Saturday, September 23, 2017

Talent Development in Atlanta - Can you prep your child to be gifted?

If you have ever had the chance to experience an existential crisis (like some people over the age of 20 have at some point in their life) one activity comes to mind: reading a book.

Whenever a person hits a low - they engage in an act of selfish, celebratory knowledge consumption that brings them to a trail of history, self-improvement and an assortment of biographical and autobiographical materials that will make any English professor proud. It happens to the best of us - and it brings you closer to who you truly are.

It seems that when parents look at helping their child realize their potential, they engage in selfish acts of trendy activities that show little to no value to a child's natural interests or curiosity. In the last few years, I have seen parents enroll their children in the most esoteric program timelines that the end result is a child that is a master of nothing. In my role as a professional, I hesitate to give advice on what they want to do with the little time that is spent with their child because at the end of the day, it is the parent that will answer for everything that they have scheduled for the child.

In no way am I stating that some children are gifted or truly talented. I've met many bright individuals and have attended coveted leadership programs where many of my former colleagues and associates have chaired, directed and overseen research and program development programs around the country. However, there is a hidden drive and a true path to success that separates one successful child from a child whose parent is the only driving factor to a child's purported path to success. Forcing a child to do something that is not in their true nature shows more of an insecurity upon the parent than helping a child find their true talent.

If a child is to be truly gifted, it takes more than years of driving them to and from an activity for them to be drawn to what will make them the world's best (fill in the blank) that will shape their future. In order for a child to be gifted, a parent must be a gifted parent in understanding their child and learning how to balance what they need and want their child to be with a set of priorities that focus on emotional/social/physical and intellectual well-being. No child wants to be coerced into a life of empty promises and meaningless dollar a pound trophies that will be a figment of their imagination in 30 years. They'll remember the lessons that they have learned along the way from people who teach them that the road to success is hard, and nothing in life should ever be taken for granted.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What I Am Being Blamed for When Children Are Being Put To Sleep

Many years ago, I shared an article about how I was able to help some parents sleep better at night. It was an anecdotal story shared with me by one of my former students who is now in college living the good life. (I really am happy for you because you are living in the heart of D.C. Lucky man!)

Now that my young students have come and finished one of my many programs, I can certainly say that for many (if not all of them),  have moved on to bigger and brighter futures. Except for the case of one mother who has recently contacted me on Facebook.

To make a long story short (or bearable in this case) I was on my way to one of my private school vendors when Facebook alerts me of a message that was shared by a former client. Instead of looking away from the screen and starting my car to travel a total of two miles, I decide to read the message that - for one brief second, solidified the reason why I love what we do.

Here is the message that she wrote (I know that she might be reading this so I am deleting some of the information because - confidentiality):

I know that for some reason or another, our company has been able to help so many students. I remember working with this little man and many others like him. Like many who visit my practice, his parents decided working with us after visiting another agency for six months. This wonderful mother (a former teacher) was one that I came to respect and was happy to work with. We came up with a few changes to help him not only have the stamina to read, but showed him how to manage the world around him.

K** here. Not sure if you remember working with W********? K************* Just to let you know we have nightly arguments for him to go to bed because all he wants to do is read! Thank you so much and now that I am back teaching I recommend LR to parents.

By the way, thank you to "K" and all the other parents that I am so happy to have helped over the years. I'm grateful that you allowed us the opportunity to work with your child and bring them a newly learned skill that they will value for the rest of their lives.

If you have any questions about Learning Ridge and our approach to Orton-Gillingham, please do not hesitate to contact Christine at or you can call us at (404) 964-8533.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

JATP : The 3 Ways Atlanta Parents Choose Their Private Schools

It's not uncommon for parents to shop around during the Private School/JATP process and see what it is that they should and should not do in choosing a school. Unless you are shopping at a local Whole Foods, it is difficult for one to obtain and objective perspective on what the schools represent until you make an appointment to tour the schools personally. Parents in the Atlanta area must rely on word of mouth to determine which schools would serve their students best.

In an effort to help understand how parents "think" and make their final (or in some cases, only) choice, here are some strategies that some parents have subscribed to in preparing for this life-changing decision:

The "Cast a Wide Net" Approach 

In some circles, this is an approach that is used by families who are more concerned with the status of being in a private school than the actual private school itself. They have listened in on the various conversations that their fellow "Parent-In-Arms" are having at the playground, preschools and athletic fields to gather information freely. Once they hear of another school that was not on their radar, they add it onto their personal list, call the school the next day and sneak into the next tour before the end of the month. They are new to the private school world because they either are not from the Atlanta area or they attended public school and do not want their children to attend public school.

Pros: Somehow, one of these schools may provide a favorable response and glimmer of hope that may cause you to star in your own "School Wars" trilogy

Cons: A school may choose you because they need to fill in the numbers and it may not be the best choice for your child.

"Legacy" Approach

My practice is private and confidential, however, I can tell you that there are a number of Legacy families that I meet on a daily basis. The "Legacy Approach" (also known as the "Blind" approach) is one where the pride of a family and where one or more than one individual attended, takes precedent over the proper selection of a school with a child. It is important to keep up with traditions that are meaningful and important, but isn't that what Thanksgiving football games and the Macy's Parade is for? Knowing that Grandma and Mom went to the school is important, but times have changed and some schools have changed in their educational philosophy and have contributed some wonderful students in the global community.

Pros: Great for family pictures and maintaining a certain degree of conformity within your micro-community

Cons: Choosing or imposing a school for your child may cause more harm than good especially if your child does not feel that school is for them.

"One-Shot" Approach

This approach is taken by some families because they either know too much about one particular school through another child or family member attending the school or because they are completely enamored by that chosen school. They have played out their cards rather favorably because their children can attend the local neighborhood public school as a back up in their envious neighborhood or continue to attend their "Plan B" school that their child is currently enrolled at.

Pro: Saves you time in planning and prioritizing your school search. For the most part, you only have to schedule one of everything for this "chosen" school.

Con: This leaves nothing on the table for other schools in the search. Many schools in Atlanta are being avoided because the parent is only choosing one school. Because you are looking at one school, the pressure is insurmountable for some individuals who may not be able to handle it. (Yes, that means you might need to call on your support system when your children are in bed at 11:00pm or early in the morning at 7:00am to relieve stress). And, it might cause you to have a nervous breakdown if your application make a grievous mistake anywhere during this process.

