Parents–Know thyself

School_girl_desk_taking_test_lg_clr Being a parent is full of successes and pitfalls.  Have you noticed?  Some days you feel like the "windshield" with power and purpose and sometimes you're sure you're the "fly" wondering how you got splatted.  There is something to be said for realistically looking at your strengths and weaknesses as a parent so you can legitimately pat yourself on the back when you should…and also so you can identify where you need to actively learn and practice new skills.

Wanna find out (very scientifically) where you are as a Mom?  This isn't a pass-fail type quiz.  Instead, it's an opportunity to unemotionally evaluate (not judge!!!) your parenting style. And at the end of the quiz, you'll find some valuable tips and clues about how to strengthen any "weaknesses" that are identified.  Sound smart?  Just visit Parenting Style Quiz and follow the directions. 

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“Just the Facts, M’am!”
–Oh, and some tips and suggestions, too!

 News_boy_lg_clr Just in time for the new school year, check out the latest issue of the Homework Success News.  This issue offers ideas about how to make this year's Back-to-School transition the best ever, links to info about back pack safety, a quicky giggle (always!) and some ideas about how you can ensure that you've got the tools you need to promote confidence (which leads to competence, don'cha know!) 

So enjoy this Back-to-School Newsletter and pass it along to friends and family who might also enjoy the tips and ideas. 

Good luck with Back-to-School!

Judy Armes, MS

"The Homework Coach" 

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Promoting Confidence–an important role for the Parents of Struggling Students

"No child I have ever met has gotten up in the morning and said to him or herself, 'I think I'll work hard at disappointing my parents, ignoring my teachers and just goof off today'," says Debi Nason, center director for Roseville, CA's Huntington Learning Center  . 

Rush_the_superhero_showing_pride_lg_clr Lots of kids will be going back to school this year with bright shiny faces ready to take on the new challenges.  And, some of them are still remembering the difficulties of their last school year.  The hard part is to avoid a well intentioned comment like: "I'm sure you'll do better this year than last year".  Instead of being encouraging (promoting "courage") reflecting on poor performance last year can add a sense of expected defeat.

So, this year here's an idea.  Clean the slate.  When you send your child off to school, expect the best.  Then be vigilant!

Create a consistent method to confirm homework is completed.  Frame your question to promote a conversation–avoid opportunities for your child to give you a "yes" or "no" answer.  This can be accomplished with open-ended questions: 

  • "What part of your homework was easy?"
  • "What part was challenging?"
  • "What would happen if you got special help from the teacher?"
  • "Where do you think you can find the information you need?"

And when you can, check in with your child's teacher to assess your child's progress.  If you discover that homework is not completed per the teacher's standard or expectations, discuss with your child HOW you can help (not "IF").  On the other hand, if your child  get rave reviews, pass the praise along.  Make sure your child knows you're interested, involved and enthusiastic about his/her successes and ready to help if there's a hint of difficulty. 

For more information about  the role of Confidence in promoting a more successful school year, check out an article at    "Confidence is Key to a Great School Year"  

And, for an extra boost for your own confidence to help your child's school experience,  check out information about how to Promote Confidence using "Affirmations"    

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Storing “good stuff” to find later

…when you have time

Reminder_md_clr As it gets closer to the beginning of school, many of us might be hanging on tight-fisted to the waning summer vacation.  The desire to keep stretch the summer might make it difficult to begin planning for the new school year and all of the busy-ness that comes with the transition. 

I've been writing articles and blog posts about "Homework" all summer long;  but I'm wondering how much interest there is right NOW!–when homework isn't an issue, yet.  When the school year begins, you might want to catch up on articles and blog posts you don't have time to read right now.  Because I come across sooooo many websites and articles I want to revisit, I've created a system to "remember" where to look.


Keeping a list of hot sites to get back to (when there is time)

    Here's a strategy I use: I create a Word Document & save it to my "desktop" so I can find it and use it easily. I name it "Stuff to Read".  In that document I've created a table with two (2) columns and many rows. The first column is narrow enough to just type in a date; the other spans the rest of the page (so url's will fit in it).   Then as I come across and article or blog post I want to get back to, I copy and paste the url including http://www.— (address) into a line in my table. Be sure to press "Enter" immediately after the url so it will become an active link from Word.   [so it's easy to know which site I REALLY want to visit,  I also type in the main point or title of the article/post. 

This is what my table looks like:

Table2Info comes and disappears soooo fast on blogs, twitter and the internet.  This is my way to avoid missing a good thing when I'm rushed.  Then, when I have time I can review the list and pick-and-choose to read  my leisure (like parents have "leisure", EVER!).  Try it out J 

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“No” & “NO!!!!”–

Two Important Learning/Teaching Parenting Tools

 Being parents who love our kids, it's hard to watch them be disappointed.  Even worse, when we see them behave down-right "devastated", our good-parent guilt usually rears up and we give in.  (Usually!..don't we?)

The following video is of Dr. David Walsh and "the marshmallow".  He demonstrates an "experiment" in self-discipline with several little kids.  The question is can they resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow now (and get two later) or will they succumb to the pain of waiting (and get just the one).

The question:  "Would you like one now….or two later?"

