Monthly Archives: November 2013

Flu-Busting Foods: Keep Your Student Flu-Free This Winter

Flu outbreaks in schools are common as students gather in close proximity.  Of course you teach your students to wash their hands regularly and to shield their mouths when coughing and sneezing, but this may not be enough to protect them from seasonal flu. Another way to prevent them from getting sick is to bolster their immune systems. To this end, make sure that they take a regular vitamin supplements and make sure that they also eat lots of these immune system-friendly foods.


This is the good kind of bacteria that aids in digestion and with the absorption of nutrients in the body. Probiotics are available in fermented foods like natural yoghurts and probiotic drinks. Supplements are available too. Probiotics reinforce the strength of intestinal walls and boost immune systems.


Ginger has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and also helps to settle stomach and prevent nausea. Ginger has the same pain-relieving properties as over-the-counter pain medications.  You can add ginger to fruit salads, soups and stir-fries or slice it thinly and steep in warm water to make a tea. Add honey for added anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Chicken Soup

This really does work! Studies have shown that chicken soup has other benefits beyond rehydration and nutrition. Not only does chicken soup have mild anti-inflammatory properties, it is also thought to improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses. Add garlic to your chicken soup to improve its healing powers.  Garlic stimulates your immune system and has anti-microbial properties.

Leafy Dark Green Vegetables

Spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard and other leafy greens are excellent flu-preventers. Packed with vitamins A, C, D, K, B1, B2, B6, and minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium and copper, leafy greens are a great option for improving the immune system.

Sweet Potatoes

These tasty tubers are packed with beta carotene which can also be found in carrots. When absorbed into the body, its converted to vitamin A which helps neutralize toxins and combats respiratory infections. Sweet potatoes also combat free-radicals and this helps to boost the immune system.

Citrus Fruit

Enjoy an orange or a grapefruit, or sip juice if you are not up for eating. The vitamin C in citrus fruit helps to boost the immune system. It’s a great preventative measure too as vitamin C helps to boost cell integrity so that they are more able to withstand germs and viruses.

To improve your immune system, avoid sugary or processed foods and always include seven fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Drink fruit juices and green tea to boost your system and combat free radicals. Preventing illness is easier than you think and is just one of the plethora of positive benefits of eating well and exercising regularly.

Note: adapted from a post originally published 11/22/2013 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog


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Is Your Child Addicted To Gaming?

When you look at the kinds of trouble teens can get themselves into, gaming may not seem like a bad idea. Your children are safe and sound at home and they are quiet and occupied in their rooms. But don’t be fooled: too much gaming can affect almost every aspect of your child’s life from academic performance to social development and health.

Consequences Of Gaming Addictions

The sedentary lifestyle encouraged by gaming can lead to childhood obesity and all its related problems. From the BBC: “Up to 90% of school leavers in major Asian cities are suffering from myopia – short-sightedness – a study suggests.

Researchers say the “extraordinary rise” in the problem is being caused by students working very hard in school and missing out on outdoor light.”  The same lack of outdoor light is typical for most gamers.  Other common issues include:

  • Coordination and muscle development can be stilted in students who choose to game rather than play sports or get active.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns mean your child is more susceptible to illnesses and has trouble paying attention.
  • Social development is negatively affected when online interaction is the only way your student socializes.

Is Your Child Addicted?

Just because your child plays a lot of games doesn’t necessarily mean that she is addicted to gaming. The Center of Online Addiction outlines several warning signs to look out for:

  • Playing for hours every day
  • Thinking and talking about gaming even when engaging in other activities
  • Lying to conceal the amount of time they spend playing games
  • Feeling irritable or angry when they are not able to play games
  • Playing online games to avoid dealing with real life, with problems, anxiety or depression

What To Do About Gaming Addictions

The first step is to ascertain whether your child is just fond of gaming or whether they have an addiction. Most kids love to play games and will do so whenever they get the opportunity. It’s ok if they play games from time to time, but gaming should not take over their regular activities, hobbies and sports or socializing.

If you suspect that your student is addicted, start keeping records of how much time they spend gaming, the issues they are avoiding by gaming and the problems their habit causes.

