At Little Rock Mamas, we like to celebrate other great bloggers. Some of them are our friends and coworkers, while others are just fabulous bloggers we like reading. We hope you enjoy our guest posters as much as we do.
With another school year in full swing, one of the season’s most arduous tasks is homework. More and more, school age youngsters are given tasks to complete outside the classroom. And parents often find themselves puzzled by the growing complexity of work their young students bring home. It’s a perfect storm of deadlines and frustration.
But homework can be fun, or at least less stressful with a proactive approach and a little strategy. Here are some suggestions to take the drudgery out:
- Make time before starting homework sessions to explain what’s expected to your child. Set deadlines and review assignments to ensure they’re understood. Let your child take part in setting goals and make sure he or she knows what successful completion of homework looks like.
- Consult the teachers about anticipated homework assignments. Your child’s instructors will be able to clue you into what’s coming, thus preventing you from being blindsided by a project your child mentions at bedtime the night before it’s due.
- Organize! Kids are prone to clutter, and their study space tends to overflow with stacks of loose papers, books, study aids, etc. That’s a distraction that kills productivity. Be sure to monitor that study space to help keep it organized. Wall organizers, paper trays or desktop bins available at office supply stores are a great help with this.
- Rewards for good grades, completed assignments and other “benchmark” achievements are crucial. A few days off from assigned chores, expanded Internet, video game or TV time helps kids learn the benefit of homework completion. That’s another step toward the ultimate goal of good grades.
If your child is struggling in a certain subject or having difficulty mastering certain study skills, Huntington Learning Center can help. Call 501-223-2299 or visit http://huntingtonhelps.com/
Our friend Angie Davis, of Angie Davis Photography, lives in Vilonia, which was devastated last week by an incredibly strong tornado. Thankfully, Angie and her family were unscathed — but many of their friends and neighbors lost everything.
Angie has written about the night that tornado blew through her town and she has taken some incredible photographs. Go here to see the post.
Vilonia, Mayflower, El Paso and Center Hill were all affected by last week’s storm. If you haven’t been able to help yet, there is still plenty of work to be done and help to be given.
And don’t forget prayer. There are definitely plenty of prayers still to be said for those communities.
Tornado season started off with a vengeance in Arkansas this year. I doubt our most recent storms will the last time our friends and neighbors are seeking shelter from nature’s fury this Spring. So to all of LRM’s readers — stay safe.
– Yavonda, aka Lucky Mama
It’s almost time for ACTAAP Benchmark Exams. They’re given the second week of April, and now is the time to prepare.
The exams are important and standardized. All Arkansas public school students from first to eighth grades take them. Benchmarks evaluate your child’s absorption and understanding of material during the current academic year. The test results are used to place students in advanced or remedial courses and can help determine promotion to the next grade.
Often, students know answers to questions but may get confused with the layout or format of the exam. Multiple-choice questions or open-response questions can be intimidating to young students. Practice makes perfect. Getting practice before taking the actual exam will familiarize your child with it and help gain confidence. There’s plenty of help available — ask your child’s teacher or guidance counselor for Benchmark exam practice forms.
Going over subjects your child has struggled with during the school year is a another good way to strengthen their knowledge and prepare for the test. It can also be helpful to look at last year’s Benchmark scores, which are very detailed, broken down by skill level and will let you see areas where the most work needed to be done.
Help your child on the vocabulary, writing and reading comprehension section of the exam. Read fiction, nonfiction, poetry and instructional books with them and ask questions about the material to gauge their understanding. Doing this will help them understand the test instructions too, so it serves a double purpose.
The Benchmark exams needn’t be a panic inducing event. As important as they are, mapping out your strategy is a tremendous help in making this a time of achievement instead of anxiety for your young student.
This guest post was provided by Huntington Learning Center, where more help is available for all kinds of test-taking needs, including tutoring.
March is the perfect time to get excited about books — it is National Reading Awareness month, and March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Springtime is also a prime time to think about donating gently used hardbacks and novels to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. Huntington Learning Center in Little Rock is making it easy and fun to donate with a Book Drive from March 3-22.
