Each week, we will be posting about pertinent articles on educational and school-related topics, how they relate to Engaging Minds students (and parents!), and how to apply this information to your child(ren). We will also be posting original content pertaining specifically to the Engaging Minds approach and philosophy with tips on how to improve and enhance your child(ren)’s learning experience.
Our hope for this blog is to make it a valuable resource for parents. To that end, if you read any interesting articles or have any suggestions for topics, please feel free to email Dan Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please comment on posts in the section below with your own input, ideas, and experiences. While we can’t promise we will be able to use all of your suggestions, we would very much appreciate your contributions and thoughtfulness!
Most children want nothing to do with academics over the summer. In spite of parent’s best strategies, planning, and intentions, children still struggle to participate in learning activities encouraged at home. Sometimes, it takes special programming outside the home to get kids using their brains again. We noticed this phenomenon last summer, when we cracked the “motivation mystery” at one of our Engaging Minds Writing Workshops. On the last day of our program, one of our students expressed some serious disappointment, saying, “I wish I could come back tomorrow and keep writing!” We were just as surprised and delighted to hear those words over the summer months as any parent. But we also knew that we had prepared our students with a fun and engaging writing experience.
Let’s face it: When the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and the final days of school dwindle, your children spend A LOT of time day-dreaming about the lazy days of summer ahead. They imagine summer camp, cookouts, and beach days very vividly, while conjuring up answers to their homework questions or final projects can be a challenge. Parents and teachers both struggle to keep their students’ heads “in the game” when the summer months approach. However, there are many ways to help keep kids focused, in the classroom and at home. Try these tips during your child’s study or homework times to keep your kids on track:
Everyone knows the many benefits of exercise, and all children hope to grow up “big and strong.” When your child exercises, he builds muscle, reduces stress, and prevents many serious health problems, helping him to grow into a healthy adult. But, did you know that exercise improves brain health and can enhance your child’s performance in the classroom? Although it is always necessary to “hit the books” to do well in school, it is just as important to “hit the gym.” Here’s why:
In school, developing academic self-sufficiency often requires a skill called self-advocacy, or a student’s ability to “effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights” (VanReusen et al., 1994). Most importantly, self-advocacy “involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions,” usually independently or with minimal help from parents and school authorities. Sooner or later, every student will grow into adult, and will need to use their skills, intellect, manners and morals on their own terms. So why not start practicing now? And why not start with self-advocacy in the classroom and at home?
It is wise to be wary of old wives’ tales, myths, rumors, and superstition. But when a phenomenon is supported by substantial data, it’s hard to keep looking the other way! Although parents, students, and educators all hate to admit it, students experience significant learning loss when they are out of school during summer months. This learning loss, often referred to as the “Summer Slide,” is the real deal, and has long-reaching effects. Luckily, the Summer Slide is preventable with the right tools, goals, and programming. Parents and educators can help students stay academically engaged throughout the warmer months, counteract significant learning losses, and even make some learning gains.