Big Kid School  &  Learning

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    Parents at an upscale preschool in New York City, who wanted the absolute best for their children, and who were willing to and in the fortunate position to spend a lot of money on their education, were horrified to learn that a 22-year-old intern has been accused of sexually abusing more than a dozen children ages 4 and 5 at the school.

    Malthe Thomsen, who is from Denmark, has been charged with sexually abusing 13 children at the International Preschool, which serves mostly wealthy families -- many of whom have ties to the United Nations. The accusations against him are absolutely sickening and will make you hug your kids just a little tighter today.

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    A school principal is in hot water with parents after sharing a not-so-hot, but borderline crass, photo of herself doing something obscene to the -- get ready for it -- Washington Monument, of all things. Five years ago, Penny Mueller did something pretty foolish. While she and other teachers from the Crestomere School in Calgary, Canada were attending a conference in Washington, D.C., the principal and two colleagues posed for a lewd photo in front of the moument that makes it look as if Mueller is performing fellatio on it.

    A spur of the moment, dumb mistake? Perhaps. But it's also one that speaks volumes about her professional attitude. For that reason, it makes perfect sense that parents are pulling their children out of her school.

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    While some kids may be glad to be done with school for the summer, one Kansas boy was thrilled to be reading and sharing his love for books with his community. That was, until, his city decided to shut down his small library. The city says his "take a book, leave a book" stand was deemed an illegal "detached structure."

    Apparently, the 9-year-old's neighbors complained about the large birdhouse-looking box, and the family received a formal letter from the city government asking them to take it down. Now they've moved it into their garage and away from the park bench.

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    The debate over homework has raged on in American homes for the past several years. But the battle is not between the parents and the kids who don't want to do it. Instead, it's parents challenging the system and asking that schools reduce or ban homework altogether. And it looks like one school is well on its way to embracing the no-homework system.

    Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there definitely is one big catch. If administrators do decide to ban homework, they will have to lengthen the school days. Since parents mostly want homework restrictions so kids can spend more time playing, enjoying their days, and hanging with the family, it could seem like the plan is backfiring.

    But the trade-off might just be totally worth it.

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    Controlling a classroom of 20 to 30 elementary school students is no easy feat. Teachers set rules, guidelines, and limits on what the children can do in order to maintain a good learning environment. But a story of a school that is limiting kids to using the bathroom only twice a year shows us how some school rules can cause kids more harm than good.

    Parents of fourth grade students at Loma Portal Elementary School are complaining that their children only receive two bathroom passes per year. Turns out, kids are using up their two passes quickly and then are not allowed to use the bathroom. Instead, if they need to use the bathroom, they have to take a detention or be excluded from activities.

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    Turning 18 and graduating high school is a natural stepping stone for kids before they enter college. And for one Alabama family, they're doing it all. Except by age 12. Kip and Mona Lisa Harding are parents to 10 children. Seven of them have gotten into college by age 12.

    And the other three will soon follow suit. Their oldest, now 26, has been an engineer for four years and already holds two masters degrees. Their second oldest daughter is an architect with her own firm. And the other kids are on their way to becoming doctors in the U.S. Navy, computer scientists, musicians/composers, scholars of the Middle Ages, and lawyers.

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    The school year is winding down, and soon enough, the kids will be home bugging you that they have nothing to do. Oh no, is it August yet?!

    Not to worry, we've got the answer to their question: Read!

    We've put together a  book list of new releases -- and old classics -- that your kids (and you) will love.

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    When it comes to finding the right schools for kids with challenges like autism, often it's not bullying by other kids that we have to worry about; it's bullying by adults who just don't understand how these special conditions affect kids. One mom made that heart-sinking discovery when she enrolled her son with autism in a small, private Catholic school.

    "We couldn't think of a better place for our son," Diane Lang writes in a heartbreaking blog post, "How Do We Determine the Worth of a Child?" Lang believed the school's Christian values and supportive community would provide exactly the environment her son needed, "where kindness and compassion were paramount." Over time, though, it all fell apart.

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    You know what I'm getting really sick and tired of? My kid coming home from school and telling me that his entire class was penalized in some way, shape, or form because one or a few of the students in his class acted out.

    I swear, at least once a week, he gets off the bus and tells me how his day was kind of a bummer because his class was forced to stay in for recess. Or be silent during lunch. Or any other sort of lame punishment -- all because of the actions of one, two, three, etc., students who couldn't seem to keep their behavior in check that day.

    Seriously -- what is up with teachers and other school staff punishing kids when they didn't do anything wrong? Are they just really bored or fed up or ... what?!?

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    When it comes to our children and their schooling, most of us would climb the highest mountain if it meant our kids were able to receive the best education we could provide for them. One devoted father in China is, literally, carrying his disabled 12-year-old son on his back and walking him to the nearest school that will accept him -- which is inconveniently located 5 miles away from their home.

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