxious people or situations, ask, “What do you think could have made you feel this way?” and “What can we do next time to anticipate this dilemma?”  Help your child externalize both the problem (feeling and emotion that belongs to someone else) and the solution (preventing the hijacking.) Respond to your children’s behavior—especially when they are acting out—with compassion. Recognize their inner turmoil. Set boundaries without shaming them. Identify the cause of their anxiety and commiserate with their distress.
Healthy adult empaths learn to recognize whose feelings they are experiencing and what action is needed. To do this, you must gain some mental distance, much like a detective examining a crime scene. Once this observational stance is accomplished, it is possible to connect with the other person’s experience and feelings without judgment, agreement or disagreement. Instead of catching the hot potato and feeling anxious with them, you can create a space for them to find a strategy for reducing their fears. You dissipate the anxiety when you are able to step back and create a safe space in which to design and activate an action plan; this injects hope for the future.
Anxiety is actually the body’s built-in alarm system. When you begin to feel anxious for no apparent reason, ask yourself if there is something you need to know and act upon. Your intuition knows far more than your logic. If you ask and listen, you may receive an intuitive message that there is some danger you can avoid if you do (or do not do) something. Intuition has miraculously saved countless lives.
Honor your own anxiety and your child’s. Honor the possibility that your child may be experiencing someone else’s emotional burden. Anxiety is not necessarily a liability. See it as information! Learn how to interpret the information. Whose anxiety is this, anyway? Am I getting a message of something I need to fix? Is it someone else’s? Am I helping by being anxious with (or for) that person? Would it be better for me to leave the situation? Or can I step back and see how I can help solve the problem?
Turning paralyzing anxiety into a source of positive information and a potential incentive for effective action empowers us before we begin to feel hopelessly out of control.  There is much to be learned from all our overexcitabilities. If we correctly identify the source of our uneasiness, tolerate its intensity, and apply constructive strategies for protection and productive action, we might discover that our anxiety is actually a powerful resource.
Dabrowski, K., with Kawczak, A., & Piechowski, M. M.  (1970).  Mental growth through positive disintegration.  London:  Gryf.
Piechowski, M. M.  (1979). Developmental potential. In N. Colangelo & R. T. Zaffrann (Eds.), New voices in counseling the gifted(pp. 25-57).  Dubuque, IA:  Kendall/Hunt.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Autism: It's Different in Girls

Autism: It's Different in Girls is an article I recently discovered in Scientific American Mind. I found  is really interesting and helpful to keep in mind while working with gifted girls.  

Link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/autism-it-s-different-in-girls/

Maia Szalavitz (on March 1, 2016) talks about girls with ASD "hiding" in different populations - 

                   "Further, because autism and ADHD often occur together—and because people              diagnosed with ADHD tend to have higher levels of autism traits than typical people do—girls who seem easily distracted or hyperactive may get this label, even when autism is more appropriate. Obsessive-compulsive behavior, rigidity and fear of change also occur in both people with autism and those with OCD, suggesting that autistic females might also be hidden in this group."

There are so many things I see overlapping in gifted individuals - the anxiety, the OCD, ADHD, the intensity, sensitivities, etc. that are also characteristics of ASD, that I wonder if there aren't a number of girls with ASD "hiding" in the gifted group as well. Not that it is all about determining the right label - as a colleague of mine says, "labels are for jam jars" but it seems helpful to have the full and accurate picture.  To be able to say, this is giftedness and asynchronous development and the isolation that can come from that...versus "this is giftedness - the isolation/anxiety may come from that, but this added piece is ASD, and the anxiety that is felt may need to be addressed by xyz" - perhaps very differently than originally intended.  It seems that even when symptoms are the same/similar, identifying the correct cause is vital to finding the right solution. 

Some Examples of ways ASD presents in Girls vs .Boys:  
  • On measures of friendship quality and empathy, girls with Autism present as a typical boy of the same age, but lower than a typical girl of the same age. 
  • Girls have a greater ability to hide their symptoms
  • ASD girls have a greater desire to connect (whereas ASD boys can seem to not care if they have friends or not)
  • Less repetitive behaviour
  • With pretend play, they can camouflage too - ie. “pretend play” with barbies may be setting up a static visual scene rather than imagining a story line. 
  • “Too” as the descriptor of these girls/women -too intense, too sensitive, too…
  • Sensitivities, bothered by loud noises, certain textures, crowds
  • Dominated by Anxiety - social issues, sensory issues,
  • More often seen in anorexics - (23%) hyper focus on body image and control; rigid, detail oriented, 
  • May be hidden in things like ADHD, OCD
  • May not like to be held or cuddled as a child
  • Struggle with the subtleties of flirting and dating
  • Want to connect and cannot - tormented by loneliness, suicidal thoughts
  • May have trouble washing hair, wearing deodorant, dressing appropriately because of sensitivities

