Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.
If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” If it fails to automatically refresh, manually reload the page. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”
Living in the DMV area, parents can expect to pay high sums of money for proper care of their children. But exactly how high is it, really? And what’s the actual reasonable cost?
The Washington, DC metro area is one of the most expensive for child care in the country, costing upward of $23,000 a year for a single child, according to nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the District is ranked first, ahead of all 50 states, for the most expensive infant care in the nation, exceeding the annual cost of tuition to a four-year public university.
While child care can range from day care centers to babysitters, hiring a nanny is highly common in the NoVA area. But as times change and prices increase, it becomes harder to navigate the process.
Most nannies in NoVA work 40 to 50 hours a week, with salaries typically averaging from $20 to $25 an hour, according to both Metropolitan Nannies and White House Nannies, two child care agencies who serve the Northern Virginia region.
Both agencies work with local families and nannies to gauge the market and eventually find the best match for children in the area through background screenings, tests and interviews.
“There’s been a big change in the market, partly because of technology,” says owner of White House Nannies, Barbara Kline. “Parents want their nannies up to date and they want to know that their nanny can share information with them. It’s not so much leaving a long list of to-dos like it used to be. The good nannies go in and know what they need to be doing.”
According to Kline, the best nannies will stand out by doing things like making homemade food for the baby, preparing meals for the weekend and engaging with the children on a regular basis.
Here in NoVA, the better the nanny, the higher the pay; however, the agencies don’t choose the cost of services. Rather, families negotiate with the nanny to see what will work best for both parties. When deciding the proper amount, there are a number of factors involved.
“We ask nannies why they think they deserve that amount, which could be based on education, experience and, most often, its based on demand and location,” says Jackie Wood, owner of Herndon-based company Metropolitan Nannies. “Nannies that work in Washington, DC would cost a lot more than those in Arlington, even though they’re neighboring cities.”
While babysitting typically doesn’t require a tax reduction in salary, it is state and federal law that nannies be taxed by both the federal unemployment tax and the FICA tax, according to Jay Shulze, owner of HomeWork Solutions in Sterling. Shulze and his staff specialize in providing household employers with nanny tax compliance.
“We tell people, in general, they should plan on paying somewhere between 10-15% in taxes,” Shulze explains. “We find that families tend to think in terms of cost per year without factoring in taxes. They may plan on spending $40,000 a year on care for two kids, with an hourly rate of $20 an hour, and then they are surprised when they end up spending $43,000. But they didn’t include gross wages.”
On an annual basis, nannies can make anywhere from $30,000 to well over $50,000, even after a tax reduction, according to Shulze. For a better understanding of nanny tax, HomeWork Solutions has a Virginia tip sheet with useful information.
As the market continues to grow and become more competitive, the industry as a whole remains complicated, in that many nannies are being met with a reduction in salary, according to Kline.
“This is the one field you could be working in for 10 years or more and not make more money as you move on to the next family,” Kline explains. “Many nannies are in the position of having to make less money than they were making when they turn to a new family.”
Despite the challenges, the child care industry continues to boom in Northern Virginia.
“Every year the market goes up,” Wood says. “So long as there’s high demand and low availability, nannies will hike up their prices as much as possible.”
Interested in more family content? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Some students fly through the cafeteria seconds before class while others hang out in the on-campus coffee shop for hours. There’s food within reach (or a short walking distance) at almost any point in the day. And did we mention late night snacking?
Despite whether or not these behaviors are healthy for any given student, the widespread use of the phrase freshman 15 might not be as accurate as people think. According to a 2008 study titled The Freshman 15: Is it Real?,published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the US National Library of Medicine, researchers found an average weight gain of 2.7 pounds in 125 participants, with men more likely to gain weight than women, and freshman students being five times more likely to gain weight than the general population.
Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., professor and chair of nutrition at George Mason University College of Health and Human Services, has studied student eating habits for years, with an emphasis on weight management and community-based research, and has found that there is much more to know about the freshman 15.
We spoke with him about what students should know about their first year, how to be more aware of eating habits and where students can seek help if needed. Highlights from our conversations are below.
What should everyone know about the reality of the freshman 15? The first thing students should know is that it is not destiny. There’s actually been studies that show a big range of weight gain or that some students don’t gain weight at all. So, it really is within your control. But the factors that tend to push it toward weight gain are that you’re being moved a bit out of your comfort zone, and people should realize, the food is going to change, your friends are going to change, what you do from day-to-day is going to change. We certainly want it to be as positive as possible, but it can also mean more junk food, more eating out, even the presence of alcohol. And you know, you’re becoming an adult and you’re going to make your own decisions, but it’s much better to make them with your eyes open rather than if it just happens because some of the people around you are behaving not so well in their diets or behaviors.
