Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Select After School Programs?

I would put two key values on any after school programs. In fact not just after school, any school:
1. The kid is much happier while attending the after school program. The kid wants to come back again and enjoys it a lot. 
2. The kid is very motivated after attending the program. They love to talk about what they have learned or share their stories. Then It is a good sign of the valuable program. 
It is hard to know things first hand. As parents, we should talk to the kids and know their feelings. If we observe anything wrong, we need to go down and figure out the reasons. One can drop by the class to see what really happens in the class. Or one can talk to the teachers to see if they really care individual needs. 

Tech Innvators Who Went to Montessori School

Thomas Edison - "I like the Montessori method," Edison has been quoted saying, according to historians at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. "It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being. The present system casts the brain into a mold. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning."

Famous Montessori graduates:

Related books:
Montessori from Start:The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three

A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork

This Infographic Reveals How to Raise Happy and Healthy Kids

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Parenting Skills: Respecting Children, Being Consistent, and Being Patient

I used to doubt the effect of consistency with kids. After I have been practicing for a while, it really works like a miracle. I have been using the consistency with sleep training, goodbye hug/kiss, and dining time.

Sleep training is really hard for everyone. We started sleep training when our kid  was 10 months old. He definitely cried. But we have been consistent with the routine, picking up him, comforting him, and putting him back into bed again. It took two weeks for him to understand the routine. Nowadays, he still cries sometime when it is bedtime. While I turn off all the lights, he walks into his room pretending to cry.  He will ask for mom to pat him and stop crying in less than 1 minutes.

I used to sneak out to avoid to see my son crying. After I read some books, I started to say goodbye to him when I leave him. He cried for sure, but I kept doing it and also explained to him why I was leaving and when I would come back. One day, when I was leaving, he smiled and said "bye bye mommy, have fun!". It is really sweet.

Keeping consistent and respecting the children are the keys for successful and easy parenting. The little kids are very smart and more capable than what we have imagined. Just being patient. Sometime it takes a few days for you to see the effects. Sometime it may take months.  Treat your kids with respects and consistency, you will get back the same thing.

Books recommended:
Parenting Your Smart Underachiever With Consistency and Love:
Marva Collin's Way:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to select school

We have visited a few elementary schools to decide which one to pick. I summarize the two thump rules:
1. Must visit! Don't be fooled by the API scores. You must be there, see how the school is, how the teacher passes the knowledge, what is the teaching philosophy. There are three schools in our minds before visiting, Millikin Basics, Harker, and Argonaut. While visiting the schools' website, Millikin Basics looks really appealing, it has the highest API, has strong academic emphasis, and strict disciplines. My husband almost makes up him mind to send our kid to there. After visiting it, we feel a little disappointed, as I don't feel they care the creativity that much. They treat all kids the same. Then we had a visit of Harker. Definitely it has more rich curriculum and better environment. It pays more attention to individual needs. Argonaut environment is nice too. By watching a few classes there, I observer that the teacher not only teaches the basics, but also cares about the kids' interest. They let students write in Chinese in math class. I saw some homework is written in Norwegian. I would like that my kid has the opportunities to learn other languages and cultures. Argonaut does great job on that. After visiting these schools, Millikin is totally crossed out.

2. Select the school that matches the kid's personality and parents teaching philosophy. Some schools have fixed curriculum for all the kids. All kids are marching together at the same speed on all subjects.  Some schools have flexibility to fit individual's needs and let kid learn at her/his own speed mostly.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cubbie Bench: the nice replacement for bookself

When the kid starts reading, we have a lot of books. We have been searching for a bookshelf. Most of the bookshelves are high that is quite difficult for the kid to pick up the books. Also the kid likes to shake the bookshelf. It is quite dangerous. If the bookshelf crushes, it may hurt the kid. We saw this sample, cubbie bench, at target. It is easier for the kid to access. It occupies less space. It is quite sturdy as it is low. It nicely transform the little space into a cozy reading area. We really love this cubbie bench: