Category Archives: schools

Nearly Two-Thirds of Children Have Been Bullied in Past Month, Resources Included to Help Your Child

iStock_000009411150XSmallWhen I was in school I used to be bullied and picked on. I don’t think any of us haven’t been there. I used to hate it! It certainly didn’t make school any easier. Thankfully I was a bookworm who cared only about my studies, but still to this day I think about how being picked on really hurt my self-esteem. At least all of that is past me, but children still have to be subjected to bullying day in and day out. Some think bullying is a right of passage for children and that it’s a fact of life. I think that’s wrong! That’s one of the reasons my husband and I homeschool our children. We’d rather them concentrate on becoming smart young ladies and not have to deal with the haters.

A new study released by the American Public Health Association reports nearly 2/3 of all children have been bullied in the past month. And although it was once believed bullying happened most often where children weren’t supervised, new data shows children are most bullied inside the classroom.
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10 Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences

iStock_000006627762XSmallAlthough the school year has just begun parent-teacher conferences are quickly approaching. One of the perpetual complaints you hear from parents and teachers when a child is struggling is a disconnect between one other. When a child is having problems in school parents tend to blame teachers and teachers blame parents, but these problems can be addresses early and remedied with the cooperation of teachers and parents.

Donna Henderson, professor of counseling at henderson1Wake Forest University, says, “A good attitude and a spirit of cooperation are the keys to successful parent-teacher conferences. Go in with an attitude of collaboration and a mindset that everybody is working toward the same goal.”

Henderson gives 10 tips on how to ensure a successful parent-teacher conference.

1. Start off on the right foot by asking teachers what excites them about teaching a particular age group or subject. Providing an opportunity for teachers to share some of their enthusiasm for what they do sets a positive tone for the discussion.

2. Parents should keep their children involved by asking them what they would like discussed with a teacher and then providing feedback after the conference. Ultimately, the child must assume responsibility for learning, while adults assume the responsibility for creating and enhancing those opportunities.
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Packing a Healthy School Lunch from Disney FamilyFun

1552854The nice people over at Disney FamilyFun have offered up some really great tips about packing healthy lunches and since I know making school lunch nutritious and fun to eat is a challenge I’m happy to share these creative ideas.

  • Use A Bento Box: Japanese-style bento boxes and their nesting compartments are perfect for kid-size nibbles. Best of all, when your child pops the lid, the entire spread is at her fingertips, which puts the carrots on par with the PB&J and grapes for super-easy grazing.
  • Sneak In Extra Veggies: If the produce in your kid’s lunch is making the return trip home, consider hiding it. Add finely grated carrots to tuna and chicken salad, swap lettuce for nutrient-dense baby spinach, or try Horizon’s new Little Blends yogurts, which offer surprisingly tasty fruits and vegetable combos, such as Strawberry-Carrot and Banana-Sweet Potato.
  • Add (More) Whole Grains: Pack whole wheat pretzels instead of other salty snacks. Or take a cue from nutritionist Barbara Storper, author of Janey Junkfood’s Fresh Adventure!, and make a checkerboard sandwich. Use one slice of whole wheat bread and one of white, then cut the sandwich into quarters and rearrange the squares to create the checkerboard pattern.
  • Offer Nutritious Snacks: Apples not making the grade? Try freeze-dried fruit, such as Brothers-All-Natural or Crispy Green. Another option from chef and school-lunch reformer Ann Cooper: homemade gorp. Kids can choose the ingredients, then mix up their own combinations each night before school.
  • Serve Low-Sugar Drinks: In lieu of traditional juice boxes, pack a juice-and-water blend, such as R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Sensible Sippers, or fill a thermos with flavored water (make your own or try a store-bought variety – just be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners).

On the Net:

Lands End New BackPack Creator

I can remember like it was yesterday when the lazy summer days were drawing to a close and I had to start thinking about the new school year again. That annual school prep time is upon us again as parents. Now we have to shift into preperation mode and make sure our kids have all of the supplies they need to be product students. In addition to paper and pencils and school clothes, children also need a sturdy bookbag for their textbooks.


I have always been a great admirer of Lands’ End backpacks because they are extremely well-made, plus more importantly to kids, I’m sure, these backpacks can be customized to your child’s liking.

Lands’ End has upped the customization options on their kids’ backpacks this school year. Visit to get started with your kids’ customized bookbag.

Back-to-School Backpack Safety Tips

Back-to-School is in full swing and not only are school supplies surely on your list of priorities, but your child’s backpack and backpack safety should be as well. Dr. Sheeraz A. Qureshi, M.D., M.B.A., Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City suggests that parents consider function over fashion when choosing a backpack for a child. “Healthy habits as an adolescent can reduce the chances of having chronic back problems as they get older,” commented Dr. Qureshi. “It is extremely important for students and parents to be mindful of the weight they are carrying and how they distribute that weight.”

Some additional backpack tips from Dr. Qureshi:

  • Check the number of straps. Backpacks with two straps distribute the weight of the bag more evenly, placing less stress on the shoulders. 
  • It is also preferred that a backpack have a strap that goes around the child’s waist to balance the backpack’s weight between the shoulders and hips.
  • Backpacks with wheels place almost no stress on the back and are therefore preferable to standard backpacks. However, some schools do not permit this type of rolling bag so check before buying one of these.
  • Wearing a heavy backpack can affect the way you walk. For children, wearing the backpack lower on the back seems to improve walking mechanics and may reduce pain.

