Increase Your Child's Intelligence by Doing This One Thing

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The more your child actively uses his mind when he's young, and the more he continues to use his mind as he matures, the smarter he'll become.

We know that the brain is an ever-changing organ. It can weaken from misuse or neglect, and it can also become stronger from the right kind of use.

You want your children to stay into the habit of using their minds as they enter the school years. One of the ways you can help your child strengthen his mind is by providing him with good literature to read when he's older.

John Taylor Gatto had his sixth-grade class read and discuss Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Parents say things like, "Well, he only reads comic books, but at least he's reading!"

As John Taylor Gatto once said, "Teach your children to grow up to be readers of more than the daily newspaper."

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Comic books are fine for comic relief on occasion. Maybe you're on a road trip or flying cross-country; this might be a time to let your child read a comic book or two or three.

It’s probably prudent not to let comic books work their way into your home though.

Comic books will make his mind lazy because the dialogues are simple and they're full of pictures which help tell the story. When it becomes time to read challenging literature, he won't be able to tackle the vocabulary or follow the longer and more complicated sentence patterns.

He'll complain to you that the book is "boring."

It's not boring; he just hasn't learned to read well. Please do not let him blame the book!

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Great books expand the mind and help us to understand the complexities of life and ourselves. If we replaced the department of psychology with a department of Shakespeare, we'd be off to a good start in improving our colleges and universities.

The inner workings of the mind and heart are there in his plays.

Once you get used to the language, Shakespeare is no more difficult to read than authors such as Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.

The ability to read great literature is what you want for your children. You want them to be exposed to the great ideas of Western thought that take us all the way back to Ancient Greece.

John Taylor Gatto was very in support of reading great books. It's where he got the seeds for many of his ideas.

I said there was one thing you need to do to increase your child's intelligence, but as I was writing this, another occurred to me, so there are now two things.

The two things are homeschool your children and expose them to great literature. I say homeschool because, sadly, your children won't get the kind of education they need in public school.

And with a lousy education system comes a dumbed-down people.

Let me share one last thing with you; it’s a poem by Emily Dickinson:

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There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

Have your children memorize Emily Dickinson's poem, and supply them with the kind of books that let them travel lands away!

You can join the Smart Homeschooler Academy waiting list to be notified when enrollment opens again for its signature course: How to Give Your Child a Private-School Education at Home.

Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, “Love and Leadership” parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.

A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college. 

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3 Things Your Child Should Do Even if It Makes You Panic

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It's a confusing time to be a parent! Many parents let their children do things that aren’t good for their development like play video games, but they don't let their children do things that are good for their development like take risks and get dirty.

Here are three things that you must let your children do no matter how much it makes you panic:

1) Climb a Tree

Children have a natural sense of what they can do and what they can't do. Serious accidents are uncommon, but in the helicopter parenting world today, parents are afraid (moms especially) to let their children do things because they "might" get hurt.

Let them get hurt! A few bumps and scrapes won't kill them. They even survive broken bones.

We grew up in Northern California amongst the redwood trees, the most towering trees in the world. I don’t think we climbed Redwoods, but whatever it was that we did climb, they were tall. We would climb until we got tired of climbing or too scared to climb any higher, which was usually about 30 feet up those trees (an educated guess looking back many years!).

Yes, it was scary, but it was also a thrill.

We felt like conquerors, not of land but of our fear. We felt a sense of accomplishment to climb so high, and it gave us a sense of confidence, excitement, and adventure.

Not everyone has such tall trees available to them, but I have since witnessed mothers who were afraid to let their four-year-olds climb a thick tree branch that was two feet off the ground.

If a parent says things like, "Stop, that's too dangerous!" you interfere with your child’s developmental process.

If something is too dangerous–as in death could result–you probably want to intervene, but beyond that let them soar.

2) Make Mud Pies

Children love to play in the mud. They don't think in constructs of "clean" and "dirty" like we do. They think in constructs of fun, exciting, and worth doing–at least to them. And playing in mud has all three of these. So indulge them.

We had a backyard with a large section of dirt in it. My children spent hours in that section covering themselves in mud to their heart's content. Mud was matted in their hair, dripping from their ears, and embedded in their clothes by the time they finished. I had a huge mess to clean up, but it was always more amusing to me than anything else.

They made mud pies and had make-believe meals, they examined the mud as they closed their fists around it and watched it squish through their fingers, and they had lots of mud fights.

