In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share some unique ways of showering your child with love on this special holiday while simultaneously encouraging his love for reading. Am I suggesting you forego the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates? Not necessarily. Just consider adding a little something special to your child’s Valentine’s gift this year, something that will remind him that you not only love him but are supportive of his literacy acquisition as well. Remember, your Valentine’s Day “gift” doesn’t necessarily need to be something your child can hold.
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.
Busy parents often need a helping hand when it comes to supporting their kids during the school year. But then again, I’ve yet to see a parent who isn’t busy! If you’re among the many frazzled moms or dads trying to juggle work, kids, social events, school events, extracurricular, and the like, then there’s a good chance you could use some tips to keep it all organized.
Whew! Your child can finally read those library books on her own. Your job helping with reading is finished, right? Not so fast! Many parents fall into the trap of thinking they no longer have to participate once their child learns how to read.
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.
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.
Whether you’re just beginning to read to your child in the womb, helping him get ready for Kindergarten, or preparing him for college, the same question will apply when it comes to literacy: What kinds of books should my child be reading? Many a concerned parent frets over this question, and the answer may very well differ from child to child and from family to family. If you ask me, pretty much any book with pages will suffice! That may be an exaggeration, of course, but the underlying message rings true—what your child is reading doesn’t matter nearly as much as the simple fact that he is reading!
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of homeschooling? Depending on your perspective, your answer might range from “quirky” to “trendy” or maybe even “brave,” but the word “rare” is probably much further down the list than it would be had I asked you the question a few decades ago.
It’s true—homeschooling is on the rise. According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), there are now more than 2 million homeschooled children in the United States, and this percentage is continuing to climb at an estimated 2 to 4 percent per year.
Do you find yourself constantly checking up on your digital savvy youngster? Does your heart skip a beat every time your child goes online to play a game or chat with a friend? You’re not alone. Although the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) takes steps to protect your child’s personal information from websites, there are many other online threats you’ll need to guard your child against, including mature content, online predators, and cyberbullying to name a few. So many parents these days struggle with the question of how to allow their children to benefit from all of the educational and entertaining aspects of the Web without exposing them to the dangers that we all know lurk behind the monitor.
Literacy is arguably the most important skill a child can have, and any educator will tell you that reading is the best way for youngsters to acquire new vocabulary and even writing skills. But what if your child turns her nose up every time you initiate story-time or recommend a book? As you know, forcing the issue can often backfire, but there are some ways that you can gently nudge your child in the right direction and help her develop a love for reading over time.