Archive for method

The Process for Discovering Talent in Your Child

Talent Process Graph

How do you find a focus around which your young person can start building a valuable talent? It seems like such a distant thing to hope for in the midst of textbooks, dozens of equally good curriculums, and too few hours left in the day to pursue anything else. It seems like it is just meant to happen to a lucky few to fall into a talent. But I am here to show you how that “luck” can be applied to each and every child in your household.

Here’s why every one of your children can develop a real talent while still under your roof:

You can start them young because you create a talent from the current uniqueness in your child’s life. You are not waiting for some mysterious future thing out there, that has no connection to your present life. Your environment of people and places, your family’s particular quirks and strengths, your child’s personal interests can all be merged together in a unique way that has passion and focus . You then give that focus a purpose by finding a way to bring value to others through that talent. This creates a feedback loop of encouragement, motivation, and productivity. This is a systematic process for discovering a viable talent that leaves plenty of room for passion.

Wouldn’t you like a taste of that kind of purpose in teenage son’s life? or how about your daughter finding great confidence in her unique productivity that she could carry with her all the way into her married life?

That is what the 10ktotalent process for discovering and developing talent can do for the young person in your home.

I give you here the basic process for discovering that kind of talent focus:

Step 1: Identify and list these items in your young person’s life into these four categories:

Personal Interests, Family Goals, Environmental Advantages, Academic Goals

Step 2: Merge together several items, one from each of the previous categories to create a poetically compelling fusion of strengths in your child’s life. On paper, try your hand at several of these fusions to see how interesting your options can be be. What emerges as the best is usually far superior than what you thought was possible before you started this discovery process.

Step 3: Take your favorite, most compelling fusion, and turn it into a believable and d0-able action statement for your child’s first 100 hours of talent focus. That is the beginning of your child’s talent. As your young person acts on it, his beginning talent will grow in complexity and branch out into previously unthought of opportunities.

Do you want help to make sure your son or daughter is on to the best talent possible? Then you may want to get my coaching help in this e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”


Need a Second Opinion on Your Homeschool Plan

may goals

Write long-term goals first. Then, and only then, determine your intermediate and immediate goals. (Photo credit: madame.furie)

Need a “second-opinion” on how good your current homeschool strategy is?

Match up your current situation against this back-of-the-napkin approach to coming up with a homeschooling plan for your child:

List the general goals you want your child to reach in his early adulthood. These goals should be ten to fifteen years down the road. Academic goals should only be some of the goals listed. Other educational goals would include family, spiritual, and career goals.

Translate those broad life goals into closer intermediate goals that you would want your child to reach by the time he is eighteen.

Next, translate those intermediate goals you have for your future eighteen year old into very small goals that you could achieve during the coming year.

Once you have that list of goals, you are ready to start shopping and signing up for various educational tools and resources. Every time you ask a friend, browse the web, a school catalog, or sign up for an activity, you should judge its value as to how well it does to getting you closer to your immediate goals.  Does ballet get your daughter closer to becoming a professional author in her adult life? If not, do not sign up. Does the local Remote Control Aircraft club help your child get closer to becoming a great engineer? If so, sign up for it.

The key to all this is to remember that another family’s goals are NOT your goals. Adopting their educational resources by default will only create frustration. This is because their tools are optimized for their specific family goals, not yours. So you must work on understanding what your educational goals are first before you can know which tools make sense for you.

By working backwards from your long-term goals down to your present goals, you will surprise yourself at how much smaller a role traditional academic tools will play in your daily routine. For example, if your daughter wants to actually write books for a living, then joining an online writing club may be far more important than signing up for another Jane Austen course. By working your goals backward in time, you will be able to apportion your child’s time in the right way.

Email me your plan and goals. I will personally read them and give you feedback.

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Benjamin Franklin’s Method for Learning How to Write in the Style that You Want

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Do you know how to apply Benjamin Franklin’s method for learning how to write with style? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imitate Benjamin Franklin’s method for learning how to write really well in the style that you want.

