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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

September 18, 2014
Sewing Art

Parents Comment on Homework

The "Experts" on Homework

Suki: Teach Your Children Well

This Week
Mole & Mariachi Festival
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  Sewing Art

(Photos General) Clare_costumed.jpg

One of the elementary, essential skills that offers satisfaction and pride in making something and also calms the mind is sewing. If, under the guidance of a good teacher, interest sparks, it can lead to a lifetime of sewing for oneself and family or even a career in fashion/theater design or creating fabric art. We see the results in fashion, movies, theaters and museums. Sewing is not just for girls either.  Look at what Ralph Loren has created or locally the fabulous costumes of The Great Morgani and pretty darn good theater costuming by our many skilled theater companies.

Sewing can be frustrating if you try it on your own and a joy if you have a good teacher showing you all the little tricks.  I know a talented young Santa Cruz native who began sewing by making little fairies which she sold at the children's Christmas Craft Fair.  She sewed, danced and sang her way through theater productions at Harbor High, majored in theater at Southern Oregon University, (Special Event Images / Graphics) FashionArt_GreatMorgani_EmmanuelLeroy.jpgnow is in graduate school and plans (not even hopes) to design and sew for Cirque du Soleil. Along the way she became fluent in French, apparently a requirement for getting that treasured position. It began with one good teacher, her mother and then a series of inspiring mentors. If sewing is not your strength, there is a fabulous teacher at The Art Factory, ready to take your student from any level and guide them through a sequence of skills that enables them to master the art of sewing!

By now families are well into the homework season.  After reading your comments and a collection of articles on homework, whether your homework situation is just right or not manageable, work with your child's teacher to find a reasonable balance.

In her discussion on the recent talk by psychologist Madeline Levine, Suki challenges all of us to think deeply about how we are educating our children.  There's no doubt that homeschooling is a powerful movement in contemporary education.  Of course not everyone can do homeschooling, but keep a lookout on how it begins to influence traditional models.

We have such wonderful state parks.  A delicious way to support them and to have fun is by going to the Mole & Mariachi Festival this weekend.

What's not to love about our dear otters?!  Learn more about them as Seymour Center celebrates Sea Otter Awareness Week beginning next week!

Parents and teachers: you needn't be envious of all the skills your students are bringing home from MakersFactory.  They listened to you and now have some exciting classes for you!  For teachers who want to stay ahead of students in the technology field check out these professional development classes.

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter. As always, your questions, comments or concerns are welcome.  To find more events than we've highlighted below, just click for everything Friday through Sunday!

Have a great weekend with family and friends! 

Parmalee

Great Morgani Photo by Emmanuel Leroy

 

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  Parents Comment on Homework

--I'm okay with a small amount of homework if it's to practice something new a few times. After all we expect to practice at music and sports in order to get better and go on to the next step.

--My children are in school for 7 hours. Maybe five of those hours are spent learning and practicing. We provide for music and soccer outside of school. The rest of the time should be kid time and family time.

--I like the idea of accountability -get an assignment, do it and turn it in- as practice for the "real world." Just keep the amount down and don't ask me to explain it if she doesn't understand it. I tell her to write a note saying "I don't understand this. Please go over it again in class."

--After school we have piano lessons and practice, chores, dinner and family time with stories or games. I like a little homework, especially reading because it keeps the learning going and it's easy for me to participate in as a listener and "questioner".

--So he spends 7 hours doing reading, spelling, math, geography, science, history, writing and now comes home and has to do another hour or two or three doing them some more?! Sheesh!

--My daughter has a great history teacher who inspires her to do original research and write papers. In class she has taught her research, organization and writing skills. This is valuable and my daughter loves it. Quality assignments makes for a happy student and happy family!

--I realized that the homework my son was getting was busy work that was boring for him because he already knew it, so I talked with his teacher and she agreed to give him independent assignments. He felt special and really liked doing his homework. She was a good teacher.

--When my own children were younger, in elementary grades, they had homework every night, and I did feel that often it was homework given as a matter of course, that the teachers had to adhere to some sort of policy and that it was mandatory to give homework. That's ridiculous. Otherwise, homework has a very valid place in education.

--My son's teacher has one standing homework assignment (this is 4th grade) - read for half an hour. Read anything you like, but read. My son has ADHD, but once he gets into a book, the house could be on fire and he wouldn't put the book down. Of course, it helps that he sees his parents reading...

 

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  The "Experts" on Homework

These teasers give you a hint about the articles.  Click on the title for the entire article.

Parents Wonder: Why So Much Homework? by Katrina Schwartz
As the movement against excessive homework continues to grow, some parents say they're drawing a line in the sand between home and school. Schools, in turn, are starting to rethink the role of homework and how it should be assigned.

Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework --And other insights from a ground- breaking study of how parents impact children's academic achievement by Dana Goldstein

What is the Purpose of Homework? by Howard Pitler, Ed.D
If you walk into a typical teachers' workroom and ask the question, "What's the purpose of homework?" you'll likely find that most teachers have a definite opinion. But ask them what research says about homework, and you'll get less definitive answers. What does research really say about homework as a strategy to improve student achievement?

Helping Your Students With Homework, A Guide for Teachers, by Nancy Paulu

Five Hallmarks of Good Homework, by Cathy Vatterott
Homework shouldn't be about rote learning. The best kind deepens student understanding and builds essential skills.  For tonight's homework...

Purpose of Homework by Ron Kurtus
Teachers often give assignments consisting of reading, problem solving, or writing that the students must do after class -usually at home. Ideally, the purpose of homework is to help reinforce what was taught in class. Sometimes its purpose is to gather extra information beyond what was taught in class...

Research Spotlight on Homework, NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education
Some researchers are urging schools to take a fresh look at homework and its potential for engaging students and improving student performance. The key, they say, is to take into account grade-specific and developmental factors when determining the amount and kind of homework.

So, what's appropriate? What benefits can be expected? What makes for good homework policies? Research doesn't have all the answers, but a review of some existing data yields some helpful observations and guidance.

What research says about the value of homework: Research review,  History of the homework debate.

  • Does homework affect student learning?
  • Does homework have other effects?
  • Does the effect of homework vary with students age?
  • How do different groups of students react to homework?
  • What types of homework assignments are effective?
  • How much time should students spend on homework?
  • What the research means for school districts

 

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  Suki: Teach Your Children Well

(Photos General) SukiWessling2013.jpgI joined an auditorium full of parents and teachers last week to hear psychologist Madeline Levine talk about where we're going wrong in our education and our parenting.

For me personally, the auditorium full of people was like a village meeting. I saw and spoke to parents from almost every school my children have been to, from preschool on up to high school. And though we think of Santa Cruz County as a relatively populous place, when it comes to parents we're truly a small town. My son's current homeschool program teacher knew the preschool parents who in turn knew the mom from the private school who in turn knew other homeschooling friends.

Homeschoolers ahead of the curve?

Teach your children wellBut on to Levine's talk: As I sat listening in my little pod of homeschoolers, I thought, we are definitely not her target audience. Everything she said was part of why we are homeschoolers. For example, she pointed out that our education system forces students to think that in order to be successful adults, they have to be good at everything. On the contrary, she pointed out, "You don't have to be good at everything, you go to your strong side," illustrating it with the fact that she always has to ask for help from the audience when figuring out percentages. This is a fact of human development that drives many a student to homeschooling: our educational system makes them feel like failures for their weaknesses, and doesn't offer them the opportunity to build on their strengths.

Another thing Levine pointed out is that plenty of parents are dissatisfied with their local schools, but they always say there is no community support. But, she says, when she's signing books, "Everybody in line says I'm the only one in my community." Again, we homeschoolers have found each other largely because homeschooling is nearly impossible to do well without community. School parents are given a pre-formed community, but they are seldom forced to take advantage of it the way we are.

Another point Levine made was allowing children to have "successful failures"-failures that teach them to reach higher to attain their goals. She points out that today's "helicopter parents" try to pad their children's lives so that all they do is succeed. The problem is, those children eventually leave home, and are often devastated by their first small failure because they have no experience in it. This is a situation that is much easier to bring about in homeschooling. In school, if a child fails the consequences can be relatively severe (from their point of view), such as a bad grade or in some schools, losing privileges like recess. In homeschool, we can allow failure in a more natural way. My son, for example, had a bad experience with an online class where he didn't pay enough attention to the way the grades were being calculated. He ended up doing pretty poorly, even though he'd turned in good work. He learned, with no longterm consequences, to pay more attention to things like due dates and late penalties.

She also spoke about how public education has not kept up with our changing workforce. Our public education system was designed to produce dependable factory workers, people who can follow directions and produce consistent results. Our current work world is quite different; factory workers have lost their jobs to automation. Levine points out, "Every school should have project based learning because it's collaborative - in the real world we're collaborating all the time." Again, this is something that homeschoolers are able to do so much more readily. Since there are no grades and it's all about enjoyment while learning, collaborative projects are natural to incorporate.

What we really want for our kids

Levine reminded the audience that when she asks parents what they want for their kids, they almost never mention income or status. "We want to raise people who are happy and find meaning in life," Levine reminds us. And our educational system simply is not geared to do that. As a psychologist, she is seeing more kids who are stressed out about school. In the past, she said, kids would suffer from other life stresses-a divorce or bullying, for example. But now she gets kids who get a B and worry that they won't get into Harvard and their lives will be ruined.

Many homeschoolers are what we call "public school refugees," people who didn't come to homeschooling on principle but instead because they were saving their children. I have known former school children who came to homeschooling after attempted suicide, devastating bullying from peers, debilitating pressure from schools to raise their test scores, and absolute loss of motivation and love of learning.

I always hold out hope that the homeschooling movement will get serious attention from people who make educational decisions in our country, but I know that often we are dismissed as ignorant or worse. It's heartening to know that people like Levine are coming at it from the opposite direction, giving legitimacy to basic principals that homeschoolers have been acting on for years.

 

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  This Week

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Events in the Parks

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School Corner


Chartwell School K-12, Open House 9/23


Spring Hill School K-6, Open House 9/24

 

SC Waldorf PreK, Early Childhood Education Class 9/25

 

SSCDC Preschool Open Houses Tuesdays & Wednesdays

 

Ecology Action, Bike to Work/School Day 10/22

 

Chartwell School K-12, Off to College Workshop 10/8

 

SC Waldorf K-8, Waldorf Alive! 10/15

 

American Geosciences Institute, Earth Science Week Contests 10/12-18

 

LitWits Master Classes High School, The Hound of the Baskervilles Class 10/17+ 24

 

Gateway School K-8, Open House 10/15

 

SC Montessori Preschool - 8, Primary School Open House 10/19

 

Mount Madonna, Campus Tour Day 10/22

 

Monte Vista Christian School 5-12, Open House & Curriculum Fair 10/26

 

Tara Redwood School Pre-5, Call for a Tour

 

 

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Parenting is "thrilling, exhausting, hilarious, fun, frustrating, rewarding.... and requires constant vigilance..."

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Tune up Your Parenting Skills


Workshops for  Parents with Babies to Teens

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Fashion Art Show

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Guard Dogs In Training

Pleasant Valley Farm

 Mole & Mariachi Festival

(Ads 2015) Mariachi_2015.jpgMole & Mariachi Festival

Saturday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Admission: Free; Tasting kits cost $10

A vibrant event celebrating Santa Cruz County's cultural heritage, the 2nd annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is a fun-filled day of music, dancers, food and beverages and kids activities including crafts and piñatas. Guests can also sample authentic mole prepared by local chefs and then vote for a favorite.

The event is a benefit for nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in support of Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. Funds raised will fund restoration projects, educational programs for school children and community cultural events.

Mole Competitors

(Special Event Images / Graphics) MoleMariachiStatues.jpgNine competitors will prepare mole, a traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate, for festival-goers to sample. Mole tasting kits will be available for $10 at the entrance to the festival.

  • El Jardin, a Santa Cruz restaurant and the 2013 People's Choice winner with "Jorge's Traditional Mole."
  • El Chipotle, a taqueria in Soquel that makes a rojo Oaxaqueño mole.
  • Lidia's Taqueria, a Watsonville eatery making a traditional Oaxacan dark mole with nopales (cactus paddles).
  • El Chino, a Santa Cruz restaurant that will prepare a mole with poblano chilis.
  • The Kitchen at Discretion Brewing. (The Soquel brewery also will be serving craft beer.)
  • My Mom's Mole, a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz.
  • Vivas, an organic fresh Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz.
  • Maya Mexican Restaurant, a Scotts Valley eatery that will enter an original Michoacán mole.
  • Plaza Lane Optometry, a newcomer to the event, will prepare a staff member's personal recipe featuring chocolate, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is an entrepreneurial nonprofit working to sustain the legacy of our state parks and beaches since 1976. Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park was scheduled to close in 2012 but was saved by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.

Admission to the Mole & Mariachi Festival is free; tasting kits cost $10.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School street, Santa Cruz Map
website Santa Cruz

Homework!
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Mole & Mariachi Festival
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  Mole & Mariachi Festival
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
Date: 09/10/2016 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Celebrate Santa Cruz County Heritage with mole and mariachi
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Hawk Claws, Owl Pellets, & Other Birdie Inventions
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  Hawk Claws, Owl Pellets, & Other Birdie Inventions
Santa Cruz County Parks
Date: 09/21/2014 from 12:30pm to 4:00pm
Ages: 6+
Details: Learn amazing facts about birds
City: Felton Phone: (831) 335-9348 view all details >>
     
Homework!
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Monterey Bay Birding Festival
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  Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Date: Every day (Sep 24-Sep 27)
Details: Join one of the most spectacular birding and wildlife venues in North America- the tenth annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival.
City: Watsonville view all details >>
     
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Friday Evening Program: "Black Holes"
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  Friday Evening Program: "Black Holes"
Hartnell College Planetarium
Date: Every Fri from 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Ages: Mature 3rd Graders and Up
Details: Explore the science and mystery of "Black Holes"
City: Salinas Phone: (831) 770-6161 view all details >>
     
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