Lockett Learning Systems

Lockett Learning Systems

Sunday, December 30, 2018

I Think I Can...

I was raised by the most wonderful grandmother...

Except for one thing.  Every time I would moan, "I can't...," she would chant:

"Never say 'I can't.'  Say 'I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can." (from The Little Engine That Could by Matty Piper).

She never ever let me off the hook.  She helped me find alternatives, strategies, strength, direction.  But if it was important, she never let me give up.

I hated it!

As my son grew up, when he would say, "I can't...," I would chant:

"Never say 'I can't.'  Say 'I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can." (from The Little Engine That Could by Matty Piper).

I taught him many life skills including one that is especially important:

     You always, always, always have choices.

Then I helped him explore those choices to make a wiser decision next time around.  Like my grandmother mentored me, I helped him find alternatives, strategies, strength, and direction.

Now it's my grandson's turn.  My son, his mother, and I all play on the same team.

I hated it then.  I love it now!

I miss you, Gram. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

I'm a Sucker for Christmas!

I admit it.  I'm a sucker for Christmas.  I'm into Jesus all year long...all life long.  I'm into Santa Claus.  I'm into baking and shopping and partying and gifting and singing.  You name it, and if it has to do with Christmas, I LOVE it!

Do Christmas and Santa really coexist?  In my heart they do.  My favorite Christmas decoration dons a place of honor every year under my tree.

Whether you are religious or not, Christmas calls you to everything right with the world and challenges you to live a better life.  We NEED that reminder, at least once a year.

As life goes through its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, Christmas comes:

In the passion of our joy, it gives us permission to savor the good life.
In the depths of our despair, it gives us hope of a better tomorrow.
In the midst of our failure, it gives us vision and wisdom.
In the challenges of our lives, it gives us strength.

If this Christmas finds you in a good place, remember to pay it forward.
If this Christmas finds you grieving and struggling, hang on.  Tomorrow really is another day.  You might find help in our YouTube Video Handling the Holidays with a Broken Heart:

May Christmas bring you peace, love, and joy.  There are no greater gifts.

Friday, November 2, 2018

I Hate Election Time, But...

A few years ago I was privileged to travel to another country.  Every time our tour guide began to talk, strangers would join our group.  I thought that was a little bit odd…even a little bit rude.  I might stand near another group’s tour guide and “eavesdrop” to hear part of the information for one or two items…but to join another group would be, in my mind, inappropriate or unethical.  It happened at every stop.  Toward the end of the tour, I mentioned it to a fellow traveler…and learned they weren’t tourists.  Those who visited our group at every stop were the Secret Police.

We Americans will never truly understand what it is like not to be free.  I hope, though, that we value our freedom and that we understand the high price that was paid to gain it.   

I hate the fact that we protest; I hate it when we exploit the weaknesses of our leaders; I hate the back-stabbing political campaigns. 

But I would fight with my life to defend my right to do it.

What is worth you walking out of your comfort zone?

When you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, remember to thank those make our freedom possible.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Yes! YES! YES!

I interviewed a student who was failing four of his five classes.  He told me he wanted to be a teacher.  I said, "Teachers have to get through high school.  Do you really want to be a teacher?"

He said yes.

I said, "Teachers have to go to college.  Do you really want to be a teacher?"

He said YES.

I said, "I wish I didn't have to tell you this, but teachers have to go to college after they get through college.  Do you REALLY want to be a teacher?"

He said, Yes!  YES!  YES!

Now we could build a plan.  He passed every class that school year, and he graduated with his class en route to becoming a teacher.

There is an old saying by that great author Anonymous:  "First you reach 'em.  Then you teach 'em."  You need buy-in to get cooperation.  When students take responsibility, it is wonderfully mind boggling to watch them succeed.  When you don't, you fight them each step of the way.

Remember you're on their team.

Hear the rest of the story:

Pet The Dream

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Passion and Expertise: The Twins of Success

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

 As part of their career assessment, I ask my students, "What do you do where it seems like time stands still?  Where you lose yourself in the joy of what you are doing?"

That points us to their passion.

