Parenting and Learning Issues

Each child learns differently. Here we offer resources on learning styles and the classroom models that support them, expert advice on how to improve learning, and tips on parental involvement.
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Published December 06, 2016 |
How Important Are Extra-Curricular Activities for College Applications?
It is never too early to start prepping for college by engaging in some extra-curricular activities that will help you to show a college admissions team who you are and what you believe in.

Every high school student in the country knows the word “extra-curricular” – it is a word that strikes fear into the heart of many. While extra-curricular activities may seem like a fun way to kill some time after school, for many students they are much more than that. They are a gold star on a college application – something that has real implications for the state of their future. But just how important are extra-curricular activities for your college application and are some better than others?

What Kind of Extra-Curricular Activities Are There?

When it comes to extra-curricular activities, the options are endless – but what really counts as an extra-curricular? Technically, it is an unpaid activity that doesn’t pertain to ordinary school classes. The activity itself may occur either in or out of school, though elective classes don’t count. For example, theater class is an elective because it takes place during school hours and it is an actual class – theater club is an extra-curricular if it takes place outside school hours and it isn’t technically a class. Volunteer work can also qualify as an extra-curricular activity. Here are some examples of extra-curricular activities you might consider joining:

  • Special interest clubs (clubs for like-minded students, often focused around a particular subject, activity, or interest)
  • School service clubs (clubs where students engage in projects to improve the school)
  • Scholarship clubs (clubs that exist primarily for prestige, though they may also offer scholarship awards)
  • Community volunteering clubs (clubs where students engage in projects to give back
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Published October 10, 2016 |
Simple Tips for Boosting Your Child’s Testing Performance
Poor testing performance is not always an indication of low intelligence. If your child struggles with testing, take the time to identify his individual challenges then work with his teacher to practice and improve his skills.

When you ask your child about what he learned in school, he can probably tell you what subject he studied and rattle off some relevant facts. But when he brings home a test on the subject, you don’t see an “A” marked in red at the top of the page. Many parents do not realize that testing is not necessarily an accurate measure of your child’s intelligence, or even of his ability to understand certain subject matter. Testing is a skill and some children simply struggle more than others.

If your child seems perfectly intelligent and hardworking but still struggles when it comes to testing, you shouldn’t just brush it off. Testing is an important part of most school curriculums so it will benefit your child to take action sooner than later if he struggles with testing. Keep reading to learn more about why your child might be struggling and what you can do to help him.

Does Your Child Struggle with Testing in School?

Your child may be bright, or even gifted but he could still be struggling in school – especially when it comes to testing. It is very common for intelligent students to test poorly but, unfortunately, they are evaluated more on their test results than on their actual intelligence. The truth of the matter is that some children are simply better at testing than others – it is not always an accurate measure of intelligence or of the student’s understanding of the material. But what factors influence your

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Updated November 09, 2016 |
Tips for Getting Your Autistic Child Ready for School
Starting school can be a scary and overwhelming situation for any child, but children with autism experience unique challenges. Keep reading to learn what those challenges may be and to receive some tips for dealing with them appropriately.

Autism is by no means a rare condition, though there is still a great deal of research that needs to be completed in order to truly understand the cause of this condition and the best way to treat it. If you have a child who suffers from autism, just getting through the day can be wrought with challenges. The thought of sending your autistic child to school – to an environment that could be scary and overwhelming for your child – may cause you to panic. With education and preparation, however, you can get your autistic child ready for school.

In this article you will learn some background information about autism to help you understand the unique challenges your child may face in school. You will also receive some detailed tips to help prepare yourself and your child to make the transition into school as smooth as possible. The more prepared you are, and the more prepared your child is, the better he will be able to transition into a school setting.

Understanding the Basics of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder, more commonly known as autism, is actually a general term for a group of complex disorders affecting brain development. Autism affects the child’s social interactions as well as his verbal and nonverbal communication skills and repetitive behaviors. Every child with autism is unique, though in general autism seems to be rooted in early brain development. Signs of autism tend to manifest between the ages of 2 and 3 years, though they can

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Updated July 13, 2016 |
Five Tips for Helping Students with Special Needs
Special education teachers face a unique set of challenges, and so do the parents of special needs students. Keep reading to learn some practical tips for making your life as a special needs teacher or parent easier.

