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My husband and I just divorced; our two elementary school-aged daughters will spend the school week with me and most weekends with him. They are still dealing with the impact of their father moving out. Should we let their new teachers know about the divorce?

Yes. You don’t need to go into detail, but alerting the teachers is in everyone’s best interests. Research shows that children whose parents were divorcing reported being more anxious, lonely and sad than children whose parents remained married. According to a 2011 study of 3,500 elementary children, parents’ divorce caused setbacks in math and social skills.

“Any major change in a family’s circumstances can have a strong impact on children’s emotional wellbeing and sense of security,” says Dr. Jane Bluestein, an Albuquerque-based educator and psychologist who works with teachers and parents to improve the social-emotional climate in schools. “Any big transition can affect children’s concentration, commitment to school, achievement and behavior. So it makes sense to let the school know anytime some significant incident, loss or change occurs.”

Bluestein says that when she taught, she always appreciated knowing if a student’s parents were going through a divorce — “not to make excuses for the child’s backsliding or acting out, but to know that a little extra support and TLC might be in order. Teachers want to build a productive home-school relationship. Letting them know means that they can help your daughters through a time of change.”

Keep an eye out for changes in behavior or signs of stress and anxiety. “Most schools have resources — likely a counselor — who can support students through these transitions,” advises Bluestein. “Find out about what’s available, even if you think you won’t need it.”

Routines and consistency are important for all children, but especially so for kids who are dividing their time between two different homes. Bluestein advises working with their father to align your school-related expectations for the girls. For example, establish a common bedtime for school nights and weekends; decide when homework will be done and how it will be checked; make sure you’re on the same page concerning extracurricular and weekend activities so that they don’t miss experiences that their friends are a part of.

Most important is establishing strong, ongoing communication with the school. How will you and their father stay informed about your daughters’ progress?

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, “both father and mother should receive communications from the school, such as teacher and school newsletters, access to the school portals, notices of upcoming events, and report cards,” says Bluestein. “You should both be listed as emergency contacts and, if possible, attend parent conferences together so that your daughters know that you both care about their schooling and share expectations for their success.” Bluestein offers more practical tips parents on her website: janebluestein.com/2016/ways-to-help-your-child-survive-your-divorce/.

Another helpful resource is the book “Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce” (Avery, 2010). The author, Joanne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who has studied the impact of divorce. Her research-based advice can help you guide your daughters in the big transitions that accompany separation and divorce.

We want to take an educational family road trip so our kids — going into third, fourth and sixth grades — can experience things beyond our small town. Do you have any suggestions? No theme parks, please.

Begin the “educational” part before you set out. Ask the kids to do the research on where you should go and what you should do. Give them a budget and time frame. Then pull out the maps, apps and guides.

First, settle on a geographic region that offers several attractions to be explored without driving all day.

Next, make a list of all the events, institutions, parks and places in the region that might appeal to your kids.

“When they choose the places to visit, they arrive excited because they own the decision,” says Eric Hamilton, the assistant director of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education and Technology at New York’s American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org).

Create your list from travel magazines and the family sections of online guides such as Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Lonely Planet. Check out the family travel bloggers at Red Tricycle (redtri.com). Scan the region’s hotel and visitors bureau sites for nearby attractions.

Find kid-friendly museums at the American Alliance of Museums website (aam-us.org). The Association of Science-Technology Centers (astc.org) and the Association of Children’s Museums (childrensmuseums.org) also have excellent options. Check listings on the National Register of Historic Places (nps.gov/nr). The National Conservation Lands website (blm.gov/NLCS) shows monuments, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and historic trails.

Is there a National Park in the region you’ve selected? To celebrate the 100th anniversary of our parks system, the Department of the Interior invites fourth-graders and their families to visit for free. Go to everykidinapark.gov to get your family’s pass.

Once you have a working list, ask your sixth-grader to create an Excel file with key information on your destinations. This should include their addresses, websites, prices (including “free family” days), hours, if reservations are needed for special events, the availability of free educational materials, what not to miss, visitor reviews and so on.

Be mindful of how much time you will have on your vacation. “Don’t overschedule. Too often parents think kids will motor through one stop and then want to rush to the next, but we find young visitors want to take their time,” says Jack E. Lighton, the president of Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida (marinelife.org).

