Building self-esteem for the new school year
Submitted By: Sandy Ansari, Bright Start Educational Services
Most parents are aware that their child’s feelings of self-worth are linked to social and academic success. Getting back to school may cause some children to have anxiety or feelings of low-self esteem associated with past experiences. Parents can do their part my promoting and building self-esteem at home. This way, a child can feel empowered at home by having a healthy support system at home. Her are a few tips to think about for the upcoming school year.
1) 1. Help your child feel special and appreciated by focusing more in strengths rather than weaknesses.
2) Help your chills problem solve in social-emotional situations by using role-play and giving suggestions.
3) Avoid judgmental comments. If you must make a point, use a positive tone.
4) If your child is having difficulty with learning, it is best to be empathetic and let them know that you are aware of their frustration.
5) Give your child choices. This will reduce any power struggle and make your child feel good..
6) Give your chills a chance to help you with your tasks at home.
7) Set realistic goals and expectations
8) If your child has a learning disability, educate him/her to understand the problem.
School Districts with Lunch Money Programs
New online meal payment plans make it easy to keep track of your child’s lunchmoney. Set up automatic payments or view balances and account history. Some services also allow you to pay for transportation, extracurricular activities and other school fees and expenses.
Mylunchmoney.com serving the Poway School District
Parentonline.net serving the Chula Vista School District
PayPams.com serving the San Diego Unified School District
Mealspayplus.com serving Cajon Valley Union School District, Encinitas Union School District, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District
Making Math Fun
Math Never Tasted So Good
By Cheryl Bastian
Our children love math! It hides in their sandwiches, seasons their spaghetti, and sweetens their apple pie. From the time our children peek over the table edge or push a chair up to the kitchen counter, they investigate, predict, collect data, and discover. The result: they understand. In the Bastian home, math instruction is multi-sensory, hands-on, and delicious, keeping young ones asking for more.
Can children really like math? Yes! Placing concepts into children’s open hands invites them to learn. As they weigh objects, measure ingredients, estimate quantities, and calculate numbers, they internalize concepts which, for some children, are nothing more than symbols on a page. Math becomes a part of life, real and useful.
The kitchen is a perfect place to teach and reinforce math concepts. Cups of water and corn syrup, measured, weighed, and compared, can be heated and transformed into a tasty pound of peanut brittle. Folded, deli-sliced cheese demonstrates equivalent fractions. The weight of a bag of flour can be estimated and confirmed with a kitchen scale. Concepts presented in digestible, practical, and relevant chunks dispel common math fears and anxiety.
Eliminating a parent’s fear of math is the first step in building math confidence in children. These fears often linger from negative personal experiences or a lack of understanding what, when, and how math can be taught. Knowledge complemented by useful tools-scales, measuring cups, tape measures, thermometers-makes math fun and relevant. Empowered and confident, parents often grasp math for the first time in their lives, and their contagious excitement invites children to enthusiastically embrace math.
Pre-number concepts are vital to understanding the value of numbers and include patterning, seriation, comparing and classifying, graphing, and introductory geometry. Each skill adds flavor to the number stew simmering in a child’s mind.
Patterns surround us. A newborn’s eyes focus on color, shape, and design. Young children recognize patterned stripes in candy canes and colorful arrays on dessert trays. Recognizing patterns in the world, and eventually in numbers, is foundational to math. Opportunities to describe, reproduce, and create patterns expand understanding and prepare children for numeration, prediction, and reasoning.
• Make lasagna, patterning ingredients: sauce, pasta, cheese, sauce, pasta, cheese. Draw a visual representation.
• Pattern fruit, cheese cube, or veggie kabobs.
• Open a package of Starburst chews on the seam. Notice the pattern. Extend and incorporate additional skills for multi-level learning: sort and graph flavors, add colors (4 orange and 4 cherry equal 8 candies), write a multiplication equation to represent the package (4 groups of 3 candies equals 12 total candies), label each flavor as a fraction of the whole package (orange is 4/12), and discuss equivalent fractions (4/12 equals 1/3).
Seriation is the ability to order objects in a series. Instruction begins with arranging objects according to one characteristic, generally length or size, and is reinforced with attributes of weight, color, amount, or cost. Seriation is a stepping-stone to comparison and classification.
• Build Cheez-It towers. The first tower is made of one cracker, the second of two and so on.
