Monday, January 31, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #94

According to "The Mom Book Goes To School", the best readers are often the best spellers and have the most extensive vocabulary. That brings us to tip #94.

Tip #94: Make sure your child has an ever expanding vocabulary.

The more words a child hears and makes their own will help in their reading, writing, and overall academic performance. Below are some suggestions on how to expand your child's vocabulary:
1. Keep a list of words you and your child encounter as you read.
2. Ask your child to share any new words learned.
3. Give your child age-appropriate crossword puzzles.
4. Read newspaper articles together to find new words.
5. Keep poetry magnets on the refrigerator.
6. Review spelling and vocabulary list with your child and use the words in conversations.
7. Help your child analyze words by showing how to break them down into syllables.
8. Teach your child the meaning of common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
9. Teach your child about context clues the will help your child guess the meaning of words.
10. If your child gets stuck on a word tell your child to move skip, move on, and then reread the sentence.
11. When your child what a word means or how to spell a word, find it together in a dictionary.
12. Many libraries offer books on audiotapes, which your child can use to track words on the page as he/she hears the words.
13. Play the Dictionary Game: One family member opens the dictionary and points to a word. Each of the other write down what he thinks is the definition. and then everyone reads his guess aloud. The person with the closest definition wins points. A variation on this game can teach your child spelling skills.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kindness Can Spread Like the Flu

According to an article in the August 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, performing a good deed for someone makes him or her more likely to do something nice for someone else, says researchers at Harvard and the University of California, San Diego.  Their study provides strong evidence that  cooperative behavior spreads from person to person to person, like a benevolent virus. 

In the study, volunteers simulated giving money away to others.  The researchers observed a domino effect, in which one person's kindness spread first to three people, then to nine people, and then to even more people.  What's more, after giving, you become a more generous person who'll give to others more frequently.  Happily, no one's immune to the kindness flu.  "We found that the effect works on Scrooge and Santa personalities alike, says study co-author James H. Fowler, Ph.D., a professor at UC San Diego and expert on social network.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Information About Eggs

According to an article in the August 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, bring on the bacon and eggs.  A new study shows that eating a little fat first thing when you wake up and keeping fat and calories low in the evening might ward off metabolic syndrome - a cluster of symptoms, including abdominal fat, high triglyceride levels, and insulin resistance (that increases risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes). 

Your first meal seems to program metabolism for the rest of the day, says Molly Bray,Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama.  A relatively fat-rich breakfast helps you metabolize fats and carbohydrates during the day, while a carb-rich breakfast seems to promote only carb metabolism.  In addition, eggs reduce hunger, so you eat less at lunch and all day long.  In a new University of Connecticut study, breakfast egg-eaters ate 112 fewer calories at an all-you-can eat buffet lunch three hours later than bagel-eating counterparts.  They also consumed about 400 fewer calories in the 24 hours following breakfast than did their bagel buddies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #93

Sometimes children have behavioral problems at school. These problems are sometimes shocking to the parents, but remember most children behavior differently at school then they do at home. That brings us to tip #93.

Tip #93: If your child is having any behavioral problems at school address and correct them as soon as possible.

Most report cards have a section on your child's in-school behavior. Even if your child excels in school work, a negative mark or comment on behavior should be a serious concern. Ask your child what he/she thinks these marks mean. So many times parents cannot believe their child misbehavior's in school. It is a rare situation that a teacher would tell you something untrue about classroom behavior, so keep an open and calm attitude during this process. Here are some suggestions to try if your child is having such problems at school:

1. Ask the teacher what specific types of behavior is exhibited during school. When, where, and why is this behavior happening?
2. A lot of times just changing a child's seat can help if there is another child distracting your child.
3. Draw up a behavioral plan with the teacher. If this behavior happens first; if it continues then; the consequences the third time will be. Make sure you are specific in what you and the teacher expect, and explain things to your child in clear and simple terms.
4. If your child's poor behavior is constant, your may need to identity the root of the problem. Begin by ruling out physical causes, such as ADD. Problems hearing or vision, learning disorders, or issues with peers may all cause rebellious behavior.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #92

Motivation is a very reliable predictor of a child's success in school. So many times underachievers can do the work, but they don't feel the work is meaningful or important or they are just so frustrated that they no longer try. That brings us to tip #92.

Tip #92:  Know what to do if your child is an underachiever.

The most common belief of the underachiever is that there is no control over what happens at school and the work is boring and repetitious. Most underachievers fail to take responsibility for their own behavior, so the blame is put on other people or outside forces.

