November 27th, 2012Musings
One key to successful “room momming” is having the time to do it. I’ve been able to serve as a room mom for many years thanks to my freelancing work schedule. The firsm I do the msot work for, Scribendi.com, is a great “place” to work – all telecommuting, they handle finding the work itself, the collection of payments, etc. Check this out, if you’re a wordy person like meTags: making time, work
November 15th, 2012Musings
Ever wonder what I do all day, why this blog goes neglected for long strcthes – now you can find out for yourself!
October 1st, 2010Musings
Alternatives to celebrating Halloween
Now that fall is here, many people’s minds often turn to thoughts of the holidays. For room moms, this time of year also brings with it the interesting dilemma of how and what to celebrate.
Halloween is the first of the “holiday challenges.” For many, this is the time of year set aside for otherwise kind and caring people to scare the daylights out of small children. In exchange for his participation, the unsuspecting child is given a supply of sugary treats, which will make him so hyper that, if nightmares do not keep him awake all night, the sugar high will. (I’ll even admit, my son missed the day of school after Halloween one year on account of having eaten so much candy he’d made himself sick. He – and I – have vowed never again, on that front!)
Others will have concerns about the conflict between the “message” of ghosts, goblins, and witches, and the religious principals that they are trying to instill in their children.
Some families will expect what they will call “a good, old fashioned Halloween.” The precise definition of which (of course) will vary from family to family.
What is a room mom to do? The trick is to provide a treat that is acceptable to all. A celebration is certainly acceptable. Costumes are always fun. A special (nutritious) snack is always welcome.
Consider having a “Storybook Day.” Children can be encouraged to come dressed as their favorite storybook character, books can be brought in to share with the group, and parents and others might be persuaded to sign up and come in at various times during the day to read to the children in a “story marathon.” Special prizes could be given for costumes, bringing books, being the best listener, etc., with enough categories to ensure that everyone will win a prize.
Fall-themed treats for the day might include sliced apples, muffins, or even pumpkin bread. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try one of the many Harry Potter-themed recipes for pumpkin juice or butterbeer that can be found online.
Art projects could revolve around children sharing their favorite stories in the medium of their own choosing, and then could be displayed in the classroom for all to enjoy.
Other themes might be a harvest festival, fall games and sports, or “animals preparing for winter,” with children coming as, or acting out, their favorite animal – this could be especially fun for the younger set.
Each of these scenarios involve literacy, language skills, art, science, parent involvement and nutritious food, as well as the fun of a special day when children can pretend to be someone other than themselves. The possibilities are endless. A little thought can provide an October holiday, one that will be fun for all, with no “Boo!” or boo-hoos.
–Special thanks to Cool Room Mom contributor Mary Ellen Lamb for this article, which originally appeared in the Fall 2005 edition of NCAEYC’s Milestones magazine. The article has been modified (with the permission of the author) by Cool Room Mom for this audience.Tags: halloween, Parties, preschool
August 26th, 2010Musings
Have you heard about the mother in Rhode Island who has been banned from volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school because she has two prior drug-related felony convictions (which occurred before her daughter was born)? The mom says she’s been clean for six years, and pointed out that she volunteered at her daughter’s preschool, but the public school has said “no.”
Do parents in your child’s district undergo criminal background checks before they are cleared to help out in the school &/or chaperone field trips?
My son’s school checks for everything before a parent may work as a volunteer, and there are different levels of clearance one can be given. I know of at least four levels: (1) work at the school but with no student contact, (2) work at the school with student contact (i.e., in the classroom), (3) chaperone on field trips, which often involves driving kids in one’s private car to and from the event, and (4) chaperoning on overnight field trips (something that only the 5th graders at my son’s school ever have). I know that even a single speeding ticket knocks a person out of the field trip volunteer level, so I’d imagine our district would also frown upon any felony convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
I’m cleared for all levels of volunteering, and, frankly, take comfort in knowing of the rigorous checks my son’s school subjects us all to before allowing contact with the students.
I’m of two minds about the felony conviction. I think that any type of violent felony conviction – regardless of how long ago it occurred – should keep someone out, period. However, drug-related convictions (crimes that really affect the user more than anyone else) wouldn’t bother me in the classroom, since that’s a controlled environment.
I would not want a felon of any sort, however, driving my son around or chaperoning overnight trips. Once and addict, always an addict, recovering or not, so this is a deal-breaker for me.
What do you think?Tags: volunteering
August 13th, 2010Musings
I just came across an interesting blog post. It’s a humor column, but I suspect it has more truth to it than some people might wish was true! Which type of parent do you think you are or were?Tags: Back to School, humor
I can’t believe the summer is almost over. My son has just 10 more days before the new year begins. Where did the time go?!? I have friends in other states whose children have already gone back to school, though, so I am trying to be thankful for the final days and to enjoy them as much as we can.
Part of the final days of summer, of course, is devoted to back to school activities. We picked up the packet full of forms to fill out this week, have made our annual donation to the school’s support fund, and have bought all the new supplies for the year. When I was a kid, buying school supplies was one of my favorite back to school rituals. There’s something about new folders, fresh, unused pencils, and – my favorite – new binders, that just thrilled me. To be honest, I still get a kick out of it, even though the supplies are no longer for me.
I spent this morning going over the supply list, making sure we had all that was requested of us, and labeling all that seems to need a label. One item my son has been asked to bring is a 2-inch, 3-ring binder. The stores didn’t have any with designs he liked, so we decided to decorate one ourselves. The results, if I do say so myself, are fabulous! Now we’ve got a binder in his favorite color, featuring pictures he took &/or chose. There’s no question, when you look at it, this binder really represents who he is.
This is about as a simple a project as you could ever hope to undertake. All you need is a 3-ring binder, some scrapbooking paper (we used the 12×12 size and then cut it down as needed), and a printer with some good photo paper. Browse through your photo archive, print, and voila! You’ve got a cool, custom binder in under 30 minutes!
The elephant pictures we used here were ones we took a few weeks ago while we were at our local zoo. The elephants are my son’s favorite animal, and they were in fine form that day. We’d never seen an elephant give himself a bath before! The horse pictures are ones we found online.Tags: Back to School, crafts, ideas, personalization
June 28th, 2010Musings
I know it’s a bit early for people in most parts of the US to be thinking about back to school shopping, but an email I received from my son’s school got me thinking, as it irked me a bit.
Parents are busy people, especially as back to school time rolls around. There are clothes and shoes to buy, lists of (sometimes inane-seeming) school supplies to locate, lunch boxes and backpacks to choose, and more things to take up anyone’s time (and budget). What bugs me is when someone tries to take advantage of people, especially when they think they might not be paying attention. What has drawn my ire today, you might ask? People scamming others about the price of school supplies.
In recent years, I’ve been able to buy ALL of my son’s school supplies at Target, Office Depot, and similar places for maybe $20-25 total – and often for far less. Target is a madhouse when they put notebook paper on sale for 50¢ and crayons for 20¢, but it’s worth it (and a bit fun, I think). Today, I got an email from my sons school advertising a “service” one of the parents in the school is offering, wherein you can place a order and she will do all of the school supply shopping for you. While this sounds nice – who wouldn’t like to simply show up and have a bag of all the supplies handed to them? – it’s a total rip-off.
Fourth grade supplies (the list I’m concerned with this year) will run me about $15, I’m betting, given that I already have some of the items on hand. This woman, however, will do my shopping for me for the low, low price of $69.74. This is what ticks me off. At a time when people are really watching their wallets and doing their best to get what they need for their kids, it bugs me that my son’s school is helping to publicize this scam of a “service.” (Did I mention this is the second time they’ve hyped it?) Now, I know we are all trying to make a living and support our families – that’s not the issue here (those nice little ads you see on the sides of this page are there for a reason, after all, so, support your local blogger, if you’re so inclined, LOL) – it’s just that this is such a brazen abuse of people’s trust that bothers me. I just hope some frazzled parent doesn’t fall into the trap of paying these exorbitant prices.
Why am I rambling at you about this? I suppose it’s just because it seems like the school’s PTA shouldn’t be giving this woman and her scammy “service” the publicity and I need to vent – it’s summer, after all, so there’s no one to complain to but myself (and you, readers)! Okay, rant over, but man, I do feel better!Tags: Back to School, shopping
June 20th, 2010Musings
Happy Father’s Day!
My kids and I gave my husband a cool new book that’s just been released, Geek Dad, by Ken Denmead. The subtitle is “Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.” I’ve not really had much time to look through it, but something tells me there’s a few ides in thee that might be great in-class activities. I’ll keep you posted.
June 19th, 2010Musings
I had an odd dream last night. I was helping my son’s 3rd grade teacher prep for the end of year party, when she reminded me that I needed to go get the entertainment. It turns out she’d booked Jon Bon Jovi to play the class’ party, and she’d sent him to my house, since the school obviously has no backstage facilities (we live right behind the school so this does make some sense). I got home to find Jon asleep in my family room. Weird.
I’m not sure how JBJ ended up in my dream. Sure, I did see him in concert twice during my 9th grade year (the “New Jersey” tour, if you must know), and I enjoyed his work on The West Wing as well, but still – why did my brain choose him of all people to have play the end of 3rd grade party?
Thank God we’re not really expected to book true talent school for parties, eh?Tags: end of year, Parties
June 14th, 2010Musings
Summer break is finally here! I celebrated by sleeping in (to the decadent hour of 8:30, LOL), and then was lucky enough to have my husband bring me breakfast, including a large mocha. Bliss!
My son is watching favorite movies today, my daughter is happily playing with blocks on the floor in the family room, and I’m planning to do not much of anything today.
I had a great visit with one of my oldest friends (since we were 13!) over the weekend, and she gave me a great idea for a winter party game. I’m going to test drive it, and then I’ll no doubt be posting it here. Watch this space – let me tease you to say, you may never look at building a snowman the same way again!Tags: party ideas, summer