College Tours at Any Age

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Our son has always loved college campuses!  He started going to UH when he was 2 to participate in language development studies.  The students would take him to other cognitive study labs after he finished the experiments because he was so fascinated by the students and what they did.  Then we started attending special events and open houses at UH, UT and A&M starting when he was 5.  He loves A&M’s Physics Department to the point that he will not let us skip Physics Festival weekend.  And, thanks to being part of TPPG our son gets 3 days of special activities, lectures, and tours for Physics Festival.

His love for universities has completely expanded to the point that he asks for university tours.  For his 10th birthday, he got a private tour of Marquette University’s engineering building and computer science department due to his Aunt working for the university and having friends in the department.  He was only supposed to be there for one hour but he was there for 2.5 hours!  For his 11th birthday, he wanted to go see MIT & Harvard.  Since we had friends nearby, we made a trip to see them along with the universities.  And they suggested adding Yale to the list.  We also planned to be MIT for the solar eclipse.  So in lieu of a birthday party this year, he got to go to his favorite university!  He absolutely loved MIT and did enjoy both Harvard and Yale.  But, MIT won him over.

Here is the list of colleges we have visited thus far:

  • Harvard (self-guided tour & their museums)
  • MIT (self-guided tour, their museums, & solar eclipse activities)
  • Yale (self-guided tour & their museum)
  • Rice (individually guided tour of Engineering, self-guided of campus, & their museum)
  • University of Houston (participated in several language studies, group guided tours, self-guided, and open houses)
  • University of Houston – Sugar Land (self-guided tour, local library on campus)
  • University of Texas – Austin (UT Explore day, group and individual guided tour of labs, & self-guided of campus)
  • Texas A&M (Physics Festival, Chemistry Open House, group guided tour of labs, private lectures, lunch with math & physics department, & self-guided tours)
  • Marquette University (individually guided tour of Engineering & self-guided of campus)
  • Houston Community College (open houses & individually guided tour of labs)
  • Baylor University (self-guided tour & their museum)
  • University of Otago (self-guided tour)

We will obviously continue to visit UT, A&M, Rice, and UH quite frequently due to where we live and the activities we pursue at these campuses.  Soon he will be taking classes at HCC.  However, we plan on continuing to visit more universities, even when in foreign countries.  Our son absolutely loves being able to go into buildings and get lab tours.  But he also appreciates the building designs, safety analysis, and their architecture.  He is always hoping for private lab tours or a chance to talk with either students or professors.

College tours are something more people should consider doing with their children of any age and for children who are gifted or not.  It is true that not all students will go to a 4-year college.  However, that doesn’t mean they should not go visit colleges.  Any student should go and tour colleges.  Young children seeing a college campus may inspire or motivate them.  They may learn about additional career options that they were unaware of.  They may learn what fields require more than 4 years of college and which only require a trade school certification.  In addition, many colleges (both 4 year and 2 year) offer open houses that are filled with hands-on activities for childrens of all ages and tours of the buildings.  Some universities even offer a variety of camps that college students run.  And, many universities have museums on site, some of which are free.

There is another perk of college tours, even at young ages, a tour allows your child to see the environment first hand.  Even young children can get a feel for a college.  It is important to determine if it is the right place for them and if they feel comfortable.  I know our son was turned off by some of the colleges he toured because he did not like their labs, thought the campus was “cold” or “unfriendly,” or did not like some other aspect of the campus.  Some campuses were a hit immediately because of the friendliness of the students and professors regardless of his age. As with high school students, even younger children will either love a campus or not upon arrival.  Thus, experiencing the trip involved to get to the campus is important.  In addition, meeting the people who are there and seeing the actual learning environment are great experiences that can help with future planning.  College tours give you the opportunity to start the conversations about colleges, future education choices, and planning for the future.  Consider adding college visits as a fun activity to do with your child!

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Hydraulic Engineering Lessons via CAP

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In June, I lead a civil air patrol lesson on the weather, the atmosphere, the climate, and weather forecasting based on my recent Civil Air Patrol Education material arriving.  I wrote up a list of resources for this here.  This time my Civil Air Patrol educational materials are the Hydraulic Engineering STEM Kit.  My kit came with 4 different projects to build and an activity guide.

The following list of terms came directly from the Civil Air Patrol’s “Hydraulic Engineering STEM Kit – Tips for AEOs and AEMs:”

Fluid Power – fluid power is a complex discipline of engineering that spans pneumatics and hydraulics; it is the use of fluids under pressure to generate, control, and transmit power.

Fluids –  a liquid or a gas when defining fluids as it relates to fluid power within hydraulics & pneumatics.

Power – as it pertains to hydraulics & pneumatics, to supply with mechanical or electrical energy.

Pneumatics – (root Pneuma is from Latin/Greek and means air, wind, breath) the branch of physics, technology, and engineering concerned with mechanical properties of gases, pressurized gases or air; using compressed air for special applications.

Hydraulics – (root Hydra is from Greek and means water) at the basic level it is the liquid counterpart of pneumatics; focuses on the applied engineering using the properties of fluids.

Viscosity – a thickness or internal friction attribute; the less viscosity the fluid has the easier movement.

Hydrostatics – pressurizing a liquid to produce a force, unmoving; liquid at rest; the weight of a liquid.

Hydrodynamics – manipulating liquid to flow to push something; liquid in motion (i.e. Hoover Dam is hydroelectric, historical grist mills are hydromechanical).

Pascal’s Principle – pressure applied anywhere in a closed container of fluid is transmitted equally to the container walls in all directions (P = F/A; pressure equals a force divided by an area).

Mechanical Advantage – the advantage gained by the use of a mechanism for transmitting force; the ratio of the force produced by a machine to the force applied to it.

Bernoulli’s Principle – pressure applied to a fluid is decreased when flowing through a narrowed section of pipe/hose; a slow-moving fluid exerts more pressure than a fast-moving fluid.

Venturi effect – the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of a pipe.

