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.
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.
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.
'Tis the season to be jolly!
As we plan holiday trips and travel, being mindful of children's sleep routines are equally, if not more important. As parents, the more we protect sleep routines, the happier the holiday celebrations will be. Consider the upcoming holiday hints to keep sleeping patterns a priority.
Children are resilient and flexible to a point. Consider asking the host well in advance if festive evening events can be scheduled during an earlier family-friendly time. Otherwise, consider a babysitter, or simply make a plan that better suits your family.
Macs…PCs…Chromebooks…iPads…tablets. Which of these devices is the best technology option for your child?
The answer to that question depends on several factors including:
- Your child’s needs
- Your child’s interests
- Your budget
Your child’s needs
If you’re purchasing the equipment for your child to use in school and at home, check with the school to make sure that whatever you buy is suitable and permissible for use in the school. While some academic institutions which offer 1-to-1 programs require that all students use the same model computer or device, many schools allow students to bring the device of their choice to school. Keep in mind that student-owned devices may need to meet minimum mandatory requirements such as installation of a current operating system. Talk with your child’s teacher or someone from the information technology department before choosing a computer to help ensure that whatever device you purchase can be used on campus.
Your child’s interests
Is your child interested in using the device to play games, watch movies, listen to music, and engage in activities beyond academics? Or, will she use the computer for completing school assignments, surfing the Internet and checking email? Students whose computers will serve as media players and gaming stations will need faster and more powerful machines than children who use their devices solely for completing school work, sending and receiving email, and browsing the Internet.
The holidays bring a rise in giving for most non-profit organizations, including schools. Annually, about one quarter of all charitable gifts are made from Thanksgiving to Christmas, due both to the proximity to the end of the tax year and the altruistic tendencies brought on by the season. Most non-profits invest a great deal in holiday solicitations and efforts such as Giving Tuesday, immediately following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you itemize deductions when you pay your income taxes, your charitable gift qualifies you for a tax deduction.
The amount of the deduction is based on your tax bracket. In some cases, up to 85% of the gift is deductible under current tax laws.
Gifts of appreciated securities allow the donor to avoid capital gains.
If an investor has held an appreciated stock or mutual fund for more than one year, they can donate those securities and receive a tax deduction for the fair market value of the securities, and eliminate any capital gains assessments.
Gifts of depreciated securities are also tax deductible and the capital loss can offset capital gains in the current year and possibly into the future.
Topics: Parenting Tips
As a professional photographer, I’ve learned that there is so much you can do with your smartphone to capture memories of school events, sporting events, family trips or just candids at the park. But you don’t have to be a professional to be able to get the great shots. You just have to learn a few tricks of the trade.
One of the first things I always check for is the light. Where is the sun? We all love sunny days, but quite frankly when taking pictures, I really do pray for a few clouds. With the earlier fall sunsets upon us, try to make sure the sun is behind the kids. This way they won’t be squinting into the sun, and you’ll get some gorgeous sun flare and backlighting to make it a stand-out snap.
When the sun is in front us we tend to get some squinty eyes, but it can also offer great lighting on our kids. If they can bear with it, try a few this way. Always try a few different angles. A cute, funny sunglasses pic works when the sun is blaring on the soccer sidelines. Remember, it takes more than one shot to get the one you want. I always ask my kids for a redo.
Topics: Parenting Tips
Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. As the adults in our children’s lives, it’s smart to be savvy in our quest to keep them safe while still preparing them for life in a digital world. Are you starting from scratch to comprehend the vast world of social media? You’re not alone, and there’s a lot to learn! For starters, here’s our primer on the ABCs of Social Media.
Once you know what social media is, the next step is learning how kids use it. You’ll want to learn what sites your children are interested in using and find out what accounts they may already have. (Though your rules may be different, most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old to create an account.)
Ask your child:
- What do you like about social media sites?
- How do social media sites make some things more complicated?
- Do you ever find it hard follow the rules of digital citizenship?
- What happens when users don’t follow those rules?
- Have you ever been cyberbullied or do you know someone who has?
- How do you and your friends handle that?
- How do you keep yourself safe online?
By the time your child arrives at school, are both of you already exhausted? Rushing, tears and raised voices in the morning create negativity that lasts well into the day. Starting the school day off in a peaceful, well-planned manner will make everyone feel in control, creating a positive mindset for what lies ahead.
A great morning starts at night! By creating a pre-bedtime routine, most of the morning’s tasks will already be complete.
- Lay out clothing for the day ahead, including coats and shoes. End scrambling for lost items or early-morning disagreements over outfits. Involve your child, so they do not balk when it is time to get dressed.
- Put items to be taken to school in a convenient location. This includes homework, backpacks, musical instruments, sports gear, permission slips- anything that they will need the next day. Consider creating a checklist and hang it by the door-—and following this plan yourself.
- Prepare lunches and plan out the morning’s breakfast.
- Discuss any schedule changes for the day ahead. Include after-school plans and pick-up times.
- Have your child bathe before bed. One less task for the morning.
- Get to bed early. This means parents, too. We are all at our best with plenty of rest!
Create a morning routine that is as simple as possible.
- Rise before your child and do something for yourself. Take time for a spiritual reading, exercise, snuggle or get yourself dressed in peace. You will start the day feeling more in control and emotionally centered, allowing you to deal with your child from a positive place.
- As age appropriate, create a morning schedule and list tasks to be completed by your child. Allow them to feel in control by making decisions on how they will get themselves ready. Try posting a timetable in a conspicuous spot.
- Electronics remain off. Televisions, games and social media can become a distraction for children, as well as parents.
Topics: Parenting Tips
Digital citizenship is a way to teach students how to use technology responsibly and respectfully—and it’s an important aspect of developing good character in our students. Because using digital media is a part of our everyday lives, we teach them how to manage their school Gmail accounts and Google Apps for Education for their learning. We also talk with them about how to manage themselves online, especially when using social media.
As educators, we think a lot about social media and how to use it effectively and responsibly. We work with our students to make sure they know how important it is for them, too. The guidelines our school uses for our own posts are designed to create a positive atmosphere online. We teach appropriate technology use to develop good digital citizens.