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to have a Perfect Summer....or a Really Good School Year

My friend and colleague (and parent of gifted children) Anne Marie passed this link on to me and even though it is now mid-summer, I think it is still worth including here...in part because some parents out there may be entering the mid-summer "I'm bored" blahs, but also because essentially, for homeschoolers, her "Perfect Summer" recipe is also my "How to have a Really Good School Year" recipe. (I try to avoid the word perfect around gifted folk - pushes too many buttons...grin).

A Prescription for the Perfect Summer

Dr. MacEachron (co-founder of the CT Center for Exceptional Learners) writes:

In our practice of meeting the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional learners, our “prescription” for the perfect summer is “Take two genuine interests, explore them thoroughly, and call us in September.”

Tips for Parents
Summer is almost upon us. How can parents go about designing an enrichment-focused summer program for their children?

Begin with a careful assessment of their genuine interests.  In a non-judgmental way, directly ask what they want to learn more about, from anthropology to zoology, archery to yoga, animation to video film making. Making a list of various hobbies and fields of interest and discussing them with children can be helpful. Parents can reflect on how their children choose to spend free time, the books that absorb their interest, the kinds of exhibits that engage them in museums, and any other clues to what intrigues them. Even interests that on the surface don’t appear to lend themselves to productive enrichment can provide valuable clues. For example, if your daughter spends most of her free time on the phone with friends in meaningful conversations, recognize that this suggests she may be good at and interested in helping her friends solve problems, and consider exposing her to psychology.

Once parents have a better understanding of their children’s interests, what should they do with these insights?
  • Embrace them. Don’t try to re-channel your child into something you consider to be more impressive or marketable, or something that you wish you might have done but didn’t. Remember that it’s your child’s life, not yours.

  • Start searching for opportunities for your child to delve deeply into exploring his or her interests. Discourage your child from following friends to a camp that may interest the friends but might not be a good fit for your child.

  • Don’t limit yourself to organized camp programs (although there are many terrific and specialized ones), and don’t feel limited to the menu of activities offered in formal programs in your area. Often the best opportunities for your child are the ones that the two of you initiate together. 

  • Don’t be shy about asking experts in a field for their advice. Most people who have a consuming interest in something are flattered when they are approached by a parent with a child who is intrigued by learning more. Professional musicians might be able to recommend teachers, competitions, and schools. A scientist or professor might be able to recommend a colleague your child can intern with. We know children who have co-published articles in journals by the time they were out of middle school – all of which started when their parents asked if their children could help out in a lab.

  • Check local high schools and colleges for courses your child (or you and your child) can audit.

  • Plan family vacations around your child’s interests. Paleontology fits well with a trip to the Southwest to volunteer on a dinosaur dig. Engineering fits well with outings to science museums and factory tours.

  • Enlist the help of your local children’s librarian. Find books and do internet searches about your child’s interest areas. Discover magazines about particular fields, from National Geographic to MIT’s Technology Review. Find out about conferences and special events.

  • Learn about local special interest clubs and organizations. Most communities have star watching groups, book groups, birding clubs, and other such groups that offer events and information.

  • Be involved. Don’t just sign your child up or dump resources on your child. Accompany him or her to events. Help him practice. Read the books he is reading and discuss them over dinner. Be an active partner in exploring your child’s interests and how he or she might pursue them in the summer. Studies repeatedly show that parental involvement is essential if children are to fully develop their potential.

If you follow this “prescription” for the perfect summer, your gifted child will begin the school year with renewed energy, enthusiasm for learning, and one step closer to achieving the joy of true fulfillment. And you’ll have quite an interesting ride along the way!

Link to full article from SENG and Dr. Devon MacEachron

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Camps

So I'm passing on the list below as suggestions for the gifted kids in your life.  I got this list from another person who got it from someone else...so not recommending or taking responsibility for the camps listed below, but think they sound like fun and are worth checking out.  Well, except for SALTS - that one I've been on and can personally recommend, without reservation. So fun.

Hope you find the fun in the summer!  Carmen

SALTS - Sail and Life Training Society

Beyond the Books Summer Camp

Offering kids a chance to be totally creative including making things that go zoom, building towers from balsa wood, exploring inventions and making prototypes

Strategy-thinking puzzles and games, critical thinking strategies, generating many ideas and finding new ways to think for children in grades K-7, Coquitlam B.C.
-small safe, group environment fosters a willingness to take intellectual and social risks

Think Tank Challenge Center
Innovation and problem solving in a cooperative group setting, Maple Ridge B.C.