If you would like to learn more about how Learning Ridge has helped Atlanta families through this process of choosing an Atlanta private school and obtaining a favorable response, feel free to contact Christine at or you can call me at (404) 964-8533.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why Finding a Great Orton-Gillingham Professional in Atlanta is harder than you think..

I've worked with several parents this year that have been recommended to different Orton-Gillingham professionals before seeing me. I can't blame them for meeting with other professionals because the fact of the matter is, most people spend more time on marketing and networking than working on their clients - and as such, that is when referrals come. What makes me a little sad are the stories that I hear when they finally pick up the phone to call me.

One of my lovely clients is a wonderfully talented physician in the Metro Atlanta area. She called me out of the blue asking me questions about our program and giving me the sob story of what has (or has not) happened to her son over the course of the last year. Her son (sad to say) had worked with a provider who has a reputation for "not being nice" but has given the parents an expectation that "you don't see results until after 100 hours". Guys, this isn't losing weight without bariatric surgery, this is helping a child learn how to read in the most authentic way possible. In no way am I saying that I know everything about Orton-Gillingham. To be quite frank,  I know a great deal about cognitive development, motivation, brain processes, and other boring facts about learning and psychology that would put anyone over the age of one years old to sleep. It really pains me to share with you that I have a few books on the brain that I have tucked under my pillow that I read for fun at night.

After my client spent an entire year with the provider, she saw little to no progress. I'm not saying that this was a nine-month school year - this was 12 months of seeing the same organization over and over and for some reason, they could not teach him the basics. In comes "Learning Ridge" into the picture. They visit me on a quiet Friday afternoon. She brings her entire family to my office and little did I know, her husband is a former international educator. Before we finished the conversation and my initial impressions of what we will be doing should he start working with me, she shares her husband's notion that the first place that they went to was a "quack" and he does not feel that I will be doing anything to help make the situation any better.

This news hits me pretty tough. I'm not one to back down from an insurmountable claim. Nonetheless, I smiled and said, "You know, it's okay. Sometimes I don't believe that I'm great at what I do either. It's been hard knowing that you are capable but I guess he'll just have to wait and see." I laugh (and tear up) at the same time. Orton-Gillingham has been something that I hold really close to my heart. It has helped shape some fundamental processes and strategies that I use in my teaching and interacting with those whom I instruct and for some unknown reason, others in the industry use it as a "hook and catch" phrase to attract desperate clients.

Sorry, I digress.... After several weeks, I meet with my wonderful client and start what I was hoping, would be a key to unlock my new friend's reading ability. During that first lesson it was as if he was getting ready to catch some fish and I was there with the fishing rod and a few hooks. I provided him with the best (and least boring) lesson I could think of and suddenly, his face lit up. Letters started to click and the movement of the lesson from one concept to another started to (for once and for all) make sense. I left at the top of the hour and gave the mother some instructions/guidelines that she should consider for the next lesson.

I'm happy to say that when we met again for the second lesson, her husband became a believer. Given the fact that he was not raised in this area, he shared with his wife that for some reason or another, what I did makes sense and it works for their child. What that company attempted to do in one year I had accomplished in less than one hour.

The truth is, the power to connect at Learning Ridge is one person at a time. I know each and every one of our clients and what we do for them is life-changing and important. Teaching a child how to read or helping them attain a goal they were unable to do prior to meeting with us is life-altering. I'm proud of each and every one of their accomplishments and there's nothing better than making doubters in this life your biggest fans.

Thank you to my Learning Ridge Orton-Gillingham clients for always trusting in us. Your child's happiness and success lies in their ability to feel confident in their life and I am eternally grateful to be part of that!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

JATP | Gifted Prep | The Power of Great Parenting in Atlanta

Listen, watch, and observe - is what people are too busy not doing. It does not take me very long to see which parents that I meet will end up being at the top of their game with their children, and the rest of them will be swimming against a current of disappointment.

Let's start with my Private School Parents. The best ones that I have encountered are the "cool ones". They have been given the "script" of what to do, how to act, and other "insider tips" that help them stand out when they need to, and blend in when they have to. It does not concern me as to who their grandparents are or what patent they have received the year after their second child was born, these parents are more than their last "success".  They are the individuals who know never to pick a fight because it is not about winning or losing and they value the time and expertise of a respected professional.

Parents of children that are classified as "Gifted" fall into a category all their own. I'm uncertain as to what these parents end game truly is, but a parent that did everything to help their child get into the Gifted Program (and not game the system) is one that models what true parenting is. One of my favorite clients learned the hard way that her child is not reduced to a number or a label but is a valued member of society that needs to understand what is expected, and to clarify what they cannot understand. For the last four years, she has helped her child reach his fullest potential without ever asking for anything more than "please let me know if there is anything that I can do at home" from each and every loving professional that has worked with her son. (Yes, and I do mean that. His teachers have always valued his genuineness in the classroom and his "Magic" tricks!).

Sometimes parents rush to a finish line in the hopes that they will finish first in a race that they never qualified for. Being a good parent means knowing what you can do, and knowing what you need to do to help your children be the best that they can be. It's not about having all the money in the world or a job that entitles you to unlimited paid time off. A good parent is one that knows how to communicate with others and ask the right people to help them get their children where they need to be. A good parent is one that knows how to respect the opinions of others and understands the value of what accomplished, humble people have to say.

I'm happy to tell you that I have a number of wonderful parents that I have been so fortunate in working with over the years. Some parents that I have met will undoubtedly be successful in life because they have integrity and the morale fiber that one cannot measure through material worth but in the admiration of their peers and the community.

Thank you to all of those parents who I've helped through the years and I look forward to meeting more of Atlanta's Great Parents!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Orton-Gillingham and Handwriting Without Tears at Learning Ridge: What is the Difference?

A few months ago we met up with a few old friends for the holidays. We've realized that as we watch the years pass, the time that we spend with those that we care about are more precious than streaming our favorite television shows. After catching up with friends who have always known that I "work with children", they came to realize what it is that I have done for the better part of over a decade.

There were certain words that I hear from a young parent that are "trigger signs" for intervention. "He's struggling", "we are unable", "we've talked to this Dr." are all examples of what it takes for my ears to perk up in that moment. It takes less than an hour for me to do an assessment in my office to generate a report that guides the educational planning for a year, but like a physician who does a physical in the examination room, it only takes me five minutes to see what could be troubling a child.

