Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 4

Another crucial factor in determining education inequality is the family background of students.  There is a proven correlation between the academic successes of parents with the academic success of their children.  In a Harvard’s “Civil Rights Project,” Lee and Orfeild identified family background as the most influential factor in student achievement.  Only 11% of children from the bottom fifth earn a college degree while 80% of the top fifth earn one.    This translates to a home-life that is more supportive of educational success. 

As mentioned in family background, access to resources play a hugely important role in education inequality.  In addition to the resources, access to proper nutrition and health care influence the cognitive development of children.  Children who come from poor families experience a disadvantage from the start.  The lack of resources is directly linked to ethnicity and race.  Black and Latino students are three times more likely than whites to be in high poverty schools and twelve times as likely to be in school that almost everyone is poor.  Therefore, parental involvement and awareness is extremely important.  Additionally, children from poorer families, who are often minorities, come from families that distrust institutions. Disadvantage parents must educate themselves in order to assure the success of their children and their children’s children.  Education must become a priority in the home and the schools must make these parents feel welcome and important partners.

High poverty schools must have all the characteristics of an effective school.  The schools of the poor students must focus on achievement and monitor student progress.   There must be a cooperative working environment and the school’s atmosphere must be safe and orderly.   With strong leadership, dedicated highly effective teachers, parental involvement, and high expectations for all students, and time on task any schools with poor students should meet with academic and personal success.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 3

To ensure students are mastering the skills necessary to be college or career ready, measuring of academic success materialized. However, most racial and ethnic subgroups of children have improved their scores over time, performed better on mathematics, reading and science measures.  Nevertheless, the achievement gap causes critic to blame the public education for failing to teach the poor students. For every critic pointing out the failures of the system, there’s a success story to be told that outlines the progress public education has made. 
The U.S. Department of Education released a report in December 2011, documenting that school districts across our country are unevenly distributing their state and local funds, shortchanging schools that serve low-income students.  The report reveals for the first time the extent of inequity in our nation’s per-pupil expenditures from state and local sources among the schools within a school district. 
Weber was an early researcher to the literature school inequity.  In his 1971 study of four effective inner-city schools, Weber focused on reading achievement that was clearly successful for poor children on the basis of national norms.  All four schools had strong leadership and the principal was instrumental in setting the tone of the school; helped decide on instructional strategies; and organizing and distributing the school's resources.  All four schools had "high expectations" for all students.  All four schools had an orderly, relatively quiet, and pleasant atmosphere.  All four schools strongly emphasized pupil acquisition of reading skills and reinforced that emphasis by careful and frequent evaluation of pupil progress.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 2

High academic expectations for all students that are measurable and attainable are imperative in order to close the inequity gap in American public education.  It all begins with our failure to have high expectations for the children of the poor.  This simply requires that an effective school bring the children of the poor to minimal mastery of basic skills. Focus must be on student learning with a combination of discipline, intensity, concentration, and commitment.   Research proves that our public schools know the methods and technics in order to successfully educate all children.   An average student who attended “high rigor instruction schools” would learn about 78% more mathematics between grades 8-12 than comparable students in a “low rigor instruction school.  We must stop throwing money or funding at the problem, and strategically educate these students with research based methods and rigor.    

Despite several decades of reform, public schools in America are criticized by some as not teaching all children effectively.  Consistently poor test results and low graduation rates prove the critics right. It takes a village to raise a child, but the same village must share accountability when many of their children are not learning in the public educational systems, especially the poor.  Districts with higher poverty rates have fewer highly educated, experienced teachers and less stable teaching staff.  These schools need highly trained and most effective teachers in their classroom. Highly effective teachers show passion, respect, caring attitude, fairness, skilled communication, creativity, sound knowledge of content, and have a positive impact on the lives of students, parents, and colleagues. Schools of underprivileged students must have educators with these traits. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inequity in American Education of the Poor: Part 1

Public schools that teach poor children successfully must have strong leadership, an environment of high expectations that all children can learn, highly qualified teachers, and active parental awareness and support.  Progress of society must be measured by our willingness to develop the least among us. Evolution necessitates public policy that begins by making the poor more educated and less underprivileged.  This means the standard of education to public schools must be equitable and teaching poor children at least as well as middle-class children.  This certainly is not happening in most schools for the poor in America.

Being a strong instructional leader is the challenge for principals in schools today, but even more challenging in schools with high poverty residents.  Academic and social success is too complex for a principal to achieve alone.  There must be a leadership team that works together to develop a vision and goals that are achievable.  On the other hand, without strong instructional leadership at the helm to both create and manage the vision, teachers are not likely to form committees to improve the school.  The principal must set high expectations, develop teacher leaders, and maintain a positive attitude toward students, staff, and parents.  This is not always easy when you are dealing with an at-risk population.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Parent magazine, your smartphone or tablet can turn into a command center with everything you need to plan, prep, and navigate your kid's year. The best part is these great apps fro Apple and Android devices are all free!  Below are 9 and 10.

