Showing posts sorted by relevance for query homework. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query homework. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ending the Homework War


homework
Do your homework!

Homework, homework, homework, where to start?  For many years homework in my household meant one word, TORTURE.  I use to think that homework was back to school for parents; pure dread.  We have had our share of the ups and downs of getting homework done.  

Our oldest didn't need much help and most of the time I didn't even know if she had homework.  For our youngest, however, homework was a bad word. She was diagnosed with Dyslexia and high anxiety, so homework had us jumping through some hurdles. It took some time to figure out how to conquer homework with her, but after some research and trial and error, we won the battle. We found that being in a calm, organized and stress free environment along with the right tools did the trick. 

The National Center for Learning Disabilities has some great tips for homework and developing organizational skills that can turn homework into a peaceful time of night rather than a time they dread all day. Here are some of my favorites:

Get Involved 
Ask questions about their homework. Many teachers assign all of the homework that is due by Friday, at the beginning of the week.  Help your kids manage the work load out throughout the week so it does not seem overwhelming. Do the amount of work your child is capable of without getting frustrated. Time management for kids is half the battle to be successful with homework. It and teaches them to not procrastinate. 

Quiet Time
Make sure that homework is done in a quiet place. Turning off the television, radio and shutting off any social media on the computer gives them time to concentrate on homework. It's a good idea to set up a "homework nook".  It doesn't matter which room it's in as long as there are no distractions and it's a place where only their homework gets done. I include a few healthy snacks so that they can take a break, if needed.

The Right Tools
What do I mean by right tools? Well, keep plenty of pencils, erasers, rulers, a calculator and scrap paper in the homework nook. I have experienced homework gone bad when we didn't have the right pencil or a calculator.  One time Emily's pencil didn't have a good enough eraser and she went to erase and she ripped her paper. Talk about frustration and anxiety! Her whole paper was ruined and she was afraid she'd be in big trouble with the teacher. Things run a lot more smoothly when you have the right tools available.

Motivate

organizational skills, time management for kids
Homework solutions to end the homework war
When kids are doing homework motivate them to succeed. Looking over their shoulder and pointing out mistakes will discourage them and they might stop trying.  What worked for me was pointing out the things Emily did correctly and then going over mistakes later. Using a sticker chart as motivation can help for kids in elementary school.  Give your child a reward once the chart is complete. Incentives can be easy things like a special dessert, watch some television or getting ice cream as a special treat.

Consistency 
Do homework at the same time everyday.  Kids usually thrive with schedules, so if you are consistent they will be more positive about homework. Doing homework should not be any different than brushing their teeth or eating breakfast every morning. If it is something they know they have to do everyday, they will do it. I made a Chore Chart at my house and included the following things:
  • Brush your teeth
  • Make your bed
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Do your Homework
  • Take a bath

Homework Resources
There is plenty of help out there if you need it to conquer the homework blues.  If you find that your child is struggling, a trip to the library is a good change of scenery and a great place to find resources that can help. Discovery Education is a website with free resources to help your kids with motivation, different subjects and even free webinars for parents.

Your local library may even have resources for parents as well as elementary and high school age kids. 

Looking for online help? Here are a couple of great resources. 
  • Homework Helper has links for each grade level, quick reference guides and links to more online resources. 
  • Multnomah County library has online help by subject, rather than grade. It's available nationwide, too.

Homework Passes
A homework pass in our house was more valuable than gold. Ask teachers how your child can get a homework pass. Doing some extra chores, extra homework sheets for extra credit or reading some extra pages from one of their books are possible ways to earn passes. Some teachers also give out homework passes for good behavior. If your child comes home with one, praise them and let them know how well they are doing. It will build their self-esteem and provide them a strong platform to succeed in the future.

Being a Good Role Model
Our kids follow what we do. If they see us enjoying a good book, they will want to read. If they see that we set aside quiet time to get work done, they will follow the example.

For me, keeping a positive outlook about homework helped the most. Many parents feel that teachers give too much homework.  Even five year olds get kindergarten homework and parents even get burn out.  I use to feel this way too but now that my children are older I am thankful for all the hard work they have put in.  It has definitely paid off and they are now excelling in high school.