The following are links to online resources that I located (videos, lesson plans, e-books) that can be used to better understand hydraulic engineering:

The following are books (all at our local library) about hydraulic engineering:

  • “Rubberband engineer: build slingshot-powered rockets, rubber band rifles, unconventional catapults, and more guerrilla gadgets from household hardware” by Lance Akiyama
  • “Fluid mechanics and hydraulics” by Ranald V. Giles
  • “Basic physics for all” by B. N. Kumar
  • “National Geographic science of everything: how things work in our world from cell phones, soap bubbles & vaccines to GPS, x-rays & submarines.” by National Geographic

The following are DVDs (all at our local library) about hydraulic engineering:

  • “The way things work. Pressure” from Schlessinger Media
  • “The way things work. Pumps” from Schlessinger Media
  • “Bill Nye the science guy. Pressure” from Disney Educational Productions
  • “Science of Disney Imagineering. Fluids” by Disney Educational Productions

World Schooling Round 5

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As you can tell from the title, this is not our first round world schooling.  In previous blogs, I have explained exactly what world schooling is and what adventures we had.  In Round 1 I discussed New Zealand.  In Round 2 I discussed Germany.  In Round 3 I discussed England.  In Round 4 I discussed Hawaii.  Well, Round 5 is Canada and specifically the Banff, Alberta area.

Canada was not a new experience for my husband and I.  I had the privilege of taking many trips to Canada as a child growing up in Wisconsin.  In addition, I have a familial connection to Canada due to my mom’s grandparents immigrating from Ireland to Canada before arriving in WI.  And, we have several longtime family friends who were born in Canada.  In addition, Canada is America’s neighbor to the north.  Thus, Canada does not seem foreign to us.

Here is what we experienced during our 8-day adventure in and around Banff:

  • Calgary
  • Banff
  • Banff Visitor Centre
  • Bow River
  • Lake Louise
  • Lake Louise Visitor Centre
  • Lake Louise Gondola
  • Buckhorn Wildlife Interpretative Centre
  • Bow River Valley Dr.
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Junior Explorer Program (4 different badges)
  • Jasper National Park Icefields Visitor Centre
  • Athabasca Glacier Adventure
  • Skywalk Adventure
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing
  • Moraine Lake
  • Consolation Lake
  • Vermillion Lakes
  • Bow River Falls
  • Sundance Canyon
  • Cave & Basin National Historic Site and Visitor Centre
  • Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War Museum
  • Banff Hot Springs
  • Luxton Museum of the Plains Indians
  • Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
  • Mount Norquay Ski Area
  • Two Jack Lake
  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Transformer Building (first site of electricity in Banff)
  • Park Administration Building & Cottage Gardens
  • Banff Centre
  • Tunnel Mountain
  • Canmore
  • Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail Road (numerous stops)
  • Spray Valley Provincial Park – Kananaskis Country
  • Spray Lake
  • Buller Pond
  • Peter Lougheed Park Discovery Centre
  • Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Upper Kananaskis Lake
  • Bow Valley Provincial Park – Kananaskis Country
  • Beaver Ponds
  • Mount Lorette Ponds
  • Canadians Brew House
  • Telus Spark Science Centre

Here are some phrases my son learned:

  • Sortie (Exit)
  • Centre (center)
  • Washroom (bathroom or restroom)
  • Texas Gate (cattle guard)
  • Pop (soda)
  • Merci (Thank you)
  • Bienvenue (Welcome)
  • No Worries (your welcome or no problem)
  • Eh? (common phrase heard, but also common in parts of the Midwest of the US)
  • Brown bread (whole wheat bread)
  • The bill (the check)
  • Poutine (french fries covered with cheese and gravy)
  • Mountie (police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
  • Loonie (1 dollar coin)
  • Toonie (2 dollar coin)
  • Ya know? (common phrase heard, but also common in parts of the Midwest of the US)
  • Chinook (warm wind that comes in over the mountain, raises temperature)

Travel to Canada was actually easier than any of our other international trips because it was a 3.5 hour non-stop flight.  In fact, travel to Canada was easier than many of the domestic trips we have taken.  And, Canada is very similar to the US in terms of speaking English, similar stores, and having free WiFi in many places.  Like remote areas in the US, you don’t always have cell reception in the remote areas of Canada.  The difference in Canada is that signs and packages are in both French and English.  And, the people greeting you often spoke both French and English to you until you speak.  If you spoke in English, they would not continue in French.  My son had put French into google translate so that he could play with it on informational signs and on food packages as we prepared him for this fact. Travel to Canada in late September also meant a true experience of other seasons as he got to see fall colors and experience accumulating snowfall.  He even had his first snowball fight as we don’t get that kind of snow in Houston, TX (it gets ice and grapple every few years).  Travel to Canada was a great way to physically experience and learn about: mountain ecology, mountain geography, mountain weather, Canadian culture, First Nations culture, foreign language (French), Canadian National Parks, provincial parks,  historic sites, different signs, use of the metric system, accents, and currency exchange.

I strongly believe that travel is a great educational tool.   Remember that travel could be local, regional, your own country, or foreign countries.  And, if you can not physically leave, travel can be via “armchair” with the use of books, videos, and computers.  Exposure to the world is so important for children.  Please, be inspired and go explore!

Our Lessons from Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was our 2nd major hurricane we went through as a family.  The first was Hurricane Ike.  We thought we learned from Ike.  We thought we learned from previous flood events (tax day flood 2016 and memorial day flood 2015).  Hurricane Harvey was worse!  It was an emotional rollercoaster that taught us even more lessons.

 

