5 Ways to Make Science Fun for Your Child

We are surrounded by the world that our Heavenly Father created for us. With the gift of man’s intelligence, we have learned to examine the smallest details of our universe. From subatomic particles to the mysteries of biology and chemistry, science is everywhere. Merriam-Webster defines science as “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” How can parents help stimulate a child’s interest and make science fun when the definition is cold and clinical? Make it fun, messy, hands-on, and exciting! Here are some of our favorite ways to make science fun for children.

Keep in mind that age appropriateness is an important factor for any experiment you may choose to introduce to your child. The objective is for them to learn and have fun while doing so. Don’t select an experiment that you believe may be too detailed for them to follow, and of course, safety comes first. 

Water Tables 

Children of all ages love to play with water. Experiment with objects that sink and float! Ask your child for his observations and to make predictions about whether the next object will float or sink. Ask why. 

Fill up 5 plastic cups with water and add different food colors to each one. Let them experiment by mixing colors. The experiments with water can become as sophisticated and simulate tidal pools, depending on the containers you use.

Bubbles

The properties of bubbles make for great fun and can be messy. Most children love playing with bubbles, and by introducing different wands to make different shapes and sizes, you demonstrate facts about surface tension, gravity, and chemistry.

Baking

Baking requires exact measurements and a perfect combination of ingredients to produce a delicious result. It’s a terrific learning opportunity. Kids as young as 3 can dump in cups of flour and sugar and even crack an egg. The recipes can increase in difficulty as your child grows. Introducing the chemical reactions that occur in the baking process is chemistry in its simplest form. 

Family Adventures 

Take time out with the family, and visit your local science center for some great opportunities for hands-on exploration. Exhibits appeal to all ages and every aspect of science is there to study while having fun. If you’re looking for a more relaxing trip, take the kids to the beach and look for shells and other sea life along the shore. Have them separate the shells and then identify the type of sea creature that used it for a home. Not feeling like taking a day trip? Dig in your garden, and let your child investigate what soil is made of, icky bugs and all. 

Construction

Children love to build things. From stacking pots and pans to building ramps with boxes and watching toys slide, children are drawn to seeing how tall, wide, and strong they can make their structures. Making a ramp is a great place to start. Your child can observe how to increase the speed downhill. Change the angles of the ramps, and have them make observations and predictions about how the movement will change. Build a birdhouse together, or go kite flying together. It’s a nice way to bond while fostering a love of science. 

Science is more fun for kids when they aren’t asked to memorize formulas and facts. The more we allow them to explore and observe, the more they will appreciate how science impacts the beautiful world around them. 

Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with guidelines that help them succeed during the school year and beyond. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Help Your Child Choose the Best Extracurricular Activities for School

With school now in session, the time has come to choose extracurricular activities. Finding the balance between academic time, family time, downtime and extracurricular activities can be an overwhelming task. So how do you decide the best extracurricular activities for your child?

What does your child like to do?

Our suggestion is that you ask your child what interests him. Does he enjoy sports, games, reading, music, art,  or other activities? Extracurricular activities help to develop and enhance skills outside the classroom. They are an important component of developing a well-rounded and happy student. Don’t be afraid to offer alternatives to your child when you feel they might be more successful in one activity over another. We also suggest that you encourage your child to attend introductory meetings to clubs and information nights for sports to help them understand the commitments required for the activities that interest them.

Will this activity fit into our lifestyle?

Consider the time and expense required by participation in a specific activity. Keep the following questions in mind when choosing an extracurricular activity for your child:

  • Will there be multiple practices during the week with games every weekend during the season? 
  • Is the equipment needed expensive? 
  • Does participation in this specific activity impact homework or family time? 
  • Will my child still get enough sleep? 
  • Can we provide necessary transportation to and from practices and games, club meetings, etc.? 

If you become stressed and frustrated with the time or expenses an activity requires, you will not be as supportive as you would like to be. 

Do extracurricular activities really benefit students?

Extracurricular activities provide students the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills, as well as problem-solving skills. They allow your child to learn about the importance of committing to a cause. These activities also allow students to expand their circle of friends and meet people who are different from themselves. They provide students a way to explore their passions outside of the classroom. As they enter high school, participating in extracurricular activities will help build a strong resume for college applications. At the end of the day, the goal of these activities is to enhance their school experience, as well as their life outside of school. 

