2005-06-30 / Direct Answers

Answers from the Teacher

Summer’s here, so we need some ideas to keep our children busy. We’re not interested in making them work in workbooks for an hour a day. What else can we do as a family to keep them learning over the summer?

Try discovering your roots, and con-sider a learning project on genealogy. Genealogy is an exciting field of study for all families. If you believe any of your ancestors came through Ellis Island, you can search for their travel records on www.ellisilandrecords.org. You can search the Passenger Arrival Records by entering a person’s name, approximate date of birth and gender.

You must register to obtain free family tree charts and forms, but registration is free and quick. You can go to “Genealogy” at the top of the screen, click on “Free Charts and Forms” and get started on your own family tree. You can print out the black chart and begin filling in your ancestors’ names. You and your children may have to call to interview relatives to complete the chart; you may even want to consider marking on a map or globe where each relative lived.

The Web site is part of the Ellis Is-land and Statue of Liberty Foundation. This is a family project tying reading, writing, and history together for both you and your children.

I have been inundated by paperwork for field day, class picnic, and summer camp, and I can’t keep everything organized. I have three children, each of whom comes home either with requests for cookies for the school picnic, or for my assistance with field day. Do you have any hints to keeping all the paperwork straight? I am vowing to do a better job at this next year.

If you are in the habit of reading the paperwork but leaving it until later to complete, my first hint would be to deal with it as soon as you get it. Handling paperwork only once before sending it back to the teacher or camp director on time will decrease the chances it will get misplaced or lost for good. I know doing this sounds difficult be-cause there is always dinner, homework and sports schedules, but it will save you time in the long run to read the page, sign it, make a notation on your family calendar if necessary, then get it to its next destination. Only notices that include several dates or extended schedules should get stuck on the refrigerator or bulletin board. Otherwise, if you can’t get to the paper-work right away, then keep everything in folders until you can address the items without distraction. A different colored folder for each child will help you keep everything straight and eliminate the hunting around for lost paper-work. You can even keep birthday party invitations in their own folder so that you can RSVP in time. Keep the folders as close to the entrance to your home as possible. If you have to walk into another part of the house to organize everything, you may not get to it, then you’ll be back to the same old pile of papers you have right now.

Depending on the ages of your child-ren, you can teach them to put the important memos in their own folders, that way you can look through them when you have time.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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