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Making Education Fun For Your Kids

Best-selling author and psychologist, Dr. Kevin Leman will discuss ways of parenting children so they gain educational excellence and have fun doing it. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Bestselling author, Dr. Kevin Leman,

says finding the right school for your child,

whether public, private, or home school,

is one of the most important decisions parents make.

Dr. Leman believes everyone deserves a quality education.

But it's vital to be sure your child is

matched to the right school.

In his book, Education Ala Carte,

Dr. Leman provides much needed tools

to choose the best schooling option for the child.

And helps students prepare for life,

both inside and outside the classroom.

Our good friend Dr. Kevin Leman is here with us now,

and we welcome you back to the show.

Thank you.

You-- Well, we want to talk about students.

About how to motivate them, about school,

I mean today I saw all these kids standing at the street


They're preparing to go back to school.

School was not a fun experience for you

when you were growing up.

No, I hated school.

I thought it was boring.

I thought the teachers were boring.

And little did I know, that some day I

would start charter schools, with a vision of putting them

all over the country.

Isn't that God's sense of humor?

It is.

It's really funny.

But you know, kids want to please us as adults.

And I think, for too long, we've let kids just sort of do

their own thing.

And as parents we've been far too permissive.

And today, there's so many choices for kids, Terry.

And a parent needs to get their nose into a book, a book like--

there's other books, but Education Ala Carte,

I love the title of it because--

Yes I love the title of that too.

There's a menu.

There's so many different things,

and kids are all different.


We've got options.

So kids who have vocational bents, you know.

So let me talk about this for you,

because it will give us an example to work off of.

You weren't motivated in school to do well, you kind of just

had a lot of fun and didn't care.

What would have motivated you?

What could your parents or your teachers have done differently?

Well my mother, God rest her soul,

she was in school more than I was quite frankly.

And they always told my mother, oh Kevin

could do it if he'd only apply himself.

But school to me was boring.

And I was the third in the family,

following a sister who never got a B in her life,

and a brother as well, who did extremely well.

Then there was me.

Now shrinking myself, I figured out

that I was the best at being the worst.

So I was the attention getter, the class clown.

And I look back and I say, wow, you know that humor

that I learned as a kid has paid off in my adult life.

So somehow I overcame it, but it was a teacher--

God bless her-- who said to me one day, Kevin, did you ever

think that maybe you could use those skills you have

for something positive in life?

I thought skills, I have skills?

But see, it's the word we use with kids.

I call it vitamin E, encouragement.

And that woman got me thinking, maybe I could go to school?

So I showed up at my guidance counselor's office,

I said Mr. Messino I would like to go on to college,

on to a university.

He pulled his glasses like this down,

he said Leman, with your grades and your record in the school,

I couldn't get you admitted to reform school.

That was the end of the conversation.

But eventually you did go on.

I did, I got in on probation.

And fear is a great motivator.

And I-- because I was scared.

And I eked out a C minus average.

Proof of the living God right there.

A C minus average my freshman year.

And I met my wife, after that, I got thrown out

of the same school that let me in.

By the way, they brought me back gave me an honorary doctorate

degree recently, thank you.


That had to be a moment.


But my wife, who I met in the men's restroom

when I was a janitor, was a believer.

And she was the trigger that got you.

When I met her I was a punk.

I mean I smoked my Salem cigarettes,

I had the greasy hair going on, I mean I was just a punk.

But she didn't criticize me, she just loved me.

I fell in love with her.

But God gave me the motivation to never look back

and just went on.

So how do we figure out, because you

talk a great deal in Education Ala Carte

about learning styles.


I guess we can't figure them out

unless we know what they are.

I was frankly surprised that there are so many of them.

Kids are visual learners, auditory learners.


Some kids are very rote in that they're good at mathematics

and spatial relationships.

I always say to parents, hey, is your kid

interested in people, data, or things?


And that begins to break it down.

And so, again, if you have a kid that's

very musically gifted, or very artistic,

does it make any sense to send them to the public school

down the street, who just slashed their budget,

and doesn't have much of an art or music program?

So that's why charter schools are such a great option

for parents today.

And charter schools, ours is a classical school,

so we are history based.

Our history line is a basis of our school,

but we're heavily into the arts.

And in our school, we teach kids that they are not

the center of the universe.

That other people count.

Which is sorely lacking in our society.

TERRY: Well isn't that true.

Somehow all of that got mixed up when we weren't looking.

Yes that's a good way of saying that.

And now, we have a chance to reclaim that.

We do.

By responsibly deciding where, what seat

to put our children in.

That's right.

Find a school where they give authority

to the teacher in a classroom.

Find a school that's fun and engaging and warm.

Visit a school.

Would you want to go to school there?


We meet kids at the curb.

So if you pulled up your little grandson or granddaughter

to school at Leman Academy, they would

be greeted by hand of that teacher, and brought into it.

Into our school.

Excited that you're here.

So teachers, teachers, parents are

concerned about what, safety.

So how secure is that school?

There's a lot of things going on,

and that's why I think Education Ala Carte is

such a good resource for parents to dig into and say, you know,

this might mean that we're going to have

kids in two different schools.

TERRY: - Yeah that can be intimidating.

But well worth the struggle, if down the road,

your child knows which direction to head in,

and is capable of getting where they want.

Our kids in first grade, by the end of first grade,

are diagramming sentences.

We were doing that in high school.


So the days of crayons and play-doh in kindergarten are


These little suckers are reading.

And when you raise that expectation bar,

Terry, kids measure up to it.

And they need encouragement.

What about parents who don't have the kind of resources

needed to do private school?

Or and so public school is their option.

Not all public schools are bad, but--

No, not at all.

There's many public schools that are great.

And God bless those teachers working in public schools.

But keep in mind, that charter schools are public schools.

TERRY: They are part of the public system.

Tuition free.

TERRY: Really.

And in many cases, sending your kid to a charter

is like sending him to a private school.

I guess so.

And so for parents who are struggling,

you're trying to do too much, your homework's

a battle, tears, slammed doors every night.

Remember this, a watched late bloomer, never blooms.

So sometimes you've got to stand back,

failure is a part of life.

Holding kids accountable.

We have a huge school system out west

that passed 900 kids from the eighth grade

into the freshman year, who didn't qualify.

And they think that's a favor.

That's not a favor.

Those kids should repeat eighth grade.


So I'm one that says, don't push kids ahead.

Don't put the four-year-old into kindergarten.

But if a kid doesn't measure up, there's

nothing wrong with repeating a grade.

One of our daughters repeated kindergarten, quite frankly.

She's just a kid.

She's making 90 grand a year.

I think she's doing pretty good.

TERRY: I think she's doing pretty good too.

There's all kinds of wonderful advice in Education Ala Carte.

It's Kevin's latest book.

It's available wherever books are sold.

You've written other books, that are so helpful.

Recent ones.


Making Childen Mind Without Losing Yours

and Have A New Kid By Friday.

The principals in that book will coincide with this beautifully.

B doesn't start till A is completed.

So for homework, if the homework is not done

and the kid wants to do something, honey.

When you're done with your work we'll consider the next option.

Speaking of B, be intentional in your parenting.

Thank you so much for being with us.

Always a treat to have you here.

DR. KEVIN LEMAN: You're welcome.

Thank you Terry.


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