Ideas For Learning



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A month-by-month guide filled with  advice, tools, and online resources you can use to help your child/children have a school year packed with fun and learning.  This publication was developed through a partnership with the Department of Education and National PTA.

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Active Parenting-FREE Online Video Library

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Enhance your parenting skills from the comfort of your home.  One of the world’s leading developers of video-based resources for over 25 years is now offering an Online Learning Center!  That means you can view any or all of these award-winning video series from your own home or anywhere you have access to the internet.  The videos cover the parenting of children and teens, and include additional resources for helping children succeed in school.  Videos are offered in English and Spanish.

  • 1,2,3,4 Parents! -Videos cover parenting young children.
  • The Active Parent – Videos cover parenting school age children.
  • Active Parenting for Stepfamilies
  • Baby Care Workshop
  • Parents on Board – Videos cover topics on school success.

In order to participate, you will need the code we provide.  Please contact your school social worker to receive the code to access the videos.


For more information, please  contact your school’s social worker:

Misty Dockery Petrovic –

Linda Holden –

At this time, we must reserve viewing of the videos to the families of Sullivan county students.  Thank you.


Helping Your Child and School Succeed

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The National PTA shares “100 Ways to Help Your Child and School Succeed”.

Spanish version:

Test-Taking Strategies

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Preparing for Tests

  • Maintain good study habits:  Do your class work.

             *Have a clear understanding of homework assignments before leaving class.

             *Keep a record of assignments received and completed.

             *Make a study schedule and follow it.

             *Tell your parents about schoolwork and homework.

             *Turn in homework on time.

             *Get make-up assignments when returning from an absence.

             *See teachers for additional help.

  • Seek and use past homework assignments, classnotes, and available review materials.
  • Follow directions.
  • Find out when tests will be given out.
  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a normal breakfast before testing.

During Tests

  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions.
  • Read each passage and accompanying questions.
  • Read every possible answer-the best one could be last.
  • Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test.
  • Reread, when necessary, the parts of a passage needed for selecting the correct answer.
  • Don’t expect to find a pattern in the positions of the correct answers.
  • Don’t make uneducated guesses.  Try to get the correct answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers.
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking; one response is clearly best.
  • Don’t spend too much time on any one question.
  • Skip difficult questions until all other questions have been answered.  On scrap paper, keep a record of the unanswered items to return to, if time permits.
  • Make sure to record the answer in the correct place on the answer sheet.
  • Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was wrong.  Be sure to completely erase changed answers.
  • Work as rapidly as possible with accuracy.
  • After completion of the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.
  • Keep a good attitude.  Think positively!

After Tests

  • Examine your test scores; ask the teacher to explain your test scores if needed.
  • Congratulate yourself on identified areas of strength.
  • Identify areas of weakness which you will want to improve for a better performance next time.
  • Ask your teacher to suggest areas of study that will help you perform better on the next test.



Students may experience anxiety about tests and may experience heightened anxiety before a testing situation.  A certain degree of test anxiety is normal and may help students prepare more effectively, work more efficiently, and remain focused during testing.  Too much anxiety, however, can negatively affect performance.  The following strategies may assist students, parents, and teachers in reducing test anxiety.

Student Strategies for Reducing Test Anxiety

  • Share your feelings of anxiety with parents and teachers.
  • Think of the test as an opportunity to show what you know.
  • Review homework and materials which pertain to the test topics.
  • Relax, breathe deeply and stay focused on the test.
  • Remember the test is only one way your academic performance is measured.

                     -taken from TNDOE “Test-Time” Strategies for Students, Parents, and Teachers









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  • Try playing “Beat the Clock” with your child during homework time.  Look over the assignment and figure out about how long it should take to complete it.  Allow a little extra time and set a timer for that many minutes.  No prizes are needed.  There is great satisfaction in getting the work done on time.
  • Teach your child to use the formula “SQ3R” when doing any homework assignment.  The letters stand for a proven five-step pro­cess that makes study time more efficient and effective: Survey, Question, Read, Restate, Review.
  • Here are five tips to make homework time easier—for you and your child:  1. Have a regular place for your child to do homework.  Use a desk or table in a quiet room.  Be sure there’s plenty of light.  2. Find a regular time for homework.  You may want to make a rule, “No television until homework is finished.”  3. During homework time, turn off the TV and radio.  4. Help your child plan how she’ll use her time.  5. Set a good example.  While your child is doing homework, spend some time reading or working yourself.  Then when homework is done, you can both talk about how much you’ve accomplished.
  • Nitty gritty homework tips:  Do the most difficult homework first.  Save “easy” subjects for when you’re tired.  Do the most important assignments first.  If time runs short, the priorities will be finished.  Do what’s required first.  Finish the optional assignments later—even if they’re more fun.
  • Look over your child’s homework everyday.  Start at an early age and keep it up as long as you can.  Praise good work.  Your interest will encourage good work.
  • Try having your child teach you the homework.  The teacher always learns more than the student.