9.  Easy Reader
Cut down on storytime expenses and trips to the library with OverDrive media Console.  The app lets you "borrow" e-books froma a selection of public and school libraries.

10. Nifty Note Taker
Evernote offers quick ways to manage your growing to-do lists:  Record a voice note on the o for your partner or type up some tasks for your kids.  Everyone has access to the notes on any of your family's devices.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

School Apps for Mom: Part 4

According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Parent magazine, your smartphone or tablet can turn into a command center with everything you need to plan, prep, and navigate your kid's year. The best part is these great apps fro Apple and Android devices are all free. Below are 7 and 8 of 10.

7. Team Player
For less stressful soccer games and basketball practices, the app allows you to organize your children's busy schedules, contacts for the players' parnts, stats, and other import info.

8. Class Aide
Designed for older students.  inClass is great for parents who want to stay on top of all of their kid's assignments, due dates, and the other things that take up the school year.  (Apple only)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

School Apps for Mom: Part 3

According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Parent magazine, your smartphone or tablet can turn into a command center with everything you need to plan, prep, and navigate your kid's year. The best part is these great apps fro Apple and Android devices are all free. Below are 5 and 6 of 10.

5.  Savvy Shopper
Save time and money on back-to-school shopping with RedLaser.  Simply scan the item's bar code ad it compares online and in-store prices to locate the best deals

6.  Student Tracker
If you're nervous about your kid taking the bus, get Life360 Family Locator.  Register his cell (it doesn't have to be a smartphone), and this app will find him on the map.  It also has a panic button.

Monday, September 24, 2012

School Apps for Mom: Part 2

According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Parent magazine, your smartphone or tablet can turn into a command center with everything you need to plan, prep, and navigate your kid's year. The best part is these great apps fro Apple and Android devices are all free. Below are 3 and 4 of 10.

3.  Brain Booster
Kinder Town's team of parents and educators picks educational apps by age and subject so you don't have to. (Apple only)

4.  Virtual Assistant
The Cozi Family Organizer will keep your clan on the same page with reminders for homework or doctor's appointments sent out from the shared calendar.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

School Apps For Mom: Part 1

According to an article in the September 2012 issue of Parent magazine, your smartphone or tablet can turn into a command center with everything you need to plan, prep, and navigate your kid's year.   The best part is these great apps fro Apple and Android devices are all free.  Below are the first 2 of 10.

1. Digital Tutor
Need a refresher course in math, English, and other subjects?  School A to Z helps you answer your student's homework head-scratchers and gives project suggestions on a variety of topics.

2. Kitchen Helper
Whether you're looking for lunch ideas or something you can whip up fast, Dinner Spinner can help with its more than 40,000 options.

Come back tomorrow for 2 more tips for School Apps for Mom.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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, 2012-2012. 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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tip 83: If Your Child Is Sick, Keep Him Home

A child who is ill has no business at school.  That brings us to tip #83.

Tip 83:  If your child is sick, keep him home.

There is nothing more frustrating for a teacher then a sick child at school.  Children will come directly from their car to the teacher saying, "I told my mom I wasn't feeling well, and she said to go to the nurse if I don't feel better".   If your child has a fever, headache, or diarrhea do not send them to school.  This is how the flu and other viruses are spread throughout a school building.  Make sure you have alternative arrangements if your child gets sick.  It is not fair to the teacher and other students to be around a sick child all day and it's really not fair to your child.  Be sure that a child is fever free without medication for 24 hours before sending them back to school.  It is common curiosity for everyone involved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tip 82: Respect School Hours

It is not unusual for a few kids to be habitually late for school almost every day and other kids that are picked up 15 minutes or so early.  That brings us to tip #82.

Tip #82: Respect school hours.

Parents may think that being a few minutes late in the morning isn't important, but this is when the teacher is establishing morning routines and giving announcements.  When a child comes in late they miss out on assignments that are not easily made-up. On the other hand, when parents want to beat the crowd and check their child out a few minutes early every day, their child misses out on reminders and last minute annoucements.  Being 15 minutes late or leaving 15 minutes early may not seem like a lot of time, but teachers have less than seven hours to fit in a whole lot of learning of the school day and every minute counts and these minutes add up throughout the year.  It also gives your child the idea that time is not important.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tip 81: Watch Your Words

Children are always listening to what we say and how we react to situations.  They learn from our actions.  That brings us to tip # 81.

Tip #81: Watch your words

Whenever you are talking about school or your child's teacher, try and refrain from saying negative things in front of them.  In many cases school was not a positive experience for the parent, so they think and speak about the school and teachers in ways that will make the child think and act negative at school.  Try to be  positive in front of the child and deal as positively with the teachers and administration, so there can be a partnership between the two to help your child have a good school year.  Usually if a parent is calm and positive the school will do whatever they can to help.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tip #80: Encourage Writing At Home

Research shows that the entire brain is working when we are writing.  Only part of the brain is active when reading or listening, but the entire brain is active when writing.  That brings us to tip #80.