Part of the difficulty many kids have with struggling through distasteful experiences (like waiting for something they REALLY want or doing boring homework when they'd rather be doing something else) is that so many of them have not learned to deal with the pain of delayed gratification.  It is actually painful for them to wait! 

And, since we don't always get what we want immediately, it makes sense to teach our children how to tolerate the "pain" of waiting. Starting to teach kids how to tolerate disappointment or waiting is easier when they are younger, but today is the first day of the rest of their lives…and you can start doing it today!

For some great insight, ideas and tips, check out Dr. Walsh's  excellent book, NO–Why Kids (of all ages) Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It.  He's a gentle, wise man who knows how to move us.  I was inspired by his example 🙂

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Are you and your kids ready for School to start?

Back_to_school_text_building_lg_clr Here are some tips to help smooth the transition from summer to school.  All of them apply for all age groups, but you may want to modify the specifics for your child. 

  1. For a Good Morning start, get a good night's rest–plan on a routine time to be in bed.  Rested and relaxed kids learn better. 

  2. Prepare the night before school so morning isn't a rush–set out school clothes, prepare lunch box, collect school items and put them where they'll be all together and easy to find. 

  3.  Eat a good breakfast. Kids can focus better if they aren't hungry–so be sure they have full-tummies before they head out the door. 

  4. Be positive — expect your child to enjoy school, expect enthusiasm, and share your appreciation for their successes.  

  5. Talk together — a language-rich environment is key for student success".  Ask questions, listen to your child's ideas/thoughts and share your positive experiences.  

  6. Homework Hint–make sure your student has a quiet place so he/she can concentrate — or have "family quiet time" so everyone can read or do homework in a quiet environment.  

For more back-to-school tips, you're encouraged to visit: in the "Back-to-School " articles. To be prepared is an important factor in making the transition from vacation to school easier on everyone

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How good are you at saying “No”?

Women_walking_say_no_lg_clr After a summer-time of saying "Yes" and "Maybe", can you get back in the groove of being the parent that sometimes has to say "NO"?  Getting ready to start back-to-school, kids often need to return to a regular schedule and family rules.  And sometimes that requires limits and restrictions.

One of my favorite mentors (Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D.) suggests that learning to say "NO" (comfortably and with authority) is an important part of being a good parent.  But so many of us just hate to disappoint our kids or deal with the whining or arguments.  But never fear, she has some great ideas and supportive thoughts that might help. 

Try these on and see how they work for you (excerpt from her article  "…Saying NO instead of YES") :

• Sometimes, you just need to say, "No" and not add any additional explanation.

• Sometimes, "No, but thanks for asking me" is the best answer.

• Sometimes, "No, there's no way I can fit anything else into my schedule right now" is the correct way to respond (and it's the right one to use when it's the truth!)

• One of my personal favorites is, "No, I simply can't say yes."  People sort of shake their heads when they hear this one. This gives you time to move on.

You don't have to "just say NO", you can use some finesse and logic with Meggin's suggestions.   For 6 more notions (yes, that makes 10 altogether) you'll find useful and inspiring, check out her complete article at the HomeworkSuccessArticleDirectory .

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Could your kid do this?–Could he/she EVER do this???

Into each life, we all need a little laughter–don't you think?

Take a peek at the most amazing babies—worth a few minutes for sure. 

Now get back to your regular day-job –with a smile 🙂

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OMG…what’s a parent of a teen driver to do?

A recent blog post at   My Feet Aren't Ugly  (funny name…really good info!), listed some really scary statistics.  Following are just a few:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Teens
  • 16 year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
  • 16-year-olds are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers.
  • 3,490 drivers age 15-20 died in car crashes in 2006, up slightly from 2005.
  • Drivers age 15-20 accounted for 12.9 percent of all the drivers involved in fatal crashes and 16 percent of all the drivers involved in police-reported crashes in 2006.

 According to Debra Beck, "Looking at the Stats, we know that this is a serious matter, so lets treat it as one. As a parent we have a lot of things we have to teach our teens, and a lot of them are life saving issues."  To read more sobering statistics and some great suggestions about what you can do, check out her entire article at  Teaching Your Teen to Drive

FYI– To illustrate this post, I picked a photo of smiling healthy teens so we'd all have a picture of what we want…safe kids.  The other image is too hard to look at!!!  So to keep 'em safe, we need to make sure they are good drivers, with sound safety skills and a firm grasp on the notion of defensive driving. 

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A Brain Teaser?….”Robin” Reads YOUR mind

Crystal_ball_hands_lg_clr Recently, a friend emailed me a link to "RegiftingRobin"…with the subject line "Can you figure it out???"  My friend was stymied about how a computer could read her mind…and then I discovered it could read my mind too.  How does it work? 


First  CLICK HERE  to go try it and see if you can stump "Robin".  It'll take just a few minutes to try it….Unless you're skeptical like I was and you try it several times.  (Remember, the definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result)  All right…I was bound and determined to figure how how she does it.


Now, this is one of those places that math is WAY fun.  See if you can figure out how the math works in this before you head off to See How It's Done .  Did you do it?  Send it off to a friend and see if he/she can figure it out. 

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