At our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, we are proud to offer a variety of extracurricular activities to our student population. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child to Go Back to School

Preparation for the start of a new school year can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for children and parents alike. Parents who lay the groundwork for the return to school throughout the summer break are less likely to face the drama that returning to school can bring.  Whether they’re a kindergartner going to school for the first time or an 8th grader with a few years under their belt, here are a few tried and true suggestions for helping your child transition easily to school life after summer break.

Ask questions of your child

Sit down with your child and ask them what their take is on school life. What are their expectations? What are they looking forward to? What are they concerned about? These topics can easily overlap into what they think their teacher will be asking of them, what they will be learning, establishing friendships, bullying, and how to handle whatever comes their way. There are some terrific books available for students of all ages that can help ease back to school concerns.

Set Back-to-School Schedules

Children like routines. Establishing routine is essential to successful transition back to school. Bedtime routines should be customized to your child’s personality. If they are typically sluggish in the morning, make sure they are laying out their uniforms before bedtime. Help them organize backpacks, socks and shoes, and lunches if appropriate. That will ease the stress of the morning and help to get everyone out the door on time. 

Enforce limits on screen time, turning off screens at least an hour before the bedtime routine begins. When your child returns from school, give them a chance to wind down and re-enter family life. Let them share their day with you as best they can, when they are ready to. In a perfect world the routine wouldn’t change during the summer, but it’s really hard to stick to some routines during summer break.

Communicate

Communicate with your child’s teachers. If you notice atypical behavior at home, reach out to her teacher to see if something may be going on in the classroom. The reverse is also important. If something is going on at home that might affect behavior at school, let the teacher know so that she is equipped to provide assistance. Parental involvement and support is key to a child’s success from kindergarten through the high school years. 

Summertime Fun 

When possible, schedule a get together with friends from the previous school year, or with friends who will be starting school for the first time. This builds a sense of fellowship and helps maintain connections when the children are not seeing one another on a daily basis. For younger students, it helps them to have a friendly face that they can identify on the first day of school.

Be Positive About School

Children learn best when they are happy and secure. If you talk up how wonderful it will be to start, or return, to school your child will pick up on your enthusiasm. This is especially true with younger students who will need support throughout the transition. Visits to the campus, meet the teacher day, are all important to establish a sense of security for your child.

When your child is prepared, going back to school can be a fun and exciting time! Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How To Encourage Your Child To Be Active At Home

Many children spend the majority of their days looking at a screen. Granted, a lot of this interaction between technology and children is for educational purposes. As summer approaches, it’s a good time to break up your child’s time on the screen and get them up and moving. Learn about ways you can encourage your child to be active without using technology. 

 

Providing Alternative Activities

Start by taking it old school, teaching your child games that you used to play as a child. This will help them to feel connected to you and allow them to learn about games that are new to them. Some activities to consider are building Lego forts, teaching your child a new skill, and playing board games like Monopoly or Scrabble! These may be old-school activities, but they allow your child to interact with the whole family and learn problem-solving skills. 

 

Starting a Technology Fast

A part of our walk in faith is fasting and prayer. Introducing a technology fast to your children is a great way to get them to take a break from their screens and get them into the Bible. Just like we fast from food, we are able to fast from technology by setting limits or fully removing it from our lives. This is a great way to get your child to explore their faith more deeply and understand what fasting is like. 

 

Creating a Bucket List or Competition

Humans are competitive in nature. Proposing a bucket list or competition for your child will allow them to develop a spirit of fun to not use technology. Creating a bucket list of activities like building forts, decorating contests and baking would make your child look forward to being off of their devices. Having family competitions like relay races and artistic challenges would be a fun way to get everyone involved and in good spirits.  

Getting out in Nature

Depending on where you live, you can get your kids out in nature doing fun activities after school and during summer break. Going on excursions to amusement parks or nature walks is a great way to decompress as a family. Fishing and swimming are two activities that are both relaxing and will be able to keep the screens away. 