  • People are more important than things.  With Hurricane Ike, we knew there could be damage (and there was) but we never felt the dire need to evacuate and we were never under evacuation orders.  We also knew we weren’t going to lose everything.  We had done the standard hurricane preparations.  However, Harvey was scarier because from the get go we were being told this is going to be record rain event.  And preparing for being flooded is completely different than preparing for a major wind event.  Once we knew Houston was going to get hit, we started moving what we could upstairs.  This is where it became clear, you cannot save everything.  Prior to our son, we evacuated for Hurricane Rita and it was easy to take lots of things when traveling as 2 adults.  Well, for Ike we rode it out as a family of 3.  And for Harvey, we thought we’d be riding it out until we got put under mandatory evacuation orders.  Well, evacuating as a family of 3 means you definitely can’t take everything.  We were lucky enough to be able to get out in our car (albeit we had to wait several hours after the evacuation order for the street to be low enough to get out).  Otherwise, we would have walked out each with just one bag.  The point is, we were told directly we were facing the potential of 3 to 5 feet of water due to the Brazos River going 3 feet about the flood stage for Oyster Creek which connects to the Brazos and runs through our neighborhood and connects to Ditch B and American Canal which are directly next to us.  Ditch B had topped its banks twice with Harvey and was awfully close to our house.  Thus, the city knew if the river rose to the height and at the speed, it was forecasted, we would be flooded.  You have to act fast.  You can’t save everything.  Saving our family was important!  Thus when we came home, we were overjoyed to only have seepage from Ditch B touching our foundation (way better than standing water) and water issues from the chimney (very common problem around us).  Now, we are in the process of analyzing what we have.  We don’t need it all.  We have already passed on items of clothing and jackets, donated many bags of stuff to charities, donated old curriculum to flood damaged schools, donating homeschooling materials to friends with younger kids, etc.
  • Harvey taught us way more about weather forecasting and weather chart reading.  I had just done a weather lesson with my son and 3 of our friends.  I even wrote a blog about it here But the information we learned never had as many colors as we would see on the charts for Harvey.  We learned there are extra colors for when you exceed 20 inches of rain and when the rainfall rate exceeds 6 inches per hour.  Our neighborhood ended with 37 inches but just a couple miles east and south of us they had over 40 inches.  And some parts of Houston had 52 inches.  This wasn’t discussed in any of our weather materials!  In addition, we experienced way more weather warnings at once.  We discussed various weather warnings as well as the difference between watches and warnings, but, it is completely different to go through so many all at once.  At the worst of it we had simultaneously received hurricane watch, tropical storm warning, flash flood warning, flood warning, civil engineering warning (this was a new one and was related to issues with reservoirs north west of us), and tornado warnings.  On Friday and Saturday night, we slept downstairs due to the number of tornado warnings and the fact that we had been under a tornado watch for more than 24 hours.  We never had this number of warnings and alerts with Ike.  Harvey was definitely a monster on the weather charts.
  • Being able to read hydrological data is important.  Sadly, in my previous weather lessons with my son and our friends we had missed this.  However, Harvey made it clear, you need to understand hydrological data.  Hydrological data is a different set of graphs documenting the levels of the major rivers and reservoirs along with the various flood stages.  This data combined with topological data can help you determine what flood stage is bad for you.  You also need to understand flood plains, flood maps, inundation maps, levees (lots of levee districts around Houston), and where the various ditches, creeks, bayous, and rivers meet.  This is why for us, the original forecast of 59 feet for the Brazos was so dangerous.  56 feet is already severe flood for much of our area but that is the danger number for us as that is when the Brazos then floods Oyster Creek completely over its banks.  This 3 feet of water above 56 would translate into a lot of water by us and standing water in our house.  Thankfully, we were reading the hydrological data daily.  What saved us from severe damage was the fact that the river did not crest as fast as forecasted and it didn’t reach the original forecast height.  Instead, it crest just shy of 56 feet and 5 days later than original projections.  This made all the difference for us in terms of minor damage versus severe.  However, it didn’t stop other parts of our area from getting severely flooded.
  • Understand your insurances and know the difference between standard homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance.  We have always had flood insurance ever since Tropical Storm Allison.  We know how easy flash floods occur in TX and we know the streets are designed to flood in an attempt to keep water from homes.  Sadly, when rain falls too fast that drains can’t keep up homes flood. However, many people around here still don’t have flood insurance.  Some people were wrongfully told they don’t need it.  Some people never read the fine print in their homeowner’s insurance.  We read ours and was shocked which is why we will always have flood insurance.  Down here, water rising into your house is not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance regardless of how the water rises (street flooding, storm surge, sewer backup, flooding rain, etc.).  Water rising is only covered under a flood insurance policy which is bought separately.  We are not in a coastal county.  In the coastal counties, they often have a separate windstorm policy in addition to a separate flood policy.  For us, the windstorm policy is part of our standard homeowner’s insurance.  But there is another small detail that many were unaware.  The windstorm has a higher deductible than the standard policy.  For us, our standard policy has a 1% deductible but our windstorm has a 2% deductible.  The percent is off the insured replacement value of your house.  Thus, it is common to see people with $3K standard deductible and a $6K windstorm deductibles.  However, some people have policies with 3%-6% windstorm deductibles.  So during storms like Harvey there are two different deductibles.  And if you don’t have flood insurance, your homeowner’s insurance is not going to cover any of the flood related damage.  What is worse is those who are renters often didn’t have a separate flood insurance for their contents because they were unaware that their renter’s insurance didn’t cover floods either.  People need to read their insurance policies!
  • Have your most important documents in a sealed plastic bag.  We decided that the most important documents were going to be the ones that proved who we were and our insurance documents.  We had inside a plastic bag our social security cards, our driver’s licenses, our birth certificates, foreign currency (upcoming trip), and copies of our insurances (car, health, house, and flood).  These are things that are not easy to replace and critical for our identification in case our house was damaged beyond being able to return right away.  We had these items double bagged just in case. Because we evacuated by car, we also had our son’s homeschooling portfolios in a big bag.  We felt we needed those perchance we couldn’t return to our house or had to evacuate further from Houston.  All other papers could be replaced.
  • Understand evacuation zones versus evacuation orders.  For people outside of coastal regions they may not understand how evacuation works.  Houston is huge, over 10 million residents in the greater metro Houston area.  But remember, Harvey was hitting way more than just than the Houston area.  The state and city came up with better evacuation zones and procedures after Hurricane Rita when they mistakenly told almost the whole area to evacuate at once and included areas that shouldn’t have been.  There are now very clear evacuation zones (coastal, A, B, C, and D).  These areas were created based on flooding at various storm surge estimates.  These areas are the areas that are going to get flooded first and are the most critical to get out before the Hurricane comes.  They don’t order them all at once but in stages and there are designated evacuation routes so everyone is not on the same highways out.  Evacuation orders are voluntary and mandatory and they can be given to areas outside of evacuation zones.  Mandatory means you need to leave and if you stay there will be no emergency services for you.  Voluntary means you should leave and if you stay there may or may not be services for you depending on road conditions.  Due to the nature of Harvey being a heavy rain event, the counties were issuing evacuation orders to areas outside of the Evacuation Zones based on previous flood events.  But as harvey rains continued and rain totals were exceeding initial projections, counties were issuing additional evacuation orders which is why we were bumped into a mandatory evacuation order so quickly after the storm started.  In normal hurricanes, we are far enough inland to not be affected by storm surge and our area can handle about 10-12 inches of rain.  Harvey changed all of this because of how fast and how much rain came down.
  • Collective trauma.  We may have walked away with very minimal damage compared to others near us.  However, Harvey was still emotionally traumatic for everyone here.  There is a fight or flight reaction going on your body when you receive so many constant severe weather warnings and are placed on mandatory evacuation orders.  There is the stress of the unknown and there is stress from watching the area you call home being destroyed.  Yes, there are people with no damage, a little damage, a lot of damage, and those who lost everything.  Everyone experienced the trauma and fear that came with Harvey differently.  The children in the area are definitely carrying some emotional scars from the evacuations and fear of losing everything.  Everyone knows at least one person who had severe flood damage.  My husband has helped demo and gut several co-workers homes that had several feet of damage.  We know there are a couple dozen people in our area who had the same type of chimney water problem as us.  We also know a handful of people who were just as lucky as us to only have seepage damage instead of standing water.  But everyone around here experienced some form of trauma.  It will take time to rebuild Houston.  And it will take time to heal from the trauma.  Sadly, we watch those affected by Irma and know the collective trauma those from Florida and the Island nations are going through.  Compassion is needed!