“When kids see these huge, magnificent creatures that have lived on Earth for more than 100,000,000 years, they have so many questions for our docents,” Lighton explains. “They want to post their photos to Instagram. They want to follow the progress of turtles that we’ve brought back to health and released. It’s a very personalized learning experience.”

While you want the trip to be educational, don’t overdo it. “If your kids want to keep a notebook, great. But don’t require it or anything else that smacks of an assignment,” says the American Museum of Natural History’s Hamilton.

“The real educational value comes from the many conversations you will continue to have with your children long after the trip is done,” he adds. “You’ll connect what they saw to new learning. For example, if you visited a planetarium, discuss a news item about a SpaceX launch. Each of these experiences are building blocks for new knowledge.”

My daughter Mikayla, a high school freshman, recently moved in with my new wife and me. She’s such a perfectionist! Her room looks like Martha Stewart cleaned it. She’s a competitive athlete and an A student, but stresses over things that don’t go according to her plan. We’re happy we don’t have to nag her about school, but worry she’s too obsessed with grades and getting into a top college. Should we be?

Since she’s just settling in with you, it’s unfair to Mikayla to assume she has a problem with perfectionism, says Dr. Jane Bluestein, educator and author of “The Perfection Deception” (Health Communications Inc., 2015).

“Welcome her with open arms,” she says. “There’s much to praise in a high-achieving teen who keeps her room tidy, aces her courses and has her eye on college. Take time to know her better. Support her efforts to excel.”

That said, today’s teens are subject to many parental, peer, academic and media pressures that can lead them to think that they must be perfect, notes Bluestein.

“To help her focus on the satisfactions of accomplishment, rather than the impossibility of perfection, help her learn four fundamental lessons,” she advises.

One, the goal of effort should not be achieving perfection, but doing our best, says Bluestein.

“There’s a big difference,” she explains. “Perfectionism — the belief that we can make all things perfect if we put in the right amount of effort — has high costs: stress, loneliness, fear of failure, perceived loss of control, negative self-worth should the littlest thing go wrong. These can lead to a mental health crisis if they add up.”

Two, it’s OK to take risks and fail.

“Recognize her achievements, precision, care, attention to detail,” says Bluestein, “but also make her aware that highly successful people succeed because they aren’t afraid to fail. In Silicon Valley, it’s viewed as a strength to have failed in a few start-ups, because it means you’ve gained experience that will be valuable when you tackle your next venture.”

Encourage her to join a group such as a robotics or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) club, where trial-and-error projects are valued.

Three, accept and use constructive criticism, says Bluestein.

“The ability to view feedback as a positive, not a negative, helps high achievers benefit from the wisdom of others and develop resilience,” she says. “It defines them as learners who can work collaboratively as part of a team.”

Four, help her develop a strong social and emotional core that will serve her when she’s challenged by her goals. One way is to reflect on her achievements.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, successful high achievers know how to take time out for themselves. They don’t multitask 24-7. They nourish their souls, and can step back to gain perspective,” says Bluestein. “They can calm their minds and look within so that they can continue to be creative. Perfectionists are so good at being busy that taking time to reflect feels like cheating.”

As she embarks on her high school career, encourage Mikayla to be guided by Winston Churchill: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

My 5-year old daughter, Illana, has been so excited about starting kindergarten, but suddenly she cries when we talk about it and insists she’s staying home with her sister. She loved preschool, so I don’t get it. How can we get her ready for her first day?

Many children, even those with preschool experience, get last-minute “kindergarten jitters,” says Shirley Harden, a retired Maryland principal who coaches parents on supporting their children’s school success. She offers these tips:

– If possible, visit Illana’s school before classes begin. “Often principals encourage kindergartners to come for a sneak peek to see their classroom, cafeteria and other rooms,” says Harden. “During your walk-through, point out bulletin boards and displays. Even show her the bathrooms, so she’s familiar with the facilities.”

– Probe her worries. Because parents make the first day a big deal, kids may develop unwarranted concerns, says Harden. “Talk through any fears and put them to rest,” she says. “Explain how her day will go and what she will do after school to allay concerns about how she gets home.” Tell her about first-day jitters in your life, such as a new job. Explain that it’s normal to have anxieties about new things.

