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

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

Learning Outside: Connecting Children with Nature

Posted by John Bell and Patrick Martin on April 19, 2017 at 5:01 PM
 


Spring days inspire so many of us to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. School sports move outside, while playgrounds and parks become alive with families enjoying time together. Many studies also prove that there is a positive educational benefit of connecting young learners with nature. Author and Early Childhood educator from the Yale Child Study Center, Erika Chrstakis states, "Active learning, and especially outdoor play in nature, is essential to healthy human development."  

Connecting children to nature cultivates:
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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness

What is the Value of a Private School Education?

Posted by Kathy and Ken Nachbar on April 12, 2017 at 4:48 PM


As with many families, the decision to send our children to a private school required a lot of thought.  We both attended public schools, so had no experience with the world of private schools.  And, yes, the financial commitment was a challenge. But we firmly believe that the decision to send our sons to Sanford School played an important role in their success in college, their careers, and their overall happiness.

Among the many benefits of an independent school such as Sanford, the small class sizes, emphasis on individual attention, and excellence of the teachers stand out. 

We offer two stories that illustrate why we believe this:

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Topics: Education, Academics

Standardized Testing in Independent Schools

Posted by Eph Humphreys on April 6, 2017 at 4:09 PM

One of the benefits of independent schools is that we are not bound by state or federal legislation dictating the use of standardized testing to measure our students’ academic growth and success. This academic freedom allows each independent school to operate true to its mission. Ultimately, the academic growth and success rate of independent school students are measured by college matriculation.

Independent schools have the freedom to select a standardized test which best serves their students and their college preparatory goals. The tests that most independent schools use, ERB tests, are created, produced, and scored by the same company that creates, produces, and scores the PSAT and SAT. These tests are specifically designed for independent schools and are inherently more challenging than other standardized tests because they have to discriminate among children whose schools have a more challenging curriculum. The specific data that independent schools gain from standardized tests is extremely helpful because:

  • Teachers and administrators can identify potential gaps in our curriculum where we need to dedicate more exposure to specific topics or skills.
  • Post-testing curriculum evaluations help to ensure that our academic programs deliver the necessary knowledge and application skills.
  • We can see where students have demonstrated individual growth and also areas of weakness.
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Topics: Education, Academics

Finding Character Education Programs in Schools

Posted by Sanford Counseling Team on March 8, 2017 at 4:10 PM
 
What if you had to choose whether your child would learn to understand algebra or be a kind person, but not both? Fortunately, we don’t have to make those kinds of decisions because good schools teach both academic skills and interpersonal skills. Most parents have an understanding of the academic concepts taught at schools and can find more specifics in a curriculum guide or a set of grade-level standards.   But, where do you look to find out what schools are doing to help kids grow up to be kind and responsible adults? How do you get a sense of how kids treat each other at a particular school?
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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness

What is Authentic Learning?

Posted by Jim Barnaby on February 14, 2017 at 5:13 PM

 

Authentic learning is messy, loud, and somewhat chaotic as students grapple with application of their ideas and classroom learning to solve a problem. Authentic learning is active, creative, and fun. 

What does authentic learning look like?
Student teams discuss their thinking, develop and implement a plan of action, and get to work. Some plans fail, and students learn to quickly adapt their thinking and craft new solutions as they work within time constraints.

This ebb and flow of successes and failures is part of authentic learning, and students learn more from failures than successes.

Authentic learning develops critical thinkers who are collaborative problem solvers prepared to meet the demands of our dynamic global community. 

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Topics: Education, Academics, STEM

Makerspaces?  What Does the Maker Movement Mean?

Posted by Emily Amendum on February 1, 2017 at 4:44 PM

 “What do you do in a makerspace?

The simple answer is you make things.

  • Things that you are curious about.  
  • Things that spring from your imagination.  
  • Things that inspire you and things that you admire.  
The informal, playful atmosphere allows learning to unfold, rather than conform to a rigid agenda. Making, rather than consuming is the focus. It is craft, engineering, technology and wonder-driven.” ( Thinkers and Tinkers)

Students who have developed a growth mindset expect and appreciate struggle, learn from their mistakes, and value process over product. They embrace challenge and difficulty because they believe that failure is a vehicle through which true learning, growth, and development occur.

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Topics: Education, Academics, STEM