Volusia October 2018

Fall Fun Issue

Volusia October 2018
Fall Fun Issue
October 2018

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St. Johns October 2018

Fall Fun Issue

St. Johns October 2018
Fall Fun Issue
October 2018

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Flagler October 2018

Fall Fun Issue

Flagler October 2018
Fall Fun Issue
October 2018

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One question most parents ask themselves is whether or not they should require their kids  to do chores and, if yes, what is the best way to go about it’? The answer to the first part is a resounding: “Yes!” Experts agree that asking your kids to help out with household tasks not only enhances their self-esteem and sense of responsibility towards others, but it also strengthens your internal family bonds. “By assigning chores,” says Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson, a professor of early childhood education, “you let your child feel competent, capable and valued.” Dr. Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist, agrees, adding that “it contributes to family cohesion when there’s a feeling of everybody trying to help each other and take care of each other.”

More broadly, research shows that one of the best predictors of how well kids do later in life is if they did chores while growing up. In a study conducted over 25 years, researchers found that kids who started doing chores at age 3 or 4 had more satisfying relationships with family and friends and were more successful in their careers two decades later than their non-chore-doing peers. Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Undergraduate Students at Stanford University, sums it up well: “By making kids do chores-taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry – they realize ‘I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem. I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.”‘

If, as research shows, doing chores is so vital to kids’ personal and professional development, the question is how should you go about making them do it?

Experts agree that the most important thing is to create an actual chore system rather than assign chores on an as-needed basis. Jim Fay, author of the bestselling parenting book, “Parenting with Love and Logic,” says that you should “create a list of every job it takes to keep a family going.” Dr. Tom Brunner, a child psychologist, agrees, noting that this list should include everything that needs to be done, “from garbage to yard duties to getting the mail.” One of the main advantages of such a list, Dr. Brunner says, is that you won’t need to remind your kids what to do. Instead, it teaches them accountability by requiring them “to go to the chore list and get things done on their own.”

When assigning chores, it’s not only important that chores are distributed fairly and that your kids have a say in the matter, it’s also important, as Dr. Nicholas Long of the Center for Effective parenting emphasizes, that the chores assigned to your kids benefit the family as a whole, rather than simply their own well-being. This will help your kids understand that doing chores is about supporting the greater good, not just themselves.  For example, it’s better to have them vacuum the living room or the den that their own bedrooms.

Here, experts agree that the best solution is to tie chores to particular events. Dr. Brunner recommends that you correlate chore deadlines with what he calls naturally-occurring family “rituals” (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or “transitions” (getting up in the morning, going to sleep at night). As Dr. Brunner notes, this “makes it easy for you and your child to remember when any one chore should be done.” Another useful way of creating chore deadlines is what Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a child psychologist, calls “when/then routines”: “When your children have hung up their coats after school, then they can have a snack . When they’ve put their dishes in the dishwasher, then they can

go play.”

Finally, explain to your kids precisely how they’re supposed to do their chores. It might sound unnecessary but kids – especially young kids – need to be told, as Dr. Anderson says, “what it takes to do it and how to tell it’s done.” Here, most parents are lacking. According to Dr. Long, “parents don’t spend enough time on being specific about what exactly the chore entails and even demonstrating how to do it and how to do it properly.”

Whatever the ultimate result, it’s important not to scold your kids but instead praise them for their efforts . Scolding your kids about how they do their chores is not only likely to engender resistance on their part, it also won’t get them “to em brace their role as valuable contributors to a smoothly running household,” as Dr. Kennedy-Moore puts it .

Tanni Haas

Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.


The month of October would not be complete without the smell of apple cider, hay rides and  pumpkin spice. Bringing these things, as well as many others, into your home can be an easy (and fun) way to get into the fal I craze. Try just a few of these suggestions, or go down the I ist and do all of them with your kiddos. Chances are, you will have just as much fun carving those pumpkins as they will.

1) Grab your kids and head to your local pumpkin patch. Make a point to take a hay ride while you’re there and let your children pick out their own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. Depending on your child’s age, sometime the driver of the hay ride will let them help with cutting their pumpkin from the patch. This is a great time for a photo!

2) Set up your jack-o-lanterns once they are all done and light them up with battery operated tea lights for a fun and glowing-filled night.

