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How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Now that my kids are in high school and middle school, the Parent/Teacher conferences are much different than in elementary school when we met with one teacher for about fifteen or twenty minutes. That time period felt short, especially when the conferences were running late. The elementary school conferences focused on assessments the teacher gave as opposed to standardized testing, and how my child was doing. Next steps included ideas for books to read or additional ways to practice writing or math facts.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Some of my son’s amazing teachers in elementary school on the last day of school!

Middle School Parent/Teacher conferences at my school are even shorter and we choose a combination of just two teachers: Math/History OR English/Science. The information was usually around completion of work, attitude in school, and quiz grades. Sometimes these conferences feel like confirming that the teachers know exactly who your child is.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Our High School Parent/Teacher conferences are like a kind of sprint: 6 minutes per teacher and I think we can only meet with two. If the rooms are far apart — our high school has four floors — it is literally a sprint. This brief time period seems to focus on how my child is doing in that class from grades to attitude. It’s amazing but I found in high school that these teachers really have a good grasp of who my child is from early on.

How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Given that there’s limited access to teachers (assuming that you don’t request or require more), my strategy is to:

  • Meet with teachers my child seems to complain about the most.
  • Meet with teachers that my child seems to have the hardest time academically.
  • Ask the teacher if they need things donated to their classroom. You’d be amazed how many teachers need basic items like hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
  • Convey positive feedback from my child about that teacher.
  • Thank them for their time. Parent/Teacher conferences make a long school day even longer for teacher!
  • How to Get the Most Out of Parent & Teacher Conferences

Today my guest author is Rocketship Education — a nonprofit network of public charter schools in the Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, Tennessee and Washington, DC on Parent & Teacher Conferences. Since they are coming up in a few weeks, I hope this is helpful!

How about you? Please share your tips for getting the most out of Parent/Teacher conferences. Thanks!

My son’s 5th grade Parent/Teacher Conference focused on self assessment that he did of his own work and how he thinks he’s doing.

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Teaching Kids Kindness: Hasbro Kindness Campaign

Teaching Kids Kindness: Hasbro Kindness Campaign

Now that the kids are back in school, it’s a good time to discuss bullying at home with your kids. Did you know that the best way to deal with bullies is to have bystanders stand up for the victim? Some schools teach this as part of their curriculum, but this is a good lesson to reinforce at home as well.

Being kind and “choosing kind” is something that I think can be internalized such that it’s a plan and goals that each child defines individually, making it easy to make decisions when faced with a bullying incident.

I think the first place to start is defining kindness and the behavior that demonstrates it. I have three books of with three different takes on Choosing Kind. Let’s start with a picture book that demonstrates different ways kids can choose to be kind.

Teaching Kids to Choose Kind

What Does It Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

The first example that DiOrio defines is something that seems very small, but actually has huge impact.

Being kind means … smiling at the new student in class.  Read more…

Top Ways to Teach Kids to Give Back

Top Ways to Teach Kids to Give Back

In this increasingly self-absorbed world where people can spend more time staring at a screen then they can communicating with each other face to face, it’s getting more and more important to teach children the importance of doing good in the world. As well, with the growing number of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other conflicts and issues, in addition to the fluctuating economies around the world, there seems to be more people who need help than ever before.

If you’re keen to teach your children to donate to charities, volunteer their time, raise money for a good cause or otherwise help someone who needs it, read on for some ways you can encourage them to do good today.

Top Ways to Teach Kids to Give Back Read more…

A Multitude of Concussions

A Multitude of Concussions

I’ve become well versed in teen concussions after my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, had four concussions over a period of fifteen months from club volleyball. Also, PickyKidPix had a soccer teammate with two severe concussions; her older sister had a concussion so bad that she had to quit soccer altogether. I’ve teamed up with that mom, Mary Lou, to bring you what parents should know about concussions in children and teens.

My daughter is number 9. She plays libero, a defense specialist.

Our Concussion Story

volleyball and concussion

First Concussion

In retrospect, my daughter’s first concussion was a mild one that I didn’t realize was a concussion. She tried out for club volleyball team in December of 2015 where she took at least one hard ball to her head from girls serving the ball at high speeds. She had a headache for two days and then she was fine.  We didn’t go to the doctor at all.

Second Concussion

Her head coach of her volleyball club team called me to tell me that she had failed his concussion test. He wasn’t the coach at her practice when she took a very hard ball to the side of her head that had shanked off a teammate. He noticed that she didn’t look quite right during practice and gave her the test. She wasn’t able to recalling the words he’d given her in the correct order.

