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Navigating Your Child’s Education:
A Blog for Parents

Ages 3-K

From Picture Books to Readers

When it comes to the earliest years of literacy with our littles, picture books are what typically come to mind. These books usually contain beautiful, purposeful illustrations that accompany the text that we read to them. Picture books not only help to build those all-important early literacy skills but also help to create deep and lasting connections. Whether it's a book about going to school for the first time or a story about making a new friend, picture books help to expose our young learners to new concepts and vocabulary, as well as the basic elements of reading.    

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Math for Preschoolers: Easy as 1-2-3?

When it comes to preschoolers and math, counting numbers is likely the first thing that comes to mind. Learning to count is typically the first obvious "math" skill that children pick up in their earliest years. But as babies and toddlers become preschoolers and move closer and closer to Kindergarten, there are a number of additional "math" skills that they must acquire as a foundation for their formal education.

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Books Build a Lifetime of Connection

We know that early literacy is important and a great indicator of future academic success, but there are many other benefits to young children reading and engaging with books, especially when doing so with a caring adult. Reading offers the opportunity for children and caregivers to experience several elements that strengthen their connection with each other.

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Grades 1-5

Does Memorization Still Matter?

In the 40 years that I have been teaching, I have seen a lot of changes in the world of education. In my earliest years in the classroom, rote learning was the primary way that knowledge was transferred from teacher to student. Rote learning relies heavily on the repetition of material for the purpose of memorizing it. This teaching technique was widely used across all disciplines. Students memorized important dates and events in history class, entire music pieces in music class, famous poems in language arts class, and math facts and equations in math class.

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Building Teacher-Parent Rapport

In my years as an elementary school teacher and principal, I have seen first-hand how crucial the relationships are between parents and their child’s teachers. Positive parent-teacher interactions and strong communication ensure that a student will continue to grow in their social and academic skills over the course of a school year. But this type of parent-teacher rapport is something that isn’t typically established in one open house meeting at the beginning of the year or one email exchange introducing yourself. Like any other healthy relationship, teacher-parent rapport takes time and intentionality to build. There are three key behaviors that parents can engage in to build this rapport, summed up with the acronym O.N.E. These elements provide a framework for teachers and parents to come together, partnering to accomplish one unified goal in a given school year: the continued holistic growth of the student.

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Five Steps Parents and Kids Can Take Toward Emotional Development

“Don’t be sad.”

“You shouldn’t feel scared.”

“Stop being angry.”

“You don’t need to get your feelings hurt over it.”

“You should be so thankful.”

It’s not uncommon to hear parents addressing their children with comments or corrections involving how a child should or should not feel. This is especially true with emotions many deem “negative” such as hurt, fear, anger, and sadness. Though these admonishments may be well-intentioned, I believe they miss the mark on what human beings are supposed to do. We are, by our very nature, highly emotional beings capable of experiencing a broad range of sentiments. If children are consistently taught to ignore or squelch “bad” emotions, they will likely be unprepared for life. A healthier, more holistic approach is to empower our children emotionally by teaching them to experience and express a wide range of emotions, and help them learn to regulate their emotions when necessary.

Emotional empowerment has five primary stages. Parents can practice each of these stages with their child no matter the child’s age. These are fundamental skills that everyone needs. Developing the ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions is a life-long process, one in which there is always room for growth and improvement. As such, parents can serve as models for their own children as every member of the family seeks to grow and mature.

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Grades 6-8

Raising the Next Generation of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field that specializes in securing and defending operating systems and servers, devices, networks, and data from malicious attacks. On a personal level, we know that our email can be hacked or our social media accounts can be compromised. On a corporate level, there has been an alarming number of data breaches in recent years. On a national scale, even our government and civic infrastructure are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Perhaps the biggest threat to maintaining our way of life involves the need to secure our country’s citizens, online infrastructure that’s directly tied to physical infrastructure, pipelines, and more.

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Understanding the Middle School Brain

One moment, our middle schooler makes a great choice and shows signs of maturity. The next moment, they do something so foolish it catches us off-guard and leaves us feeling frustrated and confused. Middle school is notoriously challenging. Teachers, parents, and students alike experience difficulty during this period of development. Understanding that your middle schooler is going through significant brain changes may help you relate better to them and empower you to care for them.

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Easing the Pain of Summer Reading

As each school year comes to a close, parents and students alike collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Summer! That glorious break from the stress of writing papers, meeting project deadlines, and late-night study sessions. Yet, there is often this little nagging thing that tends to hang over the sunshiny months between school years, creating stress, frustration, and conflict between parents and their students: summer reading. Many schools, especially for students in middle school and high school, have required summer reading. It may be just one or two books already selected by teachers or students may be given options of books to read. No matter the structure or requirements, what I have witnessed in my own experience of teaching seventh- and eighth-graders is that students typically fall into one of two camps when it comes to summer reading—the early-readers and the procrastinators. 

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Grades 9-12

Learning that Sticks

Parents: think back to your own school days.

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Teens and Money

In many ways, money is a taboo topic in our culture. Most of us don’t dare talk about how much money we make or spend. We hold financial information close to the chest, as a very private matter. So, when it comes to discussing money and teaching our kids about finances, it can be a challenge. From a young age, kids begin to understand that in order to get the things they want or need, money is required. However, the complexities of saving, giving, and investing money do not come naturally to a child and must be taught and reinforced over time.

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Vocation: More than Just a Job

Even at an early age, students begin to ask the legitimate question, “Why are we learning this?” By the time a student reaches high school, they have likely perfected asking this question.

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