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Posts Tagged ‘learning at home’

Seven Steps to Increase Brain Activity

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The brain and skin are the first organs to develop in a fetus.  They emerge simultaneously out of the same layer of embryonic tissue.  The skin is often called the outside layer of the brain.  Let your child “experiment” with touch as a sensory system of the brain.

  1. Gather 16 samples of different textures….sandpaper, cloth, carpet, wood, etc.  and two large pieces of cardboard.
  2. Cut two, 2-inch squares from each of the textured materials so that you have two identical sets of 16 pieces.
  3. In rows of four, glue one set of 16 onto each  cardboard.  Be sure to arrange the textures in different order on each cardboard.
  4. Blindfold your child.  Ask your child to use his/her fingers to find four matches on the two cardboard sheets.  Time how long it takes to find four matches.
  5. Let your child use their palms or elbows.
  6. Involve other members of the family to see who has the fastest speed.
  7. Have a family discussion about the experiment and what was learned.

Home as the Learning Place

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
  • Provide a quiet appropriate place to study.
  • Encourage children to complete homework assignments by providing help and by answering questions.
  • Monitor television and computer time and contents.
  • Set consistent bedtime and wake-up schedules.
  • Engage your children in discussions on a variety of subjects…..current events, hobbies, nature, sports.

101 Ways to Praise A Child

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Wow • Way to Go • Super • You’re Special • Outstanding • Excellent • Great • Good • Neat • Well Done • Remarkable • I Knew You Could Do it • I’m Proud of You • Fantastic • Super Star • Nice Work • Looking Good • You’re on Top of it • Beautiful • Now You’re Flying • You’re Catching on • Now You’ve Got it • You’re Incredible • Hot Dog • Dynamite • You’re Beautiful • You’re Unique • Nothing Can Stop You Now • Good For You • I like You • You’re a Winner • Remarkable Job • Beautiful Work • Spectacular • You’re Spectacular • You’re Darling • You’re Precious • Great Discovery • You’ve Discovered the Secret • You Figured it Out • Fantastic Job • Hip, Hip Hurray • Bingo • Magnificent • Marvelous • Terrific • You’re Important • Phenomenal • You’re Sensational • Super Work • Creative Job • Super Job • Fantastic Job • Exceptional Performance • You’re a Real Trooper • You Are Responsible • You Are Exciting • You Learned it Right • What an Imagination • What a Good Listener • You Are Fun • Beautiful Sharing • Outstanding Performance • You’re a Good Friend • I Trust You • You’re Important • You Mean a Lot to Me • You Make Me Happy • You Belong • You’ve Got a Friend • You Make Me Laugh • You Brighten My Day • I Respect You • You Mean the World to Me • That’s Correct • You’re a Joy • You’re a Treasure • You’re Wonderful • You’re Perfect • Awesome • A+ Job • You’re A-OK-my Buddy • You Made My Day • That’s the Best • a Big Hug • a Big Kiss • Say I Love You! •

P.S.  Remember, a Smile Is Worth 1000 Words!

The Family: A Safety Net

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Much has been written about what to do after problems arise with children and adolescents, yet many problems can be prevented.  One way we can prevent problems is by taking care of our children’s needs.

The need for physical and emotional safety is essential for all of us, but especially for children.  Physically and emotionally safe environments help children grow up happier and healthier.  This is also a lot of truth in the saying, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

There is today a great need for parents to create an island of safety in the home.  A safe environment can help prevent problems or reduce their severity as children are growing up.  In creating safety, parents lay the foundation for trust, mental health, and happiness.

A safe home environment involves more than just the house itself.  It also includes the neighborhood.  When you know your neighbors, you can let your kids know which ones you trust and who they can go to for help if you are not at home.  You also help to create a safe environment when you introduce your kids to your friends and when you encourage your children to have friends of their own.  Every child needs at least one good friend.  Friends….people who look out for each other….create a sense of safety in our lives.

Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction

Are There Different Kinds of Smart?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Not long ago, most viewed intelligence as a single quantity …an immutable, monolithic construct known as “intelligence quotient” or “IQ.”

Today we’re pretty sure that is wrong.  Thanks to Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking work and to corresponding developments in neurobiology, most experts now suspect there are at least several different kinds of intelligence.  Rather than a single quantity, intelligence is now largely seen as a grouping of capacities, each defined by Gardner as “an ability to solve a problem or fashion a product that is valued in one or more cultural settings.”

How many are there?  At last count, Gardner list 8 1/2 … Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist and half for Comedic Intelligence.

How many are likely to emerge?  Nobody really knows, but ultimately the question of precise numbers misses the point:  a more important question may be, “How do we use our many skills most effectively?”  And the answer seems to be.  “Use them often.”

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Summer Activities

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

While the following suggestions for family summer activities might seem obvious…..some of us need a gentle reminder once in awhile.

Encourage your children to join a community youth group
Visit the library with your child
Get your child a library card. It is a great gift
Check telephone listings for agencies and community groups that offer free parent and child materials. Don’t forget to check the Internet for these resources.
Take advantage of public recreation
Take nature hikes
Visit museums, zoos, and parks
Take your child to plays and concerts
When traveling with your children in a car or bus, discuss the sights you see along the way.

Overcoming Conventional Wisdom

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

TowerFor centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.

Considering the Best Measure for Quality Education

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that, we most often use this standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, our children begin school having access to more information than their parents had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. That provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer for what should be or could be. I do know that when I hear about educators who continue to teach they way they have for many years, it concerns me. I have seen wonderful teachers who are very good with their students, but who are missing the mark in preparing their students for this fast paced world. That human aspect is so very important to teaching, but what of the child who does not receive adequate information to be successful in ensuing years. What a dilemma it raises for those of us who work with these well intentioned people on a daily basis. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared our youngster for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

Where Are The Basic Math Facts?

Monday, June 18th, 2012

eTutor’s curriculum calls for the quick recall of basic facts by children at the end of third grade.  Learning of these skills is done best by teaching students about numbers in relation to everyday life activities and not exclusively by rote drills and memorization.  Their math horizons are expanding to include problem-solving skills, ratio and proportions, algebra, geometry, measurement, data collection, analysis and estimation.  eTutor challenges students to balance a strong knowledge of basic skills with the ability to solve day-to-day math problems with confidence.

It is appropriate for students to struggle once in a while with math problems.  This helps them learn from mistakes, practice persistence and accept challenges.

Numbers and operations on numbers play fundamental roles in helping us make sense of the world around us.  Operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as the ability to find powers and roots, extend the notion of numbers to create tools to model situations and solve problems in our everyday lives.  Discussing and solving problems related to budgets, comparing prices on merchandise, understanding the nature of interest charges, measuring fuel consumption and calculating the trajectory for space travel would all be impossible without a sense of numbers and numerical operations.  All people must develop this sense of numbers and operations and be able to use it to solve problems using mental computation, paper-and-pencil algorithms, calculators and computers. (from eTutor Goals for Mathematics)

Eight Ideas for Summer Learning

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Using the summer months to expand and enhance your child’s skills for learning will benefit your child year round.  Some ideas to get you started might include the following:

  • Select safe, educational toys…such as those that need to be put together.
  • Play games—especially those that have educational value, like number games, guessing games, word games.
  • Encourage your child to do projects with other children.  He/she will learn to cooperate and his/her social skills will improve.
  • Take your child on the train, bus, streetcar or airplane.
  • Listen to your child…encourage him or her to ask questions, discuss ideas and tell stories.
  • Select activities that fit your child’s level of development, ones that he or she can learn from and enjoy.
  • And be sure to set a good example.  If you are interested in learning, your child probably will be, too.  For instance, set a family reading time or some other organized learning activity and share experiences.
  • Learning is a skill and like other skills it improves with practice…so give your child the practice he or she needs to develop learning skills!