Tips Archive

Saving on School Supplies
Many parents dread the start of school due to the inevitable list of expensive school supplies. One of the easiest ways to save money is to take advantage of the sales offered by your local stores. This time of year even the grocery stores get in on the back-to-school action. Check the sale circulars and see what’s on sale, where. When you stop to get a gallon of milk, pick up the pencils for $.20. When you buy shoes at the Wal-Mart, pick up crayons for $.25. If you start early and shop the sales, you are more likely to save big on school supplies.

To Schedule or Not to Schedule?
When it comes to child training, schedules are a controversial issue. Many people shy away from them after hearing horror stories about micromanaging parents. However, this is seldom the reality. As a teacher, I am a big fan of schedules. And here is why. Scheduling creates order. It allows children to know what to expect today, tomorrow, and next week. It has been said that the most terrifying quality that children find in adults is inconsistency. Scheduling creates consistency both in the home and in the classroom. Take time to write down your family’s schedule, let your children participate in the process, and you will find a significant increase not only in your home’s organization, but in the amount of time you spend together!

Funny Fractions
Fractions are one of those tricky math concepts that just tend to trip kids up. And if your child is like most others, he probably isn’t thrilled about the idea of practicing at home. However, what kids do enjoy is cutting stuff up – and you can use this to your advantage when reviewing fractions! When the family orders a pizza, give your child the pizza cutter (as long as you can trust him not to cut his finger off) and let him cut the pizza in half, in quarters, and in eighths. Take the opportunity to ask him how many slices he has cut the pizza into, how much of the pizza he is going to eat, etc. You can do this with many other foods and household items (i.e. a pie, a sandwich, a pancake, or some play dough). It may sound funny, but this will help your child visualize fractions – and help them stick in his mind!

Making Spelling Fun!
Studying for spelling tests can be one of the most tedious homework tasks. An easy way to make a dreaded event more fun is to invest in a set of foam letters (about $2.50 at Wal-Mart, found in the craft section). When it’s time to study spelling words, let your child use the foam letters to write out each one. Make it a game by having a “competition” with her to see who can spell the word correctly the fastest. Set a timer, and have fun!

How to Encourage Early Language Development
Many parents have a desire to give their child an early start on language development, but don’t know where to start. The best way to encourage your child to read is to provide him with positive language experiences. Read to your child. Point out funny words on signs or in advertisements. Give him colorful books or flashcards that will pique his interest. And perhaps most important of all: let her see you enjoying reading. The more positive experiences your child has with language, the greater his desire will be to learn. Love for learning will inevitably result in educational success.

Multiplication making your third grader see stars?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in helping your child learn his multiplication is to drill him for long stretches at  a time. Instead, purchase several packs of flashcards from the local dollar store and place them in spots where you spend idle time (i.e. the car or the bathroom). When your child has a few minutes of down time, encourage her to practice her multiplication. A couple minutes of practice a few times a day will be much more effective than thirty minutes of forced concentration.

Trying to encourage your child to read for fun?
Go to your local library or bookstore and find titles that speak to the activities that he enjoys. Does he spend hours hunting for insects in the backyard? Is horse-back riding her passion? Find books on the topics your child loves, and you’ll likely catch him curiously picking them up when he thinks you’re not looking!

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