Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Television Benefits Your Children


You don't see a lot of ads like this any more. While it may have sounded promising 50 years ago, the fact remains, television has gotten a bad rap for the past 30 years. Much of it is warranted.

Television itself isn't bad for kids. The programming is bad. But it doesn't have to be that way.

High Definition TV is great and quite a bit of the HD programming is awesome. The Discovery Channel has some beautiful and educational shows. A&E and PBS both have responsible programming and National Geographic is right there too.

Unfortunately, many kids are glued to shows featuring the Khardashians or cartoons that offer little educational value. I'm not knocking their entertainment value for their intended audiences, but they don't offer many "benefits" for children except for "cred" with their peers.

Sesame Street was groundbreaking when it came onto the scene and has offered educational television time for many kids. We need more shows for older kids.

TV time is decreasing for many kids as their time is now shared with texting and computers. But television is still engaging, with bigger screens and better quality visuals adding to the allure. If somebody finds a way to create "Extreme Education" and pump it across the country, maybe TV will find its way back into the "beneficial for children" slot that was promised so many years ago.

It's not that difficult to find good shows for kids to watch. The effort comes in getting them to watch the good shows.

The benefit from watching good shows? Kids will remember what they see on TV better than they will remember what they heard in class or read on a blackboard. It's more engaging, and content rich. 30 minutes of TV time can present much more information than 30 minutes in a class. Maybe we should create class instruction for television and pipe it into all the classrooms around the country. We might just have better engagement and more consistent teaching. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Candy Apples


Dads cook. Moms bake. Not always, but that's the way it plays out at our house.

I don't have a problem with that. I love being at the grill with a slab of ribs or a dozen burgers.

But it seems like moms have more fun making cookies, baking brownies, and playing with the sugary goodness. All the stuff you save room for after you've pigged out on dad's grillins.

So when my daughter asked me to help her make candy apples, I decided to take a little time off work and dig into the sugar.

Two caveats: I've never made candy apples before and I'm not endorsing hard-as-glass sugary snacks or corn syrup. Well, not every day at least. It is October, and with Halloween just around the corner, I figured now would be a good time to practice.

Making candy apples is pretty easy if you have a candy thermometer handy. What you'll need is:

 - 2 Cups Sugar

 - 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup

 - 1/2 Cup of Hot Water

 - Food coloring or 1/2 Cup of Red Hots

Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, wax paper or plastic wrap. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Wash and dry the apples, remove the stems, and skewer through the center with Popsicle sticks or any sturdy wooden sticks.

Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water to a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Then, cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 250 degrees F.

At 250 degrees, add the Red Hots or food coloring. We used blue food coloring because we'd never seen blue candy apples before. Remember, this was an experiment for me.

Stir briefly to thoroughly mix the color, then stop stirring until the temp reaches 280 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir until smooth and even.

Holding the apples by the sticks, dip into the mixture to coat the entire apple. Remove from the saucepan, twirling to allow excess to fall into the pan. Place on baking sheet and allow to cool, about 20 minutes or so. Eat within 24 hours.

Our first one had too much candy coating but made for a nice effect. I'm ready to get crazy with new colors for another official run in a few weeks.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 3, 2011

How Students Pay For College - Infographic

Prices have skyrocketed since I was in college. If they continue to rise, will anybody except the rich be able to get a higher education? Below is an infographic that shows how much it costs and how students are finding ways to pay for college.

To see this in full size, visit Daily Infographic.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life Isn't About Finding Yourself. Life is About Creating Yourself.


I think the Baby Boomers got a good start on this. They were unique, inventive, curious, and did their own thing. But they were probably more focused on the first part, "finding yourself."

Today, the Baby Boomers are older, with the oldest ones in the group hitting 65 and retiring, while the youngest of the group are parents with kids in high school or college.

Their values have been handed down to their kids who have received the baton and are moving forward in a similar direction with some added knowledge and "spice" being sprinkled into the mix.

Spend some time with college kids today and you'll find they are ahead of their parents in many ways. Of course they are adept at technology and their processing powers are off the charts, even the ones with ADHD or other learning disabilities.

They watch TV while working on a computer, texting on their phones, and answering incoming Skype calls. All at the same time without missing a step.

But it's more than that. They have created their own identities thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and in everything else they partake. They already know who they are. They've moved on to placing their mark on the world. They are practicing step two - "creating yourself."

