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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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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Updated May 17, 2016
How To Discuss Violence in Schools With Children
Learn 8 ways to guide your conversations with children when discussing high-profile acts of violence in schools.
All too often, school violence in the U.S. is ubiquitously broadcasted on TV and online media in the United States, leaving children who watch frightened and confused. These high profile acts may force children to question whether themselves or their friends are in fact safe. Questions may run through their head, such as “Who will protect us?” or “Why would someone do such a thing?”
 
This is where adults—parents, loved ones, and teachers alike—can provide information, guidance, and empathy. Rather than hide from or dismiss the high-profile stories, it is best to confront them head on. Discuss these events with children, establish a sense of security and stability by allaying their fears.
 
Our school violence handbook is designed to be a resource for administrators, faculty, and parents to turn to after times of crisis. We believe the educational experience prioritizes not just intellectual growth, but emotional health. Distribute and use this handbook as a guide for moments when needed most. 
 
8 Ways to Guide Your Conversation
 
       1.    First and foremost—reassure the child that they are safe. Schools are overwhelmingly safe overall despite the high-profile acts that occur every year. They can rest easy knowing themselves and their loved ones will be okay.
 
       2.     Let them know you understand what they’re feeling. Validate those feelings and let them know that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let them talk through their issues and put it into perspective. Simply expressing their (potentially bottled up) emotions can be therapeutic.
 
       3.    Listen. Truly give the child your ear—listen
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Updated May 17, 2016 |
How Does Bullying Affect a Student’s Academic Performance?
Bullying is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem in modern public schools but how exactly does it affect a child's academic performance?

Children can be cruel and it is not uncommon for grade school students to come home in tears after someone called them a name on the bus ride home. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the potentially damaging effects of bullying not only on a child’s confidence and self-esteem but also on his academic performance.

Shocking Statistics About Bullying

According to StopBullying.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 50% of students in grades 4 through 12 experienced bullying within a given month and more than 70% of students admit to having seen bullying occur in their school. Verbal and social bullying are the two most common types, including things like name calling, teasing, spreading rumors, stealing belongings, sexual comments and gestures, or physical violence. Physical bullying happens less often than social bullying and cyberbullying, though it is becoming increasingly prevalent, is still less common.

While many people assume that a little bit of bullying is harmless – it may even be helpful for the child to teach them how to stick up for themselves. In reality, however, an estimated 160,000 children miss school on any given day due to fear of bullying by other students. Every day, more than 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools and one out of ten students who drops out of school mentions repeated bullying as a factor. Bullying can have a serious impact on a child’s educational experience, and not just by causing him or her to miss

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Updated January 30, 2016 |
Do Children Born in Certain Months Have Higher Success Rates?
Do children born in certain months develop more quickly than others? Does it affect their success later in life?

Many people ascribe to the basics of astrology, reading their horoscopes in the newspaper or taking online tests to see what their sign says about them. But does the time of year you are born in have any actual influence on your life? Numerous studies suggest that children born at certain times of year are healthier, happier, and more successful than others.

Winter versus Summer Children

Researchers suggest that the month in which your child is born can have an impact on everything from health to success with a future career. The biggest differences were noted between children born in the winter and children born in the summer. There are some studies which say that children born between the months of June and October are more likely to be taller and have bigger bones than children born during the winter – this is likely related to the amount of vitamin D exposure during the pregnancy. On average, children born during the summer were 0.5cm taller then children born in the winter based on results from women who were 37 weeks pregnant.

Not only does the month you are born in affect your size, but it can also affect other things like your likelihood of developing food allergies. Autumn and winter babies develop food allergies at a higher rate than other children. Asthma may also be a factor that can be attributed to birth month, especially in children born during the autumn. During the winter, people spend more time inside

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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.