The most hilarious video has gone viral.
It prompted this note about how I feel about all the parents of the talented students I train in the Youth Ambassadors Musical Theatre – Media Music Training Program.  This is my message to all parents:
You are amazing parents and have every ability and talent to teach your children during this time. It’s not as overwhelming as you may think.
I teach at California School of the Arts.  We are dedicated to helping the students and parents along the way.  We are so blessed to have the technology to pick up and carry on without missing a beat.  It’s an adjustment, but it is the future of learning anyway.  What a great time to learn!
Some of you may figure out that it’s not so hard and that there are resources.  This was my journey with raising my five children:
It began in Chicago with our first child.  I had read about how important it was for a child to read, and so I searched for a kindergarten that actually taught reading.  He was reading a newspaper in three months!
Some people criticized that because of lack of comprehension.  But I learned through experience with each of my children, who I taught to read myself before they entered school, that comprehension comes the more they read.
In my search, I found a great book called ALPHAPHONICS.  The book didn’t have a single picture, but it was brilliant and it worked!  They truly had a head start in public schools.
Later on, one son was struggling in math in the 5th grade.  I knew he was smart and something was going wrong.
Yep.  The class was set up in groups and everyone got a group grade.  The student that got the best grade was the grade everyone got.  So he sat back and allowed the others to do all the work.  When it came time for an individual test, he was behind and in the 28th percentile.
I brought him home to take it upon myself to get him caught up.  I seriously had no idea what I was doing.  I searched for some self-help books developed for home schools. I put them in front of him and told him it was his choice whether he wanted to learn or not.  Did he want to be smart or be able to get a job and earn money so he could take care of himself and his family — or not?
And then I waited for him to make the next move.  After two weeks of his doing nothing, I truly thought I had destroyed his life.  I was totally stressed out.
But then something happened.  We sat down and talked about what he needed from me to help him along, and everything turned around.
It’s a collaboration, and it’s a natural one. I helped him know how to organize his day and we planned out a weekly schedule to get him through the math book in a short time.
His self-worth went through the roof because in a matter of months he tested in th 84% percentile.  And he knew he was the one that basically taught himself the math.
The rest is history.  He went to college, graduated in computer science, developed the programming for a major international website, and is now a senior programming director with Amazon in Seattle.
Home schooling was expanded to other children in the family when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few days before we were returning home to start the fall semester of school.  We had to stay with her for a long time, and I reached out to parents who were already home schooling for additional help.
My daughter was highly engaged in the performing arts in the New York City area.  She was studying piano with a teacher that lived nearby who was over Juilliard’s child prodigy program.  She was required to practice a minimum of three hours daily.
She also loved dance and was dancing four hours a day.  So what would happen to school?
I learned that teaching a child one-on-one takes much less time.  She could accomplish in 90 minutes what would take six hours in a group setting.  She took Kumon Math and was reading classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by the fifth grade, and her greatest punishment was to have to put the book down. She was testing overall at the 10th grade level.
Today the online resources are extraordinary.  In fact one of our own parents – Anastasia Heder – has an amazing program that you may want to know about.
You can visit the website here.  She has one site in Pasadena, another in Rolling Hills and a third in Santa Clarita.  You can email her at [email protected]
My experience was that it helped me develop a collaborative relationship with my children.  I was connected and I loved being with them.
You CAN do this, and it will be a benefit to you and your children’s lives.
I have taught children music all my life.  I love directing your children in the Youth Ambassadors program.
As you know, we are headquartered in Glendale, California, but I’m expanding this summer to the west valley area of Los Angeles and north to Santa Clarita.  More information is coming soon and can be found here on this website.  
I’m just here to supplement your role as the parent, and it’s something I truly love.  I hope your children know how much YOU love them.
So here is a list, for those that may still be trying to get this together during the school shut down.
1. Make a chart (excel spreadsheet works great) for each child, class by class.
2. Map out a daily personal and school schedule (your school should be helping with the course work)
3. Start the day early with whatever will bring you together in a meaningful way.  Families that have a common faith may use a devotional.  Or schedule breakfast together.  Talk about what you value.  Use the time to get organized for the day.
4. Create a family slogan or theme.  (My mother’s family had one.  Her last name was “Paul” – All for one, and one for all – ain’t it great to be a PAUL!!!”)  Find or create a family “cheer” song.  It doesn’t matter what it is – you can choose a popular song or you can make up the words to a popular song.  Use the slogan or theme to pull your family together during this time, and keep it going after life gets back to normal!
5. Get up to speed on distance learning technology.  Even before the virus forced it on everyone, it is the future and this is a good time to learn it together.
–Google Drive
–Social networking:  Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
6. Connect with extended family.  My kids set up a text messaging app called “SLACK.”  It’s awesome!  You can set up topical threads.  We have some fun ones like:  “#Letters from Mom” (because I write more than a paragraph LOL) and “#Criticize Mom Here” (because your grown children always know more than you do) and “#And Now For Some Humor” which is critical in stressful times.  And of course.  “#Music”  I asked my children a while back what they remember most about growing up.  It was hands down “music!”  And we have created funny screen names that change with whatever is going on.
We are having the most wonderful time of our lives as a family communicating with each other from all parts of the world.  One son is a Wall Street hedge fund principal living in Rio; I mentioned my Amazon son; another is doctor in the middle of the health care crisis; my only daughter is home with a new baby; and my youngest son is the COO of COSEVA, a metal detox health product company.
7.  Create a learning environment.  I liked to play Mozart and other classical music in the background when my children were growing up.  It creates a different mood.  It can help to keep things calm.
8.  Take breaks.  Go for a walk.  Prepare a picnic.
9.  Actively participate in music.  Sing together.  it will keep your spirits up while you are cooped up!  We had all kinds of genres of music in our home.  They learned to sing and appreciate the best in music across those genres.  Music has continued to be a huge benefit to their lives.
10. Let your children know you love them and that no matter what happens you will be there for them.  Be their best cheerleader.  That is the greatest gift of all.
I hope this helps.  Opposition is really nothing more than a big opportunity to learn and grow.

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