Monthly Archives: January 2013

When Your Child Starts to Fall Behind {a guideline for parents}

happy boy doing homeworkby Ria Clarke 

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As much as we, as parents, like to believe that we are on top of things, there are times when we let things slide. After all, life is stressful and filled with distractions and constant interruptions. Falling behind happens to the best of us.

But what happens when you begin to notice your student making low grades, or you get a note from the teacher that there’s an issue? What’s a parent to do? Here are some practical steps to get your child back on track.

1. Identify the problem if possible. Make a mental checklist and ask yourself important questions: Have you created a dedicated learning space at home that is free from noise and distraction? Is your child getting enough sleep? Is your child over-scheduled? Have they had a recent eye or hearing test? Are they too engrossed in gadgets or television? Rule out overlooked easy-to-resolve issues, first. 

2. Communicate with the teacher. Don’t wait for the problem to mushroom. My son’s second grade teacher has after-school tutoring for children that are falling behind. During these sessions, she gives them the personalized attention that may be impossible during the regular class period. Regular communication with your child’s teacher will help nip problems in the bud before they get out of control.

Asian Mom Daughter3. Make the necessary adjustments. If you have identified that your child is over-scheduled or is not getting enough sleep, take the necessary steps to ensure that your child cuts back on extra-curricular activities or nighttime television so that he or she is well rested. Make sure your child has all the supplies and essentials handy in their homework center and make sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. And, keep yourself in the loop on their progress by checking over your child’s homework so you catch any errors or missed problems before assignments are handed in and graded.

4. Review the material. Not all teachers offer after-school tutoring, but you can help your child by spending the time to go over concepts at home. Visit your local teacher store and purchase homework helpers and various learning aids to reinforce what your child has been doing at school. Make the review sessions short but meaningful so your child doesn’t get resentful or frustrated.

5. Consider professional help. Ask your child’s teacher for references, or check your local library or go online to search for homework help or private tutors. Investigate established places like LearningRx, Omega Learning Centers, Appleton Learning, Huntington Learning Center, or Kumon for extra help.

SonKissingMom High ResIt is also important to recognize that each child is different and learns differently. Work with your child’s teacher to help your child unlock the potential that may be locked inside. It may be frustrating at first but stick with it. Remember that practice makes perfect.

Ria Clarke is the proud parent of a second grader and a toddler. She’s also a SAHM and freelance writer of various lifestyle and educational issues. When she’s not actively involved in projects and homework or chasing down a toddler, she can be found in the kitchen baking or curled up with a good book.


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How Technology is Changing our Classrooms

by Steven Madison

“The times they are a-changing.” The famous Bob Dylan song lyrics are just as true today as they were when he first sang them in February 1964. The times are always changing, and with the rate technology moves in today’s world, they are changing fast. Ten years ago a cell phone was still a luxury item. Today they are ubiquitous. Twenty years ago we were still listening to cassette tapes. Today, all of our music is digitalized, and nobody needs to go further than their computer screen to buy the newest (or the oldest) music on the market. The times, they are certainly a-changing.

One place where technology has quickly transformed the environment around it is the classroom. While computers were once a novelty, perhaps a 45-minute per week diversion, they are now found in classrooms across the country and put to use by students regularly and naturally. Not all schools have been fortunate enough to have the funding necessary to take advantage of all the available educational technology, but still, the technology even in those classrooms is usually significantly more advanced than most adults would remember from their childhoods.

Bringing technology into the classroom setting has a number of benefits for students and teachers alike. Instead of simply absorbing the information that is taught to them, technology often makes students take on more engaged roles, actively communicating, generating, manipulating, and studying the information instead of just passively listening. This can make a teacher’s job easier. Instead of being the constant focus of attention, she can become more of a facilitator, providing goals, guidelines and resources while the students actively participate.

Just like sports and art can provide outlets for students who are not as academically inclined, technology can provide new ways for students to express themselves outside of the traditional subjects of math, science, social studies, and language. Music programs, video editing, and photograph manipulation are often performed surprisingly well by young kids with innate senses of how the technology works. Some of these students, for example, wouldn’t be able to write an essay about the meaning of family, but using technology, they can make musical tracks, videos, or photographic collages that express those same emotions.

Of course, in today’s economic environment, American students can use every advantage they can get, and refining proper technical skills is the perfect place to start. One of the few industries that is constantly growing is information technology. The earlier children are introduced to these skills, the more comfortable they will be with them, and the more likely to master them later in life.

With all of these benefits that can be derived from having up-to-date technology in the classroom, many teachers are looking to upgrade the technology they have. In a recent survey by software developer Wondershare, 82% of teachers said they wanted a tablet device in their classroom, 73% said they wanted new teaching software, 72% said they would like laptops and 70% asked for interactive whiteboards. 98% of teachers said in the survey that technology assists them in engaging their students.

However, as any consumer knows, technology costs money. Nobody is handing out free tablets or laptops, not even to schools. Is your school district receiving enough funding to take advantage of all that technology has to offer? Talk to your elected officials and research candidates’ records in supporting funding for schools. Technology can do wonders for the education of students all over the country, but before the students can use it, the districts need to buy it. Ask your kids’ teachers how technology is being utilized in their classrooms, and consider donating your own technology or money to the cause.

About the Author: Steven Madison writes for educational websites, such as Anatomy Now. In his past, he has been a tutor, teacher, as well as a member of a school board.

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