Things to do:

The first step is changing the expectations of everyone involved. If your child has a history of failure and frustration, make sure the child experiences success so there is confidence to keep trying. Make sure that you and the teacher are on the same page and working toward the success and motivation of your child. Let the child know that you don't expect all "A's" overnight, but you do expect improvement.

Teach your children to have pride in their work. Don't accept sloppy and second rate homework from your child if you know they can do better. Reinforce the idea of checking over work before turning it in. Make sure the work is the best they can do and is always quality.

What you say to your children will affect the way they perceives themselves. Praise your child when it is deserved, but avoid over-kill. Too much or undeserved praise may cause intense pressure or unrealistic expectations and may soon become meaningless to the child. Always let your child know you love them and expect them to always to their best.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #91

School safety is a concern for administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students.  Last year Madison City, Alabama, had a shooting at Discovery Middle School. The result is that there is a 14 year old boy dead from a shot in the back of the head and a 14 year old arrested charged with murder. Sadly, this is only one shooting incident that happened in 2010 in the United States. That brings us to tip #91

Tip #91: Make sure your child's school has a safety and emergency plan in place, and everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

According to news reports everything was done right after the shooting at Discovery Middle School in Madison City, Alabama. The school staff, emergency workers, and students knew exactly what to do. The school nurse started emergency treatment immediately and the HEMSI workers were on the scene within 3 minutes. The student that did the shooting was restrained and the school went on code red lock down. According to the news reports everyone was to be commended for their quick reaction.

The question is was there anything that could have been done before this tragedy happened and what went so wrong?
1. First, this can happen to any school in any community and you can never feel beyond this type of incident happening. Madison City is nationally known for their family oriented community and schools.
2. Second, Parents must be aware of what is going on in their child's life. Below are somethings to be aware of with your own child:

- Are they being bullied?
- Are there drugs or alcohol being used?
-Are their fire arms or knives in the child's possession?
-Are there gangs at the school?
- Are there any unusual entries on email or facebook that your child is concerned about?
- Have you checked their room lately for anything unusual?
- Do you talk to your children and know what is going on in their lives?
- Is there any change in your child's behavior, appearance, or friends that concerns you?
- Tell your child that it they know someone who has a weapon or plans to harm themselves or someone else they need to let an adult immediately. This is never a time to keep a secret.
3. Third, in almost every elementary, middle, and high school, administrators, teachers, and students have concerns for certain student's mental health. Make sure that any mental health concerns are being treated and addressed by professionals.

There is no way to keep tragedies for ever happening, but if parents do their part at home and the school is prepared and does their part, it is less likely to end in the death of a student or school staff.  We all want our schools to be a safe place for our children to learn and grow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #90

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all children were self-motivated to do their best school work? In reality, some children need extra incentives to get them moving. Many times teacher approval, parental praise, grades, stickers, or a simple congratulations works.  Most parents wants their children to be independent and successful.  Lately there is a lot of controversy on how to achieve that goal.  Should we never be satisfied with our children's accomplishments or should we be building self-esteem.  That brings us to tip #90.

Tip #90: Have a reasonable balance and expectations for your child's grades and accomplishments. Reward your child, but don't bribe him/her.

Never put down or dismiss a child when they have achieved a milestone in their school work. Sometimes it may take material rewards for improving grades, but the reward should be small and inexpensive. Reward your child, but don't bribe the child. Bribing a child to do schoolwork by offering money for each good grade can make a child associate learning with rewards instead of giving the child a sense of pride and understanding of the full value of his or her efforts. When you discuss the rewards for achieving academic goals give your child choices.

Examples of things to do to reward your child for good grades:

1. Have the family go to a favorite restaurant or go get ice cream sundae.
2. Positive reinforcement is more motivating than any kind of punishment. Sometimes it can be as simple as a pat on the back.
3. Offer to have a friend over to spend the night.
4. Go bowling, skating, or play favorite games.
5. A trip the the local library or art museum.
6. Time together at the community park or playground.
7. Take a picture of the child with their ribbon or report card and put it on the web for family and friends to see or send it to grandparent in the mail.
8. Take a day off and go to the next field trip.

If you don't believe in rewards, be sure to let the child know you are aware and proud of their hard work.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #89

If you feel that the school your child attends does a reasonably good job you should become involved as a positive partner to make it the best that it can be. That brings us to tip #89.

Tip #89: Make sure you are a positive influence and partner at your child's school.