3) Take a couple of spice sticks and toss them in a pot of apple cider. Bring that to a low boil/slow simmer and let the aroma of everything October waft through your ho use. Your kids will love coming in from the outdoors to a warm and inviting home. When you’re ready to drink the cider, take the spice sticks out and pour into special tea cups for your kids to enjoy.

4) Caramel apples aren’t just for the fair anymore. These delicious treats are quite easy to make. Go apple picking and choose which apples you think would be perfect to dip into your homemade caramel sauce, or if you’re short on time, grab a bag of apples from the grocery store and a bag of caramel candies. Heat the candies in a large pot until you can stir with a creamy/syrupy consistency and dunk your apples one at a time using a skewer cut in half and poked into the apple as your handle. Let your kids decorate with whatever candy they would like. A few ideas for toppings would be crushed nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles, crushed cookies and M&Ms.

5) The dollar store has some great decorations for next to nothing. What kid doesn’t like to hang fake cobwebs from their doorway? Grab a few pumpkin printed trash bags to hold your leaves, spider webs for the front entryway and paper mice to tape onto your stairwell and you will have the whole neighborhood clan wanting to come and see your house this Halloween night.

6) Pumpkin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread and spice bread are a few of the season’s favorite treats. It seems that everyone has a famous family recipe these days and why not carry on the tradition of making bread for your family like your grandmother used to do? This is a great way to get your kids to eat breakfast in the morning and they’re getting a nice portion of fruit and vegetables in their bread depending on what you make. Let your little ones help you by having them measure out the flour and whisking the eggs. They will feel really good about themselves and, chances are, they will be more likely to help you with future

recipes in the kitchen.

7) A bowl of candy corn, peanuts, M&Ms and popcorn is the perfect Halloween mix for any sweet tooth. If you are prone to putting your hand into the bowl one too many times, put it out of sight where you are less likely to splurge. If you don’t mind the extra helpings, have at it and put that bowl smack dab on the counter.

8) Fall decor has a way of accumulating over the years, as does any seasonal decoration. Take inventory of the items you don’t want, and donate or sell to make room for new, nicer items. Kids love to help with setting up something special in their homes and Halloween is no different. Let them help you get those tubs out from the basement and attic and reminisce over holidays past.

9) Halloween costumes aren’t just for Halloween night. Any parent knows that these pieces of clothing are like gold. Let your kids get out their old costumes and dress up to their hearts’ delight before the big night. Save the actual costume they will be wearing this year for the big night, but let them have fun, explore and use their imaginations from collective pieces in years past.

10) sometimes feel like a thing of the past with all of these infusers that are out now, but they really do give off a warm feeling in the home – not to mention a nice scent. Get your favorite smelling candle and make a special home for it on your counter in the kitchen or on your dining:.room table. The feeling°’that a candle gives us usually helps with the;task of doing the dishes, folding laundry and any other household chore.

11) A welcome mat can seem like such a simple thing and is often overlooked but it is the first thing your visitors will see upon entering your home . Head to your hardware store or department store and pick up a cute, whimsical doormat. Not only will it look nice to have something new and in season outside your home, but it will give your place an inviting feel for all who show up for trick or treating.

12) Basic cable usually airs something special for Halloween like “It’s the Great Big Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Make it a special occasion and let your kids stay up late that night to enjoy some of the programs you used to watch when you were a kid.

13) Last but not least, paint that face. Who says face painting is only for carnivals, fairs and festivals? This is the perfect time to whip out your cosmetic skills and draw your little girl a heart or tiara on her plump, soft cheek. It wil I be a fun bonding time as you channel your inner makeup artist and she marvels at the way her mom can do just about anything.

Meagan Ruffing Meagan Ruffing

Meagan Ruffing is a parenting journalist, speaker and author of her debut book, "I See You". She looks forward to hearing wha t her kids want to dress up as this year and letting them eat more candy than they should on Halloween.

Why You Should Give Your Kids an Allowance

Most parents give their kids a regular allowance; some a few dollars a week, others substantially more. But is that advisable and, if it is, at what age should you start giving it to them and how much should you give?

