Thursday, September 30, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #18

There is one very important person at your child’s school you need to get to know and have a positive working relationship with these person. This brings us to tip #18.

Tip #18: Get to know your child’s teacher.

Make sure you introduce yourself and have a positive working relationship with your child’s teacher. Ask for a short meeting and talk to the teacher to find out the expectations for the school year, and this is a time you can use to explain any health concerns or other important information that will help the teacher work with your child throughout the year. The teacher will spend many of the waking hours with your child during the week and you want him/her to know you are concerned and will be checking up on your child’s progress and behavior. It is very important to try to have a good and trusting relationship with the teacher. Hopefully, you feel confidence in the teacher’s abilities and relationship with your child. This is because both of truly determine your child’s progress in school and social development. Be available for all conferences and as many field trips, special programs, and PTA meetings. Show the teachers you appreciate the hard work they are doing with small notes, emails, or small gift for the classroom. Having this positive relationship will make a world of difference in how smoothly the school year will turn out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #17

Many times there are situations that are unexpected while your child is at school.  There should always be an emergency plan or a plan B in place that your child understands and the school is aware of.  That brings us to tip #17.

Tip #17:  Have an emergency plan in place.

There are all kinds of unexpected situations that a parent needs to anticipate and have plan in place in case something happens.  If you are a working parent and your child gets sick, make sure your employer knows you may have to take sick leave or leave the job to pick child up from school.  Or you could have a support person who could pick up your child and take care of him/her until you are finished with work.  Just make sure the school has every person you want to take your child from the school on the list of people who have permission to remove your child.

If there is a weather day, or school is being dismissed early for whatever reason, have another parent in the classroom or have a support person in place so your child is not left at school in at these times.  You can have a carpool or take turns walking each other's children from school in emergencies, but make sure everyone concern knows exactly what to do and where to go.  The school year will go much smoother if you work these things out in advance.  Just try to think of every situation possible and find a plan B if you are unable to be at school at those times.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #16

Families have changed drastically.  There was a time that grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins could depend on each other for support of raising a child.  With jobs moving families away from that circle of support, and single parents are trying to do the job that ten to twenty people use to do, this brings us to tip #16.

Tip #16: Build a support group.

It is not easy to build a support that you feel you can trust with helping you with your child.  One thing I can tell you is that everyone needs some help. The statement, "It takes a village to raise a child", is really true.  You are very fortunate if you have a close family connection.  If you don't make sure you know the people you ask to help you.  It can be as simple as asking for advice about disciple or you need someone else to talk to the child about a situation. Many times you may need someone to watch or pick the your child up from a game, or go with you to a school conference.  It definitely must be someone you know and trust, and even after all of that be careful.  Always talk to your child and make sure they are comfortable with everyone in your support group. This support group should have the same moral principle you have and are willing to be a part of your child's life. Your support group could look like the following:

1. Family members
2. Close friends
3. Church members
4. Senior citizens willing to be adopted grandparents
5. A parent at your child's school
6. Big Brothers/Big Sisters
7. Neighbors

Just always keep an eye out for those you feel will be a good example and role model for your child. Even families with two parents need a little help every now and then.   Hopefully, you will build a support group that will help you and your child through this maze called "parenthood".

Monday, September 27, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #15

This next tip is very important.  Many times parents don't realize just how important is it to get to know their child's friends.

Tip #15: Get to know your child's friends.

You need to watch young children who are just starting pre-school or kindergarten.  Check out who they choose to play with and choose as friends.  Many times children are leaders and children just want to be around them.  Parents usually don't have to worry as much about children who are leaders except for what kind leader they are .  Other children are followers and just wanting other children to like them.  These children are the ones you want to see what kind of friends they are attracted to.  The last kind of child is usuall quite shy or would rather play alone.  These children you want to encourage to socialize and learn how to make friends.  Usually as a child gets older their taste in friends don't change much.  There are 3 very important things a parent needs to look out for with their children's friends.

