3 Lessons From March Madness to Teach Our Kids

march madness 2015

march madness 2015March Madness. The biggest basketball event of the year and a sporting spectacle that rivals even the Super Bowl. The NCAA Tournament is the ultimate single elimination, win-or-go-home clash of 68 teams, and at the office it keeps most of us more focused on filling out brackets and sneaking game highlights than working.

On the surface, it’s all “just basketball,” but college athletics can demonstrate some pretty big life lessons to our kids. Every season produces great stories and the NCAA Tournament is no exception. In fact, it’s where the best ones are made. Our children would do well to learn these life lessons:

Kevin Ware: The Value of Perseverance

The 2012-2013 Louisville Cardinals were looking hot in the NCAA Tournament, and many brackets had them in the Final Four and beyond. Louisville guard Kevin Ware was one of the first players off the bench and producing impressive numbers in March Madness. That is, until it all came to a terrifying halt in an Elite Eight matchup versus Duke.

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Mama Gone Geek

Lynn Brunelle, author of Mama Gone Geek.
Topic:
Using your inner science nerd to help navigate the ups and downs of parenthood.
Issues: Playing with fire; electricity from lemons; nose flutes and armpit farts; raising lice; creating homemade washable body paint; dancing paperclips; growing your own germs; yummy homemade deodorant.

The Truth About Nature + Finding Your Inner Science Nerd


Ken Keffer, co-author of The Truth About Nature.
Topic:
Common myths about the great outdoors.
Issues: Do birds really sing because they’re happy? do bees really die after they sting you? to tornadoes always turn clockwise?; Do bulls always attack the color red? Many other myths and falsehoods.



Lynn Brunelle, author of Mama Gone Geek.
Topic:
Using your inner science nerd to help navigate the ups and downs of parenthood.
Issues: Playing with fire; electricity from lemons; nose flutes and armpit farts; raising lice; creating homemade washable body paint; dancing paperclips; growing your own germs; yummy homemade deodorant.

The New Rules of Boy World


Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds & Wingmen.
Topic:
The new rules of Boy World.
Issues: Popularity and groups; body image; schoolyard power; locker room tests; girlfriends; intimacy; the emotional lives of boys (which are more complex that we’re led to believe; why boys are lagging behind girls in education; why boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls.

New Articles for Military Families on About.com

As some of you may know, I’m About.com’s expert on military families. Here are the latest articles:

Paying for Your Child’s College Education–A Guide for Military Parents

The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act

Overcoming the Challenges to Military Spouse Employment

Installation Education Centers–Everything You Need to Know to Land a Job

Military Relocation–Know Your Relocation Resources

 

 

Galileo Innovation Camps: Great Way to Spend the Summer—and Save Money!

galileo summer camp

Sponsored by Galileo, but all opinions are mine alone.

We all love summer vacation. And why not? For kids, it’s a long, long break from projects, homework, and essays. And for parents, it’s an equally long break from having to bug the kids to do all of those things. But there’s a downside to all that time away from school, and it’s sometimes called the “summer brain drain.” On average, kids lose from one to three months of learning between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. And teachers have to spend the first month or two of the new school year getting the kids up to speed on everything they’d learned the year before.

camp galileo4For me—and many other parents—avoiding the brain drain is a top priority. But so is giving the kids (and maybe ourselves) a little down time. The challenge, then, is to find activities that keep the mind active but are so fun that no one realizes that they’re actually learning something. In my family, that often means field trips. Lots of ‘em. Some last only a few hours, some a few weeks.

Over the years, we’ve spend incredible amounts of time at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, Zeum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Randall Museum, the DeYoung, MOMA, and many of the dozens of lesser-known museums around the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring collections of Pez, tattoos, banned toys, mummies, pinball machines, modern art, cable cars, and cartoons.

galileo 4Unfortunately, most adults can’t take off the entire summer to hang with the kids. Someone’s got to put food on the table and shoes on everyone’s feet and we don’t want to just leave the kids to fend for themselves. In most cases, that means finding camps that are both fun and educationally engaging. Oh, and is a little convenience for mom and dad too much to ask for? My kids have done day camps and sleep away camps, science camps, sports camps, boating camps, tech camps, and pretty much any other kind of camp you can think of.

One of our favorites has always been the Galileo camps, which have it all: convenience, education, fun, if you visit their website now you can save $30 per camper (sign up for their newsletter and you can win an expense-paid week at the camp of your choice). When my kids went to Galileo camps, they did art, science, and plenty of outdoors activities. I always loved that when I’d pick them up in the afternoon, they were usually filthy, exhausted, smiling, and full of stories about some cool thing they’d learned that day. The experiences they have at Galileo will last a lifetime. My older two kids (now 24 and 21) still remember the words to some of the songs they learned at Galileo—including one that involved a rubber chicken. I’ve never quite understood that one.

If you’re in the greater SF Bay Area, you can—and should!—make Galileo a part of your family’s history. Your children will get engrossed in art projects, science challenges and outdoor activities that will make them laugh, think and express themselves with complete freedom.

For kids pre-K through 4th grade, Galileo has more than 25 camps around the Bay Area (see the full list here). Every year, Galileo introduces rich, riveting new themes to inspire budding innovators. Each theme combines art, science and outdoor activities around a whimsical week-long narrative that’s crafted to keep kids giggling and engaged. This year features four fresh themes, each adapted for three different age groups. The themes are created together with Galileo’s fabulous curriculum partners at Klutz, The de Young Museum, The Tech Museum of Innovation and The Chabot Space & Science Center.
camp galileo2

  • Adventures Down Under: Art & Science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Galileo Road Trip: Art & Engineering along Route 66
  • The Incredible Human Body: Art & Science of Being Human
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice: Inventions & Art of the Renaissance

And for 5th-8th graders, there are 18 camps, called Summer Quest (see the complete list here). Summer Questers pick from 18 week-long “majors,” including digital filmmaking, video game design, fashion design, inventors workshop, chemistry, and cooking. Call it (as the camp does) “an incubator for emerging innovators.” If that doesn’t make you want to be a kid again, not much will.

camp galile3Concerned about the staff (you’d be crazy not to be)? Here’s what Galileo says about that. And I can add that in my experience, they do exactly what they say they’re going to do: “Our curriculum team spends thousands of hours developing creatively fertile themes, activities and majors. We interview thousands of applicants to find the most talented counselors and instructors. We combine those two essential elements to introduce kids to a third—an innovation process inspired by the one developed at the Stanford d.school.”

If you sign your camper for any of the Galileo camps by May 31, you can save $30 per camper by using the code 2014INNOVATION. And if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free week of summer camp.

Images and video provided by Galileo camps.