Education Matters—Sanford School's Private School Blog

How to Help Your Child with Homework

Posted by Suzanne Humphreys, M.A. on September 22, 2017 at 11:30 AM

 Who likes to do homework? We all have work that we need to take home in different forms, but it helps us to prepare for our next day, week, or month. Most students have nightly work, preparations for projects or tests, which is designed to prepare children with the necessary skills to succeed at various levels of educational development. Daily homework should reinforce skills learned in the classroom and preparing for tests/projects should require time to plan and work.

Each student is a unique individual, and how and when he or she works needs to be specific to them. What may work for your first child may not work best for your second child. Plan, plan, plan and be sure to have a good home-and-school partnership to ensure success for each of your children.

Here are a few quick tips on how parents can help with homework:

  • Provide a quiet, distraction free work area such as a desk or table with good lighting and no distractions.
  • Routine time to work—it’s a good idea to schedule a similar time each day to do work so each child gets into a routine.
  • Help your child create a homework plan each night—if you know that one night is busier than others, help your student plan out how to get the work completed and/or work ahead for the next busy night. A visual calendar helps with this organization skill.
  • Parent-teacher partnership—know the expectations of your child's teachers so you can help reinforce those expectations at home.
  • Have the student do his or her own work—let’s face it, you’ve already completed the grade your child is currently enrolled in, so it is his or her turn to learn and do the work on their own.
  • Role modelif your child is working, you can be working too. You can be prepping for dinner, balancing your checkbook or completing any other adult work you may have.  This sets a great example of good work ethic for your child.
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Topics: Education, Academics

Advice for Students Beginning their Freshman Year in High School

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on September 8, 2017 at 11:30 AM

While exciting and hopeful, beginnings can also be frightening and uncertain. A student’s freshman year of high school is one of those hopeful, yet undetermined beginnings. You can be anything and do anything which is as much daunting as it is exhilarating. The next four years will help prepare a student for whatever the future holds, so it is very important that it go as smoothly as possible. With awareness and foresight, all of the stress of beginning school can be replaced by the excitement and joy it deserves. To ease the transition from middle to upper school, incoming freshmen should try:

JOINING A FALL SPORTS TEAM

Participating in a fall sport such as volleyball, field hockey, soccer, or cross country means coming to school a few weeks early for fall preseason. This bonding through sports practices makes the transition from middle school smoother as it gives students a head start getting to know people before school gets too busy. Preseason offers a few stress-free, fun, and hard-working weeks in which to get to know some of the other high schoolers. Students also get an opportunity to form a bond with an upperclassman who can give them advice about school.

Joining a few clubs
Joining clubs is a great way for freshmen to quickly get involved in the school’s community and a great way to meet like-minded people. By participating in a club that reflects the student’s interests, he or she is more likely to meet people who have similar interests and values. Clubs are also an excellent opportunity to gain leadership experience. Students can spearhead a club’s project or become part of the leadership of the club itself. These leadership positions sometimes help a college application as it allows colleges see how students apply themselves outside of the classroom.

Going to teachers for extra help
Believe it or not, teachers actually want to help their students as much as they can and want them to achieve all that they are capable of. If the freshmen year classes quickly become harder than expected, students should absolutely approach their teachers for extra help. Whether it be explaining a concept in more depth, doing practice problems, going over a test, or discussing the possibility of dropping the class, teachers are always more willing than students think they are to help the students succeed.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness

List of Back-to-School Essentials

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 25, 2017 at 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year! Though I am not talking about the holidays, the beginning of a school year also means a lot of shopping for parents. With the impressive amount of tasks that need to be accomplished, coming up with a comprehensive list of all that needs to be purchased for the upcoming academic year is something that most parents just don’t have time for. Here is a basic list to help guide any parent and child in their search for school supplies.

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Topics: Academics, Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

Back To School Checklist

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Back-to-School Checklist

New shoes, sharp pencils, and fresh starts: the beginning of the school year offers students the opportunity to improve study habits, forge new relationships, and acquire new skills. It is a time of immense potential for discovery. As such, it is very important to hit the ground running. Not only does conscientious preparation enable a student to capitalize on this fresh start and avoid playing catch up for the rest of the year, but it also minimizes the back-to-school dread and angst some students experience.

Here is a checklist that can help to make this preparation easy and painless.