Tip # 80: Encourage writing at home. 

Never limit your child's writing to school assignments and essays.  Have your child write out birthday invitations, thank-you notes, and keeping a daily journal.  Encourage your child to get a pen pal or compose monthly letters to grandparent, relatives, or friends.  All these examples will boost their writing ability and make their brain totally active!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Encourage Your Child To Think

Curiosity is the key to student success now and in the future. Kids are naturally curious. Set them loose in a room full of craft supplies or a muddy sandbox, and you'll see their imaginations come to life. The following ideas are how to nurture curiosity for the beginning according to Todd Kashdan, author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life and clinical psychologist and professor psychology at George Mason University. The following are 6 ideas on how to nurture curiosity in the classroom according to an article in Instructor magazine 2010: Although this article was intended for educators, parents can take the same information for nurturing their own children.

1. Cue into students' interest. To enhance a student's curiosity, you must build activities around his/her interest, preferences, and sense of challenge. Focusing on rules, obedience, and inflexibility interferes with curiosity.

2. Satisfy that feeling of competence. Sparking curiosity take more than pointing out that something or someone is interesting, complex, or mysterious. After something new grabs their attention, students need to feel competent and understand it. That can make all the difference in whether they act on their curiosity or find something else to do.

3. Accept the negative and uncertain. Embrace uncertainty. By acting on their curiosity, students can explore this tension instead of trying to hide their feelings. As a result, they become better problem solvers and show a greater willingness to change, even if it requires a great deal of effort.

4. Knowledge opens kids' eyes. If you want students to be curious, help them accumulate knowledge. The more they know, the more they'll want to know.

5. Find the unfamiliar in the familiar. If you think you are an expert, you ma stop paying attention and curiosity can disappear. When you think you basically understand everything about your students' personalities, you start relying heavily on old scripts and categories.

6. Remember that things change. You learn to be curious when you recognize that there are few absolute answers in life. Flexible thinking leads to flexible people. Move away from black-and-white thinking to a greater appreciation of the beautiful gray area between.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Difficult Parent At School

I think it is extremely important for parents to realize that a teacher has the responsibility for satisfying many other students and parents besides yourself. You should be willing to forgive if your child's teacher makes a mistake or fails to devote full attention to your specific issue. Make sure you are being reasonable in every situation you address.

If you are constantly are confronting your child's teacher with questions about minor issues and request conferences, the teacher will quickly feel annoyed, and become increasingly evasive. Never storm into a meeting angry and ready for an argument. Calm yourself down and make sure you are ready to listen and evaluation the entire situation. According to Stacy DeBroff, author of " The Mom Book Goes To School", here are the things that make a parent difficult for a school setting.

1. Complainer: This is parents frequently calling the teacher or drops in on the classroom to gripe about minor details.
2. Confrontational: This parent constantly pesters the teacher and is unwilling to list to feed back and suggestions.
3. Meddler: This parent typically micromanages every detail of their child's education and personal life.
4. Needy: This parent is on whose hand the teacher has to hold thought every step of the child's education
5. Nowhere-to-be-found: This parent is almost impossible to track down and is never available when teachers need to meet.
6. Overreacting: This parent's first instinct is to barge into the school highly agitated, emotional and irrational.
7. Overachiever: This parent lives vicariously through the high standards they set for the child and the success that child achieves.

Work very hard not to be one of the personalities above.  You will get better results from your child's teacher and working together will help your child get the "Best Education Possible".

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Information on Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a reading disorder that persists despite good schooling and the child usually has normal or above average intelligence. It's a handicap that affects up to 1 in 5 school children. Yet, the exact cause and nature of the problem has eluded doctors, teachers, and parents. Dyslexia was first described more than a century ago. The mystery and some of the stigma may finally be lifted. Researchers have found that it it not brain damage, but that a growing number of scientific evidence suggest there is a glitch in the neurological wiring of dyslexics that make reading extremely difficult. The most successful programs focus on strengthening the brain's aptitude for linking letters to the sounds they represent. The good news is dyslexia didn't stop very famous men and women from achieving greatness. In some cases it may have fueled their creativity. If you suspect your child has dyslexia, according to Christine Gorman, it is never too early to do something about it. Here are a few of her suggestions:

1. Get Tested (The International Dyslexia Association can help) (800-ABC-D123)
2. Monitor Progress - If the IEP goals aren't being met, you may want to get private instruction.
3. Create an IEP - Special Education should provide a special program with specific goals
4. Boost Strength - Don't let your child be defined by his or her dyslexia. These children need to be encouraged.
5. Get at Home Help - Computer based reading programs have shown great promise in helping children read.
6.Educate Yourself - You need information to be your child's chief advocate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Discipline for Softies

According to an article in the June 2012 issue of Parent magazine, much of the heavy lifting of discipline comes before misbehavior happens, not after.  Having a few well-thought-out guidelines will result in fewer instances where you need to be the bad guy.

