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5 Extracurricular Activities for a Holistic Education

5 Extracurricular Activities to Give Your Child a Holistic Education


Kids can only learn so much from traditional education, which is why it is vital that they also get involved in a host of extracurricular activities. These recreational pastimes for children aid their development and help them discover their passions. Extra curricular activities also can help kids to make friends and find positive role models. You want your child to become a well-rounded adult with much to contribute to society. You can help give kids a kickstart by sparking a passion for any one or more of these extracurricular activities that help give your child a holistic education.


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5 Extracurricular Activities to Give Your Child a Holistic Education



1) Music


Studying music has shown to improve test scores and help students do better in school. Music also can provide kids with a new way to express themselves. Additionally, the study of music helps kids to concentrate and can give them a sense of accomplishment as they learn to achieve their goals.


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There are many different instruments with which kids can start. One popular option is the drums. If you think this might be a good fit for your child, then you can learn more here.


 

2) Sports


Sports are an excellent outlet for getting exercise and building teamwork skills. Many kids even find themselves meeting some of their best friends through sports.

 

With so many different sports to choose from, your child will find something that works for them. If your kid has a hard time staying active, then participating in sports may provide the perfect fun way to get regular physical activity.



3) Art


Art is a fantastic way for children to express themselves and let their creative sides run wild. Many kids get a great sense of accomplishment when they create a beautiful piece of art.

 

There are many ways to get your child involved with art. While you can have your child take lessons, you could also involve them in crafts at home. The process of making things is essential to childhood development, no matter how you go about it.



4) Drama


Participating in performing arts can help kids to boost confidence. Drama also increases empathy because it requires your child to walk around in someone else’s shoes. Learning to play a character can help kids to see things from a different perspective and be more understanding.


Find our Plays & Skits at TeachersPayTeachers

 

Drama can help kids build trust and learn to rely on each other. When they are on stage, they need to trust that their scene partner will always have their back if they forget a line or something goes wrong. Even if your child never becomes a star, the performing arts can significantly change their life.



5) Writing


Writing is a pastime that has many professional advantages. One of the most sought-after skills in the professional world is strong writing. Starting young can help your child to succeed in their career.


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Writing can help children to process their thoughts and express themselves. It also may assist kids in their overall communication skills. Encourage your child to write short stories, poems, or to keep a journal.



The Bottom Line


Childhood is the perfect time for people to explore a plethora of different activities to find the things that they enjoy. Hopefully, these suggestions will give you some ideas about what your children might like to do in their free time. It's great to open their minds to all sorts of possibilities. Something may spark a career choice.


However, it is essential not to force your child to do anything that does not interest them. While encouragement is helpful, pressure can be counterproductive and may cause resentment. You need to strike a careful balance. Remember that your kids are just kids, and they may not become the next Olympic athlete or musical prodigy, and that is okay, just let them enjoy their extra curricular activities. 



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4 Suggestions for Smooth Living with Blended Families

Advice for Blending Families

Blending two families together as one can prove to be challenging, especially when different personalities and needs come into play. With children entering the equation on both sides and different parenting styles suddenly merging, it's important to make sure everyone's feelings, needs and wants are taken into consideration before moving in together. 


Read about one of our contributor’s experiences with Blending Families.


Preparing to live together as a family means discussing finances, making sure everyone has their own space, and/or preparing children for the big change in one way or another. Here are some suggestions for making the transition of becoming a blended family as smooth as possible.


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Advice for Blending Families


1. Hash Out Child-Rearing Approaches

Different attitudes on child rearing can make or break a home. Not everyone has the same parenting style. While some parents are considered "pushovers," allowing their children to get and do whatever they want (with no ability to say "no,") other parents are a bit more disciplined. When two people with different child-rearing approaches come together as one blended family, it can be difficult when an incident occurs with their children.

To keep everyone on the same page, it's important to discuss child-rearing techniques and approaches before you move in together. Indeed, it makes for a much more peaceful home. Remember, children need consistency, so try to address this important issue as soon as possible. You don’t want to have to learn your new partner's child rearing stance the hard way. 


