Archive for August, 2007

Aug 28 2007

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are essential opportunities to find out how your child is doing in school.  It’s a time to ask questions and your opportunity to get to know your child’s teacher one-on-one.  Remember, as the parent, you are your child’s first and foremost teacher.  So if you have a question, ask it.  Find out how you can help and don’t be afraid of asking simply:  How can I help? 

Build a network of other parents within your child’s class and volunteer.  The easiest way to be involved is to just show up and make it fun.  Kudos to the Pigeon River Green Gang in Sheboygan, WI.  This group of parents, teachers and kids have been meeting for 6 years, every month and doing improvements to their school.  They have created walking paths, prairie settings, and pizza gardens by planting the basil, oregano, tomatoes, peppers and later having a pizza party or a salsa party for their school to eat the fruits of their labor.  WOW, and that was some yummy salsa they made!!! 

I was recently at Harvard, IL’s 4 year old Kindergarten to talk to parents, via an interpreter about how they can help their children be successful in school.  I told them that just by showing up and asking questions, they are showing their kids that they care.  I also talked about the importance of going through the backpack and folder every night, reading with their kids for 15 minutes and playing a repetitive game for 15 minutes, like jumping jacks and counting out loud as they go.  Stop, drop and listen to your child daily and ask open ended questions to help your child learn to communicate and be involved in school activities and functions and build a network of parents to make it a fun social experience as well.  It’s all about making it fun for the entire family!  If it’s not fun, you need to make some changes to make it fun.  Find new people that are fun and start networking!
Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Got some neat ideas to make it fun?  We’d all love to hear them!  Don’t stop with us. Share them with teachers, other parents and your local PTA/PTO too!  We’re all in this together!

130 responses so far

Aug 21 2007

Back to School Shopping: Yes it Can Be F-U-N!

It’s back to school time. I couldn’t have said it any better than my dear friend Rachel Hamman.  She had a fabulous post and I’m with her!  I am so ready to practice the 3 R’s:  Relaxing, Recharging and Reclaiming!  To read more go to:  

I learn so many great tips from observing homeschooling moms.  I saw this in action a few years ago, tried it last year and now it has become a family tradition with Heidi, 8 and Megan 6.  This is school shopping week at the Kannenberg household… 

Empower children to help make shopping for school supplies a fun game for everyone, instead of another dreaded chore that needs to be done. 

Every child gets to hold and cross off their supply list and is given a shopping basket.  Mom is in charge of helping and supervising the purchases before they can be added to Mom’s Approved Purchases (MAP) Cart. 

The rules are simple:

1. Everyone has to stay in the same aisle, so Mom can supervise purchases. 
2. Mom has final approval before the item can be put into Mom’s cart.

Tip: Empower older children to help younger children who might not be able to read the list, but can help find items and cross them off the list.  Everyone is involved in the process regardless of age; even a toddler can help search, find and put
the item into the basket for Mom’s approval and help Mom get it into the final cart. 

Make it a fun activity and start the school year with some positive fun!

I enlisted help from our 14 year-old neighbor girl, Amanda.  It’s become a tradition to go school clothes shopping with her, and this year the long wait was finally over.  Instead of calling it clothes shopping — it’s “fashion show dress up.”  We went to a discount department store a few hours before the dinner hour.  We grabbed two carts, one for each girl.   We shopped together as a team and visited each area:  jeans, skirts, shirts, blouses,
underwear, tights, socks and shoes.  We pushed our carts into the dressing room area, assigned each girl to a room and handed them each a complete outfit minus underwear, tights, socks and shoes to try on and model.  Amanda and I emceed the event and asked them to come out at the same time to model.  My job was final outfit approval, making sure all approved items were placed in the correct cart or put aside as a “no sale.”   When the show was complete and purchases made, we had dinner at a nice restaurant.  We all had so much fun!  The girls have talked and giggled about it for the past year and were so excited that it was finally time to go again. 

Copyright 2007 – Stacey Kannenberg, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Action Item: How about you?  Do you have any great tips to take the stress out of back to school time?  Let us know how you’ve taken a chore that used to cause tears and turned into one that creates cheers!  Inquiring moms are dying to know!

10 responses so far

Aug 14 2007

Everyday Math

Have you heard of Everyday Math?  It is used as the elementary math curriculum in many schools across the nation and the concept is simple:  do math everyday.  That I like.  Show children how much fun math can be and show it used in everyday practical matters.  Everyday Math introduces math at the core and presents it in a fun and positive environment.  Math is everywhere in everyday practical matters:  cooking, traveling, banking, simply everywhere.  

