Weekly Roundup #6: Finland For The Win, The Hunt for STEM Girl Toys

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FINLAND FOR THE WIN

Lately, Finland has been making the news for exceptional practices when it comes to education. First it was their philosophy on learning through play in kindergarten, then we learned they’ve figured out and are solving the gender gap in science education. As if that is not enough, now they have announced that they will be the first country in the world to get rid of all school subjects! Agree with all their policies or not, they seem to have this whole education thing figured out while we are still busy sorting out whether we are keeping common core or not. Who else is packing their bags and moving with us?

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE
THE HUNT FOR GIRL STEM TOYS

If you have been having a hard time finding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) toys your girls would like, it is because only 11 percent of STEM toys are listed as a girl’s toy on search engines compared to 31 percent of STEM toys listed only under boys. Recently, brands like Roominate and Goldieblox have done a great job addressing this issue but many other brands can fill this gap by thoughtfully marketing their offerings to girls as well. Our 2016 Holiday Gift guide  is a great place to start for some awesome ideas.

Adequate representation for girls is important in other areas of entertainment; recently, movies have been doing a better job in letting all girls should know they can be super heros too!

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Weekly Roundup #5: The Science Education Gap, Trash to Treasure … and Thank You!

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE/PRE-TEEN
OFF TO THE MOON? NOT SO FAST.

Turns out most of American kids want to build airplanes, find cures to all diseases and build really cool apps! Unfortunately their grades in the sciences don’t necessarily match that ambition.

According to a recently completed study by the OECD, 38% of American children (15 yr olds surveyed) hope to pursue science-related careers which is good news, considering some of the fastest-growing, highest-paid jobs are science-related such as  robotics, biotechnology, medicine or programming. However, the US ranked 19th in science education, out of 35 OECD countries. (And that was better than it did in reading and math, where it ranked 20th and 31st, respectively).

This discrepancy between the perceived and actual abilities of our children when it comes to science education is quite telling. While there is much work to do to improve science education in our schools, Science Bob thinks encouraging Science at home is much easier than you think.

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE
TURN YOUR KIDS ARTWORK INTO TREASURED GIFTS

Sure that first art project your child brought home from school was the most beautiful thing ever. However, if you are like me, these days you try your best not to get caught tossing them when the corner pile starts to spillover. Every now and then though, your child brings home that special artwork that you know you want to hang on to.

This holiday season, make ornaments out of those special works of art for grandparents, uncles, aunties and even teachers. They are actually pretty easy to make!And If you are not into ornaments, Parent’s magazine also has some other fun ideas you might like.

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Weekly Roundup #4: School Choice Debate, Are You Raising A Gutsy Girl?

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE/PRE-TEEN
VOUCHERS, CHARTERS, MAGNETS OH MY!

The conversation about school choice is not new but has heated up recently due to the recent elections. The basic idea is that rather than only having the choice of your neighborhood school, you have a choice to go to any school you want including private schools and in some cases the government will give you vouchers to help offset the cost. There are obvious pros and cons to this system and some widely held myths. Time Magazine breaks it down and debunks the myths.

While only a handful of states have the voucher system in place, your state likely offers Charter schools already which is also a type of choice available outside of your districted public school.

Regardless of what side of the national school choice debate you fall on, finding the right fit for the education  of your children is so personal (just ask Nikole Hannah-Jones) and sometimes stressful. If you are looking for help, Picky Parent Guide does a wonderful job of providing tools and resources to make your decision making so much easier!

 

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE/PRE-TEEN
ARE YOU RAISING A GUTSY GIRL?

Be careful! Watch where you are going! Don’t do that! You’re going to hurt yourself! Take it easy! These are phrases that get a lot of use around our daughters. Our sons? Well, that’s how boys are! Whether we would like to admit it or not, we have been raised with some gender stereotypes which we subconsciously believe in and may pass on to our daughters.

Christina Paul, one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco in 1989, has 10 awesome tips you can start using right away to unlearn those behaviors and encourage our daughters (and ourselves) be more adventurous!

