Parents: Calm down about the homework issue

One school in New York City is doing away with homework. Principal’s orders. The school is elementary – kindergarten through the 5th grade.

According to the principal, all those math worksheets and essay assignments they were giving out were actually a total waste of time. Instead of homework, parents are encouraged to let kids spend their freed up time reading, playing outside or doing whatever activities they enjoy — with the recommendation that parents limit time spent watching TV and playing computer or video games. (Duh, right?!)

The principal explained to parents that “there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.”

My only problem with this is the word “studies.” I hate studies because one day a study will show coffee can help you live longer and the next day it’s bad for your heart. For every study that says eating organic may prevent cancer, I’ll show you one that says eating organic has no proven health benefits. My own study – studies don’t mean shit. My common sense tells me these kids aren’t in high school or college. They are in elementary school and maybe that’s why their homework in the 3rd grade does not have a direct link to them being a brain surgeon in their adult life.

But some parents have issues with this. Their issues: The lack of focus this gives kids and fear students will fall behind academically.

Parents. Calm down. Most of the time homework is busy work. If you are concerned your child isn’t learning enough at school, then teach them more at home after school. Review what they learned at school that day or that week. Maybe that is more beneficial than homework. And like those popular studies some people take as God’s word, there is a flip side to this topic. Some parents are complaining schools give too much homework!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today is Read Across America Day because it is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! It is also National Reading Month. Because reading is one of my hobbies (or was when I had time to do it), I want to share why you should read to your kids – at any age:

Reading... on the floor of a plane

Reading… on the floor of a plane

Four reasons why studies show reading to a newborn is beneficial:

  • While developing children’s language and communication skills, reading also helps children understand the world around them and gives context to what they see and experience. It is a way to open the world for your child.
  • While babies may not understand the concepts and story lines of books, hearing your voice is comforting and, in time, the child will find meaning in the words you are using. In fact, the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child’s vocabulary at age 3.
  • Reading to an infant can promote emergent literacy and language development. It helps children become familiar with books and accustomed to listening and focusing.
  • According to analyses of the PISA exam (Program for International Student Assessment), which is given to 15-year-olds worldwide, the biggest factor influencing higher scores was whether or not a child was read to on a regular basis when they were young.

Parents: Stop putting this lesson off

My now almost two year old daughter starting swimming lessons when she was six months old. My five month old will also start young.

It’s important anywhere you live, but I believe in Florida, it’s borderline neglect if you don’t teach your child how to swim. This is my husband with our daughter at six months.

swimming

As a reporter, I covered so many drownings. One week, I did three separate ones.

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Common sense tells us watching your kids around water and teaching them how to swim is important, but so many are not getting the message.

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Here are some statistics you may not know:

FACT: About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.

FACT: Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.

FACT: Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools.

FACT: Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).

FACT: Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.

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As far as not watching your kids around water, if you don’t know to do that – I can’t help you. But, I know swimming lessons can be expensive. I pay $20 a class which doesn’t sound bad, but after months and even years – it adds up, so here are some ways to keep your kids safe affordably:

  • Look for coupons and special seasonal deals when looking for a pool to take swimming lessons
  • If you have a pool, watch some youtube videos on the most effective ways to teach your child how to swim and become the teacher yourself
  • Join local Facebook mom and family groups and start a discussion about a cost-effective way to teach your kids how to swim
  • Check with your city, county or local organizations like the Drowning Prevention Coalition for free class vouchers

*Statistics from the CDC

*Graphics from poolsafety.org

Damn Disney! Be nicer.

Before we start, I just want to make it clear that I am not one of those weirdo moms who doesn’t let their child watch Disney movies because they are violent. Julianna has seen Hans attempt to behead Elsa dozens of times. I’m just saying I am surprised as an adult that I am noticing this stuff and I didn’t think twice about it when I was a kid watching… which I guess is a good thing. So let’s discuss what has me using “because he/she is not very nice” whenever my almost 3-year-old asks me what is going on…

Let’s start with one of the greats – The Lion King. Here, we not only see Scar plan Mufassa’s death with the stampede… but he also makes sure Simba sees it AND we see Scar let Mufassa drop to his death.

Mufasa-vs-Scar-the-lion-king-2801551-640-380

As if it’s not sad enough, we see Simba’s reaction to it all, THEN Scar blaming him for the entire thing.

(Good thing the hyenas eat him at the end – not seen, but implied.) While this is disturbing, it’s not as bad as some other death scenes in movies and I think it’s because these are animals.

Hanskillselsa

Like I already mentioned… Hans tries to BEHEAD Elsa. Thank God Anna got the strength to stop it at the last minute! But still Disney, couldn’t think of a less disturbing way for the bad prince to attempt to kill the Ice Queen after trying to freeze her sister to death?!

And I just saw this one the other night in Tangled. The crazy kidnapper mom wannabe woman STABS Eugene to death. Yes, Rapunzel’s magic hair brings him back to life, but before that – we see the stabbing, the bloody stomach wound and Eugene take his last breath.

rapunzel-and-flynn_110556_4

I could go on, but what ever happened to a poison apple – nothing too visually disturbing there, or mean step sisters ruining a dress before a ball, or taking away a mermaid’s pretty voice? Those things are easier to explain. Like I said, I guess the good news is that I didn’t notice a lot of the violence when I was younger.

 

Look Mom… NO HANDS!

Taking a selfie... because I have a free hand

If you are a parent, you’ve probably done the whole bottle hold under the chin because your phone is ringing or you dropped the remote changing the channel while you are feeding the baby. How many times have we said to ourselves – I wish there was something that would hold the bottle right here for me?! Well, there is and I used it for the first time last night… and I read to Landon WHILE I was feeding him his bottle. He LOVED it.

My first product review is a good one – it’s The Beebo. It is literally everything you imagine it is. You just throw it over your shoulder (same side as the baby’s head), stick the bottle in, turn the little circle thing to get it in the right spot, and that’s it! It took me a couple tries to figure out the perfect position, but when I did – it. was. awesome.

It’s $35 (great shower gift price) and is available online… with FREE SHIPPING. (I hate paying for shipping for anything, so I am a big fan of this.)