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While most of our homeschooling efforts seem to focus on the ‘basics’ like you would find in any school, I love the flexibility to add in studies that focus on character development. Leadership is one aspect of character development that I want my boys to build up. Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we have been working on developing leadership skills in our home using U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS: Growing My Leadership Garden and U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within from Leadership Garden Legacy.
About The Leadership Garden for Developing Leadership Skills
The Leadership Garden is seeking to help parents and educators reach out to the future generations of leaders and help them with developing leadership skills that will help them become successful and productive members of society. A Leadership Garden is their metaphor for growing leadership.
- Their VISION is a thriving worldwide Leadership Garden Legacy where each child’s unique leadership potential blossoms into greatness.
- Their PURPOSE is to sprout greatness by empowering the extraordinary leader in you.
- Their MISSION is to create fertile ground for children to grow and thrive by empowering the leader in everyone.
- Their GOAL is to seed and nurture 11 million Leadership Gardens across the globe in individuals, families, schools, communities, and businesses by 12/13/2014.
The focus throughout the materials fits with description for the U.N.I.Q.U.E. acronym: Understand, Nurturing, Inventive, Quality, Unstoppable, Expression. These are then expounded upon with six different techniques being taught as ways to tend your own Leadership Garden: Be non-judgmental, Do not enable, Use empathy, Prune gossip, Eliminate blame, and Eradicate victimization.
Products available from The Leadership Garden include :
The U.N.I.Q.U.E. Kids book ($18.95), the PDF download of the activity guide ($8.95), and the MP3 audio download ($8.95).
For the adults or older child: The Growing the Leader Within paperback ($18.95), the guidebook ($18.95), and the MP3 download ($14.95).
Leadership Garden Legacy is offering the TOS Community a “Spring Special Discount” of 20% on all their Empowerment Tools. This is in addition to their already discounted Tool Kit bundles. Use the discount code: TOS-SS20D during the checkout process. This is a limited time offer and the code will expire on May 31, 2013.
Our Experience with The Leadership Garden for Developing Leadership Skills
For this review, I had the younger boys going through U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS: Growing My Leadership Garden while P and I utilized U.N.I.Q.U.E.: Growing the Leader Within. We had audio files for the U.N.I.Q.U.E. KIDS book and after the first few days of my reading from the text to the boys, I opted to utilize the audio. Doing this made it easier for J (my 3 year old) to look at the illustrations in the book while his brothers were listening to the text.
I would love to say that my boys absolutely adored this program. Instead, they did not find the story format used in the book resonating with them. While they love stories, they have a lower tolerance for ones that they do not see being realistic. In this case, having Hugh (a lost sheep) and Annabelle (a Border collie who guides him) as main characters seemed too far fetched for them to get over. And, the older boys would comment on a regular basis that they felt they ‘already knew’ much of what she was covering.
This mama thinks it was more about whining over doing work outside of their regular subjects when they wanted to play.
The stories have the feel of many fables over the years and use animals as less threatening ‘teachers’ of the traits being presented. Although, I will admit a few spots were rather far fetched and knowing my boys could understand that frustration. The activity guide helps to reinforce the concepts being taught. Most of the work is pen and paper oriented while others (e.g. the Brain Field Trip in Chapter 2 which involves eating a cookie) are more hands on. Funny how ALL the boys were eager for the cookie activity.
Even having held leadership positions and gone through training to develop this skill, I still found tidbits of information that had me thinking about things in a new light. This is not a resource to just breeze through whether a student being directed through the program or the adult preparing to implement the program.
Because of their resistance to persevere in the program on the schedule I had originally planned, we did not finish the entire book yet. However, I plan will keep pulling it out in small sessions throughout the summer as I really believe the information learned and exercises done in the activity guide will benefit them now and in the future.