Celebrating progress in school
          The completion of the school year is a good time to look at and celebrate
what your child has accomplished. Also celebrate what you, as parents,
accomplished, either in your childís education or furthering your own.

          Children are used to having their birthday celebrated. As part of our
culture, we customarily have a child blow out as many candles as he has lived
years. What about using this familiar scene to extend toward the entire familyís
accomplishments at the completion of the school year?

          Let each child determine her or his accomplishments with one candle per
child: Katrinaís candle symbolizes that she learned how to read, add, and
subtract; she made five new friends. Josh learned his times tables, the capitals of
all the states, how to shoot a basketball, and brought his homework to school on
time every week. 

          Parents can also celebrate their contributions toward the kidsí success in
school. Dad went to every School Site Council meeting. Mom worked hard
distributing and keeping the books for the scrip program to raise money for the
school. They attended the silent auction, authorsí night, the science fair, and all
the parent conferences. They get candles, too!

          Be sure to include any adult education that the parents completed. This is
a clear message to the children that education is a life-long persuit.

          If you have the time to make the cake at home, have the children help
with this project. Getting their involvement will not only heighten interest in the
event, but help them with their measuring skills.  

          At celebration time, everyone gets a candle, takes a turn to talk about
the previous school year and its accomplishments, and, after all the members of
the family have had a turn to speak, everyone blows out the candles together. 

          Itís a fine time to have everyone listen to each other and not only
celebrate her own learning, but that of everyone else in the family as well. 

          This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents

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