 

In a world that is stuck on the screen, we know how important it is to find ways to engage children outside of technology. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages children to be active when they are at home. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Show Teachers Your Appreciation

We love our teachers and staff that pour into classrooms each day. Teaching children and leading them to the future is not always an easy feat. We like to show our appreciation to teachers by being supportive and encouraging while meeting their needs in and out of the classroom. Keep reading for ways that you can show appreciation to your child’s teachers.

Writing Letters of Gratitude

One way to get your child involved in showing their appreciation is by having them write letters to their teachers. They can get their classmates involved by asking them to write letters of their own. This shows teachers that their students care about them and want to take the time to express their gratitude. The students will also be able to express how grateful they are and have an opportunity to learn about how to build better relationships.

A Video Card

This gift would be a great keepsake for teachers to keep for years to come, allowing them to look back at all their students. Start by gathering videos of students leaving a short message to their teachers. Compe these videos onto a flash drive to create a cute small gift to show the care students have for their teacher. Consider decorating the flash drive or picking out a distinctive-looking one so they can tell it apart from others they have. If you want to make a teacher’s day even brighter, add an extra flash drive or two along with the video drive present.

Getting the Community Involved

A teacher’s impact goes beyond the walls of a school; what kids learn from teachers can last a lifetime and affect whole communities. A practical gift would be gift cards and vouchers to local restaurants and small businesses. Going around the town and asking local businesses to help support teachers in this way is a great way to show how much they really impact the world around them. It will also allow teachers to step out into the community and have fun.

Hosting a Surprise Dessert Day

Everyone loves a treat after a job well done; teachers are no different! With the permission of administrators, you can help host a dessert day for your child’s teachers. Bringing in a dessert that teachers love, like coffee cake and ice cream, would be a great way to help break up their day and boost their energy!

School Supplies

Teachers are always using up their school supplies and could always use more. Start by asking if they need specific supplies, which will allow them to feel appreciated and listened to. Find a group of fellow parents who are interested in helping out, and give each parent a list of supplies to contribute. This not only shows appreciation but also helps in fueling your child’s education!

 

Teachers do so much for our students, and it’s important to let them know they’re appreciated. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando encourages children to show their teachers appreciation, just as they are taught to in the Bible. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Study Tips to Help Students Ace Standardized Tests

girl in class doing classwork

Test-taking anxiety affects most students, but it manifests itself in different ways to different kids. Knowing the material and being able to confidently take a test on it are not always one in the same. Standardized tests can be especially intimidating because they have higher stakes than everyday exams. While there’s not necessarily a cure for the jitters, there are steps you can take to help your child prepare. Here are some ways you can help your child do well on standardized tests: 

Create a Study Space

Within your home, create a quiet study space that has all the tools your child needs for their homework. Post-it notes, pens, pencils, highlighters and paper are essential. Mind the lighting in the area to make sure your child can focus and won’t doze off while studying. Allow your child to make the space their own by decorating, and encourage them to clean up the area every night so it’s fresh for their next study session.

Encourage Asking Questions

You may not always have the answers, but it’s important that your child knows they can come to you when they have questions. When it comes to everyday topics, this can help them develop a taste for learning and hone their critical thinking skills. Encouraging your child to ask questions will also make them more comfortable coming to you if they’re struggling. When they have trouble tackling academic subjects, you can help them out or find a tutor to work with them.

Take Practice Tests

The main concern children have when taking standardized tests is fear of the unknown. Practice tests can make standardized testing a lot less scary. Your child’s teacher should have these available. Start by familiarizing your child with the format, then time the tests as the big day approaches. If possible, start practicing weeks ahead of time so your child will be comfortable when the day comes.

Build Healthy Habits

Your child needs to sleep well the night before taking a standardized test and eat a filling, healthy breakfast the morning of the test. However, if they spend the whole week before the test losing sleep over it, one good night of sleep may not be enough. Encourage your child to eat healthy, exercise and sleep well to reduce stress before the test and the day of the test. 