I give you here my interpretation of how you can start applying his method in today’s modern context:

1) Select an article on a subject and written in a style that you already like very much. This will give you that emotional motivation to care enough about what you are writing and to recognize what would be boring to others who are as interested in the same subject as you are. Don’t go looking just for famous articles, instead focus on choosing writing examples that mean something to you and can be used to communicate in your field of talent.

This is how Benjamin Franklin (BF) describes his method: About this time I met with an odd Volume of the Spectator. It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the Writing excellent, & wish’d if possible to imitate it.

2) Break down the article into keywords. Do this by creating one or two keywords for each sentence and list the keywords on a blank piece of paper into one long sequential list.

3) After a couple of days, take your long list of keywords and, without looking at the original article, rewrite the article in your own words using the keywords to guide you.

BF’s method: With that View, I took some of the Papers, & making short Hints of the Sentiment in each Sentence, laid them by a few Days, and then without looking at the Book, try’d to complete the Papers again, by expressing each hinted Sentiment at length & as fully as it had been express’d before, in any suitable Words, that should come to hand.

4) Compare your article written in your own words to the original article. Grade yourself on how well you did in matching the author’s intent and style.

5) Change the sentences  in your article where you don’t think you did very well to the original intent.  Improve by giving them the same intention of thought (though not necessarily into the exact words) as the original.

BF’s method: Then I compar’d my Spectator with the Original, discover’d some of my Faults & corrected them.

6) Take the regular narration or prose from your article and turn it into verse or into catchy memorable phrases of your own.

7) Then after a few days, turn your poetic version of that article back into normal writing, without looking at the original article. After you are done, grade yourself as to how well you expressed the thoughts of the original article.

BF’s method: But I found I wanted a Stock of Words or a Readiness in recollecting & using them, which I thought I should have acquir’d before that time, if I had gone on making Verses, since the continual Occasion for Words of the same Import but of different Length, to suit the Measure, or of different Sound for the Rhyme, would have laid me under a constant Necessity of searching for Variety, and also have tended to fixthat Variety in my Mind, & make me Master of it.

BF’s method: Therefore I took some of the Tales & turn’d them into Verse: And after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the Prose, turn’d them back again. 

8) For extra practice: Take your original keywords you had earlier assigned to each sentence and then jumble them out of order. From the jumbled list of keywords, rewrite the article in your own words and try to match the same order of presentation as you can remember. After you are done, grade yourself as to how well your order of the thoughts matches up to the original order of the article.

BF’s method: I also sometimes jumbled my Collections of Hints into Confusion, and after some Weeks, endeavor’d to reduce them into the best Order, before I began to form the full Sentences & complete the Paper. This was to teach me Method in the Arrangement of Thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovere’d many faults and amended them;

9) To discover your own unique writing voice: keep rewriting the article to improve on both the expression of the original thoughts and on the order of of the presentation of those thoughts. Grade yourself as to how much better your re-written version is to the original article.

BF’s method: but I sometimes had the Pleasure of Fancying that in certain Particulars of small Import, I had been lucky enough to improve the Method or the Language and this encourag’d me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English Writer, of which I was extremely ambitious.

RE-READ that last paragraph by Benjamin Franklin. Did you catch what he said? He said he got BETTER than the original writers by this method!

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Learn How to Write by Writing About What You Care

Students of St. Francis School in Richmond lin...

Is your child writing essays that sound anonymous? Have him write about his talent instead (Photo credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives)

Are you worried that your child does not care about what he is writing? You should be, because not caring means he is not learning how to develop a specific voice that others will want to listen to and it means he is not learning to write something useful even in the face of incomplete knowledge. Typical ‘non-caring’ writing will produce high-school research papers that no one but the teacher will read: papers that are lifeless, mechanical, and based on topics that were chosen because they were easy to find in the school library for citation proof. Though there is a place for the mechanics of writing, you should not allow it to be more important than writing for a purpose. As parent of a child developing his talent, you do have a  ready solution to the caring problem: insist that your child always connects his essays to an aspect of his talent.

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Practice the Art of Stealth in Your Child’s Talent Development

Rapunzel's tower guarded by acres of blackberr...

Stealth: practice this art of social prudence when getting your child started on his talent.


There is also  room for practicing the art of stealth, or social prudence, in your child’s talent development. By stealth, I mean avoid putting on display your child’s awkward and early attempts at mastering his talent and do not invite the admiration of friends and relatives. Many well-meaning friends and relatives have the popular, but false view, that any talent worth pursuing must spring full-blown out of your child’s first training of his art or science and, if it doesn’t, you should not pursue it all. This negativity could potentially discourage your child (and you) at too early a stage when you are still mapping out the big talent plan for your child’s life. So word to the wise: until the time is ripe, practice the art of stealth.

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Twaddle Me Some Useless Facts

what is homeschool twaddle

Agree for your children to learn useless facts, but only those that have strategic value that will help keep the social peace within your immediate environment. Do you really need to memorize all the county seat names of your State or country? Probably not, but maybe your old great-grandpa Herman who lives with you is insistent that your children will grow up to be barbarians without a chance to make it in life unless they do. He’s not on the Internet, but he still remembers WWII and that back then they had to memorize that list in boot camp and that proves that it was that kind of toughness that saved civilization. You can waste time on that list, but only because it has strategic value to keep a critical peace – the rest of the stuff is SPAM and you must ruthlessly spend time cutting out the twaddle if your children are going to become great in their talent.

Talent Progress Creates Family Buzz at the Dinner Table

Dinner Table Buzz

At the dinner table I will sometimes recap to my wife out loud what I am excited about in my child’s talent development. I will then ask my child to speak up and add some clarifying details as to how this milestone came about. I remember one particular week where my 11 year old got several personal notes from professional programmers who commended him on his progress as they could see through his blog and online forum participation. This feedback created a real buzz of excitement as the very next day there was a renewed sense of purpose among the rest of the older children to wake up early to research and blog for their next post on their respective talent development.

Walk in Order to Think

around the bend

I was reminded today by The Art of Manliness how beneficial walking has been for my wife and me. Come to think of it, walking for thinking or inspiration is now also becoming a habit of my two oldest boys who are now 15 and 13 years of age. They are mimicking their parents who, they notice, go on walks in order to get away from the computer, to get a dose of wonderful light, and to get the blood flowing and come back cheerful. After walking, many a previously difficult situation seems to have been resolved with a solution that comes to mind that was invisible before. We just ask that they come back home by a specific time and to let us know their general whereabouts in case of an emergency.

Children Bond Through Exercising Talents

brothers reading

Your child will find joy with his family by using his beginning skill and talent in a way that brings value, even a small value, to one of his siblings. Do you remember how much bonding and admiration power there was, for example, when your oldest child used to read to his younger brother in order to soothe him? You can repeat that same strategy between teenage children as they use their serious talents to learn how to serve the needs of their brothers and sisters who are respectively growing in their own talents. An older sibling who has a core baking skill of a couple thousand of hours behind him, for example as part of a larger developing talent, can also use it to boost the silversmithing club activities of the status his brother through amazing food and hospitality. Another sibling who has developing computer skills can work on upgrading his sister’s online art portfolio and said sister can in turn work on digital logos and ad graphics for all the other sibling blog postings.

Talent is Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

Nurse's uniform

A skill that communicates and projects your child’s talent is a valuable component of your child’s talent development (Photo credit: east_lothian_museums)

A talent should be made of up of not one, but several different skills: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

An old recognized skill helps your daughter get started, a new skill that did not exist before helps your child break into the next generation of talent, and a skill borrowed from a completely different field will classify your child as someone with breakthrough insight. Add a skill that showcases and communicates your child’s amazing ability, and she will have a beautiful talent in blue.

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Small Interest to Big Talent

Don’t wander around looking for the sign of your child’s BIG TALENT. Instead, like the fathers of Mozart and Tiger Woods, start your child young, under your protective and nurturing wings, and follow this pattern of 10,000 hours of talent development; get the free e-guide “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent” to jump-start the first small interest phase:

Small Interest

Small Skill

Small Productive Output

Small Feeling-of-Satisfaction

Which leads to…

Bigger Interest

Bigger Skill

Bigger Productive Output

Bigger Feeling-of-Satisfaction

Which leads to…

Very Big Interest

Very Big Skill

Very Big Productive Output

Very Big Feeling-of-Satisfaction

which equals to…VERY BIG TALENT!

