Category Archives: Education

How to Get Your Son on the Honor Roll

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Great video on tips on helping your son to make honor roll. Too often, we set unrealistic expectations of our sons and express our disappointment with their academic performance. Dr. Tartt does make one controversial recommendation which is to pay your child for their grades. What are your thoughts are children getting paid for the grades they receive?



Getting Your Son to Read More with Who?Comics App

Thank you to who?Comics for sponsoring this post and encouraging my child to read biographies in comic book form! Please click here to learn more about the app. And follow who? Comics on Twitter for updates! 

When Clever Girls Collective emailed the opportunity to review who?Comics, I jumped on it. I was especially excited because I am always on the lookout for ways to get boys reading. I also wanted to check it out for the after school book club for boys I am starting in NYC. 

Who? Comics are the real life stories that offer biographies of "10 of our greatest leaders of today and 19 historical figures of the past" .  What's great about these stories are that they are biographies that are read in comic book form.

Since this is an app, my son was happy to join me in reviewing. I think the fact that it is an app fools boys into thinking it's not really a book.  If you're a mom of a teenage boy, you know that reading for pleasure is not high on their priority list. When we first downloaded the app, the first thing that appealed to my son who enjoys reading anime and manga books, was that the comics closely resembled this animation style. That alone was a big plus for him!

He also liked that there was a variety of comics that the he can choose from.  I liked that there is a variety for boys and girls.  Some of the stories that are available are Hillary Clinton, J.K. Rowling, Martin Luther King Jr.,  Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, etc.  Each download is $4.99 which is a great price considering it's 150 pages and you'd pay much more for a book.  They also have a fun way for kids to collect badges for each story which my son didn't care about. I think younger readers would be interested in collecting these badges. 

We chose Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. Since he is learning about physics in science class, he was looking forward to learning more about Stephen Hawking.  He found the comic book style less intimidating and overwhelming. He liked that the storie were funny and educational.

Overall, my son liked this app. His only complaint was that they are a bit long, but he when he started reading, he forgot that it was 150 pages.

I will definitely recommend this app as an option for our after school book club and look forward to the developer offering more stories.



Thank you again to who? Comics for sponsoring my post. Please click here to learn more about the app. Visit who? Comics for updates. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #CleverWhoComics #spon

11 Things Your Son’s Teacher Isn’t Telling You


The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning. – Unknown

We can only account for what happens in the classroom from a few sources:  our sons, their teachers and perhaps a few parents of other students.

1. He/She may not have received training on how to address gender issues in the classroom.

2. She/He may have unintentional biases towards boys and girls such as: Boys are hyperactive. Girls are not good at math.

3. She/He may not like you or your son. If you’re a helicopter parent, then don’t expect the teacher to be your best buddy.

4. She may not know or understand that most boys are kinesthetic learners and need activities that involve movement. Unlike some girls, boys can not sit quietly and do work. They need to move around to release energy.

5. Boys are three times more likely to be labeled ADHD than girls.

6. He/She rather email you than meet with you face to face.

7. Boys need time to process information that is being delivered audibly.

8. More boys than girls are classified as special needs.

9. He/She may be aware of a bullying situation but may not know how to handle it.

10.Your son acts differently at school than he does at home.

11. He/She knows some of your “dirty little secrets”. Your sweet little boy may be telling his teacher more then he/she needs to know like how “Daddy lost his job” and “Mommy likes to drink wine”.

 What other secrets do you think teachers aren’t sharing?

Are Boys Being Denied Their Birthright?

Years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she believed the reason that some men were angry, aimless and unhappy in life was because they had been denied their birthright.

Her statement stayed with me all these years and as we are raising our boys, I often think about the bible story of Esau and Jacob and how Esau not seeing the value in his birthright sold it to his brother for a meal. Although today, it is not the same law when I think about birthrights in the sense that some boys do not know their legacy.

In our society, there are boys and young men who are so lost that they do not know where they came from, what they need to do and where they are going.  This problem exist regardless of race, class or economic status.  We can attempt to blame disengaged, busy, or uninvolved fathers or narcissistic, overbearing mothers. Regardless of the reason, we are now faced with the dilemma that many young men are not transitioning into adulthood. The fact is that this affects everyone. Parents of girls do not want their daughters to marry men who are emotionally immature, insecure and lacking direction and purpose.

More people are beginning to take notice and now we are faced with a problem of boys who are not self aware and can not even define manhood.

We need to pay close attention to the emotional needs of boys and understand that they need the help to become men of virtue, respect, integrity and love.

Can Schools Close the Achievement Gap Without Widening a Racial Gap?


In this article in the New York Times, Dr. Ronald Ferguson shares his research based views on the achievement gap. You can read the article here: Closing Achievement Gap

What are your thoughts on the achievement gap?

5 Resources for Homework Help

Once you realize you’re in a class that is over your head, you may decide to cut your losses, drop the class, and try it again another semester. But once you’ve gotten through a good portion of the semester, it may be too late to transfer or drop the class without facing some major financial or academic losses. That’s when you need to seek help to get you through the semester. But where can you turn for help? And how much help do you need? If you’re in need of some help on your homework or to get through a specific class, there are varying degrees of help you can seek.

Your Teacher or Professor

The first thing you need to do when you feel yourself floundering is talk to your teacher or professor. Let them know you’re struggling and ask their advice on how to improve. They may offer to sit down and explain concepts to you, so you get a better grip on them. Or they may offer to let you re-submit improved versions of past assignments to raise your grade. At the very least they may be able to point you in the direction of extra resources.

Online Tutorials

The internet has changed they way be access and gain information. Chances are, if you are having trouble with your class work in a specific subject, someone else has had the same problem and may be able to give you advice—all you have to do is search. There are also thousands of online tutorial available as text or as videos on a variety of different subjects. If you need clarification on a certain principle or concept, Google it, and you may find the answer quicker than you think.

 Books and Guides

There are also thousands of study guides and “dummy”-type books that can help you with certain subjects and concepts by breaking them down into much easier forms and steps. For example, if you are having a hard time in a Shakespeare class, search for Cliff’s Notes or Spark Notes summaries that can help you understand what is going on. However, be careful; use these materials only as guides and not as replacements for doing your actual work.


Many large-enrollment classes, like first-year biology or history have TAs that are there to help students who need a little extra help now and then. These TAs are advanced students who are usually juniors, seniors, or graduate students who have taken the class previously and can help you get ahead.

Student Labs

Many colleges offer free tutoring programs or have Math, Biology, Physics, or Writing Labs sprinkled around campus where you can go for help on your assignments. Take advantage of these resources; they’re there to help you succeed. The lab techs or tutors in these labs are usually upper-level students who are very knowledgeable and are there to help you learn. They talk to students everyday about how to succeed in their subject of expertise, and they can give you the help you might need.

If one of these sources fails, try another, or try them all. If you need help, and are willing to look for it, there is no reason you should fall behind or see your class work suffer. Try these resources and find the ones that will best help you get ahead in your classes.

Diane Johnson writes about several topics including travel, University of Phoenix Campuses, and anything else that interests her.

Are Schools Doing Enough to Reach Boys in the Hood?


Thanks to Richard Whitmire of Why Boys Fail for this great article by Dr. Ronald Holmes. In the article,  Dr. Holmes addresses the issue of why the school system contributes to the conditions that places African American males in danger of incarceration.

I like Dr. Holmes' systemic solution of the community working together to help African American males. The latest statistics from the Schott Foundation for Public Education’s 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males shows nationwide, only 47 percent of black males graduate from high school.

You can read the article here

Finding the Right School for Your Son

Choosing the right school for your son is a very big decision. Even though my son is in the 7th grade, we attended school fairs this year to get a jump start on his high school choices.  I did not influence or urge him to look at any particular school. I did guide him by indicating what to look for in a school. Overall, he made tabs and a list of schools based on high school graduation rates, admissions criteria and extracurrilar activities. His next step is to take virtual tours before we take physical tours next year.

School tours are the best way to find out more about the school. The only way to make an informed decision is to visit the school. Before you take your next school tour, you want to make sure that you are well prepared and have carefully examined all the facts about the school you and your son  are choosing. Keep in mind your son's learning style, interests, personality and their character. Remember to keep your son active in the progress for middle and high school. This is the learning place where he will spend most of his formative years.

Here is checklist of questions and things to observe on your next school tour.


•What is the school's philosophy?

•Does the school's philosophy match your philosophy on learning?

•What is the ratio of teachers to students?

•How many teachers’ aides are in a class?

•What is the maximum number of students per class?

•How is the day structured?

•How much time is spent on independent play vs. group activities?

•How is the curriculum developed? Is the curriculum built around "play"?

•Are the children provided a structured learning experience?

•How receptive is the staff and administration? (When you called the school to make an appointment or to ask questions, was the staff polite and receptive?)

•Are the teachers attentive and responsive? (Observe how teachers speak to the children. Pay attention to their tone and body language.)

•How are discipline issues handled?

•How do teachers intervene when a problem arises?

•Are the children encouraged to play or does the school function as a mini college?

•Is nap time suggested or enforced?

•How clean is the play area? Are the toys and blocks dirty? (Ask the teacher or Director of the school how often toys and books are cleaned.)

•Does the school have a "community" feeling?

•Does the school embrace cultural diversity?

•Would your child feel comfortable in this setting? (Chances are, if you don't feel comfortable in a school, your child may not feel comfortable too.)

•Are parents welcome to be part of their child's experience?

•What is the turn-over rate of teachers?

•How long has the Director been involved with the school?

•Does the Director have any short or long term plans for the school?

•If it is a private school, does the school offer scholarships?

•Does the school offer extended hours for working parents?

•Does the school have its own playground?

•Is the playground equipment stable?

•Does the school have an Emergency Evacuation Plan? If so, is it given to parents?

Elementary/Middle/High School

•What is the school's philosophy?

•What is the school’s code of conduct?

•Does the school offer conflict resolution?

•What are the guidelines for suspension and expulsion?

•Does the school have a strict dress code?

•How do the students interact with the teachers?

•Does the school have a diverse student population?

•Does the school have an accelerated or gifted program?

•What is the criterion for having your child tested or admitted into a gifted program?

•What is the average class size?

•Does the school have reduced class size? (Are the reduced class size only for particular programs?)

•Does the school offer an integrated curriculum with full inclusion of all learners?

•What are the school’s academic standards?

•How are the school's test scores?

•What sports/enrichment programs are offered?

•Have the scores fluctuated or have they been steadily improving or declining?

•How does the school prepare its students for higher education?

•What programs are offered in the school?

•Does the school support English Language Learners?

•How long has the administration been in the school?

•Does the school provide teachers with professional development?

•Does the school have a strong PTA or PA?

•Is an after school program offered?

•Does the school have an Emergency Evacuation Plan? If so, is it plan given to parents?

•Does the school have a virtual tour?

Documentary addresses the consistently low performance of black males in school