Unbeknownst to many parents, including my sister, my in-laws and a few cousins, I disguise the act of "playing" into assessments. At the holiday get together that I was at, my husband was left behind to describe my unconventional process to the other guests and they were in complete disbelief that a child could be assessed, remediated and enriched using the art of "play". I'm not certain that I could agree with them, but it is difficult to have children (and adults) accomplish anything when they are bored. I despise cleaning and/or organizing unless I have music on or if I dance across the floor trying to sweep dust away from our walking paths. Work is not something that I can look forward to - but engaging in an activity that appears to be fun and exciting is something that I do everyday.

After a few minutes of listening to our family friend ramble on and on about what pains them with their child, I finally crossed the line of friendship and said, "let me do a few things to see what might be happening". I grabbed a few materials from my car and began my "pretend work". It seems as if I need to be in a classroom or in an office with a hint of "superiority" beside it, but it took me just a handful of tasks and I gathered all the data I needed to help our family friend with something that they had been struggling with for the past few years.

"In order for all of this to make sense to your child, and for him to move past this developmental stage - you need to work on this one thing... Once that happens, he'll take off.." My words resonated like the lyrics from an opera and it was if the biggest revelation was made for them this decade. In a sea of professionals that they had worked with, it boiled down to one thing physically, and the rest of the work was done by (and given credit to) me.

It took our family friends less than a week to make everything happen in their schedule to work with me and my organization. My promise to them was that this challenge would be taken care of and the only thing that I could guarantee is my hard work and honesty.  Nothing less than what they could ask for but I always made sure that I was deliberate and attentive in what they needed and they showed me that their son's education and well being is important.

Fast forward less than three months later, he's made more progress than I can write on one sheet of paper. His stamina when it comes to reading and utilizing the Orton-Gillingham method  has been astounding that when I keep my books on the table, mid conversation he'll start to read a book (without being prompted) and will finish the book by himself. We've come up with ingenious ways to help shape his behavior (thanks to my background in behavior modification) and to work towards a goal - by thinking big picture and then taking it one step at a time. Progress is never expected to occur overnight, but after a long and arduous walk filled with hours of conversation, stories and laughter, you've reached your destination.

I'm so proud of the little man that I've worked with for the past few months. He's not just the "family friend's son", he helps me realize that my job is never done and I'm able, without effort, to be at the top of my game all over again. Helping a child, any child, learn how to do something difficult is one of the best feelings you can have as an adult, Whether it's helping them read, write stories, draw, ride a bike - it does not matter, Once they have learned to do something with your help (and your heart), your existence is forever branded in their spirit!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Orton-Gillingham Excellence in Atlanta

When I read through a stack of resumes, it's almost like watching a reality television show. Some resumes impress me and some force me to get up for a drink of water because I've almost lost my breath laughing.

Here is my story: As I talk to various parents who have problems with their child's reading there are a few questions that they like to have answered. It seems as if they always like to hear what people like for them to hear and it makes me think to myself how too much time on message boards can leave you a little queasy.

Yes, when it comes to education there are certain standards, or (for lack of a less intimidating term) strands. However, just because you buy the certificate does not make you the best person for the job. It also does not mean that if the person's office or tutoring schedule is busy that they will make the biggest impact on your child. (Just because Walmart is busy doesn't mean that it's the best place to shop, right?)

After working with thousands of clients through the years, there are certain things that I am looking for in a client who would like to see their child successful. The first thing is : Commitment. We have spent hundreds of hours preparing for the process of remediating and/or enrichment training for your child and in return, we want to make sure that you, the parent, will know what to do. The other important aspect of our process is: Trust. There are certain benchmarks that each child has. It's almost like being in your Introduction to Philosophy class where you are studying logic: If you have A and B, then C will happen. I've had parents call me after a week and say, "Why have they not learned concept "Z" yet?" All I say is, "Well, we are still on concept "M"... We'll get there, but you need to be patient."

Orton-Gillingham is a great methodology to help teach someone who is struggling with reading how to read and it helps those who already knows how to read a proper framework for orthography. There's more to it than a program. For me, I have spent an additional two years of Graduate School studying educational pedagogy, neuroscience, motivation, and behavior along side with a Professional Development Plan that clocks in over 300 hours a year. What is even more odd is that some "practitioners" with more years of experience than my Grandfather had in taking depositions as an attorney call me for advice or what's even more striking - ask me questions that I thought the certificate would help them answer.

Yes, I have a certificate on the wall at home, but there's knowledge behind it as well. I'm happy to share my knowledge and expertise to anyone who would like to be part of the Learning Ridge Family!

If you or anyone you know is having problems with reading, phonics, or processing, please call me at 404-964-8533 or you can visit our website at .

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Singapore Math in Atlanta: It Really Is Amateur Hour

Yes, I said it - only because I can prove that this really did happen and I am sad to say that it was proof that some great schools make unbelievably horrible choices.

On one extremely cold and rainy day in Atlanta, I stopped by one of my favorite Tea Shops off of Ponce De Leon Avenue and was preparing for an Orton-Gillingham/Admission Preparation tutoring session with the son of a sweet family friend. (Yes, this is a picture of him when I brought him to a store to pick out a LEGO because he is doing such a great job reading. I would never identify him because that's not why I'm writing this post - but he was the "Caped Crusader on this day).

I was cutting and stapling an assortment of materials and I could not help but be in awe of two teachers who were having a discussion on what I thought was a PhD Dissertation topic. The conversation was along the lines of: "How do you know when a child is struggling in a topic? Are all children with poor grades unable to grasp that subject?"

It hit me, I thought that I was on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and was brought to this particular Tea House to answer this question and win a chance to help a person with their dissertation paper. Sadly, I was mistaken about the motive for them asking that question and when they revealed to me that they run the Student Support Services for a Charter School in Atlanta, I thought I was about to faint. How can a school, fully funded and armed with a cavalry of staff and resources, not be able to help students with Math?

In talking with these ladies that "run" the department, I was taken aback by their lack of experience and/or insight on the process of helping students. After invisibly shaking my head, I gave them some anecdotal stories of how parents at their charter school run into my office and beg for assistance in understanding this curriculum that for some reason, is being taught by individuals who have a degree that is as close to Math as Physics is to Classical Music. When they asked me how I knew of the school I told her that they were one of the schools that several of my clients had been excited about attending, but now that they have a lopsided approach to teaching (they have actually told parents that the children will receive a great education in everything but... math) and that their administration has the compromising abilities that are the equivalent to a five year old, I see little to no change in Professional Development.