It is so important to work as a partner with the school your child attends. Below are some positive traits that a parent should try to incorporate to work as a partner with the school:

1. Public relations parents: These are the parents that are active in the community and goes out and speaks positively about the school and what is going on in the school.
2. Behind the scenes: This parent is rarely visible around the school, but will help in anyway possible.
3. Working parents: These parent works full time and cannot always be at all school functions. These parents will take off from work for important events and appointments. They will volunteer to do things at home or give cash donations.
4. Worker bee: These parents are stay-at-home and will volunteer to do just about anything needed.
5. The ray of sunshine parents: These parents come into the school and willing to meet with administrators and teachers to support school goals. They are positive about the school and everyone trust their input.
6. The skilled parents: These are parents that have special skills that they share with the school and the students. It can be computer tech, tutors, artist, bulletin boards, gardening, or anything need to make the school a better place for the students and the staff.

Make sure you get involved with a positive group of parents that go about trying to make positive changes in the school. It will make all the difference in the experience you will have with the school and the experience your child will have.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

10 Minutes to Lower Blood Pressure

According to an article in the August 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, it doesn't get easier than this tip.  You can reduce blood pressure simply by sitting on a couch and squeezing a ball, a new search review has found.  What's more, these "workout" sessions will move your numbers even more than walking, lifting weights, or other sweat-inducing activities. 

In the studies, people who squeezed a ball or hand grip for two minutes at a stretch and resting, then repeating four times in a 10 minute session.  This can cut the systolic pressure (the top number) about 10 points and their diastolic, about seven.  To try it, choose a firm ball, like a new tennis ball; do it three times a week, and check for results in about six weeks.  And keep at it: In the studies, pressures crept back up a few weeks after people stopped.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Easy Way to Ease Knee Pain

I know I have unbearable knee pain.  So, when I read this article, I had to share this simple solution to ease that pain. According to the August 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, it turns out that unsupportive shoes, like flip-flops might be better for knee pain than walking shows or hospital clogs.  A study at Rush University Medical Center found that bare feet and shoes mimic barefoot mechanics, like flat, flexible shoes and flip-flops.  It is said to put less pressure on the knee than super supportive styles.  In fact, barely-there footwear, which lessens impact as you walk, reduces joint loads as much as orthotics and knee braces do.  So if you're suffering from knee arthritis, or you're at risk, go flat and flexible whenever you can.  I'm just going to kick off my shoes or wear flip-flops for slippers in this cold weather.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #88

Teachers report that the most frustrating behavior they have to deal with is disrespect. This is when students are interrupting others, shouting out answers, or talking back to adults.  That brings us to tip #88.

Tip #88: Teach and expect your child to be respectful.

Disrespectful students cause more interruptions, and forces the teacher to put lesson plans on hold to deal with them. Nearly half of the teachers say they spend more time controlling their classroom then teaching.

Teach your child that paying attention and being respectful is expected behavior. Teach your child that sitting up straight, making eye contact with the teacher, folding hand hands while listening, and not daydreaming will increase their concentration. Set example for your child by being a good listener yourself. Maintain eye contact as you speck to your child, show interest in what your child is saying, and do not interrupt the child when they are speaking. Do not accept disrespectful behavior from your child at any time.  Your child will learn how to respect others by your expectations and example.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #87

It is very important for a child to be able to sit still and concentrate in order to be successful in school.  According to Stacy DeBroff, you can increase your child's concentration skills by playing games.  That brings us to tip #87.

Tip #87: Help your child to concentrate better and longer by playing simple games.

Below are some of the games suggestions by Stacy DeBroff:

1. Ask your child to recite as many colors, states, songs, animals, pop singers, or football players, as possible in 30 seconds.
2. Have your child describe what he smell when you are cooking, what he sees on the way to school, and what instruments are in songs on the radio.
3. Play the take-away at the dinner table. Everyone close their eyes except one person, who removes an object form the table. Then the others open their eyes and guess what is missing.
4. Practice listening skills by making up stories together in the car. Take turns adding one sentence at a time, and see how long you can make the story.
5. Work on classroom manners by playing school at home. Play the badly behaved student, waving your hands in the air to be called on and shouting out answers, as a way to comically get the point across.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #86

Reading is extremely important for a child's education.  Children who struggle with reading usually hate to read.  That is why it is important to develop a love for reading at an early age.  That brings us to tip #86.

Tip #86: Help your child develop a love for reading.

K-3rd grade teachers work very hard to make sure every child is reading on grade level.  Research shows that children that are reading on grade level are more successful in school and college.  Below are somethings you can do to help develop a lifelong appreciation for the written word.

