Posts Tagged ‘ school ’

How “Walk To School Day” Turned Out

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As I posted the other day, I was worried that the bad forecast would literally rain on my parade as I walked my children to school in honor of Walk To School Day. This was a big deal for me–my work schedule prohibits me from driving the girls to school, much less walking them, but I was able to work at home yesterday. Happily, the weather was fine, and not only did I walk with the girls, we even picked up two of their friends along the way. It took less time than I expected, there was no complaining, and all four kids seemed very proud of themselves when we arrived at school. More than 3,700 communities across the U.S. held events to boost participation, and next year I’m definitely going to lead one in our town.

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Exclusive Survey: Are You Happy With Your Child’s School?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

A couple of weeks into the new school year, how are you feeling about your child’s teacher and classes? Compare your thoughts to the answers 500 moms gave Parents in our exclusive partnership with the research firm Quester. While the majority of moms reported that they were satisfied with their child’s teacher, many also said that their child’s curriculum could be more creative. Study our school report card, and then tell us in the comments how your kid’s class would do. And for great ideas about how to make your child’s classes more inspiring, check out our story on 10 Innovative Elementary Schools. Working the arts into every subject, teaching math in Greek, and running a classroom business are just a few of the cool approaches these schools used to engage kids.

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Pilot’s New Pens

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Your kids may be back in the classroom already, but our guess is that you still have some odds and ends to

pick up to round out their supply stash. When you head to the office supply store this week, be sure to check out Pilot’s new line of FriXion pens.

Erasable pens used to be synonymous with sticky ink and poor erasers, but FriXion pens are changing all of that. Kids will love them because they write like a smooth roller ball pen and the ink resembles that of a gel pen in both color and consistency.

These new and improved pens are especially great for grade-schoolers who are getting away from using just pencils and, like their name conveys, they erase through friction which means kids don’t have to press as hard to correct mistakes and marks. The rounded rubber ball at the bottom of the pen wears away ink like magic. Plus the line comes in an awesome array of colors that are perfect for school and doodling at home.

If you love the pens, you’ll probably also love the brand’s erasable highlighters! Be sure to check out the FriXion Light Erasable Highlighters and the FriXion Erasable Gel Pens out here.

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5 Essential Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Back to School colored pencilsEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

Ready or not, it’s that time again. Your kids are trying on fall clothes, cleaning out backpacks from last year, and shopping for school supplies. Another exciting year of growth and development is on the horizon for your children. Here are five sure-fire ways to make this a year of growth and development for you as well.

Hold a weekly calendar meeting.

Each new year of school brings more complicated choreography to your kids’ schedules – and to your schedule as well. Every Sunday night, sit down with your kids and enter every commitment and event of their upcoming week into your personal calendar. There are 3 important reasons to do this: a) you should always know where your kids are; b) you have a head start on dinner conversation if you know what your kids have been up to all day; c) you may get a pleasant surprise – a meeting of yours is canceled in time for you to make the second half of a basketball game. But you’ll only know about the game if it’s on your calendar.

Volunteer at school.

Every school is underfunded and shorthanded. Your kids’ school can use your help and participating in an after-school activity can be a meaningful experience. Depending on your kids’ ages and their level of pride (or embarrassment) in seeing you at school, there are many roles to fill: homeroom parent, teacher’s aide, hall monitor, coach’s assistant, team parent, crossing guard, PTA, office volunteer, and field trip chaperone or driver, to name a few.  Spending a part of your day at school gives you an up-close look at interactions with teachers and friends, hallway dynamics, and locker lore. All this can lead to more good dinner conversation!

Drive a carpool.

Whether it’s driving back and forth to school or to and from after-school activities you learn a lot about your kids by driving the carpool. Mysteriously, the carpool driver becomes practically invisible to the passengers, especially when it’s more than just your own kids in the car. This allows you an invaluable “fly on the dashboard” opportunity to eavesdrop on your kids social interactions, catch up on grade school gossip, and hear about homework without even asking.

Help with homework.

Be involved with your kids’ homework every night. When they’re in grade school, sit with them for part of the time they’re doing work – not to catch every math mistake but to make sure they get the big picture. In middle school, just look over their completed work regularly for overall quality. Show you are happy to see them doing such a nice job. Your pride in their work will become their pride. By high school, it’s enough to ask each night if they’ve finished their homework and occasionally review a teacher’s comments on the graded work.  No matter the age, if your kids ask for help, do your best to guide them without doing their homework. Remember, you’ve already learned “times tables,” so now it’s their turn.

Manage extracurricular activities.

Beware of “potpourri parenting” – soccer Mondays, violin Tuesdays, karate Wednesdays, etc. Kids’ options for extracurricular activities are limitless, and you may be tempted to enroll your kids in everything, thinking you’re “enriching” them.  As long as your kids are enjoying these activities, and you’re not missing chances to spend more time with them, there’s nothing wrong with having many varied experiences. But if programming begins to replace parenting or if your kids are showing “enrichment fatigue,” reduce the amount of activities. Your time together as a family is almost always more enriching, especially since time with your young kids is fleeting. Don’t give it all away.

The school years won’t seem to pass by as quickly if you get involved in your kids’ school lives. So have a wonderful fall semester!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.  He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).


Image: “Back to school” and colored pencils via Shutterstock

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Your Child’s Top 3 Classroom Fears: A Back-to-School Infographic

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Is your child heading to school for the first time? Or heading back to new classrooms with new teachers? We polled our Facebook readers with the question, “What scares your child the most about going to school?”  Not surprisingly, a majority of kids were worried about not being able to make friends.

Based on the answers, we created this fun infographic to show your children’s top 3 fears, plus tips on how to help them ease into school.

For more ideas for gear, clothes, and lunches, visit our Back to School page: parents.com/back-to-school

Also, check out our Back to School board on Pinterest to start pinning fun images (like this infographic!): pinterest.com/parentsmagazine/school-education-tips-parents-magazine/

Parents Back to School 2012 Infographic

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Children’s snoring linked to behavioral problems
Children who persistently snore during their early childhood may be more likely to have behavioral problems such as aggression and hyperactivity, according to a new study. (via MSNBC)

A Host of Ills When Iron’s Out of Balance
Iron, an essential nutrient, has long been the nation’s most common nutritional deficiency. In decades past, many parents worried that children who were picky eaters would develop iron-deficiency anemia. (via New York Times)

Baby’s got cradle cap? Home remedy may worsen it
Home remedies for cradle cap and dandruff may do more harm than good by feeding the little organisms that cause the condition, two doctors warned on Monday. (via NBC)

Are gender-neutral toys much ado about nothing?
With all eyes on London in recent weeks, the city’s most famous department store managed to steal a few headlines — and maybe a few Olympics tourists — by unveiling a new gender-neutral toy department. (via MSNBC)

Is Corporal Punishment in School Legal?
Corporal punishment in school is still legal in 19 states which may come as a surprise depending on where in country you live. (via Reuters)

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Lengthened School Years Increase Scores (and Germs!)

Friday, August 10th, 2012

You’ve heard it before: Schools across the U.S. just aren’t at the same academic level as other global leaders, including China, South Korea, and Finland. Although some state-led initiatives have made their way into the mix, some schools are deciding to put the students’ — and our future leaders — fate into their own hands.

Cities such as Chicago, Boston, and Phoenix are lengthening their school days and school years in efforts to increase the amount of time students spend in the classroom. Lengthening the academic year by 10 days or more, schools hope shorter summer vacations will help kids better remember what they learned during the school year.

And according to a report from the National Center on Time and Learning, it’s starting to pay off. Schools with longer academic years report higher graduation rates and higher test scores than those still abiding by the 180-day year.

With all that extra time in the classroom, your child is bound to bring home an endless list of yucky germs. Take a look at our tips to keep him healthy here so he can spend more time at school and less time on the couch (and we know you like that idea!).

Image: Children at school classroom via Shuttershock

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Will Virtual Textbooks Boost Learning?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Are the days of lugging around textbook-filled backpacks becoming obsolete? Developers at Kno, an education-geared software company, hope so. Yesterday, Kno announced their plan to offer interactive K-12 textbooks for iPads, tablets, and the web for only $9.99. The app will allow parents and children to enhance learning experiences through various interactive features, including automatic flash cards, customized quizzes, and 3D models. Kno’s product comes just months after the federal government issued the Digital Textbook Playbook, a plan to get all students and teachers using e-textbooks within the next few years.

More and more companies are now scrambling to increase education rates after appalling reports from the Council on Foreign Relations stated that the U.S. education system has failed to prepare kids for competition at a global level. If that didn’t sting enough, schools endured another attack last week when a study done by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance found the United States’ academic growth now ranks in the middle of the 49 countries involved. Somehow, schools in America just aren’t making the cut, leading companies like Kno to take education into their own hands.

So what can you do to help your child stay ahead of the pack? Learn a lesson from the top educational systems in the world and take home some pro tips to try yourself. Being proactive and aware of your kid’s education is the key to their future success.

Image: Little girl thinking via Shutterstock

 

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