Archives for April 2009

Work-at-Home Moms Need a Mother’s Helper

One of the hardest decisions women have to make when they become moms is whether they go back to work and leave their children with sitters, stay home and become a full time mom, or become a work at home mom. When my children were babies, long ago, most of my fellow teachers quit teaching when they started their families.

A few of them, the more daring, went back to work and hired babysitters at home or in the sitter’s home. The lucky ones who had grandparents around left their little ones with grandma and grandpa. The first day care centers were just emerging and the concept of au pairs was on the horizon. Both were quite radical ideas at that time.

I decided to be a work at home mom. I would tutor children from my own home and write children’s books in my spare time while my little ones napped or sat quietly next to me and played. Their napping and playing would be the secret to my success. Was I delirious?  [Read more…]

Falling Asleep during Homework

“Jonah, Jonah,” I repeated. Jonah’s mom had dropped him off a few minutes early, and he had fallen asleep in the waiting room. I had a tough time waking him up. Jonah, like lots of kids today suffers from sleep deprivation. How about your kids?

Kids (and adults) who don’t get enough sleep can’t function properly. Sleep restores energy to the body, particularly to the brain and nervous system.
When your child doesn’t get enough sleep, she has trouble concentrating on her schoolwork and remembering what she’s learned, even controlling her temper. The amount of sleep people need varies. [Read more…]

Does Multi-tasking Interfere with School Success?

“What did you say? I was just texting my friend. Oops, sorry, that’s my phone. It must be my mother to see if I got here okay. So, which book did you want me to take out of my backpack?”

Jen, a fifteen-year old, was listening to music, too. As she got settled. I asked Jen if this kind of multi-tasking goes on all day. She confirmed my suspicions that multi-tasking goes on while she does her homework, including all the social interactions on her computer.

I’d bet your teens are doing this kind of multi-tasking too.

Life on this “fast track” doesn’t leave Jen or your kids enough brain cells for homework. [Read more…]

Obsessed with Getting an A

“I have a 98.7 average, and I want to go to an Ivy League college. My mom and dad both graduated from Ivy League schools and so did my brother.” Leslie, age 16, was staying up until two in the morning studying in hopes she’d follow in her family’s footsteps.

Naturally we all want our kids to do well in school. We want them to succeed. However, some kids are driven. They become fixated on getting nothing lower than an A.

In itself, getting all A’s isn’t a problem as long as it doesn’t create emotional problems. However, if you see signs that your child’s natural ambition for excellence is becoming problematic, you need to step in. [Read more…]

Too Stressed for School Success?

Read what Lori, a 13-year-old, said to me. Are we listening to our kids or just asking about tests, grades, and is their homework done?

“All the teachers care about is if I did my homework. They don’t even ask me about my life. My dad lost his job and my mom has cancer. Homework is the last thing on my mind.” Lori is stressed and it’s not about school.

Everyone has personal problems sometimes. Some are serious like Lori’s, others not so serious. Sometimes minor problems are blown out of proportion and appear to be more important than they are, impacting on more important things such as schoolwork.  Big or small, we need to pay attention to how our children think about their lives and what’s worrying them. [Read more…]

Dyscalculia Symptoms Why Can’t My Kid Do Simple Math?

If you change the name, is this a familiar scenario at your house?

“Jessica, you’re so careless. You do this all the time. Look, you failed the test because you added when you were supposed to subtract. Didn’t you see the minus sign? Then you multiplied 6×7 and put 40. You even wrote 54 instead of 31 when you recopied your answer onto the next page. What’s wrong with you?”

Jessica isn’t really careless. She’s got classic dyscalculia symptoms, a math disorder. Unfortunately, characteristics of dyscalculia are often not picked up as being a math disorder. [Read more…]

The Closet, The Homework, What a Mess!

It’s the third time this week he’s forgotten to bring his homework home. Then you looked in her closet and couldn’t get the door shut because of all the stuff she’s crammed in this tiny space. There’s no order whatsoever to the mess. It’s no wonder she can’t find anything!  What’s a Mom to do?

It’s not just ADHD kids who are disorganized? Kids who don’t have ADHD sometimes can’t remember to bring homework home either. Can’t remember to take the homework back to school when they did bring it home. It’s not intentional. He really means to get his homework done. He just forgets.

Maybe her school materials are poorly organized. Maybe he has poor time-management skills. With all the distractions bombarding kids today, it’s not surprising that they forget so much and are so unorganized.

Without some basic organizational strategies, kids do poorly in school and their grades plummet. Some kids end up cheating or lying–whatever it takes to survive school with a minimum of criticism and punishment. Disorganization and forgetfulness get in the way of success at school.

You can teach your child how to be more organized. Maybe you’ll even find some of these tips useful around your home. [Read more…]

Help! It’s Math Homework Again

Here’s a familiar story. He comes home with his math homework. It’s 8th grade algebra. He can’t do it. He’s trying really hard. You say, “Well let me take a look. Maybe I can explain it to you.”  One glance and your eyes glaze over. You can’t do it either.  You can’t figure out as much as he can.

And it’s always kind of embarrassing. After all, you’ve been there for language arts, for social studies, even the dreaded science project. [Read more…]