1. Take trips to the local library weekly. Many times there are special guest and programs designed for children.
2. Make sure your child is reading age appropriate books that they can read and understand independently.
3. Read books together and have a discussion. These books should be above reading level so your child's vocabulary can increase.
4. Consider giving your child a monthly book allowance to purchase books. This will let your child know how much you value reading.
5. Whenever there is a holiday or birthday always include a book in the gifts.
6. Keep reading materials available for reading in the reach of your child.
7. Keep a bag of books in the car for your child to read while riding or going to appointments so the child can read while waiting.
8. Help your child create a reading space at home that is comfortable and free of other activities.
9. Encourage your child to swap books with friends or start a reading club.
10. Be sure your child sees you reading. Remember you are the example.
11. Make sure you don't force the child to read more time than they are interested. Let your child read for a few minutes and try to increase the time. You want your child to have a true love.
12. Give positive feedback whenever you see you child reading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #85

Poor social interaction with peers can impact a child academically because school is designed for students to work together. That bring us to tip #85.

Tip #85:  Teach your child good and acceptable social behaviors.

Teaching good social behavior is especially important for children who are more comfortable being alone. These children may have short tempers, trouble sharing, or problems responding to what is happening around them.
Activities at home that can make a child interact will teach your child good sportsmanship, controlling tempers, and losing gracefully. Also, playing games that make a child communicate in a group and cooperation are also good. Creating situations where the child must respond to someonelse's needs are helpful. Some examples of games and activities that could help are:

1. Board games (checkers, monopoly, sorry, or card games)
2. Charades
3. Team sports (baseball, basketball, or swim team)
4. Building models (cars, airplanes, or ships)
5. Family charities (soup kitchens, nursing homes, or community gardens)

Most importantly encourage your child to take responsibility for his or her actions and talk about what is appropriate in handling various situations.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #84

When kids go for testing for reading problems, they often simply take a vision and hearing test and find that the child is not seeing or hearing words clearly. That brings us to tip #84.

Tip #84:  Make sure your child's hearing and vision are examined.

Children with unrecognized vision and hearing problems suffer academically, which can affect behavior as well. Make sure that your child's vision and hearing are not overlooked. Many times learning disabilities is a sensory problem, such as vision or hearing impairment. Make sure your child gets the proper screening for visual and hearing on a regular basis.

You can possibly prevent certain kinds of visual and hearing problems. Poor lighting for close reading leads to myopia, while excessive television watching and computer use are linked to poor peripheral vision, farsightedness, and other visual problems. Hearing problems can be prevented by turning down the volume on i-pods, televisions, and computer games. If you can hear your child's music while they have on earphones, the music/game is too loud. Taking these small steps will help your child's vision and hearing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Control Eating When Eating Out!

According to an article in the July 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, you can control yourself when eating out.  Eating out while trying to stay on track can be pretty challenging.

1. Tell yourself at the beginning that you only need half and ask your server for a take-out bag as soon as you're done.  This will prevent you from picking at your plate and provide you will leftovers for tomorrow. 
2. Cut a picture of the dress you like out of a magazine or tape  a picture of you in your skinny cut jeans on the fridge.  Whatever you're aiming for, make sure it's somewhere you can see it and make sure it's a realistic goal.  If you have to, put the picture in your purse.  Mind over menu.
3. Avoid overdoing your order by picking your meal ahead of time.  Many restaurants have their menus available on their websites.  Figure out what your wan to fill up on and you'll be ready to avoid temptation come dinnertime.
4. Another tip is to eat healthy foods before you go out to eat or to a party. Never go out to eat really hungry.  If you're too hungry you're more likely to overeat.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Listen to the Music You Love

I have stated so many times how much I love music of all kinds.  Music can soothe your soul and change your mood. According to an article in the October 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, music and radio is alive and well on the Internet.  The things is knowing how to choose your tunes from stations around the world.  Below are 3 easy tips on finding those tunes:

1. Go New Wave: Whether you're yearning for the familiar voices of your hometown DJ or looking for something new, you'll find it on the Internet.  Unlike standard broadcast radio, Internet stations can be heard everywhere.
2. Surf City: Start with a basic Web search using keywords, such as "80s" to find music from that decade.  Or check out, a site that helps you navigate the genres of stations.
3. Set Your Dial: Here are a few stations to try. National Public Radio; classic rock; and classical music.  Create your own station with and last. fm.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #83

Most school welcome parent volunteers. That brings us to tip #83.

Tip #83: Volunteer at your child's school whenever possible.