Standardized tests can be scary for students, but they don’t have to be. Preparing at home can make testing much easier. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Help Your Child Solve Math Word Problems

child doing homework with headphones

Solving math word problems involves skills in analysis, reading and mathematics. This causes some children to struggle, even if their individual skills are up to par. When word problems are first introduced, children don’t always understand the path from a phrase like “two trains are leaving different stations” to a numerical answer. Here are some ways you can help your child digest and solve these problems. 

Highlight Key Parts

Math word problems throw children off by adding fluff to the actual equation. However annoying this may be, it does give children a more realistic view on how math problems work in real life. With these problems, have your child highlight the words and numbers that relate to the question being asked. This will help them hone in on the problem they need to solve.

hand doing math homework

Answer the Question

This may seem as obvious as “solve the problem,” but at first glance, a child may find it difficult to understand what a word problem is saying. If your child can rephrase the question in the form of a statement, they’ll have a firm grasp of the question they’re answering. This is an important step in solving a word problem. 

Write Out the Equation

Now that your child knows what equation needs to be solved, they should write it out. When they show their work, they’ll be able to catch possible errors. It will also remind them that they’re solving a simple math problem. Seeing the problem without the words in the way makes it easier to solve.

child holding up fingers above chalkboard

Read, Reread, Proofread

The biggest error children make with math word problems is rushing through them to get to the next task. If your child reads over the question twice before attempting to solve the problem, then looks over it again after, they’ll have a better chance of catching any mistakes. It will also help them build confidence in their ability to solve these seemingly  complex problems.

Math word problems often trip children up, but you can make the problems easier to solve. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Reasons for Students to Participate in Extracurricular Activities

St. Charles Borromeo students tug of war

The best learning happens when children enjoy going to school. While classes can be fun, they are often stressful. Extracurricular activities can help alleviate stress while giving children something to look forward to after class. The best part about these activities is that almost any child can find one that aligns with their interests. Schools have academic clubs, music and art groups, special interest organizations, and, of course, athletic programs. Here are some of the ways these activities help students thrive.

Better Academic Performance

Students who participate in extracurricular activities see school as more than just a place to study. This creates a positive perspective, which leads to more motivation to do well in classes. Participating in extracurricular activities can increase brain function. Children who need to learn songs, routines, lines or sports moves learn how to focus, which in turn helps them achieve academic success. Sports and performing arts can also teach students about endurance and reacting quickly in tough situations. When it comes time to take the big test, these students have the upper hand.

ballet

Broadened Horizons

Students from all grades, learning levels and walks of life can join and thrive in student organizations. Children who participate in these activities have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives. They can also learn more about their own interests and discover adjacent interests that their new friends have. By going to after school activities full of students with shared interests, children have more opportunities to meet and interact with diverse groups of people.

Sense of Belonging

Feeling like you’re the only one who likes something can feel isolating. Finding and joining a school club can give children a sense of belonging. In at least one way, children have a shared purpose with others in the group. On sports teams, every student plays a specific role. Children learn about all the different roles and how they work together, as well as how their role impacts the team as a whole. Children who feel they belong to a community often have a better sense of identity and better mental health than those who feel isolated.

leadership

Leadership Skills

All extracurricular activities have a leadership structure, whether it’s a special interest group or a team. Students in these groups learn about how leadership roles work and can become leaders within the groups. This may also involve learning a little bit about politics if it’s a popular club that runs elections. Other skills children can learn by participating in extracurricular activities include teamwork, goal setting, problem solving, time management, and public speaking. 

Career Prospects

Your child may not be building a resume or college application yet, but when they do, they’ll be better prepared if they have leadership skills and experience. As students advance in school, they’ll be inclined to continue being involved in extracurricular activities. This looks great on college applications, especially if they showed leadership within the group. If they’re involved in student organizations at a college level, that will be a great boost when they start their careers. 

Children who participate in extracurricular activities have plenty of opportunities to get ahead in life. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Preparing Your Child for High School

mother and girl graduating

High school can be an overwhelming step for children, especially if they feel unprepared for what’s ahead of them. You can help them get through this process so that high school becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a place they dread going to every weekday. Whether your child decides to continue Catholic education or moves on to a magnet program or public school, there are steps you can take to encourage your child during their transition. Here are ways you can help ease the stress of moving on to high school. 