Reinforcing Learning

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  • Encourage kids to collect things.  Whether they collect rocks, shells, leaves, or bugs is not important.  But by collecting, children are learning new ways to make sense out of their world.
  • Estimating is an important math skill.  We estimate how much our groceries will cost.  We estimate how much time we’ll need to complete a project at work.  You can help your child learn to estimate at home.  Here’s one idea:  As you’re driving, estimate the distance to your destination.  Then estimate how much time it will take to get there.  Use the odometer or a map to check your work.
  • Talk about geography in terms children can understand:  Go through your house and talk about where things came from.  A calculator may have come from Taiwan.  A box of cereal may have a Battle Creek, Michigan address, or White Plains, New York.  Talk about where the wheat for your bread came from.  Where was the cotton for your blue jeans grown?  Tell your children where your ancestors came from.  Find the places on a map.
  • Show your child that writing is useful.  Have them help you write a letter ordering something, asking a question, etc.  Then show them the results of your letter.

Building Responsibility

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  • Try a simple cardboard box to help make your child responsible for school belongings.  Have your child choose a place for the box—near the door or in his room.  Every afternoon, his first task should be to place all belongings in the box.  When homework is finished, it goes in the box, too.  In the morning, the box is the last stop before heading out the door.
  • Help children understand, and take responsibility for, the consequences of their choices.  “I chose to do my homework.  The result was that I got an ‘A’ on my math test.”  “I chose to get up 15 minutes late.  The result was that I missed breakfast . . . and nearly missed the bus.”
  • Try giving your child the responsibility of growing a small garden—even in just a flowerpot.  The positive and negative results of carrying out your responsibilities are very clear.
  • One reader found a way to keep children moving in the morning:  After her daughter wakes up, Mom begins to play her favorite record album.  Her daughter has until the side plays through to get herself dressed for school.

Motivating Your Child

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  • Children need the 4 “A”s as well as the 3 “R”s:  Atten­tion, Appreciation, Affection, and Acceptance.
  • Some researchers believe every child is gifted—if we will just look for the ways.  Helping a child see his giftedness is very motivating.
  • Encourage children to read biographies about successful people.  As children learn about the traits that made others successful, they are often motivated to adopt those same success patterns in their own lives.
  • Motivate your children in math by challenging them to figure out how much change you should get back from a purchase.  If they get the amount right, they get to keep the change.
  • Praise children constantly.

Solving School Problems

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  • Try looking over children’s study materials and making up a sample quiz as they study for upcoming tests.
  • Talk with the school “in time of peace” before major problems develop.
  • How to make report cards a positive experience:  Preparation.  Ask, “What do you think your report card will tell us?”  Getting ready is helpful.  Perspective.  Understand that a report card is just one small measure of your child.  A child with poor grades still has plenty of strengths.  Positive action.  Find something to praise.  Focus on how to improve.
  • Be aware that your attitudes about school af­fect your child.  If you hated math, be careful not to prejudice your child.


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  • In good weather, put two angry kids on opposite sides of a strong window or glass door.  Provide each with a spray bottle of window cleaner and a rag.  Then let them “attack.”  Their angry words will turn to laughter . . . and your window will be clean!
  • Try role playing to eliminate constant fighting.  For five minutes, have the fighters switch roles.  Each has to present the other person’s point of view as clearly and fairly as possible.  Odds are, they’ll start laughing and make up.  Better yet, they may come up with a compromise solution both parties like.
  • For better discipline, speak quietly.  If you speak in a normal tone of voice, even when you’re angry, you’ll help your child see how to handle an­ger appropriately.  And if you don’t scream at your kids, they’re less likely to scream at each other . . . or at you.
  • Try a “black hole” to keep toys and other belongings picked up.  All you need is a closet or cabinet with a lock—the “black hole.”  When something is left out that should be put away, it gets put into the “black hole” for 24 hours.  Once a favorite toy or something your child needs is locked up for 24 hours, there is greater incentive to keep it where it belongs.  This works best when the whole family participates.