Schoola Blog

School Fundraising Tips & Success Stories from Schoola

Month: September 2014

How to Deal when Homework Nights are Hell!

Mother helping her daughter for her homework




Homework Nights are Hell, by Tre Harrington

This year I have one kiddo in high school and one in elementary school. The child in high school is easy. He comes home, has a snack and does his work. There are no fights, no hostage negotiations, and no tears. The kid in elementary school, she is another story.

We have three children: oldest who is fifteen, middle who is ten, and then there is youngest, our two year old. Middle is in fourth grade this year. I have no idea what they are prepping these kiddos for, but I assume upon completion of fourth grade, she should be a brain surgeon. Each night middle child has had at least an hour and a half of homework. With her constant yelling, fits, defiant rages, and screaming, it typically takes about four hours. By the end of it, the husband and I are ready to call it a night and break out the wine.

I feel bad for her, but I can’t let her know that. I realize these kiddos put in hard days at school. It is stressful for them. I truly believe that they work hard all day and all of the homework is daunting for them. Middle child is also autistic. We do not let her use that as an excuse though. She gets no special considerations, and she is expected to do the same amount of work as her peers. I imagine it would be much easier on her, and us, to use her disability to her advantage. We could easily say that this amount of homework is not within her capabilities, but we know she is. It would not be beneficial to her long term. We do not let middle child be set apart in any way, instead we fight to keep her as mainstream as possible. Even if it means fighting for hours and hours over homework.

We did find a few helpful hints for homework time. These are not full proof and I cannot guarantee they will even work. The best you can do is try. In our home, they work sometimes, depending on middle’s mood. Like parenting, homework time is all about making mistakes and learning from them.

  1. Let the child be in control. If they have four different subjects, let them choose what order they do things in. It allows them to feel like they are making the rules. This is pretty important to them, especially after being told what to do all day.
  2. Be sure the child gets a ten minute break when they walk in the door. No talk about school, no unpacking the backpack, just allow them to unwind. When you get off work, you need some time to decompress. Give them that as well.
  3. If you see the child getting frustrated, have them take a time out. No toys or television, just have them sit in a quiet place for a few minutes. Let them chill and be calm. They are getting frustrated, so work to stop the blow up before it occurs.
  4. We have found that getting through the hardest subjects first works best. If your child struggles in math, and they save it until last, it will be weighing on them all homework time. So, try to get it out of the way. If it is taking too long, break it into sections and work on something else in-between sections.
  5. Use positive reinforcement. You cannot ever tell your child how awesome, smart, or wonderful they are enough! Do it! Many, many times a day.

Every time you and your child are having an awful homework night, know there are many other parents going through the exact same thing as well. In the end, it is worth it. We are raising the future doctors, scientists, and teachers. So, take a deep breath and tell your kiddo they are awesome and keep going. You only have to do this until they graduate.





Introducing Schoola2U: Bringing More Funds to Bay Area Schools

Another school year is in full swing, and we’re as committed as ever to find ways to support important programs that impact students’ academic success – including art, music and physical education.

Despite the fact that California is home to more million-dollar tax filers than any other state in the U.S., there is still a significant wealth gap between Bay Area residents and the money allotted to education. Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area are taking matters into their own hands – one out of every 10 schools in the Bay Area is using Schoola to raise much needed funds. 

We’ve come a long way from the five Bay Area schools we launched with in June 2013. Today, we have more than 500 Bay Area schools raising money through our program.

One of our schools, Yick Wo Elementary in San Francisco, raised more than $1,000 to put school supplies in the classroom during the 2013-2014 school year, and is partnering with us to help fund its art program this year.

We’re proud to be an ally to Bay Area parents looking to supplement school resources, and we want to do more to help.  So this week we are debuting our fundraising fleet – 6 three-wheeled pop-up shops will be hitting the road to raise awareness and drive donations to local schools.  Our bikes will be visiting Bay Area visiting schools, museums and family festivals spreading the word about how parents can raise money for schools by doing something they already do – buying clothes for their kids!

Schoola has pledged to donate an additional $5 to the shoppers’ school of choice for every purchase made from the pop-up shops – with a goal of raising $100,000 for local schools.

We look forward to continuing support the local schools in our own backyard with this initiative. You can follow @Schoola on Twitter, Facebook & @Schoola2U on Instagram for updates on our Bay Area Tour – it’s going to be #WheelieGood!

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Why Family Dinners Matter

Affectionate young family cooking together

Why Family Dinners Matter

Let’s be honest, some nights, family dinners can feel as good as a sharp stick in the eye.

“Sit DOWN!”

“Eat your {fill in the food}.”

“Finish your milk!”

“Stop making faces at your {brother/sister}!”


Exasperated parents are everywhere, and I know this because I’ve seen them – at their houses, in restaurants and food courts, anywhere that parents and kids are sitting down at the same table to have a meal at the same time. I also know they’re everywhere because I’m often one of them.

So, really, why subject ourselves to the torture?

I can recall many a meal during my kids’ infancy and toddlerdom when one or both of us on the Team Parents had a cold dinner, because all the heat went out of the meal while we were tending to one child or another. And raise your hand if you’ve ever looked at a restaurant menu and SPECIFICALLY ordered whatever could be eaten with just one hand so that you could have the other hand free to assist a child?

Yeah, I figured as much. Me, too.

The reason why we, as parents, put ourselves through the sometimes frustrating experience of plunking everyone down at the table simultaneously is easy: it makes for healthier families, especially in Team Kids.

Science – YES, THAT THING, SCIENCE – shows that families that eat together are more likely to have kids that build better relationships with their parents, that are generally healthier than their non-family-dinner-eating peers, and that sport better communication skills. Let’s pick apart why this may be:

First off, the conversation at the table helps develop kids’ language skills. Adult conversation, in particular, helps teach context, tone, and structure – all important things for helping young minds learn how to put words together properly when they’re talking with or writing to others.

Second, having a “family dinner” typically gets everyone the same general plate contents, so kids can be exposed to a wider variety of foods than if they’re catered to with a menu loaded with the usual kid-oriented items. There is even evidence that these kids eat more healthy foods (fruit and vegetables) and engage in fewer unhealthy behaviors (eating disorders, eating unhealthy foods, etc.).

Third, and perhaps importantly, children learn that there’s a time when they can bring concerns to the rest of the family or when they can hear others’ concerns. My husband and I typically use dinnertime as a way to catch up on what happened at work, and the kids have learned that they can do the same – telling what happened at camp, school, or wherever they spent their day. This is a great stress relief for everyone, not just the parent(s).

Not every family dinner is going to be unicorns and rainbows; there will still be plenty of nights – especially when the kids are young – where it seems like pulling teeth to get them to use their teeth. Still, the benefits outweigh the frustration by a mile. If family dinner helps set my kids on the path to being healthier, happier, more communicative adults, a few shouts of “WILL YOU SIT DOWN?!” are well worth it.

CrunchyMetroMom is a blog featuring musings about a variety of topics, including food, family, and a journey for balance. To read more, please check out


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