Archive for Parenting

Common Core and standardized testing – Opt out? A parent’s perspective.

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

This year, huge numbers of kids “opted out” – in other words, refused to take the state standardized ELA and/or math test. According to Huffington Post, “Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams”.

Business Insider reports parents are concerned about puzzling questions, exam accuracy, and children spending too much time taking tests, and as a result are “opting out” their child from taking the exams.

One mom, Bianca Tanis, has even started a public forum called NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) to discuss the issue and promote opting out. A visit to the NYSAPE website shows you how to refuse the NYS Common Core test in 4 easy steps. There’s even a video, that claims: “You’re not opting out – you’re refusing, and in doing so you’re advocating for your child’s best interests and exercising your constitutional rights as a parent to guide your child’s education.”

It all sounds good, but is “opting out” the right thing to do?

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Got lice?

Head lice

Head lice

 “Lice” is not a word people like to hear. It’s embarrassing. And, exhausting when you think about all the upcoming work you will need to do.

But, lice happens.

And it happens to lots of different people, for lots of different reasons. It’s not because your house or kids are dirty. It’s not a reflection of bad parenting. Lice are just tiny, annoying, itchy, hungry little bugs that get around.

If it happens to you, get informed, and come up with an action plan.

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Our trip to Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge, NY

watersafari

Summer is rapidly coming to an end, and we asked the kids — where was the #1 place they wanted to go for a Saturday day trip? They all chose Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge, NY. We’ve been there a couple of times before, and it’s always been fun.

Enchanted Forest of the Adirondacks opened in 1956, with the first amusement ride added in 1984, and the first water slides constructed in 1988. By 1991, the name changed to Enchanted Forest Water Safari.

Map of Enchanted Forest Water Safari

Map of Enchanted Forest Water Safari

It’s a huge water park that has rides for all ages – teens and little ones – along with a wave pool, and carnival-type rides for people who don’t want to get wet. There are lots of places in the park to buy good eats and drinks, and ice cream and cotton candy. And, best of all, they allow you to bring your own cooler, so you can pack a picnic, and eat at the many different picnic areas.

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10 things you can do for Mom on Mother’s Day – for free!

BoywithDandelionsByEricPeacock

Every year for Mother’s Day I think about how much I love my kids, and how lucky and grateful I am to be a mother. And I wonder what they will surprise me with on Mother’s Day.

First thing when I wake up, a little after the crack of dawn, I am instantly alert, dreading the “breakfast in bed” surprise. It’s not that I don’t love someone making me breakfast, it’s the interesting things they serve – one year it was chicken nuggets. Another year it was a banana, and a plate of crusty “scrambled eggs” with only a trace of yellow.

Then there’s the arguing about who’s going to carry the tray, on the dangerous journey up the stairs. While I wait, feigning sleep, holding my breath, with my fingers crossed. Ready to spring out of bed if I hear an “Oops!” followed by a crash-itty thumpathump.

At the top of the stairs, they negotiate in loud whispers – who gets to serve the tray to mom. And who gets to wake me up.

Then it’s me, trying to balance a tray on the covers, and not spill the cold cereal all over my sheets. Oops, there goes the orange juice. And the maple syrup. And the chicken nuggets.

Then, they take photos of mom, with major bedhead. Smile!

To heck with it. Their joy is infectious. Everyone piles on, and I set the tray on the nightstand. Time for hugs and smiles all around.

We are so blessed to be a family. I’ll change the sheets later, smiling inside. They love me.

So what can you do for Mom on Mother’s Day?

Without spending any money?

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Nature Walks: Get outside with your kids

TwinGlensforsythia

Spring is here, with summer just around the corner. It’s a great time to get outside! Taking a nature walk with your kid is a great idea – you get to spend time together, while enjoying the beauty of nature. You get exercise, and a chance to talk and connect with each other.

Getting to explore and exercise outdoors is good for kids, who don’t get much of an opportunity these days to get in touch with nature.

According to a recent Nature Conservancy survey, the amount of time kids spend outside varies widely, and goes down as kids get older: preschoolers spend about 12 hours a week outside, but 16 year old teens spend less than 7 hours a week.

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Teaching the next generation to drive

TAram

I’m teaching my 2 oldest sons to drive. One of them is 18, way past time to get his license, and the other is 16.

I’m teaching them to drive, instead of sending them to Driver’s Ed class at their school for a couple of reason: number 1, it costs $300+ per kid, and also, because I think I can do a better job, with individualized instruction and a healthy respect for the power you are wielding when you drive.

It seems kids these days aren’t really excited about driving, and are delaying getting their driver’s license. Unlike when I was younger, when kids eagerly got their permit at 16, and their license as soon as they turned 17.

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88 fun things to do with your kids when you’re stuck indoors, that don’t require electricity

CouchFort_bywillholmes

It’s that time of year.  Snow, cold, sleet, slush.  Even in Atlanta.  What do you do with your kids when you’re stuck indoors?  Sure, you could let them watch TV, or hand them a tablet.  But, what it you want to do something with your kid?  What if the power is out?  Or maybe you’d like them to unplug for a bit, and have some old fashioned fun.

Here’s a list of 88 fun things to do with your kids when you’re stuck inside. Some are old classics, some are new. Some are high energy, movement ideas, and some are more quiet and calm. Try to switch it up a bit, and go with what feels right for your kid’s energy level.

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