What are some eating habits students should be aware of, whether good or bad? Well, on one hand, students should know that they shouldn’t really be gaining weight when they enter the college cafeteria (specifically at George Mason University), because the standard fare is nutritionally balanced and has reasonably good stuff to choose from. In fact, it’s somewhat higher in fiber than the average American diet, too. But on the other hand, if you’re sitting through three versions of your friends eating lunch, and you just keep sitting there as people come and leave your table, you can wind up passively over-consuming calories. Especially since, sometimes, just having food in front of us and available, even if it is reasonably healthy foods that are good choices, just the variety and the time you spend around food may make you consume more calories. Students need to be mindful or conscious in terms of their eating. Plus, eating slower is always a good option. If you’ve got to hurry because you have 10 minutes before you need to be in class, you’re most likely going to eat too many calories and not be aware than you’ve had or haven’t had enough to eat.
What about exercise? Does it help in terms of eating habits and fighting weight gain? Forgive me, I am going to sound like I’m anti-exercise. I’m not at all, and students should get exercise often. But if you get into the habit of thinking, “It’s OK, I can eat without thinking about it and then just go to the gym and make up for it,” it’s not going to work very well. You’re not tying the two things directly together. You will most likely overeat calories by 500 because by working hard physically, it makes you hungrier and your body wants to replace those calories. And then when you eat those extra calories, you need some serious gym work to then burn those off too. It’s also partly the psychology of it. You have to be focused on the future. It’s not just about the pleasure of the moment.
There are also food delivery robots at George Mason. How do you think they have affected student eating habits across campuses that have them? What a perfect example of how to choose wisely. Yes, you can have unhealthy food delivered to your door, but this service and the delivered food should be used mindfully. It really is about how much you have of it, how often you have it and how you balance it with other things.
Do you think parents should talk to their kids about eating habits when they go to college?
That kind of depends on you as a parent, knowing your kids and what they will respond to. It’s always better if they bring it up rather than if you push it on them. You have to know what your situation is and the best way to manage it in terms of parent-to-child communication. But, parents do play an active role by being good role models. For example, you can’t tell your child not to smoke cigarettes when you’re puffing on one yourself. That doesn’t go over well, and it’s the same thing with food. As a parent, you’re modeling it.
Is there anything else people should know about nutrition in college?
It is all within your control. No one is force-feeding you “bad” foods. No one is saying “You must eat this,” and a little bit of thought and planning can go an awfully long way. You can also avoid the situations that you know are triggers for you. You want to be social, but you can also get involved with your friends when they’re doing something healthier, like exercising for example. And if you think you might have problems controlling your eating on either end of the spectrum, whether it’s too much or too little, then student health services is a great place to turn. That’s one of the most important things to know.
For more information on Lawrence Cheskin and the research at George Mason University, visit gmu.edu. A new study on student eating habits called Health Comes First by the Mason Cohort (which offers gift card incentives to students who participate), will start in the fall 2019 semester.
Right now the mainstream media is circulating a study that showed women are happier being single or divorced than they are being married, however, some experts are saying that the study has been completely misunderstood, and the current conclusion is literally fake news.
It all started when a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, Paul Dolan, was giving a presentation on his book “Happily Ever After.” Dolan was discussing his findings on data from an American Time Use Survey from which he gathered his findings.
Within the survey asked whether there was a spouse present or absent. According to the findings, women said there wasn’t one around, and answered subsequent questions about how happy they were. Dolan took the data he saw and came to a conclusion.
“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” said Dolan.
The Guardian was in the room during Dolan’s presentation and off it went, spurring on a whole host of articles from various media sites like the New York Post and The Independent, proclaiming that women and marriage just don’t mix. It circulated like wildfire.
However, as some looked into the data itself, they realized that Dolan simply misunderstood the findings because he misunderstood the question.
UVA Professor W. Bradford Wilcox quickly pointed out where Dolan went wrong.
“…Dolan appears to have misread ATUS survey questions regarding whether or not spouse was in the household to refer to whether or not the spouse was present for the interview–and thereby drew incorrect conclusions about marrieds’ happiness, especially wives’ happiness,” tweeted Bradford.