Step 1: Be Realistic  Setting reasonable expectations means first understanding what your child is developmentally capable of.  For instance, 3-year-old lack the maturity and social awareness to share consistently.  If you insist on sharing at this age, you'll only end up fighting.  For more info on age-appropriate behavior, go to 
Step 2: Know Yourself  Only set rules that you're willing to go to the wall for every time, like no hitting.  You may dream of a world where your kids make their bed each day, but if you know you'll give in when they push back, scrap bed-making as a requirement or amend the rule in a way you can get behind (such as saying that beds must get made but you'll help).
Step 3: Make It Official  Call a family meeting to collaborate on a few essential house rules that everyone can agree to.  Let kids contribute every step of the way, offering ideas, decorating the list, and choosing a spot to post it.  Then, if they break a rule, you can direct them back to the agreement they helped create.

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Autism Advancement

Simple imitation exercises can help young children with autism boost their social skills, found a recent Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders study.  After a series of treatments using the technique, kids made significant improvement in bringing their parent's attention to an object through gestures and eye contact.  If your child has autism, try this at least a few times a day.

Step 1: Pullout similar toys for you both to play with, such as tow stuffed animals or a couple of trains

Step 2: Watch your child's sounds and movements, and copy them.  If he/she makes her stuffed animal jump in the air, let yours do the same.  Continue this for one or two minutes.

Step 3: Switch roles and model something new to do with the toy, such as running the train up your leg.  Repeat this three times to encourage your child to imitate you.  If he/she does follow your movements, praise him/her and return to copying their actions.  If not, gently guide them through the imitation.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Prevent Baby's Allergies

According to an article in the June 2012 issue of Parent magazine, if one parent has an allergy, chances are one in three that their child will too.  Below are ideas that may cut your child's odds of developing allergies:

1. Eat your "d": One Finnish study found that kids of women with a diet high in vitamin D during pregnancy were less likely to have asthma of allergies by age 5.  Your doctor can tell you whether you should add more D to your diet.  Some great sources: fortified orange juice, milk, and salmon.
2. Pop Probiotics:  Women who took them in their third trimester and then gave same supplement to their
baby for six months postpartum had newborns with blood markers that correlate with a lower allergy risk, one study found.  Ask your doctor about probiotics and which ones might be good for you both.
3. Avoid Cigarette Smoke: Studies show that moms who are cigarette smokers or regularly inhale secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have children with respiratory allergies.
4. Choose a vaginal delivery: Researchers have found a correlation between cesarean section and childhood allergies.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Be On Time For School!

It is extremely important for your child to be on time for school every morning. The morning route will prepare your child for the day and settle them down for the morning lessons. In order to be on time in the morning do as much as possible the night before. According to, "The Mom Book Goes to School", there are somethings you can do to decrease stress on school mornings:

1. Load the car with the items you and your child need for work or school.
2. Place coats, bags, lunch boxes by the door, so you can grab them easily.
3. Design a shelf, basket, or area in which family members can place items.
4. Check the calendar in case your child needs sneakers for gym or a snack for a field trip.
5. Have your child pick out the clothes to wear the night before or lay out two outfits to choose between .
6. Set clocks ahead by ten minutes to help you stay on time in the morning.
7. Keep breakfast simple. Make hot breakfast items like, pancakes, French toast, and bacon ahead of time and reheat them. Keep muffins, fruit, or granola bars if you are running late.
8. Keep child-sized cups of milk and juice in the refrigerator so your child can get it.
9. If you are a coffee drinker, prepare you coffeemaker and set out mug, cream, and sugar.
10. Make getting dress a game or contest. Who can get completely dress first.
11. Mount an outdoor thermometer where your child child can easily see it, and teach your child how to read it and dress appropriately.
12.Banish TV in the morning to avoid wasting time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Breakfast Benefits

What are some of the benefits of eating breakfast?  According to dietary guidelines for Americans, many children aren't getting enough calcium, vitamin D, potassium and dietary fiber, something a simple bowl of fiber-rich cereal with low-fat milk can provide.  Finally, people who eat breakfast are more likely to have a healthy weight than breakfast skippers.  Cereal is a nutritious option, according to Dayle Hayes, MS,RD, and one kids love to eat.  As a bonus, it fills that nutrient gap.  Many cereals contain whole grains that provide dietary fiber, and when combined with milk, you have got calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.  Also, most cold breakfast cereals are now fortified with a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that children need.