When you donate a book at Huntington, you can enter to win fun prizes from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Little Rock Zoo, the Wonderplace and Museum of Discovery. Simply take your books to the Huntington Learning Center located in the Pleasant Ridge Town Centre at 11525 Cantrell Rd. (You get one entry per book.)
For additional information, call Rebecca Brockman of Goodwill at (501) 372-5100 or Bryan Redditt of Huntington Learning Center at (501) 223-2626.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, with conductor and music director Philip Mann, will present the fourth installment of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series — Bohemian Rhapsody — on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. in the Robinson Center Music Hall.
Bohemian Rhapsody is sponsored by American Airlines and features a special appearance by pianist Norman Krieger.
Single tickets are $14, $30, $47 and $53; active military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center box office; or by phone at (501) 666-1761. Primary school students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with purchase of an adult ticket using Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.
Johannes Brahms.: Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
i. Allegro non troppo
ii. Allegro appassionato
iv. Allegro grazioso
Norman Krieger, piano
Antonin Dvorak: Slavonic Dances, Op. 46/72
Op. 72, No. 2 in E minor: Allegretto grazioso
Op. 72, No. 5 in B-flat minor: Poco adagio-Vivace
Op. 46, No. 8 in G minor: Presto
Op. 72, No. 7 in C major: Allegro vivace
Antonin Dvorak: Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66, B. 131
Johannes Brahms began work on his Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B-flat Major in 1878, the same year as his Violin Concerto. Brahms chose a very busy time to work on the piece—so busy that three years passed before its premiere. Brahms himself was the soloist at the first performance, in Budapest on November 9, 1881, with Hans von Bülow conducting.
Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances had its beginnings as a piece commissioned by Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock. Simrock apparently was eager to have more of the same style of music from the composer after hearing the first installment, but Dvorak took his time—noting that “to do the same thing twice over is damnably difficult.”
Lucky Mama here. I wanted to share this with you…
So have you heard about the blog post “So You’re Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed” by Teresa S. Porter? You can read it here. In it, Porter talks about how a car accident changed her perspective about how she needed to look in order to allow herself to be photographed. She realized, in a near-death experience, that if she died, her family would have been left with no recent photos of her.
Angie Davis, a friend of this blog and a fantastic photographer, has weighed in on this subject on her blog. As a photographer, she frequently hears people ask her to make them look thinner or younger. She also has people decline to be photographed because they don’t look the way they want to look.
“Have you ever looked at a photo of someone you love and said, “You know, I think I would love her more if she were thinner” or “I would sure like this photo more if Mom had dropped 30 pounds before she had it taken.” No you haven’t. Love yourself as those who love you do …”
Wow, those are definitely words to think about.
I know I’m guilty of hiding behind my camera instead of being in front of it. How about you? Do you avoid having your picture taken because you aren’t happy with your appearance? If something awful happened to you, would your family have photos to remember you by?
Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance Celebrates Giving Tuesday on December 3
Just as Black Friday promotes holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday promotes shopping local and Cyber Monday encourages online sales, Giving Tuesday is designed to put the spotlight on charitable giving this time of year.
Giving Tuesday, philanthropy’s answer to the busiest shopping weekend of the year, takes place today. And the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance, which represents over 360 nonprofit organizations throughout the state, is doing its part to promote the nation-wide movement.
“While we don’t offer door-buster sales or rock-bottom prices like a Black Friday promotion, charities offer something deeper than even the deepest discount ever could,” said Stephanie Meincke, President and CEO of the alliance.
“Giving to a charity you care about is a powerful and emotionally fulfilling way to celebrate the holiday season. We know that people in Arkansas are incredibly generous to causes they believe in. In fact, our state ranks 7th in charitable giving nationwide. We hope to see that grow and #GivingTuesday is a great way to do that.”
The Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance is a membership-based organization that provides resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities to nonprofit groups throughout the state. Promoting Giving Tuesday is one way the organization hopes to strengthen philanthropy in Arkansas.
“We hope everyone will think about making #GivingTuesday a part of their holiday tradition,” said Meincke. “It’s a great way to teach children the importance of giving back and what a perfect way to celebrate the season.”
For more information about the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance or Giving Tuesday, visit www.ArkansasNonprofits.org.