3. But Dolan appears to have misread ATUS survey questions regarding whether or not spouse was in the household to refer to whether or not the spouse was present for the interview–and thereby drew incorrect conclusions about marrieds' happiness, especially wives' happiness.
To back up the fact that Dolan reached the wrong conclusion, he posted the findings from a study by the General Social Survey by the Institute for Family Studies, which showed married people being far more happy than divorced or single people by leaps and bounds.
Adjunct professor and time use researcher Gray Kimborough also called out the spread of misinformation based on Dolan’s misinterpretation of the information, by noting that the numbers Dolan cites weren’t even part of the ATUS interview, but were asked of couples by a CPS interview some months prior. A closer look at the question shows that the survey was asking if a spouse was present in the room during the time of the asking.
“These are the values that the marital status variable takes,” tweeted Kimborough. “When I calculate mean “happiness” values over these, they roughly line up with the book figure. So it isn’t measuring a spouse’s presence for the interview, or even for any activities–just presence *in the household*.”
These are the values that the marital status variable takes. When I calculate mean "happiness" values over these, they roughly line up with the book figure. So it isn't measuring a spouse's presence for the interview, or even for any activities–just presence *in the household*. pic.twitter.com/nKyebGpwEi
The General Social Survey by the Institute for Family Studies does provide more of a look into the happiness levels of those who are married vs. those who are divorced or never married. The study was conducted over a period of eight years from 2010 to 2018, giving us a near decade of information to work with.
“The story is straightforward: married respondents are much happier. And consistent with prior research, parents are a little less happy than non-parents, provided they are unmarried. In addition, the results don’t look that different when limited to female survey respondents,” said the IFS in their study.
The IFS even found that unhappiness is much higher in divorced or single people, specifically those who have children.
Unhappiness levels based on married, vs divorced, vs single. Fascinating find given the current misinformation spreading around like wildfire from a bad study. pic.twitter.com/1oGaecxSXz
So the truth is that marriage does make people happier. Children do reduce the happiness factor, but only slightly, and married parents are still far and away happier than those who are divorced or single, especially when children are involved in their lives.
The media got it wrong again, and now we’re left with the question of why the media was so ecstatic to report the false narrative that marriage makes women miserable.
When does in loco parentis cross over into just plain loco? A story from Oregon earlier this week demonstrates at least one instance where the line got crossed. A lawsuit alleges that a teacher took an 8-year-old aside to repeatedly question his gender identity, and then began giving him instruction on transitioning to female.
Now the parents are struggling to work and their 9-year-old son is still confused (via Instapundit):
Parents in Woodburn said their 8-year-old son was held back from recess multiple times for one-on-one conversations about his gender identity – and they had no idea.
The mother and father in Woodburn are now suing a school district for nearly a million dollars after they say a second-grade teacher singled out their son by asking him if he was transgender. The parents say the teacher had inappropriate conversations with the child at school without their permission. …
The parents say this all started when their son started using the staff restroom because of a stomach problem. They say their son was uncomfortable using the boy’s bathroom because of his medical condition. However, they believe the teacher assumed their son was uncomfortable because he was transgender.
“Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he’s a girl in that moment… if he plays with my nephew, he’s a boy,” said the mother.
The mother says her son was left confused and hurt after being singled out. Now, a year later, the 9-year-old is taking anxiety medication and going to therapy, according to his parents. The family says the boy’s confusion and emotional distress has also affected the entire family. The father says he’s suffering from panic attacks and the mother says she’s now on medical leave, suffering from anxiety and depression, and staying home from work.
There’s video at the link, but it’s not embeddable here. Bear in mind that this wasn’t a teenager, which might be bad enough, but an eight year old with a stomach problem. Even granting the best of possible intentions, why wouldn’t the first step in dealing with suspicions of gender dysphoria be to contact the child’s parents? It’s not as if the parents in this case are social neanderthals, at least from the perspective of Academia. They tell reporter Bonnie Silkman in the video that they aren’t concerned about what identity he chooses as long as he chooses it, and not get indoctrinated into it by an activist teacher.
Do they have a case? Silkman posted a letter from the school essentially corroborating the parents’ allegations:
The parents are suing the school district for nearly 1 million dollars. They say the conversations took place in April of 2018. Here’s a letter from the school. It states that the teacher did discuss gender identity w/the student. Parents say the teacher still works there #fox12pic.twitter.com/D314tcLcfh
The most impressively loco part of this story is that the teacher still works at the school — a full year after the school confirmed the parents’ story. The only correction the teacher received was to be reminded of the district’s policies on “controversial issues” and to notify parents and the school when she “alters a student’s regular school day.” Meanwhile, this family will be dealing with the aftershocks of her actions for years.
