Tag Archives: end of summer

Sunday Morning Shout Out


While “Auld Lang Sang” may be more associated with New Year Eve’s, back to school has it own “Auld Lang Sang” feeling too.  We start the new school year with many resolutions for our children, family, and home life.  Do you swear that this year everyone will be more organized, less rushed, more calm, more together regularly, etc?  Like a gym come February, many of our school resolutions get lost once the school year gets into full swing.  At the website Great schools.org,  in the article “Start the School Year Right: Tips From Our Expert,” there are some fantastic tips to launch a good school year.

There are tips aimed at better communication and improved understanding within our home.  The article discusses striving to really listen to our children (especially when they are being really open-bedtime, during a television show, after a shower, a car ride, etc) and focusing in on what our children are saying.  We should strive for understanding and give short, concise advice or guidance, when needed.  One way to do this is to get into a regular practice of talking or listening a few minutes each day, and take our conversations with our children as the little pearls that they are, for everyone’s benefit.

There are also tips for improving what I will call family sanity. -The top tip-not to get too overextended in extra activities, especially with young children.  It just over taxes and stresses everyone out!  Along these same lines, the article discusses scheduling time as a family to relax, be it through a movie night, game night, or commitment not to schedule anything extra , night.  There are the miscellaneous tips aimed at improving academic success and surviving the wilderness of adolescence, for both parents and teens alike. When you have to be in the car for games, rehearsals, practices, etc, there are tips to make the best use of downtime to increase academic success.

Through fun games and educational games, vocabulary, math, geography, and you name it academically can be improved. The article looks at the special dynamics of the middle school and high school years.  Typically, it is a time when parents become less engaged at school.  The article heavily suggests finding ways to engage, be it through the PTA , education forums, or parent support groups.  It discusses the careful dance of “negotiated freedom” for teens, via chances to prove themselves and committing to doing their part to uphold their responsibilities and place in family life.

There are some other great ideas here, too.  What do you do to launch a successful school year?  What helps you keep it going?

 

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


It’s that point of summer.  When we are down to the last week(s), I get the compelling need to make the most of the time left.  It’s a need to fulfill the summer bucket list, but also to make sure we have taken enough time this summer to work on sustaining academic skills.  In taking stock, I believe we need to amp up our efforts with math.  I feel that the girls have done well with digging into some good summer books. I feel that our son has mostly been read to in ample fashion.  Math- we could be a better friend to and partake in more activities.

In turning my focus to math, I have Googled different math sites for some summer assistance.  One site that I am liking is kidsnumbers.com.  It is broken down by age and such skills that run from addition and telling time to doing algebra and geometry.  My girls will clock, (but not too many hours to get in the way of summertime fun) some time at this site to brush up on skills before school starts.  At this site, there are lessons, explanations, and instructional videos. It is made by graduates from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley.  You can create an account to keep track of your progress.  Did I mention it is totally free?  Now I know I sound like a paid spokeswoman, but honestly this seems like a great product that your children will enjoy and that will give you peace of mind.  It’s a good way to remind kids that math is fun, just like summer.  It is reassurance that come time for school, your children will not be left in the dust.

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


Faster than you can say melting ice cream by the pool, school will be back in session for Western New York students.   Transitioning back to a school schedule can be a very challenging task, even for the most organized parent (for the record I do not claim to be).  Fortunately, there is always expert advice.   In her article “Countdown to School-Ready,” Dr. Laura Markham shares this week’s parenting secrets, with her useful tips for getting children ready for school.  Here are a few of my favorites.

One very important thing for parents to start doing now, if they haven’t already, is get your child to bed earlier.  In this household, bedtime has fluctuated throughout the summer, often to accommodate special events.  We have been enforcing school bed times as much as possible in the last week.  It is important for children to get between 9.5 hours sleep and 11 hours sleep to function at maximum capacity. Start having your child go to bed a little earlier each night, so you a reach school bedtime, well before the night before school starts.

Another suggestion is to tour the school.  Whether your child is going to kindergarten or moving up into the junior high school, having a sense of where you are going a head of time can be an immense relief and stress reducer.  Along these same lines, if it is possible for your child to meet her teacher ahead of time, this truly helps!

Dr. Markham suggests preparing your child emotionally for what is going to occur.  She describes how a parent can “walk” a child through her day, by describing what will occur; when hellos and goodbyes will be said; who will pick your child up, etc.  She suggests developing a rhyme, song, or routine around it. One book that many parents have used for just this purpose is Audrey Penn’s “The Kissing Hand“.

Some of her other great ideas include involving them in back to school supply shopping, whether it be in your home or at a store.  This helps your child mentally prepare and get excited for what’s to come.  Lastly, I just love her idea for a celebratory end of summer dinner for the family. With this, parents can help their children recount their favorite moments of summer.  She goes with rounds of appreciations and “I look forward to …. What a great way to mark what’s been; transition into the school routine; and set a positive tone for the year ahead!