What we need to do is teach our children that homework isn't just a chore but a way to make us smarter.  It reinforces what they have learned at school during the day. Homework is actually a way to practice better skills to make them a better student.  It's no different then playing a sport and having to go to practice to make you better. Practice makes perfect on and off the court.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

Monday, November 19, 2012

Honor Teachers for American Education Week

How I came to be the teacher I am today......

I have been an educator for thirteen years now and I absolutely love getting up every day and going to school. Now, that wasn’t always the case. As a child going through elementary school I struggled with my reading and speech which caused me to be placed in the remedial classes.This made me feel isolated and different from my friends. After elementary school, next came middle school. The dreaded middle school years....now, I hated school even more. I always made good grades but I was the shy, quiet kid that didn’t really fit in. But I have to say that I had some of the best teachers in middle school and here is where I met my favorite teacher of all time. I believe this is also where my love of science developed!

study
Study and homework reinforce the
skills we learn in class.
His name was Mr. Fischer. He was a wonderful teacher that loved what he was doing. His class came alive and he always had us doing something fun. My favorite days were when we dissected anything! I know, I am a girl and girls are not supposed to like that kind of stuff but I sure loved it. He taught me that school doesn’t have to be boring. You can have fun and students will learn better when class is interactive and hands on.

From here on out I was inspired to become a teacher, thanks to Mr. Fischer. He believed in me and always encouraged me to do my best in everything no matter what anyone said. He gave me the confidence in myself that allowed me to open up and participate more in class. To this day I always think about my 7th grade science class and I try to model my science class and my teaching after Mr. Fischer's.

This week is American Education Week and it is a great time to honor the educators who have made a difference in our lives and to commit ourselves to ensuring that every child gets quality education. The National Education Association has some great ideas for how to celebrate educators this week.

The joys and obstacles of teaching......

I love teaching. Each day is an adventure and you never know what each day might bring! I feel lucky and blessed that I have the opportunity to teach children and that the parents put their trust in me to educate their children. With that said, sometimes the biggest hurdle in education is parent support. What can parents do to support their child’s education? The most important thing I can say is get involved! Research has shown that students with involved parents are more likely to:

•    Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
•    Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
•    Attend school regularly
•    Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
•    Graduate and go on to post-secondary education

So what can you do as a parent? Attend open house and meet your child’s teachers, go to conferences, attend PTO meetings, become a mentor or volunteer at your child’s school. Schools love when parents come to school functions because it shows that they really do care about what is going on in the schools. It also shows your child that you as a parent hold education as a high priority. Parents have the most influence and are the biggest role models for their kids. Show your child that education is important by getting involved!

One of the most powerful things a parent can do to support their child’s education is to study and help their child with homework! Now I know the subject of homework is a touchy one. There is so much controversy over “to give homework or not” and how much homework is too much.

What are the benefits of homework? Homework is the extra practice of a particular skill your child has been working on at school. Now, no one ever has a problem with baseball or football practice, right? Practice helps you get better! That is what homework does…it helps your child get better, the more you practice the better you become. Now I know parents have very busy schedules but making the time to study and share in your child’s homework time really does benefit your child. Most children long for the opportunity to share what they have learned with their parents. I tell my students all the time to go home and share what you learned today with your parents and some kids say, “My mom doesn’t have time or she doesn’t care!”  This saddens me because homework time is a great way to bond with your child. There are some great tips to help your child with homework in our previous article, Ending the Homework War.

Believe me, I know sometimes homework time can be a struggle but from personal experience students do benefit and they really love when their parents get involved and take the time to help them study.

How to talk to your child’s teacher

study
How do you talk to your
child's teacher?
(http://www.nea.org
Okay now that you are involved in your child’s education, how do you go about talking to your child’s teacher? Having a positive relationship with your child's teacher can help your child be more successful in the classroom. Some good tips to parents for better communication with their child’s teacher are:

• Establish a good relationship from the first day. Be in contact with your child’s teacher often and maintain it throughout the year. It’s important to discuss issues face-to-face or over the phone. Email can be misinterpreted too easily.

• Always put the child’s needs first. Explain in detail what you see as the concern and how it’s affecting your child. Be sure to listen to the teacher’s perspective and ask questions if you do not understand any of the information they provide.

• Offer to meet with the teacher to discuss in more detail.

• Ask the teacher what you can do to support his or her educational efforts. Work together to put a plan in place for how the issue can be resolved, including follow-up communication from both the parent and teacher.

