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Friday, June 9, 2017

Why "I'm Bored" Isn't the Worst Thing a Parent Can Hear During Summer Vacation

One of the dreaded expressions a parent often hears over summer vacation is a whiny, "I'm bored." After taking a deep breath, it is important to not immediately become an entertainment coordinator for your child. In a day and age in which we are often over-scheduled and over-stimulated, this article shows there are real benefits to children working through a little boredom on their own.  

“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

Read more about the simple yet powerful concept of allowing our children to find ways to occupy their time independently.  

To Be More Self-Reliant Children Need Boring Summers

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Advice for the Class of 2017

It's hard to believe that another school year is quickly coming to a close.  It is an especially exciting time for our 30 seniors, The University Lake School Class of 2017.  These bright-eyed and ambitious young adults have completed their courses, taken exams, played sports, acted on stage, rocked the ACT and applied to fantastic colleges.  They are now on their way to collegiate experiences.  Oh boy! As graduation approaches our students' excitement is insatiable and our parents are shedding a few tears, it seems appropriate to share a few words of wisdom.  There is so much advice out there on-line, in print, from friends and relatives that I wanted to sift through all of this well meaning pontificating and find a few simple ideas that are practical and easy to digest amidst all of the graduation hoopla.  Ted Spiker, Chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida, offers just this kind of practical advice.  Read through his "15 Tips for High School Graduates" below and share with your loved ones who are crossing the threshold into college life.

15 Tips For High School Graduates

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cyber-Safety for Children

The topic of cyber-safety and our children evolves almost daily as new technology is introduced at an exponential rate.  Social media, internet searches, smart phones and on-demand viewing content are an everyday part of children's lives.  Here are a few cold hard facts relating to kids and cyber-space:

  • 1 in 4 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying.
  • 1 in 6 admit to having cyberbullied someone. 
  • In some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they've experienced abuse through social and digital media.

Clearly the virtual world can be a wonderful educational tool but, it can be a place where tough lessons are learned if children have unlimited, unsupervised access to things they may not fully understand.
The following list can help you keep your children safe when they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as mobile devices:
  • Make sure the protection features of websites and software your children use are activated. There are tools available through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to help you manage your children's online experience (i.e. appropriate Websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them). It might also include other security features, such as pop-up ad blockers.
  • Get to know the online environments your children use and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material.
  • Talk to them about the implications of posting inappropriate pictures, saying disparaging things about other people and anything else that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
  • Remind them that the Internet is a public space. Things they do and say now on social media sites could have implications down the road.
  • Stay in the know about the latest ways children are communicating and what they are up to when they are at friends' houses.
  • Keep an eye on the sites they are visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.
  • Talk to other parents about their children's online privileges and what works for them.
  • Educate them about the risks of webcam use with people you or your children don't know. Video that is broadcast over the Internet is permanently out there and can be saved by anyone for later viewing or distribution. If your computer has been hacked, another user could remotely control your webcam, so if you have an external camera, unplug it or cover your camera when it is not in use.
  • If your child is using live text and voice chats for online games, warn them not to give personal information to a stranger.
  • Be careful about what you post about your children or activities related to them like the location of their school, or where you or they are volunteering.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why Students Should Play More than One Sport

It is no secret amongst parents that the pressure related to playing youth athletics has dramatically increased since the time of our own childhoods.  Club sports and highly competitive school sports teams have caused parents to spend thousands and thousands of dollars for their children to participate, take private lessons and hire personal coaches.  There has been a growing mindset that children need to start a particular sport young and they need to "specialize" in their sport of choice in order to be competitive,  In other words, "forget playing varsity basketball unless you have been playing on select teams since you were five years old."

There is a growing amount of evidence that states this ultra intense-focused approach to athletics is counter-productive for children.  At University Lake School  almost 80% of our Upper School students play more than one sport.  Read the article below to understand why this multi-sport approach is really int he best interest of your child.

Playing One Sport a Year Isn't Smart for Kids

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Education and Travel

The educational platform at ULS emphasizes Hand-On Learning as a powerful and effective approach to providing meaningful learning experiences for students.  One of the most impact-full Hands-On Learning activities involves getting out of the classroom and traveling.  "Seeing the world" provides learning opportunities that just can not be duplicated in a classroom. ULS designs a variety of travel experiences into the curriculum to provide these benefits to the students.  In 5th and 6th grade, ULS students start their exposure to travel on a 3 day winter camping trip.  In 7th grade, there is a fall camping/leadership trip to Snake Road.  In 8th grade, students branch out farther with a trip to Washington D.C.  In Upper School, students start the year with a canoe/leadership trip.  Finally, the Upper School Intersession program offers a variety of opportunities for students to "spread their wings and fly" a bit.  The 2017 Intersession opportunities include: a trip to Cuba, a Study of Music and Culture in Salzburg, Vienna and Prague and a Yellowstone Camping Experience. The attached article talks about the benefits of traveling abroad for young people but think the points can apply to all travel not just international.

6 Reasons Why Traveling Abroad is Important for Young People

ULS students on Intersession 2016 in Italy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emotional Intelligence

At University Lake School as a college preparatory school, we often focus the bulk of our energy on academics.  We emphasize writing skills, speaking skills and critical thinking skills.  At ULS, we prepare for college entrance exams and cultivate research skills through a variety of independent study projects.  Our focus on the above skills is appropriate for a college preparatory school and has offered great opportunities for ULS students. With that said, there is a skill set that is equally if not more important than the academically focused skills - Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence involves the skill of recognizing your feelings, understanding where they come from and learning how to deal with them.  Research has shown that emotional intelligence or EQ “predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).” Additional data concludes that “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.  Learn a little more about emotional intelligence and how children develop this vital skill by reading the article below.  

Why We Need to Teach Our Kids Emotional Intelligence

Thursday, March 2, 2017

All the Fuss About Public Speaking

Consistently, I hear visitors to ULS comment on how our students are particularly articulate.  ULS students know how to look someone in the eye when they speak.  They know how to project and speak clearly.  Most importantly, Lakers know how to organize their thoughts and speak with confidence and conviction.  These noticeable excellent public speaking skills of ULS children are no accident.  The pattern of research, create and share starts with our JK3 class at ULS and weaves throughout all grades until graduation.  There are daily learning activities such as morning meetings share time and student-led assemblies that make speaking in front of a group a "normal" occurrence in our classrooms. There are also major educational milestone events in which public presentation is a key component such as the fourth grade Magnum Opus, seventh and eighth grade Honors Projects and Senior Projects.  At University Lake School, we appreciate and understand the importance of public speaking skills and how these skills truly differentiate you as an adult.  Please enjoy the following article that reminds us why public speaking is so important and how ULS students benefit from public speaking being an everyday part of school.  

Why is Public Speaking so Important?