Author Archive

School’s Out?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

While cramming your child’s backpack with freshly sharpened pencils, unopened glue sticks, and clean notebooks in preparation for the starting school year, you can’t help but be giddy thinking of all the potential knowledge and useful life skills he’s going to gain soon. Meanwhile, he’s squirming in anticipation (and maybe anxiety) at the thought of new friendships, test prep, and recess.

portrait of a dreaming schoolboy in a classroom

However, the rest of the country isn’t up to par on education enthusiasm; a recent poll found that confidence in U.S. schools is at a new low. According to the survey, only 29 percent of Americans expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in our public schools. A startling 30 percent said they have very little or no confidence in public schools at all.

Why such a gloomy outlook? It could be because of new reports that find the U.S. education system has ineffectively prepared kids for economic prosperity and global competition. Or, perhaps, the fact that general dissatisfaction in U.S. institutions is a common theme as of late, according to recent Gallup polls.

To guarantee your kid is getting the most out of his school year, take a peek behind the schoolhouse doors and into the minds of the real crusaders of classroom victory: teachers and school staff. Their confidential pearls of wisdom will pave the way to academic excellence — for students and parents.

Image: Portrait of a dreaming schoolboy in a classroom via Shutterstock


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Lemonade Stands for a Cause

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Lemon juice? Check! Sugar? Check! Ice cubes? You bet! It’s that time of the year when kids across the country open lemonade stands on their block. But this summer, you can teach your child about entrepreneurship AND charity with the Toy Industry Foundation’s newest initiative, Make a Stand for Kids.

With the help of parents, children can volunteer to use profits from lemonade stands to help distribute toys and make playtime possible for disadvantaged kids. To get you started, TIF has created, a site packed with tips for fundraising, stand set-up, downloadable signs, and even recipes for other drinks (like orange and apricot punch). For more information on the program and how to take part, visit the site by clicking here.

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Ask Maxwell

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Parents’ has a new contributing editor in the house! Meet Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of the popular interior design website Apartment Therapy and father of 5-year-old-daughter Ursula.

To say this dad knows a thing or two about home design is an understatement. Through his professional design service, website, and best-selling books, Maxwell’s design advice has inspired millions of people who, like Parents’ readers, need help creating more organized, functional spaces for their families. Maxwell’s design philosophy is simple; he focuses on the best ways to make homes more comfortable and clutter-free.

Whether your kids’ toys are taking over your living room (aren’t they always?), you’re in need of color inspiration for the family room, or you’re ready to turn the nursery into a big kid bedroom for your growing child, Maxwell is here to help!

For a chance to have your home design question answered by Maxwell in an upcoming issue of Parents, visit or simply leave your question in the comments of this post.

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