1.  Is the friend that your child wants to be around supervised well outside of school?  You don't want your child to spend too much time with children who have little or no supervision. Many times these children experiment and try things earlier then children whose parents keep a close eye on their child.
2. Set up play dated with other children and their parents so you can see how your child interacts with children around the same age. Better yet you will want to see how the friend  interact with their parents.  If the child is disrespectful or too demanding, let your child know that that is unacceptable behavior for your family.  If your child has real trouble getting along with or socializing with their peers, set up more time and make more opportunities for your child to interact with other children.
3. If you notice that there are real problems with your child getting alone or playing with children, get professional help if you truly have concerns. The earlier you get your child help with social play and sharing the better it will be for the child when they school starts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Education Reform

I must say I am very excited and truly hopeful that this country is in the beginning stages of an "Education Reform".  I received information from a face book friend that "Waiting for Superman" trailer was out and worth viewing.  After seeing that and hearing the reviews of this special on a successful charter school, I am looking forward to seeing this very important special airing Saturday, October 9th. Check your local station for the correct time. 

This is not the first time our country has had to go through some kind of "Education Reform".  Times change, research change, family change, children change, and administrators, teachers, and parents must get on board and make the necessary changes to make sure every child is receiving the "Best Education Possible".  The latest research shows that "effective teaching" is the most important ingredient to a child's success in education.  So, money must be put into training teachers on the latest methods of instruction.  Research also shows that every child has a dominate learning style, and if information is presented in a way they learn and understand they will be successful.  From kindergarten to graduate school professors, these styles of learning need to be adopted so the instructor shares information to students in a way they can receive it, comprehend it, and challenges their minds. 

I hope we stop playing the "blame game" and truly come up with solutions so every child is getting the quality education they need and deserve.  Believe me, most teachers and administrators are already working as hard as they know how to improve students achievement.  It is now time for parents to make sure they are doing their part as "positive partners" of  education.  How can parents become a positive partner you ask?  One way is to simply continuing to view and share my blog with other parents every day. Another way is  by ordering my book, A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible K-6 Grades.  Let's all continue to work hard toward making sure there is quality education for every child on a local, state, national, and international level.  The only way to do that is to be informed and get involved in the change.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Are Your Children Eating Nutritional Lunches?

Make sure your child is eating a nutritional lunch everyday that is free from excess sugar and salt

The U.S. government didn't help public schools provide lunch for students until 1930s. Parents need to make sure their child is getting nutritional lunches.  Check the school menus and make sure your child will eat what is being served each day.  More food ends up in the trash during lunch time.  According to an article in TIME For Kids, October 2009 issue, the time line below shows how the school lunch has changed through the years. 
1880: Most kids bring lunch to school in a sturdy metal bucket
1900: The first tin lunchbox is made.  It is decorated with pictures of children playing
1930: The government begins helping schools start lunch programs.
1946: The U.S. establishes the National School Lunch Program, to help ensure that kids' nutritional needs are met.
1954: The government adds the Special Milk Program.  It provides a half pint of milk each day to each child.
1972: The Congress allows vending machines in schools.
1997: The first farm-to-school programs started.
2010: More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program.  Some school districts are trying to limit sugar and process foods that are offered in schools.  Maybe it's time to start packing our children's lunches again. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #14

It is very hard being a parent in this day and time, and how you discipline your child is a very important part of parenting.  We discussed the parent that is too easy and too harsh.  Today we will look at the parent who truly tries hard to balance disciplining their child.

Tip #14: A parent must find a balance when disciplining their child.

1. Parents who try to be balanced when disciplining their child gives their child choices when it is appropriate and guides the child into making good decisions.
2. The parent that is balanced when disciplining is consistent and loving, while letting the child know the bad behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
3. The balanced parent lets the child know that there are consequences for their bad behavior and holds them accountable for their actions in a fair way.
4. The parent who is balanced with discipline sees their child realistically and has realistic expectations for their child.
5. The balanced parent gives their child love, self worth, and respect.  Therefore, this helps build the child's confidence and self-esteem when they are out in the world and have to make important decisions. 

We can only hope our children grow into healthy, independent, contributing citizens.  You can do everything possible and many children still make bad choices and decisions.  All we can do as parents is to be as balanced as possible when correcting and directing our children.  Hopefully, you have the confidence in the school your child attends to work as partners in educating and help directing your child into young adulthood.  These are only the opinions of a mother of 5, grandmother of 8, and educator of over 22 years.  There is no scientific study or data in my discipline theory.  Only life experiences.  I truly wish everyone who reads this the wisdom and patience to mold and develop their child to be able to reach their true potential and see every dream come to past in their child's life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip#13

The parent that is too easy or not consistent with discipline usually has a lot of problems keeping their child under control.  The type of parent we will look at today is the parent that is too harsh  in punishing their child and are very controlling.

