Past Issues

ParentMap, November 2007 Issue

ParentMap November 2007 issue
Is that homework load sucking the love out of your kids’ school experience? Take a look at why some parents (and schools!) are pulling the plug. And speaking of plugs, what are those baby DVD’s really good for? We’ve got the scoop on screen time. Plus — show off your mad waddling skills on a memorable family snowshoeing adventure — it’s cheap, it’s easier than skiing, and best of all, it’s fun!

Feature: Should we kill homework?

Ages & Stages:

Out & About:

Giving Together:

Getting School Ready: When school's not a good fit

Voice: Healthcare for children: A right or a privilege?

Q & A: Our new early learning chief speaks out

Media: This month's featured media

About this issue

Alayne SulkinDear Reader,

I wanted to fling my body into a full prostrate horizontal bow before Senator Hillary Clinton’s feet while hearing her speak on her recent Seattle visit. We all tire of hearing about the areas in which the US continues to get the lowest rankings, from healthcare coverage to family leave. (Hurray for our legislature passing SB 5659!)

Ruth C. White, a Seattle University professor, does an outstanding job of articulating the issues surrounding the president’s veto of a powerful new insurance program for our nation’s poorest children (“Voice”). “If children voted, our policies would reflect their interests. Instead, pharmaceutical and health-insurance companies seek to maintain their high profit . . . gambling with the lives of our children.”

Less risky, yet controversial on a different level: As president of my children’s school years ago, I wanted to be known as the leader who “killed homework.”  My personal stress related to the daily deluge of busywork crumpled into my tired and resistant first-grader’s backpack. I was always curious about the real value of this “latter-day cod liver oil.” In “Should we kill homework?” Paula Becker explores parental competition, stresses on parent-child relations, the harm and benefits of homework, and shares a variety of schools’ approaches.

Wherever you side on the homework issue, set it all aside for holiday adventure! Why not walk off turkey and stuffing while snowshoeing, or “dork-walking” as our outdoor-enthusiast managing editor’s kids call it? (“Finding Bigfoot”.) “Like a balm to the schlep-weary parent, snowshoe days provide pristine vistas, solitude if you seek it, and plenty of judgment-free opportunities for the crazy that kids bring.” You don’t need the requisite cash in the bank or saintly patience required with other winter sports!

Patience not being one of my virtues, I will run out before the holidays to purchase some of Kris Collingridge’s magnificent recommendations in the Educational Gift Guide. Visit your local toy or game store and find some fun new family traditions, like friends who recently became obsessed with Bananagrams while traveling in
London with three teenage grandsons.

Don’t forget to vote on November 6!

—Alayne Sulkin, Publisher/Editor

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