• Approach with a smile and a positive attitude … it’s contagious!

Parents and teachers are like a team. All good teams are successful if they work together! Let’s work together to make sure that the children are successful at school and in life. Get involved and show your child that education is a top priority and that with a good, solid education they can go far in life Now, will every day be easy? No, it will not, but keep at it and someday your child will thank you for being so involved in their school lives!

study homework
Inspired to become a teacher
by her 7th grade science teacher,
Kim Walter now teaches science.

Kim Ryan Walter
Fifth Grade Teacher at Midway Elementary School in Georgia



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rev Up Family Life With a Library Card

Library Card Sign-Up Month

As the American Library Association (www.ala.org) is quick to point out, studies show that children learn best when they have the opportunity to pursue their own interests.  With your kids going back to school, consider the library card as one of the most important school supplies of all.

Get a library card today!
Why not celebrate learning by making sure your kids (and you!) get a library card this month?  It's never been easier – many local libraries let you sign up for a library card online.
 
The library card is the key that unlocks access to a world of fun and learning opportunities. Libraries provide students with access to innovative programs, classes and educational resources to satisfy their curiosity. Best of all, it won’t cost you a thing – it’s all free with a library card.

Libraries are Family Fun
If you want libraries to be a part of your family life, here are a few ideas to get you started and to help make it a habit.

1. Be an example

Let's not overlook the obvious; what you do influences what your children do. If you want your family members to value the library, value it yourself. Make it a habit to go regularly so they can see it matters to you.

Don't just get books, but also consider sharing what you learned from the books you borrowed with your library card. Did you find a new recipe or learn something about history? Maybe you finally read that book everyone has been telling you about. Share that information. Let your kids see how much you are enjoying your local library.

2. Make a regular library day

Remember that a library can be one of the cheapest forms of entertainments in town. Make library day special by letting it also be the day you do something else special – perhaps making the family's favorite meal, or regularly stopping by the playground or favorite park on the way home.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of having a weekly or monthly family library outing is that you are making it a habit. You're opening a portal of fun and learning that kids can continue beyond their childhood years.

3. Make It a Game

There are many ways to make the library more than just a place to read books or to study. In fact, many websites are dedicated to sharing ideas for making the library fun.

Games can be purchased at www.librarygames.com. You might even get some ideas for games you can make yourself, like a library scavenger hunt. If you've never done this before, buying a game might be the easiest solution.

You can probably think of some simple games that tie into a lesson at school. For example, if your child is learning about changing seasons and why leaves fall, use a library scavenger hunt where the mission is to find out what photosynthesis has to do with tree leaves. Rewards could be a healthy snack, a new book or an extra trip to the library!

Slimekids.com or your school libraries are also resources for kids' games. St. Joseph's School Library online is a great site with links to many online games that teach kids how a library works, the Dewey Decimal system, book genres and more.

4. More than books

Libraries are also a great resource for job hunters. Many offer internet access, job clubs and other services that can really help. Some will help with job searches and information specialists or resource staff can also help search out services you might be entitled to.We’re happy to say that many libraries stock FamilyWize Prescription Discount cards. Please ask your local library to make them available to job seekers and others who may not have sufficient prescription coverage or may have none at all.

5. Quiet Study

Studying at the library provides a quiet place to concentrate. Going to the library to do homework or study helps homework become a habit because it is a set place and time where homework gets done. Not only do you have easy access to reference materials, but nearly all libraries today offer free Internet access to any patron with a library card.

Librarians are also a great reference source when looking for information. They can tell you where a book or reference material is located, but they can also suggest references that you might not have thought of.

Get a library card today!

To learn more about Library Card Sign-Up Month, “like” atyourlibrary.org on Facebook or follow it on Twitter and use #librarycard hashtags.


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is There Danger Lurking in Your Tap Water?


According to Unicef, lack of access to clean water kills children at a rate equal to a deadly jumbo jet crashing every four hours.  You may be thinking, “Thank goodness, that’s not something I need to worry about here in the U.S.!”

But hold on a sec; before you assume your own tap water supply is safe, don’t forget there may be real risks in your own water supply – risks that don’t make the evening news but that could make you sick.

