Archive for August 2014

Review of Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, the tale of a tween who broke the rules of middle school

Review of Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, the tale of a tween who broke the rules of middle school
Maya Van Wagenen wrote her first book, Popular: Vintage Wisdom For The Modern Geek, by the time she turned 15 years old and it details how she followed Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide from the 1950′s as an eighth grader in the 2010′s. Dreamworks has optioned the rights to her book, but the project did not... Read more »

Letter to my tween daughter about disagreeing with me, and others

Letter to my tween daughter about disagreeing with me, and others
The last Wednesday of each month is ChicagoNow Blogapalooza when all ChicagoNow bloggers are given a topic and exactly one hour to write and publish a post on it. Tonight, the hyperorlando bloggers are joining in – the more the merrier! Tonight’s assignment: “Write a letter to someone or some entity with whom you have... Read more »

7 Fun, free, educational websites for kids

<a href="http://tweentribune.com/frontpage?link" target="_blank"><strong>Smithsonian Tween Tribune</strong></a>
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The folks at the Smithsonian have a website dedicated to news for kids in grades 5-8 and judging the headlines on the Tween Tribune, they know just what interests tweens. One story, <a href="http://tweentribune.com/tween78/school-s-favorite-cookie-banned-cafeteria">School’s favorite cookie banned from cafeteria</a>, was about the national lunch guidelines, and another was entitled <a href="http://tweentribune.com/tween56/un-bee-lievable-50000-bees-invade-apartment">Un-bee-lievable! 50,000 bees invade apartment</a>. I'm glad to know that it's not just my tween who enjoys news of the weird like that.
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There are also global stories, including <a href="http://tweentribune.com/tween56/hate-taking-bus-school-try-swimming" target="_blank">Hate taking the bus to school? Try swimming!</a> about 61 kids in India who swim across a river and then walk 3 miles to to school. The news article is straightforward, but it would be tough for kids to read it and not get a healthy dose of perspective. It seems to shy away from more controversial current events, though there is also the Grade 9-12 version.
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There is a <a href="http://tweentribune.com/spanish" target="_blank">Spanish edition</a> and Tween Tribune can be downloaded as an <a href="http://tweentribune.com/apps" target="_blank">app</a>.
I’ll never forget my first grader coming home and announcing that a classmate told everyone there was no Tooth Fairy. She announced that she knew for certain because she had Googled it. Tweens are very tech savvy and good at searching the web. Given the above story, many of them have been good at it... Read more »
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Do schools start too early?

Do schools start too early?
“I’m tired,” yawned my middle schooler at breakfast this morning. Turns out, she’s not the only sleepy tween/teen and the nation’s pediatricians are out to change that. What are the doctors’ orders? Let the tweens and teens sleep in and have school start later. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a new policy today... Read more »

Poison ivy: Facts and home remedies to relieve the insidious itching

Poison ivy: Facts and home remedies to relieve the insidious itching
I’m itchy. Very, very itchy thanks to an unfortunate run in with poison ivy. Here’s rundown of basic poison ivy facts: The urushiol oil on the leaves of the poison ivy plant cause an allergic reaction in 60% to 80% of people when it touches their skin. The reaction is a rash that can also... Read more »

Avoid over sharenting: how much do you share about your kids online?

Avoid over sharenting: how much do you share about your kids online?
We all have friends in social media who use their platform of choice (often Facebook) to share every last detail of their children’s lives, from the dreaded potty training details to tears over not making the soccer team to standardized test scores, percentiles and all. But when does what you share about your kids online... Read more »
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Must see: Little League World Series Coach Dave Belisle's inspiring postgame pep talk

There are so many great stories to emerge from the Little League World Series, from female pitching phenom Mo’Ne Davis from Philadelphia to the Jackie Robinson West squad from Chicago. One stand out for me is this truly wonderful speech by Cumberland American Head Coach Dave Belisle. Jackie Robinson West had just eliminated in a... Read more »

My tween has taken a break over the summer and that's okay

My tween has taken a break over the summer and that's okay
The shiny silver flute has been in its case, untouched, for weeks. The ballet barre in the basement has not seen any attention for quite a while, either. Just typing those sentences stirs up conflicting emotions for me.  See, my daughter’s main activities during the school year are band and dance, but this summer, she’s... Read more »

8 best Robin Williams movies

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w8fu-hq3S7A?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br><br>Dead Poets Society<br><br>1989<br><br>While it is tough to pick among the many wonderful lines from Robin Williams as John Keating in this movie, my favorite would have to be, "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."<br><br>Or "I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way." Or "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."<br><br>
But really, this one is awesome. "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.And medicine, law, business, engineering - these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love - these are what we stay alive for."
The news of Robin Williams’ death today hit me hard. He’s been a family favorite for years and I’m grateful for the many laughs and he has provided us over the years. Robin Williams won an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting and, although he wasn’t always a darling of the critics, I... Read more »
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Back to school is a great time to teach kids about budgeting

Back to school is a great time to teach kids about budgeting
For tweens and teens, back to school means picking up schedules, decorating lockers and figuring out who has the same lunch period. For parents, back to school can mean watching the dollars fly out the door. The National Retail Foundation estimates that parents spend more than $668 per child on back to school expenses. Back... Read more »