Children Participate, They don’t Win, They don’t Lose

When I was at School, we won or we lost. I’m not aware of anything in-between other than races where we can come 2nd or 3rd and another 3 pupils got nothing, in that race. They had the opportunity to do better in another race.

Participation was a giving, we had no choice and we didn’t expect reward simply for participating, need to be in it to win it. You would be right in assuming that I didn’t always win and I didn’t get picked for the School football team. I admit not being picked for the team caused new feelings at the time, but I handled it just fine and probably learned to deal with rejection in a good way.

Now that I’m a father I can talk about this subject and how things have changed. I strongly believe they have and I blog this post without researching it. I’m sure I remember news reports on the subject but it’s all very vague. Maybe child psychologists could make a good case for removing rewards for the few so the many don’t feel…well feelings!

Summers Reading Award

My interest in how Schools reward pupils began when my daughter received the “Jessie Taylor Reading Award” while at Dysart Primary. She was the only pupil who received it because it was only issued once per year to Primary 1 pupils. Now my daughter, to this day, is reading 2 years ahead of her age. So her achievement back then was well noted and gladly rewarded because we worked hard.

As you can see we then did what modern people do, never mind the fact that I am a Web Developer or a father showing his child how to take everything to the next level. We did what we’re all doing and that is sharing. That is the video I created with my daughter and I saw the whole process as an opportunity to show her why the WWW exists. I showed her how we can create our own positive media and that many tools exist to make videos like this.

No More Reading Awards

The publishing of this video might have had an unintentional effect. I can’t be sure but my daughter’s award was the last giving. Suddenly teachers felt they couldn’t choose a pupil to give it to. That the choice was too difficult and left other children out.

I was surprised because those adults who are meant to help children prepare for what can be a difficult and challenging world. Stopped a tradition because it was challenging not just for pupils but for them. The idea that teachers back-out of situations that might be difficult for them and children doesn’t make sense to me. I expect professionals charged with teaching to challenge a child’s emotions and feelings. If that means awarding a single child so be it. Just remind the rest that they can achieve other rewards and there is always next time!

Did the video and sharing the video cause upset? I can’t say for sure but I got the feeling it might have based on attitudes towards it. Would you feel angry if your child didn’t receive the award or would you be happy for the child who did?

My opinion is simple. Create more awards for more subjects and efforts. We shouldn’t ever remove the opportunity to give something to a child that will encourage them to maintain their effort. Especially something they can be proud of for years.

Participation and Gold Stars

Another thing I’m not sure about is if the School even stopped to consider the culture they were created or becoming a part of or promoting. Maybe the School, maybe all Primary Schools, are increasing a culture of focusing on participation and giving a gold star for doing that alone. That is the impression I get from media and hearing parents opinions. We’re possibly creating a culture where nobody loses, but then nobody is a clear winner either!

Do you think that is where we are heading in our Schools?

At what point does a young person become challenged and taught the fact that one day their peers might experience greater success. When do we stir up negative feelings so that they may learn to cope with them before adulthood? They grow up quickly and there seems to be an increasing trend to shelter them from every emotion that isn’t a happy one. It could create a generation of adults who struggle with failure.

Silver stars should always be an option in my opinion!


App of the Month is Aniscience

App of the Month is Aniscience

Aniscience App IntroLearning is fun when apps work and don’t display ads. Those are the apps I’ll be reviewing in our App of the Month series. The first recommended app is Aniscience and the screenshots tell a lot.

Aniscience invites us underground where we become a mouse and explore the habitats of other creatures. We can even go to the surface using various tunnels dug through the dirt and plant roots.  A magnifying glass lets us examine everything, with an information card telling us all about the plants, insects, mammals and even pondlife.

This new app is very small for now but Keira (4) has returned to it twice. Things through the eyes of children seem so much larger, we must remember this! I was happy to discover that the app’s creators are working on an update which I’ve assumed will add more habitats. I do hope they extend the existing one though because there is so much more to be found underground.

Aniscience is available on Google Play and Windows 10.

Free…Until When?

We rarely purchase apps in our household, but we do when they impress us and this app impresses us. So we’ll buy it the moment it goes premium and offers a little more. I’d be very surprised if it stays 100% free. I suspect that the updates coming soon will offer areas (animal environments) that are locked until purchased.