Common problems with tap water additives

Fluoride in water – good or bad?
We all know the reasons that municipalities add fluoride to water supplies; as we’ve been told for decades, the fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.  But is fluoride served up via tap water safe for us? Doubt grows in the scientific and healthcare communities. Here’s why:
  • Fluoride is naturally dangerous to humans, only considered safe in miniscule quantities. But when it reaches us by tap water supply, the amount we consume is controlled by the amount of exposure we have to fluoridated water. Not only do people drink different amounts of water, but we get it in other beverages, in foods, and in fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouth rinses, which can add up.
  • We are also being exposed externally to fluoride when we are bathing, showering, or doing dishes.  Long-term exposure to higher levels may cause skeletal fluorosis: a buildup of fluoride in the bones, which can lead to joint stiffness and pain, or even to weak bones or fractures in older adults. Some reports show that up to 41 percent of American children between 12 and 15 have some form of dental fluorosis.
  • A 2012 Harvard study confirmed several dangers from fluoride, including neurotoxicity, negative impacts on memory and learning, and adverse affects on cognitive development in children.
  • The ADA reports a connection between fluoridation and cancer.
  • The US National Toxicology Program found evidence of fluoridated drinking water causing osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
  • As many as 25 studies indicate that fluoride can reduce your IQ.

While not all study results agree, enough show evidence of risk that it’s becoming increasingly hard to disregard the concerns.

Chlorine – added for your good, but also presenting health risks

To protect drinking water from disease-causing organisms, water suppliers often add chlorine to drinking water. But is it safe?

Not all Contaminants purified at the plant

Drugs get through municipal water treatment

An Associated Press investigation found a number of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

According to the report, these can end up in your tap water because most treatment plants are not capable of removing all drug residue. When we take pills our bodies absorb some of the drugs, but the rest passes through and is flushed down the toilet. Even though the wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes, the treatment doesn’t catch all the contaminates, which can then end up back at drinking water treatment plants.

Pipes between water treatment plants and your faucet

Even if you’ve got a state-of-art water treatment facility in your community, the water passes through great distances in pipes before it reaches your tap.

  • Does your home have copper pipes?  Studies show that copper pipes can be a risk to your health. Excess copper in your body can produce stomach or intestinal distress.  And if you have the genetic disorder Wilson’s disease, you are even more sensitive to the effects of copper.  Newer pipes present the greatest risk because, over time, mineral scale linings will coat the copper pipes, reducing copper dissolution in water. But the mineral lining can take years to form.  Read more about copper health risks from the EPA.
  • If you don’t have copper pipes, you may still be at risk if there are any pipes between the water plant and your home with lead.  The EPA says lead is often used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder.  Lead health risks include delays in physical and mental development and measurable deficits in attention span and learning abilities in babies and children. In adults, it can increase blood pressure or cause kidney problems.

Other Water Contamination Issues

Other tap water contamination issues include:

Solutions to Avoid Tap Water Risks

With so many known potential dangers within your tap water, here are actions you can take to protect you and your family:
  • Bottled water. While bottled water reduces risk, its problems include high cost and the pollution impact of the discarded bottle.
  • Water supply services. Though not as cheap as tap water, getting large jugs of water from a local supplier is cheaper than small bottles and produces less waste. Be aware that water has a shelf life, and can develop mold over time.
  • Purify your tap water. A simple carbon-based water filter, though not able to remove all contaminants, will absorb chlorine and other contaminants. A more expensive reverse osmosis filter in your home is much more effective at contamination removal.  Both types require maintenance to stay functional.
To summarize, before you think that unsafe drinking water is someone else’s problem, do your homework. Consider getting a home test kit, or employ one of the straight tap water alternatives above to be safe.


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Monday, April 14, 2014

This Wednesday, Hug a Librarian!

This Wednesday, April 16, is National Librarian Day and the whole week (April 13-19) is National Library Week. If you know any librarians personally, give them a hug – or at least a thank you card and a smile – to show your appreciation for the work they do.

The National Librarian Day holiday honors librarians from coast to coast for their service and their knowledge. If you’ve ever needed the services of librarians to find the right book or material, then you know how true the words of English author Neil Gaiman are: “Google can bring you back a hundred-thousand answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

Put another way, librarians are living proof that the computer is not yet ready to take over the world.  While a library computer database can sift and filter broadly, they are no match for a librarian’s ability to understand the context of your more complex research needs.