• Arrange the carrots from a 1-pound bag according to length. Weigh carrots on a kitchen scale and order according to weight.
Comparing and Classifying
Comparison, the ability to observe and analyze two or more objects based upon their differences, is the converse skill of classification (sometimes referred to as sorting), which focuses on the similarities of objects. When introducing comparison and classification, focus on a familiar feature, likely color, size, or length. From this foundation, two or more attributes can be considered, perhaps color and weight, texture and taste, size and origin, or length and use. The ability to discover and express similarities and differences in two or more objects is the first step toward comprehending set notation and computation.
• Purchase celery (stalk/stem), carrots (roots), cucumber (fruit), broccoli (flowers), cauliflower (flowers), lettuce (leaves), snap peas (seeds), onions (bulbs), radish (roots), tomatoes (fruit), and spinach (leaves). Compare size and shape. Sort fruits and vegetables. Sort according to part of plant. Wash, cut, chop, and enjoy the salad.
• Empty contents of one bag of 18-bean soup. Sort beans. Compare sizes. Make soup.
Graphs provide visual representations of comparisons and classifications. Young children need concrete experiences creating and interpreting many types of graphs: pictographs, symbolic graphs, real graphs, and bar graphs. Pictographs use actual pictures of objects (photographs of people), symbolic graphs use symbols to represent objects (paper cookies), real graphs use real objects (hats or shoes), and bar graphs use columns to represent a quantity.
• Ask family members if they prefer grape, cranberry, or orange juice. Graph results. Other graph possibilities include favorite cookies, ideal lunches, preferred pizza toppings, and favored yogurt flavors.
• While shelling peanuts, graph the number of peanuts in each shell.
Circle, square, triangle. Shape recognition is one of the first geometric skills a child learns, paving the way for intermediate skills including symmetry, fractional parts, perimeter, area, and volume. Directional skills-the ability to determine left, right, north, south, east, and west-set a foundation for following directions, navigation, and grid work.
• Discover symmetry in an orange slice, a hard-boiled egg, an onion, or a candy bar.
• Measure the circumference of pita bread with a string. Use a ruler to measure the string, and discuss the concept of inches. Introduce diameter and radius. Measure both. Cut the bread to make a semi-circle. Make a sandwich for lunch.
A diverse exposure to pre-number skills enables children to comprehend number concepts. Repetition and life application solidify a pre-number foundation to fortify intermediate and advanced equations and postulates.
Children walk through the toddler and preschool years identifying and reciting numbers. Parents beam with pride. Their children have embarked on the counting adventure.
There are two types of counting: rote and rational. Memorizing and reciting the numbers in order without associating a number with a group of objects is defined as rote counting. This stage varies in length from child to child. With repeated hands-on activities, children initiate rational counting, assigning one number to one object. This is called one-to-one correspondence. Assigning the correct number to a group of objects, first with groups of one to five items and moving rapidly to sets up to ten, is the last major milestone in the counting process. Along the journey, children learn to count backward and determine if numbers precede or follow other numbers. Rote and rational counting provide the foundation for number computation skills.
• Model counting whenever possible. Count scoops of flour, strawberries in a quart container, blueberries in a muffin, or silver-dollar pancakes on a plate.
• Count M&M’s in groups of ten. Count by tens to find out how many M&M’s were in the bag.
Once a child has moved past the conceptual level of number and into the symbolic stage, computation-addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division-can be taught. Instruction should include opportunities to represent equations concretely (with objects), verbally (with words), and visually (with symbols). Oral word problems encourage auditory processing.
• Add two sets of stick pretzels. Write the equation (symbolic expression).
• Cut an apple into eight slices. Eat one slice and write the corresponding equation. Continue, reinforcing the subtraction concept.
• Place ten cookies on a plate; divide evenly among the people at the table. Discuss remainders, if necessary.
• Add to find the number of pints in a gallon. Multiply to find the number of pints in two, four, or six gallons.
How many jellybeans in a handful? Children learn estimation skills once they comprehend quantity. Introduced with amounts smaller than twenty, estimation skills build quickly to collections of one hundred and beyond. Familiar, appealing objects, ideal for beginning estimation work, create a framework for intermediate problem-solving strategies.
• Estimate contents of a given package: baby carrots, radishes, raviolis, oranges, etc. Write the estimations of each family member. Count. Whose estimate was closest?
• Hand a child three baking potatoes and ask him to estimate the weight. Record the estimate. Weigh potatoes on a kitchen scale. Subtract to find the difference.
