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Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Home Alone

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Are you considering leaving your child alone for short periods of time? If so, you are not alone. Statistics show that    occasional self-care is a normal experience for a large number of young children.

An estimated two million to six million children are considered to be “latchkey” children….7 to 10 percent of all five to 13-year-olds. Should your child be staying alone? The answer depends on several factors, according to Christine Todd, extension specialist for child development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Self-care can be a rewarding experience for children who are ready for it,” she says. “However, if the child is not ready, self-care can be a frightening and potentially dangerous situation.”

Benefits of self-care by children who are ready for it include increased independence, increased knowledge of self-care skills, increased sense of responsibility, greater self-esteem and a sense of contribution to the family. Concerns related to children who are not ready include reduced learning opportunities and social contacts, increased misbehavior and legal consequences for parents.

Ask yourself the following questions when determining a child’s readiness:

  • Is the child physically capable of taking care of and protecting himself or herself?
  • Is the child mentally capable of recognizing and avoiding danger and making sound decisions?
  • Is the child emotionally ready? Will he/she feel confident and secure or afraid, lonely and bored?
  • Does the child know what to do and who to call if a problem or emergency arises?

There is no “magic age” at which children are ready for self-care, and that other factors besides a child’s age or maturity may influence your decision. For example, if your neighborhood is unsafe, if there are no adults nearby to call in case of emergency, or if your child must remain alone for a very long time, it is best to continue to use some form of child care even if your child seems ready to stay alone.

Adapted from Illinois Association of School Boards.

Almost?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Face to Face Communicating

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Listening

Recently at a large convention I had an opportunity to view first hand the good and bad in communicating. These tips are great for anyone to use:

  • Always remember that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
  • Every individual is a communicator and has credibility with someone.
  • Be genuine and honest. If you don’t know, don’t guess.
  • Be enthusiastic. A spark is essential if you want to motivate enthusiasm in others.
  • Identify key communicators.
  • Use every available means to get people to “witness” quality efforts in action.
  • Encourage visibility.
  • Make communications a part of your objectives each year.
  • Don’t “PR people to death” suddenly.
  • Above all, listen. Listening is a sign of caring, is basic to building responsiveness, and is the key to confidence.

Eight Ways to Help Your Child Assume Responsibility for Learning

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

How can you help your child build a “take-charge” attitude and assume more responsibility for learning? Read and discuss these self-management strategies together:

1. Set Goals

Help your child learn to set goals and work to achieve them. Let your child know that successful people set goals. To succeed goals should be:

  • Short-term – do-able in a brief period of time
  • Specific – “75% on the weekly math test” or “completing a research report on schedule” are clearly defined goals. You will both know when a specific goal has been met.
  • Realistic – set only slightly above current level of achievement so that improvement can be recognized frequently.
  • Planned – to include the when, where, why, how, and how long of meeting the goal successfully.

2. Be an example

Give examples of goals you have set and met. Tell results and benefits of meeting goals. Let your child know that you feel good about what you achieved.

Discuss stories about people in the news who have set and met goals so that your child sees the value of taking responsibility for achievement

3. Introduce checklists

Checklists build responsibility and provide the sense of achievement that comes from checking completed items off a list.

4. Encourage a positive approach

A “can’t do” approach weakens a child’s will to “take-charge” of learning.

5. Understand instructions

Your child can’t gain a sense of responsibility, work independently, and “take-charge” in learning situations without understanding directions and instructions. Help your child know what to do with everyday instruction words by explaining, using, and reviewing the key words and phrases of instruction, such as:

circle P cross out P underline P delete P omit P graph
compare/contrast P explain P outline

6. Ask questions

When students sense that they need to know more about a topic, their motivation increases and they want to take responsibility for more learning.

7. Give praise

Praise used effectively can increase your child’s motivation and build a sense of responsibility for learning.

Praise for successful or improved performance, not just working on a task. Wait until you see that enough effort has been put forth, or enough work accomplished, so that praise is truly deserved.

8. Build on success

Once your child’s skills are beginning to expand and you see a “take-charge” attitude toward learning, you can help build on this success.

  • Give opportunities to practice skills informally
  • Encourage interests, activities, and hobbies that provide practice in learning
  • Give increased responsibility

Innovation in Learning

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

On-Line Learning

E-Tutor - On-Line Tutoring for K-12

Does your child or someone you know need additional instruction or an alternative way of learning? At eTutor, there are over 3400 Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies lesson modules to stimulate the imagination of any child needing help in learning, or not. The lesson modules are fully integrated with the Internet. Students can use juried sites in order to enhance and reinforce concepts taught in the Study Guide.   Exercises, quizzes and exams accompany each lesson module. The ten part lesson modules are complete with pictures, diagrams, activities, worksheets and thought provoking assignments. Each lesson module has goals and standards that students will attain by fully completing the tasks.  Subscribe for your child today.

