Newsletter: Friends, Reward and Bananagrams edition

a newsletter about friends

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt


In our last newsletter, I wrote about how grandparents can be a great source of information and inspiration. Complementarily (is that even a word?), I couldn’t help thinking about my friends.

This past weekend, I made my traditional trip to VA to watch the Superbowl with a lot of friends. For many, it’s the one time a year I get to catch up with them in person and hear about their lives, most with children. Here are a few stories.

– One parent was helping his college grad son figure out the complexities of health care and making sure he was making some sound decisions.

– A second parent had a daughter that dropped out of college after 3 semesters and had no interest in going back – she was just a lazy unmotivated kid. After a few months, the daughter found a job she loved in golf marketing and works very hard at it. However, both her parents and the job have recently been pushing her to get her degree even if it takes her awhile to do so while she works.

– A third parent had a teenage daughter whose friend had almost died a few years back. The friend is fortunately healthy now but both were inspired to pursue some sort of nursing / caretaker career.

It seems so obvious but sometimes I think we forget that our peers are a perfect source of inspiration (and even their kids!). Although maybe some of you won’t admit it to your friends, they can be an invaluable source for things you don’t even realize.

How do your friends support their child’s education and learning? Are they just helping them with homework or do they do other things to create learning environments outside of school? How do they continually help them grow?

Let us know by commenting this post, on FacebookTwitter, or by email.

What’s New at Funderstanding

Is My Kid’s “English Major Code” For “Future Cater Waiter?”
In this funny and thought provoking post, Leah Holstein ‘comes out’ as an English major.

5 Great Videos To Be An Inspired Learner
They will either break your heart or blow your mind. Be ready to be inspired as a parent and a learner!

Ask Funderstanding

A question via Email: What is a reasonable reward for my 6th grader for getting A’s? And should I give a reward for B’s, or not bother?

Answer: We get this one a lot. And I know lots of parents who do this. Several local businesses will give kids a discount based on their grade. I know there are plenty of parents who swear that this works. And if you are one of those, go with the amount that works.

But, I don’t like this approach. There are 2 major reasons. The most important reason for me, especially for a 6th grader, is to never reinforce grades. Reinforce effort. There will be a point in your child’s life where results matter more then effort but at this stage of his or her life, let’s not worry about that. Just teach your child the value of hard work knowing that skill is far more important then anything he or she learns in 6th grade. I always tell my kids that we know their grade before the test based on the effort they put in. The grade they receive is far less important. This advise becomes less practical in high school but that’s a separate subject….

The other reason to discourage paying for grades is because you are impacting motivation. The child is now motivated by an external reward rather than for an intrinsic reward. You want your child to feel great about the grade, and not to be focused on the payout. Let the child find his or her own motivation. Especially in 6th grade.

Lots of snow coming down in NJ, so rest assured I am providing my kids an ample cash reward to get out and shovel. That’s one of the few activities that I am willing to bribe a teen for the behavior I want!

Ask us your question by commenting this post, on Facebook or Twitter!

Technology in Learning

We want to make sure we have a balanced view on learning technology. We haven’t spoken about low-tech in awhile.

My nephew spends way too much time playing online computer games. Even though he plays it with his friends that are in their own houses, I argue that he needs to get out and be with his friends.  So far, it’s an argument that I haven’t won.

The funny thing is that when we went to Maine for family vacation this past summer, we all spent a whole lot of time playing Bananagrams.


All the young kids that were there loved playing it and it’s a very social game. And it’s also easy to argue that it’s a great learning tool.  Everyone was constantly asking if something was a word and others would answer and it wasn’t just the adults who were validating words!

Care to share your favorite game to play as a family? Do it by commenting this post, on our Facebook or Twitter pages or by email.

G Whiz Moment

Want to make sure your kids understand their lesson? A good way of learning something is to teach it. Teaching will help your kids to put their ideas in order and to appropriate them. To be sure they understand the American Civil War, what about a presentation for the whole family? That is also a great occasion for everyone around the dinner table to learn something!

3 great links

Problem In the Classroom? Tread Lightly. Or how to handle a conference with an ineffective teacher.

24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing and who will give you amazing tricks to make your kids do house chores.

10 Major Technology Trends in Education and holographic teachers are not one of them.

Funderstanding Authors

Do you have a book that needs attention and better marketing? Do you have a book that needs to be converted into a digital format? We can help. Please contact us.

Below are some of our latest publications-just another way we deliver great content.

Maurice on the Moon by Daniel Barth, is a fun, sci-fi fantasy book for 5th-9th graders. Best of all, it fits into the structure of the new Common Core standards and is currently being used in U.S. classrooms.

9 Skills for Listening to Life by Geoffrey Caine, helps you to learn the art and skill of great listening, which is critical for not only improving personal and business relationships, but also for increasing everyday efficiency and effectiveness.

The Inspiring Teacher by Bob Sullo, is for every teacher and parent committed to making a difference and positively impacting the lives of their students and children.

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