Yes, many of today's children answer "computer games."  That doesn't mean they will grow up to be programmers.  Maybe...but it tells me they like fast action, have a good sense of logic, and like to win!  I can use these to help them find a direction for choosing a career.

I also ask, "What are you really good at?  Better than most of your friends?"  That points to their expertise.

Interesting...high risk students know what they're bad at.  They have trouble identifying and voicing their strengths.

In our first motivation lesson, students interview a seat mate and introduce them by telling something they are good at and something they want to do in life.  In middle school, students are at diverse stages of development.  On the islands in one class, the football player was paired with the smallest child in the classroom.  He was totally intimidated so I helped get the conversation started.  The smaller child could not look the "big guy" in the eyes.  With my help, he finally told the football player, "I am very good at climbing coconut trees." A mutual admiration friendship was formed!

Jim Dobson advises, "make sure your children can hold their own at something."  His father helped him learn to play tennis.  Although known for child psychology rather than sports, the ability to play better than average became part of his self esteem and still carries him through tough times.

Put The Two Together.
When passion meets talent, our children are motivated to better their skills.  They will pay the price to develop their talent, whatever it is.  Expertise plus passion equals success...in life, and in a career.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Grace or Consequence?

I was babysitting my two grandsons.  They were being naughty.

I warned.  I scolded.  I gave more than one time-out to each of them.

They were still naughty.

Finally, I said, "Okay.  That's it.  I had something really fun planned for this afternoon, but we're not going to do it now."

Of course, they asked for a second chance.  I reminded them they had already been given about ten second chances.

You could see their wheels turning.  After a few seconds, the older one asked,

"Grandma, do you know about grace?"

I do know about grace.  I am grateful for those life-changing gifts of grace and forgiveness.  Sometimes I make mistakes.  Sometimes I don't live up to my potential or others' expectations.  Sometimes I, too, am naughty for no good reason.  Grace and forgiveness don't excuse the behavior, but they give me the strength to face my failures and try again.

Sometimes our children need consequence.  But let consequence follow a season of abundant grace.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What Did Your Freedom Cost?

What Did Your Freedom Cost You?

Freedom is the theme of our July celebrations.  We are free to disagree.  We are free to express our opinions.  Sadly, we are even free to say and do hateful things.

What does freedom cost you?

Some paid for our freedom with their lives.  Some paid for our freedom with their children, their fathers, or their grandchildren.  When we pay personally, we have an entirely different perspective. But freedom, to sustain itself, must be reborn every generation in the hearts of our children.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."  Ronald Reagan

How can we teach our children to both honor the price of freedom and accept the responsibility of self discipline?  Tough questions!

Listen to our July 4 YouTube post for some thoughts:

Friday, June 1, 2018

Should My Children Attend Summer School?

That is the age-old question:  Should my children attend summer school?  It is usually followed by a qualifier...,

  • He is struggling in so many subjects...
  • She is excelling; will summer school get her farther ahead?...
  • I have to work, can't afford child care, and don't want them to stay home alone...

There are as many answers as there are qualifiers...and children...to this question.  Here is some food for thought:

  • More of the same isn't better.  Make sure their summer experience enriches and accelerates rather than simply being a repeat of what they have done all year.
  • As a general rule, children need a break from school, but not from learning.  In fact, you can't keep them from learning.  Make sure their summer experiences are rich.
  • If your children are behind grade level in any subject, they need to catch up over the summer.
  • If your children are not scheduled for math Algebra I or higher by 9th grade, they need to accelerate over the summer. 
  • Summer school or not, reading every day is a must!  Children lose 2 months' reading skills, on average, over the summer.  If they are struggling readers, choral read with them 15 minutes a day, every day.
  • If you want to enrich their learning, look to something they don't have time for during the school year...sports, music lessons, field trips,

For more detail on this topic and ideas for alternative learning experiences, please check out our YouTube Video: Amp Up for Summer!

Amp Up for Summer

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Look At Me! I'm 100% Smart!

As I work with struggling students, I find they can easily recite their shortcomings.  They know everything they are "bad" in.  When I ask them what their strengths are, they draw a blank. 

Sadly, I often find their parents and teachers do the same.

When we emphasize the negative, it gets worse.  So let's stop it!  Think, instead, about their strengths. 

A strength carried to excess becomes a weakness.  Decisiveness, carried to excess, is bossiness.  Being good at talking, carried to excess, is air-headedness.  Being a good listener, carried to excess, is wishy-washy. 

When we emphasize the negative and ask, "What's wrong with you," in essence we are saying, "it's not okay to be you.  You should be someone else."  In other words, you should become fake in order to please people.

Instead, validate the corresponding strength and ask for a change in behavior:  "I love listening to your creative ideas!  Write that for me before you forget it." 

Every child is 100% smart.  Don't ask, "How smart are you?"  Ask, "How are you smart?"

Instead of asking, "What did you do wrong?" ask "What works best for you?"

Help your children create a chart that shows how they are smart.  Use their strengths (smarts) to help them learn in other areas.  Capitalize on their strengths, and compensate for their weaknesses. 

Here's an example:

20% Word Smart
35% Art Smart
10% Technology Smart
30% Athletic Smart
5% Social Smart

Look At Me!  I'm 100% Smart! 

Any child that can carry on an intelligent (or semi-intelligent) conversation with you has enough brain power to succeed through college.  They can work around any disability.  They need to look at what is right, not at what is wrong.  They need to find great resources to help them succeed.

Two Resources:  
1.  Educationaltechnology.com shares a variety of web resources for teaching and learning.  Yes, we want our children to "unplug" and be social.  But we also want to take advantage of all the great resources the web provides.  Here is a quick chart to help you help your children compensate for their weaknesses.


 2.  Lockett Learning System's YouTube channel provides a wealth of resources.  Click Here:

Here is May's post to help you help your children review for finals:

Study, Study, Study for the Test, Test, Test!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yes, I'm Entitled...

My young grandson summoned me on the playground the other day to report that one of his playmates had called him a name.  I said, "Did you tell him we don't call people names?"  He responded, "I thought maybe you could do that for me."

Enter entitlement.  We hear so much about our entitled and spoiled generation.  People speculate that it's because we give them so much materially.  I think it's much bigger than that. 

I think one big reason our children feel wrongly "entitled" is because we fight all their battles for them so they never learn to negotiate life for themselves.

Codependency...that's the word.  Here is my "nutshell" version:

We are keeping our acquaintances (children, friends, parents, spouses, employees...) dependent on us in a sick way when we do for them what they can and should do for themselves.  So ask yourselves:

Can they do it themselves?
Should they do it themselves?

If the answer to both of those questions is yes, we must let go and allow them to learn from...and suffer the consequences of...their actions.

If the answer to either question is no, they need our help.  Our help may be doing it for them; it may be teaching them how to do it themselves.

Now, back to my grandson.  Was he being victimized?  No.  Was there other abuse involved?  No.  It was a friendly playground spat.  My job, then, was to empower him to speak for himself.  Had victimization or abuse been involved, "Grandma Bear" would have roared!  When he can and should learn to handle these situations, "Loving Grandma Mentor" will teach him how.

And, by the way, he is entitled.  I'm "entitled," too.

We're entitled to work hard for a living.

We're entitled to reap what we sow.

We're entitled to learn from our mistakes.

We're  entitled to be treated with respect.

We're entitled to make a fair wage for our work.

Yes, come to think of it, we all are entitled.

When it comes to parenting, a friend of mine gave me a visual I have never forgotten.  He said, "If we do our job (as parents) well, they leave home, and we cry."

Home Sweet Homework empowers parents to partner with schools.  Here's a quick overview.

To order to join the parent support program, click here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

That Gut Feeling? Go With It!

Sometimes it defies logic.
Sometimes it is nagging.
Sometimes it is soft but persistent.
Sometimes it is frantic.

Call it your sixth sense.
Call it intuition.
Call it a caution from God.
Call it inspiration.

Whatever you call it, always listen to it.

Your interpretation may not be accurate.
It may be nothing you can identify.
It may be a false alarm...

But it is always telling you to move with caution and think things through a little better before you proceed.

As A Single Mom...

My search for day care was agonizing.  I finally placed my son in a day care center only to be plagued by that gut feeling.  I asked him daily what happened there and questioned him about how he liked it.  I got nothing.

Finally, I took him out and found other care.  I never knew why, but I had to be at peace with myself.

As an adult, I asked my son about it.  There was nothing concrete.  All he could say is "They weren't very nice to me there."

The gut was right.  Everyone should be nice to my son.  TLC should be the norm for all children.

My Student Joe...

My staff asked if we could drop Joe from our SCORE program because Joe was "not college material."  I listened to their reasons, and they were right.

But something in my gut couldn't let him go.

The gut was right!

Listen to your gut, and remember...there is no such thing as a child who can't learn.  There are children who learn slower...differently...later in life.  But they all learn and they all can achieve.

Learn to "Pet their Dream."  Here is Joe's story:


During a period of personal crisis, my therapist iterated, "Sharon, if it's confusing, it isn't from God."  I replied, "Then God isn't speaking because everything is confusing."  She said, "Then you wait."

That gut feeling?  Go with it!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Pay It Forward: The Wisdom of Giving

When we designed the SCORE program, we “spoon fed” our students.  We gave, and they received.  Their grades improved and they gained confidence.   

Then they started to drop out of our program. 

Yes, they appreciated us, liked us, and were grateful…but they moved on.

Confused, we went back to the drawing board and interviewed our students.  We discovered that once they gained skills, they needed to “pay it forward.”  The "willing and able" need responsibility.  When they learned to use a spoon, they could feed themselves and another.

One of my friends says, "If we parents do our job well, they grow up and leave home...and we cry."

It is simply the fulfillment of an old Bible proverb:  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

We re-designed SCORE with the philosophy "Everyone gives, and everyone receives."  It works!

So…teach your children to give…

For Valentines Day, have them:
  • Give a word of encouragement to every student in their class.
  • Give help to someone who is struggling.
  • Give attention to someone who is neglected (hospitals, convalescent homes, retirement centers)
  • Give a hug to someone who needs one (hint:  We need 10 hugs a day just to survive!)
  • Give a good used toy to a child in need
There was a time in my life when I needed help…a lot of help.  Anyone who doesn’t believe it is more blessed to give than to receive has never been needy.  I much prefer helping someone else than needing help myself.  But, in life, we all play both roles periodically.

Lockett Learning specializes in helping high-risk youth.  One of my "ah-ha" moments was to realize that in life, everyone is high-risk.  It's not whether, it's when.  More importantly, how will we help them through when they need it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

About Their Music!?!

I try to read in a wide variety of genres and to listen to different styles of music.  I believe it's important to be well rounded.  I also believe it is important to read what our children are reading and keep up to date on what they are putting into their minds.  We tend to accept what we put into our minds as "normal."

As a parent, it was easier when my son was young and we could listen to childrens' songs.  But when he reached the pre-teen years...that was different.  I really hated some of his selections.  Initially I tried to censor them.  Then I remembered some of what I listened to..."Treat me like a fool...." I belted it out!  The lyrics were horrible, but sadly they became a part of my psyche.  It has taken hard work and counseling to change that.

What we put into our minds tends to shape out behavior and value system.  It is important that parents know what their children are reading, watching, listening to, etc.

But it is also important that our children own and celebrate their taste in music and literature.  So I came up with a compromise:

Three days a week, we listened to his music; three days to mine.  The final day we shared.  Both of us had VETO power if we just hated what the other was listening to.  When I vetoed one of his songs, I told him why.  I taught him to listen to the lyrics and opt not to put harmful thoughts into his mind.  

On one of his days, a song played on our car radio.  He quickly switched stations.  I asked him why and he said, "Trust me, Mom, you wouldn't like that one."

I'm not naive enough to think he didn't listen when I wasn't around...after all, he knew the lyrics before I even registered with the song.  But I do believe I taught him to be selective in what he put into his mind. Maybe as an adult he won't need as much counseling as I did!

As parents, you have both the right and the responsibility to monitor your childrens' activities.  It isn't the most fun part of your job...but it has implications that last a lifetime.