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Yearly Archives: 2013

In Case You Blinked: The Year in Review

December 20, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff The Educated Mom blog launched a year ago this month. And because we have some new readers and because I love year-end lists, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back on some of the themes we’ve covered. Perhaps the blog topics reveal a bit about what’s it like to be a parent and student at this particular moment in education. As much as fundamentals stay the same, I am fairly certain no one used the word MOOC when I was in elementary school. It was report card time when I started the blog, much like it is as I write this now. In the post, The Grade, I took a look at… Read More

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…Where Paris Hilton Loved Math

December 12, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff “It’s a really, really, chill place. Every tutoring session involves tea latte and some candles.” That’s what Vanessa Vakharia told me on the phone a few weeks ago when I asked her about her math tutoring studio in Toronto, The Math Guru. Vanessa personifies the name. She’s on a mission to get people, especially girls, to think of themselves as capable in math. “Anyone can do well at math and science,” she states on her website, “students simply need a teacher who can communicate with them in a language that they understand.” She’s confident in her philosophy because she experienced it in her own life. “When I was in high school, I failed math twice,” she… Read More

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More than Fun and Games: Nancy’s Picks

December 5, 2013

You might not know that Mindprint founder Nancy Weinstein is really into games, but I’m here to tell you that she is. Quite. I’m talking about board games, the kind you played as a kid, and the kind many parents forego as they search the app store for electronic equivalents. And while Nancy and the Mindprint reviewers are creating a database of educational product reviews tailored to cognitive strengths and weaknesses that includes many apps, board games hold a special status. Consider, as Nancy says, the game Monopoly you find in a box. “There’s probably no better way to teach a child addition and subtraction than having them play Monopoly and be the banker. Compare that to the Monopoly app… Read More

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Don’t Make it Look Easy

November 27, 2013

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Lately, I’ve been able to look at the approaching holiday from a range of perspectives. My kindergartener got to make butter and hold a Thanksgiving feast. My third grader got to sing songs about turkeys. And I got to go to three grocery stores and wait in checkout lines. It’s my turn, of course, and every parent comes to gain new appreciation for their own parents when they have to figure out how to fit a turkey and six pounds of mashed potatoes into a refrigerator. This year, though, I’m not making it all look so easy. I’m asking my eight-year-old to help me plan the day. We’ll work backwards from mealtime and figure out… Read More

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Learning with Lego

November 22, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Lego is synonymous with STEM. That’s what the representative from Lego Education told me and a room full of parents who were eager to hear about our school’s new partnership with his company. I was, I admit, a little concerned. How was the science teacher going to keep track of thousands of Lego pieces? I can’t seem to do that and I only have two kids losing them behind cushions. Rest assured, Lego Education bricks, unlike most retail ones, can be replaced a la carte. With that concern addressed, I was able to focus on how Lego Education is in fact synonymous with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We watched three videos (and you can too… Read More

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Need More STEM Talent? Find an Artist.

November 15, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff If you hear the word “STEM” and think of a plant, you may be my kindred spirit. But having spent some time writing this blog, I now know that STEM is an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” and it’s a field on many people’s minds. Finding young people with potential to excel in STEM-related careers is a national priority, but where we look for such talent may be expanding. A study published this past February by Barbara Kerr and Robyn McKay in the Creative Research Journal (Searching for Tomorrow’s Innovators: Profiling Creative Adolescents) suggests we may find future STEM innovators not only in high level math and science classes, but also in the arts…. Read More

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The Facts: What is a Psychoeducational Evaluation and Why is it Valuable

November 7, 2013

A psychoeducational evaluation, sometimes referred to as a psych-ed eval or neuropsych eval, is an assessment of how a student learns. It measures different types of reasoning, memory, and working efficiency. This is in contrast to learned knowledge, like math facts or vocabulary definitions. Pyschoeducational evaluations are most commonly recommended for students who are having difficulty in school. However, the information in a psychoeducational evaluation is great for every student. Mindprint got started as result of the founders’ own frustration with the psychoeducational process. They wanted to help other families by offering a streamlined psychoeducational evaluation at a fraction of the time and cost.   In the following post, Princeton-based adolescent psychologist Dr. Carol Blum explains what a psychoeducational evaluation is, why it can require so much time and expense, and… Read More

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Have a Sensitive, Bright Child? This May Be What You’ve Been Looking For

October 25, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff A few years ago when my youngest child would not sleep, I looked for help. The honeymoon of “sleeping like a baby” had ended abruptly at four months, and after more than a year of frustration, I turned to almost every doctor I could think of. “Is it her eczema?” I asked a dermatologist. “Is it a food allergy?” I asked an allergist. “Is it her teeth?” I asked a pediatric dentist. They did tests; we changed our diets; we re-read the sleep-training books; we bought softer sheets for her crib. We did everything we could think of. Still, I asked: why does she spend more time crying than sleeping each night? Finally, a pediatrician said,… Read More

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The School Says a Child is Fine, but a Mother Suspects More…

October 11, 2013

October is, among other things, National Dyslexia Awareness Month. But today’s blog post is timely no matter the date, because a delayed diagnosis of a child’s learning difference exhausts every resource a parent might have. If have a concern about dyslexia, we strongly encourage you to have your child tested. This is a service schools must provide if you request it. You can also do a relatively quick, at-home dyslexia screener, or find a child psychologist who can do a full evaluation.   Nancy Weinstein, the founder of Mindprint, starts us off with a brief introduction, followed by our Q&A. Nancy: Although each family’s situation is unique, this story is all too familiar. Parents know they have a bright child but something feels “wrong”…. Read More

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Good-bye to the Test?

October 1, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff What does it take to get into college? For that matter, preschool? Two recent stories in The New York Times address changes in the admissions process for some schools and both look at efforts to take the focus off standardized tests. First, there was the attention-grabbing headline: “Private Schools are Expected to Drop a Dreaded Entrance Test.” The test, as the story states, is “commonly known as the E.R.B.” and the organization that is dropping it when a contract expires next spring is the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York, which represents 130 schools. E.R.B. is shorthand for many things. Officially, it stands for Educational Records Bureau, a company founded in 1927. Today the… Read More

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