As parents, we may look upon some of the things our kids do with disdain and think they spend too much time on devices that don't accomplish anything of value. Dig a little deeper and you'll discover that they are doing something very important. They are creating, or maybe even inventing their life, in the light they feel is important.

In reality, we're just jealous that they're doing what we wish we could, or should have done. It's not too late for any of us to take a shot. Stop trying to find yourself and spend a little time creating yourself.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Special Olympics Ranked Top Non-profit Disability Organization by Philanthropedia

Special Olympics is the largest sports organization for children and adults in the world. Philanthropedia is a GuideStar subsidiary that encourages charitable giving by non-profit organizations.

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and has grown to include over 3 million athletes in 175 countries. Just like the Olympics founded in Greece, Special Olympics Games alternate every two years between winter and summer games.

The goal of Special Olympics is to change lives "through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide." It provides the opportunity to develop physical fitness and experience joy and friendship for millions of children and adults around the world.

Accordingly to Philanthropedia, approximately 54 million individuals (20% of U.S. population) in the United States live with at least one disability. Special Olympics works to impact communities within the United States and around the world, as an estimated 200 million people worldwide have intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics was chosen as #1 out of 11 non-profit organizations that serve people with disabilities.

More information about each organization can be found on their websites:

Special Olympics


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PhoneGuard Prevents Texting While Driving

PhoneGuard is the latest App that prevents texting while driving. It provides great peace of mind for parents all for the low price of FREE.

Texting while driving is a huge safety problem and the biggest offenders are teens. They also happen to be some of the worst drivers because of their lack of experience behind the wheel.

PhoneGuard detects when the car is moving and kicks into gear with auto replies to incoming texts to alert the sender that you're busy and will return the message when you're able to do so.

Currently, it's available for Android and BlackBerry phones and more info can be found on their website at: www.PhoneGuard.com


Monday, August 15, 2011

How Parents Use Facebook to Spy on Their Kids Infographic

C'mon, admit it, you've done a little peeking in on your children's Facebook pages. Maybe you're completely open with your kids and there are no secrets. Awesome for you! But for many parents, they aren't so lucky.

Facebook is one way to see what kids are up to if they let you friend them. If they don't, there may be something going on that you shoould know about. Hopefully they'll keep everything private so only trusted friends and family can see their posts. After all, they are kids.

Below is an infographic that shows how parents keep tabs on their kids using Facebook.

To see the original infographic in full size visit the post at Daily Infographic.

It's interesting that there are 7.5 million users under the age of 13 (the legal age) on Facebook yet they only ban 20,000 a day.

It's also interesting that 55% of parents use Facebook to keep an eye on their kids but only 16% send them a friend request. Sounds like a lot of kids aren't keeping things private.

Stay safe out there on the interwebs. :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. ~Polish Proverb



I've been telling myself this for years and what happened? My daughter graduated from high school and I kept right on working seven days a week like she would be around forever.

Can I get a do-over? CTL-Z? Command-Z Undo? Mulligan? Anything that turns back the clock.

For most of us there's little way out of working all the time. After all, the kids need computers and cell phones. I said it, they NEED them. I wish they didn't but they're valuable for them and for us. They don't need them as much as they need food, clothes and shelter but they still need them.

They also need a lot of other things. They WANT more than they need but they can't have everything. Where would they put it? So we work to be able to buy them as much as we can. The work, the money, and what we buy them never seems to be enough - for them or for us. So we keep working to buy them whatever we can afford.

What they really need more than anything is to spend time with us, their parents, while they're still young enough to like us. And while we still like them. Think I'm kidding? You don't have a teenager yet. :-)

All kidding aside, I knew the time would come when they'd grow up and we'd see less and less of them. I just didn't count on it being so painful when it happened.

Take my advice, and this pearl of wisdom from the Polish Proverb, "You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once."



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm. ~Bill Vaughan


Oh, how true that is!

When our kids were born we spent so much money buying all the things we thought were important. Toys to play with and games to learn by, books to read, and clothes, clothes, and more clothes.

What did we learn?

Their favorite toys were old, broken phones and keyboards. And when they grew tired of those they moved on to the kitchen to the pots and pans and wooden spoons. They banged the heck out of 'em.