Mud is a perfect medium for developing your children’s senses, imagination, and motor skills - it's a great natural resource that will keep them occupied for hours.

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Eat Mud

I know this might be over the top for many of you, but unless you live in an area where they spray pesticides or you live in a high traffic zone, then let your children eat mud. They won't eat much, but they do like to taste it. I remember eating mud when I was young. It tasted like clay, but I don't think I did more than just taste it. The point is that there was no one hovering over me telling me to stop.

And if an adult was nearby, they weren't worried about it either. Tasting mud was a part of childhood - all children try it at some point. Who doesn't want to know what a little bit of mud tastes like?!

According to modern science, immersing themselves in mud boosters their immune systems. We even have an International Mud Day on June 29th now. This holiday is in retaliation to the hyper-sterile environment that children are growing up in. According to the "Hygiene Hypothesis," the sterile environment is putting children at risk for allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases as they get older.

Why? Because the immune system develops by exposure to bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and in the modernly-sterile environment children's immune systems are not being exposed to these things enough, and therefore, they’re immune systems aren't developing as well as they should be.

This makes sense, doesn't it?

3) Roll Down Hills

We used to climb to the top of a small hill and then see who could roll down the fastest. Do children even climb hills today?! They will get dirty, and they may even get grass stains, but that’s all right.

Children need clothes they can get dirty in. While it's fine to have an outfit or two for when the occasion calls, the day-to-day dress of children should not be designer clothes but rough and tumble clothes.

I'm much happier seeing a child with patched knees than a child dressed for a party. Come to think of it; I never see children with patched knees anymore!

And one last thing, remember that a few bumps, and bruises never killed anyone. Children take pride in their bumps and bruises especially the ones that require some cleaning and bandaging.

They're a sign of the battles they fight on the playground of life.

For our upcoming course, Raise Your Child Well: Correct Preparation for a Satisfying, Successful and Happy Adulthood, please join the waiting list to be notified first when enrollment opens again in August, 2019.

Don’t miss our free download, 10 Signs Your Parenting Strategies May Need Tweaking.

Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.

A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college. 

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My Country 'Tis of Thee


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I’m always struck by how often so many authors, prior to the late 20th century, mention a Supreme Creator.

The great minds in our history, in fact, always referred to a “first cause” (God) including Aristotle, Shakespeare, Dante, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Fyodor Dostoevsky to name a very few.

This isn’t about religious fanaticism, either, as none of the aforementioned were fanatics. It’s about a drastic change in the discourse that’s altered the mood of our country. Not for the better, if you ask me.

Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint...
— Thomas Jefferson

Suddenly, almost overnight, God has been dropped from the conversation. I’ve watched this change take place during my little more than half a century of existence.

Why? How did we change from a country whose normative belief acknowledge a Supreme Rule in its national discourse to the secular-minded, thinking people we've become today?

Times have changed, yes, but I’m talking about a worldview paradigm that existed since forever, and in a matter of years it's been quickly replaced with a new paradigm that's diametrically opposed to it!

Our national discourse is secular. Our schools are secular. Our literature is secular. Our government is secular. 

As the Supreme Ruler of the Universe has seen fit to bestow upon us this glorious opportunity, let us decide upon it–appealing to him for the rectitude of our intentions–and in humble confidence that he will yet continue to bless and save our country. John Hancock
— John Hancock

What happened?

In a country that honors religious freedom, I can understand why we don't have a national religion, nor do I think we should, but to remove God altogether and in such a short time? 

It doesn't make any sense.

When I was young, we began our school days by singing one of America's national anthems:

My country, 'tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the pilgrims' pride,

From ev'ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,

Land of the noble free,

Thy name I love;

I love thy rocks and rills,

Thy woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills,

Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees

Sweet freedom's song;

Let mortal tongues awake;

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break,

The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing.

Long may our land be bright,

With freedom's holy light,

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God our King!

Did you notice who was mentioned throughout?

We've moved into the era of the progressive almighty individual with disastrous results. Let it all hang out has been the country's motto since the 1960's.

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And look where we are now! 

  • Broken families

  • Massive debt (once considered a sin deserving of “debtor’s prison”)

  • Mental illnesses on the rise, even in our young

  • Addiction to alcohol and recreational drug use

  • Declining literacy

  • A dumbed-down public discourse that’s crude and vulgar

And the list goes on. But we can do things differently, do them in a way that’s in harmony with the natural order. We can raise our children to think and behave in more wholesome ways.