I wish the developer(s) well on this project and hope they make a good profit. There is an official site which shows a nice video, with graphics not seen in the app itself.

Aniscience App Follow Us View


Family Pulse Starting Family Introduction

Family Pulse Starting Family Introduction

Yes, another family blog, but Family Pulse is different and I’ll explain why in a moment. I’m Ryan and I’m the father of four young children who will be used in various wild experiments to produce content for this blog! Do not be concerned, they have all signed a Waiver of Liability form.

Mixture of Seriousness and Humour

Everyone has struggled to get a letter, essay or blog post started. The first 2-3 sentences either grab someone’s attention or turn them away. I think the key for a blog about family life and raising children simply has, to begin with, humour…obviously! Don’t worry, any wild experiments we do will not involve anything that is alive.

The point I want to make is that we have all day to be serious and too many serious occasions will be decided by our children, not us! Even the most skilled parents will never have 100% control over when, where, how, who and why a very serious situation happens. So let’s take opportunities to have a laugh while giving others the benefit of the doubt and accepting we’re all different.

If that sounds like something you would like more of. Please continue reading, say hi in a comment and become a member of Family Pulse today.

Family Pulse is Different

Family Pulse (FP) is different because the stay-at-home parent (me) is also a Web Developer (Freelancer). So I sometimes work from home, you could call Family Pulse part of my work, it just doesn’t pay but that’s fine. My real job is changing nappies (thanks to YouTube exposure my two eldest are calling them diapers) and pushing a tandem buggy up hills.

Being a Web Developer with experience in social network technology (trying to avoid jargon) and various other cool online tricks (doing better). I can ensure FP grows and with enough success, we can compete with some of the biggest sites out there. Popular blogs have to pay large amounts of money to developers for upgrades but FP has me.

Having an experienced developer as part of the team means we might be able to put more money into a lot of fun stuff like giveaways, charities, the production of fun videos and maybe even some basic educational apps. It’s a dream, it’s a maybe, but it’s also a reason for FP to exist and it gives us all a purpose to thrive.

Let’s not forget, I’m also a parent, the stay-at-home parent for seven years and FP is not part of my professional ambition. It’s something I’ll enjoy doing with my spare time and so everything I publish will be genuine.

The Starting Family

I almost went with “Founding Family” but that would just be wrong! I would like to introduce my own family as the first (starting) family, the family unit who will help to get Family Pulse (FP) going. I should add that it’s all voluntary…even the baby nods her head in agreement to her Daddy’s fantastic ideas. My family is still very young and that is why I want to make FP happen now, while I’m still in the thick of it and everything is fresh in my mind.

Now for the introduction, which is going to be short because I feel putting too much information on one page is risky. Little bits of information coming out through many discussions over the years is fine. Sooner or later all the little facts will come out because us parents can shut-up about our kids right?!

  • My partner (Zara) and I have four children.
  • Our children are currently aged 7 months to seven years.
  • We live in Scotland where I was born.
  • Zara is from London (I call it a country).
  • Zara works 12-hour shifts as a care worker for the elderly.
  • We don’t do childcare or private nurseries ever.
  • I do 99% of the cooking, Zara does 99% of the cleaning, we’re a team.
  • Our 1st child (Summer) is in Primary 3 and already practices GCSE level maths at home. We’re obviously very proud and so to reward her I bought her Minecraft. Big mistake!
  • Our 2nd child (Keira) has tested us to our limits but her desire to be in control comes from being a competent child who puts clothes away in all the right places, something her Dad struggles to do!
  • Our 3rd child (Grayson) is a very happy boy. His little tantrums are just a part of his communication. Unfortunately, despite being two he says very little and some other behavior leads us to suspect autism. Even if he isn’t autistic, his behavior is challenging in very different ways from our strong willed Keira.
  • Our 4th child (Kitsy) is our final. This baby is something different again. She maintains eye contact in a promising way. I call her “Bubbles” because she blows so many bubbles a foam runs down her chin.

Well, I think that is all for now. We all need to take watch how much information we reveal all at once, on a single page. I also consider the privacy rights of my children.

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