School-to-home communication: Taking the stress out of everyday life

If your home is anything like mine, the mornings are definitely the most stressful part of the day. Trying to get everyone out of the house on time is always a challenge. It doesn’t help that my young son suffers from selective hearing, when it comes to subjects such as showering or cleaning his teeth. It often feels as if the only way I can get him to move quickly is by saying the same thing again and again and again or screaming like a banshee!

Life for us busy working mums can be a real juggling act and I am sure I am not alone in thanking God for the wonders of modern technology. How would we cope in a world without microwaves, dishwashers and automatic washing machines? Fortunately for us, new inventions come along all the time to help make our lives easier. One of the best examples, I have come across recently, is ParentMail, a school-to-home communication system.

In the past, schools relied on letters being sent home in book bags to communicate with parents – but this only worked if parents remembered to check their child’s bag regularly or, even less likely, the child remembered to hand the note over to whoever picked them up from school.

Thanks to ParentMail however, schools can now communicate with their pupils’ parents via a range of Apps.

As well as sending out emails about school news and events, ParentMail also allows schools to text more urgent messages to parents. E.g. my son’s afterschool football club was cancelled the other day, due to a teacher’s illness. I was sent a text from the school in the morning, which then gave me plenty of time to arrange for someone else to pick him up.

Thanks to ParentMail, keeping on top of all aspects of my child’s education has never been easier. There is also an App, which allows me to fill out and return permission slips online and even book a slot at a parents evening.  Just this week, I did exactly that. All I had to do was open a link to an online booking form, fill out my name, email address and telephone number and then my son’s name and class. This then gave me access to a list of all the slots my son’s teacher still had free. I ticked the time that was most convenient for my husband and I, and within a few seconds received an email confirming the date and time of the appointment – brilliant and so simple!

And, as if this isn’t enough, ParentMail can also help schools collect, track and bank parent payments via its +Pay App. This is an absolute godsend in my house, as I rarely have any cash on me and can never find my chequebook. With +Pay, schools inform parents by email and/or text about items they need to pay for, be it for school lunches, tickets and events, school trips or fees and other subscriptions. Parents then log into their school’s ParentMail account and settle bills online by transferring money straight into the school bank account.

With internet and mobile communications technologies now very much a part of our everyday life, ParentMail provides a service which helps make everyone’s life run more smoothly – I for one am a fan.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Squam Lakes Science Center Field Trip #NH #science #nature

Last week I went on a field trip with my middle child’s class to Squam Lakes Science Center in Holderness, NH where we were able to walk on trails and learn a bit about the nature around us. We saw bears, river otters, foxes, a skunk, a mountain lion and much more.

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Each chaperone was given a group of children to “watch” and run the trails with, rather walk the trails with. I was with my son and four of his classmates alongside his teacher. Our group, as well as the other groups we ran into during the trip, were a well behaved group of children who were so inspired by what they were seeing and learning. That’s the key to places like Squam Lakes Science Center; they teach children by allowing them to have fun so they don’t even realize that they are learning.

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We spent the day at Squam Lakes Science Center and ended with a bagged lunch at their picnic table area before heading back home for the hour and a half bus ride.

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The day was so much fun and I am thankful that I was able to take part in being a chaperone for this fun field trip. I highly recommend taking your family to Squam Lakes Science Center if you can, because it was just such a fun time!

Examination Grades on the Decline

Throughout education there is a large amount of pressure on students to perform, to reflect the things that they have learnt and to earn the grades that secure their futures and will look good on the establishment where they have undertaken their learning. Every year, students are subjected to examinations to test the knowledge they have gained throughout the educational year. It is important for students to listen, learn and revise in order for them to perform well during exams which will not only allow them to pass their courses and schooling but will eventually shape their futures.

The recent GCSE examinations have shown a significant drop in results with maths and science grades falling to an all time low. Students seem to be having great difficulty earning passable grades in these subjects, areas that have always been slightly more difficult than subjects such as English and History. They are core subjects and the fall in grades means the level of teaching and understanding is a concern.

The need for additional educational help is now more prominent than ever and the UK needs to take a leaf from the USA’s book and encourage its students to receive more help in certain areas in order to pass the subjects they have spent so long learning. America place a larger amount of emphasis on examinations and the need to pass, students is under more pressure but also have more opportunity for extra help. A math tutor in Fremont is one of the most commonly used sources of aid that helps American students to excel or simply pass the courses that plight their education and have a greater impact on graduation and acceptance into college courses.

The number of A* to C grades in the UK has fallen by 2% in comparison to the results achieved in 2012. One of the reasons behind this could be due to the increased specifications that the Science examinations call for, they are now far more challenging and students are expected to show a greater knowledge to simply pass the test. Maths have multiple entry systems which reduces the overall success of the subject as students no longer can excel in one mathematical area to weigh out the problems they may have with others. Instead, they are expected to have a reasonable understanding of each area in order to pass the subject as a whole.

A fall in results can have a negative impact on the school or college, if 40% of pupils do not achieve at least 5 GCSE’s, then educational bodies and inspectors such as Ofsted are called in to monitor and asses the school and the standard of education and learning that it offers.

The Government and educational bodies are now calling for reviews on the way students learn and the way examinations are structured to not only determine the reasoning behind the poor results but to ensure there is not a repeat of this issue in the future. Although exams are designed to test the knowledge of a student, they are not supposed to be designed to encourage students to fail, they need to be realistic and passable for some.

Sweet Summertime

Due to the fact that this is Summer and I firmly believe Summer is the best time to focus on family fun, my blog does not have as many updates. You see, I started to feel bad because after all this is my income, but on the other hand, I remembered that this is the last Summer I have before all three of my kids are in school full time. Yes, my “baby” is headed off to full day Kindergarten this year and how that makes me sad in some ways.

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On another hand, I am happy to have the Summer time to enjoy him some more before I only see him during the no school hours and school vacation times. Once school starts I get to ramp up my blogs, get them organized and running strong. Once school starts, that will be MY time for the first time in like near 11 years that I will be able to work from home near full time hours and make more progress, be more productive and have the ability to do customer service call center type jobs from home!

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While I am sad that my baby is off to full day school this Fall, I am happy to say we have been enjoying our summer together, every single one of us … as a family!

Celebrate 529 Day with GradSave @gradsave

For one, who doesn’t want to win money? I know many people who would love a chance at some cash and that is why I am sharing this information with you all today from GradSave and savingforcollege.com. Basically, this is not just any old $529 cash, it is provided to the winner in the form of a GradSave gift card that can be redeemed at any 529 plan. GradSave and savingforcollege.com is just really on a mission to get everyone out there realizing how vitally important it is to save for college, I have three kids and each time I am reminded about GradSave I have to think hard about when I, too, can start saving for college costs. College is expensive, and it only gets more expensive as each year passes.

529 Day Savings for College Joe Hurley Webinar

Graduation is coming soon, why not give a gift to a parent who is seeing how costly college is for that first time high school graduate child and is now realizing that they have another kid heading up there into the years of high school graduation. We live and learn as humans, why not make a stressful situation of spending for college less stressful by signing up for this 529 day celebration where you can partake in a live webinar, hosted by nationally recognized “529 Guru” Joe Hurley. This webinar will be held in a Question & Answer format.

In a nutshell, you can head on over to savingforcollege.com to learn more about this webinar as well as enter your information to RSVP and submit a question you may have for Joe to answer during this webinar. From there, you will have been entered for your chance at the $529. You get answers, you get a chance to win and you can take part right from your home, your office or wherever you have internet access and a computer to watch the webinar.

To learn more about this 529 Day Celebration click here. Remember GradSave has gift cards to give that special parent for their children or to give to a teacher as a classroom gift, order your GradSave gift card here.

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