When you show up to help, get there on time and be prepared to do what you promised. Remember to have fun, laugh, and keep a sense of humor about your experience. Below are some ideas on things you can volunteer for according to "The Mom Book Goes To School":

1. Donate materials: Ask the art teacher if they need empty milk cartons, paper-towel rolls, egg cartons, or other recyclable materials for projects or experiments. The librarian my want wildlife magazines or other reading materials.
2. Deliver books to the school that teachers order from public libraries.
3. Sew and decorate costumes for class performances.
4. Make treats for bake sales or for the teachers themselves.
5. Volunteer to be a guide for visitors during Open House Night.
6. Film or take pictures of special classroom events for the teacher.
7. Decorate bulletin boards.
8. Create a classroom website or student newsletter with writing, poetry, or art.
9. Plant flower bulbs with your child outside the school or clean up trash from the playground.
10. Read with a small group of children or to the whole class as a guest reader.
11. Become a tutor or mentor for a child having difficulty with reading or math.
12. Share your cultural background with your child's class around a holiday with a cooking project or craft.
13. Help organize events and activities that link parents, teachers, and students such as a school carnival.
14. Help coordinate a school clothing drive, canned-goods, collections, or book swaps.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #82

How can you get help from the teacher if your child is having academic difficulties? As soon as you notice your child is not understanding a concept or lesson, contact the teacher to find out what can be done. That brings us to tip #82.

Tip #82: If your child is having academic difficulites, ask the teacher for help.

When you talk to the teacher find out if the teacher has the same concerns. Most of the time trying different things can stop a small problem from getting out of hand. Below are some simple suggestions to start out trying:

1. Changing a child's seating arrangement away from friends and peers. Many times a child is distracted because of socializing with friends and moving them will get them focused.
2. Sitting the child closer to the teacher. Many students who have a hard time staying focused will sit close to the teacher to keep their attention. It works for some children.
3. Simply sitting down and talking to your child about expectations and consequences for not trying. Come up with a plan of action that is realistic and the child is involved in developing. Let the teacher know the plan so they can help and make suggestions. It can be a team effort.
4.Find out if the child is having problems academically across the board or only a particular subject. If it is only a particular subject, you may need to get tutoring in that subject. If it is across the board, you may want to look into learning styles and possible testing for more serious concerns.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #81

Teachers love getting gives from students and parents, but a simple note or personal phone call really goes a long way. That brings us to tip #81.

Tip #81: Show your child's teacher appreciation.

Just as parents like to hear about their child's progress and academic success, teachers are grateful for your recognition. Here are some suggestions on showing the teacher appreciation according to Stacy DeBroff, author of "The Mom Book":

1.Writing a small personal card letting the teacher know you noticed a new spark in your child, or remarks about her expertise and instruction. It will mean a lot to the teacher and it will strength your relationship.
2.Instead of just signing your child's homework or test papers, add a small note of thanks.
3. Write a letter at the end of the year thanking the teacher of the role they played in your child's life. Leave space for your child to write something.
4. For a teacher you feel is truly wonderful, write a letter and give specific examples of how the teacher touched your child's life and forward it to the principal.
5. Giving gifts to teachers is a great way to say thank you, be sure there is no cap on how much you can give to a teacher. In some states, $50.00 is the limit for giving gifts to a teacher because of bribery concerns.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #80

Sometimes bad relationships can develop between the teacher and a child if things are not handled properly. Many times the difference can be in teaching styles and learning style, or simple miscommunication.  That brings us to tip #80.

Tip #80: Make sure your child has a good working relationship with their teacher.

Parents must make sure their child has a good relationship with the teacher.  If your child is having problems getting along with the teacher there are somethings you can do.  This can be accomplished by strategically getting involved and preventing the teacher-child relationship from deteriorating further. Here are some suggestions from Stacy DeBroff, author of "The Mom Book Goes to School".
1. Tell the teacher the concerns your child expresses, and ask for the teacher's insights. Don't be confrontational, listen to their prospective, and come up with potential solutions.
2. Be aware that the teacher might not remember things perfectly, so unless there was a major incident you are concerned about, focus on fixing issues for the future, not getting the most accurate account of what has already happened.
3. Address problems in the child-teacher relationship directly to your child's teacher. Advocate for your child by repeating their concerns in a meeting without the child. You can say, "This issue concerns me because I am not sure why my child has this perception. I would like to make you aware of it and hear what you think and how we can turn this perception around."

Always try to handle these situations calmly and even handily. It will make all the difference in the child-teacher relationship for the rest of the year and years to come.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #79

Everyone wants their child to do well in school. What can you do if your child struggles with school work?
You must realize that children will often develop and learn at different stages. Try not to panic and don't become frustrated. It will only frustrate the child. Many children will hesitate to admit whey they don't understand because they don't want to appear "slow" or "dumb". As long as a child has a strong base and passion and confidence for learning, it will hopefully become easier. That brings us to tip #79.

Tip #79: If your child is having difficulty in school and nothing is working get your child some help.

