Don’t Do Your Child’s Homework for Them

One of the biggest complaints of students of all ages is the amount of homework they are assigned. This is true for kindergarteners, college students, and everyone in between. Teachers expect that the students will do their own homework, perhaps with a little help from their parents. You don’t do your children’s homework for them, though, right? An article in The Telegraph reveals some surprising things about who is really doing the homework that teachers assign. The information comes from a poll of 2,000 parents who had children between the ages of 5 and 15. The research showed that in … Continue reading

Advantages of Extended School Days

Would you like your children to attend school for eight hours straight, five days a week? It may sound a bit excessive to some parents. However, there are some school districts that have implemented an extended school day. It turns out that there are several benefits to doing so. Extended school days, which are also called extended learning time, have gained popularity within charter schools. Some charter schools may have a bit more freedom about how long their school day runs than some public schools do. That doesn’t mean it would be impossible for an extended school day to be … Continue reading

Banning Chocolate Milk Doesn’t Improve Nutrition

Parents who had children in several schools in Oregon noticed what they viewed as a problem. The kids were much more likely to drink chocolate milk than they were to drink white milk. The parents believed that banning the chocolate milk would force the kids to start drinking more white milk. Instead, things did not work out as planned. It is safe to say that the parents in the school district’s PTA meant well. They were hoping to make changes that would provide better nutrition for the students. They believed that removing the chocolate milk, and only offering white milk, … Continue reading

How to Set Up a Homework Space

The new school year is upon us. Your kids are likely to have at least a little bit of homework to do after school. Many parents find it difficult to convince their children to sit down and do their homework. One thing that can make the situation a little less stressful, and more productive, is to set up a homework space. It is easy to see why kids and teens don’t enjoy doing their homework. They just spent their whole day at school trying to learn things that are new to them, working on projects and papers, and practicing the … Continue reading

Have Some Mountain Dew Before a Test?

How do you feel about standardized testing? Chances are you aren’t an incredibly big fan of it. Children tend to strongly dislike taking standardized tests because it is stressful, confusing, frustrating, and very different from how their typical school day goes. Perhaps this is why a school in Florida found a controversial way to motivate students to take their standardized tests. Someone at Creel Elementary School in Florida came up with an unusual way to get students excited about taking the FCAT. The FCAT stands for “Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test”. A grandmother who learned about it contacted the local media. … Continue reading

A Cornucopia of Tools 2

Yesterday I started to talk about some tools that have served me well over the years. I talked about operating systems (of which I strongly prefer GNU+Linux), and an office suite (of which I strongly prefer LibreOffice). The last two tools I’m going to talk about are the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (commonly known as GIMP), and FreeMind. First up: the Gnu Image Manipulation Program. GIMP: Despite having an unfortunate acronym, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program is a powerful tool. While in school (and as an instructor) I often had reason to create small graphics to assist in teaching or … Continue reading

A Cornucopia of Tools

I know that it is Halloween time now, but Autumn gets me thinking about Thanksgiving. While it is an American holiday (with a somewhat simplified history), the general idea of being thankful for things is a positive practice for anyone. Thanksgiving gives me a warm feeling. Not just because of the family “togetherness” but also because I feel a real sense of thankfulness concerning many of the things I encountered tangentially to my education, yet those tangential things ended up helping me every single day in more ways than I can accurately recount. So, a month early, I’m going to … Continue reading

Being Ready for Anything

One of the things you can always count on is change. I realized this recently. I have a rather odd job that I’m not going to get into here (as it isn’t that important), but the reality of my particular position is that there is occasionally time when there is literally nothing to do. My actual job, during these times, is to simply wait. To be present. To exist. And, as it turns out, it doesn’t matter how I exist during these periods of time. I could sit, stand, jog, read, write, recite poetry: whatever. Now, while all jobs aren’t … Continue reading

Resistance and Fear

I’ve been experiencing resistance lately. Not as a student, but as a teacher (of sorts). I’ve been trying to get a quite varied group of adults to count to twenty together. I could explain everything to them. I could give them a handout illustrating the purpose and the benefits of the exercise. I could give them all of the rules and regulations (it is a game with far more involvement than simply counting in unison). I could do those things, but that would undermine the exercise itself. That would undermine its purpose. That would, in fact, go against one of … Continue reading

Time to Read

Things I used to take for granted as a student/parent number 1: time to read. For better or for worse reading is one of those activities you simply can’t do around children. Oh, I’m not talking about reading picture books or texts with simple words and basic sentence structures. No, no. I’m talking about reading reading (you know, that stuff you do as a student, for your classes, that requires lots of time and lots of focus). It is the joy of having kids while being a student. When I didn’t have kids it didn’t make sense. I thought it … Continue reading