If a school says that they use a program, please make sure that it is not a year of Curriculum Experimentation where your child will fall victim in their first or second year implementing the program. It is important that with any transition, you find the proper support in assisting your child with understanding the background and concepts that are associated with the curriculum.

If your child is at a school where they are implementing a math program that is different from what they have used in the past and are struggling, please feel free to email: or you can call me at (404)964-8533.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Atlanta JATP Testing: Why Do Parents Wait Until The Last Minute to Think About Private Schools?

If you ever met my in-laws, you would not be surprised that they planned for my husband's education and his scholastic transitions five years before he changed from his first school to his second school. When I talk to my mother-in-law about these different events, she describes the planning that she had to do in addition to all of the milestones he would need to meet in order to be considered for some of the scholastic challenges that lie ahead.

Fortunately for my husband, the work was done for him. My situation of transitioning from one school to another was not as smooth. My parents moved in the middle of my fifth grade year from one area of town to another and even though it was still in the same city, I lost a core group of friends and teachers that understood me as a student and needed to re-learn everything.

When parents look for someone to help them with the private school process in Atlanta, it is a daunting and challenging process. During the first meeting that I have with my new clients, I find myself apologizing at least once (maybe more than once) about the information that I provide to them and sometimes, expect them to remember when they leave the office. I'm extremely happy by the sheer number of parents that contact me early because I compliment them on their timing and can be honest about the element of time and how it can help with your child's development. However, parents who contact me with only a few weeks to help them navigate through the process of selecting a private school are not as lucky.

Some things to consider when you are looking for a professional who is working on an advisory role as you choose private schools for your child are the following:

1. How well do they know the school? (Other than receiving subjective information from a friend.)

2. What makes them qualified to speak about school choices? (A response of "I"m a parent!" is not a qualification..)

3. How long have they been doing this professionally? (If they are recently retired from one of the schools, that makes them bias - and great for that school in particular.)

4. What can they do other than talk about a school? (If they have a brochure from the schools, that is great if you would like to hire someone to act as a filing cabinet.)

5. Why are they advising you on school choices? (I have clients every year call me the "School Whisperer" because I predict which school(s) will send the acceptance letter.)

If you are on the road to having your child go through the Atlanta Private School Admissions Process and would like to have some additional insight/consulting on this rewarding journey, feel free to contact me at: or you can call me at 404-964-8533.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Atlanta Orton-Gillingham: Does Your School Really Understand Dyslexia?

Sometimes I come across a parent who has a child enrolled in a school that has a person that champions themselves as being "Orton-Gillingham certified". I'm pretty fortunate enough to understand the difference between identifying a person who is "Orton-Gillingham Certified" and an individual who is "Orton-Gillingham Proficient".

At this period in time, there are many reasons why some children are struggling in reading than others. Not every parent has the ability to lean in during a Parent-Teacher Conference and really understand how some of the comments that your teacher is giving you can come across as a time when you need to start searching for help. But I would be a little suspicious if your child is struggling in school and the only individuals that the school is recommending are staff that are in the same building.

I've seen some awful things in my life when it comes to children who may need a different approach for remediation or enrichment however, one of the worst has to be when parents choose the wrong people to help their child with an issue. One parent came in to tell me that one of their teachers (an Orton-Gillingham Member) claimed that her daughter needed Orton-Gillingham and for some reason or another, the mother paid thousands of dollars to the school and after four months, the school could not provide any documentation that demonstrated progress from the money they collected. I was livid when I heard of this and after less than one month, the student went from sounding like a Kindergartner sounding each sound out to reading in complete sentences.

I'm always happy to see that I can stand behind all of my hard work and everything that we set out to do is accomplished.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Atlanta Orton-Gillingham/Singapore Math: How to Know When Your Child May Be Having Problems at Home or School

Every month I am able to work with clients all over Atlanta and the country who share with me the challenges that they have with their child. Some issues that their young ones may have are quite normal for a professional like myself who sees this more often than not however, given that they are seeing this issues first hand, it is all very daunting to a new parent.

Here are Some Behaviors that may be indicate that your child is struggling at school

1. Refuses To Read Out Loud

In the early years of your child's education, the foundation of learning is based on print. They transition from a sensory environment that is filled with music and art into one where they must look at information and describe it.

If your child is having problems with learning how to read, they become their own worst critic and may not want to share with you how difficult it is for them. After seeing other children in their class pick up books and go through the material, they struggle with understanding the different letters and "sounding like them". It is easy to see why they would not want to read your favorite bed time story with them when they come home.

2. Enuresis Makes A Comeback

Many children lack the communication skills to describe the barrage of feelings that they hold deep in their heart. Whether it is dealing with a difficult classmate or missing their mommy/daddy when they work too much or are out of town, they keep it bottled up inside because they have not been taught how to "talk through" their feelings.

I've listened in on parents telling me that their five/six/seven year old is still bedwetting and they miss the psychological aspect behind this issue than the physiological aspect. If you've noticed that your child is starting to have accidents more frequently, it may be a sign that should ask your child what they are worried about.

3. Does Not Want to Engage in Conversation After School

"What did you do at school today?"

Some children are unable to answer the question because they have repressed their entire school day because it is truly traumatizing. Fortunately, with technology and access to his/her teacher and classmates, it is much easier to find out what is happening at school and what you can do at home to remedy their communication ills.

4. Has Problems with Transitioning

When it is time for you to go to a social event such as dinner or a community gathering, your child should not take more than a few minutes to get ready and walk out the door. However, if your child has problems with time management and then reverts to a tantrum after you have reminded him/her that you are leaving in one minute, there are underlying issues at hand that need to be dealt with.

5. Strained relationship with siblings/pets

Sibling rivalry is more of a state than a condition in many families. When your child is with their younger or older sibling and has changed personalities over the course of the last few weeks, there may be an issue that you have not been apprised of. I've seen children verbally taunt and become physically aggressive to their siblings and when asked why they are doing this, the response they give is usually that they have felt attacked at school and are backed into a corner.

If your child is having a difficult time with school and has manifested these behaviors, contact Learning Ridge by emailing or you can call us at 404-964-8533.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Atlanta Orton-Gillingham: The Different Individuals Who Could Help Your Child

Who are the different specialists that can help your child with a processing disorder?

