Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘middle school’
Posted: March 7th, 2013

Basketball hoop and sunsetPsychiatrist Gary Malone — a former student athlete — reminds parents of middle-school and high-school athletes to chill before we push too hard toward college athletics and scholarships. He reminds all parents of these critical numbers:

  • Only 3 percent of high school athletes will go on to compete in college

  • Less than 1 percent of college athletes turn pro, where the average career is three years

  • Don’t become obsessed with one child’s athletic career at the expense of the other kids in the family. 

A distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association and high-performing student-athlete throughout his own high school and college years, Malone says he appreciates the benefits of extracurricular programs. “Athletics can be extremely beneficial to a young person’s life, but I think we have our priorities backwards,” Malone says. “Imagine how much better off our country might be if, instead of football, we were obsessed with our children’s performance in science and math. In my home state, Texas, a new high school football stadium is opening that cost $60 million dollars and seats 18,000. That’s all funded at public expense. We constantly read of districts across the country cutting academic and arts programs and teachers’ salaries due to budget shortfalls. How can this make sense?”

It’s great when kids want to compete at the collegiate level and even better if they get $$ to do it, but not all kids are cut out for that life. As parents, we need to appreciate that sentiment because in the end, kids need a career when school is done.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 22nd, 2012

Sometimes we get so caught up in the fervor of backpacks, supplies and clothes, that we miss a few important things. Here are three things parents need to attend to as the kids head back to school:

Medications — allergy and otherwise

If you child has started a new or different medication, supervise them carefully. Be on the lookout for side effects that can easily affect mood and schoolwork. My son took Zyrtec for years without a problem, and then one year it made him drowsy. The same thing is true of inhalers and other allergy meds. So many medications exist — don’t be afraid to ask your doc for an alternative if your child exhibits uncharacteristic problems with one med.

Grooming routine

There is nothing optional here. I blogged about tots who refuse to brush their teeth, a dangerous habit to start. Here’s a link to ideas to make oral hygiene a little more palatable. And don’t panic. Kids go through phases with grooming. Little ones may often be too busy playing to get into the hygiene habit. You’ll have to help, bribe and demand it. Before you know it, your child will be older and primping for hours.

The key at every age is to find what works for your kids and get them in the habit of doing it on their own.

Get kids into daily routine

As your children age, they will have more responsibilities to handle — let them.  After preschool, I never picked out school outfits, and the kids eventually packed their own backpacks and lunches which led to packing sports bags and everything else. Every week or month, encourage your kids to be a little more independent and make it fun. Kids can get their own breakfasts if you make it easy. Congratulate them and tell them how proud you are of them. They can pack lunches, dress themselves and certainly take care of putting their own schoolwork in their bags. Encourage it. Yes, they will forget things, but that’s part of the learning process.  Forgotten permission slips and shoes were a given at our house, but kids need to accept the responsibilities for additional activities. We all learn from our mistakes.

Pam Parker is the mom of three and stepmom of three. She is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 12th, 2012

There’s an ad on Goerie.com and in the Erie Times- News looking for school bus drivers. It offers training for candidates 21 and older. School bus drivers are often a parent’s best friend.

When my kids were little, Mary, a retired woman who just loved kids, drove the bus that transported all three of my kids from kindergarten through 6th grade. She solved disputes, calmed nerves and knew that my youngest would come flying out of our house, coat half on as he raced across the park to the bus at the last minute. She watched and waited. So did the neighbors — he was entertainment for all the retirees. We all loved her.

When the kids went on to middle school, drivers weren’t quite as sweet, but neither were the kids. When a kid sprayed the latest cologne — Axe — on a bus, the driver refused to move the bus until someone owned up to it. I’m not sure why this was such an issue — other than the odor of Axe, the tween cologne of the time. In true “I’m Spartacus” fashion, each kid stood up and said they did it. That infuriated the bus driver. And the assistant principal. And the guidance counselor. They must not have seen the movie.

I don’t remember what the punishment was, but we learned middle school was a different world. I had gone to school with the assistant principal and reminded him of the things he had done at the same age. To nuns. That took the sting out of detention. Lesson learned: Don’t let your kids spray cologne on the bus.

I’m sure it wasn’t the only Spartacus moment on a bus. God bless bus drivers everywhere.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 20th, 2012

This is an old, out-of-focus picture of my boys, Ryan Eckert, at left, and Howie Eckert, at right. And that’s me behind them — the Christmas tree is behind me. Yes they have matching shirts (my daughter Kelly bought them), but when it comes to sports — they disagree on matching up teams.

We have had legendary battles between the Green Bay Packers (Ryan) and San Francisco 49ers (Howie). Howie assured me this Miami Heat versus Oklahoma City Thunder will not reach that proportion. Only because it will all be over pretty quickly — unlike football season which begins in August and ends in January, or is February? They have been watching the NBA Finals together, and it brings back a lot of memories for me. This is the first time they have lived together for a long time, and it’s right here at home.

Hoops has always brought my kids together. They’ve played together and watched one another play since they were tots. They all played in the driveway, in grade school, at MYAA, Lakewood Park, in basketball camps, middle school, high school, and a game still gets going in front of the house on occasion.

If your kids play, enjoy every minute.

Pam Parker, mom of three and stepmom of three,  is an award-winning writer and editor for Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 25th, 2012

It’s the time of year middle schoolers are faced with the challenge of choosing a high school. It’s an emotional time for kids — be understanding. Here are five things to consider:

Private versus public — Private schools cost more than $6,000 a year for tuition. That’s $24,000 for four years, and that does not include any of the activities, uniforms or fees. Loan opportunities exist for private schools, but if college is in the future, more loans will follow. Have a frank family discussion about how this impacts your family. Children need to know we love them and support them, but financial reality must be part of the equation. Consider all the what ifs. Here’s a link for how to review schools http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-High-School.

Big versus small. In our community, McDowell High School has more than 500 students per grade level. All of our kids went there, and the size was never an issue. Our kids were involved in dozens of activities, camps, baseball, soccer, volleyball and more where they interacted with other kids from the region — they knew a lot of kids. Here’s a link that discusses private schools, charter schools and home schooling. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-choose-a-private-high-school.html

Be the voice of reason. Guide, but don’t push. For example, some kids naturally lean toward vocational education, but others don’t. Similarly, some kids want to be at the top of the class striving to be the best in honors classes and the works, but others don’t want the stress. Athletes might want to make a school decision based solely on sports. But if your athlete gets hurt, will the school decision still be the right fit? Don’t get stuck on maintaining a family tradition just because it’s a tradition. Every kid is different, and schools do change from generation to generation. Here’s a link that helps you analyze 33 different aspects of high schools. http://www.chooseyourfuture.org/choosing-a-high-school

Location. Getting to and from the school can be a deal breaker for parents and students. After-school and weekend activities mean plenty of return trips to the school for the fun stuff. Be realistic about how much time it takes to make the trip and if the school is on an accessible city bus route.

It’s an emotional decision. Listen to your youngsters. The high schools they choose will impact future decisions. My daughter attended a large high school and decided that she wanted an even bigger school for college. The boys were the opposite. They thrived in a small college environment — every kid is different.

Finally, keep in mind, these are kids — they will change their minds, and they need us to understand. I have one kid who attended a large public school and a small private school — all in four years. We all make decisions and change our minds. You have to do what works for you and your family.

Pam Parker, mother of three and stepmother of three — all over age 20 — is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 27th, 2011

When kids make you laugh so hard, your sides hurt, it might be the middle school years. It’s a time when kids have a somewhat grown-up appearance, but they still have that impishness that makes me grin just thinking about it.
I still laugh when I think of football car pools. No one wanted the return trip home, but I did. The skinny boys of fall were muddy, sweaty and laughing. In our car pool, we had twins who excelled in rapid-fire delivery of Internet jokes that made me laugh so hard, I’d cry.
This hearty half dozen players had also mastered and memorized some “Jeopardy” skits from “Saturday Night Live” starring Will Farrell as the Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery.
It was like watching it live.
Now, we also did have practical jokes in school, but these kids did nothing like the tricks I recalled at St. George Elementary School. And many of those kids had grown up to be teachers, principals, lawyers, judges and doctors.
Middle schoolers will make you laugh, make mistakes, make you cry and give you memories. The best advice I ever received about dealing with any of the bad times was from a teacher. “Kids will have rules to follow the rest of their lives. If they break a few now, they’ll learn to stop. We all need to give them a break.
Here’s to middle school mayhem.