The school district declined to comment on the story because of the lawsuit, but they might owe an explanation to the other parents in the district, especially to those whose children are within this teacher’s supervision. How many other children has she attempted to indoctrinate into transgender identities? And how many of the parents in this school district — and elsewhere — might start considering private schools or home-schooling to protect their children from predatory behavior?
For children, it’s obvious what summer’s about. Wasting the day in front of the TV, hanging with friends or maybe exploring the outdoors. But for many parents, it’s an uncertain time of year. Summer learning loss, or “the summer slide,” threatens all the progress children made in the classroom during the year, and parents don’t always know the right way to combat it.
“On average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning,” according to a 2017 report from the Brookings Institution. Reading loss in particular is most dramatic for lower income students, and a lack of learning opportunity for elementary-aged students over the summer can also result in achievement gaps in high school, according to Brookings.
“It’s typical to have kids come back in the fall with a little bit of a slide,” says Erica Allder, a fourth-grade teacher at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Leesburg and a Loudoun Education Association representative. “Keeping them going in their reading—and writing about what they’re reading—and even just practicing math facts, are the basic things that will keep them on track for where they need to be.”
For children K-12, establishing a daily learning routine, immersing themselves in reading of their choice and going on educational trips—even if it’s just to the library—can help preserve the knowledge they acquired during the year, according to Allder.
The National Education Association (NEA) cites research from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that revealed “giving kids 12 books to read over the summer was as effective as summer school in raising the students’ reading scores.” Allder echoes the idea that reading can be a panacea for summer learning loss.
“The biggest thing I always tell everybody is just to keep them reading,” she says. “Kids are going to have their preferences just like we do as adult readers. I tell my students and I tell my parents that as long as they’re reading and they’re still enjoying it—especially at a young age when you’re trying not to depress their love of reading—let them read whatever and whenever they want.”
The NEA encourages parents to stay consistent throughout the summer with the educational resources their children have during the school year. Depending on the child, this could mean the structure of a weekly tutor (see page 101 for more about summer tutors), or enrollment in summer school or other academic summer programs. Before making a summer plan, checking in with teachers is a must, Allder says.
“I’ve had parents in the past just send me an email or even call to say, ‘Hey, we’re trying to make a plan for the summer, I noticed they were having trouble with this this year, what do you think we should do?’” she says. “The biggest piece—and I tell all my parents this—is just to keep in contact with me. I’ll let you know when I see things going awry, and I hope you do the same thing because I don’t see [your child] at home and you don’t see them while they’re here.”
As you talk to your child’s teachers and start planning for summer, comb through our summer slump guide to Northern Virginia to learn more about local summer learning options. Summer may be a time to unwind, but this halcyon season doesn’t have to be a wash.
NoVA has a summer activity for every student—whether they’re mad for science, really dig history or are most vocal about the arts.
Science- and math-focused summer programs in NoVA can build on a student’s love for STEM subjects. If your child has an affinity for math and science, there are local activities to teach them coding, robot-making, aviation, natural sciences and more.
Engineering programs, because they teach both math and science concepts through hands-on challenges, are great catch-all summer activities for STEM-loving students. Engineering For Kids of Northern Virginia offers engineering-, robotics- and coding-based enrichment classes and camps for students ages 4 to 14. Its summer camps are wide-ranging in subjects—covering the engineering of power and energy, the engineering of cities and the engineering of travel. Engineering for Kids weaves adjacent subjects, including math, game design and even entrepreneurship, throughout its summer camps, too, to give students greater variety. Middle school-aged attendees will get a foundation in STEM subjects they might see in high school, while elementary-aged attendees might learn for the first time how they can build, create and experiment via math and science.
Engineering for Kids’ hosts morning, afternoon and all-day summer camps in Loudoun and Prince William counties from June to August. Camps range in price (call 703-997-1919 for pricing), and are tailored to age groups of 5 to 7, 8 to 12 and 9 to 13.
Field Trip The demonstration gardens at Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington teach students about organic vegetable growing and the various plants and insects native to our environment. Children can learn more about the natural world at the park’s James I. Mayer Center for Environmental Education or have an outdoor adventure along the hiking trails.
