Archive for August, 2009

Book Recommendation: MY FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Now that school is starting, you might want to read this cute book by P.K. Hallinan to your kindergardener.  Each page humorously illustrates typical anxieties five-year old Daniel has about the first day of school:  Where will I sit on the school bus?  Will my teacher be nice?  Will I make friends?  

Daniel discovers is that kindergarden is not only fun but that “learning to learn is a great thing to do.”   The story is told in a catchy rhyme.  Your child will want to read it again and again and share with you his/her triumphs the first week of school!

Book Recommendation: THINGS I LEARNED IN SECOND GRADE by Amy Schwartz

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Now that children are getting ready to go back to school, bookstores are displaying storybooks about  the first day at kindergarden or first grade.  At the library, I came across THINGS I LEARNED IN THE SECOND GRADE by Amy Schwartz.

If you have a soon-to-be third grader, pick up this delightful storybook.  Beginning with a list of things he couldn’t do at the beginning of the school year, Andrew, our engaging, red-haired narrator, reflects on all the things he learned in second grade:  “When I started second grade, I couldn’t spell ‘should.’   I couldn’t subratct 348 from 411.  I couldn’t write in cursive . . .  Now I can.”  Reflecting on his accomplishments, Andrew is filled with pride.  He then contemplates with wonder all he will learn in the third grade.

In third grade, your child will learn the multiplication tables.  Whereas the concepts of addition and subtraction can be easily understood and represented,  the concept of multiplication is far more difficult to understand and represent.      Compare the following:   8 + 6 = ?  or  8 – 6 = ?  versus   8 x 6 = ?   Children can calculate the first two on fingers but not the multiplication problem.  Multiplication is your child’s first leap into the abstract.

So read this fun book to your soon-to-be third grader to remind him/her of all the skills he/she has acquired.  If your child has not mastered addition and subtraction, take the time to teach your child these skills.  Your child MUST know these to advance to multiplication.

First, second and third grades lay the groundwork for your child’s entire education.  If all of our third graders were competent in reading and math, we would have successful high school students. 

Children develop an attitude toward school in the early years.  Do everything you can to encourage your child to like school by ensuring your child’s success.  If your child is struggling, help your child with homework.  Turn of the tv and read to your child or make a game out of counting objects, egg carton multiplication and figuring out how much change your child will receive when buying a candy bar for 36 cents with a $1 bill.  Take out spare change and show your child what 36 cents look like in pennies, quarters and pennies, dimes and nickels and so on.  YOU are your child’s first and primary teacher.  A child leans by your example.  Do mommy and daddy enjoy reading?  Do mommy and daddy make learning fun?

Inexpensive books can be found online and at used book bookstores.  Some public libraries have a “Friends of the Library” bookstore where you can buy children’s books for a quarter. You can take home a box of  books for $10!  Fill your home with books.  When children read, their imagination is engaged.  When they watch tv (and there are some great programs out there but too few of them), they are passive learners.   Reading is essential bonding time with your child.  Reading  to your child is love.

If you have a favorite book, submit a review in the Leave a Reply box.

Women are natural entrepreneurs

Monday, August 17th, 2009

This morning I was asked what attributes women possessed that made them entrepreneurs.  Here’s my reply for all the moms who each day invent a better way of doing something or refine a product and dream of developing it to help others:

Women are natural entrepreneurs because they are wired to be innovative, always seeking better and easier ways of doing things.  Men evolved relying on physical strength; women had to use their wits to survive.  Whereas men were focused on the big target such as killing the mammoth, women had to care for children and multi-task.  Women also see connections that men often miss.  Entrepeneurs must be innovative, creative and able to perform a dozen things at one time.  Women’s social skills also serve them well in entrepreneurship.

Profile on “Success Stories: I Changed Careers” on

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I was delighted to read this paragraph on in an article titled “Success Stories: I Changed Careers”:

English instructor to multiplication guru
“I was a [university] English composition instructor. With endless office hours and a deluge of e-mails from students every night, I felt it was time to pursue my dream. I had a big idea — a better way of teaching the times tables. As any parent knows or remembers, learning the multiplication tables represents a dread rite of passage for many children. When my son struggled with rote memorization, I invented a method based on easy number patterns. I published “Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, Fast, Fun & Easy!” to help other families and launched my company, TeaChildMath. This journey has been fantastic!” — Eugenia Francis, founder, TeaChildMath