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Weekly Roundup #3: Bonding With Your Daughter, Money Related Parenting Pitfalls

PRESCHOOL/SCHOOL AGE
IT REALLY IS ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS

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If only we had more time and money for all the awesome experiences we wanted to share with our daughters, Right? Well thankfully, an amazing bonding experience is readily available with just a little effort.

Reading for pleasure with children can improve language development and the capacity for paying attention in young children.

Carve out 5 – 10 special minutes that you and your daughter can look forward to daily to explore an awesome story;  go through a book together, talk about it, look at the pictures or even make up a story of your own!

If you need a little help on where to start,  this list of story book apps will come in handy!

PRE-TEEN
ARE YOU SETTING UP YOUR CHILD FOR FINANCIAL SUCCESS?

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Whether you intend to be a role model or not, your kids are watching you. They notice how you make decisions about money and how it impacts you and the family. Regardless of if they want you to pay $10 for a toy or $40k for a college tuition, avoid these 4 common pitfalls that have a negative impact on how kids later handle their money when they become adults.

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Weekly Roundup #2 – Talking to Your Kids About the Election Results, Accelerating Bright Kids

TALKING ABOUT THE ELECTION RESULTS WITH YOUR KIDS

newsletter2Regardless of whether you are happy with the election results or not, the fractured state of our country is apparent. Especially to our children. We owe them proper guidance on how to process both the wins and the losses.  Parent’s magazine has put together this list of 7 tips to help us all out with this discussion.

While this conversation is important, there is no need to go into all the details about the intricacies of the election in one sitting. You child’s age will determine the level of maturity of the conversation you will be able to have. We like Ariana Cha’s idea of keeping your sharing “twitter-sized”

Ultimately, let us use this moment as both a teaching and bonding moment with our daughters. You can pivot your child’s engagement in this election into more active local involvement based on whatever your interests and values are as a family.

After all, the local level is where it matters most.

 

 

 

YOUR SMART KIDS ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND IN SCHOOL

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Our current educational system wasn’t designed to work for some our kids.

We place kids in classes and grade levels based on age rather than ability. If it is common knowledge that learning capacity is individual and that no two children will learn alike, why do we expect and/or force our kids to learn at the same pace simply based on the single criteria of their birth date?

Due to limited resources, schools have the tough job of prioritizing among equally important needs and most schools tend to focus on kids that perform below grade level.  The net effect of that is that those other kids who are performing above grade level essentially get left to fend for themselves. While most schools try to do some ability grouping in the classrooms, many of our bright kids find the pace of learning much too slow and demotivating.

Several studies have shown that acceleration is extremely effective for encouraging your advanced learner. While this is approach sometimes frowned upon, it deserves thoughtful consideration. Did you know that there are 18 ways to accelerate your child’s learning during their K – 12 learning years? If you have an above average learner, please consider these options.

Your child is begging for the challenge.

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Weekly Roundup #1 – On Raising Nice Kids, Screen Time or No Screen Time … And Hello!

ON RAISING NICE CHILDREN

 

“Children are not born simply good or bad and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood” 

About 80% of the youth in a study by a Harvard Psychologist said their parents were more concerned with their achievements or happiness than whether they cared for others. It is not shocking to see how this can be true.

Our lives are so busy. How often do we remember to stop and reflect on the day with our children; asking those important questions about how they affected or were affected by others?

This Harvard Psychologist offers these five strategies for raising moral, caring children.

 

SCREEN TIME OR NO SCREEN TIME 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is flip flopping on their 17yr old recommendation that children under 2yrs old should have no screen time. I suspect not many moms have been able to keep that rule in our increasingly highly technology driven society.

Their new guidelines seem to be more realistic; Live video chat are allowed for babies under 18months old and education media on tablets are ok when used with their parents side by side for children 15months to 2 years old.

However, the underlying principle remains the same. Quality time with your child is very important; watch tv alongside your child, make play time as interactive as possible! Children develop best through human interaction.  

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