If you are not able to curb your student’s gaming by setting limits or encouraging a wider range of activities, it may be time to seek professional help.  Treating gaming addiction is similar to treating any other kind of addiction; it takes time, patience and perseverance.

The trouble with gaming is that it’s impossible to avoid using computers. Gamers who are addicted must learn to use computers without being tempted to play games. A professional can help your student to deal with any social or emotional issues which encouraged them to seek shelter in a game in the first place.

You also need to replace the excitement, interaction and social world that the gamer experiences online with similar ‘real life’ experiences that are positive. Perhaps the thrill of online gaming can be substituted with sports, or hobbies that are new and exciting. Replacing the gaming time with other rewarding activities will help your student to move back into the real world.

Note: adapted from a post originally published 11/25/2013 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Monday “Think About It”

If public education is so good why shouldn’t parents be provided educational vouchers or credits they can use at a school of their choice?


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Sunday Morning Shout Out

“ Musings  on a November Night”

“ I don’t like the sound of the wind tonight, Mama. It scares me!” my daughter said. 

“The shadows on the wall look like people.  Can you lay with me?” she said.

As I lay down next to my youngest daughter, this night is also troubling me.  Earlier, I went to a P.A.T.H. Coalition meeting.  PATH  is  Western New York  faith-based coalition that stands for People Against Trafficking Humans, a very real and disturbingly present phenomenon worldwide, including here in Western New York.  When victims are trafficked they are forced to provide labor or commercial sex.  They are sold and bought upon an illicit market for profit.  Why this makes mention here because it is a problem that impacts all economic and social demographics, with some very startling statistics regarding children and this issue.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’,  100,000 children in the United States were trafficked and sexually exploited in the past year.  Yes, 100,000 in 2012 and we were told this is a very conservative number.  To me even one person is too many!   People should not delude themselves.  Slavery still exists and its modern form is human trafficking.  Victims are forced to cooperate or they are beaten and tortured mentally, physically, and sexually.  They are sold and resold in a vicious, vicious way.  People, including children, can be sold across international and state borders.  But, they are also being sold and exploited within communities, even our community!

Fortunately, there are coalitions, such as the one I went to tonight, that have been formed in Western New York and across the country.  These coalitions are striving to educate the public about this issue, which  is often misunderstood if even considered at all.  They are also rescuing victims and working with survivors to acclimate them back to normal lives.   The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers many tips for keeping our children safe. From guidelines on how to talk to our children about these issues and how to effectively communicate about any issue, should an exploitation situation arise, to guidelines about computer safety and general safety in the community, there are many helpful tips for parents about protecting our children from sexual predators.

As I lay with my youngest, I think of the things that are my scary wind and shadows on the wall at night.  I think to myself, if only I could hang on to you forever and explain away every wind and shadow.  If only….

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White Suburban Moms?


Another case point for the folly of Federally directed education and fads such as ‘No Child Left Behind’ and ‘Race to the Top’.  Also shows to me how elitist and out of touch Washington is with the population.

As reported in a Washington Post Blog on  Nov 16th

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told an audience of state superintendents this afternoon that the Education Department and other Common Core supporters didn’t fully anticipate the effect the standards would have once implemented.

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

Overcoming that will require communicating to parents that competition is now global, not local, he said.

To help overcome the issues created by poorly thought out Race to the Top and Common Core directives, goals and plans people need to go to their State Representatives and local Boards of Education.  Too many children and families are being hurt by something that should be helping them.

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Filed under Academic Advice, Education, Education Reform, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”

Should schools enforce stricter dress policies for students and staff?

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Sunday Morning Shout Out

The television show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader” is temporarily being replaced by a new show “Could You Get to High School in 1912?”  The Christian Science Monitor website recently featured an article that allowed its readers to take part of a high school entry exam for one Kentucky county in 1912.  Called the “Common Exam”, it was noted as a big deal.  Perhaps it sheds a little light on today’s Common Core Standards.  But as I write this, I am remembering that this was a high school entrance exam.  Some of my fourth grader’s math assignments do not look extremely  different in comparison.  Would you make it to high school in 1912?  In the article, your grade is tabulated as you go.  Let me know your thoughts and if willing your grade!  It will be fun to see who is off to 9th grade.

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