Plan School Visits

When it comes to choosing a high school, there are many options, and none of them are one-size-fits-all. If your child needs some help deciding where to go, consider taking tours at different schools. Some schools offer virtual tours, so you can get a feel for the campus from the safety of your home. Once they choose a school, make sure to attend orientation with them. See if you can bring them to school performances or fairs on the weekends before they graduate. Look into extracurricular activities the school offers, and encourage your child to get involved in ones that interest them. 

boy studying at desk with notebook and computer

Enhance Their Study Habits

Even if your child breezed through elementary school and middle school classes, they may find high school more challenging. Take these final days of eighth grade to help your child create the perfect study space. Find a quiet area free from distractions, and add tools like planners, labeled binders and calendars to help your child get organized. Help them set aside time for studying so they’ll be used to it when high school comes along. Make sure your child continues reading over the summer, and encourage them to brush up on past lessons so they’ll be caught up when they start school. 

Communicate Openly 

One of the most difficult things to do with a teenager is have a serious conversation. Try to keep communication as honest and open as possible, even if it’s uncomfortable. Ask them about their experiences, and don’t accept one-word answers. Ask about what they learned, who they spent time with, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about school. Keep this habit up going into high school so they’ll know they can turn to you. Listen to what they have to say, and ask how you can help. Encourage them to come up with their own solutions, and offer advice only if they seem stuck. This will also help them become independent, which is an essential part of growing up.

planner and coffee

Set Goals

When your child starts high school, they’ll be in a whole new world full of opportunities, and it can be difficult to stay focused on what matters. The goals they create can be educational, like keeping certain grades or getting into AP classes, and social, like joining a club that’s relevant to their niche interests or helps them get more involved in the community. Encourage them to come up with new goals each year so they always have something to look forward to in the future. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we prepare children to excel in high school and beyond with the help of their families. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Show Educators Love on Teacher Appreciation Week

desk with books apple and pencils

Teaching requires passion and dedication to creating compassionate leaders, especially at Orlando private schools. Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 3-7 this year, has honored the men and women who educate our children since the National PTA established it in 1984. While apples are an iconic gift for teachers, we have a few other ideas for virtual and physical teacher appreciation gifts.

Send a Nice Message

One fun way for your child to show they appreciate their teacher is by sending a thoughtful message. Consider playing videographer for your child, and have them record a video for their teacher. If your child is camera shy, have them write a nice letter or email. To keep them on topic, let them choose from the following prompts, or come up with one of your own:

  • The best thing about your class was…
  • My favorite thing about you is…
  • I will always remember 5th grade because…
  • My favorite lesson you taught me was…

child in yellow shirt drawing a picture

Draw the Teacher

Doodling in class is generally frowned upon, but if you have a child who loves to draw, encourage them to express themselves by drawing their teacher. If you’re the more artistic one, draw it yourself. This type of personalized gift shows that your child cares. No matter who drew the picture, have your child sign it so your teacher will remember your child when they see it. If your child draws the portrait, make sure to look at it before they bring it to their teacher— sometimes well-meaning children create art that requires further explanation.

Make Something

Craft projects are essential for early education. Teacher appreciation week gives your child the opportunity to explore their creativity outside of school. Choose a project that would make a great gift, and help your child make it. Teachers are always looking for storage solutions, so a decorated plastic box or pencil holder could be a perfect present. You can make a tin can pencil holder by adorning a clean soup can with colorful beads and popsicle sticks like the one you see here. Or, as a twist on giving your teacher flowers, have your child paint a plain ceramic flower pot with fun designs, and give the decorated pot to the teacher with a flower or succulent planted inside. 

brown gift box with red ribbon

Give Them a Gift

Not all children love doing arts and crafts in their spare time, and that’s OK. You can still figure out a fun gift for your child’s teacher. A gift card in a nice box can be a great way to show appreciation. To give two gifts in one, consider placing gifts into a reusable water bottle or a mason jar. You can fill either of these useful items with pens and pencils or with candy and mints. Depending on the size, you can even hide a gift card among the items so the gift keeps on giving. These are just a few ways your child can show appreciation for their hard working teachers.

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.