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A Tale of 2 Parents: Which One Are You?

September 26, 2014

After teaching in a high school for more than a decade, I met thousands of parents at parent-teacher conferences. As I think back, two particular meetings with parents really stood out to me. Megan was a student that struggled to turn assignments in on time, but she had a very nice presence in class. Going…

25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘How Was School?’ Without Asking ‘So How Was School?’

September 12, 2014

“It was fine.” “It was good.” “It was okay.” If you are a parent, you usually hear one of these 3 answers everyday when you ask your child how school was. The answer always leaves you wanting more. In order to get the answers and details about their school life, you have to get creative.…

Dealing With Report Card Stress

November 11, 2013

Report card stress is an all to common occurrence this time of year. You flip through the pile of bills, advertisements, and magazines and there it is…the dreaded report card. Reluctantly, you open the envelope. Your heart sinks. You had a feeling that things weren’t going well this quarter, but you weren’t prepared for this.…

How to Control Computer Distractions

August 20, 2013

While computers and the internet are amazing resources for students, they are full of potential distractions. Today’s students spend hours per day on the computer for learning tasks both in and out of school. However, social media sites, online games, and other “addictive” websites are everywhere, and many students have a hard time staying on…

Do We Prepare the World for a Child -or- a Child for the World?

January 28, 2013

There are some forces in our society—some obvious, others completely hidden—that pull us toward trying to fix the world to accommodate our children.  We get the vague sense that we should constantly arrange our children’s world around them. Sometimes these pressures are obvious and easy to resist, but sometimes they’re as subtle as our own…

When College Gets in the Way: An Alternate Approach

January 21, 2013

In about six hours, my family will grow by one. “It’s a boy!” As I write this, my husband, Brian, is driving home to Detroit, from North Carolina, with the newest member of our family…my 20 year-old cousin, Kevin. Kevin will be doing an internship with SOAR® and getting a heavy-duty course in study skills. …

Student Motivation: Are You Accidentally Sabotaging It with the Wrong Mindset?

December 11, 2012

Did you know that praising your students and children for good grades is the worst thing you can do for them? It sounds counter-intuitive, but Carol Dweck, Ph.D. has discovered, unequivocally, that it is true. Praising results sabotages effort! In her fascinating book, Mindset, Dr. Dweck explains all motivational challenges, wonderments, and mysteries according to…

How to Motivate Students… With Love

November 19, 2012

As we enter Thanksgiving week, I’ve got several things on my mind… In the last ten days, I attended two different conferences where dozens of parents and teachers talked about how challenging it is to motivate their children and students. Meanwhile, at home, my family is grieving the loss of my husband’s grandmother. We have…

Response to Opting-Out of Homework

October 1, 2012

Last week, I passed along a blog post by Heather Shumaker, a mom who has chosen to opt her children out of homework until age 11. In response, I received a thoughtful letter from a well-respected colleague. Martin Kirkwood is the director of guidance and college counseling for St. Theodore Guerin High School near Indianapolis,…

Shifting Out of Low-Gear Learning

October 1, 2012

“My son doesn’t remember what he reads in a textbook.” “My daughter doesn’t pay attention well in class.” “She doesn’t take good notes.” “He doesn’t know how to study for tests.” All of these situations are problems with learning…learning in a conventional school setting, at least. Most students find each of these tasks boring and…

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