If you search for “reading programs in Northern Virginia,” you’ll have a lot to read up on. Our area is chock-full of programs to stoke students’ love of the written word. Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington and Prince William counties all have summer programs that encourage reading, often incentivizing it by offering prizes. Loudoun County Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge emboldens students to get curious about new subjects—pairing related reading suggestions with weekly events led by a guest speaker or educational group at Loudoun’s various library branches. “Explore the Universe” is the theme for 2019’s program, which will start on June 10, and run for eight weeks, according to Sam Mull, who coordinates children’s and teens’ programming and community engagement for the libraries.
“All of our presenters encourage reading as a way to learn more,” Mull says. “It’s just encouraging them to read about anything they might have a passion for. It’s all about sparking the joy of learning.”
The program is ideal for parents who want a one-stop summer activity because it engages children in new subjects—like the didgeridoo or rainforest reptiles—while prioritizing reading. Pre-readers, children, teens and adults can enter to win prize baskets worth around $250 at each of Loudoun’s nine branches while the program is running.
Students of all ages will enjoy exploring Library of Congress’ symbolic art and historic architecture on a free guided tour. Browsing historical newspapers, maps and political cartoons on display is a great activity for high school students—it might even inspire them to apply for a Library of Congress internship in the future.
NoVA students with an interest in history should look no further than Alexandria’s historic district for summertime activities. The third oldest historic district in the country, Old Town Alexandria has more than 40 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also has an active preservation community that students can get involved with.
The Alexandria Archaeology Museum hosts the Alexandria Archaeology Summer Camp for history fans ages 12 to 15. Students who enroll get to dig at an actual historical site in Alexandria and, with the help of professionals, learn to properly excavate, record and process artifacts they uncover. Not only does the camp teach history and show students what a future career in archaeology might be like, it also instills the importance of community stewardship. When students aren’t at the historical site, they’ll discover more artifacts from past digs on display in the museum, which is located on the third floor of an iconic historic building: the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Parents can register their children online via alexandriava.gov. The camp takes place July 15 through 19, and it costs $400 with opportunities for scholarships available.
Though summer is a peak season for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, it may still be easier to get in than it is during the school year. Parents with time available during the workweek can try taking their kids at Walk-Up Weekday entry time, which starts at 1 p.m. (Monday-Friday), or snag same-day passes online starting at 6:30 .am. (Monday-Sunday).
Arts-based educational programs can lessen the summer brain drain, according to a recent study of such programs in Baltimore County Public Schools. With this in mind, aspiring young musicians, actors and visual artists in NoVA should sign up for summer programs that will allow their creative talents to flourish.
Mason Community Arts Academy at George Mason University holds summer arts camps in just about every discipline you can think of—all taught by university professors, master’s degree candidates or teaching artists. Along with music camps to help young string musicians, flutists, percussionists, pianists and guitarists hone their skills, Mason also offers summer programs in songwriting, film scoring, music production and music theory. A program for 5- to 8-year-olds with no musical experience gives younger ones a chance to sample different instruments, too. Mason’s theater camps teach students about acting, singing and dancing, while a workshop for 15-year-olds gives a behind-the-scenes look at technical stage production. Visual arts offerings are just as varied—with camps in stop-motion animation, digital photography, anime and more available.
Though varied in medium, most arts camps at Mason cost around $400 and run for one week. Camps are appropriate for a variety of ages—from eight to 18—and start in June and go through August.
A visit to a makerspace can teach young artists how to use new tools and connect with other creatives in their community. The Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB is a free makerspace for students ages 13 to 19—equipped with 3D printers, DSLR cameras and open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Brambleton, Sterling and Rust libraries in Loudoun County have makerspaces, too, and makerspace librarians who can answer questions about the available artists’ tools.
Does my child need a summer tutor?
Some students benefit from seeing a tutor once a week over the summer, particularly if they struggle with certain subjects during the year. For older teens, summer is an ideal time to start SAT prep with a tutor because it can be easier to focus without school work to worry about. While all ages can benefit from a tutor, asking your child’s teacher if it’s needed and paying attention to their achievements and struggles is the best way to tell.
“It depends on the kid and the family, and you have to do what works for you,” Allder says. Using bridge books to keep school subjects top of mind and reading routinely can be just as effective at fighting summer learning loss for many students, she says.
Where can I find tutors?
It would be bad practice for a teacher to tutor their student during the year. However, some teachers are open to tutoring a student over the summer once they’re no longer in their class. Allder suggests that parents ask their child’s teacher if they’re open to summer tutoring or if they can recommend other teachers who might be. If your child’s teacher can’t recommend a tutor, check if the public school system in your county has a parent resource center with a suggested tutor list.
The Summer Job Search
Are summer jobs a must for college admissions? The answer is no if you ask Colleen Ganjian, owner of DC College Counseling in Vienna.
Colleges are impressed by summer activities that connect directly to students’ passions and demonstrate their dedication—and those activities are not always a summer internship spent on Facebook Messenger. Considering that fewer teens have jobs in NoVA, working an average type of job can help them stand out when it comes time to apply for college, Ganjian says.
“If a student is working at a prestigious bank or engineering firm or architecture firm, all that is great and would enhance their application. But if a student is working retail or as a waitress, and they’re doing that for 60 hours a week, anybody reading that application is going to know that that was really hard work,” she says. “It’s almost like a throwback to previous generations. So many parents go, ‘Well, I was flipping burgers over the summer. I want something better for my [child] that’s going to get them into Harvard.’ And in reality, Harvard is fine with somebody flipping burgers.”
Your child might still land a dream summer job related to their passion or decide on rewarding summer work in retail or food service—whatever they set their sights on, Ganjian has universal tips to help.
Top Tips for Job-Seeking Teens
Use their own networks
When teens ask adults in their own network—a neighbor they’ve babysat for or the parent of a friend—if they know of any summer job opportunities related to their interests, it can lead to a better experience and shows colleges that they’re self-starters, Ganjian says.
Be respectful and prepared
Asking questions during an interview is a must for teen job-seekers—whether they’re interviewing at NIH or the Gap. “They need to have an idea of the brand and just show that they’ve done their homework,” Ganjian says. Once they’ve landed the job, kids should respect the job length listed on the description (even if it conflicts with a vacation) and be a good teammate to co-workers, too.
Hone their interests
Today, teens should focus less on being a jack-of-all trades who can play the piano, volunteer every week and work part time. Instead they should focus on pursuits they find meaningful and enjoyable, and bring that intention to a summer job search. “Colleges really want to see a kid who has a general idea of what they want to study, even if they change their mind,” Ganjian says.
The Summer Reading List
It might be tempting to force certain book titles on your children, but they have their own ideas when it comes to reading. They might prefer graphic novels and comics to chapter books, or fantasy to nonfiction, but the most important thing to focus on is that they’re reading often and enjoying it, says Erica Allder, a fourth-grade teacher at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Leesburg and a Loudoun Education Association representative. Gamifying the summer reading process can also help keep kids reading a variety of titles at a high volume.
“I’ve done a bingo board before where they can read any book they want in different places, or read different types of books to expose them to different genres,” Allder says, referring to her own children.
Kids can get more out of reading by journaling about books or discussing them with siblings or mentors, Allder says. If you and your child aren’t sure what to read next, then thumb through the latest titles at your local library or ask a children’s librarian for ideas.
“My message is to talk to the branch staff because they know our system inside and out,” says Sam Mull, who coordinates children’s and teens’ programming and community engagement for the libraries. “Sometimes we’re adding 100-plus books a week, and you’re only getting a very small snapshot if you’re just browsing the catalog.”
This post originally appeared in our May 2019 issue. Want more education content? Subscribe to our semimonthly education newsletter.
In April, a new law for surrogacy became law in the District of Columbia.
Prior to the passing of this new law, all parties to surrogacy agreements were subject to a fine up to $10,000 and a one year prison term. This ban had been in place for 25 years, and D.C. was the only jurisdiction making surrogacy a criminal offense.
Opponents of surrogacy argue that the practice is unnatural and exploits women. Concerns in some western European countries have made compensation for surrogacy illegal. Supporters of surrogacy say that it represents a rare chance for to make families for some people.
The new D.C. law streamlines the process for would be parents, and allows them to be named on the birth certificate, so they can avoid filing for adoption after the birth. The law applies to any would-be parent, regardless of sexual orientation and biological relation.
An unconventional family had a child and then became involved in a custody battle in New York. The parties involved are: (1) a married couple, man and wife, and (2) their neighbor, a female. The three were reportedly involved in intimate relations and considered themselves a family.
The neighbor female gave birth to a boy, whose biological father was the neighbor. The married couple eventually filed for divorce, after the two women moved in together.
The Judge in New York awarded shared custody to all three parents. To read more of this interesting story, click here.