They say that teaching is a thankless job – not only are teachers underpaid, but many of them dedicate countless hours of their free time to do extra work for their students. Being a teacher in general can be very difficult, but being a special needs teacher comes with its own unique set of challenges. Whether you are a special needs teacher or the parent of a special needs child, keep reading to learn some helpful tips for making the most of your child’s education.

What are the Challenges of Working with Special Needs Students?

Compared to most other professions, the burn-out rate for special needs teachers is extremely high – approximately 50% of special education teachers leave their jobs within just 5 years. Teaching is a difficult and stressful career in and of itself, but special education adds an extra layer of difficulty. Some of the biggest challenges of working with special needs students are as follows:

  • Lack of parental support. You can pour your heart and soul into your efforts as a special education teacher but if the child’s parents are not on board, all of that work could be for nothing. Having a positive relationship with the parents of your students is essential.
  • Lack of appreciation. Teachers do not teach because it is a prestigious or high-paying career – they do it for love of the students. Still, a little appreciation goes a long way, especially in a challenging and stressful field like special education.
  • Too much paperwork. Every special needs
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Updated May 18, 2016 |
The Pros and Cons of Tracking in Schools
Tracking was once the standard of public education in the United States but today there is a great deal of controversy regarding its relevance. Consider the pros and cons of tracking to decide whether it might be a good option for your child.

The fact of the matter is that some students learn more quickly than others and some students need more individualized attention. In order to accommodate for the differing needs of their students, many schools started to adopt a tracking system, separating students by academic ability into different groups for certain subjects or for all subjects. This type of program is sometimes called ability grouping (though these are technically two different things) and it is a hotly debated issue in public schools. Before you decide whether tracking might be a good option for your child, take a moment to learn what it is as well as the pros and cons of this type of system.

What is Tracking or Ability Grouping?

Also referred to as phasing or streaming, tracking is a system in which students are divided into classes based on their overall achievement. Students are ranked as being average, normal, or below average and they are divided into classes with students of the same achievement level. Tracking has been used in American public schools for nearly a century and it has changed and developed a great deal during that time. In the early years, tracking was a response to growing numbers of immigrant children coming into the public school system. The goal was to provide those children with an education that was catered to their limited understanding of the English language and their limited preparation, as compared to native students. What ended up happening, however, was a form of internal segregation

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Recent Articles
December 06, 2016
It is never too early to start prepping for college by engaging in some extra-curricular activities that will help you to show a college admissions team who you are and what you believe in.
December 06, 2016
Students with disabilities may require the assistance of a service dog, but how might the presence of a dog in the classroom affect other students? Could it be too distracting?
November 09, 2016
Starting school can be a scary and overwhelming situation for any child, but children with autism experience unique challenges. Keep reading to learn what those challenges may be and to receive some tips for dealing with them appropriately.
Parenting and Learning Issues

Improving Learning

A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.

Parental Involvement from K-12

Learn how direct involvement in your child’s education can impact school performance. Get expert advice on how to get involved, learn why and when you need to talk to a teacher and ways to make changes on campus.

Bullying

An overview of bullying in schools, laws to protect students, and the impact on education. This section provides great tips on protecting your child from being bullied or becoming a bully. Learn about the latest anti-bullying laws and see how cyber-bullying effects your child’s school performance.

Types of Learning

What type of learner is your child? Be in the know about different types of learning and which classrooms are best suited for each type. What is project-based learning? Cooperative Learning? Would your child benefit from a blended learning experience? Explore these teaching techniques and learn how they could improve your child’s performance.

Kindergarten and Elementary Issues

Weigh the pros and cons of preschool, full day kindergarten and other issues affecting our youngest learners. Learn what can be done to help your child prepare to enter school, boost confidence, and encourage reading at the grade school level.

High School Issues

Learn more about issues specific to high school students. Get an overview of high school graduation rates, college readiness, career choice and social issues impacting teenagers in public schools.