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2. Ensure Everyone Has Their Own Space

Blending d├ęcor is one of the many challenges facing soon-to-be blended families, but it's completely doable. If it's within your budget, consider letting each child have their own room, which can go a long way in helping smooth out living situations and making sure everyone gets along with each other. It can also help to let your children decorate their own space and put their own stamp on it. This can help them feel a sense of belonging. 

When it comes to designing and outfitting a child's bedroom, consider any number of bedroom sets that show off your children's style and personality. Whether you decide to shop online or head to one of their stores, you'll be able to find all that you need to truly make your new house feel like home for everyone. Be sure to include the child in the process. It’s a fun family experience and can help a new parent bond with their step children.


3. Discuss Your Finances

Before you become a blended family, discuss how you'll manage your finances. Will you keep separate bank accounts and split the bills down the middle? Or, will you have a joint bank account to which you'll each contribute? Think about how you'll handle spending, especially if one partner makes more than the other. It’s always a good idea to keep some finances separate, particularly if you both have full-time careers and are used to spending your money your way. It’s always good to create a joint account for mutual household expenses.

Will one partner need to consult the other before making a large purchase? If so, what amount constitutes a large purchase? Will you have to discuss purchases when it comes to your children or will you have the freedom to decide how you spend your money on them? To avoid arguments in the future, these are some things you should think about before you blend your families together. 


4. Prepare Your Children for the Move

If you want things to go smoothly once the big day arrives, making sure your children are prepared for the move is essential. Let them know ahead of time when and what will happen, so they'll be better equipped to handle the changes ahead. Sit down with your children and discuss the move so they can express their feelings about it.

While you're not exactly asking their permission, it's important to let them know that their feelings and concerns are valid and that you'll help them sort through them if they feel overwhelmed or anxious about their new living situation. Talk about the new routine and let them know you won't love them any less with new children coming into the picture. Be sure to remind them they'll still have a space to call their own- and make sure they do, even if it is a little nook in your dining room!


You might also want to prepare your pets for a life change.


Preparing to Blend Families

Blending families is rarely easy, if ever, but taking the above steps into consideration can help make the transition a bit easier for everyone involved. It also helps keep the peace and ensure everyone is on the same page so that you can work together to create a smooth living situation for the entire family.



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10 Top-Notch Ways to Motivate Students to Study and Learn

10 Ways to Motivate Students to Study and Learn


Students who are inattentive or put little effort into their school work are unlikely to benefit from better instruction or school curriculum. So, how can teachers help students become motivated? From putting students in control to offering rewards, motivation can be both encouraged and provided. Here’s an in-depth look at ten ways to motivate students to study and learn more effectively.

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ways to motivate students to study and learn more effectively


An in-depth look at ten ways to motivate you students  



1. Put Students in Control of Their Learning Experience  

Education makes some kids feel like they’re being controlled. When a student feels that lack of control, they generally withdrawal from learning. It’s important that students are given control over their learning experience. 

A good way to do this is to give students options. For example, when assigning math questions, allow students to complete either the evens or the odds. That way, they can choose which one they want to complete. 

Students that are given more control and can have direct input in respect to their learning experiences, activities, and environment, become more engaged and even want to learn.  


2. Develop an Atmosphere for Reading  

It’s known that students who develop a love for reading also love learning. The two are interconnected. Reading, not only helps students develop a wide vocabulary, but it allows their brains to learn how to process formal communication. 


Enrich your classroom by providing students with a variety of quality outside information. You can find reading materials from sources like the New York Times, Forbes, or Science stage.
You can also assign students a book report related to one of your key objectives. That way, students can learn more about an essential topic from an expert in a field. 


3. Focus on Student Interests 

To engage students, focus on topics that they find interesting. Not every objective is interesting to every student, however, you can relate lessons to current trends to reach more students. For example, when coming up with a math question, you can ask students about the latest internet challenge. For the ice bucket challenge, you might pose a question regarding the volume of the bucket.