As well, librarians are the masters of the Dewey decimal system – the process that libraries use to determine where on the shelves books should go.  As a result, librarians can often save you time when you have little to spare, locating exactly what you need in record time.

And if your librarians are like most that I’ve met, they are more than happy to help! “Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines,” Gaiman has also said. “And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.”
But do librarians deserve their own day of recognition? Again, we turn to the words of author Gaiman who said, “A culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas. And without ideas, well, where are we?”  If you concur, then do something special this Wednesday for your librarian.

Even if you don’t know a librarian personally, you can show appreciation via Twitter by “tweeting” about how the library has changed your life. By doing so with the hashtag #LivesChange, you’ll be adding your voice to those of all others who have been affected positively by a librarian. If the story of your enrichment from the deeds of a librarian cannot be told within the 140 character limitations of Twitter, you can add your story to the library story collection, where you can also read the encouraging, heartwarming, and sometimes humorous stories of others.  If you like certain stories you read there, you can give them a nudge upwards in the story list by giving it a high rating.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

Today’s libraries are driven by the needs the community. Whether you’re looking for e-books, information on student loans or 24/7 homework help for your kids – your local library has the resources to meet your needs and those of the whole community.

If you haven’t been to your library recently, drop by and you’ll find that its role has grown over the years. Community-building connections are happening all the time at your library. From new moms connecting at story time to small business owners convening to make opportunities happen, to teens meeting up after school, the library helps foster all types of communities. Libraries have become trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues. 



In fact, did you know that librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students, and the public at large to discover what their communities needs are and meet them?  Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer














Monday, December 30, 2013

Tired of Feeling Exhausted

Why am I always tired?

How can I sleep all night, and wake up feeling even more sleepy than when I went to bed?

I feel like I could fall asleep standing up, and I’m short tempered – I never used to be this way. What happened?

Man tired at his desk


If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you don’t need a diagram for the symptoms of exhaustion – you are living it. Heck, as a society, we’re so fatigued, there is even an art display dedicated to it. That sluggish feeling first thing in the morning that never quite fades away by midday. That mid-afternoon slump that keeps you chained to your office chair until the last few minutes of the workday. Then you trudge home, between fighting rush hour traffic, running to the gym, ferrying kids to after-school activities, and fitting dinner somewhere in the mix. Finally, finally, you squeeze in a few minutes sitting down, maybe to watch television, read a book, help someone with his or her homework. You feel like you’ve been permanently attached to the chair, and even the effort of falling into bed seems a bit too much to ask.

If you’ve felt/feel that way, you can probably remember back to a time when you weren’t always this tired. When the time you went to bed and the time you got up were mutually exclusive, and they never affected how much you got done in a day. When having an activity-packed weekend meant only more fun, less stress, and plenty of energy.

What the heck happened? How did you get to this place of chronic exhaustion? And how do you get out of it?

The first place to start is to examine your sleep patterns and how many hours of actual sleep you are getting each night. Mind you, this doesn’t include the minutes (or hours, in my case) you spend in bed reading, watching television, or otherwise occupied doing things other than sleep.  Sleep hours should be measured by when you actually fall asleep to when you wake up to face your day.

How much sleep is critical for you? The average adult needs 7-9 hours, but since we are all a little bit different, you should find your own sleep requirements. How? This can best be determined over a time period when you can go to sleep when you want to, and get up in the morning without the worry of an alarm. Often, it is easiest to do this over a vacation. Allow yourself the first three to four days to regulate, then look at days five through seven to see how long you slept. You want to evaluate this without the overconsumption of alcohol, and during a time when you can stay in bed until you are ready to get up for the day.  Your sleeping average over those last three days should give you a ballpark for how much sleep you typically need. (If you prefer a bit more precise monitor for your sleep, check out an app like MotionX or the relatively inexpensive tool Fitbit, which monitors your sleep.)

Woman sleeping

Keep in mind, your need for sleep can alter based on your health (do you feel a cold coming on? Are your allergies at an all-time high? Are you pregnant or healing from an injury?), your stress levels (divorce, new job, intense course load at school), and your overall well-being. Depression can lend itself to causing people to sleep more, but so can family distress, financial irritations, and even good things like unexpected surprises. They use additional energy, which means the body needs to recuperate a bit more when you sleep.