By homeschooling our children, we have a better chance of teaching them manners, teaching them right from wrong; and teaching them that this road does end and the life they have is the road.

I think Thomas Jefferson would agree.

I'll defer my last point to the great educator, Charlotte Mason who expressed it better than anyone else:

The wonder that Almighty God can endure so far to leave the making of an immortal being in the hands of human parents is only matched by the wonder that human parents can accept this divine trust with hardly a thought of its significance.
— Charlotte Mason

The Smart Homeschooler Academy offers its signature course: How to Give Your Child a Private-School Education at Home. Join the waiting list for the next course launch in late fall, 2019.

Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.

A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college. 

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What Kind of Parents Homeschool?!

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Many kinds of parents homeschool; there's really nothing that stands out as a common trait amongst homeschoolers, but most of us share similar concerns and values.

Homeschoolers are usually in agreement that we want our children to have a good education, and we know it's unlikely to happen in public school.

Not the kind of education we're thinking of anyhow.

Who can take the measure of a child? The Genie of the Arabian tale is nothing to him. He, too, may be let out of his bottle and fill the world. But woe to us if we keep him corked up.
— Charlotte Mason

We want our children to not only read well but to enjoy reading. To choose a book to read over a movie to watch. Not that they never watch movies, but lying in bed with a good book is something they look forward to.

Reading competently, writing skillfully, and speaking eloquently are skills most homeschoolers want to make sure their children possess.

That their children become life-long learners in pursuit of knowledge is also a concern most homeschoolers share. With studies showing that by first grade a child's innate thirst for knowledge of his world begins to wane, homeschoolers want to fiercely protect their child's curiosity.

A curiosity without which true greatness is difficult to achieve.

Homeschoolers want their children to enjoy learning for the sake of learning, not for rewards or test scores. They don't want their children subjected to arbitrary tests that serve to sort and rank them amongst their peers.

The lesson of report cards, grades and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.
— John Taylor Gatto

Instead, they want their children to know that with hard work and perseverance most things are possible, and that test scores are no indication of a person's ultimate worth.

With the loss of a good environment and character training in schools, homeschoolers want to protect the integrity of their children. They want to raise them in an environment that raises them up, not brings them down.

When I was in school, the negative influences were outside the classroom, but that's not true anymore. Children are being taught some pretty inappropriate things inside those four walls.

Over the 17+ years that I've been working in education, those of us working in the trenches aren't just offering alternatives anymore. We are flat-out telling you to get your children out of the system.

It's time.

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It is time we squarely face the fact that institutionalized schoolteaching is destructive to children.
— John Taylor Gatto

Until public schools can offer a better alternative; homeschooling is the way to go.

Fortunately, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. We need to pull together though and help each other because many women have to work. The good news is that with so many people able to work remotely now, homeschooling is becoming possible for more and more families.

Speaking of families, another thing you'll find is that homeschooling preserves the natural loyalty of a family and homeschoolers tend to be closely-knit. In public school, children learn to be loyal to their peers. I know, because it happened to me.

After my mother passed, my older sister told me that the reason my mother paid extra attention to our youngest brother was because, according to what she had told my sister, every time another child of hers went off to school, they were never quite the same towards her.

She was determined to make sure it didn't happen with her youngest child as it had with her previous six.

The curriculum of “family” is at the heart of any good life. We’ve gotten away from that curriculum – it’s time to return to it.
— john taylor gatto

It pained me to hear this; it still does. Once you develop the loyalty to your peers that public school is so notorious for fostering, it's hard to undo. Most of us aren't even aware it's there. I know I wasn’t.

We don't need studies to tell us why homeschooled families are closer-knit because it's obvious that you become close to the people you spend time with, and homeschooled families spend a lot of time together.

In contrast, public-schooled children spend a lot of time with peers, and then they go home to do homework. There isn't much time left for the family.

With more and more families homeschooling, I'm looking forward to the positive changes we'll see in our country in the coming years.

And no matter what kind of parent you are, you can choose to take part in this revolutionary shift in the way we educate our young.

Let the revolution begin!

The Smart Homeschooler Academy is now open for enrollment with its signature course: How to Give Your Child a Private-School Education at Home. Enrollment is now open through May 8th!

Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.

A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college. 

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