What child isn’t fascinated with tape measures, kitchen scales, and turkey basters? Fascinating tools make math memorable. Exploration and experimentation are integral components of a child’s first attempts at measurement, which begins with non-standard units-candy bars, saltine crackers, spoons, and Twizzlers-and inches toward standard units-inches, feet, and yards, as well as millimeters, centimeters, and meters. Measurement concepts include time (elapsed and actual), weight, capacity, and area.
• Compare 1 pound of several items: 1 pound of rice, 1 pound of lima beans, 1 pound of potatoes, 1 pound of cream cheese. Discuss.
• Measure the square area of the kitchen table with saltine crackers.
• Bake and cook. Double and half recipes.
Instruction for place value in a base ten number system begins when a child counts ten objects in a set, identifies a quantity of ten, and combines groups of ten to create larger sets. Real-life experiences with multiple sets of ten are a prerequisite for learning addition with carrying and subtraction with regrouping.
• Beans, pasta, crackers, and small candies make excellent teaching tools. Place a handful on the table and help the child make groups of ten. Extras are placed in a separate set. The parent reinforces the concept by stating, “Make ten and count extras.” Together, parent and child count by tens and then add the extras.
Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages
The kitchen fosters opportunities for learning, practicing, and applying fraction, decimal, and percentage concepts. Exploration and part-whole vocabulary internalizes piece and portion skills. As children progress to the symbolic stage, reading fractions, decimals, and percentages, they easily associate parts and pieces to the numbers they represent.
• Cut sandwiches into equal parts.
• Measure and prepare ingredients for a cherry pie. Bake, slice, and discuss in fractional terms.
• Describe a box of assorted popsicles in terms of which a portion of the box is represented by each flavor. Draw pictorial representation.
Mouth-watering math feeds a child’s natural curiosity. A learning laboratory, the kitchen provides a rich environment for children to measure and pour, divide and cut, estimate and portion. The kitchen, the heart of the home, invites learning, encourages sharing, and promotes thinking-a perfect place to be immersed in math with the ones we love.
Cheryl Bastian and her husband Mike have six children, aged 21 to 4, and anticipate the birth of another blessing in February 2011. Homeschooling since 1993, Cheryl organized and led a Central Florida support group, mentors current leaders, and remains active in the homeschooling community. As an author and speaker, Cheryl encourages parents to embrace the education and training of their children. Her books and resources are available at www.cherylbastian.com.
Copyright, 2011. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Spring 2011.
Visit The Old Schoolhouse® at www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com to view a full-length sample copy of the print magazine especially for homeschoolers. Click the graphic of the moving computer monitor on the left. Email the Publisher at Publisher@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.
Getting Ready For School
Make sure you have registered for school.
Visit the doctor for all your immunization shots.
Do your back to school shopping for: lunch boxes, school supplies, backpacks, clothes…
Put together a family calendar and keep it visible with everyones day to day activities and appointments.
Give each of your kids a drawer or box for them to put their school papers and homework each day when they get home from school. This makes it easier for parents to go through their things and locate school forms that may need to be signed, etc. Parents should sort through this once a week and file important papers and throw away things they don’t need.
Set-up carpool arrangements if it is an option. Look into afterschool programs through your school.
Go over your expectations with your child (bedtime, amount of tv allowed, homework time each day, morning routine etc). Talk to your child about what their schedule will be like when school starts. Have your child take initiative with getting ready in the morning. It might help to lay clothes out the night before.
Parenting Tools for Back-to-School
Sometimes the first day of school can be overwhelming. Below are a few ideas from parents on how to prepare your child and get your household ready.
Get ready for school by setting up in advance a homework station or school supplies area in a corner of your house or kitchen. Use containers such as small baskets for crayons, pencilcases for pens, markers and colored pencils. Then store these along with extra paper, a dictionary, and any other school supplies all together inone place. When its homework time, you can avoid searching for whats needed, and the children can get started without any excuse for delay ontheir daily homework.
One other organizing tip for Back to school is: Prepare a place for storing the papers and correspondence that comes home in your childs backpack. There may be notices from the teacher, permission slips to be signed, announcements of special dates or events, volunteer sign-ups, someof which needs to be returned to the school, or put on the calendar. By using a basket or folder as a designated place to store these papers youcan avoid last minute searches.