First, take a breathe and realize that most kids struggle at one time or another. Just because a child is having difficulty doesn't mean there is a learning disability. It may mean the child is not developmentally ready for certain concepts. Patience is the key. Don't do the work for the child, but let the child work through problems as independently as possible. Children need to feel that they are successful, not the parent will do the work. Make sure you meet with the teacher and together create a plan on what you can do at home to help your child. See if the teacher has any concerns and work together to solve the the situation.

Next, find out concrete examples of the problems your child is having, like test scores, classwork, or homework. That way you will better understand how to help. If you cannot help with a certain subject, seek help from older siblings, friends, tutors, or ask the teacher for suggestions. It is important to address any academic problems as soon as possible. The child doesn't need to go on to another concept, chapter, or grade level without mastering all basic lessons.

Lastly, be positive and give your child confidence. Nothing will cause a child to bottom out more then feeling frustrated and that the work is too hard. Have high expectations for the your child, but have realistic goals and expectations. Not every child will be great in every subject. Just let the child know that hard work and putting in the time will make a difference.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2 Minutes to Pain Relief

According to an article in the September 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, exercise is proven to help fibromyalgia, but to women with serious fatigue and pain, working out for 30 to 45 consecutive minutes a day can seem as impossible as climbing Mount Everest.  Now, John Hopkins researchers have found that more doable short bursts of movement during the everyday activity like the few listed below can boost overall activity and lessen pain significantly without a formal workout:
1. Taking the stairs
2. Walking from an outer parking lot
3. Pulling a few weeds
4. Cleaning the house for 30 minutes
5. Walking the mall or walking your dog.
By adding bits of movement whenever they could, patients upped their daily step count 54 percent within three months and lessened their pain 35 percent more than others getting general fibromyalgia education.  "Even on your bad days, try to do something.  Just tow or three minutes can help," says study author Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D.  Start with a short walk, one step at a time. Have your children or grandchildren join in and make it fun.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Get Relief - Listen to Soothing Music

I personally love to listen to soothing music.  According to an article in the September 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, listening to relaxing music and breathing deeply may be as beneficial as going for a massage. Seattle researchers recently reported that people who did their own tranquility treatment enjoyed the same symptom easing as those who would have gone to a professional.  Both groups, with 10 weekly hour-long sessions brought a reduction in anxiety that continued for three months after the treatment period.  

To find at-home relaxation: find a comfy chair or place to lie down, soft lighting, and relaxing sounds (nature, or restful instrumentals). Karen Sherman, Ph.D., of the Group Health Research Institute says, "You need a place where you won't be distracted and can really disconnect from the world."  Listening to relaxing music can save you $60 for the cost of a professional massage. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #78

An effective schools has an integration of technology into teaching and learning. This brings us to tip #78.

Tip #78: An effective school has every teacher and student having the latest technology available and accessable.

The latest in technology will allow all students access and analyze information, communicate ideas, and express themselves creatively. Teachers have adequate equipment and professional training in using the latest technology to implement technology enhanced lessons.
Questions to ask or things to do:

1. How many computers are available at your child's school? Is there a computer lab or are the computers in the classroom?
2. Are there computer objectives for each grade level? Ask the principal or your child's teacher. Find out what the objectives are and can you work with these objectives at home?
3. What other technology is available to teachers and students? The teachers or principal should be able to answer this question.
4. If you have business connections or can write grants, speak to the principal about trying to get more technology in the school. Ask the technology specialist or principal about the technology needs. The world is interconnected through technology and it is extremely important that our children can operate the latest technology to keep up with future employment and global communications.
5. If it is possible, get your child a laptop for home or see if the school allows computers to be checked out overnight or summer break. If you already have a home computer, make sure you are aware of the sites your child visits. Either block unwanted sites or work on the computer together. Make your child aware of the dangers of visiting certain websites or putting personal information on social sites. These things can come back to haunt them in years to come.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #77

If you or someone you know has connections in the community business, ask them to support or adopt your child's school. That brings us to tip #77.

Tip #77: Get community and business leaders to become partners with your child's school.

Businesses can send mentors, supplies, technical support, and monetary support. It is tax deductible to contribute to most educational institutions. Make sure you school stays in contact with your local congressmen and government representatives and let them know the needs of the school. Your school board representative should also be familar with the needs and accomplishment of the school. All of this is important because the community needs to know the wonderful things going on at your school.