My children are at the beginning of Everyday Math so our family has yet to get into the meat of the program to see first hand the benefits in action.  I do hear from frustrated parents who are not happy with one thing about Everyday Math:  they do a different math concept everyday.  One day it could be fractions, the next it could be patterns, the next day measuring, and the next day decimals.   The idea is that at some point the light goes on and children understand the concept and if you are spending an entire unit working on fractions and then move on to measuring, the child might never have had that “aha moment” about fractions.  That might have been my problem with math in school.  The light never turned on for me with math.  I honestly still get nervous about fractions and storybook math problems and I am the first to direct my children to Dad for help on those units.  Math was his favorite subject in school and he uses it everyday in his job.  It is his passion.

So, I am going into Everyday Math with an open mind because math has never been one of my favorite subjects in school.  I am not going to let on to my kids that math was not my favorite subject, instead I am going to attempt to oversee the math homework links, to see if I could possibly start over with math at the core.  It may not be too late for me to have my own math epiphany.  I do believe in the importance of practice and at some point enough practice over and over might lead to that light bulb burning brightly between myself, my children and math. 

Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Do you have a secret subject that’s still “Greek” to you?  Are you working towards making it more you-friendly?  Tell us how it’s working out! 

382 responses so far

Aug 06 2007

Establishing Your Own Family Fun Rituals

Published by under Cedar Valley Fun

Having family fun should be a top priority. Quality family time builds significant memories that last a lifetime. They also create a safe, comfortable and secure family setting so when it’s time to tackle a family problem, you can solve and evolve together as one-entity: a family. As they say, a family that plays together sticks together. And, family is most needed during the bad times.

Listed below are my family’s Top 10 Favorite Family Fun Rituals. Hopefully, they will give you some creative ideas to adapt to your own family’s interests, skills and desires.

You’ll quickly learn that a house of girls (Mommy, and our 5 and 7 year old daughters) and 1 boy (Daddy) can have a ton of fun in the great outdoors, and watching sports.

  1. We enjoy going on ATV (all terrain vehicles) trips.  Our girls have helmets and ride in a special wrap-around-seat behind Daddy for safety.  We choose trails with little activity and plenty of places to stop with clean bathrooms and food.  This year we went with another family who has a 7 year old girl, and it is so much fun to hear them giggling on the trails in the woods, and pointing out wildlife along the way. 
  2. We love water parks.  We are blessed to live in Wisconsin close to the Wisconsin Dells, which has more water parks than any other place in the world (or so the advertisement says).  Water fun, amusement rides, and arcades make for a great escape.
  3. We go to the Green Bay Packer football family night every year.  It’s our family tradition.  It is a team scrimmage. The purpose of this night is for families to have fun, with kids’ songs, people watching and a huge firework finale. 
  4. We go to a Milwaukee Brewer Baseball game every year.  The girls enjoy singing and dancing between the innings, and they love to watch the antics of Bernie Brewer, the team mascot.  Great fun!
  5. We take the girls out on the golf course with us every year.  We each rent a cart and take a child who is assigned the task of handing us our golf tee and a lucky golf ball. They do not leave our carts unless they are washing golf balls.  They enjoy watching out for the snack cart and keeping score.  We frequent the driving range with them and that’s their time to practice with child size clubs. If you haven’t tried this before, it’s so much fun!
  6. We can’t wait for go-carting season. We rent the double size carts so each parent has a child, and then we switch kids and go again and again.  It’s a race with some healthy competition.  We all end up laughing so hard during the entire race, because we really get into the spirit of the match.  It’s a blast!
  7. We love to go boating and fishing so we can spend many hours on different lakes with great scenery. 
  8. We frequent many County Fairs during the summer. It’s a family tradition to attend the truck and tracker pulls.  It doesn’t hurt that Daddy is also a substitute driver and drives about 3- 4 times a year.  We enjoy pulling for Daddy and then riding on the carnival rides and playing a few games. 
  9. We love to go biking.  We are lucky because we live close to a bike trail and this is the year that our oldest daughter left her training wheels behind.
  10. We enjoy visiting with friends, neighbors and relatives.  We have developed rituals and look forward to the big Christmas Party with almost 100 relatives, the smaller one with 10 members, and then the Christmas Eve festivities with just our family.  We also love our neighborhood parties with fireworks and cool fall nights around the campfire.

Enjoy some good ‘ol family fun!

Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

I’d love to add new Family Fun Rituals to our list, so please share your events with us!

422 responses so far