– Read books about starting kindergarten. “There are some really funny ones,” says Blanche Warner, a library manager in Naples, New York. “Librarians have them ready in August.”

Warner suggests these time-tested titles:

– “A Place Called Kindergarten” (Puffin, 2008) by Jessica Harper. Tommy’s animal friends become alarmed when they learn Tommy has gone to a place called “kindergarten.”

– “Countdown to Kindergarten” (HMH Books for Young Readers; 2006) by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss. Ten days before school starts, a new kindergartner can’t tie her shoes and fears the worst.

– “Jake Starts School” (Square Fish, 2010) by Michael Wright. A boy worries about staying at school without his parents.

– “Kindergarten Rocks!” (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2008) by Katie Davis. Dexter isn’t scared to start school, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is terrified!

– “Late for School!” (Carolrhoda Books, 2013) by Stephanie Calmenson and Sachiko Yoshikawa. A teacher oversleeps and is late for the first day.

– “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” (Puffin 2001) by Nancy Carlson. Henry looks forward to kindergarten, but he isn’t sure about staying once he gets there.

– “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten” (Puffin, 2001) by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff. This book introduces the alphabet as Miss Bindergarten and her students get ready for kindergarten.

– “On the Way to Kindergarten” (Puffin, 2008) by Virginia Kroll and Elizabeth Schlossberg. This picture book helps parents show their kindergartner all of her accomplishments in the past five years.

Make a plan to support Illana’s learning all year. Include daily activities such as reading each night, reinforcing social and emotional skills needed in school, and talking about a range of topics to develop oral language and a strong vocabulary. Find ways to connect math and science concepts to daily life by using science and math vocabulary; for example, “Today’s weather brought rain. Let’s measure how much rain we got.” Encourage active play and limit screen time.

Introduce yourself to her teacher and offer your support, says Harden. “That way,” she says, “should a problem arise, you’ll have a working partnership from day one.”

The PTO president wants me to apply to be a parent representative on our school site council. While I’m active at school, I’m not a curriculum or budget expert. What skills do I need to be effective?

If the PTO president is encouraging you to apply, he or she sees that you have the skills, disposition and commitment to be successful.

School site councils usually consist of an administrator, teachers, parents and classified employees, such as custodians and aides. Some members are elected; others appointed. Members advocate for all parents and represent the interests of the entire student body, not just their own children.

“You don’t need to be a budget whiz or know your state’s learning standards inside out to be effective,” says Bill Jackson, founder of GreatSchools, an online academic resource for parents and teachers. “You need to be willing to listen and evaluate data before making a decision and to communicate the importance of the school’s improvement efforts to other parents.”

The job of the council is to focus on things that really matter in boosting student achievement, says Jackson.

“It’s to work with the administration to develop, review and evaluate school improvement programs and budgets,” he explains. “It isn’t to decide if the cafeteria should be painted yellow and blue or whether PTO fundraisers should disallow high-calorie treats. School site councils are most successful when their work is about overall student performance. If not, members are wasting their time.”

The most effective PTO councils focus on four areas: academic achievement, school safety, parent engagement and discipline. Jackson says council members should grapple with these issues:

Consider the goals and priorities of the school, and determine if there is data that shows how well the school is achieving those goals. Look at the progression toward goals and ask if there are groups of students not doing as well as others. If so, consider what programs and supports can be put in place to help the students as well as how those programs will be structured and funded.

Members of the PTO also look at current programs to determine if they are ineffective or unrelated to the overall goals. If so, they may look at eliminating them.

Next, consider these questions: Can you deal with group dynamics? Can you keep your eye on big goals without getting caught in the weeds? Do you have enough time for the homework required to understand and debate policies? Do you have thick enough skin to live through arguments? Can you work outside your comfort zone, communicating the school’s policies to the community?

“For example,” asks Jackson, “can you help parents who don’t see the value of benchmark testing understand why it is important to know where a student is strong or weak to adjust instruction?”

Many times, good policies get scuttled when rumors are passed along among parents. “They fail not for lack of effectiveness, but because parents don’t understand them,” says Jackson. “Council members have an important role in helping other parents understand why the school has a certain homework or testing program.”

