So Much To Do…

Look at all the things on the calendar…

can I find the time???

So many books to read…

maybe I’ll just take a nap!



Happy Parenting!

D and C

For the Teachers and Parents

In Michigan, by law, the kids can’t start school until after Labor Day….so for all the teachers and parents starting a new school year, here’s a little ha-ha for you:

different perspectives, for sure!

Happy Parenting!

D and C

How to Read a Report Card

“What do you mean…read a report card???  If I can see an A, B, or C or a 1, 2, or 3….doesn’t that mean I’m done?”

do you read this part of the report card?

how about this?

..or this?

maybe your card looks like this...

I have a few pointers for you to help you make the most out of the information available to you on that report card. There are many different types of cards…for elementary and secondary schools…types of reporting with grades and/or numbers. No one can know what that reporting system means without actually ‘reading’ the directions first. Yup, that’s what I said…you really do have to know what the +’s and -’s mean that are attached to letter grades. But even more than that, most cards have individual standards listed underneath each major heading (like math)…if you see x’s or checkmarks in little boxes there, do you know what they mean?  I don’t either unless I ‘read’ the card. It’s the only way to know if those extra marks are encouraging or hoping for more attention! The more you read that side of the card, the more you can help your child to succeed academically.

here's my favorite part of report cards...

But, more importantly, at least in my opinion, is the other part of the card. You know….the part that talks about citizenship and/or work habits…. This area of the card is so important in telling you how your child is doing with traits that will be of benefit to him all through his life. Reading the card is, again, of utmost importance to see what the ‘grades’ are in these areas. If, for example, 1-5 is used to report a child’s ability to listen to and follow directions…what does that mean to you? Is a 3 for satisfactory okay with you?? In life…don’t you need to be able to follow directions in a better manner than satisfactory? I always wanted a 1 or 2 in every area in both citizenship and work habits for my children at home and for the students I taught at school. Less than that meant, to me, that the kids weren’t trying their best to be kind or work hard or finish things on time or whatever the skills were on that card.

are these important qualities for you to monitor?

social and personal growth?? Oh, yeah!

work habits are extremely important also...

Make sure you check with your child’s teacher about their methods of grading and what they expect, but then also remember to read and understand that report card before zooming directly to the numbers and letters. And because I can’t leave it alone…please encourage citizenship and work habits above all else. Our world definitely could use kind and responsible citizens now and in the future.


Just thoughts from a retired teacher…hoping to be helpful!

Missing Happiness Tuesdays?? Join us on Thursday for something new:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Truth in the Comics #3

Sometimes what you find in the funny paper really does show a dose of reality…uh,oh!!


School, conferences, homework…whether you’re a parent or a teacher…it can all drive you nuts, depending on the day. Enjoy this small bit of humor:

Do you have a drama queen at your house??

We do tend to repeat ourselves, don't we?

Do you have any 'secret ways' ??

Hurray for the lil darlin's that love to learn:)

No, no, no...don't revert to the 'save' !!

Aren’t they hilarious??  And slightly true??


Happy Parenting!

D and C

A Perfect Baby Gift

Maybe this would be the perfect find if you’re looking for a baby shower gift or new-baby-home-from-the-hospital gift:


This Amazon site:  “How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths” now allows you to look inside the book to see what tips might help you or those you know.


….and if by chance you are a perfect parent and never need any helpful hints to make your life easier – anyone? anyone? – copies could surely be shared with others:

- that sister or sister-in-law

- your children who are now parents

- teachers at your kids’ schools

- church groups

- day care areas

- dance studios

- anywhere that children and their parents congregate


Once you check out the book, or before, come check out our website and blog at Childhood Myths where you can learn about our workshops for parents and teachers and about our Sassy Kids Home Parties.


Have fun while reinforcing good habits!

We hope you'll love it and share it with others:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C

GPS Drivers Can Go

As a follow-up to our last post….here is a little more about how to encourage successful writing in children. This particular tip is more for grades 3 or 4 and up. It’s called:

“GPS Drivers Can Go”

a reminder for kids...discuss actual letters with your children...

This is an acronym I used with my kids in school after seeing the kinds of results we received on state required tests and the pieces that seemed to be missing. We constantly talked about how important  content, details, and voice are in attracting attention from your audience. Kids, on these tests, have to write (in one session) on a theme, such as integrity, courage, or responsibility. They must focus on a time when they showed this trait. Most children forget everything they have learned in class about what parts to put in these writing pieces…either nerves or let’s just get done!!  So we developed “GPS Drivers Can Go” to help them remember what to add:


G  -  great lead…suck your audience in

P  -  paragraphs…show them

S  -  similes, metaphors, and other literary devices

D  -  details, details, details

C  -  Conversations with quotation marks

G  -  great closing…bring it all together


This acronym might help some writers remember to add certain pieces to improve their writing. They need to put the acronym on the paper somewhere and check the letters off only when they can show you where that piece is in their paper.


Just a thought for all you parents and teachers out there. Let me know what you think – is this helpful at all?


