Suggestions & Resources
Education is always buzzing with news and updates, and as part of my services I’m pleased to share some of the most relevant articles and posts. Stay tuned for more and contact me with any questions or remarks.
Math Challenge for Younger Students
Are you looking to challenge your 1st or 2nd grader in math? When I tutor a student who seems to be a little bored with the math curriculum, I try to add some challenge problems to spice it up. The problems that I usually start involve balancing equations.
Now, it is important to get a good baseline for the student and make sure they have a firm understanding of basic arithmetic. First, I draw them a picture of a scale. I show the scale in balance and draw four boxes on the scale (two on each side). Next, I label three of the boxes with a number (start easy using 1-5). Then I tell the student that each side of the scale weighs the same amount. I then ask them to figure out how much the fourth box weighs. The first time I introduce these problems I solve it with the student. The student will usually be able to tackle the problems independently after a couple of samples.
This is a great way to challenge the student beyond rote memorization of addition and subtraction facts. It gets them used to the idea of a multi-step problem and can easily be scaled up to make it more complicated. After several weeks I get rid of the drawing and write a simple equation with a missing variable (5+3=2+X). Great challenge and early introduction to algebra.
Reviewing Your Child's Education File
School records. Aside from reviewing report cards, most parents do not really think about their child's school records. However, it could be a useful idea to review those records. This is not just to help prepare for an IEP meeting, but in general it is a good idea to get a sense of what is in your child's files. Perhaps you want to apply to a private school or have a high schooler who is looking into colleges. Whatever the reason it can be worth your time to request to review your child's school records.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) empowers parents to be able to review and in some circumstances request changes to your child's educational records. Once a parent makes a request to review school records in writing, a local school has 45 days to honor your inquiry. Additionally when your child reaches the age of 18 these parental rights transfer to the child.
When reviewing the records you might have questions about items in the record and may ask the school for clarification. So take a moment and email your school if you want to get a clearer idea of your child's educational portrait.
If you want to advocate for yourself and don't know where to begin, then I suggest that you begin with Peter and Pamela Wright's From Emotions to Advocacy. It is written in a very clear manner and it breaks the special education process down into all of its component parts. This book will help give an overview of conflict resolution, educational evaluations, IEP goal writing, and strategies to help move the process forward.
While this book will not answer every question that you have, it will provide a good overview and might help bridge the communication gap with your school. The book can be found on Amazon as well as other book sellers.