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Filed under Education, My Experiences, Parenting

Sunday Morning Shout Out


End of SummerIt was that type of day you find yourself daydreaming about when school returns or perhaps even better, when snow flies.   The breeze was gentle and the air smelled sweet.  The sky was a crazy quilt of different shades of blue. The early morning temperature was in the low 70’s, moving towards 80.  The van was packed. We were off to the beach!

Sand toys; a picnic lunch; and the usual summer detritus were carried out of the van.  The kids were anxious to explore and dig.  Although the temperatures were rising, the sand enticed my lot more than the water when we first arrived. While we were at beautiful Beaver Island State Park, a great ocean reflected in my two year-old’s eyes.  He seemed beside himself with awe and wonder.  My girls and my nephew busied themselves with making castles and then burying themselves. I breathed and took it in., though part of me wanted to greedily gulp it down.  As it warmed up even more, the water pulled us all into her reach. My in-laws and I walked into the water to join the kids. I was so grateful they orchestrated this day!

Not a better balm exists than the water, for this summer girl. As summer wanes, I hold onto the season more tightly.  I am reminded of how quickly the season is turning, as I see the Canadian geese frolicking on the beach and think of the cool nights after the warm days. Right now, I will enjoy summer singing her swan song….

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


So this is the point in summer in which I hang on tight before it’s, going, going, gone.  It seems we went from heat wave to “autumnish”  lately.  The air is that much cooler and crisper, as the sun sets earlier; certain leaves don fall hues; and the sparrows that descend in large flocks on lawns come fall, have been practicing lately. As usual, I am not ready for summer to end.

As I assemble my list of things I would like to squeeze in still, I think of some the things that have made summer so enjoyable.  Recently, an old college friend came to stay for the weekend. In thinking of things to do, we went to Canalside in Buffalo.. During the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the harbor was the Western Terminus of the Erie Canal. Recently restored, you can see the refurbished “Commercial Slip,”  “Central Wharf,” “Whipple Truss,” foot bridge, cobble stone “Commercial Street,” and foundations of several canal era buildings.  The site is accessible all year-long, though summertime now finds the once forgotten WNY treasure bustling with different activities everyday!  My daughters loved East Aurora’s “Explore and More,”  Canalside site, where they were able to make model boats. There were many other hands-on activities for the children, including:  a water table, building blocks, and board games. Most Fridays in the summer, the museum has offered children’s activities. Plans for a permanent “Explore and More” site at  Canalside  are underway. There are self-guided walking tours, yoga and zumba classes, and lectures and live performances at Canalside for adults.  Truly, there is something for everyone at Canalside.

Today, I was reminded how fun parks can be. As I waited for a prescription to be filled, we went to a nearby park. From the new walker in the family, to the fast and fearless eight-year old, I remembered how fun it is for kids to climb, swing, and run around in endless abandon. I wish I wasn’t a grown up sometimes in order to just get lost in that endless abandon that can be childhood and endless summer. I had such a good time that we are making a plan for tomorrow to go back! These little jewels can get lost in the shuffle to other places. I know we haven’t gotten to one in awhile, until today.

Last weekend, I finally got myself to the farmer’s market. Like so many things this year (with a new baby in the house and renovations) a lot of things have gotten lost with our new normal. Again, I was reminded of how nice it is to see and talk to the person who grows your food.  What a contrast between this way of purveying food and the supermarket tomato!

I guess it’s not just the great things to do in summer, it’s also the pace. I just so enjoy summer’s leisurely pace. Once school begins this laid back pace of things ends until, well, next summer. How nice for the baby to have a wagon ride in the yard and for the girls to ride their bikes in the early morning! Soon school, Sat. lessons, and other weekend busyness will replace such summer idleness. For now, I will soak up what’s left of my favorite time of year…..

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Technology, Unplugged


With the new school year looming on the horizon, the opportunity for students to unplug from technology and take a techno-vacation is drawing short. Before the summer is over, try spending a day unplugged with your family. Leave the computer shut down, the phone in your pocket (just in case of emergencies), and the television turned off. Put away video games and bring out board games, leave behind your couch for the grass. In Western New York, we can truly appreciate every season for the opportunities it affords, and late summer is a beautiful time to be outside.

Sometimes getting caught up in technology is necessary. That big final paper that’s due, an e-mail that needs to be sent, that Netflix movie you have to watch before it’s no longer on instant play. However, every day doesn’t have to be dictated by technology. Choose a day that everyone in your family can get unplugged. For your first time going off grid, it might be easier to have a destination in mind rather than staying at home. Western New York offers tons of great destinations, both outdoor parks and indoor museums, that would make a great day trip.

Unplugging means a chance to relax and to connect with reality. Sometimes technology can feel totally consuming, and taking a breather can be necessary both physically (try standing up, stretching, resting your poor eyes!) and mentally. The irony of this is that I’m currently on my own laptop, working on a blog while also checking my e-mail and monitoring Twitter. After I get done with this blog, I think I’m going to head outside and enjoy the pool that will soon have to be closed. I hope that you and your family an enjoy the final days of summer with one or two unplugged days!

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