4. Make Learning Entertaining Through Game-Based Learning  

Game-based learning has been around for a long time. In fact, game-based learning has many beneficial qualities. It not only provides opportunities for extensive learning and development of non-cognitive abilities, but it helps students want to play the game which, in turn, teaches them a new skill or some other aspect of your lesson plans.

When a child is actively playing a game, their mind experiences the joy of learning something new. This is true whether the game is considered entertainment, like a video game or it has a more serious tone like a military simulator. Games that are entertaining have an added benefit of being engaging, thus motivating students to learn more. 

Game-based learning is a successful motivation tool for team-based learning. Since students generally become more competitive in order to win, they may perform better in the learning portions of the game to earn more points. 

Game-based learning is a perfect way for teachers to introduce new concepts or ideas into the classroom. Start with a fun game like classroom jeopardy, or allow students to visit an interactive website and compete online with other students at their grade level.


5. Encourage Communication  

Students should feel encouraged to express their opinions about what’s going on with their education. They should feel comfortable to express their likes or dislikes. Often, when students feel like they can’t speak up, they withdrawal from the learning process.  

It’s best to create an open atmosphere where all students know that their opinion matters. Students should know they won’t be judged, ignored, put down, or discouraged. Instead, students should know you're paying attention and listening to their concerns. That way, students will communicate better if any issue arises. 


 6. Allow Students to Learn Outside of the Classroom  

While book work is important, students sometimes become frustrated at the amount of book work that is required. It’s essential to provide students with fun activities that they can do outside of the classroom. 

Provide students with a list of educational activities they can complete outside of the classroom with friends or family. Activities like baking and shopping allow students to relate what they've learned in school to the real world. Homeschoolers can include these activities in their daily instruction. Measuring and finance are great future skills. Kids find these real world ways of learning math more enjoyable. Math makes more sense when we see the applications as useful.


7. Set Attainable Goals   

It’s important that you set attainable goals for all students. Most students like to feel challenged. Stimulating students helps them to want to set and achieve goals. When they find the expectations attainable, they're more likely to strive to reach the goal.

8. Use Positive Competition 

Competition isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes it motivates students to work harder to achieve a 100% score. One of the best ways to use positive competition is to allow students to take part in a friendly math competition. That way, students get to work together to show off their knowledge and help others that might not understand higher math concepts. Teachers can add math concepts that are relevant to their lesson plans. 


9. Track Students Progress  

It's sometimes difficult for students to understand just how far they’ve come in a particular subject, especially when they find the subject hard to comprehend. Tracking a student’s progress, motivates students, allowing them to visualize how much they've achieved as the year progresses. This is especially important for homeschool learners. Keep track of their progress with programs like, MobyMax, which tracks progression by finding and fixing gaps in learning through relevant grade level, online lessons.


10. Offer Rewards   

Rewards are an excellent source of motivation. Everyone likes to earn rewards. Students will study hard and aim for success in hopes of winning the top prize. Rewards can be large or small, depending on the grade level of the class or age of the students. Older students may not find a lollipop reward very motivating.

For example, choose rewards like a pizza party, ice cream party, or even a donut party or extra credit points for older students. With younger students, simple rewards like a piece of candy, a sticker, or a small toy will provide motivation.







Have you tried any of these ways to motivate students to study and learn more efficiently? 
Student motivation is essential in every stage of education. Focus on student interests, encourage communication, track a student’s progress and offer rewards at every stage. Since every student is motivated differently, make sure to customize your motivation strategies for individual students. 

Check out the recommended reading below for additional ways to motivate students to learn and study. 



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How To Prepare Your Child For A Standardized Test

So, It's Time for a Standardized Test...

Standardized tests are a common strategy applied to gauge a student’s learning capability and the school’s or teacher’s performance. There is a common misconception about standardized tests among parents that these tests are designed to evaluate school performance and don’t necessarily judge students' abilities. 
However, standardized tests are an important part of a student's academic life. In some cases, standardized tests are essential for grade promotion, graduation, or even securing a driving license. As a parent, it is your duty to prepare your children for this test, so they can deliver their best.

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How To Prepare Your Child For A Standardized Test
How To Prepare Your Child For A Standardized Testing: Relaxing the day before is always a good idea!

