Showing posts tagged with: school

March For Our Lives

This past Saturday, I joined over 1.5 million fellow Americans in the "March For Our Lives" protests organized mainly by teens around the country. These teens were asking for common sense gun control laws including stricter background checks, an age limit of 21 to purchase a gun, and a ban on bump stocks and semi-automatic weapons. And we were there to support them. The tens of thousands of people marching with me in San Jose were of every color, every age, every nationality, every gender, and included both gun owners and those who would never consider owning a gun. (I think you know which one I am.) As we marched in a light but steady rain, we discussed politics, every aspect of gun control, and what can be done to keep our kids safe. We chatted with each other and with strangers. Everyone was polite, friendly, and motivated to help bring about change. And while I felt determined and proud to be marching, I also felt so sad. My children now aged 33 and 29, did not have active shooter drills in their classrooms. They were not taught how to barricade their classroom doors. They were not scared to go to school in the morning. And while I taught my children about stranger danger, to lock the front door, and to be aware while walking alone, I did not have to discuss mass shootings with them. And I'm sad that so many young parents and young children are now having these conversations. So how do we talk about this with our children? Pre-schoolers don't need to be told about these adult issues. Make sure you are not discussing them or listening to the news with your children present. And go to all the marches you want. They will love being in a parade. Younger elementary school kids are being taught in school to hide under their desk and to be quiet during a drill, but they don't need to totally understand why. Just call it a Safety Drill, just like a Fire Drill. Older elementary kids can be told that there was a shooting in a school, but we don't have to share every detail. Explain that now all students, in every school, are practicing what to do if something like that happened in their school. (But we don't think it will.) And our middle and high school kids already know the news and the details, so use this as a teachable moment in time to discuss it with them. Ask what they think. Ask their opinions. Ask about how it feels at school or if kids are talking about it. And encourage them to look for their voice to be heard. What do you think? How do you feel? And what are you saying to your children? Please share your thoughts and ideas, so we can all learn from each other. This is tough.

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Four Academic Lessons to Teach at Home

Learning Is Fun photo Four Academic Lessons to Teach at Home Every parent wants their child to have a successful school year. Here are four lessons we can teach our kids at home, so they are better prepared for the lessons they learn at school. Teach Your Children to be Organized When children feel organized, are confident that they know what to do, and have all their needed materials, their confidence go up, and so does the quality of their work. Prepare a checklist of things your child needs to bring to and from school every day. Put a copy by the door at home and one in his backpack. Check often to see if your child is remembering the items on the list. Create a system with your child for recording their homework assignments. Even young children can use a planner or calendar. Pack backpacks at night. Gym clothes, notes for the teacher, school books, and homework can be packed in the evening, leaving just a lunchbox to be added in the morning. Design a plan for how kids will remember to turn in their completed assignments. Many kids do their homework, but fail to turn it in. A separate "Homework Binder" might help. Teach Your Children to Manage Their Time Wisely Some homework assignments are due in one week, two weeks, or longer. Teach your kids how to complete those assignments without waiting until the last minute. Record all assignments on a calendar by breaking it down into small pieces. For a book report, the steps might be: choose the book, read the book, write the outline, create the cover page, type and print the report, put all the parts together. Add "Work on book report" to the list of nightly assignments. Plan how much time is needed for homework each night. Completing the toughest assignment first might work for some kids, while others will wait until after dinner for a parent to help with that one. Use the "First this, and then that" method. "First you complete your homework and get your backpack ready for tomorrow, and then you can watch TV." Teach Your Children How to Focus While many teens do their homework in a sea of distractions, we need to limit the distractions that our younger kids experience. Give your child a snack when they get home from school. It is hard to focus when hungry. Keep the computer in a public place, and restrict the use of email or games while doing their work. You do not need to keep a constant vigil; you do need to check often. If they do make the choice to break the rule, then they will lose the use of the computer for fun that night. Find a quiet place with few distractions for a homework station. Playful siblings and the TV can be huge distractions, and so the homework station should be fairly quiet. Teach Your Children How to Enjoy School Our children have many years of school ahead of them, and many get burned out at a young age. The goal of school is to learn to love learning, not to get straight A’s. It is our job to promote a healthy, fun, and encouraging attitude towards school. Praise the effort, not the result. Hang some of their work on the fridge, and sometimes hang a paper with mistakes. Ask your child to tell you one thing about school each day; they don’t have to share every detail. Remember that it is your child’s assignment, not yours. Allow your kids to do their own work, supplying help when they ask for it. It’s okay if they make mistakes. Volunteer at the school when possible, go to Back-to-School night, get to know the teachers and students, and support the school’s policies and rules.

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