Monday, May 17, 2010

Making home a learning community

Last week Obama administration officials took part in National Lab Day around Washington DC. National Lab Day brings hands-on, exciting, and experiment-based learning to kids all over the country, with a major focus on science, technology, engineering, and math—also known as STEM. However, considering today’s headlines that are wrought with systemic problems—such as uncontrollable oil spills, cancer, and economic crisis’s—I have to wonder if one day of hands-on learning in STEM subjects will improve the quality of education enough to address these substantial challenges this generation will face as adults. I think we can all agree it won’t.
The first thing moms can do is to broaden their definition of home from being just a place to eat, sleep and play. Home should be thought of as a learning community.
Families that are defined as learning communities have the following characteristic:
1. Develop conversations that larger than the family. For example, if you live a neatly manicured suburb, talk about what it might be like to live without a HOA association. Then, get involved in an organization that helps to revamp a park in a low-income area, such as KaBOOM!
2. Be committed to mastering skills. Mastery takes patience and time, so it is helpful to understand the three step learning process. The first step of teaching is to introduce the idea through modeling. The second step is let the child develop the skill through trial and error, and the final step is when the child can demonstrate with confidence the concept.
3. Set a schedule for learning, especially during the summer months. For instance, no electronics until 15 minutes of math is practiced and 15 minutes of reading is finished. The key is to be consistent.
4. Set up learning stations in the home. Learning stations can be as simple as a plastic tote filled with tools necessary to develop thinking in STEM areas.

The next generation will need a first-class workforce that is strong enough to tackle tough problems, and one way families can help is to be committed to nurturing an environment of learning in the home. For more information on how-to do this visit

Monday, May 3, 2010

Are you looking for somewhere great to take the family?

Spring is here and with that comes restless kids. Are you looking for somewhere to take the family? Are you looking for something educational but yet still fun? Are you looking for something that you’ll be entertained at as well? Look no further!

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for spring.

Running through October both Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square are hosting Mommy & Me And Daddies Too. The first event is at Congressional Plaza on Thursday, May 13 and then at Rockville Town Square on Tuesday, May 18. Both are from 10 am-Noon. Join them for fun, free programs for you and your little one including face painting, balloon animals, live entertainment, kids eat FREE and much more! Mommy & Me is brought to you by Federal Realty Investment Trust and the merchants and restaurants at Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square. For more information, visit or or call 301-998-8178.

Little Tots Summer Fun Series is a free interactive family entertainment series at various locations through Maryland and Virginia. The dates and locations are Downtown Silver Spring, MD on Wednesday, May 26, Virginia Gateway in Gainesville, VA on Wednesday, May 26, Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, MD on Wednesdays, May 5 & 19, Fairfax Corner in Fairfax, VA on Wednesday, June 2. Entertainers will include Mad Science, Blue Sky Puppets, The Great Zucchiini, Katie 4 Kids, Kidsinger Jim, Animal Ambassadors & Peter McCory.

ViVa! Vienna! is hosted by The Rotary Club of Vienna, VA from Saturday, May 29-Monday, May 31 and located along Vienna’s Historic Church Street. This event, a time of family fun and pleasure, serves as a major fund raising opportunity for the Rotary Club so that it may, in turn, provide support for charitable, educational, and community groups the following year. The proceeds generated from ViVa! Vienna! are used to support local civic initiatives and contribute to local and international humanitarian activities. In 2010 The Rotary Club of Vienna will be able to donate $124,000 to these causes. In the past three years, over $300,000 was donated from proceeds generated by Viva! Vienna! Festival includes food, amusements, entertainment & vendors. Local Vendors will offer a great variety of foods including Pizza, Barbecue, Hot dogs and hamburgers, Italian sausage, Thai, Lebanese, and Chilean meals, Popcorn, kettle corn, and funnel cakes, Shaved ice treats and cotton candy, Candied apples, Soft and homemade ice cream. Free Shuttle bus service from James Madison High School and Vienna Metro Station on Saturday & Sunday till 10 p.m., Monday till 6 p.m. For more information visit or call 703-255-4742.

Happy Parenting,