Music Appreciation & Theory Homeschool Style

Our son has always loved music.  At the age of 2 ½, he asked for a pipe organ for Christmas.  He took music classes at our church with our pipe organist and participated in the children’s choir since he was little.  He took more general music classes at Gymboree as a toddler and then Fundamentally Music until he was 4 ½.  We had trouble finding teachers who would take a young student for private piano lessons which is why it wasn’t until he was 5 that he had formal private lessons.  He participated in the Fort Bend Boys Choir for 2 years.  He chose to stop choir completely and only do piano.  It took a couple teachers before we found the perfect teacher.  He has had his current teacher for almost 5 years.  He truly has a great teacher who understands his perfect pitch and that our son enjoys music theory even more than playing.  He is still doing weekly piano lessons.  Due to his piano lessons covering piano playing, music reading, and music theory I came up with additional resources to use in order for him to earn his 1 year of high school fine art credit for Music Appreciation & Theory.

Here is what I am currently using or have already finished using:

  • How Music and Mathematics Relate from the Great Courses (12 45-minute lectures from Dr. David Kung) 
  • Khan Academy Music (23 video lessons) 
  • Defining the String Quartet: Hayden (6 lessons, free online course from Stanford University) 
  • Attended a 3 hour Pipe Organ Workshop from Dr. Jeong-Suk Bae at the University of St. Thomas (this was a workshop open to any piano student with 5 years or more experience regardless of age)
  • Attending performances of the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, a variety of musicals at the theaters in the Houston area, and concerts or recitals held at our church.
  • Weekly piano lessons at Calliope School of Music
  • In addition to using a piano, also using a Lyons Diatonic Soprano Xylophone with Mallets
  • Alfred Alfred’s Basic Piano Course Lesson Book 4 & Book 5
  • Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Book 4 & Book 5
  • Alfred’s Complete Color-Coded Flash Cards for All Beginning Music Students

 

Here are some book titles that were available from our public library:

  • “This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt
  • “Young Musicians in World History by Irene Earls
  • “Leonard Bernstein: all-American Musician” by Marlene Toby
  • “African American Musicians” by Eleanora E. Tate
  • “Great Musicians” by Robert Ziegler
  • “The Deaf Musicians” by Pete Seeger
  • “A Horn for Louis” by Eric A. Kimmel
  • “Honky-tonk Heroes & Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music by Holly George-Warren
  • “Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll” by Holly George-Warren
  • “The Really Awful Musicians” by John Manders
  • “Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and what the neighbors thought)” by Kathleen Krull
  • “The School of Music” by Meurig Bowen
  • The Great Composers: the Lives and Music of the Great Classical Composers” by Jeremy Nicholas
  • “The Carnival of the Animals” by Jack Prelutsky

 

Here are additional resources on music theory or music appreciation:

Saying Goodbye to Fur Babies

Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that there comes a time when you must say goodbye.  And, that time is difficult regardless of the age.  Well, for us, the time to say goodbye came on Monday, July 10th.  It was a sad day for our whole family, but our son was the saddest of all.

Sagwa was given to us by her previous owner who couldn’t keep her anymore. Sagwa joined us in June of 2004.  We even made a website of her for her previous owner.  She had her first round of kidney failure in 2006 but she survived.  She then watched our son enter our family.  She tolerated him for the first 4 years but then she really warmed up to him.  She partook in our bedtime story routine and she expected morning brushes.  When we switched to homeschooling, Sagwa benefited too.  She would sit by my son and me during our lessons.  And, if our son was being slow at the breakfast table she would meow as if to tell him to hurry up because she wanted her attention down by his laptop.  We knew Sagwa was getting old as she was slowing down.  Sagwa started being really funky on Friday, July 7th  but by Sunday she was completely refusing all food, including food with catnip, catnip alone, milk, and chicken.  We knew this was bad as she never refuses these.  We were hoping it was just a teeth issue, but I knew it could be her kidneys failing for good.  We took her to the vet on Monday and sadly her kidneys had failed again.  The bloodwork found kidney failure and liver failure.  She made it to 15 and half years with 11 of them as a kidney special cat.  Sadly, the kidney failure this time was much faster than 11 years ago.  Lake Olympia Animal Hospital was wonderful with us.  They gave her the medicine and let us hold her until she went.  And they gave us plenty of time for saying goodbyes!  My son and I greatly appreciated being able to hold, pet, and talk to her while she crossed the rainbow bridge.  Now, she is no longer suffering and is pain-free.

Within hours of sending our closest family and friends our announcement of Sagwa’s death, we received the sweetest note from a dear friend, Dr. Amanda, who was Sagwa’s former vet before moving to New Mexico.   I found her note to be extremely helpful because it was loaded with resources.  And, it was her letter that inspired me to write this blog.  Her resources could be helpful to others.  And, after going through saying goodbye with Sagwa at our vet’s office, I love that she offers services in the family home through her mobile clinic http://www.chamisavet.com/ Chamisa.

