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Posts Tagged ‘academic performance’

Fathers are more fun…

June 21st, 2013

Got your attention didn’t I?  Now moms, don’t be mad at me because we can be WAY fun, and trust me I am a really fun mom, it’s just that sometimes I feel like fathers are more fun!

So I was curious. Was I just ‘feeling’ less fun? Or is there was a difference in how mothers and fathers have ‘fun’. Here is what I found.

A summary of Fathers Involvement in Their Children’s Schools shared the following (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/fathers/):

  • Researchers are in agreement that mothers and fathers interact differently with their children (Parke, 1995).
  • Fathers spend proportionately more time playing with their children, while mothers spend a greater proportion of their total time with their children in caretaking activities (Lamb, 1986).
  • Because mothers spend a greater amount of time overall with their children, they may actually spend more time playing with them than do fathers, yet caretaking is still what best characterizes their time, while play best characterizes the fathers’ overall time with their children.  Fathers and mothers also play differently with their children, with fathers much more likely to be rough and tumble (Parke, 1995; Hetherington and Parke, 1993).

Whew!!  I’m not less fun!  I just play different than fathers do!  I would love to hear how you play and have fun. Whether you are a mother or a father, spending time having fun and playing is so important. Share ideas here!

Lori

divorce, education, family time, fathers, grandparenting, mother, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All About Fathers

June 3rd, 2013

Fathers are different from mothers, but offer love, guidance and support in their own unique way. During June, we’ll talk about the role of fathers and what research has to say about this important role.

National studies show that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that fathers play an important and irreplaceable role in the lives of children. Seven out of 10 people in one study agreed that the physical absence of fathers from the home is the most significant social problem facing America.

Join us in June as we talk celebrate ‘All About Fathers’.

family time, fathers, parenting, play, podcast, positive parenting , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Note from the Teacher

September 27th, 2012

“I have a note for you from my teacher” are not the words a parent usually likes to hear from their child. Or perhaps you get an email asking you to stop by the school. Before your radar sets off, take a deep breath. Sometimes teachers contact parents if their child has done really well. Other times the call comes because there is a problem. It’s important to remember your child’s teacher will have information about what aspects of her work are creating a problem. The teacher can tell you if your child is not paying attention, not participating in class, or not completing homework.

It’s also a good idea for you to initiate a conversation with teachers early in the school year about expectations. Find out how often homework will be given, when it is due, and how you will find out your child’s progress. Some teachers have a system they follow for assigning homework – assignment notebooks, folders, sign-off sheets. Discover what the teachers want and then do your part to be supportive.

I hear parents talking about how much homework their children have and if it’s a reasonable amount. That’s a good question and can vary depending upon school systems, teachers, and children’s ages. Harris Cooper, Director of Duke’s Program in Education says research is consistent with the “10-minute” rule” suggesting the optimum amount of homework a teacher should assign. Before anyone gets too excited, let me explain. It is a commonly accepted practice in which teachers add 10 minutes of homework as students progress one grade. For example, a first grader would have 10 minutes of homework while that 6th grader could handle 60 minutes.

What do you think about the 10 minute rule? Have you had a conversation with your child’s teachers about homework expectations this school year?

Donna Donald

homework, school , ,

The Dog Ate My Homework!

September 13th, 2012

Ok, maybe your kids haven’t used that excuse, but homework has a way of getting lost. Misplaced homework is often the result of not having an organized study space for kids. My guess is that you purchased school supplies and some new clothes for back-to-school. But did you help your child create an inviting spot to study?

I remember doing my homework at the kitchen table and any reading in my bedroom. That seemed to meet my needs for concentration. Students have different needs. Some are easily distracted. Others don’t seem to be bothered by noise or activity. Talk with your child about his preferences. Add in what you know about him and then together set up the study area.