Attend a meeting as an observer. Talk with current and former PTO members. If you think you’ll enjoy the involvement, then sign on, says Jackson: “Schools need the leadership of parents like you.”

For more information, go to greatschools.org.

We’re taking an August road trip with our 7-, 9- and 11-year-old boys. The backseat DVD player is broken. We’ll leave it that way to encourage reading. What books might make the miles fly by?

Do your children have favorite authors who have written a series? If not, go to your local library or bookstore and test-drive some for kids in this age range.

“Librarians know what’s popular and are experts in helping young readers find books that connect to their personal interests,” says Blanche Warner, head librarian at Naples (New York) Library.

Series are a good choice because “once a child is hooked on one title, he or she will plow through the rest because they know the backstory. Following a protagonist though each book is like spending time with a good friend,” says Warner. “The ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lemony Snicket’ books are tried and true examples. Chances are your children already have an author they want more of.”

Two laugh-out-loud, perennially popular series are Lincoln Peirce’s “Big Nate” (HarperCollins and Andrews McMeel Universal) and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (Amulet Books).

Bill Doyle’s “Magic for Hire” series (Random House) is about Henry and Keats, two boys who take on kooky monsters. Titles include “Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie,” “Stampede of the Supermarket Slugs” and “Invasion of the Junkyard Hog.” It’s great for reluctant readers. The first book in Doyle’s new series about a family that enters wacky contests, “The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place” (Random House), debuts next month.

Science writer Sandra Markle’s lushly illustrated “What If You Had?” nonfiction series (Scholastic) introduces animal characteristics by challenging kids to imagine what it would be like if their own ears, teeth and hair were replaced by those of a different animal.

In a description for “What If You Had Animal Teeth?” on Scholastic.com, it says, “this book explores how different teeth are especially adapted for an animal’s survival. … Children will discover why their own teeth are just right for them. And they’ll also get a friendly reminder to take good care of their teeth, because they’re the only teeth they’ll ever have.”

Another suggestion is to pack some “quick reads offering bite-size nuggets of awesome info that can sop up the time between putting in your order and getting the pizza,” suggests Naples Library’s Warner. Consider titles such as “The World Almanac for Kids,” “Time For Kids Almanac,” “National Geographic Kids Almanac,” “Guinness World Records” and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Special Edition 2016.”

Consider the flashcard-format “Fandex Family Field Guides” and “Brain Quest” series from Workman Publishing. These colorful Q-and-A cards with lots of fun facts hang together with a metal rivet, so they don’t spill out of the car when you stop for gas. Fandex topics range from “Birds” to “50 States” to “Star Wars.” The “Brain Quest America” series includes 850 Q and A’s “celebrating our history, people and culture.”

For more information, go to workman.com.

My grandkids are coming for a week and my daughter has asked me to keep them “off the grid,” except for emergencies. The kids (11 and 13) are glued to their phones and she feels their health is at risk. (She wasn’t concerned last summer when they arrived with their noses buried in tablets!) Is she overreacting?

Many experts don’t think so. Educators, athletic coaches, children’s counselors and doctors are beginning to link decreased attention spans, inability to stay focused, and irritability when devices are shelved with kids being unable to put the things down.

Ophthalmologists are concerned about increased eyestrain in young people who overuse screens. Viewing a digital screen often makes the eyes work harder.

You daughter isn’t the only parent worried. One Texas mother emailed me, “When I was a kid, I’d ask friends to come over to play. When my daughter invites friends, it’s like she’s said, ‘Come over so we can silently look at our phones together.’ It’s just crazy.”

A recent poll from Common Sense Media reveals that half of teenagers surveyed “feel addicted” to their mobile devices. Fifty-nine percent of their parents said they agree.

The results suggest that parents and kids are concerned about the impact mobile devices have on day-to-day life. Seventy-two percent of teens and 48 percent of parents feel the need to immediately respond to texts and other notifications; 69 percent of parents and 78 percent of teens check their devices at least hourly.

One-half of parents and one-third of kids polled said they very often or occasionally try to reduce the amount of time they spend on devices. Approximately one-third of both parents and teens said they argue about mobile device use daily. Sixty-six percent of parents and teens said mobile devices are not allowed at the dinner table.