Before you look at signing up your child for a program, here are the recommended individuals who could serve in the best interest of your child's development. This is a general list and may be helpful as you are researching and comparing different services:
    1. Pediatric psychiatrist
    2. Pediatric neurologist
    3. Pediatric developmental specialist
    4. Pediatric endocrinologist
    5. Pediatric geneticist
    6. Pediatric otolaryngologist
    7. Pediatric ophthalmologist
    8. Speech and language pathologist (audiologist)
    9. Neuropsychologist
    10. Educational psychologist
    11. Educator with special education credentials
    12. Reading tutor
    13. Physical therapist
    14. Occupational therapist
    15. Pediatric social worker
    16. School placement expert (educator)
    17. Disabilities attorney
    18. Family physician or general pediatrician 
If you are having challenges with your child's reading progress or need more information on Dyslexia and using research based programs to help with your child's educational progress, feel free to contact Christine at Learning Ridge by emailing: or you can call me at 404-964-8533.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Atlanta Super Families: Habits of Highly Successful Parents

In my years of working with different families, I can always tell which parents who come to my office will have little to no problems in handling different situations with their children and which parents will be the subject of some made for tv show on how not to parent.

Here are some traits describing successful parents:

1. They Are Long-Term Thinkers

A mother and father duo came in last year and planned out and executed a successful transition from one private school to another that took us 6 months to orchestrate. The mother prepared for this event months before and called me during the early part of the season. Her and her family arrived at exactly the scheduled time for the assessment - and not one minute too early or late.

The following week, her husband, came in to "follow up" and made good on his word that they would follow through on the plan. He also reassured me that the family would make this a new habit and boy, did he mean it.

2. They Follow Through on Their Promises 

You will never know who my favorite clients are (it's something that I can never let on due to the emotional distance that I need to keep from my clients) but sometimes they read the blogs and can identify with what I am saying:

One father that is part of the Learning Ridge family is very humble and modest. I had a scheduled home visit that day to work with his daughter who was going from 5th grade math to 7th grade math in one summer. His younger daughter was practicing piano while I was talking to him and he asked her to stop practicing while we were conversing. She initiated a few more chords and he reiterated to her that she not play when adults are talking to each other. The moment that she hit the keys the third time he walked over to her, moved her away from the piano and said, "time out now".

Knowing that children test boundaries, it was quite nice to see that this parent did not spare one second in showing his children who's the boss.

3. They Know How to Treat People Who Care For Their Child(ren)

One of the best mothers I have ever met in my entire life was Mrs. C. On the outside she looked like she was always training for a half marathon, on the inside she was one of the kindest, most thoughtful individuals in my life who knew how to be grateful.

Unlike some individuals who I've come into contact with, she knew that the key to her children's success was the collaborative efforts shared between her and the people who work with her children. She always said "thank you" for everything that we did for her and made me feel important in our efforts to help her little four year old learn everything she needed to learn to be successful in school. I enjoyed working with her because she helped me realize why I love doing what I do and who I needed to help.

4. They Realize What Is a Priority, and What Is Not

I have been in close contact with an amazing mother who I have known for years. For some reason - this mother has a business sense that is unparalleled (she paid off her mortgage in ten years).

This mother has three wonderful daughters but the youngest child is Quadriplegic and has Cerebral Palsy. Instead of giving up on her daughter and leaving her in the care of strangers, she wakes up just a little before everyone else and plans out her duty filled day for everyone in her family. She sacrifices vacation for family celebrations with her three daughters and fights each and every day to make sure that all of her daughters feel important and empowered. There was even one time where one of her daughters was having a difficult time in her first professional occupation as a nurse and she gave her life advice on how to manage stress.

She's a hero to all mothers. Surprisingly, her actions are not done for a reward or an article that will be written about her in the newspaper; she does this because one day she knows her daughters will remember all of those times where their mother had given them one of the most valuable gifts: time.

5. They Know When To Be There (and When To Vanish)

I absolutely love working with the J. Family. This mother heralds a different set of mothering skills and is successful in long-term planning/emotional regulation for her children and in making you feel at home. Her husband is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I even have told her that I felt like she wasn't a real client because she was just "too nice".

When Mrs. J. would schedule appointments, she would come visit with her boys in tow and the doggie in the van. (I can't remember the breed of the dog - but he's huge!) Mrs. J would show up with a huge coffee beverage sometime between  7:45am and 7:55am in the morning for an 8:00am appointment and I can already envision how the first few hours of my morning would look like. She would have a huge grin on her face and as each of her children would come in and would act more like they were attending a "sleepover" and not a "session with your learning expert". She would leave in her dressed up pajamas and the boys would be left in their own devices learning vocabulary two to three years above their level and math that would knock any person out of their senses.

6. Understand the Difference Between Realistic Expectations and "Miracles"

If you know anything about me or my company, you know that I like to work using realistic timelines. Everything that I encounter is based on a timeline and the processing speed of information that can be absorbed by an individual.

During one period of time, I had revisited a student that I had worked with for a period of four years but needed a break from because of an irregular schedule that his family imposed on my personal time. (To be honest with you, that is the best way to not be taken seriously - if you do not have a plan in place for helping your child - do not expect them to respect you.)

When the student came back, they were in a different educational setting and this provided us with an opportunity to supply him with educational services. What first appeared as an hourly series of tutoring sessions turned out to be an all out homeschool support system that resulted in a series of A's and B's never before seen on his progress reports for high school.

I had to reason with him and his parents that through all of his hard work, patience, and persistence - these favorable grades could be accomplished on a more frequent basis. However if you expect long-term results for doing very little in a short period of time - this would be a "miracle" and not the norm.

What are your secrets to being a Highly Successful Parent? If you would like to share your comment or have questions on how to be a Highly Successful Parent, feel free to contact me at . 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Atlanta: Finding the Right Professional for Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia Support

At Learning Ridge,  we encounter the experiences of parents in their journey towards helping their child with different learning challenges. Sometimes we encounter parents that believe their child may have issues with reading and or math processes, other times parents come to us after years of working with their child's school in order to find out that they have exhausted their efforts for little to no return.

In many cases, parents do not discover that their is a problem until one year after the problem has occurred. Public schools and private schools alike have their own way in monitoring progress (or lack thereof) and by the time the school has identified a problem, one half year has passed. When a school actually begins discussing what measures need to be taken after discovering the issue at hand, an entire school year has passed and parents are left with little to no recourse in helping make up the lost time.

Some things to consider when you have a child that is in the primary school age is to constantly look for a team of professionals who will give you an unbiased view of what your child should know. At Learning Ridge, we assist parents in both early intervention and the prevention of severe learning challenges. For the last twelve years, I have worked tirelessly to make sure that children who may have a learning challenge to gain the skill sets and knowledge to overcome these obstacles.

