Lockett Learning Systems

Lockett Learning Systems

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Is It Really More Blessed to Give Than to Receive?

A few years ago, I was part of a group that sponsored an "Angel Tree."  I listened at our meetings and thought what a great idea it was.  We adopted children in a group home setting.  Some were there because of their own poor choices.  Others were there because they had been abused. 

A little tree in our meeting room had names of the children with their gift request.  We were to select one or more and buy their Christmas.  Some of us would be privileged to deliver it just prior to the holiday.

The down side for me is that I was a struggling single mom on a tight budget.  I hoped others would be able to give but realized I couldn't.  I meandered by the tree and peeked at the names.  One stood out:  Justin.  I didn't take his name.  I couldn't afford to.

The next week, Justin was still there.  He weighed on my heart.  Meeting after meeting I checked on Justin.  Finally I thought, "If he's still there, I'll take him.  Somehow I'll find the money even when I don't have it."

He was there.  I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for him...and yes, somehow, I found the money.  I imagined what he would be like from his gift list.  He was a stranger.  He was nothing like me.  Then I was privileged to be part of the delivery team that sang carols with the children and delivered our gifts.  This Justin could have been my son!  My heart was so full I vowed to find a way to give beyond my circle of loved ones in some way every year...and I have.

Why was this so life-changing for me?  The obvious reason is that I quit letting money rule my life.  But that's not the real reason.  The real reason is that I have a son in Heaven named Justin.  I realized that if he were here, I would always find money and time for whatever he needed.  This tradition became part of what psychologists call my "grief work."  You see, a mother's heart loves forever, even when life as we know it ends.  I am more fulfilled and cope with life better when I give beyond myself.

"...For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life."
Prayer of St. Francis

Need help getting through the holidays?  View our featured video:

Handling the Holidays with a Heavy Heart

Would you like to read my Justin's story?



Friday, November 1, 2019

Help or Let Them Struggle?

It is a never-ending parenting dilemma.  Do we help them...with schoolwork, decisions, chores, friendships...or do we let them struggle?

Fortunately, there is an answer.  Unfortunately, it isn't black and white and isn't easy to do.

Two Questions:

 To decide, we need to ask ourselves two questions:
  1. Can he do it himself?
  2. Should he do it himself?  
If the answer is no to both questions, you must help!
If the answer is yes to both questions, you must let him struggle.  Coach, listen, love...but don't do any of it for him.
If the answer is yes to one question but no to the other, you probably should work side by side with him rather than intervene.

Part of the reason this is hard is that we parents are such great codependents!  We like being an active part of our childrens' lives.  We love to do things for them.  But if we meddle where we shouldn't, we are actually sending them a message that we don't think they are capable.  And...conversely, if we don't intervene when we should, we are actually sending them a message that we don't care and that they aren't worth helping.

Another dilemma...once our children figure out the nature of the game, they are great at manipulating us and pressing our guilt buttons.

My Story.

My son had a fear of abandonment...and I traveled on my job.  I always came home to two frustrating reports:
  1. A request for a conference from his teacher.  He would sit and stare into space with a little smile on his face...but he did not participate.
  2. A report from his babysitting grandparents that he always prayed in his nightly prayers that his mom would come home.
I tried to find another job.  In frustration, I sought counseling.  The therapist helped me realize that part of what he was experiencing was a legitimate fear of abandonment.  The other part was that he had already learned how to press my guilt buttons.  It was impossible to know which I was dealing with...but it didn't matter which was triggered, I needed to set up procedures to make him feel safe and loved.  To work through his fear, he needed to see me come and go consistently.  I needed to set a time when I would call him every night.

He's a father now.  Looking back, I struggled throughout his childhood to set personal boundaries with work.  I set my own schedule.  I sat in my bosses office and told him what I was dealing with.  He asked, "What do you want to do about it?"  I responded, "I don't want to spend the night away from home more than one week a month."  He said, "Okay.  Don't schedule yourself out of town more than one week a month." 

Duh!  The problem was clearly mine.  It was a hard lesson for me to learn I couldn't do it all; something had to go.  It was a hard lesson to prioritize what to keep and what to dismiss.

When I finally got my values straight and realized that my son would always be more important than my job, prioritizing was easier.  Not easy...but easier.

I was such a good codependent!

Enjoy the wisdom of guest psychologist Pat Nordberg through our YouTube Video Love and Laughter:  They'll Conquer Anything!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Child Suicide on the Rise . Act Now!

I don't really want to write this post...but I must!

Suicide has risen to the #2 cause of death in children 10 to 18 years old.

I don't know about you...but as an educator, parent, grandparent and friend that scares me to death!  I don't want to think about it much less talk about it or write about it.  But...

Suicide threats are sometimes the way our children ask for help.

Threats of suicide should never be discounted or dismissed. 

So what do we do?