“Mobile devices are fundamentally changing how families go about their day-to-day lives, be it doing homework, driving or having dinner together,” said James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. Usage “is causing daily conflict in homes,” while “families are concerned about the consequences. We also know that problematic media use can negatively affect children’s development and that multitasking can harm learning and performance.”

Common Sense has issued a white paper with survey results and recommendations. “Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy and Finding Balance” discusses — among other things — how multitasking and toggling between multiple screens can impair children’s ability to lay down memories, learn, focus and work effectively.

It also addresses technology’s impact on conversations. Michael Robb, Common Sense’s director of research, said that this is “really important for social and emotional development. We need better long-term measures of how device use is impacting people’s ability to empathize.”

Instead of relying on devices, enjoy going off the grid with your grandkids. Get outside; go camping; have conversations; try a new sport; cook up a storm; engage in painting or sculpture; volunteer where you’re needed (would a preschool like a mural repainted?); visit local attractions; take the kids to lunch with interesting people. Stuck at home on a rainy day? Teach them a challenging card game or chess. Catch a movie at the multiplex. Your daughter won’t mind; the screen is big and the movie is sure to start some interesting conversations afterward!

My 10-year-old daughter, Marilee, can text up a storm, but can’t write a book report or a two-paragraph description of an event. She’s a pretty good reader, but her teacher says her writing skills need improvement. Are there fun ways to practice writing that work?

There are, and you can both enjoy them. Young writers need to learn many skills that are intuitive to most adults. They need to articulate the purpose of the writing; organize ideas, think about spelling, punctuation, grammar and word choices; then edit and revise. And do all this while staying on topic. It’s not easy!

First, do some reading on how schools teach writing. Most use “the writing process,” which has five steps: prewriting (brainstorming, deciding purpose and goals); writing (getting that first draft down); revising and editing (clarifying); rewriting (typing or writing the final draft) and publishing (reaching an audience). That audience might be her aunt receiving a letter or her Girl Scout troop that reads a report she’s written on badge completion. Learn more at ReadWriteThink, an online resource for teaching reading and writing: http://tinyurl.com/22novvv.

Write for a reason: Make Marilee the family communications director. Get her a business card and notepads with that title. Make it her job to write all family communications this summer: invitations for parties, lists and instructions for a campout, thank-you notes and birthday cards to family and friends and so on. This will help her think about purpose, message and audience.

Review what you love: It’s fun to read reviews; it’s often more fun to write them. Have Marilee review books, movies, music and games. Find good models by TIME For Kids kid reporters at timeforkids.com. Have her share her reviews with family and friends.

Connect with pen pals: Find them through Student Letter Exchange (pen-pal.com), one of the world’s largest pen pal organizations. For a deeper experience, sign up for PenPal Schools, an online interactive community that connects learners across cultures to discuss global issues while practicing language skills during six-week sessions on different topics. While designed for schools, parents can get a class code. Go to penpalschools.com.

Get writing coaching online: Students enrolled in Brain Chase, a fun online summer program, can sign up for its Creative Writing Challenge and get weekly grade-level feedback from credentialed writing instructors. Go to brainchase.com.

Learn from a best-selling writer: Newbery Honor-winner Patricia Reilly Giff, author of many popular children’s books, walks young readers through the process of writing compelling fiction using examples from her work in “Writing With Rosie” (Holiday House, 2016), arriving in bookstores later this summer.

Start a summer scrapbook: To improve storytelling and reporting skills, encourage Marilee to create a scrapbook (digital or paper) about events, neighborhood observations, vacations and so on. Add photos with descriptive captions. Many kids prefer paper. There’s something uniquely satisfying about leafing through pages of memories — ticket stubs and other regalia included — at the end of the summer.

We have a newly blended family thanks to a recent marriage. My husband and I have different views about school for our teens. I’m casual. He’s strict, causing family tension. The school counselor suggests we work over the summer to “better align” our expectations. Where should we go for help?

Blended families are filled with joy — and usually challenges. It’s confusing for kids when parents and stepparents have differing expectations.

“Generally speaking, the issues are rarely either/or black or white,” says Stephen Gray Wallace, author and founder of the nonprofit Center for Adolescent Research and Education (ecareforkids.org). “It’s not a question of whether to have expectations for each other’s children with regard to schoolwork; it’s about having the right ones.”