What Is a Standardized Test?
A standardized test is a testing system that is based on a standard approach. In standardized tests, the question is the same for everyone, the duration of the test is the same for everyone, and even the evaluation process of answers remains the same for every student. 
Independent school entrance examination (ISSE), California achievement test (CAT), Secondary School Admission Test  (SSAT), Preliminary scholastic aptitude test (PSAT), and General Educational Development test (GED) are some commonly-known standardized tests.

Why Standardized Tests Are Used?
A standardized test is a tool applied to evaluate the effectiveness of institutional practice.  It provides a uniform platform to measure the performance of schools and students. A standardized test can gather information about the state education system, a school program, or the performance of a single student. It helps to determine a student's strengths or weaknesses and to certify their ability.

Different Methods of Standardized Test
Standardized tests are designed to evaluate the aptitude of a student. Unlike the regular tests that measure the subject-specific knowledge, the standardized test evaluates creativity, verbal ability, abstract reasoning, and mechanical ability. There are different methods of standardized methods. The most common methods adopted by schools are true or false questions, multiple-choice questions, and essay questions.

What Should Your Child Bring to a Standardized Test?
There are different rules for different tests. If students are allowed a calculator, you should check whether the model is approved by the authority. If your calculator is not approved then you should check out a smart site with good reviews for buying another model of calculator. Pen, Pencils, watch, water, and other essentials should be with your child while attending a standardized test.

How Do You Prepare Your Child For Standardized Tests?
Parents can play an important role in preparing a child for a standardized test. There are a number of ways that you can take an active role in your child’s preparation for a test. Let’s read on to know more about them.

Know About the Test
Usually, teachers notify parents before a standardized test. You should know the purpose of the test and whether the result will affect your child or the school. Also, make sure you know the exact schedule of the test and whether you need to prepare your child for the test.
Communicate With Your Child
Communicate with your child about the test. Try to find out if he/she is prepared for it. If there is any area or subject that they are less than confident about, try to solve the issues with them. If necessary, go through the previous mistakes and review them. Practicing more will boost their confidence.
Build a Positive Mindset
A positive mindset can make a huge difference in test performance. As a parent, you should try to build up your child’s confidence. Try to convey the message that you are 100% confident about them. No matter how the result is, you would be glad if they try their best.
Go Through the Test Instructions
Review the test instructions with your child. Make clear how much time will be provided and how many questions are to be answered. Try to convey the importance of that particular test to your kid; it will instill a ‘can do’ attitude within them. Tell them they should try to answer all the questions, even if they are unsure about the answer, as it will build their confidence and critical thinking skills.
Follow a Healthy Routine
A good night's sleep can have a huge impact on test performance. Try to get your child to bed early so that she can be relaxed on the test day. Most of the time, students' bad performance on a test can be tied back to the reason they lacked a good sleep the night before. Also, follow healthy eating habits that will ensure your child’s physical well being.
Build a Relaxing Atmosphere on Test Day
On the test day, stay cheerful and relaxed. Make some nutritious breakfast that will provide stamina throughout the test. Avoid foods that can cause any digestive issues to your child. Overall, follow a regular routine that your child follows for any regular test. Give some words of encouragement to them, so they feel confident.
Debrief After the Test
After the test, go through the parts that were tough for your child. Talk to your child about how they feel about the test. Try to get an insight into how they dealt with the problems they faced. It will help them process her own strategies and do better the next time.

How to Deal With Pre Test Anxiety
Some students develop anxiety over facing a test. Needless to say, extreme anxiety should be treated so that it can't have any negative effect on the test. If your children feel anxious about the test, then you have to put things in perspective for them. Tell them no matter how they perform, you will be proud of them just for braving the test.
On a final note, while standardized tests are not high stake tests, they can have an impact on your child’s studies. So prepare for the tests on a regular basis by checking your child's homework and their study progress. Be an active part of their academic life, so she feels encouraged. Your involvement in their studies can make a big difference to both their academic performance and personal growth.

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What is a Standardized Test? How do you Prepare your Child?
What is a Standardized Test? How do you Prepare your Child?