Questions to ask and things to do:

1. If you are having a special event, invite the superientendent, school board members, and any other local businesses to participate and enjoy the event.
2. If there are needs at the school, go to local businesses, civic groups, places of worship, and let them know your needs.
3. Get a group of parents and students that are interested in approaching community partners and let them work toward getting them involved with the schools yearly goals.
4. Let the children lead out in approaching local businesses and community leaders because it is very hard for most people to say "no" to children. Make sure they are well prepared for the meeting and can speak intelligenily about the school's request for partnership or assistance.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #76

According to New Visions for Public Schools an effective school has a principal who leads the instructional program and expects excellence from the staff, parents, and students. It has a school wide focus on student achievement; support for improving the school environment, teaching and learning; and effective cooperation among school leaders, teachers, parents, students, and partners in the community.  This brings us to tip #76.

Tip #76: The principal and other school leaders inspire commitment from everyone to fulfill the vision of the school among all members of the school community so every child receives the "Best Education Possible".

Parents make sure you teach your child to be respectful of persons in authority. First make sure they respect and listen to you. Then they need to understand how to approach, respond, and listen to other adults. It will make life easier for you and your child throughout life if this lesson is mastered before entering school. There is no way a child will be respectful if the parent does not model respect. Speak positively in front of your children about the school, principal, and teachers. Then the child will model that positive behavior.

Questions or Things to Do:
1. Is there an "Open Door" policy at your child's school? An example would be that parents are welcome to come to the school and volunteer, make appointments to meet with the principal or teachers, and feel comfortable to make suggestions. It is important for parents to understand that they are at the school to be a positive partner. Make sure you make appointments and never get in a group of parents that are not trying to make positive change.
2. Do you feel a sense of control and calm when you first enter the building. The building should be clean and pleasant. Quality student work should be displayed and the atmosphere should be pleasant with a sense of control.
3. Is the principal visible and involved with the students. It is nice to see students speak, shake the hand, or converse with the principal. Make sure your child is respectful and knows how to talk to adults. It will make all the difference in the school experience if the child is controlled and respectful.
4. Can the principal discuss the curriculum and is well aware of student achievement and assessment data? This is important because the principal should drive the curriculum and be knowledgeable of what is going on in each classroom. The principal will know what should be the next objectives for improvement of the overall school goals.
5. Does the principal communicate well with parents, teachers, staff, and students. An effective principal can communicate and inspire everyone to reach school-wide goals.
6. Does the principal participate in after-school functions and support all school programs? The principal should be visible at as many sports, academic competitions, plays, PTA meetings, board meetings, and fundraisers.
7. The principal must have a vision for where the school is heading, and is able to get teachers, staff, parents, students, and community partners to buy into the vision and is the driving force in making that vision a reality. They must be able to lead, listen, influence, and implement an aggressive curriculum, and has high expectations for everyone. They must be able to take assessment data and lead their staff in the direction of improvement and make sure every child's needs are being met. The principal is the leader of the school and should be respected.
For more information on effective school go to

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #75

According to New Visions for Public Schools an effective school has a challenging instructional program that provides equal opportunities to learn and empowers every student to receive the "Best Education Possible". That brings us to tip #75.

Tip #75: The school's curriculum should keep the students' interest and enable them to stretch their imaginations and creativity.

The entire school community meets individual student needs, and addresses any instructional challenges for advancement or remediation. All students are important and should feel safe in asking questions and in a learning environment. Does your child's school meet these criteria?

Questions to Ask or Things to Do:
1. Does your child have choices when doing a project? This will keep a child excited about completing and doing his/her best work. Choices give a child a sense of empowerment in a school setting.
2. Does your child get a chance to work ahead or go back and review if it is needed. Advanced students must be challenged and struggling students must go back in order to master needed skills.
3. Does your child talk about what they learned in school? If not, ask your child while driving home or at dinner. Try to sit down at the kitchen table and eat dinner together every evening. It is a good way to keep communication open. It is not unusual for children to say they didn't learn anything at school, but when the curriculum is interesting and challenging many students will want to talk about what they learned.
4. Does your child feel comfortable in asking questions or asking for help? This means at school and home. So many times students feel like they are not smart if they ask questions. Make sure you let your child know it is alright to ask questions or don't know all the answers. Encourage them to question within reason.
5. Do the children at your child's school work on group projects and work in cooperative learning groups? This teaches children to work with other peers and how to contribute and communicate in a group setting. Employers are looking for people who are team players. Too many people are unable to share ideas and work for the advancement of the team.
6. Does the school have individual or small group instruction, so every child's needs are met? Gifted children will become bored or restless if they are not challenged and struggling children will become frustrated or a behavior problem if they don't understand instruction.
To read more on effective schools go to .

Monday, January 3, 2011

How To Get The Best Education Possible: Tip #74

The one thing I want every parent to understand is that they are the most important influence in their child's life. Therefore, you must be a positive partner with the schools and work together to see that your child is meeting all academic benchmarks. That brings us to tip #74.