A quick tip for getting the kids out the door in the morning:
Allow at least five minutes to load everyone and everything into the car. If it takes 15 minutes to get to where youre going, get going 20 minutes prior to allow for the five minutes of loading.
Preparing for the first day of school
Submitted by Don R. MacMannis, Ph.D. A psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and families for the past thirty years.
When summer is almost over, and its time to close down the lemonade stands and dust off the old backpacks you’ll find the only thing constant in life is change. New school or not, this is an excellent time to provide children with social and emotional tools to do their best in the face of lifes inevitable transitions:
First, ask how your child is feeling. Some parents make the mistake of either filling their child with their own fears, or telling them not to be scared about the first day. First, simply listen to your child?s thoughts and feelings. If they appear or are acting upset, suggest that: Lots of children feel sad or scared. Are you feeling something like that??
Now reassure. Once the feelings are on the table and normalized, your child can more easily hear your words of encouragement and reassurance that everythings going to be okay.
Help them view the change as an opportunity. Even though it?s normal to have uncomfortable feelings of anticipation, the butterflies in their tummies can also playfully be viewed as excitement instead of just anxiety.
Program positive thinking. As much as possible, scout out the school, teacher or classmates ahead of time so your child can mentally rehearse what things will be like. Have them close their eyes at bedtime and imagine how their experience will be fun and positive.
Re-establish routines. Providing a sense of security gives children a firm foundation for tackling the unknown. Keep things loving and positive, but with a return to the predictable routine. Sleep is essential to reducing fears and irritability. Spend a few days before the first day of school getting your child back on the new sleep schedule.
Create a ritual of planning. Create a checklist of things to do ahead of time, including purchases, and make it a fun adventure around decision-making. You can also avoid last-minute panic by packing the backpack and laying out the first days “”special clothes”” the night before.
Talk about your own experiences around transitions. Its helpful for parents to teach by example. Share not only our childhood triumphs, but also times that, even as an adult, you overcame the butterflies and are happy you made a change.
Coach them to reach out. Children often wait for other kids to initiate contact with them rather than making the first move themselves. Encourage them to smile, say “”Hi”” to those they know, and reach out and introduce themselves to new kids.
Deal with your own feelings. Facing and constructively expressing your own feelings about your child’s transition provides them with a great model for letting go, and also helps to clear some family tension that could otherwise affect them adversely.
Celebrate the day! How about a special healthy breakfast and end of the day celebration for their accomplishment? Give yourself a pat on the back as well!
Get Your Child Ready for a Successful School Year
–Submitted by Huntington Learning Center
For many students, going back to school is an exciting occasion � a chance to make new friends, embark on new extra-curricular activities and take on new responsibilities. For all students � including those who may have struggled through the last semester � it�s also a chance for a fresh start toward academic success. As the most important �coaches� in our children�s race to achieve, there are three key steps we can take to prepare them for the journey ahead.
Step One: Create a Learning Space: Studying is hard work, even more so amid the myriad distractions of television, technology and other factors that may get your child off-track. Establishing a quiet, neat, well-lit space for studying will help your child focus on homework, and significantly enhance his or her ability to retain material.
Step Two: Establish a Learning Schedule: The beginning of the school year is also a good time to set parameters that balance study time and leisure time. Setting aside a designated period of time after school or in the early evening that is to be used only for academic work (includes homework, but is not limited to it) is a strategy that has been proven effective for countless students.
Step Three: Set the Stage for Effective Parent-Teacher Communication: The beginning of the school year also marks a fresh opportunity for parents to establish the foundation for an ongoing, effective dialogue with teachers, guidance counselors and other school professionals. Speak forthrightly about your child�s particular strengths and interests, and areas in which he or she may need extra help. Make sure the teacher knows how to get in touch with you.
By establishing the right environment at home and a strong, positive connection to what�s happening at school, you can give your child a head start that will drive success all year long.
How Parents Can Support Teachers
Volunteer to help in the classroom. This helps the teacher but it also gives you a chance to get understand your child’s school experience.
Help your kids with their reading and homework (don’t do if for them). You will be helping your child by making sure your child is prepared for school each day.
Get your kids to school on time.
Send healthy lunches and snacks to school. Schools ask that parents don’t send sugary items to school.
Read the notices and newsletters that are sent home so you stay infomed on what is going on both at the school and in your child’s class.
Show respect for your child’s teacher in front of the kids even if you do not always agree with them.