Six Ways to Help With Learning

Friday, March 1st, 2013

You can help your child succeed in learning by building his or her self-confidence at home. Use these guidelines:

  • Respect your child by treating him or her with the dignity you would a friend.
  • Have faith in your child. Don’t be afraid to give your child increasing responsibility and independence.
  • Concentrate on the positive; avoid using discouraging words or actions.
  • Recognize your child’s efforts, not just his or her accomplishments.
  • Build self-esteem and feelings of adequacy by using positive phrases such as…
“I can tell you worked very hard on that.”
“You are getting much better at that.”
“I appreciate what you did.”
“You really handled that situation well.”
  • Discourage competition (in all forms) between brothers and sisters.

And, remember, don’t feel guilty if you “blow it”, but use your energy to try again more effectively.


    Safety on the Internet

    Sunday, February 17th, 2013

    We published this in our newsletter in 1999.  It is still relevant today.

    The Internet is an excellent tool for students to use, but is it really safe? Every experience a child encounters contains some element of risk, but here are some guidelines to follow to insure a safe journey on the Internet without infringing on your child’s privacy.

    Take pro-active action.Whenever possible, try to address issues before they become a problem. When your children begins to use the Internet, talk to your child about appropriate use of the Internet or install parental control software. Keep the computer in a well-trafficked area so you can monitor the activity without imposing too much into their privacy.

    Parental Control Software

    Filtering programs that block out inappropriate sites containing adult language, topics or graphics is one safeguard, but it is not the ultimate solution. Many browsers also contain screening software such as Cyberpatrol. These programs are effective in screening out the majority (but not all) of inappropriate material, however, if children are determined to access the material, they will find it somehow. These programs may also cause a delay in downloading websites that are appropriate since they must be “screened” first.

    Discuss Your Concerns with Your Children

    Discuss with your children the risks of the Internet. Have your children agree not to reveal any identifying information online including their last name, town, age or school. They should never agree to meet anyone online without your permission.

    Use your children’s experiences on the Internet as a way to discuss what your child is interested in. Go online together and visit sites that are informative, fun and/or educational. Stay involved and explore the Web with them to familiarize yourself with the areas they visit regularly.

    Stay informed

    February Highlights

    Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

    We found these quotes interesting and thought you would as well.

    February 12: Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the U.S.…..the well assured and most enduring memorial to Lincoln is invisibly there, today, tomorrow and for a long time yet to come in the hearts of lovers of liberty, men and women who understand that wherever there is freedom there have been those who fought, toiled and sacrificed for it.

    Carl Sandburg


    February 22: George Washington, 1stPresident of the U.S.Washington is the mightiest name on earth….long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation.

    Abraham Lincoln


    February 14: St. Valentine’s DayAccording to an old legend the day upon which birds choose their mates; widely celebrated by the giving of love tokens. A valentine is a letter or missive sent by one person to another on St. Valentine’s Day.

    Webster’s Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1937

    Choosing Books for Your Children

    Friday, January 18th, 2013

    One of the best ways to encourage children’s reading is to give them books of their very own. With so many children’s books in print, however, making the best selections may seem like a formidable task.

    Since all children should have books they can handle freely, durability is important, says the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Pick well-constructed board books for infants and toddlers, so they can help turn pages without damage. Consider paperbacks and plastic covers for older kids who are not quite ready for expensive hardbacks.

    Next, let your children’s interests guide your selections, suggests the Department of Education. When children ask you endless questions about where they came from or why the sky is blue, chances are good there is a book with answers they can understand. If a child expresses an interest in cars, sports, computers or dinosaurs, find books on those topics. If you will be reading aloud together, remember to choose books you can enjoy too.

    Quality is as important to children as it is to adults, according to the Library of congress Children’s Literature Center. Well-written fiction with a satisfying plot and strong characterization will motivate your children to keep reading. Good illustration and design are essential to picture-story books. Critical to non-fiction are accuracy, organization and clarity of presentation.

    Also keep in mind your children’s reading ability. Books should be challenging enough to stimulate their thinking skills but not so difficult as to overwhelm them. The Department of Education suggests school-sponsored book fairs as an excellent source of offerings geared to your children’s ages and reading levels.

    Is cost a factor in your selection? Many second-hand bookstores offer very reasonable prices. Some even allow you to bring in books your children have outgrown and trade them for others. Many public libraries also have periodic used-book sales. Ask a librarian for dates and details.

    If you are still not sure what is appropriate, take advantage of available help. Teachers and children’s librarians can suggest books that are good for reading aloud and books of interest to a particular age group. Most libraries have book lists and journals that regularly review and recommend children’s books.

    Can-D0 Kids

    Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

    You can motivate your child for successful learning by building self-esteem. Ask your child to describe himself. Do bright, positive, upbeat words come out….smart, good, nice, popular, happy?

    Or do you hear…..dumb, fat, mad, broke, and a list of “can’t do” things like can’t read very well, can’t run fast, can’t make friends, can’t do math?

    Before a child can achieve learning success, he needs to believe in himself…..have an image of self-worth…..a sense of being capable….a sense of self-esteem. He needs to see himself as a “can-do” kid.

    Research shows that these feelings of confidence contribute to success in learning, success in social relationships, and high self-esteem.