By Bryan Redditt, Huntington Learning Center
It’s time for that first report card! Whether it contains good news or bad, the first report card of the school year is a great way to communicate with your young student about evaluating his or her school work. Here are some hints to make sure that communication is effective and understandable.
Talk to your child about the report card. If the grades show signs of struggling, let him or her know you want to help. Review the report card together and get your child’s point of view, determining together what subjects present the biggest challenge. Opening this line of communication is critical; it shows you want your child to succeed and are committed to helping do that.
Really look at the report card and write down any grades or comments that surprise you. Make a note of your concerns. Ask the teacher about what they think your child needs to work on at home; it’s a good idea to ask about your child’s attitude toward his or her schoolwork as well.
On that same topic, note any irregular behavior or patterns at home. If you see a bad grade in a subject that previously was no problem for your young student, make a note of it and investigate. Is the pace of the class different now than before? Is there a gap in your child’s basic skills — for example, sentence diagramming — that’s showing up now?
Study skills are crucial. Students who have knowledge about a given subject may be sabotaged by disorganization or time-management issues. If your child’s report card indicates a struggle with these items, talk with their teacher for ideas to develop a homework routine. A systemic approach to studying and keeping track of paperwork can make a dramatic difference in your young student’s scholastic experience, paying dividends for this school year and those yet to come.
Huntington Learning Center in Little Rock can help. Call 501-223-2299 or visit http://huntingtonhelps.com
Things to Look Out for as Kids Go Back to School
By Dan Hennessey, M.D., Little Rock Eye Clinic
Good vision can help a child’s physical development, success in school and overall well-being. But unfortunately, 80 percent of preschoolers DO NOT get eye exams.
Here is an eye exam guide for young children:
Newborn — First exam
Infant — Between 6 months and 1 year old
Toddler — Between 3 and 3 1/2
School age — At 5, then test every 3-5 years afterward if no problems are found
While exams are the best way to see if your child has vision issues, you should always be on the lookout for clues your child may be struggling. About 12.1 million school-age children — roughly 1 in 4 — have some level of vision impairment.
The key is to observe your child. Your child isn’t likely to complain about being nearsighted, but he or she may talk about having difficulty seeing the blackboard. Or you might see him or her squint while reading.
Here are some other things to look for:
— closing or covering an eye
— complaints of blurriness
— mucus, tearing or crusting
— difficulty reading
— eye rubbing
— holding things close
— frequent blinking
— crossed eyes
— red eyes
You can get more information on recommended eye care by going to LittleRockEye.com.
Dr. Hennessey is an optometric physician at Little Rock Eye Clinic. He provides comprehensive eye health and vision examinations and the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and vision disorders. He specializes in contact lenses and contact lens-related problems.
Dan and his wife, Beth, live in Little Rock and have three sons, Daniel, Jason and Michael.
With the advent of a new academic year at hand, prep is the order of the day. Prepping your young student for studying is something that is easily overlooked, but for kids the start of a new school year is like New Years Day. Everything is fresh, and they’re excited to be seeing friends and — in the case of younger students — getting back into their studies.
You can take advantage of the clean slate by working with your child to set measurable goals for the new school term, with clear definitions of what achieving those goals looks like.
Just as buying a backpack helps your child keep their school items together, designating a study space in your home will help keep their homework and their thoughts organized. This dedicated homework station could be a desk in a bedroom or a corner of the dining room. The key is to keep it tidy — free of distractions, like TV or video games — and it helps to have your child help get the space ready so they feel a sense of ownership about it.
Some students struggle with reading comprehension, which makes good note taking and studying for tests a challenge. There may be more to an issue your child has with specific subjects than simply understanding the course material. A poor math grade on a test full of word problems may point to a reading issue, and a history report may earn a below par grade if it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors.
If you know your child can make better grades than their test scores indicate, try looking beyond the course for a different issue that may be causing trouble.
Remember: learning is a process that builds on itself. Keeping your child’s learning foundation strong is key to success in this new school year.
Is your child struggling in a certain subject or having difficulty mastering certain study skills? Huntington Learning Center can help. Call 501-223-2299 or visit http://huntingtonhelps.com