Dr. Amanda Mouradian, DVM sent us the following (sharing with permission):

“Please accept my deepest sympathies and sorrows as you grieve the loss of Sagwa.  My heart goes out to you as you walk down this path of grief and sadness,  there is no way to skip it, only to pass through it.  Sagwa will be with you always, even if it is just in memories.  Please know that your feelings are normal, that your sorrow is normal, that depression and anger are normal after losing someone so close.

I have compiled some resources surrounding the grieving process and loss of a beloved pet in hopes that it makes your journey a little less painful and maybe a little transformative:

Things to do at home:

-Create a memorial for your pet

-Rest and acknowledge that grief is exhausting and that it takes time to adapt to the new world you live in

-Visit some on-line support groups with folks who are traveling through grief as well

-Care for yourself- drink enough water, eat healthful foods, rest, and exercise

Memorialization Ideas:

On-line Support:

On-Line Support Groups:

www.facebook.com/TheAPLB/

http://www.facebook.com/Petloss/?fref=ts

Websites:

http://petlossathome.com/grieving/

www.pet-loss.net

www.petloss.com

www.aplb.org

www.rainbowsbridge.com

www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-loss

www.veterinarywisdomforpetparents.com

If you need support outside of your home:

Private Grief Counseling in Santa Fe:

http://deborahschweiger-whalen.com/

Grief Support Groups/Facilities in Northern New Mexico:

http://www.goldenwillowretreat.com

Support Via Phone:

ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline – 877-GRIEF-10 (1-877-474-3310). This is a 24-hr direct line to the ASPCA’s psychologist and grief counselor, Dr. Stephanie LaFarge, Ph.D. www.aspca.org.

Iams Pet Loss Support Hotline – 1-888-332-7738 – M-F 9am-5pm Eastern

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine – 607-253-3932. 6 pm – 9 pm, EST, Tues-Thurs. www.vetcornell.edu/org/petloss/

Argus Institute at CSU Veterinary Medical Center – 970-297-1242. www.argusinstitute.colostate.edu

Pet Loss Books for Adults:

When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing – Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Grieving The Death of a Pet   – Betty J. Carmack

Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet – Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.

Pet Loss and Human Bereavement – William Kay

Animals as Teachers and Healers – Susan Chernak McElroy

A Final Act of Caring: Ending the Life of an Animal Friend – Herb and Mary Montgomery

Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children – Herbert A. Neiburg, Ph.D.

It’s Okay To Cry – Maria Luz Quintana

Pet Loss Books for Children:

When a Pet Dies” – Fred Rogers

Dog Heaven” – Cynthia Rylant

Cat Heaven” – Cynthia Rylant

I hope all of this information helps you and your family.

With hugs,

Dr. Amanda“

Seriously, when I received this email, I cried.  First, Dr. Amanda is a dear friend and was Sagwa’s former vet before she moved.  Second, I was moved by the thoroughness of the resources and thoughtfulness she put into compiling this list!  And, finally, I knew she cared about our pet and our family to take the time during her vacation to send us the note. She went above and beyond both friend and vet duties.  We greatly appreciate it!  And, due to her letter my son and I picked out our favorite pictures for hubby to photoshop and make frameable.  We took pictures of the paw print her current vet sent us and we are keeping her brush (it has been cleaned) as a memento because it was Sagwa’s favorite activity and one she even let our son do to her!

The first couple story times at night without Sagwa were hard as were the first couple of mornings of homeschooling.  Sagwa is missed, but we have some amazing memories and we know she lived a long life with us!  Grief takes time.  We hope that if you have to experience pet grief with your child, you’ll use some of the resources and suggestions from our friend, Dr. Amanda.

Boredom

Everyone experiences boredom at some point in their lives.  But have you wondered what boredom really means?  Boredom has many synonyms: bore, boring, ennui, tedium, apathy, unconcern, restlessness, dissatisfaction, dull, monotony, lethargy, languor, blahs, doldrums, etc.  There are many definitions of boredom depending on what psychologist or doctor you talk with.  The dictionary definition is just “the state of being bored.”  However, one psychological definition of boredom is “the aversive experience of wanting, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity.”   And, based on psychological research there are 5 types of boredom:

  1. Indifferent – calm but not part of the world around them
  2. Calibrating – wandering thoughts
  3. Searching – consciously thinking of other activities, leisure, or work
  4. Reactant – need to escape and can be restless and aggressive
  5. Apathetic – feeling of helplessness and depression

There are even psychological tools to measure levels of boredom (Boredom Proneness Scale, Multidimensional State Boredom Scale, Leisure Boredom Scale, Boredom Susceptibility Scale, etc.).  Boredom is different from depression and apathy even though those terms are sometimes used.  Boredom can be good and bad.  It basically is an unpleasant mental or emotional state that people seek relief from.

For our son, public school was a case of bad boredom during much of kindergarten and first grade.  Instead of misbehavior like some students can do.  Mine was quiet and passive.  He wrote notes to us and to his teachers.  Every day was a complaint about something: what he repeated, errors the staff may have made between column and rows, errors in the order of adding, displeasure that he couldn’t do multiplication or division in class, mad that he had to wait for the others to complete their work, school was too easy, when will he get to do real work, older grade teachers complaining about him taking the upper-grade reading rewards, being given easy readers, being given forced topics of writing, etc.  The list could go on.  School boredom was crushing our son’s desire to learn.  The school did let him do lots of online programs and his teachers tried to find some harder level material.  We also did after school programs online through Northwestern University’s GLL and Stanford University’s EPGY.  Those programs thrilled our son.  Those programs combined with the school staff suggesting us to either homeschool or grade skip led us to choose to leave public school for homeschooling.  We no longer get boredom complaints about academics.  We do sometimes get boredom complaints when not doing learning activities or when he has lost access to devices.  But even those complaints of boredom are seldom compared to when he was in public school.  

However, for the kids in a traditional school setting and who are bored daily, parents need to be proactive in finding solutions.  Homeschooling may not be an option.  Boredom in the schools needs to be addressed because students who are not taught at their zone of proximal development may not learn adequate study skills.  If school work is too easy, there is no challenge, no frustration to overcome, and no learning of study skills or time management.  Boredom in the schools is not a good thing.  There may be periods of boredom during a school day, but the majority of a school day should not be filled with boredom.  If there is, like there was with our son, there is not a fit between the child and the level of instruction they are receiving.

Now, boredom outside of school is a whole different discussion.  Some amount of boredom is good.  Kids do not need every minute of their day scheduled.  Having down time or free time is a good thing.  And, some of that time is prime for developing creativity.  Unscheduled time is perfect free time.  And, kids need to learn how to enjoy down time or free time.  

Don’t let your kids use a screen when they are bored, instead try these ideas:

  • Water – sink, bucket, or hose; water play of any kind and with just about anything (old sprinkler heads, water balloons, water toys, straws, old preschool toys, etc.); etc.
  • Outdoors – Nature therapy; exploring; magnifying glass to bugs, bark, plants; playing with nature; etc.
  • “Take apart” – taking apart anything that is not needed (toys, appliances, electronics, etc.) but may need an adult to supervise or assist
  • Construction  – building with any materials (Legos, K’Nex, tinker toys, lincoln logs, sticks, straws, blocks, etc.) and no rules or instructions
  • Art – use of any materials (clay, paints, markers, crayons, felt, ribbons, etc.) and creating anything
  • Read – reading anything be it books, magazines, comics, manuals, etc.
  • Music – playing any instrument, making any instrument, or even using non-instruments to make music; listening to music (not videos)
  • Clean – Doing chores or organizing of a room.  If a child of any age really can’t come up with something to do with from the above choices then maybe they do need to clean up a room as sometimes when cleaning they will suddenly find a toy they forgot about.  I had a friend who would rotate through boxes of toys and games.  Once a kid said they were bored, they were told to box up stuff and an old box would come out.  To their young child, it was as if “new” toys appeared.

Remember, you aren’t planning what they are doing with the above ideas.  Instead, you just give them choices and they will find or think of something to do.  Sometimes they just need to hear an idea or get permission to do some of the ideas I mentioned.  In the case of our son, sometimes he is the most creative when he is in his “parts room” just “playing.”  And, I know he could kill an hour easily when I tell him to just go outside and let him play with the hose.  Screen breaks are needed and so is unstructured play on their terms in order to be creative out of good boredom.

Here are some additional readings on Boredom:

This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Balancing Boredom and Burnout.”  I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.

Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser:

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_balancing_boredom_burnout.htm

BoredomBlogHop

 

Understanding Weather & The Air Environment

This post is dedicated to learning about the weather, the atmosphere, the climate, and weather forecasting based on my recent Civil Air Patrol Education material arriving.   My materials came with an activity book and key terms as well as a weather station.  I pulled other resources to make sure the kids had additional places they could go to learn more.  I also wanted to have a book and video list.  Those not participating in Civil Air Patrol can use the links provided to learn more.  I know there are more resources out there for learning about weather and weather forecasting.  The information listed is definitely a great start.

The following list of terms came directly from the Civil Air Patrol’s Aerospace Dimensions Module 3 Air Environment:

Advection – lateral transfer of heat.

Air mass – a huge body of air with the same temperature and moisture characteristics.

Atmospheric pressure – the weight of all of the atmosphere’s gases and molecules on the Earth’s surface.

Autumnal (fall) Equinox – usually on September 22nd or 23rd; the time when the sun’s direct rays strike the equator resulting in the equal length of day and night.

Beaufort Scale – a scale for estimating wind speed on land or sea.

Condensation – the process of converting water vapor to liquid.

Conduction – heating by direct contact.

Convection – heat transfer by vertical motion.

Coriolis Force – winds associated with the Earth’s rotation that deflect a freely-moving object to the right in the Northern Hemisphere.

Dew point – the temperature at which the air becomes saturated with water vapor.

Doldrums – a global area of calm winds.

Fog – tiny droplets of liquid water at or near the surface of the land or water.

Front – a boundary between two air masses.

Global winds – the worldwide system of winds that transfers heat between tropical and polar regions.

Heat – the total energy of all molecules within a substance.

Humidity – the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hurricane – a tropical cyclone of low pressure and very strong winds; usually with heavy rain and possible thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Ionosphere – region of the atmosphere where electrons are gained or lost.

Jet stream – a strong wind that develops at 30,000 to 35,000 feet and moves as a winding road across the US, generally from west to east.

Lapse rate – the rate of decrease with an increase in height for pressure and temperature.

Mesosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from about 30 to 50 miles.

Microburst – a downdraft or downburst phenomenon that creates unstable air and thunderstorm turbulence.

Ozonosphere – a region of the atmosphere where ozone is created.

Precipitation – the general term given to various types of condensed water vapor.

Polar easterlies – global winds that flow from the poles and move to the west.

Prevailing westerlies – global winds that move toward the poles and appear to curve to the east.

Radiation – heat is transferred by the Sun.

Relative humidity – the amount of water vapor in the air compared to its water vapor capacity at a given temperature.

Revolution – the movement of the Earth revolving around the sun; full revolution about 365 days.

Rotation – how the Earth turns (rotates/spins) on its axis at an angle of 23.5 degrees while it revolves around the sun; full rotation takes 24 hours.

Saturation – the condition of a parcel of air holding as much water vapor as it can at the air temperature at that time.

Stratosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from the tropopause to about 30 miles.

Summer Solstice – usually on June 21st or 22nd, when the longest day when the sun is at its northernmost point from the equator in the Northern Hemisphere.

Temperature – a measure of molecular motion expressed on a manmade scale.

Thermosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from 50 to 300 miles.

Thunderstorm – cumulonimbus cloud possessing thunder and lightning; usually accompanied by strong winds, rain, and sometimes hail.

Tornado – whirling funnel of air of very low pressure and very strong winds; may be powerful enough to suck up anything in its path; must touch the ground to be called a tornado.

Trade Winds – a warm and steady wind that blows toward the equator.

Tropopause – the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.

Troposphere – the first layer of the atmosphere where most of the Earth’s weather occurs.

Vernal (spring) equinox – usually on March 21st or 22nd, when the sun’s direct rays strike the equator resulting in equal day and night.

Water Cycle – continuous movement of water as it circulates between the Earth and its atmosphere.