Tip #74: In order for your child to get the "Best Education Possible" the administration and teachers must be effective.

The school administration and teachers are there to educate and assist in developing your child academically and socially. You are there to make sure your child respects you, adults, peers, and themselves and values an education.
According to New Visions for Public Schools an effective school has a clear focus and high expectations of their staff, parents as well as their students. Effective schools motivate and engage the entire school community and inspire their members to strive constantly to ensure the success of every student. In effective schools there is a clear focus. Further, the school has high expectations coupled with an action plan for achieving excellence for every student and the belief that every student can learn. Does your child's school meet these criteria so that your child is getting the "Best Education Possible"?
Questions to Ask or Things to Do:
1. Are the principal, teachers, parents, and community partners working closely together to make the school successful? An example would be is there an active Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the officers should meet with the administration to assist with the overall school program and goals?
2. Encourage your child to go to school with a purpose of learning and try to keep them excited about learning by checking papers, checking homework, and praising accomplishments.
3. Try to make sure your child feels successful in and out of the classroom. Have your child involved in after school activities such as sports, dance programs, art or singing lessons, or academic team competitions.
4. Are there programs and curriculum in place for advanced learners at your school, and is your child being challenged?
5. Are there tutoring and other programs in place for students having difficulties in learning? Check with local churches, Girls and Boys Clubs, civic organizations, and some college students tutor for service learning credits.
6. If your child is having academic difficulty, is there a group of professionals at school diagnosing and working to help that child? (And are you working with your child to help them keep up with the the class at home?)
7. Have you gone to teacher conferences to know your child progress academically? And are you working with the teacher to make sure your child is successful and truly understand what you should be focusing on?
8. Does the teacher make suggestions as to what you could be doing at home, and is the plan being followed?
9. Can your child do most of the homework independently and complete it in a timely manner? If not talk to the teacher to find out exactly why the homework is taking so much time and see what can be worked out. (In my opinion, homework should take 30-60 minutes, increased or decreased based on the student's performance behind or ahead of their class.)
10. Is there good communications between home and school through newsletters, emails, telephone calls, and visits? (there should be weekly communication of expectations of your child and a mid term progress reports /meeting as to the progress and grade the student is getting at midpoint).
11. Do you feel good about your child's academic progress? If not, partner with the teachers to learn what you can do to help and what your child needs to do to be accountable.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Education Possible 2011


It is hard to believe that 2011 is here and running. With 2010  completed and finished, I have mixed emotions as I reflect back on the year. I have accomplished, experienced, and learned so much this passed year.  I have a strong feelings of gratitude and satisfaction for every new lessons learned.  There is also some disappointment over the things that I didn't accomplish and the things I didn't complete.  I am determined that 2011 will be a more successful and productive year, and that every child will have the opportunity to receive the  "Best Education Possible".

This past year I've experienced a deep appreciation for communicating and experiencing the technology that is available across the world . I'm truly grateful for all that I've learned and experienced, and while I have lots to appreciate from this past year, I look forward with great anticipation toward 2011.  I am really ready for a new year to begin.  There is an excitement and  a sense for new adventures and accomplishments.  

I truly hope that 2011 will be a wonderful year for you and all who are important to you.  I am determined to continue to blog about education and good parenting practices.  I hope you will continue to follow my post as I research and report on the best parenting, health, and  educational practices available in 2011.  May all of you have the best year ever and visit often,  as we move toward helping all children succeed in education and life.   

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Building a Playground: Part 4

According to an article written by Valle Dwight, every school can have a fun and safe playground. Is your school's play structure worn out, even dangerous? This is day four of the instructions on getting that playground up and going. By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a play space so dazzling that even the coolest fifth graders will come out and play.

Time to play!

The beauty of a playground project is that all your work has tangible results. The Monday after the renovation, Stowe and other volunteers spent the morning at the playground watching the kids enjoy their new structure. According to Stowe, even the most jaded fifth-graders were playing like little kids again. "It was an amazing thing we did,” she says proudly.

Don't forget to say thanks

You'll probably want to collapse when the project is finished, but Stowe says that sending out thank-you cards (made from kids' drawings of the playground) to donors and volunteers was well worth the effort. Saying thanks will earn you a sandbox full of goodwill for the next time your school is looking to fund a project – maybe to buy those flying pigs!

Happy New Year 2011!

To all that read this,

I pray 2011 will be the best year yet.  Take  care of one another and please make sure every child in your reach gets the BEST EDUCATION POSSIBLE. 

Love and blessings for 2011,
Debra West

About This Blog

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.

How to get the Best Education Possible for Your Child

How to get the Best Education Possible for Your Child
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