SFU Summer Camps 

Maker Camp  - online

MindCraft Summer Camps - online
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Quiring Chamber Music Camp
Musicians aged 5-20
Combination of chamber music, master classes, composition/art classes and concerts providing a well- balanced, engaging and enriching experience for music students

Pedalheads Bike Camp
Multiple locations including Coquitlam or mountain biking on SFU trails

Bard on the Beach 
Main camp at Vanier Park with satellite camps in Burnaby and other communities

Academie Duello
Knightly training including falconry, heraldry, swordplay, archery, strategy and medieval games

BC Youth Writers’ Camp, Okanagan College, Penticton 

University of Toronto Youth Summer Programs in Law or Medicine 

Satori Summer Camp for Gifted Teens  -a summer experience for gifted students aged 12-18
On the campus of Eastern Washington University, July 21-27

St. George’s School
Fun topics include Lego, engineering, alien guide to planet earth, junior robotics, cartooning, digital media, web design, chess & puzzles, circus skills and Shakespeare

The Quantum Cryptography School
Waterloo University offers grade 11 and 12 students a week-long summer immersion program in quantum cryptography,

International Summer School for Young Physicist 
Waterloo For grade 11 and 12 students with passion for physics and who intend to pursue physics at the university level

Concordia Language College
Flagship Youth Summer Villages, where students are immersed in a foreign language for one week, two week or month long residential camps in one of 14 languages
High school students receive credit for a full year of language study
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The Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists Workshop 
offered through Bird Studies Canada. All expenses paid; student must get themselves to and from Longpoint, Ontario.
9 days of outdoor transformational outdoor living and learning. It is free, provides course credit, and takes place in Powell River. Hands-on summer outdoor immersion for kids from around the world 

Catching the Spirit
Their camps are FREE and provide certificates of volunteer hours. Once a student has attended a camp or camps, the student can apply the next year to be a peer leader. This organization is allied with Metro Vancouver and BCIT and offers excellent leadership training including free First Aid training.

TUTS, Theatre Under the Stars, is often looking for volunteers for their box office and a few other duties. There are some perks in terms of tickets and the kids can gain experience that may be useful later for employment in or out of the arts.

Friday, June 5, 2015

This Little Piggy Went to Market...

Okay, so some of our little piggies will be intrigued by the stock market. (I had a question from one of my families on this topic, hence the post). I'm more of the little piggy who stayed home and ate roast beef (can I be two piggies at once? I think I can) but still, for those market-going kids, here are a few resources.  Again, not my forte, and I've just found these via google reviews, so if you have good resources to share in this area, please let me know!

Also a note: successful entrepreneurs, out there changing the world, are often found in the gifted/LD crowd - too ADD to be excited and sit still for purposeless school work, but a real job, a real goal, with the chance to hire people to do the stuff they aren't interested in...brilliant!  TED TALK: Let's raise entrepreneurs

Something to think about...


1.  Investment Camps for kids:

Calgary, Alberta (SAIT Ploytech):
Investment Masters

Toronto, Ontario (Seneca College)
Wealth Rules 12 - 14
Camp Millionaire 9 - 14
Review Camp Millionaire

Oakville, Ontario (Appleby College)
Money Smarts for Kids

2.  Free Stock Market Game:
Market Watch

3. Clubs
Junior Achievement  - Investment Strategies
JA Competition

4.  Online Resources about Finance and the Stock Market and becoming an entrepreneur:
Money Savvy Kids - Google Book

Lemonade Millionaire and LM Young Entrepreneurs

Khan Academy

Money Smarts 4 Kids

Canadian Banker Association Student Education program 

5. A bit of Biblical perspective:
...because if you are like me, you may be questioning why the focus on funds, friend?  Shouldn't our focus be on making the world a better place, feeding the poor etc. etc.? But I sometimes think we throw out the baby with the bathwater in this area rather than being aware that good stewardship starts with understanding what you are stewarding.  We grow our gifts - creativity, playing piano, listening, scientific inquiry - why not grow our ability to handle our finances? The results - whether  we become artists, performers, counsellors, scientists, pastors or money mangers - and how we attain and use those results - are a reflection on the people we are, the people we are becoming as followers of Jesus and his way ...and, I would hope, would thus be to the glory of God and for the care of the people on this planet.  Just my 2 cents.  (Ha. Money joke. How timely.)

And some a site for these type of questions:
Got Questions
Christian curriculum Financial Literacy for homeschoolers - personal finances
Monarch curriculum