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Summer Brain Drain

Is everyone ready for summer?? Ready…set…go!!!  Fun is around every corner, and it seems as if the kids are totally on speed mode or totally on lazy mode without much in between.

As a teacher or a parent or a homeschool mom…have you noticed the lag in learning that happens with children after a delightful summer vacation?

If you can have your children give only 30 minutes a day…and it can be separated into shorter chunks…their learning lapses in the fall can be shortened. Here’s a plan to try:


1) reading  -  20 minutes a day

Depending on the age of your child, you can read with them or to them or just monitor. Use a timer and have them tell you what they have read when they are finished. Anything is fair game: magazines, comic books, chapter books, picture books – have them find what they like at the library or even online.


2) writing  -  10 minutes a day

Use the timer again and work on both types of writing, mechanics of printing or cursive and creative. Children and adults both need to practice their handwriting – illegible work leads to poorer grades. Yes, kids need practice with their keyboarding skills as well, but that should be an extra time session if you wish. There will be more on creative writing in the next post:)

manuscript or cursive...use the style your school uses, Palmer, D'Nealian?

3) math  -  alternate the 10 minutes with writing days

Children absolutely need to practice their facts. Having them memorized makes every next step in math so much easier. It’s not the learning of the facts that’s important, but that it brings a basis of knowledge that lets kids focus on the new standard…like fractions, decimals, algebra, geometry.

If they don’t have to concentrate on figuring out the basic math facts, they can more easily learn what’s next.  So… 10 minutes every other day, using flash cards or fact sheets. These facts should be “instantly” recognized..within 2 seconds..otherwise the kids are just figuring them out. That is definitely the first step, but the goal is instant memory.

adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing


With 30 minutes a day, you have 210 minutes a week, which leads to at least 2100 minutes over the summer! Do you think 35 hours of practice will help your child this summer? Give it a try…it certainly can’t hurt! The timer will be your best friend, but make sure you keep it out of sight:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

End of School Year Checklist

Here we are near the end of the school year for most of us. Let me share a few ideas for completing the year with success:

Check in with your children’s teachers!

Use email for quicker and easier to understand responses from teachers…especially this time of year. Their time is stressed!  Ask: How are the kids doing? Are they improving? What kind of encouragement or help might they be able to use over the summer?  Ask about behavior as well as academics. Good behavior shows a willingness to learn, to show effort, to be kind to others. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Check in with your children:

Ask them:  How did the year go? Did you learn everything you should have? What could you improve in? Are you happy with your grades and/or your knowledge? Are you proud of how you behaved – did you try hard, were you helpful to your classmates and teachers, do other people think you are kind? What kinds of things would you like to learn about this summer?

Summer Work:

Read – Lots – comic books, joke books, picture books – whatever will work! Whatever kids read will enhance their comprehension as long as the reading is below their frustrational level. Slightly easier books create more fun in reading.

Practice Math Skills – clocks, maps, construction, recipes – anything to practice numbers.

Social Studies and Science and all other subjects can be a part of everyday life. Ask questions, help answer their questions – encourage curiosity.

….and then:     Have Fun!!!   Every moment is a teachable moment…make it a happy one :)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Homework Blues?

     This is the time of year when report cards often come home giving parents lots of information on both academic progress and the behavior and work ethic of their children.
     We’ll talk more in the future about the behavior portion of the card, but for now let’s focus on grades and work ethic. What can you find out about your children from these cards?? What age levels are we talking about…actually, all of them in one way or another!

reading should always be an option when there is no homework
no matter what the age of the children

     Preschoolers’ report cards: Look for comments on how they socialize with others, how well they listen, and how well they follow directions. You can help at home in all those areas. Watch how they interact with people and increase play group times if necessary. Make sure you follow through with consequences if the kids have a hard time listening to your directions the first time you give them or if they can’t seem to complete tasks you give them. The more you encourage them now, the easier their school years will be in the future.

     Elementary kids’ report cards: As the kids go through their elementary years keep a close eye on continuing trends over time–a hard time with math success or difficulty completing or turning in homework. Find consequences early on that help them to improve. Find specific places for homework to be done–PLEASE NOT in a bedroom filled with computers, TVs, video games, and phones. No matter how much they say they are working (and no matter how much you want to believe them) they will become distracted or disinterested. Elementary kids need constant oversight (every few minutes, not every half hour) to stay on task and to then feel the achievement of completing their homework successfully and in a minimum amount of time.
     High School kids’ report cards: If high schoolers have learned that important work ethic when they were younger, you can loosen the reins a bit as long as their report cards show what you them to. Continue to look for sudden changes in work or behavior which should result in a tightening of those reins, back to more structure and oversight.

which leads to high school graduation

Chad was working in CO during his college graduation ceremony

another high school graduation

Scott’s graduation from MSU

     There are many years of hard work and practice from preschool right through college for the kids, and lots of years of encouragement, boundaries, and discipline for the parents. But the rewards for both children and parents are huge in seeing those little guys become responsible, successful, independent young adults.

     More homework tips soon. Do you have any special questions or concerns you’d like us to deal with?? Send them along!

Happy Parenting!
D and C