If you are finding it hard to get more sleep given an already hectic schedule, here’s some tips to help:
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, if at all possible. The human body craves patterns, and a consistent sleep schedule helps.
  • If you have small children, go to bed around the same time that they do, so you are ready to arise around the same time.
  • If you are a shift-worker, keep your sleep schedule as consistent as possible; if necessary, add in naps, but again, keep it regular and around the same time.
  • Remove distractions before bed: turn off the television, stick with soft, yellow light, avoid in-depth reading and conversation. This helps the mind wind down, along with the body.
  • Create a dark room for sleeping. Remove or completely cover electronic devices that emit light, cover your windows with light-blocking curtains, and apply a removable strip around the door if light seeps through. The blacker the room, the deeper and more rejuvenating the sleep. 

Lastly, but perhaps most important: sleep is primary to self-care. It ranks higher than even healthy eating (though that matters, too!) So make it a priority in your life, and you’ll see results within a few weeks that will amaze you.  You’ll feel more energized, your outlook on life will be more positive, and your temperament will improve. It won’t happen in one night, but with several focused weeks on obtaining the proper amount of sleep, you’ll feel like a new person, and ready to face whatever challenges you are faced with.

In my next post, we’ll talk about ways to alleviate exhaustion by de-stressing and creating peace, even in a hectic life.

What sleep challenges are you dealing with? What difficulties have you overcome? What has been your best tool for getting more sleep?

Contributing Writer

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is a Low Carb Diet Right for You?

An introduction to low carbohydrate dieting

If you’ve considered weight loss dieting, you’ve no doubt heard the buzz about low carbohydrate dieting, also known as low carb dieting.  Here are some answers to common questions about low carb diets that may help you decide if it’s the right kind of diet for you.

What is a low-carb diet?

 

A low carb diet is one in which you avoid foods with carbohydrates, maintaining a much lower than average low carbohydrate count – maxing out at between 20 and 60 carbs a day, depending on which low-carb author or which low-carb diet. By comparison, the average American consumes closer to 500 carbohydrates daily in their diet.

How do low carb diets work?

 

Counting calories
Example of a meal for a low-carbohydrate diet.
Your body needs energy. The two primary sources of dietary energy in the human diet are carbohydrates and fats. On a standard diet, your body will always opt for the easiest source of energy – carbohydrates. However, if you significantly limit your intake of carbohydrates, the body has no choice but to burn fat. Therefore, your body burns fat calories and, consequently, body weight.

In fact, most low-carb diets encourage you to consume more fat, healthy fats like peanut butter, lean meats, and nuts, since fat becomes your primary energy source. Even while consuming higher amounts of healthy dietary fat (such as olive oil or coconut oil), low-carb dieters have experienced weight loss. WebMd contains information about how low carb dieting works.

Why has low-carbohydrate dieting gained so much attention? 

 

There are four primary reasons for the recent high level of interest in the low-carb diet.
  • For weight loss, low carb dieting works.
  • Low carb dieting is different from traditional dieting and weight loss.
  • Low carb dieting challenges common beliefs about dietary fat.
  • The higher levels of protein that many consume while trying to reduce their carbohydrates has potentially serious health risks.
For many, low carb dieting works as an effective means of weight loss. Although low carbohydrate dieting is somewhat controversial, there is some evidence that indicates that a properly administered low carbohydrate diet can result in weight loss.
  • A study by Ontario’s University of Guelph concluded that carbohydrate restriction to 70 grams or less promotes weight loss and improves body composition, blood pressure, and blood lipids without compromising glucose tolerance in moderately overweight women. 
  • A study conducted by the Naval Hospital Oakland used a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and discovered that, over a ten-day period, subjects on the diet lost more body fat than a control group who fasted from all foods during that same 10-day period. 
I speak from personal experience, having lost (and kept off) 30 pounds in the previous six months while maintaining a relatively low-carb, high-fat diet.

But aren't all calories the same?

 

Carbohydrate count
Low carb dieting means cutting
out unhealthy carbs and adding
healthy fats.
Most of us have always been told that if we consume fewer calories than we burn, we will lose weight. But low carbohydrate dieting has challenged the idea that all calories are the same, even going so far as to say that you don't need to be counting calories at all – that simply by significantly reducing your carb intake without increasing your calorie intake, you will lose more weight.