If you have a child or know someone who may need support with a learning/processing disorder such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or Dysgraphia, or need to discuss programs such as Orton-Gillingham, feel free to contact me at: or you can contact me at 404-964-8533.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Orton-Gillingham and Reading: What Are The Essential Skills Your Child Needs to Know?

Most individuals can look back and retrace the first steps that their parents took in helping them learn how to read. Although I am unable to remember the first time I learned how to read, I remember being a teenager and working with my niece who was always mesmerized by my collection of notebooks, textbooks, and pens. She would sit beside me and I would write simple three letter words out for her in my notebook and have my mini-me learn how to read. It was not difficult for me to come up with a short lesson and play "take away the letter" games with her to see if she could manipulate the letters to see if she could read. I enjoyed that time and realized that reading for her (as well as the rest of the individuals in my family) was as natural as speaking, singing and dancing.

For some individuals reading does not come as naturally. Some teachers have been taught that children can simply look at the words and pictures on a page and that will essentially help the child learn how to read. It may be the case for most children but for others this simple act of image memory does not correlate with reading. 

Reading is a complex linguistic task that may need to be broken down for some children. For those who may not think of it being a natural task, it needs to be acquired through direct instruction and simplification. Without the proper training or the skill sets needed to help remediate students with Dyslexia or other processing disorders, the task will present itself as overwhelming and time that is misused.

If you think that your child is in need of Dyslexia support or may need the Orton-Gillingham Methodology of Reading Instruction, here are some skill sets that you may need to check on from your provider:

1. Language Development

Is there a particular stage in which children need to develop expressive or receptive language skills? What types of articulation errors are common in a four, five, six year old? If these questions are not easily answered by your provider, they may not have the foundation to create an outline of when these errors in language will be remedied.

Are there sounds that your child produces that make them sound less "local"? Is your child in a setting where they may pick up incorrect speech patterns or are not exposed to proper grammar? 

3. Vocabulary

Some students who may have a much more advanced spoken vocabulary but do not utilize this in writing may also be challenged in various ways.

4. Spelling

If your child receives great marks on their spelling tests but are unable to apply these spelling rules a provider may need to determine what splinter skills your child is lacking.

5. Fluency

Having a student read the same passage or book five times does not correlate to fluency. If the methodology your tutor is using becomes exposure to one particular approach, it may not be what your child needs to feel challenged.

If you feel that your child is having difficulty with learning how to read or may need reading remediation such as Orton-Gillingham and you are in the Atlanta area, feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533 or you can email me at . We have helped clients in the Atlanta area for over 11 years and would love to show you how we can help your child. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

JATP in Atlanta: Do You Know How To Help Your Child Become More Creative?

Happy New Year to all of those parents who are excited to have their child participate in the process otherwise known as "Atlanta Private School Admissions" or in other circles, "JATP Prep".

When parents begin this process, one thing crosses their mind: "Do we need to do anything to prepare our dear four to ten year old for this process?". Many parents ask their friends about what they need to do during this process. After countless coffees, dinners and play dates they are presented with a multitude of options that seem daunting to the blind eye but are keys to practical (and productive) parenting.

In my practice of helping parents with Admissions Preparation, we take a different approach in ensuring that students feel confident and successful with this process. Outside of our traditional cognitive development approach that relies on a European-Asian model of enhancing intellect, we take into account one important faculty need to be strengthened when children engage in metacognitive .

One area of focus that seems to be missing in many family dynamics is creativity. Parents strive to give their children the very best in their lives.  These attempts are commendable however, this provides children with an environment bereft of problem solving and self-reliance.

Recently I was able to spend time with the man who created the multi-colored single chamber clicker pen. When describing his inventions, he was able to give historical accounts about what was happening in history during the time. Each of his inventions and patents had made history and this humble man left the conversation with giving us one piece of information that made us understand why he was able to create so many innovations: he was comfortable with being left alone.

Unlike most children who grow up being shuffled from one scheduled activity to another, this man was left to analyze and observe the world around him. His keen sense of awareness enabled him to examine what was wrong or what could be improved if given the opportunity. It takes discipline, motivation, and follow through to be successful in life but happiness through accomplishment sometimes requires contentment in being alone.

The next time you sign your child up for another activity think to yourself - how can I help play a role in my child's creativity. It is a wonderful thought that you are a good parent because you are able to give your child what they want and need, but looking towards the future, how can your child apply the knowledge to become great.

If you have questions about Admissions Preparation and/or Cognitive Development, feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533 or

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Do You Have A Disorganized Child? Here Are Some Tips To Help..

Students in this day and age are given more resources and devices to use than the generation before them. Growing up in the "Transitional Technology" Age, my senior Praxis Class was conducted online and when our professor asked us "what do you think about our discussions held on the internet platform", each and everyone in our group said, "it is nothing compared to our interactions face to face. That is where the real learning takes place!"

If you open your child's backpack and see their papers shuffled as if they were trying to avoid a tax audit, here are some simple tips that you can use to help them get back into shape:

1. Provide a time to complete tasks

You've seen it with some families - and I hope that I am not speaking to you, but there are times when children come home, throw their backpack on the floor and start playing with their iPad or video games and command you to bring them something to snack on.

Understand that your child has a hard day and by the time they walk into your house, they have used all of their brain power to get through the last few hours of school without wanting to fall into a frenzy. Instead of having them look like Grandpa sitting in the rocking chair after school, prepare a light snack for them and communicate what needs to be done when. If you have a timer that can be used that could work; if your child becomes a bit more sensitive to alerts like I am, have them listen to their favorite song or play outside for the duration of a television show and they will be centered.

2. Provide a place to complete tasks

All houses are different and there are some parents that subscribe to the kitchen table method of homework and others that have a desk set up in their child's bedroom because it looks great.

Regardless of where you decide to have your child spend the next thirteen years building their foundation for the future, make sure that it is clean and organized for them to begin their work. Yes, my parents had a desk for me when I was younger but to be honest with you, the drawers had yearbooks from the previous year and handwritten letters from my grandfather and other members of my family.

I personally like using the kitchen table because it signaled to us that we were renting out the space from mom until she made us our delicious family dinners:)

3. Establish a routine

I know that most parents over schedule their children. It's great to have some sort of routine so that your child knows what to expect and when.

We shared a nice home cooked meal with my husband's family and (unfortunately) my husband was reminded of the one "go-to" meal that his mom made on Wednesdays. Wednesdays was a hard day for her so she fed the family meat and potatoes and what he said was his most unfavorite day was something that she said was a necessity. "I spend three hours making a great roasted meal on Sundays for the family and know that on Wednesdays - I don't have much time. So that was it. I know that you do that do with your omelette dinners on Wednesdays!".

Yes, a routine a great and make it easy and something that your children will enjoy.

4. Create a chart to show progress (or regression)

Simple charting of what they need to do helps children visualize what it is that they are doing and how to respond to you when they do not.

The truth of the matter is, there is a certain amount of anxiety that disorganized children feel and if you are to take that anxiety and have them see that the task is easier to overcome once you see it, they will understand what needs to be done and learn how to be accountable.

5. Leave necessary materials where needed

When you are at home and the phone rings and you need to jot down notes and cannot find a pen or a paper to write that information down? Think of how your child feels when they begin to do their homework and/or project and every 30 seconds they need to march upstairs or downstairs to grab their supplies.

Ask yourself, "what does my child need every time they begin a project" and have it accessible. They'll need a few pencils, a sharpener, highlighters, sticky notes, a few pens, a digital device to download course materials and all of their books right in front of them. Make it easy for them to be successful and don't get in their way!

6. Minimize materials

If you know me personally, I am motivated by beauty in writing craftmanship. I have access to a certain amount of pens/pencils and rotate them out on a bi-monthly basis so that I can enjoy everything that I have.

I've seen some parents attack this differently (and there is no one solution - there is the one that you have that works for you). One of my favorite clients had a closet of office supplies that he kept for his children (very basic) and some other parents have it stored in the garage or basement. In my industry I've noticed that children love ergonomic materials that they have never seen before and for some reason, this motivates them to write longer and with more purpose.

7. Provide an organizer

There are different types of organizers that are used in the United States however, I feel that they are not necessarily organizers but storage systems. (There is a difference between the two).

As I've become immune to "pouches", I subscribe to a system that has room for me to see my belongings so that I do not accidentally poke myself with a sharpened pencil reaching for a pair of scissors.

Here's an example of what you could have your child use:

8. Have a checklist

Checklists - some people hate them, without them I would still be working on my term papers from middle school.

Keep it fun and simple for your child and if you've had a great week, have them create a checklist for you on the weekends.


- Decompression Time
- Snack
- Homework
- Break
- Homework
- Family Time

Nothing more, nothing less and the more you plan - the less you stress:)

9. Label materials

This is important so that your child knows what is their property and what is not. I have to laugh because when working with children, they cannot seem to identify their coats, jackets, books, materials from their classmates because it all looks alike. One piece of advice that I have for children and their parents is to label everything. When their teacher hands them a piece of paper they need to write their name and the date on it, otherwise it becomes useless.

10. Act as a model

Great parents do not just tell their child how to live, they act as the role model. My mother (one of the wisest individuals I know) learned from her mother to put things back in it's place and have a place for everything. (Okay mom, what about your shoes?)

Children will take you seriously if you can walk the same walk. If they are having problems, they need to be encouraged to do better and have the confidence that they can do it.

If you have any questions about how to help your child become more organized or if you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533 or you can email me at .

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What is Missing in STEM Education?

Here's the deal: I walk into a classroom and it is decorated with the latest in technology, curriculum, and gadgets that would make one believe that someone in your child's class is about to become the next Elon or Bill Gates. Your child comes home with passwords from websites and information on applications written by people who have spent less than 8 hours with a child that has the same learning disposition and/or attention span as your child. Rubrics are passed around to tell you what to do to complete an assignment in each of their STEM classes but there is one thing that is missing in the fundamental success of each and every teacher preparation program and student evaluation rubric: How to give proper (and adequate) feedback.

Today children are left to their own (personal devices) to learn and the expectation is that we can teach children through an app or a workbook. We've replaced education with a series of discrete trials that have been used on monkeys and testing groups and wonder why children are failing. What surprises me the most is the mere fact that many students in this country have succumbed to a phenomena also known as "learned helplessness" and expect that when they cannot do something or if their parents are unable to do something that will allow them to feel confident - they do not bother trying.

The fact is really simple, in more ways that can be counted, students need to learn how to take feedback and criticism as a way to build character and their own sense of self-determination. Never before have I seen students fearful of failing when they never learned how to ask a question or became intimidated to look through the answers to a test where they could have received more credit if they had only informed the teacher that the answer they presented was correct.

Parents in this day and age have learned to argue with teachers and not look at themselves on how to become role models in what they want their children to be. They have tossed the book aside on how to raise a human being and have replaced it with "How to Overnurture Your Child" .

I would love to see the day where parents teach their children life lessons on how to work hard and to look at your mistakes as opportunities of learning and understanding instead of grades. Or when a child comes home to complain about problems they are having at school - parents can step in and share what their family stance is on how to treat other people instead of attending some class on "how we all need to parent children in the 21st century".

When I spent some time with my father-in-law, I rummaged through some old school records that he had kept from when my husband was in elementary school. Somehow, I came across a letter that might have been written in response to a teacher that perhaps, thought my husband was unfocused (that's surprising - what most professionals call "unfocused" I call, "it's called being a bored boy?"). The letter (albeit written in a different language) was a beautifully written letter that gave my husband some life lessons on being a good student. It put into perspective that even though your parents are not there with you everyday, it is important to communicate what it is that you want your children to be, otherwise they will have to walk that journey alone.

STEM Education comes with it a whole set of standards that are great - but it is important that children learn to take into account the importance of receiving feedback, whether good or bad - to reach a final product that they would be happy to call their own.

If you would like more information about Learning Ridge STEM Programs or if you would like to have our STEM workshops at your facility, community center, club house, feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533 or you can email me at .

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Case for Handwriting and Fine Motor Skills: Why Are They Important?

At the end of the 20th century, this country had made advancements in technology that would signal a change in all of our lives. What took the manpower of dozens or hundreds of people are now replaced with one app, one click, one touch, or sometimes, one swipe. We've replaced many manual processes in favor of fast, easy to program technologies but one thing that has suffered immensely is the work that is done by hand.

Less than 48 hours ago I was fortunate enough to watch a classical symphony in Stuttgart, Germany. This experience was exciting as it allowed me to see one of the last living performing art forms take over my soul. As I was transported to a time when one could feel Mendelssohn pour  his heart into his music or when Tchaikovsky elevated music through his prose and compositions of various symphonies, it reminded me of the fact that some processes can be replicated and copied but a true artist or craftsman - will never be.

