I love family meal time. I love it when schedules allow the whole family to be at the dinner table at the same time, enjoying favorite foods, and having great conversations that continue long after the last spoonful of chicken pot pie has been claimed. I love it the most when the conversations happen spontaneously, and we have to follow a backwards trail to figure out how the topic ended up here. And, of course, plenty of inside jokes and family stories make it even better. But, sometimes meal time is, well, quiet. A long day at work, a hard practice on the field, or an impending stressful assignment can keep lively banter at bay. But family conversation is often the perfect recipe for those tough, exhausting days. So, how can we encourage that stimulating, therapeutic dialogue when our family members seem reserved at the table?
Each fall teachers work with students who have experienced the all too common “summer slide”. Symptoms include learning loss, forgetting math formulas, and even a decrease in vocabulary. Keeping academic skills intact is a concern for many parents. After all, we want our students to be ready to make progress when school starts next September, rather than spending the first few weeks playing “catch up.”
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January is nearly synonymous with fresh starts. It seems to be the perfect time to evaluate, plan, and improve. As parents, many of us like to take a close look at our school day during this time of year and do just that before starting into the second semester. Sometimes, very simple changes can go a long way to making the school day smoother and more productive. One great place to start is to consider the morning routine, because that really sets the tone for the whole school day. If you don’t already have a morning routine that seems to be working well for your family, consider the following ideas to get your school mornings started on the right foot: