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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

May 30, 2013

Why It's Harder To Improve Students' Reading Than Their Math

Suki: What kind of homeschooling parent would you be?

Christine: Scratching the Itch

This Week
Seahorse Swim School Invites You to a Pool Party
Click to view our Business Directory
 

The weekend is full of choice cultural and "nature" activites. 

(Special Event Images / Graphics) Spring-Watsonville-Image-1-CPrentiss.jpgOne of my favorites is the annual opening show of California Landscape Artists at the Santa Cruz Art League.  Having spent my youth in New England with its abundance of deciduous trees, green and lush in the summer and grey and bleak in the winter, I revel in the great open vistas of the west, the golden hills dotted with live oak trees, the gardens that bloom all year long, the great redwood forests, the fields of artichokes and vine covered hills.  To see how different artists capture their favorite scenes on canvas is inspiring.  The exhibit is here through June 30.  Be sure to visit with your young artists. 

(Photos General) ArtFactory_Cat.jpgFor your children who show artistic interest, check out these summer art camps.  There is nothing like a class with a skilled art teacher to bring out the artist in the child while cleverly imparting technical skills.  Just look at this exquisite creation by one of Yvette Contois' Art Factory students.

Our local parks are bursting with both tried and true and new offerings. Ano Nuevo is offering a guided Coastal Geology Walk.  There's a Music & Art series at The Mission.  You can learn about Quiroste Shopping at Butano State Park.  Go here to see all the June parks offerings.

For your athletically inclined children there are numerous programs.  Two long time soccer programs are Santa Cruz Soccer and Catalyst SoccerAikido of Santa Cruz has an introductory summer camp program that builds on inner strength rather than physical strength and is accessible to people of all ages and body types.

On another note, we've written about the mysteries of autism before.  This link to the story about a mute autistic child who finds a voice at age 11 is amazing but even more amazing is the loving support of her family.  Get ready to shed a few tears.

Transitions.  Remember what it was like? ... Completing one level and feeling excited all summer long that you were going on to the next level. Graduations are an accomplishment, a ticket to the next adventure, easy for some and challenging for others. We parents know from experience that these transitions can be both exhilarating and scary. Wise parents keep the conversations going, helping their children find a balance between the letdown from the intensity of the school year, the freedom of the summer and anticipation of the next steps.

Reading to and with our children is both our greatest responsibility and our greatest pleasure.  Studies show that the home reading environment is critical to academic success.  It opens doors to whole worlds: shared experiences, great discussions about character, history, culture, etc.  Annie Murphy Paul cites studies that support reading, reading, reading!

Enjoy being with families and friends this weekend and be sure to plan at least one outing. Parmalee

A-Z Camps Camp Calendar 2013 Camp Guide
  Why It's Harder To Improve Students' Reading Than Their Math

Why It's Harder To Improve Students' Reading Than Their Math by Annie Murphy Paul

Educators, policy makers and business leaders often fret about the state of math education, particularly in comparison with other countries. But reading comprehension may be a larger stumbling block, writes Motoko Rich in an important article in today's New York Times:

"Studies have repeatedly found that "teachers have bigger impacts on math test scores than on English test scores,' said Jonah Rockoff, an economist at Columbia Business School. He was a co-author of a study that showed that teachers who helped students raise standardized test scores had a lasting effect on those students' future incomes, as well as other lifelong outcomes.

Teachers and administrators who work with children from low-income families say one reason teachers struggle to help these students improve reading comprehension is that deficits start at such a young age: in the 1980s, the psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley found that by the time they are 4 years old, children from poor families have heard 32 million fewer words than children with professional parents.

By contrast, children learn math predominantly in school.

"Your mother or father doesn't come up and tuck you in at night and read you equations,' said Geoffrey Borman, a professor at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin. "But parents do read kids bedtime stories, and kids do engage in discussions around literacy, and kids are exposed to literacy in all walks of life outside of school.'

Reading also requires background knowledge of cultural, historical and social references. Math is a more universal language of equations and rules.

"Math is really culturally neutral in so many ways,' said Scott Shirey, executive director of KIPP Delta Public Schools in Arkansas. "For a child who's had a vast array of experiences around the world, the Pythagorean theorem is just as difficult or daunting as it would be to a child who has led a relatively insular life.'

Education experts also say reading development simply requires that students spend so much more time practicing." (Read more here.)

This jibes very closely with what E.D. Hirsch and other have said for a long time about the "vocabulary deficit" that many students suffer. It takes a lot of reading and talking, starting early in a child's life and extending throughout their childhood, to build up a rich, varied knowledge of words and their shades of meaning. And most of that reading and talking is going to happen at home.

With the help of intensive instruction and dedicated teachers, underprivileged kids may able to catch up in math. Doing so in reading will be much harder-that's why we've got to encourage and promote a rich language environment in the home, starting Day 1 of children's lives.

 

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  Suki: What kind of homeschooling parent would you be?

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One of the questions that new homeschoolers often ask is "How am I ever going to get my child to do any work?" Having had a child in school, they lament, "it was hard enough to get him to do homework!"

Like everything in homeschooling, the answer depends on the family, their values, the choices they make, and how they view their roles. But in general, the approaches can be broken up into three groups: authoritarian, pure unschooling, and authoritative......continued>>>

 

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  Christine: Scratching the Itch

(Photos General) Itch.jpgA new study was recently published about itching. There is wonderful news on this front.

Such a simple thing - an itch. You have an itch, and you scratch it without even thinking. But sometimes that itch turns into something truly, incredibly, awful. It itches more and more as you scratch more and more and . . .

It turns out that 15% of people suffer long-term itches. Terminally ill cancer patients can suffer such extreme itching in response to morphine that they must choose to stop the pain or stop the itch.

We've never really understood itching. The sensation travels over neurons and ends up in the brain. Itching seems related to pain and many scientists believed that pain and itching traveled the same pathways. We finally know something more. Itching in mice seems to be caused by a specific hormone that triggers specific neurons to send the "itch" signal to the brain. These neurons aren't the same as pain neurons.

These researchers bred mice that couldn't make this hormone. They then tested these mice for itching, including histamines and found out that these mice had very little itching. No other senses seemed to be changed. Researchers then killed the neurons that received the hormones, but this didn't work well. The mice died young.

If these results are confirmed in humans, this hormone could be a very easy target to hit to stop itching. I started itching while I wrote this. Do you feel itchy after reading this? I described this blog to a few friends while I was writing it and they started itching.

Click here for more science with scientist and mom, Christine Cockey.

 

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  This Week

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Calendar.jpg(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Camp_Directory.jpgBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

FAMILY EVENTS Park Activities
PARENTING WORKSHOPS

 

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Prepare for Life after Birth!

Join Doula and Lactation Counselor Jessica Jolley at our upcoming Weekly Wellness Workshop: 10 Steps for a Healthy Postpartum.


Tues, June 4, 5:30pm

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Luma Yoga and Family Center

This workshop will explore essential steps you can take to prepare for a fulfilling postpartum experience.  Join us to learn how you can optimize this sweet, brief time.


Register online or drop in!

LumaYoga.com

 

School Corner

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Santa Cruz Children's School K-6, Open House 6/6

 

Mount Madonna PreK-12, 35th Ramayana 6/7-9

Welcome New Businesses!

 

St Stephens Child Development Center

 

Growing Up Wild

 

Jane Addams Peace Camp

 

The Village Preschool

 

Santa Cruz City Parks & Recreation

 

Ag History Project

 

Aikido of Santa Cruz

 

Aptos Yoga

 

Santa Cruz Parent Education Nursery School

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Nurturing Programs
Await You!

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Aptos Yoga

Luma Yoga

 Mama Yoga

 

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 Seahorse Swim School Invites You to a Pool Party
Seahorse Swim School's Open House and Pool Party

(Photos General) SeahorseSwimSchool_3girls.jpgSeahorse Swim School
Swimming, sun bathing by the pool and free introductory swim lessons by Seahorse certified instructors, music, cat
Date: 6/1, 2pm - 5pm
Ages: Children 2+ and Parents Admission Fees: Free

(Photos General) SeahorseSwimSchoolz_JuniorGuards_SantacruzParent.jpgParents are invited to bring their children 2 and older, to Tiffany Harmon's Seahorse Swim School's Open House and Pool Party on Sat. June 1, 2-5 pm at the Santa Cruz High School swimming pool at the corner of Myrtle and Taylor Streets.

This free community event will include swimming, sun bathing by the pool and introductory swim lessons by Seahorse certified instructors. There will also be music, catering by Conscious Creations plus an opportunity to meet Tiffany Harmon and the Seahorse staff. Parents will be able to get more information about lessons and sign up for swim classes.

Summer programs begin June 17 and features:
American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim programs, lap swimming, water aerobics classes, AQUA running classes, a Pool Jr. Guard Program for kids, water polo basics classes & recreational swim in the afternoons.


For more info: www.SeahorseSwimSchool.com
tiffany@SeahorseSwimSchool.com


Location: Santa Cruz High School Pool, Myrtle & Taylor St, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (831) 476-7946 •website Santa Cruz 

Transitioning to Summer
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Transitioning to Summer
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Transitioning to Summer
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Cabrillo Youth Chorus Spring Concert
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  Cabrillo Youth Chorus Spring Concert
Cabrillo Youth Chorus
Date: 06/02/2013 at 2:00pm
Details: Come to a joyful musical concert!
Special Instructions: one of the new buildings, on the corner, across from the gym
City: Aptos view all details >>
     
10th Annual Cannery Row Block Party
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  10th Annual Cannery Row Block Party
Cannery Row
Date: 06/02/2013 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Live music, entertainment, food and more
City: Monterey view all details >>
     
Transitioning to Summer
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  Transitioning to Summer
Date:
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Santa Cruz Scottish Festival
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  Santa Cruz Scottish Festival
Loch Lomond Celtic Society
Date: Every day (Jun 15-Jun 16) from 8:00am to 9:00am
Ages: All
Details: Enter into a 16th century Scottish market fair in the Scottish Renaissance Festival...Over 40 Clans and Societies will welcome v
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 457-6716 view all details >>
     
39th annual "Ramayana!"
click to view website
  39th annual "Ramayana!"
Mount Madonna School
Date: Every day (Jun 9-Jun 11)
Ages: all
Details: A story of love, adventure, separation and an eventual joyous reunion, in an ancient allegory of the battle of good and evil
City: San Jose Phone: (408) 847-2717 view all details >>
     
Transitioning to Summer
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  Transitioning to Summer
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Geology Rocks!
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  Geology Rocks!
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: 10/03/2015 at 1:00pm
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 60 minute exploration of the parks coastal geology
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
     
Redwood Mountain Faire
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  Redwood Mountain Faire
Valley Women's Club
Date: Every day (Jun 4-Jun 5)
Ages: All
Details: Join us RAIN or SHINE! Music lovers, arts and crafts aficionados, people of all ages, will enjoy this remarkable festival
Special Instructions: Parking: $5
City: Felton Phone: 831/ 335-4484 view all details >>
     
Transitioning to Summer
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  Transitioning to Summer
Date:
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