Their favorite games were hide and seek and running and playing. They didn't want to be tied down to games.

The books were good but they liked the ones with fun pictures the best.

Forget the clothes. They were naked all the time. At least they WANTED to be.

They were just a few years old and what did they know? They certainly didn't know the difference between the brand new, high-tech, expensive toys and the old, worn out freebies laying around the house. They wanted to be just like us, they're parents - talking on the phone, playing on the computer, and cooking in the kitchen.

 I have no idea where that running around the house naked concept came from. :-)

(Note: The small, green worm pictured above was named Scott and he spent a few days with us long ago. We actually did have a good time with him before letting him go to be with his friends. We have no idea what happened to him but we still have the pictures and look at them every once in a while. The kids still remember.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Break - What To Do To Keep Kids Sharp

Summer Break from school is already here for some of us, and with it comes a break for parents too. Okay, it depends on how you look at it. I relish summer vacation because it's a downtime from homework and school pickups and dropoffs. It may be busier but somehow it feels less stressful. You may not agree but I'm sure your kids share in my joy.

It's easy to fall into the lazy days of summer with too much time spent doing nothing but watching TV or playing on the computer. A little bit goes a long way - too much and they'll be slugs when it's time to start school in the Fall.

So what can you do to keep kids sharp over the summer?

Summer School - One short class may make up for lost time in school or allow them to take something really fun they can't during the school year. Look for something unique like sign language.

Summer Camp - They're not what they used to be. There are summer camps for just about anything you can think of - acting, paintball, fashion design, computers - it's like taking a summer school class except better.

Make a Photo Diary - Most kids don't want to do anything that's like school work. Find something creative like photography and many kids will flourish. Have them shoot at least one photo a day and near the end of summer put together a book or slideshow of their vacation.


Museums - We went to the Reagan Library last weekend and it was perfect. We bought an annual pass so we can go back for free for an entire year. Kids actually love museums once you get them to go inside. They don't cost much and some are even free.


Here's a list of the top 50 children's museums by ShareRanks: http://www.faqs.org/shareranks/1488,Top-50-Childrens-Museums

Plan a Trip - It doesn't have to be outrageous. Maybe a weekend will do, or just one day going somewhere you and the kids have always wanted to visit.

Amusement and Water Parks - The entire family can enjoy this one but it can get expensive. Many parks have season passes that can cost less than two trips. If you have one close to home it just might be worth the expense of the pass. The physical activity is good for the body and the brain.

Summer Job - There are plenty of jobs with cities working as a recreational leader, lifeguard, or summer counselor. Check the Human Resources Department page of your city's website or just look for a link to Job Opportunities or Employment somehwre on the Home page. These aren't difficult jobs and they can build good connections with civic leaders.

There are so many things kids can do during summer break. Whatever you or they choose, it should keep them stimulated so they'll be mentally and physically sharp when it's time to go back to school in the Fall.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Element by Ken Robinson

I recently finished reading, "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything," by Ken Robinson and like most books that I enjoy after finishing, I find myself going back to it to dig out the nuggets and read them again.

If you don't know about Sir Ken Robinson, you should. I first discovered him after seeing his TED Talk about how schools kill creativity. I love this guy and couldn't wait to read The Element.


In the book, Sir Ken identifies The Element as the point where the activities individuals enjoy and are naturally good at come together. Where natural talent meets personal passion, and people feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels.

He illustrates real-life examples using people like Paul McCartney, Richard Branson, Matt Groening, Mick Fleetwood, Arianna Huffington, and a host of many others, some famous and some not so much. Many of the people he covers either had known learning disabilities or struggled in school. The common thread among everybody was they followed their passion to find success in their lives and careers, much of the time against certain odds.

With chapter titles like, Think Differently, In The Zone, Finding Your Tribe, Somebody Help Me, For Love or Money, The Element lays the groundwork for why it's so important to find that thing in life that turns you on, that truly inspires you. If you love what you do, it isn't work. Life becomes richer and creativity flows. What you do becomes a Zen moment where everything is effortless and fulfilling and your entire focus is being in the moment. It's reminiscent of yoga or mindfulness. Athletes call it, "being in the zone."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how different celebrities and business people struggled with school but discovered their own passions, which led them on a career path to success. Knowing that others had overcome difficulties with learning and school by focusing on finding their groove gives hope to so many kids in the same situation. It also inspires the parents of these kids to let them do whatever it is that makes them unique and special.

Initially, my big complaint, which I share with others who were disappointed by the book, was that it didn't show me how to find MY passion. Reading the title of the book, I hoped to find not only my own passion, but a way to find the passion of my children so I could help us all find a fulfilling career path. But I came to realize that isn't really the point of the book in the first place. You have to find your own passion yourself. Nobody can do it for you. Knowing what to look for and how to progress when you find your passion is as much a key to The Element as finding it in the first place.

All in all, it's a fun read with more than a little dose of the lives of people you already know but didn't know the whole story. I would suggest watching the Ken Robinson TED Talk first so you get a sense of of his personal style and wit and gain a little background of what's to come in the book.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time to Start Thinking About Extended School Year Services (ESY)

Summer is coming soon and it's time to start thinking about Extended School Year Services (ESY).

ESY Services focus on extending the school year for students with learning disabilities and are decided upon by the IEP Team. There are conflicting views about whether kids need a break from school activities during the summer but regardless, it's important for kids to remain mentally stimulated in some capacity.

I have my own theories and hopefully I'll post something soon at Easy IEP Help. Great Schools has an article here if you want to know more.

Many IEPs are coming up and it's a good time to discuss ESY but be prepared BEFORE going into the IEP. Find out what programs are available ahead of time so you don't waste time in the IEP trying to figure it all out. The most important things to discuss are goals and objectives moving forward and how the previous goals have impacted the current progress.

As a parent, don't feel pressured to have your child taking classes during the summer, even if they're behind. Chances are, if they have an IEP, they're probably behind. You know your child best and if they truly need a break it's understandable. Find something else to stimulate their brain.

Don't forget to use the break to get in plenty of physical activity too. It's just as important for healthy and growing brains.

Monday, March 21, 2011

9 Tips For Kids Who Are Always Late For School

Almost everybody dreads mornings. You're nice and comfy in your warm, cozy bed and then the alarm abruptly rings. It's never a soothing alarm because you'd keep right on dreaming. It has to be an annoying alarm - either a loud BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ or BEEP BEEP BEEP. No wonder so many of us wake up in a bad mood.

After a few too many snoozes, you miss the opportunity to wake up on time and rush to get ready only to find yourself late for school. You promise to get up on time - tomorrow.


Being late for anything is never a good thing. But being late for school is the worst. For a lot kids, it's a common reality. Many times they simply don't "want" to go to school in the first place because school is hard or kids aren't always nice to them. But there are some things you can to do help your kids get up on time and get going in the morning.

Once habits are formed, they're hard to break. Getting in the habit of being on time or early, especially for school, will create a good habit that will last a lifetime.

If your kids are regularly late for school, try some of these tips:

1. Go to bed early - try going to bed one hour earlier than usual.

2. Get all the clothes out the night before, put shoes by the door, have backpacks ready, and discuss breakfast before going to bed.

3. Change all the clocks in the house to be ten minutes fast. It may sound radical and after a while everybody will get used to it but it should work in the short term.

4. Set the alarm to go off at different times until you find the sweet spot. Some kids need to hit the snooze button two or three times while others get up right away on the first alarm. Find the time that works best.

5. Turn on a TV or music to something they like.

6. Have breakfast ready when they wake up. 

7. A glass of water first thing in the morning energizes the body and mind and helps get everything going.

8. Make it a game to see who can get up and out the door first.

9. Bribe them. I said it. Give them $1 if they can wake up, get in the car and be on time or early for school. Do it every day for a month if you have to. Maybe offer to do something they love to do if they can be on time for an entire month.

Some of these are no-brainers and others may be a little out there. Find what works best and keep doing it. The goal is to create a habit of being on time or early. Once the habit is formed, keep following it. It's worth it.

And if you don't have a problem being late for school, consider yourself lucky, disregard the previous tips, and keep doing what you're already doing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Waiting For Superman 2010

Waiting For Superman is finally out on DVD and I had a chance to watch it again.


There are many times in the film that I felt energized and a renewed hope that we can make our schools great. But I couldn't help but feel a sense of sadness at the end when so many kids and parents had their own sense of hope squashed because they lost in the lottery.

There are many great teachers AND strategies exposed. We're so close to getting it right, yet the bureaucracies step in and squander what could be.

Up until the 1970s, American schools were the best in the world. Now, among 30 other countries, we rank 25th in Math and 21st in Science. How did this happen?

Our kids spend the majority of their day at school. In my opinion, schools should be palaces and teachers should be paid a king's ransom.

If you get a chance to see Waiting For Superman, do so. It will take a lot of effort by a lot of people to fix our schools. It's something we have to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder APD (sometimes referred to as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, CAPD) is not a hearing problem like some people think. Rather it is a processing problem that provides difficulty in the way the brain processes or perceives auditory information.


Essentially, the brain scrambles information it receives. This can cause difficulties when listening in a loud room or where there are a lot of distractions.

Children with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) very often struggle with language, remembering verbal information, reading, math, and following directions.

It's important that kids with APD study in quiet environments, sit near the front of the classroom, and are spoken to in clear, concise language while making good eye contact.

When giving instructions, don't make them complicated with too many things to remember. Have them repeat back the instructions to verify they correctly received and understand what they should be doing.

Popular programs that help with Auditory Processing Disorder include: Fast ForWord, PACE, and AIT (Auditory Integration Training).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finland Education System - Video

Why are schools in Finland so successful? They are obviously doing something right.

We're about to see a transformation of education in America. It won't happen over night, and we don't even know what it will look like yet. But it's beginning.

We've placed too much emphasis on teaching to the test and not enough on teachers and students. Provide them with tools, not tests. Give them a curriculum that fuels their imagination and prepares them to be successful in life, not just on a test.

And while we're at it, make it a little more fun. It just might engage them, instill in them a "want" to learn, and lower the dropout rate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Brain: The Inside Story" Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York

It weighs only 3 lbs, yet has the capacity to think, rationalize, and control almost every aspect of our lives. It's the human brain and it's on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York through August 14, 2011.

Not all of us will be fortunate enough to get to New York to see the exhibit. The reviews have been fantastic and hopefully somebody will have the foresight to put on a roadshow and send it to museums around the country. Hint, hint.

The exhibit uses artistic interpretations as well as interactive exhibits to present a fascinating look into what makes us all tick. If you're in New York, be sure to check it out.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top 10 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts

Let's face it, we don't always have time to make a good, healthy breakfast in the morning. And with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, sometimes you need to grab something on the go, whether you're heading to school or a soccer game. 

Health.com asked their experts to compile a Top 10 List of the healthiest breakfasts from fast-food restaurants around the country. Your kids might be moaning about what's on the list but there may be a few things that they won't complain about too much.


Top 10 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts

1. Spinach Florentine Breakfast Wrap (Cosi)

2. Protein Artisan Snack Plate (Starbucks)

3. Berry Topper Ideal Meal (Jamba Juice)

4. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (Au Bon Pain)

5. Scrambled Egg Whites, Chicken Sausage, and Fruit (Denny's)

6. Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (McDonald's)

7. Simple & Fit Veggie Omelette (IHOP)

8. Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt (Subway)

9. Egg White Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap (Dunkin' Donuts)

10. Breakfast Power Sandwich (Panera Bread)

For more details about how and why each breakfast was ranked, visit the web page here.

BTW, the breakfast image on this page did NOT make the list although it is pretty tasty.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Educational Summer Camps

It's still the middle of Winter and most areas of the country are buried under snow. Spring Break hasn't even started yet but it's not too early to begin thinking about summer vacation...more specifically Educational Summer Camps.

The Great Schools website offers some good ideas for keeping kids in mental shape while off from school in the summer. With so many school districts cutting budgets for the important things like the arts and physical movement, there are plenty of places to make up for the lost resources - and summer is a great time to catch up. You made need to plan early as some programs are limited and fill up quickly.

Kids need a balance all year long and there are plenty of Learning Disability Activities that can be done throughout the school year to keep them in shape both mentally and physically. But during the summer, they lose the daily routine that school provides so it's important to fill that need and keep their brains sharp.

To read the full article about educational summer camps and activities, visit the Great Schools website here.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's Never Too Early to Think About IEP Transition Goals and Objectives

Parents that attend an annual IEP are very familiar with IEP Goals and Objectives as they are written and modified each year. When kids are young, little time is spent thinking about the later years like high school. But as they get older, often overlooked aspects of the IEP Process are IEP Transition Goals and Objectives.



IEP Transition Goals and Objectives don't usually come into play until high school, but sometimes that can be too late.

Students will transition from elementary school to middle school or junior high and this is a great time to "practice" or prepare for the transition from high school to college or adult life.

We recently attended a Transition IEP for the senior year of high school and it was impressive. Maybe we got lucky but the school was very involved in all aspects of the transition, from college placement tests to financial aid to possibilities for work, trade school and college.

It's scary for all parents to know that their child will be leaving home for the first time. We worry throughout their life about everything but when the day comes when they actually leave it's a completely different feeling altogether.

Begin thinking about the transition early and prepare for everything. Pay attention to special interests, passions, and what really turns them on. Many people never find their true passion to follow in life but for kids with learning disabilities it's important to prepare them for every possibility.

Guide them into post-high school but allow them to follow, or discover, something that matters to them. Provide plenty of support and understand that even something that may sound outrageous or unconventional is okay to pursue if they are passionate about it.

Topics like employment, independent living, college, and socialization aren't so frightening if you plan early and begin thinking about them while there is time prepare.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Least Restrictive Environment - LRE

Least Restrictive Environment means that a student has the right to an education appropriate with students who do not have disabilities, and as close to home as possible. 

It is one of the basic tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), which is the federal law that requires school districts to provide students with disabilities a Free 

Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).



Parents shouldn't stress out about the liberal use of Learning Disability Acronyms thrown around in IEP Meetings. They can actually streamline the amount of paperwork required and they get easier to understand over time.


The most important thing to note about Least Restrictive Environment is that it allows children with learning disabilities and an IEP to be placed in a regular classroom setting with kids their own age. They may have some classes outside of the regular classroom in smaller groups, but they can also participate normally as if they didn't have a disability, whenever possible.


Taking kids out of their regular classes is a major concern for many parents. They are afraid their children will be "labeled" as different. IDEA addresses this issue through Least Restrictive Environment.


LRE is good for the student with a learning disability because it keeps things close to the norm. More information is available at: www.easyiephelp.com/easy-iep-help/restrictive-environment/ or http://idea.ed.gov.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Online Privacy and Your Kids

The New Facebook Privacy setting called “Instant Personalization” is now in effect. The new setting shares your data with non-Facebook websites and is automatically set to “Enabled.”

To update your settings go to:

Account > Privacy Settings > Apps & Websites > Instant Personalization > edit settings and uncheck “Enable.”

 If your friends don’t do this, they will be sharing info about YOU as well on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Pandora, etc., so make sure they know about the update too.

Don't forget to share this info with your kids. Many parents are "hands-off" with what their kids are doing online, either because they aren't computer savvy or don't want to know what they're doing.

Make sure you talk with them about not posting sensitive information that could hurt them later. Once it's online it's available for everybody to see and it may never go away. Posting certain things online could hurt them in sports, academics, and job applications - now and in the future.

It may not be easy to talk with them about this but it's every bit as important as that talk you keep putting off about sex and drugs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Awkward Family Photos Now in Book Format

Awkward Family Photos started life as a website in 2009 and is now available in book format. I'll admit, I used to spend a bit of time on the website LMAO. I wonder how they got the rights to publish all these photos. 

Amazon shows quite a few juicy pics if you look inside.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Teach Me Kindergarten iPhone App

The Teach Me Kindergarten iPhone App is great for parents with kids just entering school. It teaches math skills like addition and subtraction as well as spelling and sight words.

As kids master the game they earn coins and stickers which keep them playing and learning as they go.

TeachMe: Kindergarten is available at the iTunes store  for 99 cents. Well worth it. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teachme-kindergarten/id336689375?mt=8#

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dyslexia - Developmental Reading Disorder

Unlike what many people think, Dyslexia is not caused by vision problems. It is a Developmental Reading Disorder in which the brain has difficulty processing, or recognizing, symbols.

Many people with Dyslexia have overcome learning and reading difficulties such as Richard Branson in this Dyslexia Video.

Although Dyslexia presents as a lifelong problem, it is possible to treat it with with the help of an IEP and individualized tutoring.

If you think you or somebody you know may be dyslexic, it's important to have an assessment. There are websites that can offer an initial assessment and depending on the outcome may lead you to a more professional dyslexia test.