Fine motor skills such as those learned from handwriting, playing music or drawing, is one of the corner stones of development. When children move from one stage of learning to another, they acquire learning experientially and these skills are then moved and stored from short term memory banks to long term memory cartridges. Children who have difficulty in accessing information may not have these processes in tact and direct learning might be more impactful.

If you would like more information on Handwriting and how it can help your child learn in a more fluid meaningful way, please contact Christine at Learning Ridge by calling 404-964-8533 or email .

Monday, January 2, 2017

Orton Gillingham in Atlanta: What are Some Warning Signs of Dyslexia?

Having worked with students who have had various challenges in education for the last ten years, it is normal to hear that some things appear amiss when it comes to your child's learning. 

Despite the fact that your child may have had great experiences during their early preschool and kindergarten years, there are a few things that you may need to pay attention to so that the problems do not persist and create more of an emotional and financial burden down the road.

Here are some warning signs of Dyslexia/Processing Disorders:

Made Up Speech 

Developmentally, your child will go through certain stages of speech and making up speech while they are in grade school may hold them back from understanding how to read or even processing information in general. If your child is of school age, they should begin to have more refined skills in communicating that will make learning more accessible.

Articulation Difficulties 

If your child is four years old and cannot say the word "earth", that is normal (despite the fact that I told my mother that my baby brother had a speech disorder when he kept saying "earf" and not "earth" when he was three) however, there comes a point when children need to learn how to speak coherently. 

There are a variety of ways that articulation impacts learning and the causes might be more than normal progression of where to place the letters in a word. 

Left versus Right Confusion 

Not knowing the difference between your left and your right is one sign of Dyslexia, a popular disorder. There are other tell tale signs, but if your child keeps forgetting which one is which (or if they put the wrong shoe on each foot like my niece did), you might want to see if it is simply them forgetting or if it is one of the other things that they are not able to learn.

Coordination Problems

One of the tests that are conducted in schools all across Europe and Asia are basic coordination tests. Not everyone needs to know how to throw a football like Tom Brady or play tennis like Andre Agassi, but they should know enough about depth perception and visual discrimination to keep themselves safe and alert.

If you have any questions about Dyslexia, or would like to learn more about how Learning Ridge can help your child with a Language Processing Disorder, please feel free to call Christine at 404-964-8533 or you can also email

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017! New Years Resolutions for the Family!

As we ring in the New Year, we all have a better idea on how we can make improvements that will add more quality in our lives. At Learning Ridge, we are beginning the year with spending time with family and understanding what it really takes to have a great foundation for learning and raising great children! (Thank you to my mother-in-law and father-in-law in sharing some great secrets with me!)

If you are a parent, here are 7 Great New Years Resolutions for your Family!

1. Stay Organized

One of the most important aspects of life is staying organized. As I walked in and out of the kitchen, I noticed my mother would keep her calendar and a stenographers notebook that showcased what she wanted to buy for the week.

2. Keep up with a Schedule

Yes, you are busy and so is everyone else. It is hard to keep up with one schedule, let alone schedules that include your spouse and your children. However you wish to maintain peace and order in the house, keep a schedule in analog or digital form and make sure that it is updated constantly or else, you'll end up double booking, missing appointments, or annoying providers with cancelations or last minute requests.

3. Communicate

If I learned one important aspect of this holiday season, it was the fact that life is too short to be spent on technology when you are with family. I enjoyed spending time with family and there is nothing that compares to watching old home movies or taking turns catching up on your life. There is an art and a closeness that you feel when you put the phone, video games and tablets away and you begin enjoying life all over again.

4. Gratitude

Before we end our year, we always remember to wish our clients a great holiday season and to thank them for such a great year. It is a tradition that we have in our company that I've held on to for the last few years and continue to do as it makes me remember those who have reminded me of why I do what I do.

When you show your children that they need to be grateful for what they have (and work diligently for things that they do not have yet), it creates character and reinforces the lost art of delayed gratification in a world where everything needs to happen instantaneously. Trust me, you are not a horrible parent if you tell your child, "Not yet.." every once in a while.

5. Walking/Hiking/Enjoying a Moment with the Family

I have only a few memories of enjoying a nice walk with my dad in the deserts of the Southwest, but I do remember him and I spending time together and enjoying memories that only I have of him. He always made it a point to tell me that our weekly trips to Home Depot would consist of buying a toilet even though he would pick out a new tool or a bag of nails. Sorry dad, you always thought that you could fool me but you can only have so many toilets in a three bathroom house!

As I spent the last few weeks with my in-laws,  we would go on far walks with his parents either before dinner or after dinner. It was probably one of the highlights of our day as each walk would be another step towards discovery of my husband's family. He would tell us stories of his childhood and jobs that he had before he finished college (really father-in-law, you were a Volunteer Firefighter?) and sometimes we came to the realization that he had a pretty exciting life before he had kids.

It's important to do something with your child that does not require anything more than you and them whether it is going for a walk or sharing your favorite memory of riding your first bike. Your children love you and want to get to know you. Don't substitute a box full of toys for your chance to show your children who you are.

6. Invent a New Tradition

We came across this just recently as it was something unplanned, unexpected, and extremely embarrassing to even share with you.

Traditionally on New Years, we cook a nice meal and catch up on our favorite television series. This New Years, we travelled in the afternoon, arrived at a home filled with "weekday" food, and a village that was closed except for a gas station and a McDonald's. Instead of engaging in a family duel that would have anyone think that this was a new "Hunger Games" movie (New Years Edition), we went to McDonalds for New Years.

Instead of doing the same old routine, come up with a tradition that everyone in your family can take part in. This one (albeit I would not recommend for us next year as a McDonald's meal is something that takes a few years to metabolize out of my system) is one that is spent with family and reminds us of what is important: don't take life too seriously. It's quality, not quantity and there is nothing better than enjoying a really good laugh with the ones that you love.

7. Make Sure To Support Your Children's Education

For some reason, it is becoming harder and harder for parents and caregivers to build stronger connections with children. No matter what happens, your children look to you first and foremost to have all of the answers. Despite the fact that you really know your children, sometimes you may not know what is best for them because you are too subjective.

If you are having a difficult time in reaching your child please know that it is not your fault. You are simply too good of a parent for them to fire and they want you to find someone else to fill in that role of a psychologist, counselor, or educational strategist. If you need help with your child's private, public, or homeschool education, please feel free to contact Christine at (404) 964-8533 or you can email me at