Wind – a body of air in motion.

Wind chill – temperature and wind speed used to explain how cold it feels.

Winter solstice – usually on December 21st or 22nd, is the shortest day when the sun is farthest south of the equator and the Northern Hemisphere.

 

The following are links to online resources (videos, lesson plans, e-books) that can be used to better understand weather cycles, weather monitoring, and the climate:

 

The following are weather websites for getting current local weather information:

 

The following are books about the weather (all are at our library):

  • Weather by Catriona Clarke
  • Weather: A Visual Guide by Bruce Buckley
  • Weather by Brian Cosgrove
  • Weather by Ralph Hardy
  • Weather by Clare Oliver
  • Storms by Angela Royston
  • See-through Storms by Gill Paul
  • Storms of the Past and the Future by Karen J. Donnelly
  • Eye of the Storm: Chasing Storms with Warren Faidley by Stephen P. Kramer
  • Basic Illustrated. Weather Forecasting by Michael E. Hodgson
  • Guide to Weather Forecasting by Storm Dunlop
  • The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen
  • Doppler Radar, Satellites, and Computer Models: the Science of Weather Forecasting by Paul Fleisher

 

The following are DVD series about the weather (all are at our library):

  • Weather by DK Publishing
  • All About Meteorology by Schlessinger Media (they have 5 other weather related videos)
  • Twisters Nature’s Deadly Force by VCI Entertainment
  • Natural Disasters: Hurricanes by Topics Entertainment
  • Hunt for the Supertwister by WGBH Boston Video
  • Bill Nye the science guy: Storms by Bill Nye the Science Guy (the have 6 other weather related videos)
  • Natural Disasters by DK Publishing
  • Tornado Intercept by National Geographic (they have other weather videos as well as lots of planet earth videos)
  • Forces of Nature by Warner Home Video

Traveling With The Quirky

I admit to having travelust!  I love traveling and have quite a long wish list of places I still want to visit.  We traveled a lot before a child and continue to travel a lot since our son was born.  In fact, his first trip was when he was 8 weeks old. Even with having a child who is a poor sleeper and has an overactive brain, we’ve still managed to travel the world while maintaining our sanity!  Traveling is a necessity since we live in TX and our immediate family lives in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Hawaii with friends and extended family living in many other states and countries.  Despite having food allergies and sensitivities in the family combined with 2 family members being overthinkers, we still travel. In fact, traveling is part of our homeschooling and road schooling philosophy.  

Roadschooling is literally homeschooling or learning on the road.  And, we are notorious for doing that.  I wrote a blog back in 2014 highlighting one day of road schooling to demonstrate that so much learning can occur outside of the home.  Part of road schooling for us is travel.  And thanks to having friends or family in far away places, we have gone to some special places.  I have 4 previous blogs on world schooling in which I discuss where we went, places visited, and special things we learned: New Zealand, GermanyEnglandand Hawaii.  I know Hawaii is not really international but it is not part of the mainland and offers some unique cultural experiences.  In addition, getting to Hawaii requires multiple flights making it a long-haul trip.

Due to my overthinking and the need to satisfy my son’s constant curiosity I am quite the planner for our trips.  On every trip, even when visiting family and friends, I travel with a list of museums, zoos, or parks of interest.  I also denote which places our membership have reciprocity for or links for discount codes.  When traveling with our friends abroad we tend to come up with an itinerary and places we want to visit before we leave.  Of course, we have lists of back-ups if the weather doesn’t cooperate.  And, I’ve surprised myself as well as others with some of the places we have found.  If nothing comes up on my list of reciprocity organizations I will google the towns near where we are staying to find something.  In fact, some of the small towns have museums that are free and run by local volunteers which are often very friendly and willing to ask the 20-100 questions my son will ask.  The only downside is that some of these small town museums do not have websites so you are just left with an address, phone number, and hours.

Here are my top resources for planning activities:

  • Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Travel Passport Program Our children’s museum is a member and it gains reciprocity at 100’s of museums across the US and some foreign countries. We have found that many museums honor the pass for the same number of guests we get at our home museum, saving us and the friends or family we are visiting money.
  • Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Reciprocity Program Our zoo participates in the AZA Reciprocity program and gains access to 100’s of zoos and aquariums across the US and some foreign countries.  Like the ASCT program, this is a money saver when traveling.
  • Factory Tours USA has a list of over 500 factories offering tours.  Some tours are free and some are for a fee.  Some have age restrictions.  We have taken several factory tours such as dairy farms, cheese factory, chocolate factory, vineyards, breweries, fire trucks, etc.  In a couple years he’ll be old enough to do the hard hat tour at Harley Davidson.
  • Roadside America allows you to search your state and highways you will be traveling for a variety of roadside attractions and oddities.  I admit to making several photo-stops at strange places.  It also helps for finding places that could be used as a rest stop when driving across Texas.  It is always good to have more than one option for breaks.
  • Find Your Park allows you to find national parks by state.  I previously wrote a blog on the national parks and the free 4th-grade pass offers (they were still running this offer).  In my blog, I provide links to various lesson plans and junior ranger programs the park offers.  We try to visit the national park system yearly.  There are also lists of national forests national wildlife refuges,  national historic monuments, world heritage sites within the US, and BLM land that has hiking or camping.  The park pass works on all of these.

Here are apps that we use for those long-haul flights or drives (we have more that we use at home for homeschooling):

  • Minecraft Pocket Edition (when on free wifi we play multiplayer as a family)
  • Google Hangouts (how we text the grandparents, other family members, and friends)
  • EE Toolkit
  • Musyc
  • GarageBand
  • Google Keep
  • Numbers
  • Brain it On!
  • Crossy Road
  • Flow Free
  • Mega Jump
  • Make7!
  • TinkerBox
  • Circuit Scramble
  • Toy Blast
  • Mega Run
  • Khan Academy
  • Desmos (awesome graphing calculator app)
  • goREACT
  • Here Maps & Google Maps (on our phones and very entertaining while flying)
  • iNaturalist
  • PlantNet
  • Merlin
  • Google Camera (on our phones and used as a magnifier by our son)

Here is a list of things we pack or have packed for any travel adventures (easy airplane carry-on):