Tip #13: Don't be too hard or controlling as far as disciplining your child.

1. A parent that is too harsh or controlling has the child afraid to say or do anything.  The child usually obeys the parent only out of fear, not because it is the right thing to do.
2. The parent usually makes all the decisions for the child and the child's opinion is not heard nor does it matter.
3. A very controlling parent usually has harsh consequences and will sometimes embarrasses the child in front of others. 
4. This parent that disciplines too hard usually punishes and reacts while angry.  There can even be physical and/or mental abuse in some cases.
5. The controlling parent a lot of the time has unrealistic expectations for their child and will punish harshly if expectations are not met or fall short.  It is hard for the child to satisfy or make the parent happy.
6. This type of harsh discipline invites rebellion and unhappiness.  Many times when the child is a young adult and out of sight of the controlling parent they go wild and make unwise decisions because they are not use to thinking for themselves.
7. Children who are treated harshly many times are mean and angry.  Sometimes they have problems making friends and can be known as bullies.

As a result of being to harsh and controlling, the child can be rebellious, angry, and unhappy.  Make sure you're not controlling your child through fear and anger.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #12

It is necessary to discipline your child from time to time. The most important thing is to be consistent and always focus on the behavior and not the child.  When disciplining your child you must find a balance.  Never punish your child in anger.  If you have to wait until you calm down, wait and then issue any consequences with a calm head.  If you believe in spanking,which I personally discourage,  make sure you never harm the child to the point you leave marks or bruises.  Always make sure your child understands why they are being punished and make sure the punishment matches the misbehavior.

Tip #12: Don't be too easy when disciplining your child
1. Usually when there is a parent that is too easy on discipline the child never truly understand what is expected behavior.  The parent tries to be a friend to their child and will many times do everything for the child.  Even things the child could or should do for themselves. 
2. When they do try to discipline the child it is usually inconsistent.  They give consequences, but never follow through and the child usually ends up getting out of the punishment.  The child knows just how far to push the parent to get out of the punishment.
3. Many times these parents will also blame everyone except the child for any bad behavior (and will even blame themselves before the child has to face consequences).  This certainly doesn't help the child understand what behavior is expected of them.
4. Usually the parents who are too easy with discipline build a fairy tale world for their child and makes sure life is as easy as possible.  Many children don't even have chores or any responsibilities at home. These children think someone is suppose to wait on them hand and foot.
5. Some parents who discipline too easy try to live through the child.  The child rules the home and every desire is tried to be fulfilled. The parent's desires and needs are put on hold, so their relationship suffers.

As a result of being too easy on discipline, many times it invites rebellion and unhappiness.  The child doesn't understand what the word "NO" means and will not respond to simple request the first, second, and sometimes third time asked.The child thinks they are the center of the universe and when they get to school and find out otherwise, they are sadly disappointed and sometimes are disliked by teachers and peers.  The solution is to have expectations for your child's behavior and if you punish make sure you follow through and are consistant.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #11

Today is September 21, and it is the day we celebrate "International Day of Peace".  At the Academy for Academics and Arts, we had an assembly with our State Congress Woman speaking to the children about her experiences in the 60s.  We also had famous quotes spoken and songs of peace sung.  Our art teacher had every child in the school make a pinwheel and they were placed outside in the shape of a peace sign. With every child, teacher, staff, and administrators present, more words of inspiration and peace were spoken.  We were all challenged to think of ways to bring more peace to our school, communities, state, country, and the world.  We were reminded that this was just a small picture of what was happening around the world, with children making pinwheels of peace. 

Tip #11: Make sure your child is aware this day, The International Day of Peace,  and envisions it as an  inspiration to some day have "World Peace". 
Your child should understand that having a  peaceful spirit, love in their hearts, tolerance for differences, and having true forgiveness could not only change your family, community, state, and country, but the entire world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #10

In order for your child to become independent and responsible, they should have chores they must complete in a timely and complete manner.  Chores can also teach children colors, patterns, and sequencing.  A child as young as 3 or 4 years old can pick up their toys and put them in their proper place.  Older children should help where you feel it is appropriate.  Every child is different and you must determine when your child is ready for more responsibilities.  Below are some suggested chore ideas by age level.