Experts agree that an allowance can teach kids important money management skills, like how to save for things they want, how to budget their money, and how to choose between competing spending goals. Brad Munson, a personal finance expert, says an allowance “is a great way to teach kids about the real value of money, how to be organized and responsible, and how to plan for the future.” Financial counselor Ray Martin, author of several books on money management, adds that an allowance is a great opportunity for kids to experiment with money and to learn from their mistakes. “It’s a way for them to learn big lessons with small amounts of money at an early age.”

It’s important that you talk to your kids about the value of money, and it’s best to do so in the context of an actual allowance. Marty llenbaugh, a certified financial planner, says that talking to your kids about money without giving them an allowance is like trying to teach them how to play the piano without ever letting them sit at the keys.

Research shows that giving kids a regular allowance wh i I e discussing with them the importance of money makes them more financially responsible as adults.

They become, as Evonne Lack, a personal finance expert, succinctly puts it, “less likely to arrive on your doorstep years from now with a duffel bag full of dirty laundry and a mountain of credit card debt.”

If an allowance is such a great tool for teaching kids money management, at what age should you start giving them one? Many parents start at age 8, but experts agree, as Mr. Martin puts it, that it’s the kid’s “aptitude not the age that really matters.” So how do you know if your kids are ready to receive and learn from an allowance? Research shows that they are ready to benefit from an allowance once they have reached certain developmental milestones, like 1) understanding that money can be exchanged for things they want and 2) being able to confidently add and subtract.

And, here, kids differ widely. While some kids reach these milestones at age 4 or 5, others get there by age 8 or 9. S0 if your child tends to shrug at money# losing it before it can find its way to his dusty piggy bank, hold off until you see signs that he enjoys saving it or thinking about how he might use it,” says Mrs. Lack. Finally, but not least importantly, what amount should you give your kids?

Experts agree that, as a rule of thumb, you should give them $1 per year of age on a weekly basis: for exam pie, a six-year-old would receive $6 a week and a ten-year-old $10 a week. The advantage of this approach is that kids get an automatic raise every birthday, eliminating the question of when their allowances will be increased. If you are really lucky, it may even reduce sibling arguments, because the younger kid will understand why the older siblings get more.

Parents should feel free to deviate from this rule of thumb depending on whether they live in an expensive or inexpensive area, their particular financial situation, how many kids they have, and which regular expenses they or the kids are expected to pay for. As Susan Borowski, the author of “Money Crashers,” puts it, “If a straight $5 or $10 per week (or even per month) makes more sense to you than paying a dollar per year of age, then pay what works for you.” If your kids are very mature, you can discuss this issue with them and reach a mutual agreement on a reasonable amount.

It’s useful to go through such a process with your kids, says Mr. Martin, because it “helps to develop budgeting skills, teaches responsibility, and prepares them for the realities of personal money management.”

However, the allowance shouldn’t be too high. If you give kids too much, they won’t learn how to budget and allocate money because they never get a chance to prioritize among competing spending goals. Ron Liebler, the author of “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money,” says to “give your kids just enough so that they can get some of what they want but not so much that they don’t have to make a lot of difficult trade-offs. Let them own those, so they know what it’s like to make financial decisions that resemble grown-up ones.”

Whatever amount you ultimately decide on, make sure to follow a consistent schedule and stick with it – whether weekly or monthly. As Dr. Mary Kelly Blakeslee, a well-known child psychologist says, “random payments will be frustrating and confusing, and will reduce the opportunity for learning.”

Tanni Haas

Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.


Parents, do you ever wonder if you may be taking the whole over-scheduling taboo too  seriously? For years, parents have been hearing that kids have too many activities, too much homework, too-heavy backpacks, too much screen time, too much sugar. .. and on and on. Personally, I find most parents are intelligent, conscientious, and trying to find a healthy middle ground for everyone in the family. Most parents want their kids to have just the right amount of after school activities. The vast majority seem committed to helping their kids become happier, healthier, more well-rounded citizens without pushing them into activity overload.