Eight Principles to Develop Your Child’s Talent

Apply these eight principles to develop world class talent in your child’s life.

Develop your child’s talent with these eight principles:

  1. Start young
  2. Practice daily
  3. Use your environment and assets
  4. Decompose talent into smaller skills
  5. Merge skills from different fields
  6. Enlist family goals and desires
  7. Act out the talent in a way that gives value to others
  8. Make your homeschool curriculum feed your child’s talent

Finding Focus Will Build Child’s Talent

Airplane vortex denoicefied

Finding focus is necessary in order to build a real talent for your child –  there’s a big difference between enjoying watching planes  in the sky vs knowing how they operate  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your child is finding talent-worthy focus if you are reporting something similar to fictional “Frazzled-Mom”:

“At first, my 13 year old son panicked at the thought of not seeing all the many friends in his different programs, but once he realized how much more interesting the two remaining activities were because he was able to focus, he quickly forgot about the other (shallow) friendships. One of the activities we kept involves participating in the Remote Control Airplane Club of our town and getting pointers on how to fine tune gas and electric motors from older retired men. He feels like he is ‘one of the guys’ and is getting all scientific on us at the lunch table talking about aerodynamics. We don’t understand all this new found knowledge he is explaining to us, but we love it!”

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Think Outside Standard Career Labels for Child’s Talent

Three-strand twisted natural fibre rope

Combine different skills into developing a unique talent  (Photo credit: Wikipedia; Author= HiveHarbingerCOM)

You are beginning to think outside of standard career labels for developing your child’s talent if you can report something similar to  fictional ‘Not-Afraid-to-Get-My-Hands-Dirty-Mom:

Five months after taking a talent discovery workshop and discussing our concerns with our son about being in a market with too many painters, we have dramatically re-apportioned the type of time he is spending in the family business.We now have our son spending half his work time with a local tool rental company that needs detailing and small repair help on new cutting-edge sand blasting equipment that gets returned. He connects well with the customers and his employer is recognizing his value as a budding salesman in the painting industry. Combining another new skill with his already extensive painting skills is really getting all of us excited about what other skills could be merged so he can be amazingly productive and desirable in the marketplace.

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Family Bonding Through Building Talent

English: My lab coat and scrubs -- Samir धर्म ...

Look into your extended family’s skills and abilities and you might be able to strengthen family bonds while developing your child’s talent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your child is strengthening his family bonds by developing his talent if you can report something like this fictional ‘Love-My-Alma-Mater-But-Not-That-Much-Dad:

We had always felt that if it wasn’t an official course taken at an official school, that somehow it had little value. Once we realized how shortsighted we were, we redesigned six months ago a “custom curriculum” of our own that involved me, my sister who is math professor in another state, and my father who is a retired pharmacist. The children’s grandpa sent us by Fed-Ex his old microscopes and even some old-fashioned lab coats. Skype came to the rescue with lots of fun late night conversations and tutorials and I was surprised by the amount of family bonding that has come out of this.

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Turn Hobby Into Talent By Creating Value for Others

English: Photograph of a guitar taken in a loc...

Even a guitar loving boy can morph his hobby into a talent by bringing value to others.            (Photo credit: Wikipedia; author: Dane Austin Carney; Permission: Creative Commons License)

Your child is moving from hobby (value to self only) to talent (value to others) if you can report something like this fictional Mother-of-an-Artist:

My 14 year old guitar playing son started making custom guitar decals over the past year for his friends, discovered that some styles are more popular than others, and is even selling a few of those on Etsy and eBay. As a result, he is interacting with a lot of other guitar players and is starting to buy and sell and fix up used guitars. Just last week, he got his first request to do the web art for a small online music store because a music composer saw his art on a student’s guitar. He still loves his music, but he seems a lot more energetic and upbeat about the future.

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