And there is scientific evidence to support this. According to USA Today, some recent research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicated that those who consumed the same amount of calories on a diet that was low in carbohydrates lost more weight than those whose calories came from a low-fat diet. Specifically, participants in this study burned roughly 300 more daily calories on a low-carbohydrate diet than they did on a low-fat diet.

Is it safe? 

 

The answer to this question is one you should answer after doing some thorough research and consulting your doctor. The Livestrong website has some great links that answer questions about the safety of low carb dieting and things to consider if you have other medical conditions. Again, it is always wise to review this information with your health care professional before making changes to your diet.

While little evidence directly indicates that restricting carbohydrates is dangerous, or even that consuming more-than-average amounts of healthy dietary fats is dangerous, there is plenty of evidence to indicate that large amounts of protein can be dangerous. Too much of the unhealthy fats can also be dangerous. Some low-carb diet plans actively encourage high protein consumption, so it is important to be aware of the risks of high protein in the diet. It is also important to check with your doctor to see what your own health status is before undertaking any diet plan.

Some risks that are associated with high protein diets occur because the dieters are not following a medically or scientifically defined low-carb plan. If you decide to use a low-carb diet to lose weight, it is important that you follow it correctly. Some of the risks, such as kidney failure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and kidney stone, are outlined in this high-protein, low-carb diet article. As you can see, these risks can be quite serious.

The high-protein risks may be avoided by following a low carb diet that encourages eating a moderate amount of protein, balanced with green vegetables (most of which are low-carb) and small amounts of low-carb fruits, such as berries, avocado, lemons and limes.

Is a low-carb diet right for me?

 

Many experts agree that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Whether it is right for you depends on your health, your body and your lifestyle. Talk with your doctor before starting any new diet. Don’t just “wing it” by changing to a low-carb diet without doing your homework; study and follow the dietary programs created by respected doctors or scientists.

What’s next?

 

In a follow-up article, we will look at other low-carb dieting information, such as how to do a low carb diet, the risks associated with attempting a low fat/low carb diet, how many carbs in a low carb diet and what to eat on low carb diet, including some recipes to help you get started.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Be Prepared: Emergency First Aid Kits

By definition, emergencies are rarely planned – they catch us by surprise, and can happen in a moment's notice.  When an emergency occurs, time is a critical consideration. That's why it may not be enough to rely only on your area's 911 emergency systems, no matter how well-funded or organized it is. 

The initial minutes after an injury are often entirely in the hands of those around you, without trained emergency personnel on site.  This is one of the main reasons why having a stocked and ready emergency first aid kit in your home, your car and workplace is a good idea.

Are you ready for an emergency? Do you have first aid kits in your car, home and workplace? Do you know what's in your first aid kits and supplies?  Do you know how to use the supplies that are in your first aid kit?
 
What Do You Need?

When you are getting ready to assemble a first-aid kit, you have two options:

1.Buy premade emergency first-aid kits.
2.Assemble homemade first aid kits.


If you are not certain what to include in your emergency or disaster first-aid kit, buying a premade kit is probably the best option. This way you can be certain that you at least have the basic supplies you need for the most common emergencies.

Assembling homemade first-aid kits requires you to know what should be in them. So, you might need to do a little homework to find out what you should include. A good understanding of what emergencies you might face and how to handle them will help you decide what supplies you need.  This will help you to be better prepared to use your kit should the need arise. The U.S. government site, Ready.gov, is a good resource to learn about building and maintaining your first aid kit.

A premade kit is a good start for emergency preparedness, but if you purchase a store-bought first-aid you may need to add supplies to it to be fully prepared. Also, whether premade or assembled at home, remember to replace any supplies as soon as they are used. Also, restock items like batteries, from time to time, to make sure that they will work in case of an emergency.

first aid kits and supplies
You can buy premade emergency first-aid kits for the car.
What first aid kit supplies should you have on hand?  There are certain basics that should be in all emergency first aid kits, but there are also other considerations:
basic first-aid kit
Examples of general first aid kit supplies you can use.
  • General first aid kit supplies:  To be prepared for common household or workplace injuries, your first aid kit should include various types of bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, cold packs, latex or synthetic gloves.  Review the  Mayo Clinic's recommendations for a basic first-aid kit, for a list of supplies.
  • Consider your lifestyle:  Beyond the basic first-aid kit supplies, consider the hobbies or other unique activities that may require special supplies. For example, if you or your family members are avid hikers, your basic first-aid kit should include a snake bite kit or poison oak first-aid supplies.
  • Consider your geography: A basic first-aid kit may not include supplies that are of necessary for your location. For example, extreme heat or cold, high altitude environments or an area known for a particular species of animals or insects known for venomous bites or stings.
First Aid Training