3-4 year old
Pick up toys
Pair socks together
Help feed family pet

5-8 years old
Make bed
Clean room
Fold laundry
Vacuum the rugs

9-12 years old
Clean room/change linens
Help fix meals
Wash and fold clothes
Yard work

13-18 years old
Just about anything

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Germs and the Classroom

According to an article in the September 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, classroom germs have real consequences for kids.  Earlier this year, a research team from the University of Arizona in Tucson evaluated six elementary schools classrooms, half had surfaces swabbed daily with a disinfectant, half didn't.  Kids assigned to the unsanitized classrooms were 2-3 times more likely to miss school due to illness, and were absent longer.  The students who sat in squeaky clean classrooms were healthier and missed less school.  Below are simple suggestions tools that can reduce your child's risk.
1. Mechanical Pencils: Hand-cranked pencil sharpeners are often used but rarely cleaned, making them a top source of infectious microbes, says the UA team.
2. Hand Sanitizer: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an effective fallback if kids can't leave class to wash up.  But they'll never use it if it's at the bottom of the backpacks. 
3. Exact Lunch Money:  Studies show that the flu virus can survive at leas an hour on bills and coins.  Insulate our child from "cash flow cooties" with exact change for lunch. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We All Need More Vitamin D

According to a recent study, millions of children in the United States may not be getting enough vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.  A another study showed that 70% of all adults are deficient in this vitamin.    

Children who get too little vitamin D could be in for certain health problems with their bones and teeth.  Most doctors say that kids should get at least 400 units of vitamin D a day.  That is equal to four cups of milk.  According to Dr. Jonathan Mansback, a study leader, "Getting a little too much is better than coming up short."   Adults need vitamin D to maintain joint and muscle comfort, support  breast health, colon and prostate health, and helps with a healthy mood.  So, make sure you and your children are getting enough vitamin D

Foods high in Vitamin D
1. fortified milk
2. some cereals
3. oily fish
4. sunlight

Friday, September 17, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #9

Continuing along the same topic as tip # 8 on health, tip #9 has to do with getting the right nutrition.

Tip # 9:  Make sure your family is eating balanced and healthy meals.
The first thing you want to make sure your child is getting a good breakfast.  This can be at home or at school.  If your child eats breakfast at home make sure it is not full of sugar and empty calories.  A good guide would be a serving of fruit, protein, and grains. (example: small glass of orange juice, a bowl of oatmeal, a glass of low fat milk, and a piece of toast or bagel).  If your child eats breakfast at school, check the school menu and make sure your child is going to eat what is offered and that the meals the school is offering is balanced and healthy.  This goes for lunch and dinner. Try not to eat processed foods and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Only eat at fast food restaurants on rare occasions and get your child use to eating at home or making healthy choices when eating out.  A healthy mind and body will learn and retain more at school.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #8

Making sure your child is "Getting the Best Education Possible" is more than "AB Cs and 12 3s.  Tip #8 is about the cleanliness of your child.

Tip #8:  Make sure your child is neat and clean.
Your child's body, clothes, and teeth should be neat and clean.  Other children may not want to be around a child who is not clean and even make fun of a child because of their hygiene.  Set out what they will wear the night before and even have your child bathe at night if possible.  This will become a lifelong habit that will guide them into adulthood.  All children should brush their teeth in the morning and at night.  They should also floss their teeth once a day to maintain good dental hygiene.  Hair should be clean and neatly combed and brushed.  All of this should help your child feel good about themselves and have confidence to stand up for themselves or what they believe in.  A child cannot learn their best if they are constantly worried about their appearance.  Also you never want others to point out the cleanliness of your child.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #7

There are many things parents can do to make sure their child is "Getting The Best Education Possible".  This next tip is very important and will cost you nothing but a little time and effort. 

Tip #7:  Check your child's book bag every evening. 

Parents must check their child's book bag every evening because important notes, announcements, field trip, event, and graded papers are sent home in the book bag.  In order to make sure your child is completing all homework assignments, you must check their book bag.  Try to help them keep it organized and clean it out daily of papers no longer needed.  Parents miss out on important dates because of not checking their child's book bag.  If your school doesn't supply a take-home-folder, you may want to purchase a pocket folder for your child to put all important papers and announcements in the folder,so they can't get lost coming or going in the bag.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #6

All of the tips I have given you for "Getting The Best Education Possible" are hopefully things everyone can do with little or no resources.  It may take making your child's education a priority and "time", but it  will pay off in the end for your child. 

