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Dear Teacher

Celebrate April's Holidays, How to Deal with Too Much Make-Up Homework, Stubborn Children and Advice on a Way for Toddlers to Learn

Your Questions of Teachers - Answered

April 01, 2011
>Celebrate Arbor Day This Year

Parents: April is jammed with events. There is National TV Turnoff Week the week of April 18 through 24, Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 29. Keep these dates in mind as teachers in your children's classrooms may be introducing activities for these events for you to do at home with your children.

One of these events in particular has not received the attention that the others have; Arbor Day. Why not introduce activities for your family to do that center around Arbor Day? This holiday ties in nicely with also turning off the TV and the celebration of Earth Day.

The traditional idea behind this 135-year-old holiday was to have a special day set aside for tree planting. However recently, other ideas have been tied into the celebration, which involve communities organizing public beautification projects, hosting concerts that play songs about trees, and organizing paper drives in hopes of saving trees. If your community is offering one of these events, try to take part in it. Or, take part in your own activity.

At home, your children can watch the enjoyable video "It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown" while learning about preserving green space. Or perhaps your children can learn the names of the trees in your yard or neighborhood. And of course, your family can plant a tree. So mark your calendars for April 29 and remember to celebrate Arbor Day!

Handling Make-up Work after Absences

Question: My son who is in middle school has been sick quite a lot this year, making him fall behind in his schoolwork. Every time he is ill and is absent from school, he is completely inundated with work in every subject when he returns to school. He has all the current assignments to complete on top of finishing up the missing work. Is it really essential for him to make up all the schoolwork that he missed in class during the time he was sick? - Catching-Up

Answer: Classes are organized in such a way that each day some new material is usually presented and expected to be mastered within a certain number of lessons. There is also review work that helps children learn recently presented lessons. Furthermore, in some classes, it is absolutely essential for current material to be mastered so future lessons can be handled. This is especially true in math and science classes. For this reason, it is important for children to make up at least part of most missed lessons. Textbook chapters almost always need to be read. Failing to make up key materials can lead to difficulties in mastering new materials as well as poor test scores.

Making up work can be easier if the children get the daily assignments from their school while they are still at home. Call your son's school and make arrangements to get his work so that he will have more of it completed before returning to school. In some schools, teachers make this easy by posting daily assignments online.

You need to talk to your child's teachers, especially if his illnesses stop him from doing his schoolwork at home. A plan needs to be devised that will help him stay as current as possible when he misses school, without drowning him in work upon his return.

Handling a Stubborn Child at School

Question: My fifth-grader is a very stubborn child. He never budges an inch when he thinks that he is correct. While we find this very annoying at home, his teacher this year is very impatient and not very nice when he digs in his heels because the child believes that he is correct. The teacher is tired of his continual arguing over the correctness of his views. How can we turn this around? - Not the Teacher's Favorite

Answer: You need to tell your son that you are supportive of him having his own ideas. You don't want to crush him for expressing his views. At the same time, he needs to learn when and how to make a point when there is a disagreement.

One possible solution for the classroom, that could work at home too, is for him to write down what his disagreements are with the teacher. Then the teacher could give him five minutes in the morning and another five minutes in the afternoon to discuss only one issue in a one-on-one conversation. He chooses the issue to be discussed. Later on, as your son realizes his views are being heard, this discussion time can be reduced.

Learning through Music

Question: Before my girls were 3-years-old, I put the spelling of their names to music. I also put our telephone number to music, and that helped them learn this important information easily. Further, when they were 3-years-old and older, we played word games such as: "Give me a word that starts with the letter ..." or "Give me a word that sounds like ...." Just thought these ideas might be of value to other parents. - Creative Mom

Answer: Using music to teach your children vital information is a good approach. It also could be used to teach them their home address and parents' names. These are things that young children should know.

Starting young children out in learning letters and sounds by playing word games is better than using workbooks, because it is a more interesting approach. Plus, they can be played everywhere.

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Tags: Education, Parenting

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