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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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Healthy Kids How To Parenting

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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Parenting

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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Parenting

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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Art With Kids Board games and card games Books Cooking with kids Crafts How To Parenting

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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How To Parenting

How do you get kids up in the morning?

Kris_in_bed_by_ianus

I’m still searching for the best way to wake kids up in the morning.

A way to get them out of bed, and get them on their way to school without all of us being grumpy with each other.

There are 3 kids to wake up. We have to leave the house at 7:10, to make it in the car by 7:15, to make it to school by 7:25. Yes, it takes 5 minutes for all of us to get from the house to the car. On a good day.

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Parenting

Keeping your kids safe – do you trust other parents with your kids?

Buttermilk Falls and its swimming area

I love this post by Veronica, about “how do you encourage independence while keeping your kids safe”.

I want my kids to be independent and have fun, but it’s most important that they be safe.

I try to teach my kids about personal safety and making good choices, because I know I won’t always be there with them. But honestly, I have a hard time trusting other parents with my kids. Other parents – and other families – have different rules and values. And sometimes they conflict with your rules and values.

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Music videos Parenting What's Hot

What’s Hot: Mean, by Taylor Swift (or, Tales of our First Girl Sleepover)

My daughter, Katy, had her first sleepover party recently.  She’s 9 now, and I promised when she was done with third grade she could have one.  I was a little nervous.  Although we’ve had countless boy sleepovers, this was our first GIRL sleepover.

Boy sleepovers are rowdy, wild, and full of videogames.  What would girls want to do?

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Parenting

Bedsharing with your children – experts say “no harm, no benefit”

CNN today had an interesting article on bedsharing with your toddler. Basically, the experts say while it’s not advisable for infants under 12 months old to bedshare, or co-sleep, there is no harm for kids older than 1 year. What’s important is that parents and kids are getting safe and sufficient sleep:

“If a family is going to bed-share, both parents must agree to it,”  explains Brett Kuhn, associate professor of pediatrics and psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  “Make sure it’s planned and intentional and that you do it from the beginning of the night to the end of the night.  You’re not going to play musical beds when the child fusses.”

Bringing a child into your bed to stop repeated episodes of crying may not only interrupt parental sleep but  interfere in the child’s ability to soothe himself to sleep.

I agree it’s important that kids need to know how to fall asleep on their own – without you there.  But I disagree with the “whole night” requirement above.

Every family is different, and what works for some, doesn’t work for others.

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Parenting What's Hot

Letters to Santa…

Every year for Christmas I have the kids make a short list to mail to Santa.  The rules are simple:  you can have up to 10 things on the list, and you have to put a “star” by the top 3 things you really want.  They understand they may not get anything on the list, but it makes them think about what they really want, and I have a clue what to get them.

What’s interesting about their letters to Santa is there are no Zhu Zhu Pets, Squinkies, LaLaLoopsie dolls, Monster High dolls, or any other “hot” toy – other than the Nerf Stampede.

The lesson to be learned here is, maybe it’s not so important to know – or care – about the “hot” toy lists.  Maybe it’s more important to have a dialogue with your child, and talk about their hopes and dreams for the holidays.  Then balance that with your budget and what you feel comfortable giving.

As my daughter reminded me yesterday, “Mommy, Christmas is really about Jesus’ birthday”.  And my son piped in, “And it’s about being together with people you care about”.  So they know.  And I feel good about that.  But, I also do want a few presents for them to unwrap and play with.  Because they are kids, and Christmas is still a magical time for them.  And a magical time for me, because they are still young and we are all at home together.  Now, what to do with the $77 of Squinkies I bought…

What did your kids ask for?  Were you surprised?

Photo:  Scott Feldstein