Tip #6: Make sure you make every conference.
Schools usually will have a conferences for parents every grading period.  These conferences are very important and you should attend or send someone you trust in your place.  This is the time you can find out where your child is academically and get questions answered on find out information on how you can help him/her.  You also can get advice how to handle certain situations.  Take advantage of the professionals in the building.  I only hope you trust and have confidence in the administration, faculty, and staff, because they can assist you with many of your questions.  Make sure the school is aware of any medications, allergies, or medical problems your child may have.  If you or your family is going through a rough time, meeting with the school counselor and they can help look for any changes in your child's academic performance of behavior.  Having a positive working relationship with everyone at the school is important.  But the school will always want to see you doing your part to help your child.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #5

In order to have a successful school year you, your child, and the school must work together as positive "partners".  School conferences, functions, and meetings can be intimidating if you don't understand everything that is going on.  This brings us to Tip #5,

Tip #5 Get Involved
Getting involved in your child's school doesn't take being there 2 to 3 hours everyday.  As a matter of fact, simply joining the PTA and attending their meetings will give you valuable information about the objectives of the school year and things you can do to help.  Volunteer where you feel comfortable.    If there is a fund raiser, try to sell as many items as possible.  All the funds should go toward enhancing every child's education at the school.  If you can be a "reading buddy" for a child or tutor a child in math.   This should be a rewarding experience for both of you and the child.  If you work everyday, ask the teacher if there is something you can do at home (examples: make activities for centers,staple packets,  help with bulletin boards, copy assignments for the class, organize papers or group assignments, color or paint objects, etc.). Just being visible and helpful at your child's school truly helps your child.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Healthy Living...From Fruits to Nuts

According to an article in the November 2009 issue of Disney Family Fun magazine eating fruits and nuts can be fun and healthy treats.  Below are 2 suggestions:
1. Fruits: Studies from the University of Illinois and Cornell University suggest a mix of fruits (or vegetables) delivers more disease-fighting antioxidants than the same amounts of those foods eaten separately.  Why?  Researchers think the fruit works in synergy to bring out the best in one another.  To inspire your kids to eat mixed fruit make it fun an attractive.  Let them help you cut it up with a butter knife and arrange it in creative ways they make up themselves.

2. Nuts:  Want to encourage healthier snacking ?  Instead of a candy dish, set out a nutcracker and a bowl of unshelled nuts.  Serve this way, with not added oil or salt, nuts are a wholesome treat, packed with protein, vitamins, and heart-healthy fats.  Plus, cracking and picking the meats out of the shells shows the frantic pace of over eating.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 911

There are so many strong feelings about 911 and it reaches our deepest emotions. My prayer is that those who were affected by losing a loved one or injured in this unbelievable act of hate would find healing on this day.  I hope that we can show the world that we cannot be broken or divided.  It is such a shame that  many of the voices heard around the world are the voices of the extreme right or extreme left!  Why can't the voices of reason be heard over all the noise.

We must show our children that we can come together as a nation and deal with our problems, fears, and differences without hate, judgement, and bigotry.  We must show our children that we can disagree with how a problem  is resolved without getting into name calling and false accusations.  We must show our children that even though there was a 911 it has not destroyed our confidence in fighting for freedoms that our forefathers guaranteed all of us.  We must show our children that we can tolerate differences of religions, political views, or opposite opinions.  We must show our children that we are a country united and no one can take that away.  We must show our children that 911 was a tragedy that must never be repeated and will never be forgotten.  We all are responsible for what we show our children this day and in the future.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #4

Make sure this year is a successful academic year for your child.  We already discussed turning off the electronics during the school week, organizing a study area, and putting your child on an regular schedule.  Today we will look at the next important tip.

Tip #4:  READ! READ! READ!

Research shows that how fluent a child reads (how many words per minute a child can read) will determine their success academically.  In order to complete assignments in high school, college, and graduate courses a students must be able to read a certain amount of materials in a short amount of time and comprehend what's been read.  This is why schools are using researched based reading series that make sure a child is fluently reading and understanding what they read on grade level. 

The only way a child can increase fluency is to read to your child when they are young and have them read recreational materials outside of school!  Research also shows that students who read for 15-60 minutes outside of school get better grades and score higher on standardized test.  So, tip #4 is to find books, magazines, comics, or whatever interest your child and read to your child or have them read every evening throughout the school year.  I'm sure you will be amazed at the increase in your child's vocabulary, written language, spelling, and overall understanding of the written word.  What will all this amount to?  Better comprehension and performance in all subject areas.  So, READ to your child or have your child READ! READ! READ!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #3

Having a successful school year takes planning and a lot of organization.  Now that we have turned off all electronics during the week and have a regular study area, let's continue our quest on getting the "Best Education Possible.

Tip #3: Have a schedule time for getting up, eating, studying, and going to bed.

Children and teens do better when they are on a schedule.  (Let the truth be known, most of us do better when on a schedule). 

1. There should be scheduled time to get up every morning. There should be enough time to wash, brush teeth, get dress, groom hair, eat breakfast, and load up for school.  Clothes and books should be laid out the night before to keep the morning running smoothly. 
2. Dinner should be at the same time or around the same time every evening.  Breakfast and lunches at school are always at the same time and parents need to do the same thing at home.  Parents should sit down and eat dinner with their children and discuss the day.  It makes a big difference for children to have that time with you. 
3. Extra curricular activities and homework all must be on a schedule.  Never over schedule your child with sports or activities that will stress them out and cause homework to be a burden.  Make sure activities are over early enough for homework, dinner, and bed time.
4. Bed time should be the same time every evening during the week.  Young children and some teens need at least 8-12 hours of sleep a night.  It is never good for your child to go to school tired because of not enough sleep.  A tired mind can not learn.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #2

In order for you and your child to have a successful school year certain things need to be in place.  We already know that the TV, video games, cell phones, and computers should be turned off or have limited use during the school week. 

Tip #2: Have a regular study area in your home

The study area can be as simple as the kitchen table, while you are fixing dinner, or a small desk or table in their room.  It should be the same place every afternoon or evening.  Your child should go to the study area and complete all homework assignments.  There should be pencils, pens, crayons, markers, erasers, paper, rulers, calculators or whatever supplies your child might need.  It should be neat and organized so your child can find everything needed to complete their homework.  Make sure you check to see that the homework is completed properly and neatly.  If your child does not understand an assignment, do not complete it for him/her.  They cannot learn by you doing their work.  Try to explain it and have them complete the work.  If you can't understand the assignment, call another parent or write a note and ask the teacher to explain it to your child. If your child has no homework or completes the work quickly, have them read for at least 15-45 minutes.  It will make all the difference in their grades if they are reading every night.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #1

With the new school year starting, every parent is trying to get organized and ready for a successful grading period.  There are some very important things that you can do to make sure your child is getting the "Best Education Possible".  These tips are in no specific order of importance. So, check out this week's post to get some very important information for a great school year.

TIP #1:  Turn the TV, video games, cell phones, and the computers (unless they are doing school work) off during the week.

The parents that eliminate or limit the use and viewing of TV, video games, cell phones and computer find that their children read more or have more creative play.  These children do better in school and have better grades.  There is nothing more distracting then these current day electronics.  If you don't totally eliminate their use, I would suggest they not be able to use any of them until all homework is completed and 15-30 minutes of recreational reading for younger children and 30-60 minutes for older children.  After that I would limit their use to 15-45 minutes a night. (no more than 60 for older children).  Have your child pick what game, show, or friend they want to call and make sure they stick to the agreed amount of time.  If you make it a habit there will be no arguments.  So, start the school year off right and turn off the TV, video games, cell phones, and computers. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

The First Day of School

It is hard to believe that a new school year 2010-2011 has begun.  Almost every child in this country will be in school after the Labor Day celebration.  The children in Huntsville, Alabama have been in school since August 9th, so we're in full swing.

Our granddaughter, who we helped raise, started high school this year.  I felt the same anxiety that I felt taking her to kindergarten for the first time. (To be honest, I think I was even more nervous this time).  As we drove in the car, I asked her if she was nervous and she quietly answered, "yes".  I told her I wanted to make sure she got her schedule and knew where to go for her first period class and she simply said, "MiMi, I really want to walk in by myself".  I couldn't believe it!!!!! How could she not need me to be there.  I told her if she just let me walk her in to get her schedule, I promised I would leave immediately and not kiss her good-bye and not tell her I love her.  She simply laughed and I walked her in.  She got her schedule and looked back and said, "I'll be okay".  I turned and and walked out with a pit in bottom of my stomach and bricks weighing down my feet.... How could she be in high school already? Where was the little girl who would have begged me to come with her?

