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Photo by: D. Sharon Pruitt

5 Things for Parents to Do With Their Kids

One evening, when I was in middle school, my mom and I were watching the news. It was one of the few evenings when we didn't have to run in, drop our books and run to soccer practice, band, scouts, or theater practice. I don't recall what the news was reporting, but I do remember that my mom muted the TV, looked at me, and asked, "What do you think about that?" I was surprised. Prior to this exchange, I don't remember my mother asking my opinion about anything that didn't involve me directly. But, her comment sparked a conversation, and it opened a channel for communication that I didn't know existed. Of course I had opinions, but I never shared them with my parents.

That conversation was part of a larger strategy. Like most parents, my mother wanted to be involved in our lives. She encouraged each of her kids to pursue their interests and through our enthusiasm, she frequently became interested in similar things. I learned how to make hemp bracelets, so she took up beading.

If you could have any conversation with your kids, what would it be? Would you talk about how to celebrate the differences in others? Would you want to give them examples of true heroes? Would you like to tell them stories about where they came from so they can write their own story? Would you want to teach them about stewardship by planting seeds or taking care of animals? Would you want to talk about history?

Here are some books for you, so you can get your conversations started. And be sure to check out Sarah Westeren’s post for books for your kids.


Amazon Says: Turn your garden into a hummingbird hotspot, a haven for butterflies, and a thriving ecosystem that will delight and inspire the young and young-at-heart. Gardening with ch more...
Amazon Says: Turn your garden into a hummingbird hotspot, a haven for butterflies, and a thriving ecosystem that will delight and inspire the young and young-at-heart. Gardening with children is a pleasure in itself, but when you learn to include wildlife in your plans, gardening becomes an even more joyful family experience. Creating a garden that invites wildlife opens up a wider world of nature for investigation, inspiration, and delight. Begin to see your yard from an animal’s perspective; discover plants that attract colorful birds and bugs; embrace sensory experiences that native plants and creatures bring; and understand how your yard fits into the surrounding landscape. Along the way you will discover simple ways you can actively support wildlife in your immediate environment, no matter where you live. This family-friendly guide to wildlife gardening leads you on a path to discovery, where trees are transformed into bird and animal habitats, where sunny spots are revered for dragonfly viewing, and where your entire garden becomes an animal-welcoming kingdom. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autis more...
Amazon Says: Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autism—because Temple Grandin is autistic, a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us. In this unprecedented book, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity. less...
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Kinship: It's all relative by Jackie Smith Arnold
Amazon Says: We pursue it as a hobby and search for it in the most out-of-the-way places . . . yet few of us actually know very much about kinship. For instance, do you know the degree of more...
Amazon Says: We pursue it as a hobby and search for it in the most out-of-the-way places . . . yet few of us actually know very much about kinship. For instance, do you know the degree of blood relationship, or consanguinity, between yourself and your first cousins? Between third cousins and second cousins once removed? Do you know anything at all about the removes? Do you understand the difference between a greataunt and a grandaunt? Or between a cousin-german and a cater cousin? And what about double first cousins? If you're a little vague about any of this, then this book is for you. In clear, practical terms it explains everything there is to know about kinship; about agnate and cognate kinship, collateral and fictive kinship, the kinship connection of orphans, foundlings, foster children, and adopted children. Everything! The expanded second edition features new chapters on the subjects of marriage, names, and wills (kinship and the rights of inheritance); an expanded treatment of other subjects, such as degrees of consanguinity and how to calculate blood relationships; and a new glossary, bibliography, and an index. In short, Jackie Arnold's acclaimed Kinship: It's All Relative is now more authoritative than ever. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: Genealogist Laura Best follows up her well-received Genealogy for the First Time® with a colorful volume dedicated to techniques for preserving precious ancestral memories more...
Amazon Says: Genealogist Laura Best follows up her well-received Genealogy for the First Time® with a colorful volume dedicated to techniques for preserving precious ancestral memories through scrapbooking. Scrapbooking can be more than just a craft: it can become a window into important family history. Use those vintage photos, uncovered documents, and newly-found family stories to create scrapbooked family trees and pedigree charts, eight generation treatments, depictions of holidays and family reunions through the years, and histories of family homesteads. Inscribe notes on ancestors' occupations and hobbies, anecdotes, celebrations, and sad moments: every memory worth passing on to children, grandchildren, and generations to come. The page designs all draw on color schemes and images common to various time periods, and there are also techniques for displaying the scrapbooked material in shadow boxes and frames. less...
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Amazon Says: Combines the popular interests of genealogy and bookmakingResearching family history is the second most popular topic on the Internet (after sex). With more than 4 bill more...
Amazon Says: Combines the popular interests of genealogy and bookmakingResearching family history is the second most popular topic on the Internet (after sex). With more than 4 billion records online today and more becoming available everyday, the Internet is fueling the growth of this popular hobby by simplifying the process of finding information and connecting with individuals who share a common branch in their family tree. This unique book combines the general surge of interest in genealogy with the popularity of memory crafts and book and journal making. The projects featured encompass many mixed-media techniques and provide beautiful ideas for creating family trees that will become family heirlooms and keepsakes. Inspiring seasoned journal and memory crafters as well as genealogy buffs, the book divides projects into three styles: family trees designed to be hung as a piece of artwork on a wall, family tree books and journals, and dimensional family trees that take a more sculptural approach. Each project includes clear and concise directions as well as tips about story-telling, information gathering, and sidebars. Full-color templates and clip art for various types of family trees are also included. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmen--the country's first African American military pilots--historian J. Todd Moye captures the challenges and triumphs of these br more...
Amazon Says: In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmen--the country's first African American military pilots--historian J. Todd Moye captures the challenges and triumphs of these brave aviators in their own words, drawing on more than 800 interviews recorded for the National Park Service's Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project. Denied the right to fully participate in the U.S. war effort alongside whites at the beginning of World War II, African Americans--spurred on by black newspapers and civil rights organizations such as the NAACP--compelled the prestigious Army Air Corps to open its training programs to black pilots, despite the objections of its top generals. Thousands of young men came from every part of the country to Tuskegee, Alabama, in the heart of the segregated South, to enter the program, which expanded in 1943 to train multi-engine bomber pilots in addition to fighter pilots. By the end of the war, Tuskegee Airfield had become a small city populated by black mechanics, parachute packers, doctors, and nurses. Together, they helped prove that racial segregation of the fighting forces was so inefficient as to be counterproductive to the nation's defense. Freedom Flyers brings to life the legacy of a determined, visionary cadre of African American airmen who proved their capabilities and patriotism beyond question, transformed the armed forces--formerly the nation's most racially polarized institution--and jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: National Bestseller To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have mad more...
Amazon Says: National Bestseller To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions. Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being. less...
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