Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
- life moves on and people grow, change, and mature;
- the next place you go--another town, college, military, and so on--do not know that you were Homecoming queen or that you were the pimpled faced kid with low self esteem that always sat by himself;
- eventually you are all on the same plane;
- they can make anything of their lives that they want no matter where they started;
- people change over the course of their lives and someone who was a best pal may no longer fit, whereas a person you didn't like in high school could become a new best friend so don't slam any doors;
- many kids who could not get dates in high school become popular and famous (or infamous) later in life.
Things for parents to consider:
- Be your child's cheerleader.
- If you need to move for work, don't be afraid to do it. My parents certainly had to listen to a lot of crying and yelling when I got the news, but it turned out fine.
- Kids are very resilient--they can adjust to quite a bit. Sometimes we don't give them enough credit.
- Find stories like this one to share with your kids if they are having emotional distress with adolescence.
- Get them involved in something like music, sports, scouting, or whatever interests them and keep encouraging them. Chemicals from a physician is not the answer.
I was glad high school was not forever, but it is fun to go back sometimes and peek back behind that curtain one more time.
Since I mentioned Larry, I thought I would leave you with a song of his and some photos of mine.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
John McCulloch of Grand Canyon International Hostel answered my questions and then graciously agreed to tape a segment for Parents Rule! video blog to answer questions you might have. That tape is found at the bottom of this blog or at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYyONXrmOZE (As you will see in the video, he is also a very talented musician.)
Turns out that hostels are a quite interesting alternative for traveling on a steep budget. Elder hostels are even available for those of us who are graying. So now there is no good excuse not to travel and see places you have always wanted to visit. Get out there and have fun!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
5 Back-to-School Homework Tips Every Parent Must Have
by Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed.
The ritual of back to school time is here once again. Some parents can't wait to get their kids out the door, while others don't want those lazy summer days to end. Regardless of how parents feel about a transition to a new school year, they all have one thing in common — a universal desire to see their children succeed. Read on to find out how you can make this school year the best ever.
So much of success in school depends on how well kids perform after the school bell rings. That's right: homework. If you're the parent of a child with the "I'll do it later" syndrome, setting a time in which homework starts is key. There are essentially five times to start homework: right after school, after a 30 minute break, before dinner, after dinner, and right before bedtime. The latter two options are not nearly as productive as the first three, but determining when your child should start homework depends on age.
Elementary students often need down time after school or when they return from their extra-curricular activities; about 30 minutes is usually sufficient. This is when homework should start. Although each day might be different due to sports, lessons and other activities, the routine of starting 30 minutes after returning should not change.
It's much harder to dictate an exact starting time to an adolescent. For older students, consider having the family policy that homework starts before dinner. This step in itself will greatly reduce late night stress when homework still isn't complete.
• Allow a Variety of Homework Spaces
Throw away the old idea that homework needs to be done in the same place each day. New research finds that it's far more productive to vary the location. One day homework might be done in the dining room, another day the home office area, etc. Keep in mind that regardless of where homework is completed, some kids function better when they can lie on the floor, sit on the sofa, or even pace the room while studying for a test.
In addition, the traditional notion that people need complete silence and a sterile environment in order to concentrate has recently come under fire. Various studies have shown that distractible students can actually attend better when they are given something to hold or touch. If you find that your child tends to fidget by touching objects around her, tapping her feet, or rocking in her chair, it's likely that she's craving sensory input.
Many children need this type of stimulation, especially when tasks are tedious or boring. Consider allowing your child to hold a stress ball or another fidget toy such as the Tangle Jr.
• Create a Clean Sweep
Organization is a major component of school success. In the beginning of the year nearly every student starts off being organized, but has a hard time maintaining this initial effort. You can help your child by establishing a 20 minute pre-arranged weekly maintenance session called the "Clean Sweep." During this time, your child will be responsible for organizing anything related to school, which includes cleaning out binders, folders, and backpack. Program this time into your smart phone and have your children do the same if they own a cell phone. Many families find that Sunday evening is an ideal time to prepare for the week ahead.
• Know How Much to Help
Knowing how much to help your child with schoolwork is perhaps the most important part of school success. With young children (K-3) there's more hand-holding. As students age the rule of thumb is to get them started, watch them do the first few problems to be sure they understand the material, then walk away. Sitting with your child while he does homework is not productive, and sends the message that he is incapable of doing the assignment. Remember, a parent's pen should never touch the paper. This is the child's homework. On the other hand, knowing when to provide support is equally as important. When you see your child struggling, by all means, intervene. Work with him until he's able to understand the content and then let him work on his own. When it comes to schoolwork, independence is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child.
• Stay the Course
In the beginning of the year, every parent starts out gung-ho, but then the daily check-ins on homework fade as the stress of fall sets in. If you have a fairly responsible child, this is generally just fine. It's likely you'll need to check in from time to time, but if you find your child is doing well without your help, don't intervene. If you have a roller coaster type of kid who starts out strong, fades without parental support and then kicks it into gear when you get involved once again, be careful not to follow that same pattern again this year. Continue to monitor homework completion regularly and step back ever so slightly, but not completely, after the first quarter.
Finally, remember that praise is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to homework. Research shows that by simply praising effort rather than intelligence, kids will develop greater motivation to keep trying, even when the going gets tough.
Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a tutoring, test prep, and consulting company in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD. In her new book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework. Numerous examples and easy-to-implement, fun tips will help make homework less of a chore for the whole family. Learn more at anndolin.com or ectutoring.com.