I drove to school thinking about how she was doing. Would she make any new friends? Would kids be nice to her? Would she get lost trying to find her classes? Who would she eat lunch with?  As I walked in I saw the kindergarten parents walking their children to class.  Some of the fathers had their little ones in their arms.  I watch as the mothers fussed over their children's clothes and hair and could see the anxiety building as the principal announced that all parents should leave the classroom and let the teachers get started.  It was then that I realized that we have to trust our administrators, teachers, and staff to take care of our most precious possessions, "Our Children". 

I truly hope that parents do trust their schools with their children.  And I truly hope that teachers and administrators show parents that they can be trusted with their children to love, care, direct, and instruct them while in their care.  You see, school should be a "partnership" with parents because the school  has your children a large part of the day.  I pray that everyone has a WONDERFUL school year and your child is getting the Best Education Possible.  Oh yes, and enjoy "Labor Day". 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Walk Your Way Fit

Walking is the ultimate bargain exercise, proving you don't need fancy equipment or pricey gyms to get fit.  But you do need to mix it up a little.  According to Karen Asp in an article in the July 2010 issue of Better Homes and Garden, below are three different walks to keep your family's heart healthy, your waistline trim and your stress levels down.
1. Endurance Walk. A moderately paced walk you can do for as long or as short a time as you want.  Endurance training builds a healthier body, and it's something almost everybody can do, even the kids.  It can relieve stress and boost mood in as little as 10 minutes and also reduces risk factors for chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. You can endurance walk daily if you want.  Start with a five minute warm-up of easy walking.  Then pick up the pace until you breathing becomes a little quicker.  You should be able to talk, but you're definitely working a little harder. In the end, cool down with five minutes of easy walking.
2. Interval Training Walk. A more challenging walk that alternates between hard and easy periods of work.  If time is your biggest enemy, interval training is perfect for you.  In a study at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, women who id interval training improved overall health and their body's fat-burning potential in as little as two weeks. Not only do you burn calories during the workout, you also burn more just doing everyday things after an interval training walk.  This is for walkers who want to get in shape in less time or bust a plateau.  You should do two or three weeks of endurance first.  Interval training should be done once or twice a week on nonconsecutive days.  Warm up an easy five minute walk.  Then alternate between one to four minutes of moderate-pace walking and one to four minutes of brisk or fast walking, repeating this pattern tow to five times during your walk.  During the brisk/fast walking sections it should be as if you're working hard, and talking becomes more difficult.
3. Speed Walking. A faster-paced walk than endurance walking.  If your short on time, this is another walk you can do in a snap.  Granted, it may feel somewhat uncomfortable, but doing this type of workout can make you a stronger, fitter walker.  This is for serious walkers who want to get fitter without devoting lots of time to exercise.  It should be done once or twice a week.  Start with a five minute warm-up.  Then pick up the pace so you're walking a little faster than you normally would yet not pushing it so hard that you can't maintain that pace.  Continue at that pace for 10 to 20 minutes. (If this is too difficult at first, go fast for five minutes, then slow to a moderate pace for five minutes; gradually build to walking fast the entire walk.) Then cool down with an easy walk.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

America's Growing Weight Problem

    According to an article in Time For Kids, a new study from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut,

shows that cereal makers want you as a customer.  The researchers studied 115 cereal brands and their ingredients.  Of the 115 brands, 19 were identified as "child brands" because they are marketed directly to kids through television and the Internet. 

Cereal makers spend nearly $156 million each year just on TV advertising aimed at children.  The makers also grab kids' attention with colorful packages, in-store displays, and online games.  The General Mills website averages 767,000 young visitors a month Post get about 265,000 visitors monthly.

About a third of children in the United States are considered overweight or obese.  Researchers believe that TV advertising plays a part in how much kids eat and the food choices they make.  Cereal makers say that they have responded to the nation's growing weight problem.  They have reduced calories, fat and sugar.  They have boosted fiber content and vitamins.  For a list of the 10 most nutritious cereals go to,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Still True.... After All These Years!