  • Buy Books
    Purchasing the upcoming year’s textbooks is obviously crucial to a student’s success in school. It is every child’s nightmare to show up to school already nervous only to realize that they don’t even have the right materials to succeed. This is a very simple task to accomplish early as there tend to be emails to parents or links on a school’s website regarding the purchasing of textbooks.
  • Do Summer Reading
    One sure way to win a teacher’s approval and ease the transition from summer to school is to make sure all of a student’s summer work is completed. Just check your summer work syllabus to make sure you have all of the work complete for the appropriate class before school starts and it will undoubtedly take a load off of your mind.
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Topics: Education, Parenting Tips

What to Look for When Choosing a High School

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 4, 2017 at 10:45 AM

High School is one of the most important influences on the lives of adolescents. It becomes a student’s world at an age when they are still developing their identities, growing into adults, and learning about life. The teachers, students, and learning material serve to influence how teenagers think and view society as they adopt more responsible roles in their own lives. Something that has such a large impact on students' lives should be chosen with careful consideration. A student’s school should be welcoming and tailored to their needs with many exciting opportunities to take risks, make connections and be creative. There are many factors in this monumental decision to consider in order to get the most out of the experience, including:

Classroom sizes
Whether big or small, this choice should be influenced by a student’s learning style. If they do well working in groups with more peer input, having many classmates may be best suited to them. If they do better in a calmer environment with more personal attention from the teacher, a small number of classmates may be the right choice.

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Topics: Education, Admission, Community

Best Apps for Kids for the Summer

Posted by Sandy Sutty on July 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Engage your kids in learning throughout the summer with a variety of experiences to help them to continue their growth and prevent learning loss. If you have a phone or tablet, apps can do more than keep them busy. It is important to select apps that engage your child, strengthen their skills, and promote learning. In addition, make sure to balance screen time with playtime to help your child to create a healthy relationship with technology. 

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Topics: Summer, Parenting Tips, STEM

Summer Programs: the Learning and Fun Continues Beyond the School Year

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on June 19, 2017 at 5:30 PM

As the school year comes to a close and the end-of-school events fill every waking hour, it can be easy to forget what lies ahead. While the children are getting more and more excited to have three months with no obligations, the parents see the inherent danger in the situation: the kids will be joyous for the first two hours of their newfound freedom and lamenting about their boredom for the rest of the time. Rest assured, this parental dread of summer is not uncommon or unrectifiable. It is a simple matter of planning things for your children to do. To the parents who want to avoid three months of television watching for their children, fear not; here are a few programs to help keep your child engaged over the summer.

On Fridays throughout the summer, the Delaware Museum of Art offers a “Glory of Stories” event in which children ages two and older can go and be read a book, tour some art relevant to the story, then complete an art project. This is a great time for your child to explore creatively, be exposed to all kinds of professional art, then create some art of their own. This fun Friday activity is an awesome weekly opportunity to get out of the house and seek different cultures close to home.

To a child looking to try something new, Wellspring Farm holds a summer riding camp from June 12th through August 14th for all children 6-13 even remotely interested in dabbling in this craft. The children will do things such as receive basic riding instruction, work on their balance, learn about the anatomy of horses and how to care for them, play games, and do crafts. This program teaches children how to be safe with a large animal and bond with their peers and the horses. The week is concluded with a horse show for the children’s family and friends. The children do not have to have any experience riding to participate and will be mentored by the older riders who have more practice and wisdom.

From June 31st through August 4th, the Brandywine River Museum of Art has a camp which offers children ages 9-14 the opportunity to explore their interests in both nature and art. The camp emphasizes exposing the parallels between the beauty of the outdoors and the beauty of painting. They will observe patterns in nature and try to mimic them in artwork of their own. This is an opportunity for intellectual, personal, and social growth and offers opportunities to be exposed to the artwork at the museum.

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Topics: Education, Summer, Health & Wellness

Why We Read: Sanford School Shares a Love of Literature

Posted by Sanford Faculty and Staff on May 17, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Reading is more than a valuable skill for academic and career success; it can be a door to an adventure, exposure to a new culture, or a temporary escape to another realm. At Sanford School, we encourage students to read for meaning, but also to read for joy. Here are some favorite books to read and reasons to read from Sanford's administration, faculty and staff:

"I love reading because it allows me to travel through time and across borders even when I’m in the waiting room at the dentist or curled up cozily on my couch. I love the way reading can challenge me to think about what I believe and why I believe it." For me, Edwidge Danticat offers the marriage of these two experiences in her Haitian novels, particularly my favorite, The Farming of Bones, Brianna Smale, English Teacher and Department Chair.

"If it is fiction, then I can taste what it might be like to travel to different places and times. If it is non-fiction, then I am able to bring meaningful input into conversations with my friends about various topics. My favorite authors are Rick Riordan and Tamora Pierce."  A favorite book is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Danielle Winter, Upper School Latin Teacher.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Admission, Community

School Traditions: Building Community in Schools

Posted by Janice Payne on May 9, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Unity and understanding, both in families and societies, are created through traditions. Schools are both large families and small societies. School traditions bring together unique students, staff, and families to create a strong and cohesive community. Traditions remind us of the history that defines our past, molds who we are today and shapes who we are likely to become.

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Topics: Community

Why are Sports Important to Your Middle School Student?

Posted by Shannon Helmecki on April 26, 2017 at 6:44 PM


Over the last twenty years working with Middle School athletes, I have learned the value of keeping kids active and instilling the importance of lifetime sports at a young age. Often, the lessons learned off the field are greater than the skills and strategies of the game. Many times, these life lessons are so much more impactful than just reaping the benefits of exercise.

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Topics: Athletics, Health & Wellness