Kids need a desk or table with a comfortable chair. It’s important to have enough space for a computer, books, papers, and any other materials being used. Be sure there is good lighting and some type of storage. Perhaps you can designate a book shelf, filing cabinet, specific drawers, or even plastic containers. Then add the necessary school supplies – pencils, pens, markers, tape, glue, rulers, etc.  – so everything your student needs is in one place.

If this is a “dedicated” study space, think about adding color with wall paint, pictures, or posters. The idea is to make this an inviting place.

Would you want to go to work every day and not have a place to do your work? I’m guessing the answer is no. What ideas do you have for creating a study spot for your child?

Donna Donald

homework, school , ,

School Success…Let’s get started!

September 6th, 2012

This month we are focusing on how to get the school year started right!

The short podcast gives a few ideas on homework and we are having an evening webinar on Monday the 10th of September to add more ideas to create success!  Listen to the podcast and join us on the 10th!

Lori and Donna

education, homework, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , ,

Children and Sports

August 1st, 2012

Play sports for fun or play to win? When the focus is on fun, children are more likely to continue participating in sports and to develop an active lifestyle. But when parents and coaches push winning as more important, children tend to quit participating in sports.

This month we will talk about how to be a positive sports parent. Listen below  to a short podcast on what research says now about Children and Sports.

Click here for additional information on Positive Sports Parenting

education, family time, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, sports , , , , , , , , , ,

Can We Focus Please

June 28th, 2012

Do you ever having trouble remembering something you just read? Or you’ve already forgotten what you did five minutes ago or plan to do next? Happens to me way too often and I’m always telling myself, “Focus Donna.”

When I listened to the podcast I heard the “focus” word loud and clear. We’re told that focus has a lot to do with what we remember. In the classroom the teacher has to first get a child’s attention before he can teach a new concept. As a parent you have to get your child’s attention before you can even have a conversation.

Then the next step is to do something to elaborate on what was learned. This points out the need for enrichment activities to take learning to a higher level.

For example, let’s say your child just learned fractions. What can you do to enrich the concept? One idea is to have him help you bake his favorite cookies. He will soon be using those fractions with the measuring cups and spoons. Perhaps an older child is wrestling with active and passive verbs. She can elaborate on the definitions by writing a short story.

Focus and enrich – two simple words and concepts that are so important when it comes to learning. First we must remember and then we use or practice what we learned. What do you do to help yourself focus and remember? What have you found helpful in extending and enriching your child’s lessons?

Donna Donald

education , , ,

The Country School Coatroom

June 14th, 2012

Picture a country school filled with students 1st through 8th grades. Hear the murmurs coming from the coatrooms. Imagine yours truly sitting cross legged on the floor next to a beginning reader.

This is the world I experienced for the first eight years of my education. I attended a large country school with three classrooms and three teachers.  We studied hard and played hard. And when you finished your assignments you got to be the teacher’s helper. This is where the coatroom enters the picture.

I would take a student from a lower grade to the coatroom. Then we would settle in under the jackets or coats and between extra shoes and boots. The little student would open up her reader or pull out math problems and we would go to work. I would listen, explain, and teach. When our time was up we returned to the classroom; both of us knowing just a little more.

My story is not just a walk down memory lane. Rather it serves to illustrate a critical point made in the podcast about learning. It is important to have overlearning which is well past the initial learning. And one of the best ways to do this is by teaching someone else what you have learned. When I was helping a student pronounce a big word or work through a multiplication problem, I was reactivating my knowledge. I was learning again and again.

My class was the last one to graduate from this country school. Today, education looks and feels quite different. But the concepts of how students learn remain the same. We constantly relearn what we’ve learned before and each time it gets faster.

What can you do this summer to help your child relearn prior lessons?   

Donna Donald

education , ,

Episode 16: All about Learning

June 6th, 2012

When children learn something well the first time, even if they do forget, relearning is easier. This month’s Science of Parenting podcast from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines how children learn and how teachers and parents can adapt teaching to fit learning and memory. It’s the final long-form podcast in the series.