Many people believe that if they win the lottery, achieve fame, or have great wealth they would be totally and completely happy. All it takes is to look at some famous youngsters or children of wealthy parents to see that it is not always true. It takes inner peace and gratitude for what they have to begin appreciating all the blessings around them.
If a child is brought up to be selfish and self-serving, they will be sadly disappointed. The result of selfishness can be taking foolish risk or using dangerous drugs that totally destroy lives and families. Parents must make sure their children know who they are, where they come from, and where they are going. They also need to understand that there are people less fortunate and instill in their children a heart of service. Below are some suggestions on how to help instill happiness and contentment young lives.

1. Children should learn to appreciate the fact that the greatest happiness does not always come with the greatest wealth. Give them a fair allowance when they reach the age of handling money and make them save 10% or more of any money they receive. It will pay off big dividends in the end.
2. Have a scheduled dinner time as much as possible. Talk and listen to your child. Find out what they like and what they are concerned about.
3. Spend quality time with each child. If it is no more than twice a year, make a special day where you and the child do something alone that will build memories.
4. Show that you love and respect everyone in the family. The way you talk to one another and treat one another is going to be the example your children take out to the world. Don't expect your child to be respectful to adults or other children if they don't see it being done at home.
5. Make sure your children know how important it is to get "The Best Education Possible" and takes advantage of all opportunities that comes their ways. Be involved in every step of their education. It will certainly help determine their future.
6. Make sure your child feels loved and appreciated. But always let them know they will be respectful and responsible for their actions and will be rewarded or face consequences for every decision they make.
7. Take time to enjoy one another. Take a family vacation or just walks in nature. Spending time as a family is very important (examples: worship together, picnic, ride bikes, fishing, camping, skating, planting a garden).
8. Find some community service that you and your children can participate in (example: Meals on Wheels, soup kitchens, cut grass for elderly neighbors, animal shelters, visit the sick). This will let children see that there are people (and or animals) who need help and they will feel good about helping someone else.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Gossip?

The happiest people spend two-thirds less time in small talk and have twice as many substantive conversations as less joyful folks, report University of Arizona and Washington University researchers, who analyzed 23,000 sound bites recorded from the daily lives of 79 people. Those having deeper conversations socialized more and watched TV less than habitual chit chatters. "Meaningful connections with other people are an important part of happiness," says coauthor Simine Vazire, Ph.D. You don't have to start a conversation about the Mideast conflict or the meaning of life on your Monday morning coffee break, "But for a few days, instead of gossiping, try sharing information or an opinion on something you care about," Vazire suggest, "and see if it lifts your mood."

We are role models for our children and should try not to gossip or have heated debates in their presence. It's not always easy not to gossip or debate, but it will show your children that meaningful conversation really does bring meaning and happiness to our lives. So, why gossip?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get Organized!

With schools in some parts of the country well into the routine, while others are about to start, handling the daily onslaught of kids' permission slips, bills and junk mail can be a full-time job. To keep track of your family's incoming and outgoing messages and mail, set up a "communication station" in a convenient location (like the mudroom or kitchen). A wall-mounted magazine rack gives each family member a slot for their papers, while a "look here: calendar is for quick references. Flyers, invites, and such stay in view on a bulletin board.
Below are 3 ideas that can help keep you organized during the busy school months according to an article in the September 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping.

1. Sort Smart. Stop mail clutter at the door in a tiered bin with three sections. IN, OUT, READ. The IN slot is for mail that needs to be dealt with fairly soon (bills, paperwork, etc. that should be addressed weekly); OUT is for outgoing mail; READ is for materials to peruse later (magazines, coupon books, and so on, to be purged monthly).

2. Make Notes. A sticky note on the door is the perfect can't-miss-it reminder. Tuck the notepad and pen in a bin (near your station) meant for holding outgoing items, like those library books that are due tomorrow.

3. Pen It In. A color-coded calendar (with a different color for each person) will keep the family on schedule. But don't write everything here, save personal activities for your own datebook. Just jot down events that involve multiple family members (things that require a driver etc.). Purge your bulletin board of no-longer-needed papers when you change the calendar page.

I truly hope everyone has a good working relationship with their children's school this year, 2010-2011. Make it a priority to get involved and stay informed. Your children need you to be a positive partner in their education and the school needs your participation and support. Most school districts are operating on limited or less funding, so any assistance you can give, I know will be appreciated.

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This weblog seeks primarily to be a resource to parents and their children facilitating, "Empowerment & Personal Responsibility through Education."

This weblog is an extension of BestEducationPossible-theCommunity an online community dedicated to Parents and their efforts to empower their children through Education.

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