School and Extracurricular: How to Juggle It All

School and Extracurricular: How to Juggle it All

My oldest daughter Kelsey started marching band this year, and she has loved every minute of it—well, almost. If you’re a band parent or if you were in the band yourself, then you know that the typical season starts out with summer band camp—a grueling two-week process in which you attempt to learn the entire show for the season, under the blistering sun no less.

Do Happy Kids Equal Smart Kids?

Do Happy Kids Equal Smart Kids?

Any child development expert will tell you that a child’s well-being and his or her capacity for learning are intrinsically linked. From the earliest of ages, children require a basic sense of comfort and security in order for their developing brains to be receptive to other stimuli. Most parents and educators realize this, but what many fail to acknowledge is that this prerequisite for learning continues into childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood! Enter social and emotional learning, a model advocates affectionately refer to as SEL.

How's Your Gifted Child Doing in School?

How’s Your Gifted Child Doing in School?

Look at the title of this post again. I bet you don’t hear that question often. Most people assume that gifted children do so well in school that there’s really no reason to even ask. While it’s true that academics pose little trouble for those kids identified as “gifted,” that doesn’t mean that school as a whole is a breeze for them.

4 Ways to Evaluate Success in School

4 Ways to Evaluate Success in School

Have you ever been caught off guard by problems at school? You’re not alone. Even the most well-meaning among us can make the mistake of thinking things are fine in school when in reality, there’s trouble brewing. Later, we ask ourselves how we could have been so blind. If you’re determined to stay on top of things this school year, consider these four important reminders for evaluating your child’s success in school.

Do You Know Your Child's Learning Style?

Do You Know Your Child’s Learning Style?

As a mom of four, I know one thing for certain—no two children are the same (or even similar) despite their genetic codes. I’m sure many of you can relate. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a parent sigh in exasperation at her second or third child’s behavior or mannerisms, shaking her head and saying, “Boy, I wasn’t prepared for this.” Well, just as children behave differently, they also learn differently too!

The Importance of the Home-to-School Connection

We have a school-year tradition at our house. Every night at the dinner table, we go around the table and have each child tell about the best and worst parts of their day. Occasionally, someone will have had a particularly bad day and won’t want to discuss it, and of course, we don’t push it, but most of the time, we get the usual complaints—bad food in the cafeteria, an anxiety-producing class presentation, or an overly strict teacher. Most of the time, it makes for good dinner conversation, and we all end up laughing it off. Every now and then, though, I’ll hear something that raises my eyebrows in curiosity or makes me grimace with concern.

Starting Kindergarten Katie-Style

Starting Kindergarten Katie-Style

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that my little girl started Kindergarten last week. It has been quite an adventure for the whole family. Based on my experiences so far (and yes—I know they are limited), I thought I’d offer some tips and insight for those of you who have preschoolers.

School’s Started, But Your Job Has Just Begun: Tips to Make Your Child’s School Year a Success

My three oldest children started the new school year last week. My daughter started high school, my son began his first year in middle school, and my younger daughter started Kindergarten. As I shooed everyone out the door that first morning praying their day would be a good one, I took a moment to take in the stillness of the house and the quiet the new school year had already beckoned into my home. I thought of all the work I’d get done while they were gone and the nap I might steal before the last bell rang. I realized that like myself, parents all over the county were secretly celebrating these little gifts that the fall had afforded them. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with counting your blessings, it occurred to me how easy it would be to simply wave goodbye to my children in the mornings and let the teachers take care of the rest. That’s what school’s for, right? Wrong! Although school is indeed back in session, our job as parents and co-educators has just begun. If you don’t believe me, just wait until your middle-schooler brings home a mountain of homework.