So, get out a bowl, spoon, cereal, and milk.  There is no need to skip such an easy option for breakfast and your kids will feel and perform better throughout the morning. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!


Best Education Possible, LLC wants to wish everyone a Happy Labor Day! Enjoy this holiday with family and friends and try to relax.  After all that's what Labor Day is all about.  Now that the 2012-2013 school has begun for most schools, please remember to make sure every child in your reach receives the Best Education Possible.

Yours in Education,
Debra West

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Brain Power

Do we only use 10% of our brains?  It's an appealing thought, according to an article in the September 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine. It goes on to say that we all possess an enormous, secret store of unused brain power.  But, according to Dr. Eric Chudler, a University of Washington neuroscientist and the founder of the website Neuroscience for Kids, there's no evidence to support the idea.  "When you look at some one's brain, using a functional MRI or a PET scan, you don't see any part of it that's just sitting there doing nothing,: he says.  Our minds do have plenty of untapped potential, though.  "What's great about the brain is that it's so adaptable," says Chudler. "It's forming new connections whenever we learn skills."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Sky's the Limit

According to the September 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine, cloudspotting, the hobby of observing and identifying cloud types, is a great way to get kids relaxing in nature.  To try it, head outdoors with a camera or smartphone and take pictures of interesting formations.  Then identify them according to type.  There are ten major types, with many variations, using a cloud almanac.  Family Fun likes the reference section on the Cloud Appreciation Society's website ( and the app Coton ( $2, Android and iOS).  You can turn your discoveries into a keepsake by printing your photographs and putting them in a journal.

This is a great family hobby suggestion that can be fun.  Nothing like spending quality time together and learning at the same time.  Try it and the sky's the limit!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Activity: Is This School Right for My Child?
Written by Staff from

Before you visit a school, print out this sheet so you know what to look for and what to ask about.

1. The principal. A principal should be available to hear parents' concerns. Does she know the children, staff and even some parents by name?

2. Teachers. Small class size is a nice benefit, but having a talented teacher may be even more important, so look for:

- Group learning
- Differentiated curriculums
- How the teacher handles different students' learning styles
- Hands-on activities

3. Parents. Successful schools welcome parental involvement — not only with the obvious volunteer duties, but with strategic and long-term planning activities, like the work of the Student Advisory Council (SAC), which helps develop and evaluate school improvement plans.

4. Diversity. Children learn about different beliefs, attitudes and traditions from other children. Look for:

- Multicultural awareness in the classroom
- Teachers from various cultural backgrounds

5. High expectations. Not everyone is zoned for a top-tier school, so it's important to know what's being done to make the school better. Ask:

- What happens when a child falls behind? Is there tutoring?
- What do you do with students who excel? Do they have access to above-grade-level materials?

What you can do to improve your existing school:
1. Befriend your child's teacher. Know him and offer to assist with class projects, field trips and preparing class materials.

2. Join a parent-teacher organization. PTOs and PTAs not only raise money, they also harness community resources that can change struggling schools into thriving ones.

3. Attend school board meetings. School boards steer policy, so having input here can make a huge difference.

4. Be a solution. Always address concerns with an open mind and an eye toward helping to solve problems.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Give Stress a Rest

According to Jeffery Crupi, the owner of the Peak Fitness Gym in Westpoint, CT., when we physically exert ourselves, our bodies release endorphins, a "feel good" substance. When it comes to combating stress, every bit of exercise counts. Listed below are a few suggestions to incorporate into a routine exercise program and will help relieve stress.

Aerobic Activity
1. Walking - just 20 minutes of brisk walking can provide stress relief
2. Aerobic classes - Some people need the stimulation that an aerobic class has to offer: music, people, bright lights, etc.
3. Biking or running - take long bike rides or short jogs. Consider forming a bike club.

Household Chores
1. Gardening - Carrying bags of soil, planting, weeding, and watering plants can give you a moderate workout.
2. Lawn Mowing - Using a push lawn mower can give you a workout especially if you have a large yard.
3. Washing Cars - Skip the car wash and do it the old-fashioned hand and sponge method.

The stretching and strength exercise in yoga class can help relieve stress.
Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can greatly reduce your stress. If you have stress in your life, you can't be the best spouse, parent, worker, or friend. So, try to find a way to relieve the stress in your life with aerobics, house chores, or yoga. Your family and your health will be glad you did.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We all have things we are responsible for, and a student is responsible for always being prepared for class. This means having all the materials, tools, and mindset for learning.

The basic materials and tools that a student is responsible for are, books, pencils, pens, paper, or whatever the teacher may request for a particular class or project. Failure to have the basic materials could create time wasted and failure to complete assignments, which could hampers learning. This is what is called physical preparedness.

Once a student is in class they must be mentally ready to receive the information a teacher is trying to relay to them. If a teacher is prepared to teach and a student is ready learn the stars will align and the mission will be complete. This means the student must be focused by giving the teacher their undivided attention. This is called mental preparedness.