  • Boogie Board is our new must have item but not available at all stores.  It is a tiny LCD writing pad and reminds me of the old etch-a-sketch.  Our son draws complicated designs or does his algebra on it.  When travelings his friends and cousins like doodling on it.  We have the cheapest one in which stuff is not saved, so we do take pictures of neat projects.  But the fun part is the doodling and then one button click it’s blank again.  We are no longer packing a ton of art supplies.
  • Sticky Mosaics is found almost at every craft/hobby store, Target, Walmart, and online.  There are several varieties out there.  And we have found girl, boy, and neutral kits out there.  They are the perfect quiet activity and travel easily.  Our son is now 10 and just started to outgrow them.
  • Scratch paper is also found in a number of places.  This one is still fun.  And we’ve learned, you don’t need a special stick (most come with one) as you can scratch it with coins, pencils, and just about anything.  Our son has received scratch paper activity books as gifts in the past.  These too make a great quiet activity.
  • Color Wonder Markers & Papers were a huge hit when our son was a toddler through about 8 years old.  He was given a travel set which came with a case that carried 4 small markers, blank papers, and some activity pages.  The best part is we could sneak in other things into the travel case to make packing simpler.  Although not reusable paper, at least with color wonder markers you do not have to worry about colored marks on your child’s clothing, the rental car, the plane, or whatever you are traveling in.  There are so many kits and designs out there as well as blank pages which make this an easy to pack art activity.
  • Clipboard of any kind.  We have a relatively flat version so it is easy to pack.  It is used as a hard surface for writing or drawing.  We always have some blank papers of various types packed in it.  And makes writing easier for our son when he is doing his writing journal, a junior ranger activity book, or any other workbook.
  • Eye Loupe or Magnifier is small and easy to pack.  Our son was given a great eye loupe from his grandfather but there are lots of varieties out there.  Small magnifying glass will also work.  We take ours everywhere as my son loves looking close up at just about anything.  We have even purchased tiny magnifiers that attach to my phone.  And, Google Camera has a magnifier feature for phone cameras.
  • Refillable water bottle is a must.  When flying we go through security with them empty and then fill them as soon as we get to our gate.  We have been on some flights that had no in-flight service due to turbulence.  And, we also don’t want to purchase plastic bottled water at every stop.  It is so much easier to travel with our own.  Drinking water can also help with ear pressure during takeoff and landing, just like eating food.
  • Our own food is always packed.  I have food allergies and our son can’t eat certain foods due to his reflux and currently dealing with expanders.  It is easier and cheaper to pack as much as we can.  I have a bag of food for the 3 of us that I pack in our carryon.  And, I always pack a stash of gluten free foods and my son’s favorites in our checked luggage.  On the return that space is filled with any goodies we pick up while traveling.  We will hit the grocery store when we arrive as we find cooking our own food the easiest way to make sure food is safe for me.  We found gluten free travel is very easy in New Zealand, Canada, and England.  Thanks to an amazing friend who was willing to translate everything and talk directly to the cooks, Germany was doable.  However, in the US we have found it difficult in some rural parts.   We also know that airlines can’t accommodate all food allergies.  Aer Lingus and Air New Zealand were the best by far for having gluten-free and shellfish free meals!  Their meals had the biggest selection.  However, on US airlines we have not had good luck.  Thus, we have to pack our own food.  And, I have not had any troubles bringing my own food through security.

Seriously, go and travel with your kids.  Experiential learning is the best kind!

This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Traveling With Gifted Kids.”  I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.  Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser:

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_traveling_with_gifted_kids.htm

TravelingWithGiftedBlogHopPicture

 

Over Thinking All the Time!

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Here are some synonyms for “over-thinking:”  Ruminating, worrying, evaluating, deliberating, considering, languishing, lamenting, brooding, over analyzing, pondering, inordinately contemplating, over theorize, being pensive, overly plan, introspective, obsessive, etc.  If I thought longer or searched more, I’d come up with even more synonyms.

Here are some quotes:

“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”  by Anthony Hopkins

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.” by Robert Herjavec

“The more I think about it, the more I realize that overthinking isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that we don’t trust.” by L.J Vanier

“Over-thinking ruins you. Ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is.” by author unknown

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” by Albert Einstein

“Things won’t get better unless you think better” by Karen Salmansohn

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” – Plato

I could keep going with quotes on over thinking too.

Honestly, over thinking can be about anything.  It simply means to spend more time thinking about something than is necessary or productive.  Overthinking is often seen in gifted individuals as well as those with anxiety and/or inattentive issues.  In fact, one of the hallmarks of anxiety is over thinking or worrying about everything.  The key word there is “everything.”  There is a difference between daily and periodic or constant and situational or subject and project related.  Some level of overthinking is healthy but when overthinking gets in the way of functioning, it is time to get help.  If overthinking is preventing one from doing anything productive, help is needed. For many overthinkers, they may benefit from the guided practice of a variety of self-help strategies. Of course, if overthinking is interfering with daily functioning than seeking professional help is warranted.    

Here are some self-help ideas for overthinkers:

  • Detective thinking
  • Learning mindfulness
  • Focused breathing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation Exercises
  • Checking stress levels
  • Going outdoors
  • Talk to a mentor
  • Set time limits for decision-making
  • Writing action plans
  • Use progress monitoring or daily trackers
  • Set a timer
  • Use of a journal
  • Consistent bedtime routine
  • Focus on the present

Here are some children’s books for teaching mindfulness/relaxation and helping them understanding their worry/fears that can contribute to their overthinking:

  • A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean
  • What Does It Mean To Be Present? by Rana DiOrio
  • Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers
  • Silence by Lemniscates
  • Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
  • Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver
  • Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein
  • Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates
  • I Am Yoga by Susan Verde
  • From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears by Daniel B Peters
  • What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner
  • Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload by Jennifer Veenendall
  • What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake: A Kid’s Guide to Accepting Imperfection by Claire A.B. Freeland
  • Don’t Feed The WorryBug by Andi Green
  • David and the Worry Beast: Helping Children Cope with Anxiety by Anne Marie Guanci
  • What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD by Dawn Huebner
  • Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook

Here are some other articles on overthinking:

This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Over Thinking.”  I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.

Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser:

www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_overthinking.htm
BlogHopOverthinking