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By Asa
posted Oct 21 2014 - 10:05am

Boy studyingWow, this is an eye opener. Denise Pope, a Stanford Professor and author, researched parent and student perceptions about the education system and the attributes they believe will gain the students success. She presents her findings in her book Doing School: How We are Creating a Generation of Stressed, Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students.

For those of you that don’t have time to read the book, this MindShift article provides a great summary of her research and some further insight from Denise Pope. Her recommendations lean more towards what schools can do to restructure for student success, but I think there are some take-aways for us parents as well.

           
By Asa
posted Oct 17 2014 - 11:36am

listening“In one ear, out the other” – most of us heard this as children from an adult, and many of us have probably used the phrase ourselves. As parents, we sometimes wonder how much attention our kids pay to instructions and learning.

Researchers have found that listening is so much more than hearing words. That it should involve an active process of interpreting information and making meaning of those words. Skilled learners have shown specific listening strategies that have led to their superior comprehension. The short of it is, your child can work at becoming a better listener.

Here’s how:

           
By Asa
posted Oct 8 2014 - 10:28am

Today we have an article from a guest blogger: Felicity Dyer. She tackles the topic of how parents with kids who have special needs can approach learning outside the classroom.

Special needsBy Felicity Dyer

Specialized, inclusive or other classroom education for children with special needs offers great strides in their mental, physical and social development. However, education supplementary to such schooling can also play just as important a role in a child’s development.

In the Home
The amount of work involved in raising a special needs child varies. Yet, making time to hone in on specific skills you can implement at home could be essential.

It is one part of the many tasks that just may allow your child to acclimate into an educational program more smoothly. Raising self-esteem, dealing with adversity and role playing how to adapt to a new (or daily) environment are a few of the important categories you can teach your special needs child before they step out the door.

           
By Asa
posted Sep 23 2014 - 4:37pm

anxiousGetting together over coffee with the moms in my daughter’s grade 6 class after the long Summer break, the topic quickly turned to how anxious some of our kids are ahead of the new school year. One mom told us about her boy who could not get to sleep as he worried so much about the next day – the first day of school.

Worries about new classroom dynamics, the new teacher, new rules, some new friends, new academic expectations and pressures top the list.

It’s normal for us all to feel anxious when we have to get out of our comfort zone.  I’m sure we all have memories of exams, presentations or performances at which we experience the sweaty palms, the pounding heart, the shaking hands and worst of all – the trouble remembering what you had learned.

A high level of anxiety in difficult situations can interfere with several aspects of cognition that are critical for successful learning and performance:

  • Paying attention to what needs to be learned
  • Processing information effectively (e.g., organizing or elaborating on it)
  • Retrieving information and demonstrating skills that have previously been learned
           
By Asa
posted Sep 17 2014 - 11:54am

By Sheila Welch

 

too small for schoolSeptember is here and school is back in session. What better time to check out some school stories?      

 

I AM TOO ABSOLUTELY SMALL FOR SCHOOL by Lauren Child is a story for any child who’s feeling a bit too little to go off to that big place called school. The tone is light and the illustrations are quirky and very imaginative. The book is large enough to share with a group of children in a classroom, home, or library setting. Hearing this one will be fun for both preschoolers and school-age children who will enjoy remembering their own misgivings and excuses for not wanting to go to school.

 

           
By Asa
posted Sep 1 2014 - 11:50am

School studentsWith the new school year beginning, it is a good time for some 'new year' resolutions.  Here are the top 5 new school year resolutions we suggest you and your kids follow for the new school year 2014/2015.

 
Remember your manners: No one is going to pass you up on a job because you didn’t know all the prime numbers that divide evenly into 72, but being impolite during an interview is the fastest way out the door.  Get into the habit now: maintain eye contact, remember the “please” and “thank you”, and the response to “How are you?” is not “Fine”, it’s “I’m fine.  How are you?”  Thank your teacher for the handout, introduce yourself to the supply teacher, and hold doors open for people.  Someone might hold the door open for you next.

 

           
By Asa
posted Aug 27 2014 - 11:36am

Back to schoolFor those of you who, like me, went to elementary school in the 70s and now have children starting or going back to school this week or next, this Huffington Post article will make you chuckle.

What are we modern-day parents doing to ourselves? Stressing over the right school bags, lunch boxes and BPA-free water bottles, the 3.5 page long school supply list, and the allergy lists, let alone the daily schedule of driving… and then more driving. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of our parents’ book? OK, perhaps not the Barry Manilow…

Welcome back to the school routine!

           
By Asa
posted Aug 12 2014 - 7:26am

self-disciplineAn essential skill our kids need for future success is self-discipline. Having the internal fortitude to tell themselves that if they focus for another 30 minutes on their homework, it will be done, rather than being distracted by other activities when their parents aren’t looking.

What can we do to help teach our kids about self-control, and instill this in them? Here are 9 steps that will get you on your way.

  1. Start as you mean to go on. Start teaching your kids from an early age about good habits and bad habits. At a young age, they can learn to put their toys away, and as they get older, giving them chores and the responsibility to handle them without too much prompting.
  2. There should be rewards and consequences. When our kids do well, praise and reward them. Make sure it’s not false praise, though, it has to be earned. Similarly, there also need to be consequences for not meeting expectations and bad behaviour. You can’t let one incident slide, you have to be consistent.
           
By Asa
posted Jul 31 2014 - 10:06am

From time to time we have customers ask us of we know of any good sites that offer beginner computer programming lessons for kids. So we thought we’d give you a rundown of the ones we have come across, tried and would recommend for any kids interested in learning the basics.

 

MIT’s Scratch

Scratch is a free programming language targeting young learners. The beauty of this program is the interactive way in which kids code in building blocks and see how their code affects their animation immediately.

Scratch

           
By Asa
posted Jul 25 2014 - 10:04am

playing with blocksThe way we navigate the world and manipulate the space around us, is crucial to problem-solving.  While online programs help kids with learning basics like reading and math, offline playtime can create new learning environments that virtual worlds can’t.

Developing their spatial thinking from an early age helps our kids with critical math and science skills.  Teaching our kids about dimensions, how shapes fit together and spatial awareness reinforces spatial skills and later math success.