ISU Extension Publications

 

Related resources

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Did You Get Your Homework Done?

September 29th, 2011

Did you get your homework done? That’s a question heard in many homes as parents and kids settle in for the evening. Part of the anxiety for kids at the beginning of each school year is adjusting to homework expectations. There can be a big difference from year to year in terms of quantity and difficulty.

Research shows that effective homework assignments do more than supplement the classroom lesson. They also teach children to be independent learners. Homework gives children experience in following directions, making judgments, raising additional questions for study, and developing responsibility and self-discipline.

Okay, that all sounds positive. But as a parent the question becomes how involved do you get in helping with homework. Following are my thoughts on the “what and how.”

  • Give praise for things your child does well in school. Look at the pictures, ask how the spelling test went, read the essay. Know what is being studied.
  • Discuss school with your child, both positive and negative. When there is a problem at school it is hard for most children to figure out what they can do to deal with it. They need your help.
  • Meet with teachers – face-to-face, phone, electronically. Have a conversation at the beginning of the school year about homework expectations.  
  • Have a special place for homework where there aren’t distractions. Select a place that you can easily monitor. If the homework is done on the computer, check to be sure your child is doing homework and not chatting with Facebook friends or playing games.
  • Set clear rules about when homework is to be done. Evenings can be hectic with supper, music and dance lessons, sports practices and games, church activities, etc. Sit down as a family and decide where homework fits in.
  • Give consequences if homework is not done. Most children will not change habits unless there is a consequence for poor behavior or not following the rules.
  • Stay calm when there is a school problem. Your child’s teacher will have information about what aspects of his work are creating a problem. Then you can work towards a solution.

Your child is going to be in school for many years. Even though she may not have lots of homework right now, you are setting the stage for how this part of her school experience will go. If you can help her develop good study habits now, the payoff will be substantial in the years ahead.

What specific things are you doing to help your child be successful in school?

Donna Donald

education, positive parenting , ,

Episode 7: Project-based Learning

September 1st, 2011

Get kids engaged in project based learning, and they’ll learn more by creating solutions to real-world problems. Learn how in this month’s Science of Parenting podcast.

ISU Extension materials

Help Children Discover Answers with Project-based Learning (PM 3002D)

Related Resources

More from Science of Parenting

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Family meal time

August 30th, 2010

Regular family mealtimes improve children’s health and academic performance!

Now that your children are back in school and your family’s activities are in full swing, one of the most important things you can do is take time to eat frequent family meals. Research consistently shows that families who eat meals together reap many benefits! For instance, children who consistently eat meals with their families consume more nutritious meals than those who do not. Family meals tend to contain healthier portion sizes, more fruits and vegetables, fewer snacks, and fewer fried foods. Research also shows that children who eat regular family meals have a decreased risk for developing eating disorders, being obese, and using alcohol or other drugs. These children also perform better in school, tend to be happier, less stressed, have positive peer relations, and a decreased risk of suicide. As an added bonus, family meals also provide children with skills they can use later in life, such as social etiquette, table manners, and conversational skills.

Family scientists recommend remaining flexible when choosing a time of day and location to eat together; if every member cannot be together at dinnertime, schedule a family breakfast, lunch, or picnic. It’s important to make family meals a priority without the distractions of televisions, computers, phones, or gaming devices. Parental involvement and frequent, quality parent-child communications during mealtimes facilitate family rituals, better parent-child communications, higher self-esteem among children, and more secure family relationships.

Eliciting help from everyone in mealtime planning, preparation, and clean up increases the amount of time spent together as a family. For example, everyone can choose menu items, a 4-year old can easily set the table with napkins and silverware, an 8-year old can assist in the clean up, and a teen can help prepare the meal. These opportunities give children more responsibilities, which in turn enhances their self-esteem.

Parents are role models for their children’s attitudes about food, values, and the importance of family time. So, make mealtime a priority and make it fun!

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