Make sure your child is well aware of "his/her responsibility" as a student. It will make the school experience more successful, rewarding, and happy. To learn more about getting involved in your child's education just order my book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grade." You can order my book at or .

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Joy of Teaching

I love to watch them run and jump,
and oh how they do grow.

I love to look in their eager eyes,
to see how much they know.

I love the way they rap their arms,
around and hold you tight.

I love the times they talk too much,
to say what they think is right.

I love to help them learn the things,
to guide them along the way.

I love the way they skip and jump,
never stopping for a day.

I love to teach them all the things,
they will need for future times.

I love to watch them discover words,
and use them in print and rhymes.

I love the joy of teaching them,
as they grow inquisitive in every way.

I hope to teach them the purest truths,
by simpling loving them every day.

By: Debra E. West

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Most parents are truly concerned with their child's education. They really want the "best education possible" for their child, but don't know how to make that happen or are simply intimidated with the school environment. In order for a school to be the "best" possible there must be a total commitment from the school leadership, teachers, parents, and students.

The reading and math curriculum is very different from when most parents and grandparents were in school. Therefore, many parents are unable to understand the homework and cannot help their child after school. So, what is a parent to do if they want to help with homework? There are some websites that can help you. For parents of kindergarten and first grade children go to This is an excellent website! For parents of older children google "homework" or "parent university". Parent university will show you different states and school districts that are offering parents classes to learn how to help with homework today.

To find out what your child needs to master in the beginning, middle, and end of grades K-6, purchase my book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades". This handbook/workbook will give you a pacing guide on what your child should master and the time of year they should master that skill. It will also give you important tips on making sure your child is getting the "best education possible." Parents that are involved with their child's education do better than children with little or no parental support. If the child knows that doing well in school is expect and important, the child will feel the same way. So, GET INVOLVED!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Healthy Meals and Snacks

Kids are always hungry. Melinda Johnson, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and owner of the company Nutrition for Slackers (http://www.slackersnutrition.blogspot/ ), suggest quick, easy, and healthy ideas for meals and snacks for kids.

Morning Starters:
1. Oatmeal made with skim milk and raisins
2. Frozen waffles with frozen berries and walnuts
3. String cheese with a piece of fruit and wheat crackers
4. Scrambled eggs with low-fat cheese wrapped in a tortilla
5. Hummus with celery sticks and wheat pita
6. Toasted English muffin with tomato sauce and cheese
7. Fruit smoothie with frozen fruit and yogurt

Afternoon Snack
1. Fresh whole fruit
2. Low-fat string cheese
3. Prepackaged fruit cup in fruit juice or water
4. Homemade trail mix
5. Carrot/celery sticks with low-fat ranch
6. Oatmeal-raisin cookie

Evening Snack
1. Small bowl of cereal with skim milk
2. Plain yogurt with honey and sunflowers
3. Cottage cheese with pineapples
4. Hot chocolate made with skim milk
5. Slice of wheat toast with nut butter
6. 1 cup of air-popped corn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese

Back to School Simple and Stress-Free: Part 5

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.

By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier
Confirm after-school care arrangements

Most after-school care arrangements must be made months ahead, frequently in the winter or spring before your child starts school. As the school year approaches, however, it's a good idea to confirm your plans.

•Make sure your child knows where he is going after school.
•Double-check on your care plans and communicate with the provider a few days before school starts.
•If your child will be home alone after school, establish safety rules for locking doors and windows, and for answering the door and the telephone. Make sure she knows to check in with you or another adult when she arrives at home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Gift of Forgiveness

A gift you can give yourself this season is the gift of forgiveness. It is astounding the benefits for both your body and soul forgiveness will bring. Better yet, showing your children how to forgive will be a tool they can utilize for the rest of their lives.

Although there is no single path to forgiveness, here are expert guidelines to follow according to December 2009, "Good House Keeping" magazine:

1. Allow yourself to feel anger before trying to let go of the hurt and how you can protect yourself in the future.
2. Talk about it with a trusted friend or therapist. Not only can this help you sort out how you feel, it can also allow you to see alternative viewpoints.
3. Calm yourself when you start feeling upset. It can help to go for a walk or do something else to calm down. Practicing meditation helps reduce stress and enhance a person's ability to forgive.
4. Empathize with the person who hurt you. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who hurt you, or recall a time that you hurt someone and were forgiven.
5. Remind yourself that forgiveness is a gift to yourself. It is easy to think of your own self-interest rather than the interest of a person who wounded you.
6. Commit to forgiveness. Once you feel like you've reached a turning point, write it down or tell someone - a friend, your spouse, or the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is easier to hold on to if it goes beyond the privacy of your own heart.
7. Relish the release. The sense of peace feels so good.