So why not remember a few things kids stand to gain from after school activities instead? Kids can benefit artistically, physically, socially, mentally and personally from after school activities. I contacted a half-dozen after school activity pros, and here are some of the many benefits for kids that we discussed:


As Elle Woods reminds us in the film Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” But motivating kids to get off the couch is not always easy for parents. Your kids are not typically looking to you to motivate them to run some wind-sprints or do a series of gut crunches. They need someone else to step in and motivate them to get moving. This is where after school activities come in, preferably with dedicated, motivating coaches and instructors leading the way. Physical activities increase coordination, inspire discipline, and provide energy outlets for restless kids. So let another trusted adult be in charge for a change, and enjoy your down time while your kids get fitter.


As much as we would like our kids to carry on our values and ideals, it’s really up to them to communicate to us who they are and what they believe. And while we may like to think that our children are born whole and complete, the truth is kids often discover what they are made of after they become immersed in activities that stretch and challenge them. Engaging kids in activities where they feel fully immersed in the experience and are responsible for their own mastery helps kids discover what makes them tick. When it comes to finding an activity for your child, look for outlets that challenge them while providing gradual instruction and skill development.


After school activities offer kids outlets for expressing their energy within a safe learning context. Feeling part of a group with a purpose is a beautiful thing, so make sure that the space where your child spends time is safe, fun, and growth-centric. Often kids become as attached to a center, a studio, or a routine as much as they do to a group of peers. When kids go off to their activities, they should feel like they are going to one of their favorite places -to their home away from home. If this is not the case for your child, then you might want to check out other possibilities.


If there is one thing all after school activity professionals agree upon, it’s the importance of making memories via meaningful connections. Engaged, smiling, busy children are typically happy children. Whether your child’s activity happens in a place rife with variety or in a more specialized space, your child is sure to grow over time, make memories, and understand herself better with regular participation in after school activities. Why not let your kids have the continuity of years of ongoing participation? It’s hard to advance up the activity ranks if you dabble in one activity and then another. Give your child a few years in elementary school to try different activities. Then see if they want to comm it to an activity or two during middle schopl.• They can always switch to different activities once they get to high school, if they wish.


Some students need extra help to keep up academically, so don’t panic if your child turns out to be one of them. Your child may need extra help that addresses specific needs like standardized test preparation or responding to learning gaps. Other kids simply need help becoming more satisfied students. Tutoring can definitely increase not just aptitude, but also enthusiasm. And just as parents don’t always make the best coaches, we also don’t always make the best tutors, either. Besides, kids .. ???? . often progress faster and more willingly when they work with mentors they don’t already know. And good news, raising academic confidence by teaching learning skills in one subject can pay off in increased academic confidence across the board. So if your child is struggling with critical reading, vocabulary or math skills, why not try a local tutoring service? Your child has nothing to lose and much to gain.

Kids need to feel successful today to become successful tomorrow, and activities can help them experience positive growth gradually. If you don’t channel your child’s energy, video games, TV watching, and other sedentary activities wi II always be a tern ptation. If you want engaged, involved, smiling kids, find them some activities they enjoy. You will be so glad you did.

Christina Katz

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz loves jungle gym slides, water park slides, Slip N’ Slides, and Chutes And Ladders, but not the summer slide.


They say a child should have heard five hundred read-aloud books before entering kindergarten. It’s from hearing, looking and following along as an adult reads that a child learns the basics of books. They see that words move from top to bottom and left to right. They see those squiggles on the page translate into words and that the words have meanings. They begin to pick up the rhythms of words and the fact that letters make up the words. They learn that words can convey emotions and that stories can be funny, sad or exciting. Reading aloud to young children is a must. And once they start school, there’s no reason to stop read-aloud times. Nothing encourages growth in reading skills more than interacting with books from a wide variety of genres.

Picture books for young children are typically about 32 pages long. There are few if any

chapters, and the pictures carry much of the meaning. Because of this, you will usually find rich, colorful pictures which can be scanned and examined by reader and child for even more enjoyment as the book is read. Typ ica I fa II to pies for picture boo ks a re the outdoors: leaves, pumpkins, apples, changes in weather and gathering in the harvest. You can expect to see illustrations that are both beautiful and informative. The following are some excellent examples of fall pidure books that your children from babies up to age five will love. Some of these books are part of a series on the seasons and most are from well-known children’s authors and illustrators. They are a lovely way to spend an afternoon with your child.


Fall by Maria Ruis

It’s Fall by Linda Glaser

The Autumn Equinox by Ellen Jackson


Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins

Red Leaf, Yellowleafby Lois Ehlert

Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert


The Pumpkin Patch by Elizabeth Berg

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell

Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor


Hello Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher

Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall WaltzoftheScarecrowby Constance W. George Picking Apples and Pumpkins by A my Hutchings The Little Scarecrow Boy by M.W. Brown

The Seasons of Amo/d’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

These and many other beautiful fall books wait for you at your local library or bookstore.

Parent Magazine


In St. Johns County, we all benefit from a community that values education and is supportive of the school system. Our schools also receive assistance and engagement from a high number of volunteers, business partners and most importantly, parents. I appreciate the involvement of our local delegation to understand Florida’s educational system and support our schools. The school district’s relationship with county government and agencies, law enforcement, and local municipalities goes well beyond that of other communities. One such show of support was the 2015 approval of the half-cent sales tax to enhance facilities, safety, technology, and new construction which has helped us manage growth throughout our county.

As a resident of St. Johns County there are many educational accomplishments to be proud of: • Character education is fundamental to the core values of our school system and community

• Our students perform well above the state and national ACT and SAT averages

• FSA scores are among the highest in the state

• The graduation rate has consistently been above 90 percent based on the federal graduation rate compared with the state average of 82.3 percent

• High School Career Academies provide specialized learning opportunities to prepare students for an

ever-changing job market

• Success in athletic and arts programs is evidenced by numerous state titles and outstanding performances

• Student leadership is embedded in the school setting through peer mentorship opportunities, volunteer programs and community service

Assessing educational performance and success can be a complex process. There are many data points that can be considered and school configurations such as magnet programs and selective enrollment can skew this data when comparing schools nationally. I am proud of the most recent annual report by Education Week

“Quality Counts 2018” placing Florida 4th nationally when comparing k-12 student achievement.

We will continue to put our students and your children first. There are students today who need additional support to get back on track. There are areas of academic performance we need to improve. We also need to have our eyes on the future so that students are ready for the fast-paced, rapidly changing world ahead of them.

The commitment of teachers and the support of the school communities is reassuring as we continue to build the most effective educational system for our students. The St. Johns County School District is a great place for children and we strive to improve each and every day.


Tim Forson, Superintendent of Schools, St. Johns County School District

From the Superintendent

Fall is upon us! This time of the year marks the end of the first term, and it has been encouraging to see our students, teachers and staff working together toward success. With the first quarter in the rear-view mirror, we are pressing onward to make the 2018-19 school year a memorable and successful one for our students.

We recently celebrated Dads Take Your Child to School Day. This is always a great opportunity for fathers, grandfathers and other male role models to engage with their student on the school campus and to learn more about what the kids are doing each day. This is also a chance for the schools to showcase all the hard work that our teachers and staff put in to making sure each child succeeds.

Every elementary school that was assigned a school guardian now has one. These men and women have extraordinary backgrounds in the military, law enforcement or both. Before being trained as guardians, each had to pass formidable screenings; all of them had a drug test, a thorough background check, a polygraph test and a psychological examination.

In all, they took part in 132 hours of intense training with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department, followed by 24 hours of diversity and school safety in-service given by the district. Those guardians who passed are now in their schools. They are to build relationships with the students, faculty and staff; but, most of all, they are there to keep their campuses safe.

James T. Russell, Superintendent of Volusia Schools

October is School Bus Safety Awareness month. We appreciate all the hard work of Student Transportation Services, ensuring our students are transported safely to and from school. Did you know that last year we transported approximately 28,000 students daily, on 211 bus routes from 2,142 bus stops? Our bus operators travel roughly 4.2 million miles per school year! We are so thankful for the individuals that make this possible.

Since it is School Bus Safety Awareness Month, I want to take this opportunity to remind parents of the importance of watching out for students, being cautious around school buses and “freshening up” on the rules of the road in regard to school buses. We want our students, and bus operators, to return safely to their homes each night.

As we move closer to the holiday season and the weather cools down, we know the work of our students, teachers and staff is going to heat up. Volusia County Schools remains steadfast in its commitment in increasing our district grade to an “A.” Our teachers and administrators are dedicated to ensuring our students achieve the best education possible.

Thank you,

James T. Russell, Superintendent