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.

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

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