August 18, 2008

Safe Kids — Make sure your kids get to school safely

Whether you’re a parent jumping enthusiastically for joy, or a kid moaning and groaning, there’s no getting around the fact that school is just around the corner. And as schools across the country kick into full swing, children will be filling the streets, sidewalks and parking lots as they get themselves to and from school.

When I was a kid, I had to walk … uphill … both ways, for most of my youth. And it snowed most days, too! Whether your student will be traveling by bus, car, bike or under foot power, there are numerous things to keep in mind to make sure each trip is a safe one.

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Is Your Preschooler Ready for the School Bus? Are You?

Your young preschooler may be ready for class, but is she ready for the bus?

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June 4, 2008

Need tough love, not bad parenting

Our primary schools reward what they call citizenship, a series of behaviours ranging from helping a hurt friend, to finding the scissors for teacher, to not sticking gum under the desk. What they don’t teach is the morality of citizenship; the web of rights and obligations that cling to the right, or obligation, to vote.

Our schools, and our systems, teach the necessity of keeping your head down. Of not being the person to dob on the ministerial pedophile. Not fessing up to being the boss of Beth Morgan, the lowly Wollongong planner found to be corrupt, but whose decisions must have been ratified by any number of now-invisible superiors. Not carrying the can.

Full story: We need tough love, not bad parenting

May 14, 2008

Less School Pressure, More Results

Like most schools these days, Edmonton’s Vernon Barford junior high lived by the modern ethic: more homework produces smarter kids, better marks and happier parents.

But that changed in 2006 when the school decided to buck the trend and reduce the load of assignments sent home in the book-laden backpacks of young teens.

The result? Even better marks, happier students and more creative projects, says Principal Stephen Lynch.

Full story: Less school pressure, more results

September 7, 2007

When You Can No Longer Help Your Child with Their Homework

(ARA) – Many of us remember when our kids were young and helping them with their homework was fun, but that pleasure can turn to pain once they enter high school.

Even if you took the same courses they are now struggling with — algebra, American literature, physics, chemistry and Spanish, to name a few — those days can suddenly seem like a very long time ago. In fact, according to the May 2005 MSI-ACI Homework Study, more than two-thirds of parents experience frustration when helping their children with homework, citing the main problems as a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and a lack of time.

Hiring a tutor is an option, but that can get very expensive. One helpful tool is Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, an all-in-one software suite that helps students write research papers, solve difficult math and science problems, and learn foreign languages.

“Microsoft Student helps young scholars be more productive with their homework,” says Dave Brooks, product manager for Microsoft Student at Microsoft Corp. “Instead of just giving kids the answers, it shows them how to find those answers themselves. And it gives parents a resource they can use when they’re too busy — or simply unprepared — to help their kids with their homework.”

Ann Mackinnon of Minneapolis recently purchased the software to help her 14-year-old son, Ian, with his math and Spanish studies. “Things have changed so much since I was in college,” she says. “Even with the advanced math I took, the methodologies are different, so I couldn’t help my son the way I wanted to. This tool helps him help himself and makes everything much more visual.”

Mackinnon explained that instead of just giving Ian the solution, the software solves math problems step by step, just like Ian would in class. And a graphing calculator with 2-D and 3-D capabilities gives him a more visually engaging learning experience. Microsoft Student also includes a foreign language help section, covering French, German, Italian and Spanish.

According to the May 2005 MSI-ACI Homework Study, 84 percent of kids use a PC to do their homework, but 61 percent of parents say their kids don’t always find what they need on the Web. Even when they do find information, it’s hard to tell whether it’s accurate. Microsoft Student includes a premium version of the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia, giving students an easy way to find information they can trust for reports or research papers.

Microsoft Student is available for download for $49.95 (U.S.) at http://www.microsoft.com/student. Microsoft Math, an enhanced version of the math features included in Microsoft Student, is available separately on the same site for $19.95.  

“The most important part of helping my son with homework is getting him to the point where he can do it himself,” Mackinnon says. “It not only empowers him, but it saves me time. After all, parents don’t like spending hours on homework any more than kids do.”  

Courtesy of ARAcontent