During the six years that I have been a Hinsdale Central High School parent, the school’s PTO has consistently offered useful, as well as sometimes disturbing and provocative, parenting topics in its monthly Conversations With the Principal.
The recent presentation on Effective Learning — Behaviors and Strategies to Increase Learning was no exception. In fact, this may have been one of the positive and practical presentations this weary mom has attended, and for any parent interested in figuring out how to help their child learn more effectively and efficiently, the entire presentation, including the extremely useful hand-out, is on the PTO’s website: www.hinsdalecentralpto.org under the heading Conversations with the Principal.
Here is one of the golden nuggets: effective learners share something with those people who finally make it to Carnegie Hall, to the Master’s Cup, or to an NCAA championship: they practice, practice, practice. They don’t look at what they are practicing — from repetitious noun-verb agreements in a foreign language, to mathematical theorems to physics problems—as busy work. Instead they train themselves in doing the problems, according to Latin teacher Alisha McCloud.
All students, even identical twins, learn differently McCloud said, and she discussed three kinds of learning — auditory, visual and tactile — and a quiz in the handout available on the website can help determine which style suits your child. McCloud also presented the wellness triangle, a model in which physical health, which in the case of our teens often means sufficient sleep, as well as social health and mental/emotional health are primed. She urged parents to provide an appropriate physical environment at home for their students to study in which is ideally distraction-free of cellphones and TV and also somewhat public so that if the student wants to ask the parent for help, it is easily available.
“Learning is an active process,” McCloud emphasized.
It takes both effort and time and it takes time management. McCloud addressed the myth of multi-tasking and emphasized that “brain can only attend to one thing at a time.” Multitasking instead of focusing is incredibly inefficient.
Party at the libraries
Ssshhhh! OK, just kidding. Talking and laughing will be allowed, even encouraged when both Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills libraries host parties in November. Nov. 2, the Hinsdale Public Library will host its very popular Dining with Dewey fundraiser, and instead of featuring an author this year features Morey Sochat and The Special 20s, a Chicago blues band known for their swinging ’50s sounds. The Reel Club is catering the event, also called Take it Up a Decibel. Tickets are $150 each. Call Michaela Haberkern (630) 570-4210 for more information or to get a last minute ticket.
Fifty years ago in Clarendon Hills, a small and unassuming ranch house became home to the Clarendon Hills Public Library at 7 N. Prospect St., and earlier this year, the library re-opened after a short renovation left it new, improved and even more user-friendly. These milestones call for Dancin’ in the Stacks, the name of a party that obviously plays on the village’s popular Wednesday night summer parties. Dancin’ in the Stacks is a family-friendly event scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with food, live music, face painting and balloons. It is free and open to the first 200 people who register by calling (630) 323-8188 visiting www.clarendonhillslibrary.org.