Make a list of your differing expectations: Do you differ on how much screen time the kids get? Whether to take them out of school for long weekends? To demand A’s or accept C’s? Talk them through with each other, then with your teens to try to strike a balance.

“It is also important to remember that doing well in school is but one metric of success we generally hope for our children,” says Wallace. “Don’t get hung up on whether this assignment was handed in, or who studies with the TV on. What matters most is daily face-to-face conversation. I call it ’serve and return’ parenting that allows teens time and space to talk with you and surface things that may be bothering them.”

To get a broader perspective, Wallace suggests three books:

– “Teach Your Children Well” by Madeleine Levine (Harper Perennial, 2013). Levine’s view is that “while we all hope that our children will do well in school, we hope with even greater fervor that they will do well in life. Our job is to help them … be resilient in the face of adversity, to approach the world with zest … and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to the world.”

– “Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations” by Ron Fournier (Harmony Books, 2016). The author identifies distinct styles of parenting: indulgent, authoritarian, authoritative and uninvolved. “Each differs in the extent to which it is ‘demanding’ and ‘responsive,’” says Wallace. “Authoritative parents tend to fare best in eliciting the types of behavior they seek because they are clear about their expectations, but also engage their children in dialogue so that they can understand the rationale behind the rules.”

– “Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence” by Laurence Steinberg (Mariner Books, 2015). The book spells out clearly the new research on how adolescent brains work and suggests ways to instill self-control and responsibility during teenage years.

You might ask your pediatrician to direct you to a family therapist or marriage counselor who can help sort out differing expectations, says Wallace.

“A couple I know took this route with their blended family of eight,” he explains. “The parents learned techniques to steer the new ’ship.’ While it took longer for the kids to get on board, they did and are all successfully launched in their adult lives now.”

My 20-year-old niece, a college student, will take care of our girls this summer. They’re going into fifth and sixth grade. I want them to have fun and practice a few academic skills, so they don’t forget what they learned this year. Do you have any suggestions?

You’re smart to want to keep their skills sharp. Summer learning loss is real for many students. The trick is to integrate their newly learned skills into daily life, says Bill Laraway, who was recognized as the 2015 Teacher of the Year in the Evergreen Unified School District in San Jose, California.

“Don’t buy a bunch of workbooks,” he explains. “Let the girls practice in concrete ways.”

Take advantage of everyday projects such as buying a new fan during a heat spell. Have them research prices and models. Or plan something unique, such as starting a family blog.

Use four teaching principles, says Laraway:

– Demonstrate problem-solving steps. “Fifth- and sixth-grade math is full of common multiple-step problems that adults solve automatically each day,” he says. “Students need to learn them. For example, say you’re thinking of carpeting a room. Walk the girls through each step by probing and discussing: How can we figure out how much carpet we need? What is the best way to measure? How is carpet sold? Does choosing a pattern change the amount we need? And so on.

“Have them write down steps, reordering them as new information becomes available. Test their answers.”

– Let them do the work. If, for example, the girls want to go to a movie, make them responsible for the research. They’ll want to find out what’s playing and check the reviews. They’ll have to consider how long will it take to get there as well as how much the tickets, food and transportation will cost.

“Adults make these calculations quickly,” says Laraway. “Resist the temptation to figure things out for them. When asking questions, allow plenty of time to answer.”

– Reinforce the basics. By now the girls should have achieved “automaticity” with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division so that they can manipulate the numbers without paper and pencil. If you ask, “How much will it cost if we need two adult tickets at $6.50 and two under 12 at $5?” they should be able to do it in their heads. If not, find math fact games.

By the end of fifth grade, they should be fluent readers with strong comprehension skills. Reading aloud and discussing a compelling book also helps and boosts oral language.

– Document, reflect and share. “Learning sticks when kids see that they’ve made a difference,” says Laraway, “so I encourage ways to demonstrate this. For example, if the girls organize a neighborhood tag sale with proceeds going to a local animal shelter, have them keep journals. Make a scrapbook of items such as the poster promoting it, photos from the sale and taking earnings to the shelter. Before school starts, review and reflect on the fun they’ve had and the good they’ve done!”

For guidance on grade-level topics, take a look at two books: “What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know” (Delta, 2006) and “What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know” (Delta, 2007).

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