This is a HUGE topic and requires a mountain of information for each person affected.  I almost feel trite trying to give a bit of wisdom...but here goes:
  1.  Take it seriously.  We so want to pretend they don't mean it...but when they say it, they are asking for help.  Deal with it.
  2. Listen and ask questions.  Ask, "why would you say that?"  Don't argue; listen and love.  Being heard, even when it hurts you, eases the tension they feel.
  3. Ask the tough questions:  "Do you have a plan?"  If the answer is yes, don't let them leave your presence.  Call for help.
  4. Ask for a promise that they will not hurt themselves without first contacting you.  They take that as a solemn promise.  It will buy you time to find help and work with them.
  5. Touch base with them at least daily.  Reaching out to them will improve their self image.  Don't let them be alone for too long.
  6. If they will not promise to contact you, call the police.  They may be angry with you, but they will be alive.  You can handle their anger.
  7. Tell them how special they are in your eyes and how sad life would be if they weren't in it.
  8. Don't say, "Oh, you don't mean that!"  That negates their feelings.  Say, instead, "What has happened that you would feel this way (or hopeless, or...).
  9. Know these are only crisis tactics.  If someone you love is contemplating suicide, GET HELP NOW! 

Sadly, bullying is often the cause of childhood depression which leads to suicide.  Check out our YouTube video interview with Shirley Zink, Founder/Director of the SACK (Simple Acts of Care and Kindness) Foundation, http://www.simpleacts.org/.

National Suicide Intervention Lifeline:  Call 1-800-273-8255

 Mental Health Association:  https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/suicide

Dr. Amen:

Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
re: 13 Reasons Why

Centers for Disease Control US

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sometimes I Can't See

Every year from first to sixth grade, I took my son to the "best pediatric ophthalmologist in Orange County, California."

Every year, the scenario was the same.

We were in counseling.  Normally a happy, low-key young man, he was careless with his schoolwork and was beginning to hang out with the wrong crowd.  The counselor called me in for a conference:

"I want you to have his eyes checked."

I responded, "Every year I have his eyes checked.  Every year the best pediatric ophthalmologist in Orange County, California, says 'your eyes are fine!'  Jeff says, 'Sometimes I can't see.'  He shouts, 'Your eyes are fine!'  I'm not going to waste any more money having his eyes checked."

"Then I want you to have a brain wave!"

I responded, "I think I'll have his eyes checked!"

But I didn't go back to the "best pediatric ophthalmologist in Orange County."  I started asking educators who work with children who are under-performing in the classroom.  That's when I learned the difference:

An ophthalmologist deals in eye disease.  His eyes weren't diseased.
An optometrist deals in vision issues.  His eyes were 20-20.

A behavioral optometrist deals in visual learning disorders.  We all understand dyslexia.  I learned that dyslexia has over 100 cousins.  Jeff had 3 of them!

Vision therapy was life changing for us. I would never have connected the dots.  I kept looking at other possible causes...

I saw the signs that I thought pointed to either behavior or grief.  I saw the charming kid who didn't sit still.  I saw the stubborn, defiant child who needed discipline.  I never saw the child who couldn't see so was acting out in other ways.  Every child would rather be seen as belligerent than stupid!

Deja Vu!  This summer my grandson went through a round of vision therapy.  The big difference:  He was going into 3rd grade, not 7th!  We knew what to look for so we caught it early.  Dr. Spiro estimates that about 1/4 of our children could benefit from this therapy.  Few of them will get it.  They will go through life feeling inadequate.  It's sad.  It isn't necessary.  Look for the root of the problem; don't get stuck on the symptoms.

Hear our story and learn where to find help here:

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Seems I've Been Here Before!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

The school year is about to start.  How was last year for your class or your children?

If you notice patterns...
  • The day starts off strong but deteriorates by afternoon
  • Behavior patterns you observed last year surface again
  • They do well in the morning but seem hyper after lunch
  • They seem to fall asleep in the morning but wake up after lunch
  • The year starts off great but seems to fall apart after the first holiday
  • Your child loves school and loves his/her lessons but fails the tests
  • Reading is tedious in spite of a great vocabulary and good verbal skills...
You get the picture...

Deja vu!
Seems I've been here before!

When the problems keep recurring, it's time to take inventory.  Deal with the root cause before the next school year begins!

When our bright and charming children have minor learning problems, they are especially hard to detect.  These children can talk their way out of anything.  Their issues usually come across as bossy, stubborn, or bored.  It's hard to see the root issue underneath.  But it is time to talk with your doctor.

The following hard to detect issues can create havoc in any classroom.  Check for:
  • Vision.  Be sure to have eyes checked regularly.  Glasses may be needed; they may not be enough.  Behavioral optometrists specialize in children with learning disorders.  We understand the term dyslexic.  Dyslexia has over 100 cousins that are not as easily identifiable.  Have your child evaluated.
  • Hearing.  When I mention I suspect a hearing issue, the common response from parents is, "Oh, he hears.  He is just stubborn, but he's very bright."  Bright and hearing impaired are two very different things.  Resolving a hearing impairment will keep your bright children learning and growing.
  • Allergies.  Both allergies and allergy medications can cause learning problems.
  • Blood sugar.  Notice behavior changes before and after a meal.  Notice behavior patterns after eating sweets or carbs.  A general rule of thumb is to have your children add protein to any snack.  It helps level out the mood swings.
How do I know to look for these?   My son had an eye-muscle coordination problem.  He was in 7th grade before we finally diagnosed it.  It looked like careless errors, stubbornness, boredom.  Dealing with the problem through vision therapy was life changing for both of us.

My grandson is entering 3rd grade.  He is in vision therapy over the summer.  This time, though, we spotted the behaviors early because we knew what we were dealing with.

Deja Vu!

Check out our YouTube Home Sweet Homework channel for great tools to help your children learn:


For more detailed information about how to help and where to find help, check out Home Sweet Homework!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Cause for Celebration

"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."  Ronald Reagan

"The liberty of one citizen ends where the liberty of another citizen begins." Victor Hugo

Today I thank God and our wonderful military for my freedom.

Celebrate our Freedom

Building Bridges to Our Heritage of Freedom

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Summer! It's Time to Accelerate Achievement!

Every child can learn at a level of content mastery.

Each child has a unique learning style and personality.
There are no two children alike...but

Every child can learn!

Summer brings us an opportunity to change bad habits and accelerate learning before our children begin a new school year.  Here are three things to think about if your child is struggling in school:
  1. More of the same isn't better.  If your child is struggling in school, summer school is an option...but make sure it isn't "business as usual."  I once worked with a school planning a summer school for 9th graders who failed English.  Using this principle, we planned for them to gain English credit by reading to elementary school children at a nearby school.  The 39 students maintained a B average in English the next year.  New and different approaches to building skill seem to jump start the road to success.
  2. Is your child reading at grade level?  If not, use the summer to read!  Every grade has a reading list.  Reading is foundational for everything else they will do in life.  Local organizations, libraries, and community colleges specialize in reading acceleration...or you can take on that task.  Choral read with your child (that means you sit beside one another and both read the same thing aloud together) for 15 minutes a day.  Within a month you will see a marked improvement.
  3. Check out physical issues and tackle them over the summer.  Below are some that may be overlooked by the school and your doctor:
    1. Often eye function is the reason children struggle in school.  Opthalmologists specialize in eye disease; optometrists specialize in eye function; behavioral optometrists have additional training to specialize in children with learning disorders.  Here is a link to a directory:  https://www.visiontherapydirectory.com/
    2. Mild hearing disorders will affect both speech and achievement.  Here is a web checklist:  https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hear.html
    3. Behavioral problems may have many causes.  They can be caused by hard to identify allergies.  They can be caused by grief.  Brain research says that the search for meaning is innate.  If children can't see or hear or are reacting to life issues, they may wander around the room because what is going on in the classroom doesn't make sense to them. In reality, they are "searching for meaning," but they are often diagnosed as a form of ADD.  According to Dr. Amen, there are 7 types of ADD.  Only two need medication to resolve the problem.  Here is Dr. Amen's link:  https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/adhd-add/ 

Every child can learn!  Your job, as parents and/or educators, is to find root cause when they struggle in school.  When you get to the bottom of the problem, children succeed quickly.  If they are allowed to repeat a pattern of failure, they enter a downward spiral instead.  Prevention has always been less costly than cure.

You will also find help on our YouTube video:  Amp Up for Summer!

Friday, May 3, 2019

To Friend or Not To Friend? That is the question.

Friend!  That is the answer.

So often we tell our children to just be quiet and study.  That is about the least effective way to learn...even for our not so social students.

The more senses you use, the more rapidly learning will occur.

Even though our children may socialize in the study process, they learn more when they have a conversation about the content.   The benefit far outweighs the problem.  In fact, some researchers say the "bird walks" to socialize are also a valuable part of the learning process. 

Discussion is such a powerful way to learn that I recommend students have conversations with themselves when they study alone!

Since finals are upon us, let me recommend our YouTube video about how to learn Smarter, Not Harder:  

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

Monday, April 1, 2019

I'm Tired of the Homework Hassle

"I'm so tired of the homework hassle.  I finally gave up and told my son to just stay in his room for an hour.  I don't want to help him with homework any more, and I don't want to fight him about doing it.  Now he's a mess because he's not ready for finals.  When he's stressed, my life is crazy miserable."

Haven't we all felt this way!  We probably reached this point many times as students ourselves.  A version of this quote preys on every parent's mind.  Let me try to uncork it for you:

  1. I agree.  I'm a teacher, and I don't like the homework hassle.  I resent that a teacher has the power to determine how I spend my free time with my children.  
  2. Homework is a fact of life.  It will continue whether or not you approve and whether or not you help with it.
  3. Homework doesn't have to be punitive, and it can be fun.
  4. Studying with friends sends important messages.  Don't isolate your children.  Let them study with friends.  Making homework social gets the homework done with less hassle and sends a message that peers do homework, too.
  5. When they study with friends, you can share the work with other parents. 
  6. You have homework, too.  When your children moan about doing homework, remind them that after they finish school, everything is homework.  If you help them with their homework, they must help you with yours. 
  7. Remember that healthy snacks are part of the homework process.  You'll be surprised at how much easier homework is with food.
Lockett Learning Systems has a plethora of resources to help parents help their children with homework:  Check out our:

"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.  You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game."  Mary Poppins by Pamela Lyndon Travers