This was April 2015 at her MGA Club Volleyball practice. Her symptoms included memory loss, headache and light sensitivity. She missed about a week of school but the following week was spring break. When she was home, she had to stay off screens and she was bored and restless. She cocooned for that week at home, unhappily.

During that vacation, she took an intensive 40 hour art class at Mass College of Art. My boxing trainer advised drinking a lot of water to help bring down the swelling in the brain. After her week of art class, she returned to school full time and seemed fine. Read more…

Coupon for Jimmy Dean® Stuffed Hash Browns

Coupon for Jimmy Dean® Stuffed Hash Browns

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own.

Now that school is starting soon, I find that hot breakfasts are harder to pull off. We are always rushing in the morning due to the fact that two of kids — the youngest and oldest — are simply not morning people. They tend to skip breakfast or eat on the run because they are always running late.

My middle daughter, however, gets herself up every morning and makes herself a hot breakfast. She likes a big breakfast to set herself up for the day. Read more…

Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

It probably won’t surprise you that my two daughters refused to do the easy thing for their parents: go to the same sleepaway camp. No, they chose YMCA sleepaway camps on the other side of the state. My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, went to the Berkshires at Chimney Corners where the camp culture emphasizes being yourself and accepting others.Sleepaway Camp and Why Dangerous Activities are Good for Kids

My middle daughter, PickyKidPix, chose Cape Cod, Camp Hayward for girls because the sessions were only two weeks versus four weeks at Chimney Corners. The culture is also different. Camp Hayward has daily interaction with their boys’ camp (unlike Chimney Corners), so there is a sense of competition of boys versus girls. For example, my daughter’s sailing class included a game of pirates where the point was to jump onto a boy’s sailboard, and take down the sail to capsize it. The boys at Burgess retaliated by removing the girls’ rudder. Good fun was had by all.

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My Top 10 Favorite Instagramers

My Top 10 Favorite Instagramers

I’m fairly new to Instagram — about two years now — and it’s becoming one of my favorite social media platforms to meet and really get to know bloggers, authors, illustrators, and moms. I like how quickly an image can convey a message and how easy it is to comment and follow the commentary.

Here’s a small sampling of who I love. It’s pretty impossible to pick just 10 but that’s what I did today. I could probably keep this kind of post up weekly for months! How about you? Who do you recommend?


My Top 10 Favorite Instagramers

You might recognize these illustrators from children’s books but follow them for their amazing doodles.

1. Lori Nichols. I love her hyperlapse drawing videos. She’s a fun illustrator to watch in action!

Lori Nichols

2. Inky Girl. Debbie Ridpath Ohi plays with her food, making for whimsical drawings.

inky girl debbie ohi

Read more…

Four Cookbook giveaway

4 Cookbook GIVEAWAY!

I’m cleaning out my office and giving away these four brand new cookbooks (I have two copies of Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook). These cookbooks address a specific audience: kids who want to learn to cook, anyone jumpstarting a diet and exercise plan, and those wanting to cook Chinese food. If any of these cookbooks speak to you, please fill out the Rafflecopter to win and specific your first, second and third choice.

 

The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids by Ruby Roth

This cook has 60 easy plant-based recipes that kids can make to stay healthy and save the world! Big promises? Perhaps. But getting your kids to cook for themselves is a gift that keeps giving. Ruby Roth makes kid friendly food in this appealing cookbook. Some recipes just require assembly while others will need the stove turned on. Whether you cook these recipes with your kids, or have older kids try on their own, everyone when kids learn a valuable life skill. [cookbook for kids, ages 6 and up]

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boarding school benefits

Common Benefits of Boarding Schools to Consider for Your Family

Depending on your background (and the movies you’ve watched or books you’ve read over the years), you may love the idea of boarding schools or think that they are just a parent’s excuse to get rid of their children for most months of the year.

However, no matter your stance, there are a variety of benefits to be had in sending children to schools away from home. These are all well worth considering if you’re thinking about your child’s education today. Read on for some common pros of boarding schools you should keep in mind when weighing up the options.

boarding school benefits

A New Start

For some teenagers, getting away from their current environment through attending a boarding school can be just the thing they need to enjoy a new, healthier school life. Sometimes kids can become unsettled, angry, depressed or otherwise troubled by their current circumstances, through things like a negative circle of friends, bad reputation at school, difficult teachers, or lots of fighting with their parents.
Going away to boarding school can help provide just the change that is needed to get teens in a better frame of mind and/or to start the healing process. For many children, having the chance to start over at a brand-new high school can do wonders for their confidence, relationships, and academic success. Read more…