School District OKs Tracking Devices for Students

The ACLU has criticized a Rhode Island school district for introducing a pilot program that will put GPS trackers on two school buses and computer chips on students’ backpacks.

In the program, 80 children will attach radio frequency identification chips, or RFID chips, to their backpacks. The school district believes the tracking devices will help them monitor when children load and unload the buses and help to identify buses that are delayed and the children that are on board.

The ACLU, however, believes tracking children is an infringement of individual privacy as well as a needless way of keeping up with children.

Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, sent a letter to Kraeger and members of the school committee calling the plan “a solution in search of a problem” and saying the school district should already have procedures in place to track where its students are. (Source)

What do you think? Is this school district overstepping their boundaries by making children wear tracking devices? If you are reading this post via a feed, click here to weigh in.

Overweight Children Lose Weight Eating Peanuts

A new study published in the December issue of Pediatrics says overweight adolescents between the ages of 10-15 can lose a considerable of weight if they substitute the high calorie, low nutrient snacks they typically eat with peanuts or peanut butter along with a fruit or vegetable.


The study, “Weight Loss in Overweight Mexican American Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial” found that children typically skip school lunch and only eat a high calorie snack provided by the school. However, if schools start to provide healthy snacks these adolescents tend to lose weight.
“We know that afternoon is one of the most vulnerable periods for weight management. To address this issue, we provided peanuts or peanut butter with a fruit or vegetable as a healthy, nutrient dense alternative”, said Dr. John Foreyt, Director of the Behavioral Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and principal investigator of the study.
The researchers used peanuts and peanut butter in the children’s weight loss program because peanuts were well-liked among the students and peanuts are known to keep people fuller longer. The adolescents in the study lost weight over a 3 month period of time and were able to keep the weight off for six months. 


How to Ace a Parent-Teacher Conference

(Mom Logic) Educator and Mother of three gives us Cliffs Notes on how to make the grade.

Most parents hate it. Teachers dread it. Why are parent/teacher conferences so uncomfortable? Teachers complain that parents are unprepared and talk about nothing. Parents complain they feel rushed. Lucille Kurtz, a Mother of three and teacher for more than 25 years, has some tips for us. She knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the desk.

1. Do your homework. Come prepared with questions and concerns, and be specific. General questions will get you general answers. Also, try and ask about your child’s curriculum if you’re not clear. It helps to know what is expected of them.

2. Be courteous. Most parent-teacher conferences are by appointment, and other parents are scheduled before and after you. Stick to your time, and if for some reason you think you may need more, schedule it in advance.

3. Keep an open mind. As a parent, it’s easy to become defensive when someone, anyone, criticizes your child. Remember, the teacher is there to help, so hear them out. Ask for suggestions that will help rectify whatever the situation, whether it pertains to academics or behavior.

4. Don’t wait for a parent-teacher conference. If you have concerns about your child, contact the teacher immediately and set up a time to meet. Most issues are better addressed right away. And remember, contact the teacher first, don’t go straight to the principal. Then, if you’re unsatisfied with the results, include the principal.

Year-round Schools Fail to Deliver

While school districts around the country are clamoring to alleviate school overcrowding and raise test scores with year-round calendars, researchers are continuing to find that the traditional nine-month model fares equally with 12-month academic calendar models.

With year-round schools, the actual days of learning are no more than the traditional schedule. Each model allots 180 days for instruction. Instead of a long summer break, however, year-long schedules provide several small breaks throughout the year.

Paul von Hippel, a research statistician in sociology at Ohio State University, found that over a full year, math and reading test scores improved about the same amount for children in year-round schools as they did for students whose schools followed a traditional nine-month calendar.

“We found that students in year-round schools learn more during the summer, when others are on vacation, but they seem to learn less than other children during the rest of the year,” said Paul von Hippel, author of the study and research statistician in sociology at Ohio State.

Proponents of year-round education believe that when children attend school throughout the year they won’t lose a lot of information during a long summer break. However, statistics based on von Hipples’ research show that student test scores from 27 year-round schools improved less than 1 percent than students who attend traditional calendar schools. His research did show that poorer students did fare better in reading (although a slight gain) when attending year-round schools. But he also points out that there were no differences in test scores for poorer students in math.

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Little benefit found to year-round schools

Bulletproof Backpacks — Just in Time for Back-to-School

Once upon a time our children could go to school, get an education, make lifelong friends, and all they had to worry about was the kid in class who picked on them or the school bully who harassed them for their lunch money. Now, in 2007, children get killed in schools and that’s not an old wives’ tale. That’s the truth.

A group of concerned fathers have gotten together and created a bulletproof backpack for children to use in the unfortunate event some kid or adult goes ballistic and starts shooting to kill. Usually I would scoff at such a notion, but parents have got to protect their kids, even if their measures seem a bit extreme. In my opinion there’s absolutely nothing wrong with arming one’s child with the tools to survive.

These bulletproof backpacks are not as heavy as police officer’s 15 pound bulletproof vests. In fact, they’re much lighter; even a small child can wear one. They will retail for $175.

On the Web: MJ Saftey Solutions