Guest post by Jen Lilienstein, founder of Kidzmet.com and award-winning author of A Parent's Playbook for Learning
As a longtime fan of Merlot Mommy, I was so excited when Jana agreed to participate in my virtual book tour. Like Jana, I am also a working mom, so I want to make sure the limited quantity time I have to spend with my kids is quality time. It’s not always easy to do this—particularly where enrichment activities, homework or to-do lists are involved.
Part of the reason I made the leap from the corporate world into founding Kidzmet and writing this book is because I started to realize with my eldest daughter that enrichment activities planning wasn’t the snap I imagined it would be. I started out going to classes with my wee one that friends recommended as fabulous or where I had heard great things about the teacher. Unfortunately, the teachers with whom I connected well or the class format I enjoyed didn’t always delight my daughter. It wasn’t that the teachers weren’t wonderful or the class wasn’t a favorite of other children with different temperaments…it was that her personality type mattered just as much in those early learning experiences as they will when she chooses a spouse or career.
We had experience after experience—yoga, swimming, music, etc.—where she would LOVE a subject with one teacher and then, as soon as we switched, she wouldn’t want to go any more. (Or vice versa—she would dig her heels in when it was time to go to class until we switched teachers.) And negative experiences seemed even worse to me because I had a full-time job and limited time with her.
I started to get an inkling when Lana was about 3 years old just how important personality type was in learning. So I started to do research—lots and lots of research. There were so many personality based tidbits of information in the books that started to help me not just select more appropriate teachers and classes for her, but also start to help her get organized and manage her time better.
I had always done really well with traditional school, so I thought when she embarked upon her “normal” school career, it would be a breeze. Not so. When she started doing homework in the first grade, we would literally spend more than an hour on the homework her teacher assigned. When I started using the personality-based techniques from my research and began working fact practice in ways that her disposition dictated, not only did homework go faster and more smoothly, but we began to have more FUN with it together. I had also begun using personality type based techniques with my son and found him enjoying learning…but in a completely different way than my eldest did.
So I decided to write A Parent's Playbook for Learning. I wrote it because there wasn’t anything like it out there on the market—and I’d bought literally more than 50 personality type books by that point. (Not to mention a ton on multiple intelligences, brain based learning, learning styles, and education in general. Can you say Kindle/Amazon addict?!?) I wanted to give parents an easy reference tool that they could use whenever they were struggling with helping their kids better manage their time, tackle homework, prepare for tests, approach new concepts, get motivated, handle failure, etc. And I wanted to assure them that just because the teacher during the school day was teaching in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best—or fastest—way for every student in their classroom to learn.
I didn’t design it to be a cover-to-cover read because, let’s be honest, how many parents really have time for that—working or otherwise? I wanted parents to be able to reach for it before they pulled their hair out, flip to the section that was right for their child’s personality type and challenge, and find a couple of techniques to try in under 5 minutes. And I wrote it because my deepest desire as a mom is to spend less time fighting with my kids and more time enjoying our time together.
If you and your child are struggling with school or you just want to make learning more fun for your kids, I hope you’ll consider downloading the book. (You can also just ask for it at your local bookstore and check it out before you decide to buy it!) It truly is the best of the research-backed information I’ve spent thousands of hours reading, comparing, and verifying validity across multiple sources before putting into the book. If you do decide to give it a go, I hope it will have the same effect on your household that it did on mine—less time stressing over schoolwork and more time spent enjoying each other’s unique perspectives on life.