It's one thing to own an emergency first aid kit; it's another thing to know how to use the first aid kit's supplies. Some disaster first aid kit's supplies may not need instruction for use, such as Band-Aids. But do you know how to make a tourniquet? Or when you should use one? What about the right way to treat a first-degree burn versus a second-degree or third-degree burn?

Ensure that you and your family members are prepared to perform the act of first aid until trained personnel are on hand:
  • Make sure your first-aid kit includes a first-aid manual.
  • Consider first aid training
How do you find first-aid training?  
  • Check with your local YMCA, YWCA, or American Red Cross chapter for available first aid training classes.
  • Google "first aid training" and the name of your city or community to find training near you.
  • Check with your workplace. Many companies offer free first-aid training classes as part of their disaster preparedness.
In an emergency, training could mean the difference between life and death – for your coworkers, your family members, or even you.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Children the Basics of Money

money lessons
Teaching money skills to kids will make them happy.
Kids LOVE money so why not teach them great money skills? I think the more kids understand about the value of money and how to save money the better off they will be when they become adults. 

You can teach your child how to count money just like you teach them to count numbers.  There are a lot of activities for children that teach them how to count money. Learning through games, counting money worksheets and going to the store with you are great ways to learn about money.  Many parents taught their kids about money and how to use it by having them total the cost of groceries with a calculator as they put items in the basket. This helps them with their math skills and helps them grasp the cost of things.


Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

In our household of four we have two spenders and two savers. Our youngest, like me, loves to spend. Our oldest likes to save, like my husband. Our kids were able to see how to spend and how to save, which was valuable. If my husband and I both liked to spend, they might not have learned the value of saving. We tried to teach them at a very young age the famous saying "Money doesn't grow on trees." 

When they were preschoolers the money lessons were very easy. We used piggy banks where they could save their money.  After saving some, we took them to the store and let them buy something they wanted.  Although they didn’t completely understand the concept at that age, at least they knew that saving coins in their banks meant they could get something that they really wanted. As they got older it was easier to explain.

That’s when we started assigning chores and an allowance for our kids was established.  Not only did they apply saving money, but they also had to start making decisions about purchases based on their savings.
 
Learning by Doing
Money skills money lessons
Chore chart to track progress.

Keeping a chore chart and paying kids an allowance at the end of each week lets kids see their progress. Free Behavior Charts is a website where you can print out a free chore chart. They can be customized with popular characters your kids know and love. Goal for It also has free customizable chore charts that you can print, or use on line. Computer savvy kids might love that!

Putting up a visible reminder also adds extra fun and motivation to chores and will gives kids a sense of pride when they can track their accomplishments. Add some colorful magnets and it's even more fun!

For children under ten years, a list of chores and activities like this could work well:

•  Brush teeth
•  Feed pets
•  Homework
•  Make your bed
•  Clean your room

For kids over ten, your list could look something like this:

•  Dishes
•  Clean up after pets
•  Mow lawn
•  Vacuum
•  Wash car

Make learning about money a family activity:

•  Have a "Money" game night and play Monopoly, Pay Day, or my favorite Life. 
•  Make a lemonade stand that the whole family can enjoy.  Let them borrow the money for supplies, and explain that they need to pay back the loan with their earnings. This teaches kids about what a bank does and the importance of paying back a loan.

As our children get older their toys become more expensive. If they understand the value of money they may understand why they can't get that expensive toy right away.  Our girls kept asking us for a Mac laptop and we just kept telling them to save their money.  Finally last month, they had both saved enough money to each buy one. They are very nice computers and my daughters take very good care of them.  I think it is because they know exactly how hard they had to save and work to buy them. They appreciate something they worked hard for and they both have a sense of pride when they tell everyone that they saved up for it all by themselves.  It also made me very proud to know that my girls are responsible and they understand that you have to work hard to get things in life.  Oh, and it was also nice to keep my checkbook in my wallet while they spent some of their hard-earned cash!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer