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 ‘school’
Posted: August 28th, 2013

colored pencilsI hated buying school supplies. I can admit it now. It’s been a long time. And if you hate it too, I feel your pain. Don’t let your kids hear you say it, but know that I am listening. It’s not the purchase or necessity that bothered me — it was trying to find the stuff. My pet peeves about all those years of schools supplies:

We bought colored pencils every year for every kid right into college — I swear we did. I never thought anyone would outgrow markers, crayons and colored pencils. Or glue sticks.

But at least those were readily available. We also bought cases of loose-leaf notebook paper. I almost thought that was extinct one year. My husband and I and two of the kids, who could drive, scoured every store in the Erie area for loose-leaf paper. Nada. Every store was out.  I’m not kidding. I bought notebooks and ripped paper out of them. And then I bought loose-leaf by the ton like a hoarder.

Last month, I gave all the remaining colored pencils, crayon, loose-leaf paper, construction paper, poster board and markers I had stashed in a closet to my daughter-in-law — a teacher.

We also had an investment in index cards. And every teacher wanted a different index cards.Teachers were very specific about how many lines were to be on each card and how big the cards were. And I made the mistake of buying cards without lines once. But only once.

On the website Circle of Moms, one mom noted that her school district bought the supplies for the year for each kid and charged $45. That’s a steal. When my kids were young, one of the Millcreek schools did the same thing. The gas we used and time we spent searching for loose-leaf paper, dividers, sheet protectors, highlighters and planners was worth more than that.

There’s an opportunity here for school districts to turn it into a fundraiser. Enjoy the school year, and I wish you an easy shopping trip as you hunt for school supplies.

Pam Parker is the mom of three, stepmom of three and GramPam to one. 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: June 13th, 2013

From left: Wyatt Bootes, 3, Carson Cowser, 4, and Tyler Webb, 4, play with Legos building blocks at Barb’s Care-A-Lot early childhood preschool in Harborcreek Township. JARID A. BARRINGER/

Kids have only been out of school for a few days, but if you worry that your youngsters need constant entertainment, remember — they have to learn to entertain themselves. My kids loved Legos — at every age. We had that exact same red board in the picture at left — it helped keep the Legos grounded. If you haven’t introduced your kids to Legos yet, don’t wait. There’s a package for nearly every age from under 2 to 12 and over. Even Sponge Bob is a Lego! And, yes — there are princesses and castles. The Erie Times-News featured a great article today on how to give your kids some quiet time that doesn’t include the TV.  Read it here. It includes:Books — create your own library. We had books for every age group from picture books to those spooky Goosebumps novels.Arts-and-crafts corner. My Hoosier was grand central station for construction paper, glitter, markers, crayons, glue and more.

Puzzles. Kids and adults love puzzles. We often got them from the library, and we had a United States puzzle that we all enjoyed. As your kids get older, you can put those thousand-piece puzzles together.

Do anything and everything outside. We played hoops, soccer, hockey, rollerbladed and jumped in the kiddie pool. We lived across the street from a park with playground equipment was plentiful and a baseball field and volleyball court were always in use.

Take advantage of the outdoors — in between the raindrops!

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 and stepmom to three.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 12th, 2013

MomsIn honor of Mother’s Day, I am reposting The Pennsylvania Conference for Women‘s e-mail message that quotes what women have said about their moms as role models — like the one at left. The Pennsylvania Conference for Women is the largest women’s conference in the state.  It is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29 in Philadelphia. Here are quotes from the website:

How was/is your mother a role model for your career?

My mom’s mantra was “make yourself indispensable” (i.e. do whatever’s needed, not just what you think you should be doing).

My mom always told us to do what makes us happy.

My mom had her own alteration business in 1948 before (and after) she got married. She taught me to be independent and not to settle – whip up a dress and a fabulous meal too.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom but also sold Tupperware and Avon. She had such a beautiful light about her, and people were drawn to her smile. I realized having positive energy and a good smile goes a long way.

Funny you should ask. I am a communications trainer and I reference her years in the banking industry all the time. I learned so much from her about how to treat people, how to be a true professional, and how to be a working mom. I am indebted to her entire generation of women who blazed a path for me and the women of my generation. I hope to do the same for my girls.

My mom didn’t have a high school diploma; she worked in sewing factories, long, hard hours for low wages, also waitressing. She inspired me to get an education so that I could earn a better life. I am grateful.

She told me to invent a product, I did, and millions of sales later I have her to thank!

Growing up, my sister and I witnessed my mother (a single parent) struggle and work long hours as a waitress. After many years she had enough and decided to better herself and her family by going back to school for nursing. While going to school full-time and working (and being a single parent was an even harder struggle), she graduated and has been a nurse for well over 10 years now. I am extremely proud of her hard work and dedication. Her persistence has taught me to succeed in everything I do. I would not be where I am in my career today if it were not for my mother.

My mom modeled communication, she took us to campaign, community, church…taught us to prioritize a balanced life…our God, our family, our community.

My mother started “take your daughter to work day” with two other women. She has paved the way for so many women scientists and inspired me to be a business owner. She’s my hero.

My mother owned a public relations company in the ’60s. She was very successful and always told me I had to find a career that I loved so that I would never have to depend on anyone else.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 3rd, 2013

A recent article that circulated on the Internet detailed how kids in Ethiopia, who had never seen electronic devices, managed to pick up a tablet and learn. This is no surprise to anyone who has kids. Here’s the full article from Spiegel online international.

Give a kid a phone, and they will find a way to get to fun stuff, or make your current apps work for them — no matter how old they are. The article tells the fascinating tale of the town of of Wenchi, which has no electricity or running water. The nearest school is more than 7 miles away. Kids aged 8 to 10 were given portable tablets touchscreens that fire up with cool letters of the alphabet wearing baseball caps and singing.

Matt Keller, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, set out to prove that children can learn independently and without instruction, and it’s working in Wenchi and another town. The project called “One Laptop per Child” is seeing success. It raises possibilities for education all over the world.

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: June 18th, 2012

It’s inevitable. If you have active kids, boo-boos are on the way. You can’t wrap them in bubble wrap, but when my kids were young, it sounded like a good idea.

Last week, my neighbor was distraught because summer had just started, and the youngest of her four kids had already sprained a wrist. I made her feel better in a hurry. I shared:

  1. None of my three kids has all of their front teeth. They are crowned and bonded depending on ages.
  2. They all haves scars from stitches on their heads. While my boys got theirs at school and home, my daughter did a header off the couch at my sister’s place. In Pittsburgh.
  3. Ryan wore a helmet one summer after the doctor told him to give his mom a break and take better care of his head.

And those were just a few of the head injuries. Mind you all of them played sports and there were some knots on the noggins there. And we lived across the street from a park with a giant sliding board, swingset, teeter totter and merry-go-round — some of that equipment dated back to my years as a kid, but they didn’t get hurt on it.

Here’s a link to how to keep your kids — any age — safe during sports, but keep in mind, most injuries happen at home and they are usually just goofy stuff: swinging on cupboards and counters, getting a door slammed on fingers or faces and cutting an ear while bouncing on the hide-a-bed. Come to think of it, my kids were always safer OUTSIDE the house. Enjoy a safe summer.

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: May 8th, 2012

It’s that time of year.

School activities seem to be at a frenzied pace  with plays, concerts, presentations and ice cream socials. Add in some spring sports, and it’s a full plate. But don’t let the frenzy take the fun out of it. Emily Harmon offers ideas for how to share the activities with your kids in a countdown that uses math skills and other skills but keeps it enjoyable.

It’s also a time of year filled with stress for parents and kids. A lot is happening for everyone. Stay on top of it and organized with these tips. Remember to start and end each day with calm, and hand out praise.

Keep an eye on everyone’s health. Too many projects and too little time can have kids staying up too late. You can’t do your kids’ work for them, but you can help them with time management.

Enjoy this last bit of the school year — it’s an accomplishment. Look at how far your kids have come since September. Remind yourself and your family that you all did it together — whether it’s mastering the times tables or surviving chemistry. It’s done! Bring on the summer.

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: 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: January 31st, 2012

If you fear hearing those words from your child’s teacher, rest easy. I’ve been there, and I’m writing this because it’s the time of year when parents start thinking about where their little ones will be attending school once they graduate from preschool. My advice: Don’t push them.

There is no magic date or age when kids are potty-trained, tie their shoes, tell time, or master the intricacies of the times tables. Last week, a teacher asked me to resurrect an article that Heather Cass wrote about this topic in 2007 because it becomes so prevalent this time of year. Parents feel guilty that maybe they did something wrong when the news comes in that a tot just isn’t ready.

You did nothing wrong, and the benefits of waiting are many. My oldest started kindergarten after attending a 5-year-old class at Lakewood United Methodist Preschool. It was the best decision because he wasn’t ready in a lot of ways for the daily grind of school. The next year, he excelled at everything.

Here’s an article that gives you some guidance on what kindergarten readiness means.

Enjoy your kids. Those first few years of school are so important. You and your child should remember them as happy times. We do.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 18th, 2011

Sound drastic?
Maybe, but parents across America are learning there are ways to save money in school districts with some novel approaches. Click on the links to see the news — in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and especially California, school busing is getting whittled down to minimize costs. In Keystone Oaks School District, studied combining schools, merging bus routes and opting for four-day weeks. The bus cuts won.
Four day school weeks are making the grade in Irene, S.D, according to the Huffington Post. Friday classes disappeared in one rural Irene district when it adopted a four-day school week. And they did it to preserve the vocational education program. It’s gaining momentum: about 120 school districts in 20 states now use four-day weeks that add about 30 minutes to each school day.
It’s not just our districts that are hard up for funds. It’s happening across the country.

Posted in: Uncategorized