Teach your children the value of forgiveness. It can change everyones' lives for the better.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fitness and Your Child

Regular exercise can promote overall good health, confidence and a positive self image for your child. According to Jeffery Crupi, owner of the Peak Fitness Gym in Westport, CT., it is important to promote a positive attitude toward physical fitness. When getting your child interested in a physical fitness program consider the following guidelines:

1. Make it enjoyable - Focus on fun activities
2. Introduce a variety - Introduce such activities as softball, soccer, tennis golf, swimming, skating, or whatever activities best suits their needs
3. Plan for success - To ensure your child succeeds, parents should encourage their child to create realistic and attainable fitness goals
4. Constant feedback - Feedback that is both verbal and nonverbal can go a along way in stimulating a child's participation in physical fitness
5. Role modeling - Being a positive role model can help influence a child's commitment to a fitness program

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Simple and Stress-Free: Part 4

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.
By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Prepare for the homework ahead
Having set routines and a place to study at home will make it easier for your child to be organized and successful at school.

•Set up a well-lit, quiet place with a good work surface to do homework. Try to keep this place dedicated to homework and free of other clutter.
•Establish a regular homework time. This will help your student to complete assignments on time.
•Discourage distractions such as television, radio, the Internet or phone conversations during homework time.

Arrange for transportation
Everyone will feel better if transportation to and from school is addressed well before the start of the school year, particularly if your child is walking, riding his bike or taking the bus.

Walking or biking
•Chart out a route to school or to the school bus stop.
•If your child is going to a new school, take a dry run a few days before school starts.
•Go over the rules of stranger awareness and traffic safety. Warn your child to always walk with a friend, and to avoid vacant lots and places where there are not a lot of people.
•Be sure your child has your daytime phone number (including area code) and address, as well as the number of another familiar adult.
•Scout out safe houses in the neighborhood where your child can go in case of an emergency.

Taking the bus
•Remember to get the new bus schedule!
•If your child will be taking the bus for the first time, discuss the bus route and bus safety rules with her.

•If you will be driving your child, have a backup arrangement with another parent in case you are delayed for some reason.
•Confirm carpool arrangements in advance and make sure your child knows who will be picking him up before and after school.
•Become familiar with your school's traffic safety rules, drop-off and pick-up procedures.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School Simple and Stress-Free: Part 3

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.

By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Set priorities and schedules

To make the best use of your time and keep life from being harried, think about priorities for family members and then schedule them into the week.

For children
•Before school begins, discuss what extracurricular activities your child will participate in. If your child needs a little extra encouragement to audition for jazz band or to take that early morning Italian class, now is the time to go over the benefits of these activities. If, however, your child needs to have limits set, have her pick her favorite activities and forgo the rest. Be realistic and don't fall victim to over-programming.
•Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time.

For parents
Determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and involved parent: in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and on school-wide committees.

For the family
Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can write down his or her activities.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School Simple and Stress-Free: Part 2

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.
By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Shopping: take advantage of sales

School clothes
It's always a great idea to buy what you know you'll need early, if you can. Go through your children's wardrobes and weed out everything they've outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get them dressed quickly and easily.

Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping. Some schools prohibit short skirts and tank tops for girls and "sagging" (baggy trousers that hang low) for boys. Schools may also have rules regarding printed words or phrases on clothes.

School supplies
Although it's difficult to predict what different teachers will require, you can get ahead of the game by buying certain staples. Here's a general list of items that elementary school students usually need:

•Glue stick
•No. 2 pencils
•Colored pencils
•Box of crayons
•Water-based markers
•Ballpoint pens
•Loose-leaf notebook paper
•Pocket folders
•Printer paper
•Drawing paper
•Construction paper
•A plastic ruler with English and metric measurements
•Pencil sharpener
•School box (for storing items)
•Scotch tape

Here are some additional items middle and high school students usually need:

•Two combination locks (one for the hall locker and one for the gym locker)
•Binder dividers

Nutrition: plan healthy meals

Get creative with easy, healthy ideas for school-day meals. If you plan and gather what you need on the weekends, you'll make life a lot less stressful and meals more nutritious during the week.

Remember the most important meal of the day. Fruit smoothies make a quick and healthy addition to the usual fare.

If you will be packing a lunch from home, be sure to have a sturdy lunch box or a supply of paper bags on hand. Here are some quick and creative ideas for making school lunches healthy and fun:

•For the younger child, use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into interesting shapes.
•Sneak vegetables like lettuce, cucumber or zucchini slices into sandwiches.
•Buy baked chips and low-fat crackers or pretzels. Avoid items with trans fats in them such as packaged cookies, snack cakes and regular chips.
•Choose 1% or fat-free milk or 100% fruit juices.
•Make fruit fun to eat by cutting it into slices and putting it on a skewer or include small containers of applesauce or pineapple packed in its own juice.
•For the younger child, write a surprise message or draw a funny picture and put it in her lunch.
•Get older children to help pack their lunches. You may need to arrange the morning routine (or evening routine if you do this the night before) so that you don't do this chore by yourself.

Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop on the weekends to avoid last minute trips to the grocery store.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to School Simple and Stress-Free: Part 1

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.
By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

1. Adjust to the new routine

Ease into the school-year schedule. Getting back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make the adjustment easier, start early.

•A few weeks before school starts, move bedtime back to an earlier time.
•Put a positive spin on going back to school. Talk about the fun things your child will learn, the old friends he'll see and the new friends he'll make.
•If your child is anxious about starting the next grade, reassure her that other children have these feelings too.
•Don't make plans for big trips right before the start of school
•Establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and bedtime.
•Arrange play dates with friends from school to re-establish connections that may have been dropped for the summer, or to create new one.

2. Get organized

Take advantage of the slower pace during your time away from school to set up for the busy school year ahead.

•Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to fill out before school starts. If you can discipline yourself to fill out the paperwork several days before it's due, you'll avoid a last-minute panic.
•Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference.
•Update school emergency contact and health information for the coming year.
•As you read through all the school information, mark important dates (such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences and school holidays) on the family calendar.
•Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find and refer to them if necessary.
•Establish a "get ready the night before" policy. Pick clothes for the next day and pack the backpack every evening before bedtime, and you'll save precious time in the morning.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back-to-school clothes: Shopping for your young child

Back-to-school clothes: Shopping for your young child

When choosing school clothes for your younger child, keep her comfort, safety and growing independence in mind.
By GreatSchools Staff

Your 6-year-old excitedly exclaims that he can tie his shoes! Never mind that his socks don't match and it's likely his sneakers will come untied before he gets out the door. This is an exciting milestone, and you'll want to encourage his efforts. Along with mastering the art of dressing himself, your youngster can also begin making some choices about what he wears. Include him when you go shopping for his back-to-school wardrobe.
•At home, have your child try on last year's school clothes - it's a chance to applaud how much she's grown (and what she's outgrown). Work together on a list of new clothes to buy.

•Before you buy, check with your child's school to see if there's a dress code or if any particular types of clothing are prohibited.

•Make sure everyone is well rested and fed before you set out on a shopping expedition. Full tummies decrease the risk of meltdowns and uncooperative behavior.

•Look for clothing that's machine washable and easy to keep clean. If you need to label your child's clothes, be sure there's room on the tags inside to do so. If your child is extra-sensitive to scratchy labels and tags, either cut the tags out or buy some of the new "tag-free" garments on the market.

•Keep it simple. Look for mix-and-match separates in coordinating colors. It's important to choose clothing that has simple fasteners; large buttons, zippers with pull rings, elastic waistbands and large neck openings make it easy for a young child to dress himself. Avoid complicated lacings, belts and sashes.

•Keep your child's safety in mind. Drawstrings, floppy or wide pant legs and slippery soled shoes should be discouraged.

•Look for sturdy shoes with good heel strength. High quality sneakers or flat shoes are recommended by podiatrists. No flip flops! To ensure shoes fit properly, there should be a thumb's width between the end of the big toe and the end of the shoe.

•Keep your fashion standards flexible. If clothes meet your requirements - appropriate, safe, easy to wash and within your budget - let your child choose the color and style.

•Watch for store-wide sales and special promotions. You can also cash in on free shipping offers on Internet orders and "tax-free" shopping days available in some states. (Check to see if your state is one of them here.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Your Child Must Have Self Control

We must teach our children to have self-control. They must be able to control their anger and manage any conflict they are confronted with in life. Building self-confidence and teaching children to cope with stressful situations is extremely important. Our children must have self-awareness and set realistic goals with realistic timetables to complete these goals all while managing frustration, set-backs and disappointment.

Raising our children to have self-control means modeling self-control in our every day lives. We will never have children who manage anger properly if we don't show them how. Teach them how to accept criticim, admit mistakes and know the difference between right and wrong. Teach them how to respectfully stand up for themselves and when to stop and perhaps count to ten or even to one hundred if necessary. Let them know we all learn from our mistakes and we can continually work to improve our behavior and self-control at all times.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Know Your Family's History

How many of us know much about our family's history? Start out by making a simple family tree. Make sure you include your children in this activity. Go as far as you can on your own. Contact other family members to fill in what they know. Post information on your blog, facebook,or research family on line. It will take on a life of its own and you can find family members you never knew existed. My family recently found family members just this week. It was truly exciting! So, develop a sense of family history and find out some very interesting fact.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tip #79: Make Sure Your Child Has A Good Working Relationship With Their Teacher.

Tip #79: 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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tip #78: If Your Child is Having Difficulty Get Help

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 #78.

Tip #78: 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.

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
Click Picture to Buy It Now!

Blogger templates made by

Back to TOP